Ben Smith (a fellow amateur) has written a lengthy essay on gospel genre at the Biblical Criticism and History Forum. In off-line discussions a little while ago I got the impression we had similar ideas on the topic. I have sometimes wondered if there was a “Scripture genre” to which the Gospels sought to conform. Ben appears to have explored this question in depth. I look forward to reading his essay and responding.
Scholar Gary Habermas has made the electronic copy of his updated book open access. Evidence for the Historical Jesus can be downloaded on his site. Another work by Habermas (one written in conjunction with Michael Licona) sets out The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Only a few days ago I received my hard copy of Licona’s 700 page tome, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. The reason I ordered it was because I was blown away by reviews informing me that Licona was on top of the standard historical methods used by mainsteream historians in history (non-biblical) departments and had applied these normative methods to argue that Jesus really was resurrected. I could not resist a peak at the introduction and opening chapter (I cannot afford to break my promise to myself to finish Pinker’s Better Angels before undertaking another major read.) Licona cites several works on historical method I have fortunately read and still have with me, so I was able to confirm that he seems at times to fall into a trap of semantic confusion — or maybe I will find out I was mistaken when I give it my full attention.
Speaking of Pinker’s book, I have almost completed it now and am intrigued by his point about the different relationships between highly abstract/more concrete thinking on moral reasoning. I am wondering if there is any applicability to the less nuanced understandings of some of the New Atheists (for example) of religion — and this returns us to Hector Avalos and his anticipation of a “second wave” of “new atheists” from the field of biblical studies. (Sure, biblical scholars are better placed to offer informed criticisms of the Bible but there is a real social divide over attitudes towards religion and faith more generally that transcends a need for literacy in any particular holy book.)
For those interested in the Creationist or Intelligent Design phenomenon and who love to read enjoyable prose you will not regret checking out the new post at Otagosh: Red in Claw and (von) Fange.
Tim has added a plugin to check for broken links on Vridar and I’ve been pretty horrified to see how bad the site has been in that respect. I’ve finally got the number of broken links in actual posts down to 40 — I think. Most of those are (only) images for illustration and links to the now moved Internet Infidels forum. Someone at the II forum is looking into the possibility of finding a solution for my old links. Their new site is http://talkfreethought.org/
But something weird is happening as I try to fix some of these links. At times it seems the entire post goes into “draft” mode or even the “trash”. When I retrieve it it gets sent out to Facebook and other sites as if it’s a new post when in fact it’s usually several years old!
More to follow.