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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Review of Bird's Review of Casey

I know he was my supervisor and all that, but I’m still going to respond to Mike Bird’s review of Maurice Casey’s latest book on son of man. Probably something to do with honour and shame or something…

'One issue that has been aired too many times on this blog is about secularism, presuppositions etc and so on. Like Paul Scholes though, there’s always time for one last great effort. Mike says:
Casey nowhere acknowledges his own presuppositions and how they influence him. The implied author of this book (i.e. Casey’s representation of himself) is that of an objective and secular critic who has come to liberate us from the shackles of theologically loaded interpretations of the Son of Man. But I suggest that the existence of such an ideal objective and impartial author is just as mythical as the existence as the ‘primordial son of man’ known to occasionally haunt the lecture rooms of German universities.

Well this moves from something relatively easy to establish (various theological trends and their impact on the discipline) to speculation. Not sure about this Casey representation of himself and implied author business. How is that worked out? Magic? Psychology? I’m being a bit polemical here because it is not the person I know being described. As for ‘objective’ and ‘secular’ critic I very much doubt Casey would like that description of himself. In fact I know Casey doesn’t like the term ‘secular’. I am pretty sure that Casey, rightly or wrongly, would say he would not see his results in terms of ‘secular’ here and would frame them in terms of a genuine concern for establishing historical truth. As it happens, Casey has often spoken of CK Barrett being the epitome of such concern, a man who is hardly an atheist, and certainly not someone we would these days call ‘secular’ (Barrett is/was well known in Durham, I believe, as a great preacher). I also know that Casey thinks his kinds of results on issues like the son of man are those that many mainstream Christian scholars with a concern for historical knowledge could have come to or at least agree with. Instead of guessing/inventing, it would have been much better, obviously, to have established Casey’s views on this which, as it happens, are not quite what Mike has strongly implied. Mike’s lavish language is matched only by his heroic demolition of a straw man:
The implied author of this book (i.e. Casey’s representation of himself) is that of an objective and secular critic [Mike's construction, not Casey's representation] who has come to liberate us from the shackles of theologically loaded interpretations [Mike's construction] of the Son of Man. But I suggest [presumably in contrast to Mike's construction, and certainly NOT Casey's argument] that the existence of such an ideal objective and impartial author is just as mythical…


As for acknowledging presuppositions, Casey ‘nowhere acknowledges his own presuppositions and how they influence him’. On one level is it not fair to say, why would he? Rightly or wrongly, Casey presumably thinks he’s found the solution, others have gone wrong, and in some cases because their agendas have dictated too much (not that agendas are necessarily wrong in themselves etc and so on). I mean, what is he to do? Say, 'I've found out on p. 200 that my presuppositions influenced me'? The issue for Casey is clearly how presuppostions led to mistakes and so it would be getting to the level of the absurd if this were applied to himself: 'I've found out on p. 200 that my presuppostions influenced me and I was wrong on that page'??????

So, to labour the point, one possible way of reading Mike’s argument is that everyone’s agenda is problematic and gets in the way. So I want to ask Mike some genuinely open questions. If so, is there any point in doing history? If not, is it possible to get to the truth of what happened without ideology interfering too much? Either one of those answers has implications for Mike’s argument I think…

And again…the problem of not budging on too many issues can cause problems, can it not? Is there not a major problem if people cannot come to a series of historical conclusions that do not cohere with their pre-existing convictions? Dale Alison faced problems head on and was able to come to seriously uncomfortable conclusions e.g. his apocalyptic Jesus who got things a bit wrong. Is that really possible to say about all scholars? If not, why not?

…as an aside, this:
Casey’s dislike for orthodox Christianity is easily documented (see his responses to S.E. Porter, N.T. Wright in various articles and his monograph on John’s Gospel) and one wonders if this atheological aesthetic has impacted some of his conclusions (i.e. he likes to make sure nothing supports orthodox christology!)

Genuine question: what is orthodox Christology on ‘the son of man’? Did Lindars contradict the orthodoxy of his Christian faith for coming to similar conclusions to Casey on son of man? Or is orthodoxy to be equated with certain strands of evangelical thought?

