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Re: [XTalk] Authentic Sayings and HJ Criteria

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  • Loren Rosson
    ... I certainly meant no disrespect. ... Fair enough. But it s really the charge which HJ scholars are forever open to -- isn t it? There is an obligation to
    Message 1 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
      Zeb wrote:

      >I mean no disrespect, and I know you
      >meant none either,

      I certainly meant no disrespect.

      >but there is something about claims like
      >this I find really insulting. But I must
      >admit I'm unsure why. Perhaps because
      >it borders on the ad hominem

      Fair enough. But it's really the charge which HJ
      scholars are forever open to -- isn't it? There is an
      obligation to call things as we see them, which
      sometimes involves walking that line which may seem to
      border on the ad hominem (but is hopefully not quite).

      >Maybe I find it insulting because it
      >assumes you know Crossan so well that you
      >can get inside his head

      Not at all. I'm simply capable of drawing conclusions
      based on statements Crossan has made about his
      personal beliefs elsewhere. But I agree that it may be
      inappropriate to wax obsessive on the issue of
      scholarly motives and biases. Thanks --

      Loren Rosson III
      Nashua NH
      rossoiii@...


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    • Rikk E. Watts
      Dear Zeb, I¹m sure Loren meant no disrespect. On the other hand, it seems to me that his observation re Crossan and Crossan¹s Jesus is not that uncommon.
      Message 2 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
        Dear Zeb,

        I¹m sure Loren meant no disrespect. On the other hand, it seems to me that
        his observation re Crossan and Crossan¹s Jesus is not that uncommon. Wasn¹t
        it Loisey who famously quipped: ³The Christ that Harnack sees, looking back
        through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a
        Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well²? There¹s a fine
        tradition of such observations...

        Rikk

        on 12/4/02 5:29 AM, Zeba Crook at zeba.crook@... wrote:

        > Loren Rosson wrote:
        >
        >> > The Jesus emerging from Crossan's 1991 publication
        >> > certainly looks a lot like the author: an egalitarian
        >> > cynic. In fact, this work probably stands as one of
        >> > the most obvious cases of the scholar finding himself
        >> > in Jesus.
        >
        > Loren,
        >
        > Again, I mean no disrespect, and I know you meant none either, but there is
        > something about claims like this I find really insulting. But I must admit
        > I'm
        > unsure why. Perhaps because it borders on the ad hominem (which I assume you
        > didn't intend), by which I mean that you assume that as a professional,
        > thoughtful
        > and self-critical scholar he is unable to bracket his own interests, to set
        > criteria and apply them regardless of how he may feel about the outcome. Yes
        > yes
        > I know that the selection of criteria will be a reflection of the scholar, but
        > resulting in a one-to-one relationship? Maybe I find it insulting because it
        > assumes you know Crossan so well that you can get inside his head and really
        > know
        > that his Jesus is just like him (maybe you do know him, but I doubt any
        > relationship short of possibly therapist would give you the insight to make
        > such a
        > huge claim).
        >
        > Cheers,
        >
        > Zeb
        >
        >
        >
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        Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
        Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
        Regent College
        5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Steve Black
        Rikk wrote... ... This great quote is found in... George Tyrrell s Christianity at the Cross-Roads. (1910) -- Steve Black Vancouver School of Theology
        Message 3 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
          Rikk wrote...
          > Wasn't
          >it Loisey who famously quipped: "The Christ that Harnack sees, looking back
          >through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a
          >Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well"?

          This great quote is found in...
          George Tyrrell's Christianity at the Cross-Roads. (1910)

          --
          Steve Black
          Vancouver School of Theology
          Vancouver, BC
          ---

          If you get confused, listen to the music play...
          -Robert Hunter From "Franklin's Tower"
        • Andrew Lloyd
          ... modern ... everything they ... happy ... suggest ... don t actually want to define it strictly). I accept and welcome the ... Zeb, So many thoughts on
          Message 4 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
            --- In crosstalk2@y..., zeba.crook@u... wrote:
            Quoting Andrew Lloyd <a.lloyd2@n...>:

            > >It also seems too strongly steeped in the post-modern maxim that
            modern
            > > scholars are incapable of not reading their own selves into
            everything they
            > > do.
            >
            > If you have a problem with this "post-modern maxim" Zeb I'd be
            happy
            > to hear it. I'm writing a PhD thesis (title: "The Posthistorical
            > Jesus: Historical Investigations, Autobiographical Opportunities")
            > pretty much based on it! Of course, I'm not so vulgar as to
            suggest
            > that the Jesuses scholars produce are mirror images. Its more a
            > matter of the pervasive influence of personal experience and a
            > redescription of the historical study of Jesus. Our historical
            > Jesuses grow out of our lives as branches off trees.

