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On the Web: An Interview with Simon Gathercole

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  • Michael Grondin
    An interview with Simon Gathercole on the Gospels of Judas and Thomas has been posted this morning on an evangelical blog: http://tinyurl.com/29p2zhy
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 2, 2010
      An interview with Simon Gathercole on the Gospels of Judas
      and Thomas has been posted this morning on an evangelical
       
      Gathercole is a former member of our group, and has written
      about parallels between Paul and GThos. He's on the faculty
      at Cambridge and edits the influential Journal for the Study of
      the New Testament (JSNT). Since I hope to publish in that
      journal in the future, I hope I'm not biting the hand that might
      feed me by saying that I'm somewhat dismayed by his evangelical
      background and connections, of which I wasn't previously aware.
      Nevertheless, the interview is fairly impartial and worth reading.
       
      M.Grondin
    • Michael Grondin
      ... I d better back off from this right quick before I get skewered for it. I was basing this mostly on a statement in the intro to the evangelical interview,
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 2, 2010
        > ... I'm somewhat dismayed by [Gathercole's] evangelical
        >
        background and connections ...
         
        I'd better back off from this right quick before I get skewered
        for it. I was basing this mostly on a statement in the intro to
        the evangelical interview, according to which "... he taught a PhD
        seminar on the New Perspective on Paul at Trinity Evangelical
        Divinity School ... ". Obviously, this statement doesn't support
        my hasty conclusion, for which I apologize and hereby withdraw.
         
        BTW, I failed to mention that the heads-up for this interview
        came from Google Alerts, which I've noted previously as a
        good source for new GThos stuff on the web. It comes in
        my email daily about noon. (It doesn't, however, cover e-lists.)
         
        M.Grondin
      • Michael Grondin
        It appears that my initial impression of Simon Gathercole s evangelical ties was correct. He s listed as a contributor to the blog Evangelical Textual
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 3, 2010
          It appears that my initial impression of Simon Gathercole's
          evangelical ties was correct. He's listed as a contributor to
          the blog "Evangelical Textual Criticism", run by Peter Head
          and Tommy Wasserman, the members of which are expected
          to present a statement of theological purity (my words, but
          check their accuracy for yourselves):
           
           
          This is not to diminish Gathercole's work in any way. Perhaps
          this will change my attitude toward evangelical scholarship,
          which up to now hasn't been favorable. (Among other things,
          I'm not keen on scholars trumpeting their religious beliefs,
          which Evangelicals seem prone to do - nor on scholars who
          seem to regard their work as part of a Christian "mission".
          Gathercole doesn't seem to do that - though he does oddly
          mention sin at one point in the interview:
           
          "People are all too willing to believe that the church has concealed
          the truth. It’s partly a cultural thing and partly is fed by the fact that the
          church sometimes does cover things up, but it’s also a result of sin:
          people don’t want to believe the truth and so cast around for other
          explanations instead."
           
          Hopefully, Simon was smiling when he said that.
           
          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        • Stephen Carlson
          ... It should be kept in mind that British evangelicals tend to be more scholarly than their American counterparts. (For one, I think their language skills
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 3, 2010
            On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 3:43 AM, Michael Grondin <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
            > It appears that my initial impression of Simon Gathercole's
            > evangelical ties was correct.
            >
            > This is not to diminish Gathercole's work in any way. Perhaps
            > this will change my attitude toward evangelical scholarship,
            > which up to now hasn't been favorable.

            It should be kept in mind that British evangelicals tend to be more
            scholarly than their American counterparts. (For one, I think their
            language skills are often better--both modern and ancient.) Well,
            at least that's my general impression, but I do try to take each
            scholar's work on an individual basis.

            Stephen Carlson
          • Michael Grondin
            ... Quite right, Stephen. And thanks for the distinction, which hadn t occurred to me (and which I m happy to accept, being of some British blood myself :-).
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 3, 2010
              > It should be kept in mind that British evangelicals tend to be more
              > scholarly than their American counterparts. (For one, I think their
              > language skills are often better--both modern and ancient.) Well,
              > at least that's my general impression, but I do try to take each
              > scholar's work on an individual basis.

              Quite right, Stephen. And thanks for the distinction, which hadn't
              occurred to me (and which I'm happy to accept, being of some
              British blood myself :-). Gathercole's academic credentials are
              of course impeccable. None of that Ozarks Divinity School that
              we find in the States.

              Come to think of it, perhaps the Evangelical Textual Criticism
              blog is Brit-heavy? 'Peter Head' sounds like it. My grandfather's
              name was 'House'. Gotta love those imaginative British names!

              Cordial regards,
              Mike
            • Doug Milford
              I m not sure where you get the Ozarks Divinity School idea concerning evangelicals Mike. In fact, I suspect you will find many NT faculty in flagship
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 3, 2010
                I'm not sure where you get the "Ozarks Divinity School" idea
                concerning evangelicals Mike.

                In fact, I suspect you will find many NT faculty in flagship
                evangelical institutions, such as Wheaton, Fuller, and Trinity, to be
                Brit heavy -- especially if you factor in where they were educated.

                Mark Noll has attempted to quantify this in his book, _Between Faith
                and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America_:

                http://books.google.com/books?id=m7cVN-1Kc6QC&dq=noll+faith+criticism&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=BU5YTKraI4KB8gbBw6CHCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

                I agree that sticking to "each scholar's work" is the way to go. In my
                estimation this is not the place for evangelical bias or
                condescension.

                Doug Milford
              • Michael Grondin
                Thanks for your note, Doug. I was also chastened offlist by a respected scholar of my acqaintance. I should tell you that at heart I m an ardent individualist,
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 3, 2010
                  Thanks for your note, Doug. I was also chastened offlist by a respected
                  scholar of my acqaintance. I should tell you that at heart I'm an ardent
                  individualist, but in the present case, I've apparently come to associate
                  evangelicals with fundamentalism. Wondering to myself now why that is,
                  I see that part of it is the original statement of Evangelical principles, which
                  asserts inerrantism - a view which I regard as both wrong-headed and
                  inimical to sound biblical scholarship (hence its relevance here). But, as
                  I am now learning, there may be as many Evangelicals who don't follow
                  that statement of principles to the letter as there are Catholics (at least in
                  this country) who don't follow Papal pronouncements to the letter. In any
                  case, I much appreciate the corrective feedback I've been receiving.
                   
                  Mike
                • Doug Milford
                  Thanks for your reply Mike. You would not be the first to equate evangelicalism with fundamentalism, nor will you be the last. One grew out of the other and
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 3, 2010
                    Thanks for your reply Mike. You would not be the first to equate evangelicalism with fundamentalism, nor will you be the last. One grew out of the other and there remains overlap, but there are vast and important differences between the type of scholars and scholarship you will find at a Fuller vs, say, Bob Jones or a Wheaton vs most bible institutes. Noll, who I invoked in my earlier message, is now at Notre Dame -- but while he was at Wheaton he wrote another book, _The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind_, in which he took dispensational theology to task.

                    I think of David Scholer, who passed away a couple years ago. He was at Fuller for many years and a top rate scholar. He is just one example, but there are many others.

                    Anyway, I appreciate your reply.

                    Doug

                    P.S. There is considerable debate within evangelicalism over what "inerrant" actually means.
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