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Re: Re : Common ground for study

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  • Eric Eve
    ... Well, I suppose this depends on what we mean by common ground here; I take it to mean a sufficient common basis to allow conversation/debate to be
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 2, 2003
      Mike Grondin asks:

      > But case in point: Steve and others (including myself) have
      > virtually no doubt that the gospels contain a significant amount
      > of authorial invention. Brian, on the other hand, has argued long
      > and hard (if I understand him aright) that there's no reason to
      > suppose that the authors didn't believe everything they wrote to
      > be literally true. (And if so, of course, there couldn't be any
      > significant amount of authorial invention.) We've had extended
      > discussions on this before and gotten nowhere. Where do you think
      > common ground might be found on this particular issue?

      Well, I suppose this depends on what we mean by 'common ground' here; I take
      it to mean a sufficient common basis to allow conversation/debate to be
      meaningful. I assume that neither Steve nor yourself operate with the belief
      of a 'significant amount of authorial invention' as some kind of a prior
      dogmatic belief, but rather as a consequence of your study of the Gospels;
      IOW it would be something that you would in principle be prepared to give
      reasons for, not merely to assert. If Brian has "argued long and hard...
      that that there's no reason to suppose that the authors didn't believe
      everything they wrote to be literally true"* then he presumably also
      recognizes the need to argue for his position. Thus, a first condition for
      common ground in this situation, recognizing that the burden of proof lies
      on whoever wants to make an assertion, could in principle be met. A further
      condition would be that both sides sufficiently agree on what constitutes
      the proper grounds and methods of arguments (otherwise they'll simply be
      talking past each other), but one would hope that should be possible among
      scholars.

      'Common ground' surely does not mean that all parties have to agree in their
      conclusions, or else either no one would ever be allowed to dissent from the
      'official view', or we'd have to split into 100 different scholarly groups
      with own particular blends of conclusions; I'm quite sure neither of these
      is what you have in mind!

      (*BTW, is it necessarily so of an ancient author, perhaps one believing
      himself to be writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, that 'he made
      x up' and 'he believed x to be literally true' are absolutely incompatible
      statements? I don't want to push the point since I'm personally less than
      convinced that 'literal truth' was the primary concern of the Evangelists in
      everything they wrote, it's just that it occurred to me when I was quoting
      your phrase).

      Best wishes,

      Eric

      -------------------------------
      Dr Eric Eve
      Harris Manchester College
      Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TD
      Tel: 01865 281473
    • Mike Grondin
      ... No, of course not. But if one gets a feeling that the conclusions of the other party are presuppositions instead of conclusions, and that they re not
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 2, 2003
        --- Eric Eve wrote:
        > 'Common ground' surely does not mean that all parties have to
        > agree in their conclusions, or else either no one would ever be
        > allowed to dissent from the 'official view', or we'd have to split
        > into 100 different scholarly groups with own particular blends of
        > conclusions; I'm quite sure neither of these is what you have in
        > mind!

        No, of course not. But if one gets a feeling that the conclusions
        of the other party are presuppositions instead of conclusions, and
        that they're not really open to serious question, then what you
        call 'common ground' turns into quicksand. I would put it in terms
        of the conditions for scholarly discourse, and I would think that
        one such condition - a necessary one - is what's called "good
        faith". What this demands, IMO, is that all parties be prepared to
        provide rational and evidentiary support for their positions - or
        at least admit that belief X is not open to question for them. I
        guess it's an issue of trust. Without a sense that the other party
        is acting in good faith, one perceives reasons as rationalizations,
        and the possibility of fruitful discourse quickly disappears.

        > (*BTW, is it necessarily so of an ancient author, perhaps one
        > believing himself to be writing under the influence of the Holy
        > Spirit, that 'he made x up' and 'he believed x to be literally
        > true' are absolutely incompatible statements? I don't want to
        > push the point since I'm personally less than convinced that
        > 'literal truth' was the primary concern of the Evangelists in
        > everything they wrote...

        Oh, no, I don't see how there can be any doubt that the primary
        concern of the Evangelists wasn't that. But now you bring up an
        interesting point that probably bears further discussion. Suppose
        I believe that the HS is revealing to me an event or event-detail
        hitherto unknown - say, the words that Jesus was supposed to have
        written in the sand. Firstly, it seems that I can't fail to know
        that it's *new*. Secondly, however, it seems that I *can* fail to
        know that *I* invented it - since I'm fooling myself into believing
        that I'm the recipient of supernatual information at that point.
        Nor would I even think of supposing that those forces might be evil
        forces, or that a good spirit might seek to implant untruths in me
        in order to "advance the faith". So, yes, it does seem that I can
        fool myself into believing that what is in fact my own creation
        corresponds to something that really happened. I don't think that's
        the way the Evangelists operated, however, nor does it seem likely
        that leaving it open whether or not the Evangelists believed their
        story innovations to have really happened would satisfy someone who
        wanted to claim that there wasn't any significant degree of
        authorial invention at all.