And is there not something going on from leaping from general blinkers to the idea that people are too blinkered to see orthodox Christology, which developed over centuries, not only in the C1 but the historical Jesus too? I mean, it would have saved a lot of problems if Jesus (not to mention Paul, John and the others) had just told us about orthodox Christology back then. It’s not as odd, in itself (irrespective of Casey’s views) as Mike exclamation marks might suggest.

One general aside: Casey was hardly wrong (elsewhere) in suggesting Wright’s evangelical belief has interfered with his scholarship. I think it is fair to be suspicious when Wright comes to conclusion such as Mark 13 not referring to the second coming and the son of man coming on clouds meaning vindication (etc etc) based on no evidence for son of man ever meaning anything like this and Wright’s reading contradicting the problematic (and blindingly obvious I would argue and have argued) conclusion that Mark 13 predicts the return of Jesus within a generation. And I can’t help but think Wright’s belief gets in the way too much when he thinks the bodily resurrection is as historically likely as the fall of Jerusalem etc.

Back to Mike with this in mind, and back to the issue just mentioned above: is it possible to get historical results if ideology and presuppositions are so prominent…?

Generally on agendas etc. No one (or at least Casey) thinks there is no such thing as presupposition free exegesis or that cultural context doesn't dictate questions to some extent. I keep hearing such debates and I cannot begin to say how utterly bored I’ve got of personally defending the bleedin’ obvious about issues objectivity and neutrality (two concepts very much confused in such polemic), often in contexts of secular, evangelical etc. disputes. If anyone wants to know what I agree with/think (and I suspect Casey would generally agree with the conclusions) try more on agendas from a mainstream historian see the chapter in Evans, In Defence of History. See also my Why Christianity Happened ch. 1 and my chapter on history in Crossley and Karner (eds.) Writing History, Constructing Religion.

Some exegetical issues. Mike argues:
I would also ask, however, if Mark can cite the anarthrous hos huios anthropou on Dan. 7.13 LXX to create a Christological title, then why cannot someone earlier in the tradition or even Jesus do the same based on the Aramaic? Nothing necessitates a Marcan provenance for the connection of the Son of Man (in Greek or Aramaic) with Daniel 7

Maybe, but in terms of Jesus we have a real problem, not least because of the big historical problems surrounding Mk 13 and the trial scene. Like others I’ve argued that Mk 13 is the work of the early church, perhaps Mark, due to a number of factors, and is not likely to come from the historical Jesus. I am hardly alone in thinking this and plenty of other arguments are well made. I would not be revealing much if I mentioned the serious historical problems surrounding the trial scene. These reasons would enhance the idea that the son of man sayings in these contexts are likely to be secondary too and the reference to second coming would only enhance this kind of argument. So while nothing stops the connection with Dan 7 at an earlier level of tradition, I think some degree of suspicion (in terms of HJ) aimed at these two sayings is justified.

Mike does acknowledge that ‘the authenticity of several texts (e.g. Mk. 13.26, 14.62) are complex in their own right’ but adds ‘I do not subscribe to Casey’s view that they are secondary formulations that refer to Jesus’ parousia’. So what then? I would also ask Mike *if* he is implying that they do NOT refer to the parousia...what...?

After acknowledging the role of Aramaic background, Mike says this:
However, he occasionally gives the impression that he is providing us with the actual words of Jesus as he often makes a point why Jesus preferred one word over another. This is perhaps true for one or two short proverbial sayings (like maybe Mk. 10.45), but what Casey has really done is reconstructed a possible Aramaic tradition lying beneath the Greek text of the Gospels. That tradition is likely to be a paraphrase, summary, digest and gist of what Jesus said depending on what one makes of the oral tradition. For the most part (and I allow some exceptions) the Jesus tradition, regardless of what language we find it in, contains the ipsissima vox not the ipsissima verba of Jesus.

