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3067Re: [gthomas] motivations

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    Aug 4, 2000
      On Thu, 3 Aug 2000, William Arnal wrote:
      > At 11:18 AM 8/3/00 -0400, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
      >
      > >The problem with this line of argument, Andrew, is that it leaves the area
      > >of objective historical scholarship, and begins to focus on personal
      > >presuppositions and motivations. But this is pure speculation.
      >
      > It's no more (or less) "pure speculation" than redaction criticism.
      > It's a reasonable area of scholarly inquiry: historiography and its
      > various tendency at various times and places. Schweitzer's book, for
      > instance, advanced the field of historical Jesus scholarship immensely
      > by focusing on precisely this. And several modern scholars (Sean
      > Freyne is an excellent example) freely admit that contemporary issues
      > (in Freyne's case, the Holocaust) do figure into their scholarship.

      Sure, Bill, presuppositions and motivations do enter into scholarly
      reconstructions in a big way.

      > Also: "personal" here is a little misleading. No one is claiming that
      > scholar "x" believes "y" about the historical Jesus because of the way
      > his parents potty-trained him, or some such thing. The issue is
      > historic intellectual currents and their manifestation in biblical
      > studies (as elsewhere). Moreover, while the accusation of bias
      > certainly does not in itself disprove any hypothesis (actual direct
      > evidence is needed for that), observing bias may tell us something
      > useful about why some hypotheses are defended so vigorously, or why
      > they are maintained even when the evidence for them is very weak.

      Yes, intellectual currents are also important.

      But if one begins to deal with such things, then those raising such issues
      should _also_ expect their own presuppositions and motivations to be fair
      game for some close scrutiny. Isn't this only fair?

      I did follow the recent email conference with Crossan, and I recall that
      he complained quite a lot about those who try to focus on _his_
      presuppositions and motivations. So obviously, this is not the thing that
      he welcomes too much. That's why I expressed the view that since,
      generally, it's a sword that can cut both ways, perhaps such lines of
      reasoning should be avoided, because they can easily degenerate into
      personal exchanges.

      > >Is there really a big tendency in modern HJ research to emphasize the
      > >Jewishness of Jesus? Maybe, maybe not. But was there a tendency in
      > >ancient HJ research to emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus? There surely
      > >was.
      >
      > The ancient tendency to emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus could be
      > just as, well, tendentious as the modern tendency.

      Sure!

      > And there is in fact an opposite ancient tendency, i.e., to repudiate
      > or at least minimize the Jewishness (whatever that means) of Jesus.

      Of course. The question is which came first? See my previous reply to
      Andrew.

      > >So then I guess this nasty political correctness business was already
      > >quite a problem 1900 years ago?
      >
      > That's gratuitous. The issue is not "political correctness," it's
      > agenda. The agenda which drive some aspects of the presentation of
      > Jesus today are certainly not those that drove the evangelists, but
      > that needn't prevent the results from being similar.

      Yes, and again I agree. Indeed, it's all about the agendas. So suppose we
      now focus on the agendas which drive some aspects of the presentation of
      Jesus today? It was Steve's repost that brought out the bugaboo of
      "political correctness". OK, fine. So then I will ask in turn, who are the
      people who are usually known as "anti-PC" today? It's the right-wing
      yahoos like Rush, Jerry Fallwell, etc. Some of them, to be sure, with a
      discernible air of anti-semitism hanging about them. So which of these two
      camps would I rather find myself in?

      Remember what I already said about those raising such issues? That they
      should also expect their own presuppositions to be fair game?

      Regards,

      Yuri.

      Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

      Open biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - loisy-l

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      The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
      equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
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