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[Synoptic-L] ad hominem comments?

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    Yesterday, during my exchange with Yuri on whether Papias says what Yuri ... Yuri has since responded that he ... I should like to point out that my comments
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 24 1:18 PM
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      Yesterday, during my exchange with Yuri on whether Papias says what Yuri
      claims Papias says, I noted to Yuri that:

      > ... since it is your wont recently to accept what the majority of
      > scholars think about a particular point as confirmation or the guarantee
      > of the truth of that point (do I need to point to examples?), I think you
      > need to be reminded of the fact that -- to paraphrase a correspondent on C-P
      > - when it comes to evaluating what stands behind your thesis, the majority of
      > scholars ... roundly view those such as yourself who want either to date all
      > references to Gentile Christianity to the second century or understand all
      > such references in the NT to be later interpolations, as wholly misguided and
      > as operating from interests that are grounded more in a blind and blinding
      > commitment to ideology than by sound historical scholarship.

      Yuri has since responded that he

      > object[s] to these ad hominem comments. They have no place in a reasoned
      > scientific discussion.

      I should like to point out that my comments are not ad hominems. They involve
      only statements of demonstrable fact and the conclusion that logically follows
      from them.

      I think it is clear, Yuri, that it is a fact that you accept (if only in
      practice) the principle that what the majority of scholars say is true **is**
      true, since there's no denying that you have been using this principle
      frequently to justify claims that you have been making.

      For instance, when I recently asked you to provide evidence for your claim that
      " Much evidence argues against Jesus himself opening up the movement to the
      Gentiles", you replied by noting

      > This view is shared by many scholars

      On your own List, when asserting that the transfiguration was really a
      misplaced resurrection account, your justification for this claim was:

      > Many scholars argued that originally the transfiguration scene was the
      > ending of Mk

      On GT, when you were making the claim that

      > it is very clear that the progression in Christology in early Christianity
      > was from low to high.

      Your "evidence" for this was the claim that

      > Just about every critical scholar thinks so

      And when you wanted to conclude that

      > Christmas/Nativity was clearly a late addition to the Christian year, for
      > example.

      You supported this as true by appealing to the fact that

      > Many scholars believe Infancy sections were added late to Lk and Mt as part
      > of a
      > process of secondary gospel expansion.

      And on the same List, when you wanted to **deny** that a position being argued
      by some one was **not** true, what you offered in support of your claim was the
      "fact" that the view you were challenging was highly questionable because

      > this doesn't seem to be a view that is universally held.

      And it is also an indisputable **fact**, not an ad hominem attack, that the
      majority of scholars **do** roundly view those who want either to date all
      references to Gentile Christianity to the second century or understand all such
      references in the NT to be later interpolations, as wholly misguided and as
      operating from interests that are grounded more in a blind and blinding
      commitment to ideology than in sound historical scholarship. You may want to
      argue that they are wrong in their assessment, but this does **nothing** to
      deny that with respect the question of late daters and interpolationists, the
      majority of scholars do indeed rule in the negative. After all, isn't this what
      you've been complaining about (and therefore admitting as true) in all of your
      various screeds about how the guild has assessed and/or not given the respect
      you think is due to your idol Loisy and his theories?

      In the light of these two facts, it is hardly an ad hominem when I note that
      if we work with the very logic and the principles of argumentation that **you
      yourself subscribe to** and obviously think are valid, your cannot hold as true
      the position re Gentiles that you have been asserting (after all, I'm only
      taking my cue from the way **you** have been arguing). Rather, given your own
      logic and what **you** consider to be sound argument, it is simply an
      inescapable conclusion, warranted by the facts and wholly consonant with the
      principles and demeanor of "a reasoned scientific discussion" as you have
      established them. Or are you admitting that the principles from which you work
      -- principles which I have done no more than precisely follow -- are irrational
      and unscientific?