            >Andrew,
            >
            >here then, in a nutshell, is my sense of post-modernism (I'm
            >assuming what this nefarious term represents is clear enough - I
            don't actually want to define it strictly). I accept and welcome the
            >criticisms that post-modernism has levelled against historical
            >empiricism and modernistic historiography. Humility in one's
            >claims is, however, the most this collection of methods has
            >offered, I believe, to historiography. I see its primary
            >contribution as having been a warning of sorts against assuming too
            >great a degree of objectivity.

            >My concerns with it, and which I see in action at times, are mostly
            >that I thinks it's contributions can be taken too far. And let me
            >say as clearly as possible that I make no assumptions whatsoever
            >that your work does any of this. I'm speaking of what I have seen,
            >and I have not seen your work. The primary
            >post modern maxim that we are all incapable of pure objectivity can
            >result in the corollary statement that all historical claims are
            >therefore equal (or equally invalid). This I believe to be going
            >too far. I for one am not willing to let go of the hope for
            >objectivity. Those things that do not come easily,or that must be
            >borne in mind constantly in order to work towards should not
            >result in their being abandoned. And, I believe there are some
            >things we can know objectively, and not *all* historical enquiry or
            >interpretation is lost to our own subjectivity.

            Zeb,

            So many thoughts on postmodernism! As you might expect, I agree with
            some and not others. First, I don't claim to be a postmodernist (I
            want to define myself more precisely than that) though I dabble in
            thought many would want to so label. I prefer the term "pragmatist"
            for myself, since I find an interest in the works of the American
            Pragmatists and those who would ally themselves with these people.
            (Useful names here would be Charles Peirce, William James, John
            Dewey, latterly Richard Rorty, Stanley Fish, Cornel West, Louis
            Menand. To them add a pragmatically read Friedrich Nietzsche.) My
            own work is attempting to apply their work in philosophical,
            literary and cultural fields to the Quest of the historical Jesus.
            Via my profile on Yahoo you can get to my website and see examples
            of my work and a further explanation of my PhD thesis (with some
            small samples from it).

            Secondly, we have to ask whether postmodernism (PM) is contrary
            to "historical empiricism and modernistic historiography" or merely
            an extension of them. It may be noted that PM has been
            called "modernism conscious of itself" (Zygmunt Baumann). Thirdly,
            certainly PM leads to humility of claim and the deprecation of
            certainty and this is a good thing. In this the pragmatists were
            there before the postmodernists since John Dewey, as one example,
            was rubbishing the "quest for certainty" (well) before the Second
            World War. Fourthly, and here we part company, I can't go along with
            your "postmodernism should not go too far" line of thinking. What PM
            sets up, as Stephen D. Moore points out in his "Literary Criticism
            and the Gospels: The Theoretical Challenge" (Moore was my teacher
            and is the reason I'm currently engaged in said PhD), is that once
            you start out with PM you can't stop. What it provides is readings
            without ending. Interpretations of interpretations. Left without
            recourse to "certainty" and defended by the best reasons you can
            muster within "discourses" that compete to "outjustify" each other,
            we are placed into a world we suddenly become responsible for. How
            frightening! It is this kind of responsibility that I would want to
            point to in relation to historical Jesus studies. How about making
            the scholars responsible for their research and its results in terms
            of what they do or might be used for? (By the way, "objectivity", a
            word you seem to like, can be reconfigured. Of course postmodernists
            think they are right too, and right to the exclusion of (all) others
            on occasion. I suggest you read some works by the scholars I mention
            above if you want to look into this or you may read one or two of
            the papers on my site.)

            >I am most moved by a couple quotes from "The Jesus Controversy" by
            >Crossan, Johnson and Kelber……Crossan says, "History is possible
            >because its absence is intolerable" (p. 4). He also says, "Even if
            >all history is story, not all story is history" (p. 5). Kelber
            >makes much the same point on p.105 in a very moving "speech." Now,
            >these words were not leveled against the "threat" of post-
            >modernism, but against the claim that history doesn't matter. I see
            >them as appropriate also as a response to my concern that post-
            >modernism can be used to support the claim that all history is
            >equally subjective, so any one's history is as good the other's.

