In his crusading zeal to slash and burn mythicism James McGrath is demonstrating once more his unfortunate lack of awareness of the actual content mythicist arguments and has done his readers a more general disservice by misrepresenting the nature of mainstream arguments on how various interpolations have worked their way into manuscript traditions.
Somehow a discussion on the authenticity of Galatians 1:19 (Paul meeting James “the Brother of the Lord”) in http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2015/10/does-coffee-prevent-temple-tantrums.html. A misinformed comment so impressed the professor that he made a special post of it titled Interpolation Mythicism.
Somehow the only argument for interpolation that I am aware of is not addressed from what I have seen of the discussion. The evidence for interpolation is not rock solidly indisputable but it is suggestive: See James Brother of the Lord: Another Case for Interpolation. There is evidence, as noted in this post, that the passage “brother of the Lord” was not original but a later copyists insertion.
And the evidence is of the sort that is used by mainstream scholars to argue for other cases of possible interpolation.
And the argument in this case is actually noted by someone arguing against mythicism.
And most mythicist arguments of which I am aware simply note that there is no mention of Jesus in the phrase and that the expression was has other known referents.
(Readers wondering why I have not made these points on McGrath’s blog should be aware that McGrath will not tolerate any comments from me on his blog.)
Interestingly James McGrath has “World Table” terms of service add-on for his blog comments. Conditions are most noble. I would be good to see James the Theologian practice them whenever he decides to address mythicism.
Honesty begins when you look in the mirror. It affects how you relate to yourself, how you talk to yourself, and what you think of yourself. When you get to a point in life that you can be perfectly honest with yourself, being honest with others happens naturally. And perfect honesty with others is easily understood and accepted by those who matter to you. The rest are not worth worrying about.
Kindness will go further towards building trust than any other virtue listed here. Kindness is never outdated. It is not weak, or naive, or small. Kindness is easily recognized and understood by everyone, so your ability to affect change and influence the world for good is greatly enhanced by sincere kindness. But, be wise about this. Nothing is more offensive or destructive than kindness that is forced, phony, or insincere.
Make no mistake, listening well is hard to do. It is not just being quiet. Even pausing one more second takes real effort and often much practice. To listen well means to listen with a desire to truly understand rather than with a need to respond. It is the epitome of love and empathy in action. But it is also a sign of self-respect. We all need a good listening ear from time to time. But sadly, so few have them. So be one of the few who do.
Presume Good Will
Too often we assume the “other” party involved doesn’t have our best interests in mind. Sometimes those concerns are valid. But more often than not, even with good intentions, we subconsciously sabotage our conversations because we presume that the other party has “bad” will, or, even worse, is incapable of “good” will. Presuming good will is not the same as accepting the other persons beliefs or positions. It means accepting the other persons intentions as being good.
Acknowledge the Differences
Acknowledging the differences frees us to know where we stand without having to guess. When we discuss differences openly, it validates both parties and sets the tone so a real conversation can finally happen. If done with a posture of humility it can indicate a sign of maturity that better preserves and ensures the dignity of everyone involved. If you are tempted to only discuss the similarities and hide the differences, something is out of balance in the relationship. Similarities are a great place to start, but a shallow and boring place to end.
Answer the Tough Questions
With genuine differences come tough questions – especially when both sides desire a trusting relationship. Asking and answering tough questions in a strait-forward and honest way builds more trust than avoiding them. This does not mean one party should subject themselves to endless interrogation or share private details carelessly. It simply means diving a little deeper to better understand the motives and biases that might be driving us. The mere act of vocalizing our answers to tough questions has a powerful effect on everyone involved.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due
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