2015-07-27

Smile: It’s Only a Bible and Religion Discussion

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by Neil Godfrey

For a refreshing perspective read Tom Dykstra’s post on his reflections after reviewing books by Thomas Brodie and Bart Ehrman: Humor in Biblical Studies.

the very best biblical scholars are those that maintain a sense of humor toward their subject matter and toward those who disagree with them

Dykstra’s post begins. . . . .

Almost a year ago I finished expanding my posts on Brodie’s Jesus-didn’t-exist book and Ehrman’s yes-he-did book into an article for an academic peer-reviewed journal, to be published later this year.  As I did more research on this controversy, one aspect of it struck me forcefully: many or most people on both sides of the fence were remarkably intolerant and contemptuous of the other side.

In what you might think of as an “academic” debate why should people get so incensed at and abusive toward those who disagree? . . .

In reading and thinking about this issue I reached a conclusion that may sound counter-intuitive:  the very best biblical scholars are those that maintain a sense of humor toward their subject matter and toward those who disagree with them. . . . The issue is this:  I see contemptuous and abusive language as evidence that the perpetrator likely has some kind of vested interest in a particular belief about the subject. . . . (my bolding)

He then discusses another one of my favourite scholars, Michael Goulder. Read the thing in full and forward it to anyone you think gets a bit too cranky: Humor in Biblical Studies — and maybe not just to biblical scholars. I’m thinking of course of my recent slap down by a certain evolutionist for my question asking him why he shunned the scholarly approach of his peers towards Islamic terrorism.

Speaking of humour and the “which belief is right” debate, this has just appeared on John Loftus’s Debunking Christianity site:

 

 

 

 

 

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Neil Godfrey

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4 thoughts on “Smile: It’s Only a Bible and Religion Discussion”

  1. Tom Dykstra is great. His book on Mark (Canonizer of Paul) is one of the best things I have read recently on Mark. Further illuminated that deeply misunderstood (with monumental historical consequences) that little piece of theological fiction!

    J

  2. Hi Neil,

    I’m thinking of course of my recent slap down by a certain evolutionist for my question asking him why he shunned the scholarly approach of his peers towards Islamic terrorism.

    Well, you do recognise, I presume, that asking him “why he shunned the scholarly approach” is not the friendliest way of starting a discussion?

    If I were to ask you why you shun the scholarly approach to Biblical studies I suspect you’d be a tad peeved (and rightly so, since it would not be a fair question to you).

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