Some Axioms of Historical-Critical/Theological Research

Discuss the world of the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
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Re: Some Axioms of Historical-Critical/Theological Research

Post by Blood » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:42 pm

Here's William H.C. Propp making the point that theologians are not historians, an essential point that apparently even most critical thinkers cannot grasp.

"Unlike almost all biblical scholars, who operate in departments of religious studies, or religion, I am a professor of history. [His emphasis.] ... in history, the evidentiary bar is considerably higher than it is in religion."

The whole video is worth watching, it being a great lecture on the non-historicity of Exodus.
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Some Axioms of Historical-Critical/Theological Research

Post by Leucius Charinus » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:06 pm

Blood wrote: 4. There Was No Ancient Religion Called "Paganism."
Theologians simply take it for granted that it is historically accurate and acceptable to lump all ancient religions besides their own under the rubric "paganism." This is closely related to Axion #2, the basic idea being that the "Abrahamic" Religions are historical and worthy of serious study, while the thousands of other ancient religions are mythical and therefore easily dismissed as irrelevant. This is again founded on Christian apologetics, not facts or history, and should not be taken seriously by non-theologians. Sadly, most historians follow the theologians in making this error, a prime example of theology contaminating actual history.
I'd like to discuss this one.

My position rests on evidence cited by Robin Lane Fox that might be interpreted to imply that the term "pagan" was coined as a pejorative term for the "Christian Other" by the Christians living in the cities in the 4th century. The evidence cited by Fox is:

Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians p.31

p.31: the word "pagani: in everyday use meant "civilian" and/or "rustic".
"pagani: first appears in christian inscriptions from early 4th century.
"pagani: earliest use in the Law Codes in Codex Theodosius 16.2.18 (c.370)
"pagani: is a word coined by christians -- of the towns and cities.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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