[John_Lit] Re: Religious Faith and Academia
- Greetings Timothy,
Thanks for your latest remarks. At the risk of myself violating a
list protocol by sending so many messages in such a short span of
time as to dominate the list, I feel it necessary to respond to a
number of statements of fact and of my position with which I
disagree. I'll try to keep it as short as possible, then shut up
for awhile. (I'll have to shut up from this Friday through Monday
anyway, since I'll be attending the SBL meeting in Atlanta during
that period. Perhaps I'll meet our esteemed moderator there.)
> If I remember right, the original post only claimed Revelation hadMy words, but to my mind a correct representation of Kym's comment:
> a true prophecy [prophecy from God before the event]. You were the
> one who claimed this automatically gave Revelation special status
> and immunity from standard dating methods.
> Firstly, the idea that the Revelation preceded events about which(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johannine_literature/message/3784)
> it speaks is not a problem if one accepts that it was God-given
> ... `to show what must soon take place'. That is, the Revelation
> was a prophetic vision rather than someone's creative reflection
> on past and/or current events.
This was written in response to David Trapero's question:
> How could Revelation, which refers to the martyrdoms of Peter andOf course, David's question presupposed that Rev 11 DOES refer to
> Paul in chapter 11, be written in 62 when Peter and Paul were
> killed sometime between 64 and 67?
the deaths of Peter and Paul, and Kym rightfully challenged that
presupposition. Nevertheless, he added the above statement to
indicate that his dating (62 CE) would be undisturbed by ANYTHING
described in Rev which actually occurred after that date. So ISTM
that what I said about immunity from internal dating methods is a
correct statement of his views. In fact, he's replied since and
hasn't indicated otherwise.
> I think this is over reacting. The date of composition for a workTrue, but let's settle on more neutral language here at the outset.
> does not hinge upon a single fulfilled prophecy, even a very
> specific one. There are numerous explanations as to why such
> things might appear in a text ...
Unfortunately, you've defined 'true prophecy' above as "prophecy
from God before the event". That begs the question of whether there
is any such thing. Can we agree to talk about, say, 'authorial
predictions', and leave it open where they come from? Further,
in a work presented as visionary, like Rev, we need to speak of
_purported_ predictions, since it can't be immediately ascertained
whether the work itself or the passage in question was written
before or after that which it claims to predict. Now with respect
to purported prediction contained in Rev, you say:
> ... Kym Smith's assessment of it as a true prophecy from God isThat isn't my position. Hopefully, I haven't written anything that
> only one [explanation]. Your position, that the book was written
> after the fact, is another.
indicates that it is. (:-) In fact, I have no general position,
since I'm not aware of any purported prediction in Rev of any
specificity that actually came true in the way predicted.
> Between these two extremes lie other possibilities: 1) theWith respect to a visionary work, (1) seems especially likely, and
> fulfilled prophecy was incorporated into an extant work after
> the event; 2) the author was a student of history and therefore
> especially perspicuous; 3) the author got lucky (e.g.
> coincidence); etc.
- if we're suitably careful - all that we can say for sure is that
the passage in question (as opposed to the entire work) must have
been written after the event it purportedly predicts. So I entirely
agree with you there.
> Even if Kym is right and the prophecy was true, it only means thisBut Kym's claim applies to any purported prediction at all in Rev -
> single bit of internal evidence lies outside normal avenues of
> historical inquiry. The rest of the text, and all of the other
> normal tools of analysis, are still quite relevant. This is why I
> thought you over reacted.
he says so himself (above).
> ... I dislike seeing younger scholars taken to task repeatedly. ANo doubt, but Kym is not a "younger scholar". He's a published
> bit of encouragement, some guidance, some probing questions, even
> some patience--these are more helpful to all concerned.
author (_The Amazing Structure of the Gospel of John_, Sherwood
Publications, 1999), now nearing or in his 50's, who describes
himself as follows:
> With a varied background in Methodist, Charismatic and Baptist(see http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/sherpub)
> Churches as well as time in a para-church Christian community
> (during the `Jesus Movement' era) Kym Smith is now an ordained
> Anglican in Adelaide, South Australia.