      Yours,

      Jeffrey
      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      ... guarantee ... you ... on C-P ... majority of ... date all ... all ... misguided and ... blinding ... reasoned ... In general, arguments, or better to say
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 25 8:58 AM
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        ----------
        > From: Jeffrey B. Gibson <jgibson000@...>
        > To: Synoptic-L <Synoptic-L@...>
        > Subject: [Synoptic-L] ad hominem comments?
        > Date: Friday, March 24, 2000 4:18 PM
        >
        > Yesterday, during my exchange with Yuri on whether Papias says what Yuri
        > claims Papias says, I noted to Yuri that:
        >
        > > ... since it is your wont recently to accept what the majority of
        > > scholars think about a particular point as confirmation or the
        guarantee
        > > of the truth of that point (do I need to point to examples?), I think
        you
        > > need to be reminded of the fact that -- to paraphrase a correspondent
        on C-P
        > > - when it comes to evaluating what stands behind your thesis, the
        majority of
        > > scholars ... roundly view those such as yourself who want either to
        date all
        > > references to Gentile Christianity to the second century or understand
        all
        > > such references in the NT to be later interpolations, as wholly
        misguided and
        > > as operating from interests that are grounded more in a blind and
        blinding
        > > commitment to ideology than by sound historical scholarship.
        >
        > Yuri has since responded that he
        >
        > > object[s] to these ad hominem comments. They have no place in a
        reasoned
        > > scientific discussion.
        >
        > I should like to point out that my comments are not ad hominems.

        In general, arguments, or better to say speculations, focusing on supposed
        hidden motivations of scholars are considered ad hominem, and are not
        acceptable in a valid scientific discussion. But if you wish to go down
        this road, then I can reply that certainly among those who tend to deny or
        diminish the Jewishness of Jesus or of his early followers some pretty
        unsavoury characters have been known in the history of the 20th century. In
        fact, myself, I would not like to be associated in any way with some of the
        types who adhered to such a position historically, or still do.

        So I don't think it is wise for you to go in this direction, because it is
        not obvious to me how you may derive any benefit from it.

        Yuri.

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

        Biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - unmoderated

        The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
        equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... You miss my point, which was NOT about whether it is valid to attack an argument by attacking the supposed motivations for mooting it, but about how, if
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 25 10:53 AM
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          Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

          > In general, arguments, or better to say speculations, focusing on supposed
          > hidden motivations of scholars are considered ad hominem, and are not
          > acceptable in a valid scientific discussion. But if you wish to go down
          > this road, then I can reply that certainly among those who tend to deny or
          > diminish the Jewishness of Jesus or of his early followers some pretty
          > unsavoury characters have been known in the history of the 20th century. In
          > fact, myself, I would not like to be associated in any way with some of the
          > types who adhered to such a position historically, or still do.
          >
          > So I don't think it is wise for you to go in this direction, because it is
          > not obvious to me how you may derive any benefit from it.

          You miss my point, which was NOT about whether it is valid to attack an
          argument by attacking the supposed motivations for mooting it, but about how,
          if we accept as sound the principles **you yourself** use and accept as valid
          in confirming the truth of claims, you are then bound **by your own logic** to
          admit that a position you cherish is wrong.

          Let's take this once again.

          1. It is a fact, isn't it, that you often appeal to what the majority of
          scholars think as proof of the validity of positions you are arguing and claims
          you assert? Look at the examples of your doing so that I produced.

          2. It is a fact, isn't it, that you hold this appeal as a valid way to argue a
          point?. Your very usage of it shows that this is so (otherwise why do you use
          it?).

          3. Regardless of **why** they do it, and regardless of whether or not they are
          **right** to do it, it is a **fact**, isn't it, that most scholars do indeed
          think that the claims you have been propounding about the lateness of EC
          opening itself up to the Gentiles are hogwash? To put this another way:
          Rightly or wrongly. Loisy **is** in the minority, isn't he?

          IF SO, then using the method of reasoning which **you youself** subscribe to
          and have in principle and practice admitted is "rational and scientific", it
          follows that your position on the issue in question should not be accepted --
          most of all by YOU -- as true.

