- At 07:10 PM 8/30/01 +0200, Fabrizio wrote:
>Dear XTalk's members,Part of the reason for this, as we have discussed on XTalk before, is that
>...What I'll try to offer is a careful SCIENTIFIC methodology (to be
>clear, what distinguish SCIENCE from PSEUDOSCIENCE is absolutely not the
>results, which can be casually the same, but the approach, the
>methodology) which in my view is still partially lacking in NT researches.
most members of this list do not believe that the scientific method works
with our data. I happen to agree with your statement above, but I don't
have much support on this list for a "scientific' approach. However, I am
not impressed by your knowledge of scientific methodology, because you also
>...But exactly at this point the SCIENTIFIC methodology must lead us.As Jan Sammer pointed out, you are referring here to Occam's Razor, which
>In scientific fields, facing a more or less complex phenomenon, the
>researchers ALWAYS test the simpler, linear, easier hypothesis, to
>dedicate to the others in a second time (if the first wasn't properly
is a 14th century *pre-scientific* principle of philosophy. Furthermore,
you don't even seem to be very familiar with Occam's Razor, which states
that "multiplicity ought not be posited without necessity." Simpler
hypotheses are only to be preferred *if everything else is equal* (ceteris
paribus, if I remember correctly). Of course, everything is often not equal.
>...The scientific approach forces us to investigate ALL TOGETHER theAs Jan pointed out, your priorities are all wrong. It is in fact the
>marcionite authorship, in each its aspect, to test its predictive
>possibilities, its internal coherence etc., and only AFTER that to test
>ALL TOGETHER the other hypothesis....
Marcionite authorship hypothesis that is more complex, by far, because it
requires a host of other forgeries in order to be sustained.
I would also like to address other recent expressions of interest in
A number of comments fall into the category of casting brickbats from the
OK, criticize the Principle of Multiple Attestation or the Principle of
Coherence-- But I challenge those who would do so to offer what methods
they would use instead to decide what deeds or sayings of Jesus are
historical, and which aren't?
There's nothing wrong with the Principle of Multiple Attestation, IMHO. The
problem is deciding what qualifies as multiple? For example, does Triple
tradition material count as multiple attestation or not? Of course, the
principle demands multiple *independent* attestation, so if one source can
be shown to be dependent on another source, then the dependent source can't
be counted as multiple. The fact that the relationship among documents is
complex does not imply a fault with the Principle of Multiple Attestation;
it merely tells us that it is not always easy to apply the principle.
Of course, criticism of the "Criteria" is not new. Those of you who are
interested in this issue (which really should be everyone here) really
ought to read the methodology chapters in Crossan's The Birth of
Christianity. Whether you agree with him or not, Crossan's discussion of
methodological issues is more sophisticated than most others in the field.
After supporting the use of the "Criteria" in the Jesus Seminar back at the
time the JSem was working on The Five Gospels, Crossan has backed off using
the "Criteria", mostly because of the way that they have been used.
Whether that makes the use of those Criteria obsolete is arguable, *but at
least you ought to know his arguments.*
Of course, Tom Wright has gotten fed up not only with those Criteria, but
also with most of the classical tools of critical scholarship, so he has
gone off in a whole different direction. I do not understand his method
well enough yet to criticize it. I *do* understand Crossan's method well
enough to criticize it, but in doing so I also recognize that he has
thought more deeply about those issues than most historical Jesus scholars,
so I respect his methodology in general, even when I disagree with it, and
I become impatient with people who say they're interested in methodology
but don't bother to read Crossan. Sorry, I guess I'm becoming an old
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