Ouch! It’s True!

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by Neil Godfrey

While catching up with other blogs I came across this comment in a post by Ian at Irreducable Complexity that jolted me. It was written by Sabio Lantz who has sometimes left a comment here:

He wrote here:

I actually enjoy Neil Godfrey’s writings sometimes — but it is usually beyond my pay grade – as is Ian’s stuff when he is not kind! :-) But usually Ian is very kind and keeps stuff simple for us lay folks.

Ouch. That smarts a little because it’s true. When I started this blog I was always sure to keep my posts clear. I kept foremost in mind how I had to struggle when first reading esoteric terms like “Q” and “redaction criticism” and “oral tradition” and “intertextuality” and “Messianic Secret” etcetera etcetra to get my head around what the writers were talking about.

I wanted this blog to be, above all, a means by which I could share with others the books and articles that I had had the opportunities to read with others.

I cannot deny that some of my posts in recent months, maybe more than twelve, have been impatiently written with a certain academic or well-educated lay hobbyist in mind.

There was a time when I’d stop to explain each and every technical term I introduced into a post and I have to admit I have become lazy in that department lately.

I hope to be mindful to at least explain the jargon, if not avoid it, once again from now on.

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10 thoughts on “Ouch! It’s True!”

  1. I don’t think there are enough online resources to learn about mythicism. I think it would be nice if someone could put together something like a “Mythicist Annotated New Testament” on the internet. That way there could be an online New Testament commentary from a mythicist point of view.

    1. Interesting thought. The reason I don’t directly address mythicism very often here is because my primary interest is in something else — understanding the nature and origin of the biblical writings and religions. Mythicism per se is not my “goal” or focus. Many of my posts may indeed be indirectly applied to mythicist arguments — but that’s a spin-off from my real interest. If anything, I take “mythicism” largely for granted because there is simply no evidence that Jesus originated as a historical person, and lots of evidence that points to his literary-theological origin. But if I did find evidence for the historical existence of Jesus, or at least evidence that the NT writings originated with such a person, then would be just as fascinated in that. It would make absolutely no difference to my personal identity either way.

      I was recently thinking of doing a few posts on some of the basic works I read long ago and that led me to understand the Bible very differently from the way I had as a believer. Maybe I could do a few along the lines you suggest, too. I do realize that over time I have tended to leave behind my interest in such basics and my reading has delved more deeply into some quite esoteric stuff.

      (I’m currently reading a book detailing verse by verse a small section of the Gospel of Mark to demonstrate that it could not have derived from “oral tradition”. Obviously posting on such a work is going to have limited appeal. But I am sure I will continue from time to time write posts that are purely self-indulgent anyway.)

      1. (I’m currently reading a book detailing verse by verse a small section of the Gospel of Mark to demonstrate that it could not have derived from “oral tradition”. Obviously posting on such a work is going to have limited appeal.

        I would love to read about such a book. What is the book?

          1. Thank you. I hope you do review it because it’s US$150 on amazon. Good grief.

            Have been digging around your archives; whew! Lots of interesting stuff. Also enjoyed the extroma post. I believe that’s an exclusive.

              1. A reviewer for the Journal of Biblical Literature says “This is an important book which should be read by anyone with an interest in pre-Gospel tradition.” I’ve been reading it on Google Books (despite the maddening page drops and the disadvantage of not knowing Greek), and it’s pretty compelling. Even if you don’t have many Mark geeks reading your blog, this book would probably interest people like some of your regulars who take a jaundiced view of established methodologies. Self-indulge.

  2. I too think we really need a new annotated New Testament that gives serious consideration to the findings of mythicist scholars. Ultimately, I’d prefer an extensive community written Wikipedia-like project that gives various points of view on each verse or passage.

    Robert M. Price’s “The Pre-Nicene New Testament” is excellent, but it doesn’t contain anywhere near enough annotations. It is also limited to just Prices’s opinions. It would be better to see the views of other critical scholars too, even if Price is almost always right.

    Also, this moderately-educated lay hobbyist loves this blog a lot, and feel like I am generally able to follow it okay. But I don’t read it 100%. I tend to ignore the articles that are aimed at simply refuting what others have said. I prefer the articles that stand on their own introducing new subjects of interest, such as the recent article on the Greek word extroma.

    1. I’m glad you appreciate the “stand-alone” posts more because that’s what I know I enjoy writing most. The rebuttals are sometimes annoying distractions for me, but I let myself be frustrated enough to respond in those cases where the other post is obliquely or directly about me or something I’ve said (though some may not realize that since Hoffmann and others do refer to what I post without mentioning my name or even linking to my posts) or is a controversial issue with a wider public interest.

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