          It is a simple argument

          a. When Yuri puts forth claims, Yuri uses the principle of appeal to what the
          majority of scholars think to defend his claims and show they are correct

          b. Yuri therefor accepts the idea that what most scholars thinks is right
          **is** right

          c. since most scholars think that the idea, defended (or not) by Loisy, that
          Christianity opened up to the Gentiles only after CE 100 is not true.

          it follows, given (b), that

          d. Yuri's claim that Christianity did not open up to Gentiles until after CE
          100 is untrue.

          Now since the argument is **sound** (the conclusion is wholly warranted by its
          premises), the only way that you can escape having to come to this conclusion
          is to deny the truth of one or the other or all of the premises upon which it
          is founded. But -- fair warning --

          (a) if you deny the first and third premises (i.e., that Loisy **is** in the
          minority regarding his take on the question of when Christianity opened up to
          the Gentiles; and i.e., that you often appeal to what the majority of scholars
          think when you argue a point ) you will involve yourself in misstatements of
          fact; And

          (b) if you deny the second premise (i.e., that it is legitimate to appeal to
          what the majority of scholars think is the case in order to show what is the
          case), then

          (c) you will not only be admitting that one of the methods you have continually
          been using when you try to make a case is invalid, but also that you have
          hardly been maintaining the standards of rational and scientific debate that
          you keep calling all here to adhere to.


          No ad hominem here, only the application of your own logic to your claims.

          Yours,

          Jeffrey

          --
          Jeffrey B. Gibson
          7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
          Chicago, Illinois 60626
          e-mail jgibson000@...
        • l. j. swain
          ... Yuri, This is just the sort of argumentation and methodology with which I so often voice objections. Jeffrey to date has said nothing about the Jewishness
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 25 11:21 AM
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            Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

            > In general, arguments, or better to say speculations, focusing on supposed
            > hidden motivations of scholars are considered ad hominem, and are not
            > acceptable in a valid scientific discussion. But if you wish to go down
            > this road, then I can reply that certainly among those who tend to deny or
            > diminish the Jewishness of Jesus or of his early followers some pretty
            > unsavoury characters have been known in the history of the 20th century. In
            > fact, myself, I would not like to be associated in any way with some of the
            > types who adhered to such a position historically, or still do.
            >
            > So I don't think it is wise for you to go in this direction, because it is
            > not obvious to me how you may derive any benefit from it.
            >

            Yuri,
            This is just the sort of argumentation and methodology with which I so
            often voice objections. Jeffrey to date has said nothing about the
            Jewishness of Jesus or the early church. What he has called into
            question, and in my view rightfully so, is your contention that the
            early Christian movement did not open to Gentiles until the second
            century. These are completely different things, yet the statement above
            seems to equate them. This is a type of the straw man fallacy, take an
            argument, say that it says what it doesn't, then argue against what you
            say it says rather than what it does say. It really is not a legitimate
            way to argue.

            Larry Swain
          • Mark Goodacre
            I suspect that I am not alone in desiring to see and end to the threads on ad hominem comments? and Yuri s reading of Papias . I have not had a chance to
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 25 4:28 PM
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              I suspect that I am not alone in desiring to see and end to the
              threads on "ad hominem comments?" and "Yuri's reading of
              Papias". I have not had a chance to consult with the other
              coordinators yet, and I will happily bow to their better
              judgement should they disagree with me on this, but I was
              keen to intervene before we see some rather troubling
              threads developing any further. As a rule of thumb, I think it
              is always worth asking the following question before
              contributing to Synoptic-L, or, for that matter, any academic
              E-List: how profitable is this correspondence likely to be? Is
              it more likely overall to enhance or detract from the
              academic quality of the list? Is it more likely to deter fresh
              subscribers from remaining on the list or is it more likely to
              encourage them to leave it?

              Mark Goodacre (List Owner)
              ---------------------------
              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
              Dept of Theology
              University of Birmingham Fax.: +44 (0)121 414 6866
              Birmingham B15 2TT Tel.: +44 (0)121 414 7512

              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
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