Impression? Well this gets too speculative again and would Casey actually disagree here? I doubt it, not least because he makes this clear in his work on Aramaic reconstructions. Besides, I would use terms like ‘John wrote…’, ‘Mark wrote…’ without necessarily believing that we know who the gospel authors were. It’s just shorthand. Is this not pretty common?

In a related way, Bird argues:
Casey’s burden is to show that an idiomatic usage of bar (e)nash(a) would not necessarily lead to a translation of ho anthropos or ho huios anthropou. I tend to think, following Bauckham and Hurtado, that the double articular Greek construction, inelegant as it is, was given to emphasize the particular emphasis that Jesus attached to the Aramaic phrase.

Ok, if this is so, how can the Bird’s son of man in Aramaic (which would have to be very original, right?) be weighed against known Aramaic use of son of man? How, in Aramaic, would this be done by Jesus? How would Mike account for Casey’s argument on the Aramaic emphatic and how it related to Greek translation?

Incidentally, and I’m not exactly engaging with Bird on this point (though it is obviously relevant), is not Mark 2.27-28 an excellent example of the more general frame of reference, only further emphasised by Matthew and Luke dropping the generalising Mark 2.27?

I’m afraid (sorry Danny) I’m going to mention the web-angry conservative comments made in the comments section on Mike’s blog and based, it would seem (see the reaction by Steph), not on Casey’s book and not based on his actual ideas but on Mike’s review.

I’ll focus on this one by Brant Pitre:
‘…but to suggest that he is not a Messiah in 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra is in my opinion, simply absurd. Whatever "underlying traditions" a scholar may want to create in their imaginations is one thing, but the actual TEXTS as they are extant explicitly identify the figure as "Messiah.”’

I’m a bit puzzled as to what we are talking about here: Casey’s book? And if so which pages and which arguments? Also, which version of 1 Enoch? Alternatively, is Brant talking about the English version of 1 Enoch or Ge’ez? Which manuscript version? I’m certainly no expert on this area but I believe the mss are pretty tricky to navigate. Another point, it is all well and good piously talking about 'the text' but already the Ge’ez is a translation of an earlier version and out of its original cultural context. Even more problematic, it seems (am I right?) as if Brant has actually misrepresented Mike’s review of Casey, which does not say what Brant says (unless Brant, of course, is referring to Casey’s book):
‘Casey also argues for an Aramaic tradition underlying 1 Enoch and *that the ‘son of man’ in 1 Enoch* [my emphasis] refers to Enoch himself and not to a Messiah. He similarly argues, *based on textual considerations* [my emphasis], that the term ‘Son of Man’ is not used in 4 Ezra.’

I think Brant will need to give more precise evidence from Casey’s book for me to say anything further because I’m not entirely sure what is actually being discussed here in terms of Casey's argument. Based on Mike’s representation, Casey isn’t actually saying what Brant wants it to say. But if it is Casey's book, I'd need references to properly respond.

In fact this leads to bigger questions aimed at many (not just the above - besides I have no idea of the language skills of the above mention, apart from Casey, obviously) and asked before and which Mike rightly comments at the end of his review:
Casey’s volume is a healthy reminder that all scholars of the Greek New Testament would do well if they also master the semitic languages of Palestine, the Hebrew Bible, and the eastern church.

Similarly, it so happens that the son of man problem always reminds me, more than almost any other issue in NT studies, about the need to know God-knows how many languages needed to tackle a problem like this. If NT texts were discussed at academic level and in detail without knowing Greek and Greek textual variants, how would people react? Presumably not impressed. If texts such as 1 Enoch and Daniel (not to mention others texts) were discussed at academic level in detail without knowing Ge’ez and Aramaic respectively (not to mention other languages), how would people (more precisely NT scholars) then react? It seems to me that this is much more ‘allowed’. Another related issue, is it best to know a lot of Aramaic and Greek if you are going to do comparative grammar, as needs to be done in the son of man problem? Well presumably. Now I have no idea precisely who knows what language(s) but I would be surprised if the people so qualified are little more than a handful in gospel studies. Away from critique of the many to comments on the few/one, at the very least Casey can say he has all these languages and reads the different texts and the often complicated versions.

