205Re: [XTalk] Re recent Damato email concerning Jeffery Gibson and X-talk.
- Nov 12, 2005I am one who disagrees with you, Rikk. I have found Jeffery's postings to be very argumentative and condescending (you accuse "the good prof" of this. Please go back and read Jeffery's posts), and those who don't, he attacks. He seems to enjoy, and seems to have, people around him that "praise" and agree with him. The moderators who share the responsibility of ensuring fairness do not seem to speak out when he is out of line. Go back and look at my past posts both on this list and the Johannine list. He excluded me from X-talk but did not exclude me from the Johannine list. Eventhough the both theories that I tried presenting on X-talk and the Johannine list groups respectively are innovative not in line with the traditional way of understanding the texts, if you do not allow one to think outside of the box (reasonably), then why discuss anything? Please do go back and re-read my past conversations with Jeffery on both of these lists, and try to be objective. Don't defend someone
because that person is in your circle of friends.
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Rikk Watts <rwatts@...> wrote:
I am a moderator on X-talk and have been for a number of years. In view of
the recent posting by Prof. Anthony Damata impugning X-talk and Jeffery I
think it my duty to register a strong protest. If you feel this doesn't
concern you, please feel free to delete.
The issue here, contra the good prof, is not a love of free discourse,
independence of thought, nor honest posting, all of which are characteristic
of X-talk. It does concern, as Prof Damato notes, a basic academic
sensibility, which on this list entails the requirement that contributors
meet some basic scholarly standards, including some understanding of the
subject matter. The aim is to prevent X-talk from descending into a circus
of ill-informed and free-for-all speculation; if one wants this kind of
thing there are lots of such sites available. I should expect this is also
Anthony's view when it comes to an informed discussion of points of law.
Unfortunately Prof Damato has failed to adhere to our and presumably his own
standards. E.g., for those of you who have been following the thread, his
pronouncement that "he who saves his life will lose it" is "pure lunacy"
betrays both a lamentably impoverished understanding of the Jewish world in
which Jesus lived and an intemperateness unbecoming to genuine scholarship,
and hence X-talk. It is customary to seek to understand a culture before
leaping to a judgment. His later response to Jeffrey's essay is no
different. If Prof Damato would not tolerate this kind of thing in
professional discussions in his own field, then I should have expected him
to have understood that the same standards would apply to postings on
Even more unhelpfully, he does this in an argumentative manner. Surely
someone of his education must know that the wise approach when speaking
outside one's field is to ask lots of questions and to at least show a
little humility and tentativeness when making assertions. If I know my own
field is complex then why should I think others' fields are any less so? To
come into a branch of study about which one obviously understands so little
and yet to make such bold assertions betrays, to put it mildly, a
particularly well-developed self-importance which has no place on this list.
His charges that Jeffery does not allow posts that contradict his own views
and that Jeffery is engaged in tyrannical behavior are utterly untrue, as a
quick perusal of the X-talk files will demonstrate and which files the
learned prof has clearly not consulted, and I take considerable exception to
them. While Jeffery might have stopped a couple of the good Prof's posts
as is customary when an individual continues to flout list protocols since
when does that specific translate into a general? Once again we have an
example of a leap to judgment, which I suspect is not altogether unrelated
to that afore mentioned healthy self-importance. After that I am very sorry
to say Prof Damato descends into argumentative supposition regarding
Jeffery's motives and personal attack neither of which either flatter the
professor or strengthen his credibility.
So no, this is not tyranny or anything like it. It is simply the recognition
that the good prof, regardless of his facility in Law and our shared
appreciation of independence of thought, all too often simply does not know
what he is talking about, yet proceeds to offer opinions with a confidence
to which he can only pretend, and is remarkably resistant to correction.
Fortunately, the vast majority of posters to X-talk happily play by the
rules and have found Jeffery's "game" both stimulating and enlightening, and
thereby give the lie to what can only be characterized as a particularly
misleading and self-serving post.
Dr. R. Watts (PhD, Cambridge).
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