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[XTalk] Re: Theological survey

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... I think it needs to be stressed, and then stressed again in no uncertain terms, that even IF each of these questions were to be answered with a resounding
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
      Jimi Fosdick wrote:
      Greetings List members,

      I was recently in a debate with a fervent evangelical Christian who made
      some rather bald assertions about the theological committments of NT and HJ
      scholars. She seemed to generalize that all HJ scholars and anyone who
      studies the synoptic problem are not motivated by spritual or theological
      committment but by academic interest and that that further has implcations
      for the belief of such scholars. In an attempt at a terribly informal survey
      I would be very interested to hear, from any scholars present, your views
      regarding the following questions. If you feel that these are off topic (as
      they well may be) feel free to respond by email rather than posting on list.

      Do you believe in the real existence of the monotheistic deity of Christian
      belief?

      Was the HJ closely similar to (even identical to) or wildly divergent from
      the Christ of faith depicted in the NT?

      Was the HJ divine? If so was he aware of his divinity? If not did he profess
      his own divinity?

      Was the HJ part of a triune deity?

      Did Paul consider the HJ divine?

      Is the NT the "inspired" word of God?

      Does acknowledgement of literary dependence in the Synoptics necessarily
      conflict with Christian faith?
       

      I think it needs to be stressed, and then stressed again in no uncertain terms, that even IF each of these questions were to be answered with a resounding no, the conclusion, (inadvertently? but none the less fallaciously) presupposed here,  that the answerer was not concerned with religious commitment, let alone that he or she was not "religious" in any way, would in NO WAY be valid. The questions are nothing less than an embodiment of a question begging apriori -- one can only be religious if one answers yes to them -- as well as assumptions, derived NOT from the text but from a predetermined dogmatic understanding of the what the text of the NT actually propounds with respect to them (e.g. that the NT says Jesus was "divine", let alone that it says this  in the same way that Chalcedon defines "divine), and they most certainly stack the deck against a willingness to accept the fact that one's no to them may be an expression of fervent religious commitment. Who the hell is your friend to determine what is and what isn't orthodoxy let alone who is and who isn't a believer. And what makes you think that these questions are the touchstone for determining what motives NT scholars work from, let alone that an academic motive excludes a religious one?

      Yours,

      (incensed) Jeffrey
      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
       

    • Jim West
      ... That is pure rubbish. I am both a pastor and an academic and I doubt that you will find anyone on list more skeptical about what we can know of the
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
        At 11:27 AM 9/3/99 -0500, you wrote:
        >Greetings List members,
        >
        >I was recently in a debate with a fervent evangelical Christian who made
        >some rather bald assertions about the theological committments of NT and HJ
        >scholars. She seemed to generalize that all HJ scholars and anyone who
        >studies the synoptic problem are not motivated by spritual or theological
        >committment but by academic interest and that that further has implcations
        >for the belief of such scholars.

        That is pure rubbish. I am both a pastor and an academic and I doubt that
        you will find anyone on list more skeptical about what we can know of the
        historical Jesus than me.

        >In an attempt at a terribly informal survey
        >I would be very interested to hear, from any scholars present, your views
        >regarding the following questions. If you feel that these are off topic (as
        >they well may be) feel free to respond by email rather than posting on list.
        >
        >Do you believe in the real existence of the monotheistic deity of Christian
        >belief?

        Yup.

        >
        >Was the HJ closely similar to (even identical to) or wildly divergent from
        >the Christ of faith depicted in the NT?

        The Christ of Faith is a Church construct bearing little resemblance at all
        (if any) to the HJ.

        >
        >Was the HJ divine? If so was he aware of his divinity? If not did he profess
        >his own divinity?

        Define "divine". In the sense that all share the imago dei yes. In the
        sense that he was God incarnate, historically this cannot be asserted.

        >
        >Was the HJ part of a triune deity?

        No- but the Christ of Faith is.

        >
        >Did Paul consider the HJ divine?

        No.

        >
        >Is the NT the "inspired" word of God?

        What do you mean? If you mean useful for practice and theology, yes. If
        you mean "dictated by God word for word" the answer is a resounding NO.

        >
        >Does acknowledgement of literary dependence in the Synoptics necessarily
        >conflict with Christian faith?

        Absolutely not.

        >
        >I am particularly interested in what you academic scholars (as opposed to
        >dilletantes like myself) have to say in regard to these questions. If for
        >some reason you feel these questions are not appropriate feel free to tell
        >me to bugger off.