This is all starting to sound far too incestuous and defensive for its own good. In that case, I’ll just remind you of the glorious victory against Barca and add that it is so, so sad that Liverpool had to go out so painfully.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Great response to Michael Bird, James. I think he really has some hard anwers to give. And wonderful to see a little more NT Wright bashing. I´ll have to get Casey´s book as soon as possible

P.S but Casey is definitely wrong about the "one like a son of man" in Daniel 7:13 being a symbol for the saints of the most High. He´s an angel - probably the archangel Michael.

May 01, 2008

 
Blogger Danny Zacharias said...

I don't mind being corrected :-) But I did clearly say that I need to get the book, meaning I haven't read it. :-)

Thanks for these comments.

May 02, 2008

 
Anonymous steph said...

Thank you - I feel at peace now!

May 02, 2008

 
Blogger Michael F. Bird said...

James,

1. I think you over-emphasize the negative aspects of my review. On the whole I think Casey has written a good book and I'm sympathetic to most of what he says.

2. On Casey and ideological biases, it makes no difference to me if Casey wishes to describe himself as irrglaube, secularist, or a happy agnostic. Casey does exhibit a somewhat ideological biases against theology and orthodox Christianity. As an example (and several come to mind), read footnote 19 of Casey's 1998 JSNT response to Wright. He objects that Wright "could mislead many people into maintaining a traditional form of Christian belief". Are these the words of an objective historian? This is a value laden remark against tradition Christianity! My point is that Casey is biased against "traditional" Christianity and this colours his present work (and I never said that an Aramaic approach is adverse to christology). It's a free country and Casey can say what he likes, but if Casey is going to assert that he's more historically objective than a group of Christian authors (note I didn't say 'completely objective') I have to say, "I don't think so mate"! To answer your question, presuppositions and biases do not hinder our historical study absolutely, but through the process of dialogue, affirmation, and critique we make steps towards an explanation of history.

3.Even if Mk. 13.26 and 14.62 are not authentic utterances of Jesus, you still can have a link with bar enasha and Dan. 7.13 much earlier than Mark. And again, I don't think these are parousia references. Mark 13.1-2 is about the temple and 14.62-64 is about exaltation (on the latter read Luke and Matthew's emmendation: "from NOW ON you will see the Son of Man").

4. No, Casey does make claims about actual words of Jesus but it was, as I said, "ocassionally" and not endemically. I'm not convinced on this.

5. On Casey and Daniel 7, I think Dan. 7.17 shows that the symbolism can refer to individual kings and I agree with Casey than the SM is not an angel.

Your doktorvater should be proud of your spirited defence of his approach.

May 02, 2008

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Yes, of course you were nice in parts but there's little point in me responding to the nice bits...

You say: 'On Casey and ideological biases, it makes no difference to me if Casey wishes to describe himself as irrglaube, secularist, or a happy agnostic. Casey does exhibit a somewhat ideological biases against theology and orthodox Christianity.'

Not quite truie tand this is where you are missing the point I think. Casey is actually hostile to a range of ideological biases in the discipline, including what we might call atheist or secular. Most significantly, when they obviously get in the way. It happens that a) Christian bias is most prominent so it is no surprise that he also fires at this. and b) some evangelical bias can mean some widespread staunch positions that simply cannot be changed for ideological reasons rather than historical research. So no surprise these issues turn up. The issue, for Casey (and I'm speaking for Casey here) is a drive for historical truth and it is not an issue of atheism, agnosticism, secularism or the like.

On Casey and belief(/whatever):
As an example (and several come to mind), read footnote 19 of Casey's 1998 JSNT response to Wright. He objects that Wright "could mislead many people into maintaining a traditional form of Christian belief". Are these the words of an objective historian? This is a value laden remark against tradition Christianity!
Casey's seems a fair point to me. What's the problem? The basic idea that Jesus did not uphold traditional Christianity is virtually a given otherwise it wouldn't have taken so long for traditional Christianity to develop. The fact that Wright cannot deny the historicity of a single passage in hundreds of pages says something. The problem will not go away by bringing up basic questions about objectivity. Besides, I still think you are confusing objectivity and neutrality here. Casey's statement may not be value-neutral but that's a different issue.