(back to Timothy):
> ... I think you will find that orthodox texts--those that have beenI don't see how this conclusion follows from its premisses. If you
> subjected to repeated official scrutiny before being accepted into
> a corpus--have a higher percentage of true prophecy than texts in
> general. This is because texts with prophecies that did not come
> true are often rejected for that very reason. This is true for
> many religions, not just Christianity and the NT or Judaism and
> the HB. Ergo, orthodox texts sometimes require special techniques.
had said that canonical texts tend to have had stuff inserted in
them, then I would say that, yes, we should expect to find an
inordinate number of purported predictions stuck into canonical
texts at a later date, but as it stands the conclusion seems to be
a non sequitur from the premisses, even if I understood what
"special techniques" you might have in mind - which I don't.
> ... I have often found faith perspectives from non-Christians... which no one suggests doing. What's in question isn't the mere
> to contain intriguing ideas. I would be poorer for not having
> listened simply because they did not share my particular faith.
> ... This too is sharing on level ground, but is very different
> from eliminating any mention of one's faith in the name of
> scholarly dialogue.
mention of one's faith position, but rather (1) extended confessions
of faith and (2) expressions of analytical presuppositions based on
_nothing more_ than religious faith (as opposed to being based on a
combination of that with other considerations to which others not of
that faith might assent). Sharing of faith perspectives is all well
and good in its place, but I presume that this is not its place.
> Many people would disagree with you about what constitutesAnd a fine university it is - the University of Michigan in Ann
> scholarly dialogue or what violates Protocol #5. I do myself,
> and I earned my doctorate in an American university with just
> such a standard.
Arbor. Went there myself back in the 60's, and still think of it
as my true alma mater, though I later did graduate work (in Logic
and Philosophy, as may be apparent) at Wayne State University in
Detroit. So we're fellow alumni. But what does that have to do with
the definition of 'scholarly dialogue'? And what does that concept
have to do with what's allowable on this list? After all, not just
any "scholarly dialogue" is allowable here.
> This is the crux of our disagreement. It has become obvious toCount me in on that. I said so in the passage you quoted.
> most of us that absolute objectivity is impossible.
> Many now feel we are more honest when we try to be objective, butI have no problem with this, other than what I take to be the
> also inform our listeners/readers in advance of our biases. This
> enables them to be alert for the things we might not catch
> ourselves. Faith, Christian or otherwise, is just such a bias.
implications of the phrase "Faith, Christian or otherwise". I
don't see my own beliefs as constituting any kind of pseudo-
religious "faith" at all. Nevertheless, the identification
of one's belief system may be helpful in the way your suggest.
Mt. Clemens, MI
F. C. Grant saw no problem in a combination of figurative and literal
meanings in 1 Peter 5:13. In his article on Mark in the Encyclopedia Americana he
wrote: "Further, the intimate reference in 1 Peter, joining Mark's greeting
with Peter's and those of the church in 'Babylon' (Rome?), would be more natural
if the relationship was physical as well as spiritual." According to Swete,
huios does not involve a spiritual relationship which in the Pauline Epistles
is expressed by teknon.
I have argued previously that Mark was forbidden by Jesus to accompany Peter
during the Galilean ministry. This did not preclude him from being a disciple
of John the Baptist. (Mathetes means learner or pupil.) J. E. Bruns wrote
two articles about the confusion between John and John Mark. In one he quotes
a document which claims Mark was with the servants at Cana. According to Mark
6:31, the trip which ended in the feeding of the five thousand was supposed
to be for a rest and there was no reason to make Mark stay home. Mark could
have been present when his grandmother was healed, in the fishing boat, and with
Peter when he went to Jerusalem for the Passover.
Mark's limited contact with Jesus explains why we have just these relatively
few stories about Jesus. There were many other things which Jesus did. Could
John 21:24f be Mark's ending to his notes?
George Melick, Drexel University (Retired)
9 Attleboro Court
Red Bank, NJ 07701