2018-06-21

Reddit Criticisms of Vridar

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by Neil Godfrey

A reader of this blog kindly notified me of a little discussion on Reddit about Vridar:

How reputable is Vridar (Neil Godfrey’s) blog?

The first thing that surprised me was that a Reddit discussion would even raise my name as a topic. I have no idea who the poster is but I would be interested to know his associations with anyone I have crossed swords with in the past.

He says Vridar fails to rely(?) ”

  • almost solely on academic sources” (that’s news to me)
  • posts “opinion pieces” (is there any discussion or argument that is not an expression of opinion?)
  • “avoids original research” (well, I am an amateur and my interests and purposes are all set out in the “About Vridar” sections of this blog)

Further, Vridar is said to “evoke a scholarly feel” with “bombast language and numerous citations”.  To my mind bombast language by definition cannot evoke any sort of scholarly feel. I used to provide very few citations but since partnering with Tim I have learned to lift my game in that respect.

But there is further criticism. Tim and I are said to “consistently downplay our armchair status”! Oh. Well, I don’t know how we could have made it any clearer that we are just a couple of amateurs as we have pointed out several times in our posts and as we make very clear in our “About Vridar/Author profile” sections. And as is surely clear from some of the commendations of this blog that we have posted.

And despite all the posts where we favourably cite scholarly arguments, because we do present reasons we believe other scholarly arguments are flawed, now that seems to be the real “no-no” and reason we are not to be trusted.

And from there the discussion proceeds.

I’d like to comment myself but don’t seem to be able to access that forum for some reason. Meanwhile, perhaps some sympathetic readers might like to add their own comments there.

 

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19 thoughts on “Reddit Criticisms of Vridar”

  1. Well, that thread is very strange to read. In it, I see 2 major errors:
    1. Conflation of the phrase “James the brother of Jesus” with the phrase “James the brother of the Lord”.
    Original poster: “Galatians 1:19 to read “… James the brother of Jesus.” As an amateur without an armchair, even I know that is not what the Greek says.”
    Reply: That’s exactly what it says.

    2. Contradictory Assertions about the Relationship between Biblical Scholarship and being a Historian.
    “Neither Godfrey nor Widowfield are recognized scholars, plus too many posts depend upon the assumption that all Biblical scholars are not historians. I agree that some are not. Others, however, use similar methods.” [To this, I say: if “some” biblical scholars use similar methods to those of historians, then their differences in methods leave open the possibility that they are not historians. If they were indisputably historians, the response would be “Neither Godfrey nor Widowfield are recognized scholars, plus too many posts depend upon the assumption that all Biblical scholars are not historians. I agree that some are not. Others, however, use the exact same methods as historians.”]

    1. McGrath’s response to this drives me nuts:

      OP: “They quote Galatians 1:19 to read “… James the brother of Jesus.” As an amateur without an armchair, even I know that is not what the Greek says.”

      McG: “It says “brother of the Lord” but no one seriously doubts that this refers to Jesus, and so this is a perfect example of how mythicists try to create problems where there aren’t any.”

      3rd Person: “A lot of mythicisits will then bring the John Frum argument here.”

      McG: “Someone had met John Frum’s brother?!”

      It’s like McG isn’t aware that he’s committing textbook question begging here, as if the very notion of “brother” in the biological sense isn’t the very thing being challenged in the first place.

      1. It is also the fallacy of the prevalent proof.

        Maybe you would like to invite McGrath or any interested parties to engage with any of the following posts (I don’t mean dismiss and avoid or misrepresent, but actually engage with):
        Thinking through the “James, the brother of the Lord” passage in Galatians 1:19
        Does “Brother of the Lord” settle the Jesus myth question?
        The never-ending “brother of the lord” proof for the historical existence of Jesus

        Recently the biblical scholarly world mourned the death of Philip R. Davies. I have yet to check but I suspect I may have been the only one to have reminded readers that Davies had the courage to call for an open mind to the Jesus Myth question.

      2. What also depresses me is McGrath’s tone. He takes the view that anyone arguing mythicism is out to undermine his faith and status as a scholar and can only have deplorable motives. He appears incapable of discussing the question in a scholarly manner and treating the other side with respect.

  2. I didn’t recognize any of them by name. But the Dunning-Kruger effect would seem to characterize that discussion about this blog among people who don’t seem to be familiar with the blog.

    1. I must have had a reddit account years ago because when I try to do that it says my email address is already in use. When I try to ask to reset or be reminded of my password something breaks down and I get no response. Odd.

  3. Oddly enough, I found Vridar via Reddit. That was many years ago.

    I suppose I’m not too surprised by the attitude expressed here. Most people are trained to trust experts implicitly, and since they rarely have the time to read the material it probably makes sense.

    That said, I do think I’ve contributed some original material and some ideas not found anywhere else. I would hope those contributions aren’t ignored simply because I have only a BA in history.

      1. I liked your response! I hope that you may be willing to respond to the comment “Neither Godfrey nor Widowfield are recognized scholars, plus too many posts depend upon the assumption that all Biblical scholars are not historians. I agree that some are not. Others, however, use similar methods.” This comment seems to be an admission that biblical scholars are at best merely trying to be historians while not being historians. See: https://www.reddit.com/r/AcademicBiblical/comments/8rmha4/how_reputable_is_vridar_neil_godfreys_blog/e0svdev/

        1. I have not returned to Reddit yet but I would very much like someone to identify posts and sections in the posts where I have ever poo-poohed biblical scholars for not being “historians”. I have indeed addressed the methods of historians from the field of ancient history and compared those methods with those of historical Jesus scholars. If my criticisms there have been amiss then do tell me how and where.

  4. Meh. That is obviously a Guild-dominated subReddit. You are neither one of them, nor a passive conduit of what they serve up. Having critics is the price of being read; having critics like that is a gift from God, more or less literally.

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