Incidentally, did Casey use the phrase 'objective historian'? I haven't got the article at hand so I can't check.

Mike, you said: '(and I never said that an Aramaic approach is adverse to christology)'. Well, nor did I accuse you of saying such a thing. Re-read what I said.

You also said, 'but if Casey is going to assert that he's more historically objective than a group of Christian authors (note I didn't say 'completely objective') I have to say, "I don't think so mate"!

Where did he *assert* this?

On Mark 13, are you therefore implying the son of man saying concerns the Temple rather than second coming? If so that will take some explaining!!!

On Mark 14, well Luke and Matthew obviously come after so is this wholly helpful for HJ studies?

On 5 are you responding to Antonio?

As for 'spirited' and pride. I'm into neither!

May 02, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Roman troops under Nero were let into Jerusalem by the prophets who had been locked in the sanctuary by the priests. All the fortresses including Masada had already been taken. On entry of the troops, most of the messianic priests were killed and most of the temple fortress (and the temple cult of the messianic priests) was destroyed. Jerusalem was garrissoned. The sanctuary was left standing for use by the prophets and as a symbol of what the temple once was. Nero travelled back through Greece to Rome to claim his triumph.

Jerusalem and the sanctuary were destroyed and looted later by Titus under Vespasian - opportunistically, they had to get their money from somewhere to pay for their troops to fight a civil war and for their subsequent building programme.

So may be Jerusalem didn't 'fall' as the lying Flavian historians told us it did, Jesus' resurrection was as fictitious as the 'fall' of Jerusalem, and Wright must be wrong - Ive seen that somewhere before.

May 02, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Yes, it does seem like Michael has mixed up my comments on Daniel 7:13 with James Crossley´s response. But I don´t grasp by what logic Michael argues that Daniel 7:13 doesn´t refer to an angel. In what way does Daniel 7:17 show, even if it is a symbol for individual kings (which it probably is), that 7:13 is not about an angelic being.
As for James comments on that perennial favourite of ours, N T Wrong, I think you put the limelight on the workingmethods of the good bishop again. Yes, hundreds of hundreds of pages and the good bishop cannot come up with a single saying that he can discard as unhistorical. He cannot even discard the christian zoombies walking around Jerusalem after the resurrection of their Lord in GMatthew. And the best answer the good bishop can come up with is that "strange things happen" or that "nobody would have invented a uterly strange story like this...".
That the good bishop can be lauded and applauded in a wide swath of christian scholarly circles just shows the dismally low
standards that are accepted and prized in many of the theological seminaries (take Chris Tilling who thinks Wright is the "best Jesus scholar" as a good example). I think Maurice Casey was much too kind to a pseudohistorian like Wright in his JSNT 1998 review. Things should be called by their proper name and if ever I have seen a pseudohistorian masquerading as a true historian then the good bishop is it.
And James, after reading Richard Bauckham´s book "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" I think I will have to put Bauckhaum (despite his immense erudition) on the long, long list of christian pseudohistorians. So he thinks the High Priest in Jerusalem was REALLY chasing after the miraculously raised from the dead Lazarus? I wonder if the High Priests guards followed the smell of Lazarus! And the good Bauckham thinks we should take the gospel stories in TRUST since they are based on eyewitness reports and things should be taken on trust unless we have evidence indicating that they shouldn´t. I wonder if the good professor uses the same trustfull standards when he pours through the Bhagavadghita or the stories about Budhha. Again hundreds upon hundreds of pages with a lots of speculation, maybee´s and philosophical mumojumbo but none of those commonsense questions that any historian worth his salt has the DUTY to ask

And I am as eager as James to see how Michael argues that Mark 13:26 refers to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70. Hopefully his arguments have more substance than N T Wright´s arguments that are not based on any evidence whatsoever.

As for Geoff Hudson I don´t grasp what that message is all about...

May 02, 2008

 
Anonymous steph said...