        Dont bugger off-- these are excellent and central questions.


        best,

        Jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Jim West, ThD
        email- jwest@...
        web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
      • Jack Kilmon
        ... I will answer these questions with the understanding that theological commitment has nothing to do with historical methodologies and lies on an entirely
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
          Jimi Fosdick wrote:

          > Greetings List members,
          >
          > I was recently in a debate with a fervent evangelical Christian who made
          > some rather bald assertions about the theological committments of NT and HJ
          > scholars. She seemed to generalize that all HJ scholars and anyone who
          > studies the synoptic problem are not motivated by spritual or theological
          > committment but by academic interest and that that further has implcations
          > for the belief of such scholars. In an attempt at a terribly informal survey
          > I would be very interested to hear, from any scholars present, your views
          > regarding the following questions. If you feel that these are off topic (as
          > they well may be) feel free to respond by email rather than posting on list.

          I will answer these questions with the understanding that "theological
          commitment" has nothing to do with historical methodologies and
          lies on an entirely separate epistemological level. It has no impact
          on the quality or level of scholarship between an atheist or a
          fundamentalist as long as both keep their science neutral.

          > Do you believe in the real existence of the monotheistic deity of Christian
          > belief?

          yup...and Judaic belief...mostly :)

          > Was the HJ closely similar to (even identical to) or wildly divergent from
          > the Christ of faith depicted in the NT?

          Wildly divergent, linguistically, culturally, anthropologically, and every other

          "-ogically" I can think of.

          > Was the HJ divine? If so was he aware of his divinity? If not did he profess
          > his own divinity?

          No, no, and no.

          > Was the HJ part of a triune deity?

          No..the HJ would probably punch anyone in the nose who claimed such a thing
          to his face.

          > Did Paul consider the HJ divine?

          No

          > Is the NT the "inspired" word of God?

          I doubt that there was a single author among the many NT writers
          that even entertained that they were writing "scripture."

          > Does acknowledgement of literary dependence in the Synoptics necessarily
          > conflict with Christian faith?

          I'm tempted to ask "which Christian faith?" but NO.

          > I am particularly interested in what you academic scholars (as opposed to
          > dilletantes like myself) have to say in regard to these questions. If for
          > some reason you feel these questions are not appropriate feel free to tell
          > me to bugger off.

          A thread that addresses the empiricism of HJ studies is not
          necessarily off-topic.

          Jack

          --
          ______________________________________________

          taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

          Jack Kilmon
          jkilmon@...

          http://www.historian.net
        • Brian Waddington
          ... snip snip snip ... If I may? The questions of religiosity on one side and the incensement(sic) on the other brings to light an ongoing problem for thoser
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
            Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
            >
            > Jimi Fosdick wrote:
            >
            > Greetings List members,
            >
            > I was recently in a debate with a fervent evangelical
            > Christian who made
            > some rather bald assertions about the theological
            > committments of NT and HJ
            > scholars.
            snip snip snip
            >
            > (incensed) Jeffrey
            > --
            If I may? The questions of religiosity on one side and the
            incensement(sic) on the other brings to light an ongoing problem for
            thoser who, in their own way, serve G-d. The inability to see that
            others with a different paradigm also serve. I have been blessed to
            attend a top seminary (Vancouver School of Theology) where I was
            exposed, more or less successfully to leading liberal theology. I have
            also served as a minister in a native community in Canada and a small
            community in the mountains of the Philippines. Almost nothing that I was
            taught at V.S.T. was transferable to my pastoral charges and equally
            frustrating was the fact that nearly nothing that I was taught in my
            pastoral charges was transferable to the seminary. Yet in all three
            places I was surrounded by Christians.

            In my experience it is the differing life situations that bring to the
            fore very different needs that leads to incompatable questions and
            answers, which leads to insulting questions and undeserved anger.

            It was once explained to me that there was no defining description of
            the physical characteristics of Jesus so that everyone could see the
            Christ as they needed to see him. The more I become aware of the
            differing cultures and their needs the more I appreciate the above
            statement. This is not to say that there was not an historical Jesus it
            is simply to say that which historical Jesus we find depends to a large
            degree on where and how we are living now.

