2018-06-21

Reddit Criticisms of Vridar

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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.

 

17 Comments

  • Lowen Gartner
    2018-06-21 23:58:12 UTC - 23:58 | Permalink

    I wonder how many of those comments were O’Neal sockpuppets?

  • A Buddhist
    2018-06-22 00:06:11 UTC - 00:06 | Permalink

    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.”]

    • Chris Mosser
      2018-07-03 22:24:47 UTC - 22:24 | Permalink

      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.

  • Kelly Wellington
    2018-06-22 00:09:01 UTC - 00:09 | Permalink

    And I’m unclear as to why I should extend any credence at all to this ‘Reddit’.

    Are they supposed to matter?

    Why?

  • proudfootz
    2018-06-22 00:37:26 UTC - 00:37 | Permalink

    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.

  • James Murphy
    2018-06-22 02:38:09 UTC - 02:38 | Permalink

    Neil, you wrote:

    “I’d like to comment myself but don’t seem to be able to access that forum for some reason.”

    You need a Reddit account to be able to comment. They’re very easy to make and can be done in under a minute: https://www.reddit.com/register

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-06-25 10:37:34 UTC - 10:37 | Permalink

      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.

  • Tim Widowfield
    2018-06-22 03:25:38 UTC - 03:25 | Permalink

    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.

  • 2018-06-22 04:15:22 UTC - 04:15 | Permalink

    I’ve never paid much attention to Reddit, but I just signed up. I’ll be posting something there soon.

    • 2018-06-24 11:54:52 UTC - 11:54 | Permalink

      My response is up now.

      • A Buddhist
        2018-06-24 12:49:14 UTC - 12:49 | Permalink

        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/

        • Neil Godfrey
          2018-06-24 13:13:17 UTC - 13:13 | Permalink

          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.

  • 2018-06-22 07:28:25 UTC - 07:28 | Permalink

    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.

  • 2018-06-22 22:11:05 UTC - 22:11 | Permalink

    ‘Ya don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows’ in order to have an intelligent, common sense conversation. My understanding is not a matter of ‘degrees’.

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