No - Casey does not use the phrase "objective historian" in the 1998 article "Where Wright is Wrong". Why would he? Rather than a defence of his approach (never mind the patronising "pride" and "spirited") there is a need to correct misrepresentation whenever it raises it's ugly head.

May 03, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Before Antonionio crows over how bad Wright and Bauckham are as historians, maybe he would like to crow even more over some professional ones who cite the writings attributed to Josephus as though they were holy writ. I could give him a whole list. When folk refer to the 'fall' of Jerusalem in 70, do they automatically think that it 'fell' exactly as the lying Flavian historians told us it did? Historians like Levick and Goodman do. It will be interesting to read Mason's new book on The War due out soon. But I bet he won't be too different from the others, particularly given his theolological background.

I dare say that Mark's source for 13:2 originally referred to the destruction of the altar which was built of unhewn stones - a construction that could have been torn down relatively easily. The story of the taring down of Herod's eagle from 'over the gate of the temple' is probably a garbled version of one such destruction (or at least a reduction in size) of the altar for burning animal sacrifices. So 14:6 in Mark's source probably referred to the coming of the Lord on the clouds of heaven, and that while the temple was still there. Then, for the prophetic writer, there would for sure be no more animal sacrifices for sins.

May 03, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Geoff,
I suppose you must be among the selected group of "true" historians who wouldn´t do childish mistakes like Levick or Goodman. But since I haven´t seen the evidence you present for your bold ideas about Nero having been present at the destruction of Jerusalem etc etc I really can´t judge if I am going to put you on the same exalted pedestal as Goodman. But I doubt that it will happen. Until you present more evidence yourself I will have to put you provisionally in the same legue as "historians" like Baigent and Leigh.
P.S And it doesn´t bode well that you appear to be involved in a personal vendetta with Jeffrey B. Gibson. I count Jeffrey as one of the brightest and most knowledgable persons in the bible business. You will have a hard time catching up with him.

May 03, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

That there was a strong belief among the prophets that the Lord would come soon is almost certainly evidenced by 1 Thess.4:13-17 which no doubt has been suitably doctored by its Pauline editor to convey the idea of resurrection of those that have 'fallen asleep' in place of the prophetic idea of spirits that have already risen on death of the body.

I suggest that the original prophetic writer, writing to "brother" Jews (4:13) was talking about those who rise, not those who "fall asleep". The Lord was to bring with him those who have risen in him, not "those who have fallen asleep in him" (4:14). Those who are "left till the coming of the Lord will certainly" meet those who have risen (4:15). And explicit is: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with": I suggest, those that have risen.(4:16). And "we will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."(4:17).

The original context was entirely Jewish and prophetic. So Mark's source for 13 was about the first coming of the Lord, not any second coming.

May 03, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Since I am into my bash-NT Wright mode this weekend I can´t stop making a few more reflections on the good reverend bishop. Happened to open a few pages of "The resurrection of the Son of God" again, specifically page 632-36 (ruptured Earth and rising corpses). Whenever I have forgotten the level of stupidity that humans can fall to I read things like this and am reminded of that sad fact. On page 636 the good bishop writes:

"But it remains the case that the events Matthew describes in 27:1-3, as well as being without parallel in other Christian sources, are without precedent in second-Temple expectation, and we may doubt wheter stories such as this would have been invented simply to "fulfil" prophecies that nobody had understood this way before. This is hardly a satisfactory conclusion, but it is better to remain puzzled than to settle for either a difficult argument for probable historicity or a cheap and cheerful rationalistic dismissal of the possibility. SOME STORIES ARE SO ODD THAT THEY MAY JUST HAVE HAPPENED. This may be one of them, but in historical terms there is no way of finding out."

Sounds like the good reverend bishop has just turned upsidedown the method historians usually use when smelling out phantasies from facts. Seems like the good reverend bishop is trying to argue that the more christian zombies, men walking on water, oliphants, unicorns, fairies, levitating santaclauses and other strange things we find in a text the more we may have reason to to believe that there may be something behind it.