            I agree with the quotes from Crossan but wonder where you think that
            takes us. Are all historical Jesus studies "stories"? If they were
            would they have value as such (I say "Yes")? One area that might
            need to be probed here is the area of identity. To what extent are
            historical Jesus studies "identity markers"? Of course, identity is
            something that matters to us all and history, being a part of our
            identity, shares in the meaningfulness. I don't think there are that
            many serious (as opposed to frivolous) postmodernists who would say
            history doesn't matter. The postmodernists who think that everything
            is meaningless play (or who think that "all history is equally
            subjective, so any one's history is as good the other's") are
            actually phantoms quoted by those who have never read them nor yet
            made any attempt to understand them on their own ground. The
            functional human psyche does not yet allow the human being to have
            nothing that counts and while things count for us there will be
            right and wrong. At any rate, the postmodernists collected in Keith
            Jenkins' "Postmodern History Reader" (published by Routledge) seem
            to take history quite seriously.

            Andrew Lloyd
            Nottingham, England
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Well, that s interesting because Crossan has said that the Jesus he has discovered scares him. He has heard this criticism before, and has addressed it in
            Message 5 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
              At 05:18 AM 12/4/2002 -0800, you wrote:
              >[Brian]
              > >>>I have read a good number of reconstructions,
              > >>>each carefully reasoned, explained and defended
              > >>>from the evidence available to us. The pattern
              > >>>I have seen emerge from this is that
              > >>>Jesus looks a lot like the scholar making the
              > >>>reconstruction,
              >
              >[Zeb]
              > >>I'm sorry; I mean no disrespect, but this
              > >>makes me laugh. Do you imagine that Crossan's
              > >>Jesus looks like him?
              >
              >The Jesus emerging from Crossan's 1991 publication
              >certainly looks a lot like the author: an egalitarian
              >cynic. In fact, this work probably stands as one of
              >the most obvious cases of the scholar finding himself
              >in Jesus....

              Well, that's interesting because Crossan has said that the Jesus he has
              discovered scares him. He has heard this criticism before, and has
              addressed it in various fora (forums?) Rather than engage in an attempt at
              psychoanalysis, I agree that there is *some* truth to it. But to dismiss
              Crossan's Jesus as "nothing but" a reflection of Crossan would be a mistake.

              Bob
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Rikk, Loisey??? I thought this observation originated with Schweitzer. Or have I been mistaken? Bob
              Message 6 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
                At 06:14 AM 12/4/2002 -0800, you wrote:
                >Dear Zeb,
                >
                >I¹m sure Loren meant no disrespect. On the other hand, it seems to me that
                >his observation re Crossan and Crossan¹s Jesus is not that uncommon. Wasn¹t
                >it Loisey who famously quipped: ³The Christ that Harnack sees, looking back
                >through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a
                >Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well²? There¹s a fine
                >tradition of such observations...
                >
                >Rikk

                Rikk,
                Loisey??? I thought this observation originated with Schweitzer. Or have I
                been mistaken?

                Bob
              • Steve Black
                ... No, it is... George Tyrrell, Christianity at the Cross-Roads (London, New York, Bombay, and Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910) p. 44. -- Steve Black
                Message 7 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
                  >At 06:14 AM 12/4/2002 -0800, you wrote:
                  >>Dear Zeb,
                  >>
                  >>I'm sure Loren meant no disrespect. On the other hand, it seems to me that
                  >>his observation re Crossan and Crossan's Jesus is not that uncommon. Wasn't
                  >>it Loisey who famously quipped: "The Christ that Harnack sees, looking back
                  >>through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a
                  >>Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well"? There's a fine
                  >>tradition of such observations...
                  >>
                  >>Rikk
                  >
                  >Rikk,
                  >Loisey??? I thought this observation originated with Schweitzer. Or have I
                  >been mistaken?
                  >
                  >Bob
                  No, it is...
                  George Tyrrell, Christianity at the Cross-Roads (London, New York,
                  Bombay, and Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910) p. 44.
                  --
                  Steve Black
                  Vancouver School of Theology
                  Vancouver, BC
                  ---

                  If you get confused, listen to the music play...
                  -Robert Hunter From "Franklin's Tower"
                • LeeEdgarTyler@aol.com
                  In a message dated 12/4/2002 6:19:46 PM Central Standard Time, ... This is a point that Crossan, apparently aware of the criticism, addresses in BOC. To
                  Message 8 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
                    In a message dated 12/4/2002 6:19:46 PM Central Standard Time,
                    bobschacht@... writes:

