Re: Antonio and Watts' exchange.
- Ricki Watts wrote:
>Sorry I've been outof the loop for some time and only occasionally have had
>the time brieflyto check on the list. I notice that Antonio refers to our
>"exchange" but should point out that it was never completed due totime
>pressures at my end (I confess I haven't a clue how some of the listmembers
>are able to engage at such length and frequency). I may getaround to it
>when I have some more time ... but I think Antonio and I areprobably at
>such different places ideologically (I'm saddened to see thathe still sees
>fit to indulge in dismissive ad hominems "What it all boilsdown to is if
>you want to be a Sloppy Thinker or a Cleareyed Thinker")that I'm unsure as
>to whether it is worth either of our efforts.We'll see.Welcome back Ricki. Hopefully you will give us some further views on whyyou think Tom Wright is such a good historian and why his method is somethingfor other historians to emulate. At the risk of saddening Ricki further I will giveanother example from Wright's book of what I see as Sloppy Thinking from ascholar who sees himself in the vanguard of the "serious historical method, asopposed to the pseudo-historical use of homemade 'criteria'" (page 87).As is well known by now Wright wants to reevaluate many of the parables andsayings that are traditionally held to be about the Parouisia of the SoM/resurecctedJesus. Wright claims that parables like the Ten Maidens in GMatthew (25:1-13) aren'treally about the second return of Christ in his supernatural glory to punish the servants(Christians) who have fallen asleep (got lazy) during his absence in heaven. Accordingto Wright the parable should instead be read as a veiled reference to the destructionof Jerusalem in AD 70. The maidens who are to be punished are the Jewish leadershipfor their refusal to listen to Jesus and their collaboration with the Romans.On page 640 a silmilar reading is made of Luke's parable of the watchful servants (12:35-40)and the Prudent Manager (12:41-45). If I understand Wright's logic the servants in the firstparable include the Jewish leadership who are forewarned of the destruction of them and theircity if they do not listen to Jesus. The return of the Master/SoM is the destruction of Jerusalemin AD 70. The second parable refers to the same event. Wright doesn't make it clear if he seesthe Manager in the parable as the High Priest, but the Jewish leadership at least appears to beincluded among the other servants.So far Wright's interpretation. Has it anything going for it? Not as far as I and most other scholarssee it. It is quite telling that Wright never does a proper narrative-critical study of the setting ofthe parables. First we notice that in 12:22 gives us clue as to whom the next parables are to bedirected at and about - "and to his disciples he said". That the two parables in question are reallyabout Christian disciples and not about the Jewish leaders is also confirmed by Peter's questionin 12:41, "Lord, is this parable about us or all?". That the servants are Christians is increasinglymade clear by Jesus words in verse 47 where he talks about "the servant who knows what his masterwant's...". The ones who know the will of the Master are most naturally taken to be Christians sinceit is them who have been instructed by the Master(Jesus) and not the Jewish leadership.That thisreading is the correct one is further strenghtened by the fact that Jesus enemies do not appear tobe called his "servants" throughout all of the NT. The title servant is usually reserved for Christ'sfollowers and the Prophets.All in all I don't see any reason whatsover to change the standard reading among conservative andcritical scholars alike for Wright's fanciful one.Best wishesAntonio Jerez
- George Brooks wrote:
> So I have to ask Jerez if he thinks the GMatthew parable in chapter 25Those who have been on this list for a while will know my answer: I do not
> was a later creation/adaptation of later followers? Or does he really think
> Jesus told that story as it stands? I'm not saying that I think Wright's
> research satisfies all my desires. But I **am** saying that I am interested
> in Wright's instincts on how to interpret what some of these parables were
> "really" about.
> George Brooks
> Tampa, FL
think that a single word in Maidens parable in GMatthew or the parable in
GLuke (I actually believe Luke has reworked Mtt 25:1-13 in Luke 12:35-40)
goes back to the historical Jesus. The fingerprints are all over the place that all
the Parousia parables are inventions of the later Church.
Thanks for the welcome back ... but don't expect too much as I still have
lots of work to do. But what are we to do with you, Antonio?
Unfortunately, you once again begin with snide remarks about Wright's
historical method (I do wonder when the moderator is going to step in and
gong you out--I had hoped that this list would at least abide by the
niceties observed in serious scholarly exchange in the journals), but then
having begun with a complaint about sloppy historical method you go on to
offer an example that concerns narrative-critical interpretation without any
mention of history at all... how exactly does a difference of opinion about
interpretation reflect on the correctness of one's historical method?
Sounds like a form of the argumentum ad ignorantium to me.
Personally, I don't happen to agree with Wright's reading of all of the
parables. But the fact remains that in your example you seem to assume that
Lk 12.41 makes it clear that only the disciples are in view, and yes some
scholars would agree. But does this amount to sloppy thinking? Hardly.
You'll note that the narrator clearly has Jesus ignore the question, which
leads a number of other scholars to argue on narrative-critical grounds
(note well!) that the reference is intended to be ambiguous, i.e. not just
to the disciples. In other words, this is not a matter of sloppy thinking
but of a difference of opinion among recognized scholars on a difficult
issue. A more even-handed reading of the evidence (and less "sloppy
thinking"?) would have shown this and perhaps tempered your tone.
I might also comment on your regularly invalid appeal to the majority of
scholars. Since when has truth been a matter of counting votes? Granted,
an appeal to recognized authorities is acceptable in certain contexts,
primarily where one is seeking to start from an established position or to
show that one's own views are not novel, but certainly not as a defeater to
a challenge to that majority opinion. One only has to trace the twists and
turns of Synoptic research to realize that majority opinion is hardly a
reliable guide (except perhaps to fashion). In the history of scholarship
fewer pressures have been more unproductive than the dead hand of conformity
to certain reigning paradigms (as per, even with his problems, Kuhn), where
people are dismissed for being unfashionable or even worse "confessional"
(as if there are some of us who don't have a confessional stance of some
kind including naturalism or developmentalism) rather than because their
arguments are weak. So let's have done with the ad hominems, selective
reading, smugness, etc, okay?
Rikk (please note the spelling)
PS I am trying to discover where you might be coming from ... have you
published anything that might give me some idea of how you yourself practice
your method or how you have been reviewed by your peers?
Dr. R. E. Watts (PhD, Cantab) Phone (604) 224 3245
Regent College, Fax (604) 224 3097
5800 University Boulevard
CANADA V6T 2E4