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RE: [GTh] Re: GTh 9 The Seed Parable (the Parable of the Sower)

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  • Rick Hubbard
    ... From: FMMCCOY [mailto:FMMCCOY@email.msn.com] Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001 9:12 PM To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: GTh 9 The Seed Parable
    Message 1 of 7 , May 22, 2001
      -----Original Message-----
      From: FMMCCOY [mailto:FMMCCOY@...]
      Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001 9:12 PM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: GTh 9 The Seed Parable (the Parable of the Sower)


      F. McCoy Wrote:
      To characterize my analysis as a "sermon" is an interesting version of tar
      and feathering by innuendo, but it fails to address the evidence I produce
      to support my ideas.

      My remark was not meant to offend you, or to tar and feather you by innuendo
      or any other means. Instead, I simply meant to direct attention to the fact
      that your methodology conflicts with that which is conventionally used in
      historical-critical investigation. Presumably, on this list, adherence to
      the latter methodology is pre-supposed. On other lists, such as the Gospel
      of Thomas list, it is not. In fact there, "expositions" are welcomed and
      encouraged.

      F. McCoy Wrote:
      There's something fatally flawed in the current historical-critical
      methodology and/or with current scholarly peer review procedures, for they
      have not advanced our knowledge regarding Jesus an iota.. The March 7, 1998
      Minneapolis Star Tribune cites this quote by Yonat Simron of the Raleigh
      News & Observor, "About the only thing a group of seven internationally
      known Jesus historians would agree on at a recent conference in Chapel Hill
      was that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and crucified by Pontus
      Pilate."

      Depending on one's perspective, the Star Tribune article cited above may
      indeed be interpreted as proof that historical-critical methodology is
      flawed. On the other hand, from a different perspective, it could be
      understood that it is an indication that the methodology actually works the
      way it is supposed to work. One could say that, with respect to the
      historical Jesus, critical scholarship has managed to separate verifiable
      historical facts from the interpretive overlay that was applied to Jesus by
      a few of his earliest followers. That, I argue from my perspective, is a
      good thing.

      To be sure, there are many who object loudly to what modern scholarship has
      accomplished. Among other things it has indirectly challenged the "primal
      'childhood package' of Christian convictions" (Funk, Robert. _Honest to
      Jesus_. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996 [48]. According to Funk,
      that "package" consists of six assertions:

      1. There is a God in "heaven."
      2. God loves me
      3. Jesus is God's son.
      4. Jesus died for my sins.
      5. God speaks to us through the Bible.
      6. I must believe these things or else I won't go to heaven.

      Funk also points out that the "childhood package" of convictions shifts at
      some time in life to the "adult edition" which contains the convictions that
      are most directly challenged by historical-critical scholarship.

      1. Jesus is the son of God.
      2. Jesus was born by a virgin.
      3. Jesus died on a cross as a sacrifice to atone for humanity's sins.
      4. Jesus rose bodily from his tomb.
      5. Jesus will come again to sit in judgment.

      Clearly, scholarly research that can verify to its satisfaction only that
      Jesus was baptized by JBap and that he was executed by Pilate (as well as a
      few other things which the Raleigh News and Observer reporter seems to have
      missed and that the Star Tribune editorial staff neglected to verify), does
      nothing to validate the convictions of either the "childhood" or "adult"
      packages of Christian beliefs. In fact, it calls to attention that these
      convictions are just that: "convictions." They are NOT facts.

      It is understandable that those who embrace these convictions continue to
      try to defend them as "facts." This they do by repeating what they believe
      over and over, in louder and louder words, to larger and larger audiences
      and then by retreating to the final line of defense which is yet another
      conviction: that the gospels and the Bible, are at least completely reliable
      historical records, if not the inerrant and infallible "Word of God" and
      therefore exempt from the same kind of vigorous scrutiny applied to other
      ancient texts. Talk about tar and feathers. The quacks and charlatans who
      incite popular opinion are really not much more than leaders of
      anti-intellectual lynch mobs (in my humble opinion).

      The position I am trying to argue is that the objective of
      historical-critical methodology is to identify evidence, then to apply to
      that evidence standardized mutually agreed-upon criteria and thereby to
      determine the credibility of the evidence then finally to state its
      conclusions. The discipline is not obligated to reach conclusions that
      affirm convictions nor is it restrained from reaching conclusions that
      undermine convictions. If there is ever going to be anything that resembles
      civil dialogue about the published conclusions of modern critical
      scholarship, it seems to me that the topic of conversation should not be the
      offending conclusions, and maybe not even the evidence, but the assumptions
      that underlie the methodology (especially the rules of evidentiary
      assessment).

      Therefore you are absolutely correct in what you wrote here:

      In the final analysis, an idea has to stand or fall on the evidence. An
      appeal to authority neither validates an idea nor invalidates an idea—only
      the evidence can.

      To which I might add, with your permission, "Only credible evidence can
      validate a conclusion."

      The question of whether a parallel indicates an influence and the question
      of whether an influence indicates sources are to be handled on a case by
      case basis and, in each case, the answer is to be determined by examining
      the evidence.

      And again, “by examining the CREDIBILITY of the evidence.”

      With Sincerest Respect To Your Convictions,


      Rick Hubbard
      Humble Maine Woodsman
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