In the last twenty four hours two remarkable posts have appeared arguing from a scholarly (as per New Testament scholarly) perspective that the historical sources we have for Jesus are about as abundant, rich and “in-your-face” as anything we might have for any other person in ancient times — let’s say, Julius Caesar.
But before I had a chance to position my fingers on my laptop’s keyboard an rss feed barges in to tell me Richard Carrier has already been approached for his view of one of these posts. So no thunder here. But I’m pleased I had the opportunity to catch up with the much more vital post on Otagosh (see previous post) instead.
The post to which Carrier responds is Darrell Bock’s Sources for Caesar and Jesus Compared. The other is by James Bishop, Introduction to Our Independent Sources for Jesus’ Life, and Why They Are Important, [link (https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/introduction-to-our-independent-sources-for-jesus-life-and-why-they-are-important/) no longer works – Neil Godfrey, 24th July 2019] on the Historical Jesus Studies blog. I am sure a number of Vridar readers can anticipate what I would say in response to each. (I’d like to find a way to making the fundamental arguments of logic and elementary historical methods and source analysis more widespread.)
Anyway, I do want to respond to both of these posts myself so have chosen not to read Carrier’s own remarks beforehand lest they spoil the flow of my own perspective. I still have more to write from the work of Henige, in particular in relation to historical sources, which should enrich my previous arguments.
I have a problem when these privileged few summarily discount the experiences of those not so fortunate. . . . ‘Popular’ is a term of disdain.
Gavin Rumney has published a hard hitting post directed at those theologians and other biblical scholars who are accustomed to looking down their aristoctratic noses upon efforts by ex-fundamentalists to contribute ideas emerging to some extent from muddy experience. He has titled it Theological Feudalism.
I’d love to be able to wrap the entire post and place it prominently on the desks of a few erudite scholars who have made no secret of their disdain for certain outsiders who have passed through the wrong side of town.
Here are a few lines . . . .
Ex-fundamentalists (a tribe to which I belong) often get a lot of stick from the theoristocrats, those who have attained a tenured place at the top table in Christian discourse without acquiring the deep scars that come from living through a biblicist nightmare.
These theoristocrats (a term that isn’t entirely new, though the usage I’m putting it to may be) are invariably decent, much studied, perceptive sorts. They rightly appreciate that ‘truth’ is a nuanced concept, and that one person’s truth may not be another’s. They also tend to dialogue among their peers rather than bothering over-much with the common herd. Indeed, many eschew entirely the ‘popular’ contributions to their field even when those attempting this feat are as qualified as themselves. ‘Popular’ is a term of disdain. . . .
‘Popular’ is a term of disdain, Amen. One detail: Next time you see one of them sniggering at what he or she read in Wikipedia (ignorant of its its real status beside, say, Encyclopedia Britannica), ask them why they did not deign to dirty their fingers by adding a helpful correction to that body of knowledge.
. . . .
The ‘common herd’ obviously make up the overwhelming majority of Christian believers. So those ex-fundamentalists or ex-evangelicals are not reacting to a straw man or a caricature of Christian faith, as is often implied. They’re reacting to what is increasingly the most common, most virulent form. And that’s not only their right, it’s their responsibility. . . . .Continue reading “Theological Feudalism — by Otagosh”