And this is the charlatan Chris Tilling hails as "the best Jesus scholar on this planet". Chris even managed to put the good reverend bishops book "Jesus and the victory of God" at the top of his "20 most enjoyable books I have ever read".
Enough said about the good reverend bishop for today and enough said about his supporters at the theological seminars.

May 03, 2008

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Antonio, this question has been put to him since the publication of Resurrection of the Son of God but I don't know if he has answered it. It was put to him at a BNTC conference a few years ago and I put it to him in an article but the response did have a response on this (or many other issues). God or Wright only knows where Wright's logic would leave us in terms of academic biblical studies and let's hope he applies the same logic to non-Christian stories as you imply.

The other question is, where are all those dead saints now?

May 04, 2008

 
Anonymous steph said...

Didn't Philip Davies have the answer? Isn't Wright himself one of the dead saints? That's how he knows.

May 04, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Seems Antonio has his own vendetta. And I think he meant to type Mat.28:1-3 in the citation, as I don't see too much wrong with Mat.27:1-3.

Interestingly, Mat.27:3 tells us that "they handed him over to Pilate, the governor". But the parallel passage, Mk.(15:1) simply has: they "turned him over to Pilate". The assumption in Mark is that everyone knew who the person was to whom the prophet was handed over. So was the prophet handed over to Pilate at all? Was it someone else who everyone did know and would need no qualification? Thus Matthew knew Mark's source that did refer to a different well-known authority. So Matthew added "the governor" to Mark's substitution of Pilate for the other well-known person.

On page 66 of his book James The Brother of Jesus, Eisenman implies that "Pontius Pilate perhaps came to Palestine a decade earlier than is normally reckoned."

May 04, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Geoff Hudson wrote:
"Seems Antonio has his own vendetta. And I think he meant to type Mat.28:1-3 in the citation, as I don't see too much wrong with Mat.27:1-3."

No,I should have typed in Matt 28:51-3. That´s where we find all those zombies roaming around Jerusalem (wonder if Joseph Caiaphas sent his guards to kill them of too, just like John claims he did with poor Lazarus. You could make a hell of a good zombiemovie out that!).

And I am sure having something that looks like a onesided "vendetta" against the good reverend bishop. I really don´t think you can bash that man enough. Strange that his supporters at those theological seminars are not rushing out to defend their hero.

May 04, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

But Antonio, the advantage that you have with the Bishop is that he is always the same person. And Bauckham is a very nice man. My evangelical friends are too.

May 04, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

James, you wrote:
"this question has been put to him since the publication of Resurrection of the Son of God but I don't know if he has answered it. It was put to him at a BNTC conference a few years ago and I put it to him in an article but the response did have a response on this (or many other issues"

as unhistorical then he has pulled the rug himself from under his feet. Then people like us can ask that if folks like Matthew can invent stories about christan zombies what makes the good reverend bishop so sure that Matthew and the other gospel writers have not invented and embellished stories about the resurrection of Jesus.

The thing is that I don´t understand how the good reverend bishop can get away with cheap tricks like this. Who does he think he can fool? Does he really believe there is so much brainlessness at the theological seminars that people will not see that the emperor has no clothes? And this is what really angers me about the good reverend bishop; that much of his argumentation is a pure insult to the intelligence of his presumed readers.

The examples about the good reverend bishops cheap trickery can be multiplied ad infinitum. To take one more. It is hardly a coincidence that the good bishop decides to leave out GJohn from the reconstructing of his Jesus. Can anyone guess why? Because even an idiot can see that most of the sayings in that gospel are made up by the evangelist himself. And the good reverend bishop wants to avoid
answering HARD QUESTIONS like the one that if John can make up sayings of Jesus what makes the good reverend bishop so sure that the other gospel writers haven´t done the same. The good reverend bishop thinks he can sidestep the question (and 250 years of critical studies of the gospels from Remarius to Bultmann and beyond) and hope that nobody will notice. Of course you and me, James, notice but obviously those adulating fans of the good reverend bishop at the theological seminars think that their hero have done a wonderful job. Didn´t I say that the standards in biblical studies are often dismally low!