            I should also like to point out that the faith that is forged in the
            crucible of a seminary is most likely going to be very different than
            the faith that is forged in the crucible of poverty, starvation, and
            death that is found in too many areas of this world.
            Sincerely, Pastor Brian Waddington
          • Bernard Muller
            ... Beliefs do matter for some. Academic interest do matter for some. But I would not generalize and put everybody in the same bag. As well spiritual and
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
              Jimi Fosdick wrote:
              >
              > Greetings List members,
              >
              > I was recently in a debate with a fervent evangelical Christian who made
              > some rather bald assertions about the theological committments of NT and HJ
              > scholars. She seemed to generalize that all HJ scholars and anyone who
              > studies the synoptic problem are not motivated by spritual or theological
              > committment but by academic interest and that that further has implcations
              > for the belief of such scholars.

              Beliefs do matter for some. Academic interest do matter for some. But I
              would not generalize and put everybody in the same bag. As well
              spiritual and theological committments do matter for some.
              That's my understanding.

              > In an attempt at a terribly informal survey
              > I would be very interested to hear, from any scholars present, your views
              > regarding the following questions. If you feel that these are off topic (as
              > they well may be) feel free to respond by email rather than posting on list.

              As a non scholar, I'll answer your list anyway.

              >
              > Do you believe in the real existence of the monotheistic deity of Christian
              > belief?

              NO

              >
              > Was the HJ closely similar to (even identical to) or wildly divergent from
              > the Christ of faith depicted in the NT?

              Very different. A poor soul who, by some historical fluke, happened to
              be crucified as "king of the Jews"

              >
              > Was the HJ divine? If so was he aware of his divinity? If not did he profess
              > his own divinity?

              No, NO, NO.

              >
              > Was the HJ part of a triune deity?

              NO

              >
              > Did Paul consider the HJ divine?

              For his contemporary Christians, at first no (50-53), then yes (55-56)
              and finally YES (58). (deducted from his letters from 1Th to Ro)

              >
              > Is the NT the "inspired" word of God?

              NO

              Bernard
              http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
            • Jack Kilmon
              All: Although I answered this survey myself, in a light moment, I have to agree that it is not only off-topic, but frought with problems, albeit not intended,
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 3, 1999
                All:

                Although I answered this survey myself, in a light moment, I have to
                agree that it is not only off-topic, but frought with problems, albeit
                not intended, I believe, by the original poster. I am sorry, but we
                MUST remain diligent with Xtalk2 to avoid the type of "debris" that
                eventually got out of hand on Xtalk 1. I will therefore ask that
                this be the last entry to this thread and let us move on to the
                type of substantive dialogue that has been the general fare of Xtalk2.

                Jack

                Bernard Muller wrote:
                >
                > Jimi Fosdick wrote:
                > >
                > > Greetings List members,
                > >
                > > I was recently in a debate with a fervent evangelical Christian who made
                > > some rather bald assertions about the theological committments of NT and HJ
                > > scholars. She seemed to generalize that all HJ scholars and anyone who
                > > studies the synoptic problem are not motivated by spritual or theological
                > > committment but by academic interest and that that further has implcations
                > > for the belief of such scholars.
                >
                > Beliefs do matter for some. Academic interest do matter for some. But I
                > would not generalize and put everybody in the same bag. As well
                > spiritual and theological committments do matter for some.
                > That's my understanding.
                >
                > > In an attempt at a terribly informal survey
                > > I would be very interested to hear, from any scholars present, your views
                > > regarding the following questions. If you feel that these are off topic (as
                > > they well may be) feel free to respond by email rather than posting on list.
                >
                > As a non scholar, I'll answer your list anyway.
                >
                > >
                > > Do you believe in the real existence of the monotheistic deity of Christian
                > > belief?
                >
                > NO
                >
                > >
                > > Was the HJ closely similar to (even identical to) or wildly divergent from
                > > the Christ of faith depicted in the NT?
                >
                > Very different. A poor soul who, by some historical fluke, happened to
                > be crucified as "king of the Jews"
                >
                > >
                > > Was the HJ divine? If so was he aware of his divinity? If not did he profess
                > > his own divinity?
                >
                > No, NO, NO.
                >
                > >
                > > Was the HJ part of a triune deity?
                >
                > NO
                >
                > >
                > > Did Paul consider the HJ divine?
                >
                > For his contemporary Christians, at first no (50-53), then yes (55-56)
                > and finally YES (58). (deducted from his letters from 1Th to Ro)
                >
                > >
                > > Is the NT the "inspired" word of God?
                >
                > NO
                >
                > Bernard
                > http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
                >
                > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                --
                ______________________________________________

                taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                Jack Kilmon
                jkilmon@...

                http://www.historian.net
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