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Book Plunge: Truth In A Culture of Doubt

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  • Book Plunge: Truth In A Culture of Doubt

    My thoughts on Kosteenberger, Bock, and Chatraw's book: http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/20...ture-of-doubt/

  • #2
    I'm familiar with Kostenberger and Bock, but not Chatraw.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
    sigpic
    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

    Comment


    • #3
      Honestly, I think that a big part of the reason that Ehrman has had such an effect on believers (in addition to the general ignorance of scholarship which Nick mentioned) is that Evangelicals have turned him into something of a bogeyman. He has been villified and unfairly portrayed as if he is on a devilish mission to destroy Christianity. Pastors and apologists regularly set him up as an Enemy of the Faith, rather than simply addressing him as a scholar. Your average churchgoer, knowing nothing about scholarship beyond what they hear on Sunday or from scattered seminars, thereby avoid Ehrman's books as if they had been written by Satan, himself.

      As an example, a friend of mine runs an apologetics ministry. This past June, he gave a seminar in which he presented some of his answers to "How Jesus Became God." After several months worth of advertising for the seminar (which had explicitly noted that its prime purpose was to discuss this book) there were probably 100 to 150 people in attendance. At the beginning of his presentation, my friend asked who had actually read "How Jesus Became God." I was the only person who raised a hand.

      When many Christians actually do begin to read some of Ehrman's books, they often become surprised to learn that he does not present the virulent anti-Christian sentiment which has been ascribed to him. He doesn't attack religion, like Dawkins. He doesn't misrepresent Christian history and theology, like Hitchens. He presents a simple and scholarly viewpoint, backed by citations from primary sources and the scholarship of other experts; and he explicitly states that his position should not constitute a threat to Christianity, noting that numerous other scholars who share his understanding of scholarship are Christians. When a person who has heard villainous mischaracterizations of Ehrman reads his work and comes to this realization, they begin to wonder why he was so misrepresented by people who are supposed to be heralds of the Truth.

      Now, I agree that Ehrman ignores a good deal of the scholarship which disagrees with the view he presents, and I would certainly love to see him address more of this work. However, I feel that churches would do far better to present an irenic and scholarly response to Ehrman than the general response he has actually received. It is precisely the attitude of "anyone who disagrees with us is of the devil" which engenders division within a church, as well as without-- as can be readily seen by churches that have had a KJV-Onlyist schism, or by the current rift between Geisler and Licona.
      "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
      --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

      Comment


      • #4
        It seems to me that you're engaging in some hyperbole yourself here, BP. IMU, Ehrman does attack Christianity in his popular-level books, which are distinctly less scholarly than his more academic tomes. Part of that is by design, but AFAIR he says things in his pop-level works that would not pass muster in a scholarly work. His scholarly works can certainly be useful, and it could be that those attacking his other works need to acknowledge that.
        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
        sigpic
        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
          It seems to me that you're engaging in some hyperbole yourself here, BP. IMU, Ehrman does attack Christianity in his popular-level books, which are distinctly less scholarly than his more academic tomes.
          As for his popular-level books being "distinctly less scholarly" than his academic work, I should think that is simply to be expected.

          Do you have any quotes from his popular-level books which you would argue are attacks against Christianity, as a whole? I will certainly admit that he attacks fundamentalist Christianity and the idea of Biblical inerrancy, but I cannot recall any time at which he was actually attacking Christianity.

          Part of that is by design, but AFAIR he says things in his pop-level works that would not pass muster in a scholarly work. His scholarly works can certainly be useful, and it could be that those attacking his other works need to acknowledge that.
          I agree that he says some things in his popular work which he might not think to include in a scholarly article, but I would again think that this is rather to be expected. I would hardly consider such a thing to be an attack on Christianity.
          "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
          --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
            As for his popular-level books being "distinctly less scholarly" than his academic work, I should think that is simply to be expected.

            Do you have any quotes from his popular-level books which you would argue are attacks against Christianity, as a whole? I will certainly admit that he attacks fundamentalist Christianity and the idea of Biblical inerrancy, but I cannot recall any time at which he was actually attacking Christianity.

            I agree that he says some things in his popular work which he might not think to include in a scholarly article, but I would again think that this is rather to be expected. I would hardly consider such a thing to be an attack on Christianity.
            I think that books such as "Forged," Misquoting Jesus" and "God's Problem" can reasonably be considered to be attacks on Christianity. They may be somewhat indirect, but they are attacks nonetheless. And I'm alleging rather more than a simple "things he might not think to include." As JP Holding (who has read quite a bit of Ehrman's work) says:

            Source: JP Holding

            His scholarly work is fair. His popular works are full of half-truths and errors, mostly the former, and he speaks out frequently on topics he has no business talking about (problem of evil, divine titles of Jesus, etc) -- his specialty is textual criticism.

            © Copyright Original Source

            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
            sigpic
            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
              I think that books such as "Forged," Misquoting Jesus" and "God's Problem" can reasonably be considered to be attacks on Christianity. They may be somewhat indirect, but they are attacks nonetheless.
              I honestly don't think any of these can reasonably be considered to be attacks on Christianity (although, I will admit that I have not yet read God's Problem). What is it about these books that you consider to be an attack?

              And I'm alleging rather more than a simple "things he might not think to include." As JP Holding (who has read quite a bit of Ehrman's work) says:

              Source: JP Holding

              His scholarly work is fair. His popular works are full of half-truths and errors, mostly the former, and he speaks out frequently on topics he has no business talking about (problem of evil, divine titles of Jesus, etc) -- his specialty is textual criticism.

              © Copyright Original Source

              I would rather disagree with J.P. that Ehrman has "no business" talking about the divine titles of Jesus, and I'd be interested to see what he classifies as "half-truths." As far as the problem of evil goes, I wouldn't look to Ehrman for an expert opinion on the present general scholarship of that topic, but neither was I aware that he had made any pretense towards expertise, in that area.
              "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
              --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                I honestly don't think any of these can reasonably be considered to be attacks on Christianity (although, I will admit that I have not yet read God's Problem). What is it about these books that you consider to be an attack?
                Alleging that the Christian scriptures are forgeries and not representative of the truth, IMO, are attacks on them (and thus on Christianity itself).
                Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

                Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                sigpic
                I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                  Alleging that the Christian scriptures are forgeries and not representative of the truth, IMO, are attacks on them (and thus on Christianity itself).
                  Ehrman never alleges that the Christian scriptures are not representative of theological or spiritual truths, in "Forged." He simply argues that the authors of some (not all) of the NT books were not who they claimed to be.

                  The first time I heard that books like the Pastoral Epistles and 2 Peter were pseudepigraphical, I learned it from devout Christians. Such claims are not attacks on Christianity.
                  "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                  --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                    Ehrman never alleges that the Christian scriptures are not representative of theological or spiritual truths, in "Forged." He simply argues that the authors of some (not all) of the NT books were not who they claimed to be.

                    The first time I heard that books like the Pastoral Epistles and 2 Peter were pseudepigraphical, I learned it from devout Christians. Such claims are not attacks on Christianity.
                    IIRC Ben Witherington takes this stance on the pastoral epistles and nobody calls him an enemy of Christianity.
                    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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