May 04, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Sorry, my earlier message got a bit messed up. Here is the correct version:

James, you wrote:
"this question has been put to him since the publication of Resurrection of the Son of God but I don't know if he has answered it. It was put to him at a BNTC conference a few years ago and I put it to him in an article but the response did have a response on this (or many other issues"

I wonder if the response you are talking about from the good reverend bishop was in the debate you had with him in the Journal for the study of the historical Jesus in 1995. I don´t recall the bishop answering that particular question about the zombies in Matthew, but I will take a look again at the articles.

But I think you and me already know the real reason why the good reverend bishop makes such leaps of folly on page 632-635 in his “The resurrection of the son of God”. These christian apologets masquerading as historians are so transparent. The good reverend bishop knows quite well that if he discards the zombies in Matthew as unhistorical then he has pulled the rug himself from under his feet. Then people like us can ask that if folks like Matthew can invent stories about christan zombies what makes the good reverend bishop so sure that Matthew and the other gospel writers have not invented and embellished stories about the resurrection of Jesus.

The thing that I don´t understand is how the good reverend bishop can get away with cheap tricks like this. Who does he think he can fool? Does he really believe there is so much brainlessness at the theological seminars that people will not see that the emperor has no clothes? And this is what really angers me about the good reverend bishop; that much of his argumentation is a pure insult to the intelligence of his presumed readers.

The examples about the good reverend bishops cheap trickery can be multiplied ad infinitum. To take one more. It is hardly a coincidence that the good bishop decides to leave out GJohn from the reconstructing of his Jesus. Can anyone guess why? Because even an idiot can see that most of the sayings in that gospel are made up by the evangelist himself. And the good reverend bishop wants to avoid answering HARD QUESTIONS like the one that if John can make up sayings of Jesus what makes the good reverend bishop so sure that the other gospel writers haven´t done the same. The good reverend bishop thinks he can sidestep the question (and 250 years of critical studies of the gospels from Remarius to Bultmann and beyond) and hope that nobody will notice. Of course you and me, James, notice but obviously those adulating fans of the good reverend bishop at the theological seminars think that their hero have done a wonderful job. Didn´t I say that the standards in biblical studies are often dismally low!

May 04, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

So how does Antonio know that "standards in biblical studies are often dismally low"? Where does he teach biblical studies? What qualifications does he have to be so critical? What books has he written that others might equally criticize? Perhaps he has only written one book many moons ago, like someone else I know. If if feels so badly, he should ask Wright to his face. After all, Antonionio appears so knowledgeable about seminars in biblical studies.

May 05, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

In any case, instead of having nightmares about zombies in Matthew invoked by Wright, why doesn't Antonionio save his breath for the real history? For example, are the events surrounding Pilate, as described in the writings attributed to Josephus, as unlikely as Antonionio's zombies that appear in Matthew? So if it wasn't Pilate, who was it? And on the subject of Nero, Antonionio, one really does have to be one of your idiots not to recognise Nero and Agrippina in the story of Izates and Helena, as in the holy writ of Antiquities 20. And of course, I forgot to mention, that on his apparent 'holiday to Greece' in 66, Nero had with him an army large enough to "have subdued both Parthians and other nations" would you believe, according to the devious Dio. And who would then have been his general in Judea, but none other than the Praetorian Prefect Ofonius Tigellinus. So instead of Titus, read Nero, but make sure that you understand that Jotapata is Qumran, Japha is Masada and Gamala is Machaerus which should all be elementary my dear Watson - that is for someone who fancies himself as a Sherlock Holmes.

May 05, 2008

 
Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Geoff,
"by their fruits ye shall know them".
And seeing your fruits so far they appear to be even more rotten than the ones of bishop Wright and Bauckham. One who can´t even spell a name right has problems...

May 05, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Ah, but one who spells it wrong knowingly doesn't. It's when you don't know your mad that you are. So hows about some answers Antonio? No need to hide your light under a bushel.

May 05, 2008

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

So Antonio is "a" name is it? Is this a Freudian slip? Or are you being honest that you are hiding behind a pseudonym? I just love such folk.

May 06, 2008

 

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