        Regards,
        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
      • leon santiago
        Gordon Raynal wrote:
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 8, 2003
          Gordon Raynal wrote:

          <<*** . . . wonder storie(s) . . . . primarily been
          defended and attacked on the basis of "did it actually
          happen?" as the basis for searching out truths/ "the
          point(s)" of such stories.) How strange and how
          fundamentally sad. I dare say if folks were to pick
          up the Odyssey they don't start dissing Homer for his
          imagination and don't start searching out questions of
          truth on the basis of asking questions about whether
          the wonder filled stories he tells are rooted in
          "facts". Likewise when reading Shakespeare ("Do
          ghosts really exist and can they talk?" from Hamlet,
          for example).... and on to watching this summer's
          "blockbuster movies." (I didn't hear anyone come out
          of the theatre from watching "Terminator 3" going
          "What a deceitful movie 'cause there really can't be
          liquid robotic computers who can turn their appendages
          into different killer machines at whim!"). ***>>

          Yes, Gordon . . . but then, no one ever told me that I
          was going to spend eternity in an agonizing place if I
          didn't believe that those liquid robotic computers
          were real. Or that such belief was the ONLY way to
          obtain salvation from such a fate. Your analogy seems
          inappropriate at best and mocking at worst. I agree
          with you that the true value of these stories
          transcends their historicity, and that they belong
          among the great mythological traditions of the world
          as such.

          Jonah and the great fish, Moses climbing up Sinai,
          great stories conveying timeless and meaningful
          messages, yes . . .

          But the fact is that the Christianity that we have
          inherited is a religion founded on the belief in
          certain historical events that were reported to have
          occurred at a certain place and time. Moreover, these
          things were claimed to have occurred once and ONLY
          once in history. As historical events, are they not
          subject to our examination by current historical
          methods? I don't think you should dismiss this as
          folly. It must be done, precisely so that we can view
          the stories in their proper mythological context once
          the gloss of veneration has been bracketed.


          Who was it that said that extraordinary claims require
          extraordinary evidence? Was it Schweitzer? (pardon the
          paraphrase).

          peace

          le�n santiago
          tempe, az



          =====
          I like roots but I prefer fruits.
          Caetano Veloso

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        • kirby@earthlink.net
          My first question is, has anyone attempted to catalogue and cross- reference the Jesuine sayings that seem to cohere with other sayings as well as those
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 8, 2003
            My first question is, has anyone attempted to catalogue and cross-
            reference the Jesuine sayings that seem to "cohere with" other
            sayings as well as those Jesuine sayings that seem to be "in
            tension with" other sayings (or actions) in the gospels?

            Anticipating a negative answer, my second question is, what sort
            of resources could I turn to in building such a cross-referenced
            database? (Besides a Bible and a super memory!)

            My vaguely conceived goal is something like Crossan's appendix,
            but with the emphasis on the criterion of coherence rather than the
            criterion of multiple attestation, and then to try to do something
            with the data.

            best,
            Peter Kirby
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Peter, I suppose you ll have to start out by defining what cohere with and be in tension with mean. If you don t, you ll get a stew of such diverse
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 8, 2003
              At 12:40 PM 8/8/2003 -0800, kirby@... wrote:
              >My first question is, has anyone attempted to catalogue and cross-
              >reference the Jesuine sayings that seem to "cohere with" other
              >sayings as well as those Jesuine sayings that seem to be "in
              >tension with" other sayings (or actions) in the gospels?
              >
              >Anticipating a negative answer, my second question is, what sort
              >of resources could I turn to in building such a cross-referenced
              >database? (Besides a Bible and a super memory!)
              >
              >My vaguely conceived goal is something like Crossan's appendix,
              >but with the emphasis on the criterion of coherence rather than the
              >criterion of multiple attestation, and then to try to do something
              >with the data.
              >
              >best,
              >Peter Kirby

              Peter,
              I suppose you'll have to start out by defining what "cohere with" and "be
              in tension with" mean.
              If you don't, you'll get a stew of such diverse composition that no one can
              agree on what it means.
              If you do: Others will argue with whatever definition you come up with, but
              at least we'll know what you are looking for.

