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Re: [XTalk] Wright's Jesus

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  • Mike Myers
    Sukie Curtis wrote: But, Mike, open and honest admission of one s bias (I don t see how one can openly and honestly admit specific unexamined convictions ,
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 28, 2000
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      Sukie Curtis wrote:
      "But, Mike, open and honest admission of one's bias (I don't see how
      one can openly and honestly admit specific "unexamined convictions",
      but anyway...) is not the same thing as the "bracketing out" of
      those biases as honestly as possible, as Bob Schacht referred to
      earlier today."

      I'm firmly convinced that there is no real possibility of rigorously
      "bracketing out" biases, frankly. They seem innate to the way the
      human mind operates when it surveys itself and the world outside.
      Anyone who claims a firm grasp on the Ding-an-sich is dingy by
      definition IMHO.

      As you suggest, it isn't possible to openly and honestly admit
      specific unexamined convictions *if these aren't even recognized*.
      This is where peer review comes in so handy. Yet an individual could
      in principle recognize his/her convictions, openly admit that they
      are, thus far, more or less personally unexamined, and thereby
      remain in good faith during a discussion in which these convictions
      become airborne. That situation's much better than the one in which
      some involved are evidently utterly oblivious to their own no doubt
      widely shared but still deeply questionable unexamined convictions.
      History tells a long story of respectable, power-laden exquisitely
      gowned convictions that have been examined and found defective. Too
      often the examiners who talk about it soon become raggedy outsiders
      if they weren't already. So much for peer review, then.

      Sukie wrote:
      "I disagree that the "*only* differences have to do with the nature
      of the venerated deity, its respectability and time-bound
      party/power clout." Broadening this beyond Crossan and Wright,
      there are more competent scholars and less competent ones, no matter
      how biased they all may be, and there are also better methods and
      weaker methods. Such things make a difference, too."

      Well, I guess I have to stand by my little trope. To me theology is
      pretty inclusive. Some follow the money, but I like to follow the
      deity. (These days it's often the same trip but not always.) The
      problem with all methods is that they are so LIMITED in scope by
      definition, and that they are wielded by specialists. This is
      becoming obvious in the biological sciences. Turns out that some of
      the more intricate phenomena are developing resistance to the
      methodologies -- they have this nasty propensity to be complex and
      'interdisciplinary' in nature and to mischievously resist staying in
      the neat little academic categories into which they were herded for

      To me, an admitted outsider to the specialty of most on this list,
      it seems they have the same problem, in spades. They're dealing with
      more complex phenomena still. This makes me pessimistic about the
      results until the methodologies evolve into a better match for the
      complexities. And I humbly suggest that one factor in this evolution
      will be to take the little matter of theology more seriously. In
      the mean time, try the via negativa -- rule out the most crudely
      idolatrous conceptions. I would say that ultimately there are better
      and weaker theologies.

      Michael D. A. Myers
      Physiology and Biophysics
      University of California, Irvine

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