Giuseppe wrote: ↑
Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:33 am
Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑
Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:28 am
I am not sure what you are trying to say. Stephan was clearly wrong in that quotation; he is often wrong when he goes off on one of his rants. Are you saying that he was wrong, or are you agreeing with him in his wrongness? I cannot tell.
It is a way to say that I can sense that the true reason behind your reluctance to (even only) see a crucifixion in Outer Space in Hebrews is the fact that it is "your faith in your ancestors that decides matters for you".
Okay, then, you are clearly wrong, as well. Faith in my ancestors? This kind of critique is not even helpful to me, because I know instantly that there is nothing to it. I have spent years and years trying to rid myself of the biases which would impede being able to get an accurate handle on the evidence — on any
evidence, really, from any field of study, though I have done far more work in this respect in Christian origins than in any other field (my most current endeavor is to rid myself of those biases when it comes to sociopolitical issues; and I am definitely not there yet).
If you wanted to salvage a kernel of an idea from behind Stephan's accusation, you could
accurately suggest that sometimes I am slow to see things that others have seen in the evidence. The conventional way of looking at things carries an enormous inertia which can impede critical inquiry, and yes, I have been guilty of being conventional many, many times. You yourself have witnessed this in me a number of times on this forum.
But convention is not faith, at least not in the sense implied in a heavy phrase such as "faith in your ancestors." Far more importantly, though, even if one can see similarities between convention and faith, it has absolutely nothing to do with ancestors in this case. I do not default on occasion to the conventional view because my ancestors did so; I default on occasion to the conventional view because it is easier
, which is also why many of my ancestors (and yours) defaulted to that view, as well. Duh. (And I mean that sincerely: duh.)
(Let me add here that there are some people for whom bucking convention is
easy. In fact, their kneejerk reaction is to think that the conventional view is wrong simply by virtue of it being the conventional view. Such a tendency is completely uncritical. Bucking convention in any meaningful
way is always going to be hard, whereas it is very easy for some people to leap to the conclusion: Ipse dixit
, therefore it must
Take my work on the whole issue of Messiah ben Joseph. I currently lean toward the view that Jesus (who, I remind you, I am not even sure existed, whatever
my bleeding ancestors may think) was (A) not even thought to be the scion of David at first, (B) thought at some point to be the scion of Joseph and Ephraim, and (C), even if he existed, not a member of the family to which James the Just belonged. This is not the conventional view; nor, obviously, is my position that Jesus may not have existed at all, that much/most/all of the evidence may be explained just about as well on grounds other than his historicity. But getting to my currently preferred view on Jesus and Messiah ben Joseph was hard
. I spent months in limbo, trying to figure out what was going on in a few of the texts, trying to piece together plausible trajectories. I expressed some of my frustration during this time at one point on this forum
perseusomega9 wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:06 pm
Perhaps you can throw out some of your recent conjectures Ben, you obviously have a few in mind.
I hate to disappoint, but most of my recent investigations have been been hitting dead ends. I have, for example, been trying to piece together what is going on with James the Just, the other "brothers of the Lord," and the δεσπόσυνοι, but none of my reconstructions seem to come out measurably better than other reconstructions which draw conclusions opposite to mine. I mean, my reconstruction seems viable, but I cannot articulate very many or very good reasons for preferring it over others.
So, when you come along (or, actually, Doherty comes along) to suggest reading Hebrews in an unconventional way, a negative response on my part is very, very unlikely to have anything whatsoever to do with any ancestors, whether mine or others'. It is far more likely due either (A) to unconventional readings being hard
to put together in a convincing way (by which I mean convincing to myself
), as I mentioned, or (B) to my already having put in some effort on this very matter, some of that effort in debate with Doherty himself years ago.
Now, I may be wrong about Hebrews and a celestial crucifixion. That is always possible. But that is not the accusation on the table.
One last thing: if the idea actually struggling to be expressed in that expression, "faith in your ancestors," is
, in your view, the same as how I am describing convention, then that phrase is wholly unsuited to the task, and another one ought to be used. If you were to have accused me, for example, of not always being sufficiently critical of the conventional (often also the prima facie
) reading, I would have cheerfully replied, "Yes, that is true. I am not always sufficiently critical of the conventional reading." But to pin the matter on something like "faith in my ancestors," well, the idea is laughable and ridiculous.