              Bob
            • kirby@earthlink.net
              ... I think that the meaning is the kind of stuff the same person is likely to say and the kind of stuff the same person is unlikely to say, assuming that
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 8, 2003
                On 8 Aug 2003, at 14:25, Bob Schacht wrote:

                > At 12:40 PM 8/8/2003 -0800, kirby@... wrote:
                > >My first question is, has anyone attempted to catalogue and cross-
                > >reference the Jesuine sayings that seem to "cohere with" other
                > >sayings as well as those Jesuine sayings that seem to be "in
                > >tension with" other sayings (or actions) in the gospels?
                > >
                > >Anticipating a negative answer, my second question is, what sort
                > >of resources could I turn to in building such a cross-referenced
                > >database? (Besides a Bible and a super memory!)
                > >
                > >My vaguely conceived goal is something like Crossan's appendix,
                > >but with the emphasis on the criterion of coherence rather than the
                > >criterion of multiple attestation, and then to try to do something
                > >with the data.
                > >
                > >best,
                > >Peter Kirby
                >
                > Peter,
                > I suppose you'll have to start out by defining what "cohere with" and "be
                > in tension with" mean.
                > If you don't, you'll get a stew of such diverse composition that no one can
                > agree on what it means.
                > If you do: Others will argue with whatever definition you come up with, but
                > at least we'll know what you are looking for.

                I think that the meaning is "the kind of stuff the same person is
                likely to say" and "the kind of stuff the same person is unlikely to
                say," assuming that the person is consistent.

                What I am thinking about is a sliding scale, something like from 1
                to 5, with 5 being two verses saying virtually the same thing -- for
                example, 1 Cor 7:10-11 and Mark 10:11-12 -- and with 1 being two
                verses that are practically in contradiction -- for example, the
                medieval Gospel of Barnabas having J say "I am not the Messiah"
                and John 17:3 having J refer to himself as "Jesus Messiah," the
                one sent by God (I hope I've picked clear and relatively
                uncontroversial verses). Then a value of 4 would apply to two
                verses that, for example, both indicate a feasting/non-fasting
                lifestyle, while a value of 2 would apply to two verses that can be
                harmonized but not without effort (famously, the kingdom is here
                now, or the kingdom is yet to come). The value of 3 would be
                reserved for two verses that have no conceptual relation.

                Structurally, one would have a table with all items corresponding to
                all items, with a lot of 3's but with other values to show the
                coherencies and tensions perceived in the materials. Another way
                to look at it would be as an annotated translation with footnotes to
                all the other verses that are in the relationship of 1, 2, 4, or 5.

                I hope that this helps to clarify the kind of database that I would
                like to build, perhaps with help. I could use references to books
                that do part of the work or would otherwise help.

                best,
                Peter Kirby
              • townsendgm
                ... snip ... Guy Townsend responds: Actually, it was Carl Sagan. Guy Townsend
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 8, 2003
                  --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, leon santiago
                  <taino_leon@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  snip

                  > Who was it that said that extraordinary claims require
                  > extraordinary evidence? Was it Schweitzer? (pardon the
                  > paraphrase).
                  >
                  Guy Townsend responds:

                  Actually, it was Carl Sagan.

                  Guy Townsend
                • Rich Griese
                  Dear Peter, the way I would approach it is to create a database of the texts you are speaking with. Anyone with database experience could help you. If you then
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 13, 2003
                    Dear Peter,

                    the way I would approach it is to create a database of the texts you
                    are speaking with. Anyone with database experience could help you.

                    If you then learn SQL you can search and sort things until the cows
                    come home.

                    AND the ability to assign attributes to any data element is very useful.

                    What would be my recommendation. But I think it sounds like a great
                    project. I had tried to enthuse Dr Robert Price of the Jesus Seminar of
                    this a few years ago in San Jose at a convention a few years ago.

                    I'm sure people have done such a thing. It would amaze me if there were
                    not groups out there.

                    Cheers! Ricco
                    RichGriese@...
                    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
                    /////////////
                    On Friday, August 8, 2003, at 01:40 PM, kirby@... wrote:
                    > My first question is, has anyone attempted to catalogue and cross-
                    > reference the Jesuine sayings that seem to "cohere with" other
                    > sayings as well as those Jesuine sayings that seem to be "in
                    > tension with" other sayings (or actions) in the gospels?
                    >
                    > Anticipating a negative answer, my second question is, what sort
                    > of resources could I turn to in building such a cross-referenced
                    > database?  (Besides a Bible and a super memory!)
                    >
                    > My vaguely conceived goal is something like Crossan's appendix,
                    > but with the emphasis on the criterion of coherence rather than the
                    > criterion of multiple attestation, and then to try to do something
                    > with the data.
                    >
                    > best,
                    > Peter Kirby
                    >
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