                    > >[Zeb]
                    > >>>I'm sorry; I mean no disrespect, but this
                    > >>>makes me laugh. Do you imagine that Crossan's
                    > >>>Jesus looks like him?
                    > >
                    > >The Jesus emerging from Crossan's 1991 publication
                    > >certainly looks a lot like the author: an egalitarian
                    > >cynic. In fact, this work probably stands as one of
                    > >the most obvious cases of the scholar finding himself
                    > >in Jesus....
                    >
                    > Well, that's interesting because Crossan has said that the Jesus he has
                    > discovered scares him. He has heard this criticism before, and has
                    > addressed it in various fora (forums?) Rather than engage in an attempt at
                    > psychoanalysis, I agree that there is *some* truth to it. But to dismiss
                    > Crossan's Jesus as "nothing but" a reflection of Crossan would be a
                    > mistake.
                    >
                    > Bob
                    >

                    This is a point that Crossan, apparently aware of the criticism, addresses in
                    BOC. To whatever degree the criticism is true (and it's certainly
                    overstated), it's irrelevant unless the similarities can be demonstrated not
                    to derive from a sound reading of the evidence.

                    It seems to me that much of Crossan's portrait of Jesus comes from a
                    reasonable reading of the available evidence: He was crucified by the Romans
                    for some sort of overt defiance of Roman exploitation of his people and
                    homeland. For crying out loud, what Western academician does *not* have some
                    affinity with that aspect of the character? After all, most of us (nowadays
                    at least) are children of the Sixties. We like nonviolent revolutionaries;
                    but that doesn't mean we see them where they don't exist.

                    On the other hand, Crossan also sees Jesus as a folk healer and an exorcist.
                    Does anyone seriously think Crossan sees himself as anything like that? (If
                    anything, Crossan is perhaps a little too dismissive of the efficaciousness
                    of the healing and exorcism traditions in primitive cultures.) His
                    resistance to Roman imperial exploitation aside, Crossan's Jesus is not much
                    like *any* 21st Century scholar.

                    Ed Tyler

                    http://hometown.aol.com/leeedgartyler/myhomepage/index.html


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • David C. Hindley
                    Ed Tyler says ... Jesus is not much like *any* 21st Century scholar.
                    Message 9 of 20 , Dec 4, 2002
                      Ed Tyler says

                      >>His [Jesus'] resistance to Roman imperial exploitation aside, Crossan's
                      Jesus is not much
                      like *any* 21st Century scholar.<<

                      Maybe not a scholar, but perhaps a bit like a subdued version of a 1960's
                      era SDS campus radical? Even so, the demeanor of his Jesus is more like a
                      beat philosopher of the 1950's than the radical, almost nihilist musings of
                      Yippies of the Revolutionary Three Stooges Brigade era, circa 1970's.

                      Peas,

                      Dave Hindley
                      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                    • Loren Rosson
                      [Loren] ... [Bob] ... Bob, Wright has said the same thing about his own Jesus. Do declarations of this sort really settle the issue with you? Perhaps Crossan
                      Message 10 of 20 , Dec 5, 2002
                        [Loren]
                        > >The Jesus emerging from Crossan's 1991
                        > >publication certainly looks a lot like
                        > >the author: an egalitarian
                        > >cynic. In fact, this work probably stands
                        > >as one of the most obvious cases of the
                        > >scholar finding himself in Jesus....

                        [Bob]
                        > Well, that's interesting because Crossan
                        > has said that the Jesus he has
                        > discovered scares him...

                        Bob,

                        Wright has said the same thing about his own Jesus. Do
                        declarations of this sort really settle the issue with
                        you? Perhaps Crossan and Wright are not so much
                        "scared" by their Jesuses as they are "challenged" by
                        them, in the sense that Jesus beckons them to take
                        their own essential beliefs a few steps further than
                        they were usually willing to go. After all, in the
                        end, Wright's Jesus remains at home with traditional
                        confessionalism, just as Crossan's is with liberalism.

                        This is not to say that Crossan and Wright have
                        nothing good to offer at all. As Ed Tyler mentioned,
                        Crossan gives the exorcist-healing aspect its fair
                        due; Wright does likewise in focusing on future
                        eschatology. But it's more than obvious (to me,
                        anyway) that these academic giants have pressed a lot
                        of important data into the service of finding a
                        user-friendly and relevant Jesus. Crossan's
                        egalitarian cynic indeed looks a lot like him, even if
                        more challenging ("scary"?). Wright's resurrected
                        eschatological savior may not be a self-portrait (I
                        admit that he commendably avoids this problem), but
                        that Jesus still legitimates his own confessional
                        stance -- again, even if in more challenging
                        ("scary"?) ways.

                        Sorry of that's too much psycho-analyzing. :)

                        Loren Rosson III
                        Nashua NH
                        rossoiii@...



