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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More Jim West comments

Jim has continued to review Why Christianity Happened and has summarised it very fairly. Interestingly there is not much conflict, even though some might (I don't know, actually) think we'd be poles apart on his bringing in the role of God. I wouldn't actually make a judgement on the divine when discussing issues like conversion but I bracket the divine out of the equation because it is beyond what I can possibly do given my academic worldview: the divine is beyond proof in such matters. But then, and Jim can correct me if I am wrong, Jim (and his Protestant tradition?) would agree with that in terms of historical enquiry but not in terms of a faith based worldview. I'm thinking out loud (or whatever the blog equivalent is) here but I think the reason why Jim can critically engage with a lot of scholarship that many have a problem with, e.g. Luedemann and the so-called minimalists, is because of his kind of neo-Bultmann-ism, where faith does not really (or cannot? - my theological learning is fading too fast...) rely on history. Am I right?

UPDATE: see Jim's comments on 'Paleo-Zwinglianism'


Anonymous Anonymous said...

James - I wanted to draw your attention to this interesting article by Rodney Stark. It touches on alot of the conversation on this blog.

Atheism, Faith, and the Social Scientific Study of Religion.

Abstract: The social "scientific" study of religion originated in atheism and the basic thesis pursued today, especially by psychologists and anthropologists, are little changed since they were first proposed by militant opponents of religion in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. In this essay I trace these links from major scholar to major scholar across the centuries. I then examine the remarkable irony that the recent emergence of a truly scientific approach to religion was accomplished mainly by an influx of "believers." I sketch why and how this happened before turning to an assessment of the persistence of atheistic biases. I conclude with suggestions about how a truly scientific study of religion can be pursued by both believers and unbelievers, if not fanatics of either stripe.

Paper here..


December 01, 2006

Blogger James Crossley said...

Thanks for that. I've been following Stark's comments relating to this issue for some time. I could be wrong but it seems to me that he is in an academic context where it is the opposite of NT studies, i.e. it is dominated by non-believers or different varieties. If I were in that context, I think I would react in the same way as he does and come to similar conclusions. He has just found himself in the kind of mirror opposite situation I find myself in but the underlying arguments are essentially the same, I think.

December 02, 2006


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