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Re: [XTalk] Re: Is Jesus the "Lord" in Gal 1:19 and the use of "kyrios" in Paul generally

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Crosstalk Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Geoff Riggs On: Trashing History From: Bruce I am much in sympathy with the tone of Geoff s recent post. Here is one
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 15, 2010
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      To: Crosstalk
      Cc: GPG, WSW
      In Response To: Geoff Riggs
      On: Trashing History
      From: Bruce

      I am much in sympathy with the tone of Geoff's recent post. Here is one
      extract from it:

      GEOFF: Tied to this is an apparent willingness to trash the very discipline
      of history itself, as if the rigorous conclusions by the most recent
      historians related to, say, the more probable versus the less probable
      details for a Hannibal or a Boadicea (sp.?), are merely grounded on
      assumptions pulled out of thin air!

      BRUCE: Just so, and unfortunately this is no new thing. The textual
      sciences, and with them my own specialty of philology, have been under
      worldwide attack since approximately 7 July 1937, and the trend has now
      reached what can fairly be called alarming proportions. A recent article in
      the Chronicle of Higher Education thought that there might be a future for
      the humanities, but probably outside academe. I have been pointing to this
      probability for some years now, and if the Chronicle (never the fastest car
      on the track) is catching up, things must be really far advanced.

      The methodological crisis for the historical discipline was perceived long
      ago, and registered in several book-length treatments. I might mention Keith
      Windschuttle, The Killing of History, Encounter 1996. There are some
      possibly helpful notes in the Methodology section of the Warring States
      Project web site:


      One of those pages, The Attack on History, picks up on Windschuttle and a
      few like indictments.

      As Geoff notes, inflexible anti-intellectuallism simply fouls and stymies
      discussion. What to do? Convincing the errants is not a realistic prospect;
      they are already happy (or viably unhappy) where they are. It seems to me
      that there are roughly two options, or rather two sides of one option, that
      option being separation:

      1. Banish the offenders. 1 Cor 16:22. With adequate list management this can
      be done; it is what list managers are there for. It takes a certain amount
      of nerve.

      2. Withdraw and start a more productive conversation elsewhere. This happens
      all the time. The history of government in England (or in China) is simply a
      series of replacements of obsolete and dysfunctional institutions by new and
      at least briefly functional ones. There is no reason to expect E-discourse
      to pattern any differently, over the long haul.

      It was some years ago, if memory does not deceive me, that dissidents
      seceded from the American Historical Association and its increasingly
      PC-clotted discourse, and formed their own group.


      That the new and functional discussions will be small is not necessarily a
      disadvantage. We know from Parkinson that the ideal size of a committee
      which has to decide things (and otherwise it is just talk, and talk is a
      waste of our time on the planet), is five. Under careful management, that
      number can be exceeded, but not necessarily for long. My rule of thumb: if
      your discussion group is too large to fit into a booth at the local
      pizzeria, it is too large, period.

      Not that the whole field needs to be reduced to that size, but that this is
      the ideal discussion module. The field, ideally, is the result of linkage
      between the different discussions. Ask the next naval architect you meet, Do
      you design an ocean-going ship as one watertight unit? The answer will
      probably be, No, but as many such units dynamically linked together.

      How the different groups link up is a question with many answers, all of
      them cheap and easy. Journal, E, conference calls, pony express,
      miniconferences. Our group has used all of them, at one time or another, and
      can speak to their practicability.

      Seriously suggested,


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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