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                      • LeeEdgarTyler@aol.com
                        In a message dated 12/4/2002 10:05:46 PM Central Standard Time, ... Or still more like Ghandi or Martin Luther King, who both resisted the repression of their
                        Message 11 of 20 , Dec 5, 2002
                          In a message dated 12/4/2002 10:05:46 PM Central Standard Time,
                          dhindley@... writes:

                          >
                          > Ed Tyler says
                          >
                          > >>His [Jesus'] resistance to Roman imperial exploitation aside, Crossan's
                          > Jesus is not much
                          > like *any* 21st Century scholar.<<
                          >
                          > Maybe not a scholar, but perhaps a bit like a subdued version of a 1960's
                          > era SDS campus radical? Even so, the demeanor of his Jesus is more like a
                          > beat philosopher of the 1950's than the radical, almost nihilist musings of
                          > Yippies of the Revolutionary Three Stooges Brigade era, circa 1970's.
                          >
                          > Peas,
                          >
                          > Dave Hindley
                          > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                          >
                          >

                          Or still more like Ghandi or Martin Luther King, who both resisted the
                          repression of their people even though they knew it would probably get them
                          killed. And who both were eloquent, charismatic leaders of indigenous
                          movements. (I don't think you'll find any Beat poets doing anything to
                          themselves crucified; but I agree that Crossan's Jesus doesn't look much like
                          Abbie Hoffmann or even Che Guevara. Bobby Seale, maybe--but he hardly went
                          silently....)

                          *Any* such indigenous resistance leader is going to show similar
                          characteristics; it's just the nature of the game. Most of them end up as
                          martyrs to their causes because they are responding to overwhelming force
                          from a position of inferiority. And the fact that Western academicians might
                          find these characteristics attractive is irrelevant.

                          Of course, in the case of Crossan's Historical Jesus, there are numerous
                          characteristics in evidence (superstition, religious fanaticism, even bigotry
                          for instance) that *no* Western scholar would find attractive. These get
                          overlooked when the accusations are bandied about.

                          et
                          Ed Tyler

                          http://hometown.aol.com/leeedgartyler/myhomepage/index.html


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • DaGoi@aol.com
                          In a message dated 12/04/2 7:57:52 PM, Steve Black wrote: Loisey??? I thought this observation originated with Schweitzer. Or have I ... No, it is...
                          Message 12 of 20 , Dec 7, 2002
                            In a message dated 12/04/2 7:57:52 PM, Steve Black wrote:

                            <<>Loisey??? I thought this observation originated with Schweitzer. Or have I
                            >been mistaken?
                            >
                            >Bob
                            No, it is...
                            George Tyrrell, Christianity at the Cross-Roads (London, New York,
                            Bombay, and Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910) p. 44.>>

                            Schweitzer's Quest was published in 1904 and he repeated it for more than one
                            of the scholars he covered. I know Loisey was writing in the 20s but am not
                            sure how far back he goes.

                            Bill Foley
                            Woburn
                          • Steve Black
                            ... In what can only be described as obsessive, I did a word search in the e-copy of Schweitzer s Quest (that I downloaded from Peter Kirby s excellent web
                            Message 13 of 20 , Dec 7, 2002
                              Steve Black wrote:
                              >No, it is...
                              > George Tyrrell, Christianity at the Cross-Roads (London, New York,
                              >Bombay, and Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910) p. 44.>>

                              >
                              >Bill Foleyresponded:
                              >Schweitzer's Quest was published in 1904 and he repeated it for more than one
                              >of the scholars he covered. I know Loisey was writing in the 20s but am not
                              >sure how far back he goes.

                              In what can only be described as obsessive, I did a word search in
                              the e-copy of Schweitzer's Quest (that I downloaded from Peter
                              Kirby's excellent web site) and *did not* find the quote under
                              discussion. I have given a fairly precise location for it in
                              Tyrrell. I think this is an example of oral tradition at work. It
                              would make sense to ascribe this to Schweitzer so lets just do it.
                              (This is not the thought of any specific person of course, just the
                              vague "fuzzy" thought of oral transmission.)

                              If I am wrong and it is not Tyrrell, please give a *specific*
                              reference so that I can footnote it in the future. I make the fuss at
                              least in part because this is a quote that I get a lot of mileage
                              from and would like to correctly site it.
                              --
                              Steve Black
                              Vancouver School of Theology
                              Vancouver, BC
                              ---

                              If you get confused, listen to the music play...
                              -Robert Hunter From "Franklin's Tower"
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