Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by neilgodfrey »

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 4:16 pm
Doctors for medicine
I don't know how you do things in Australia. In the United States, medical advice is professionally dispensed by physicians, physician's assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, registered nurses, and in some cases, pharmacists (although not to the same extent as pharmacists are consulted in some places in Europe). Probably there are others I'm not thinking of, but you get the idea.

Which type of provider somebody consults depends in large part on what information or assistance is sought.

That seems to parallel the accommodation I am suggesting. If I have a question about the human past which a historian finds worthy of their attention, then I should consult a historian. But if I should happen to have some lesser question about the human past, one which historians find unworthy of their time or attention, then I'll have to seek my advice elsewhere or instead do without.

Why should I do without? What's the historians' objection if they don't sell what I want to buy and so I direct my custom to somebody who does sell it? I didn't remove them from the qualified vendor pool, they removed themselves.
That's not how historians are organized or how history is studied. ;-)

But I dare say that all of those medical practitioners of various degrees all subscribe to common medical standards and none would professionally recommend a looney goo cure for a serious illness. In Australia, at least, there are national medical standards that all levels of practitioner are expected to abide by.

Paul the Uncertain wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 4:16 pm
if we think as laypersons we can do better and know more than any in their respective fields with understanding the principles involved in those special fields...
I suppose it would be churlish to point out the similarity between that and Professor McGrath's explanation of why people trained outside his special field should defer to him and his colleagues in the guild on Bible-related questions.

Regardless, directing my question to somebody willing and qualified to answer it is not a claim that I can do better or know more than anybody else about anything. Recognizing that a question is well-posed is not a competitive activity.
Hardly churlish but to the point I have been repeating here many times: biblical historians do not abide by the practices of normative historical methods and their claims to be historians (like other historians) is simply false. When it comes to certain historical topics a good many of them, though sincere, do indeed practice a form or history like charlatans, snake-oil salesmen, homeopaths, etc ... pretending to be "real historians". Hence some of those "real historians" roll their eyes in incredulity at some of their "methods".
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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Paul the Uncertain wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 4:16 pm Regardless, directing my question to somebody willing and qualified to answer it is not a claim that I can do better or know more than anybody else about anything. Recognizing that a question is well-posed is not a competitive activity.
This is quite a reasonable question to raise, but the answer is also a reasonable one. It is reasonable to ask, "But where did God come from?" or "Who made God?" -- perfectly reasonable. But the theologian explains that the question is invalid because, in his superior theological and physicist understandings, explains that the concept of eternity has no beginning. So the questioner must learn that the question is beside the point and is based on a misunderstanding of the nature God and infinity.

A scientist today will explain that a particle can be in two places at the same time and a reasonable questioner will ask "How so, since that is not possible?" and the scientist has to explain that when one learns a bit more about physics then there are some things that defy normal expectation. It is no good to reject physics because it doesn't meet the logical demands of the lay person.

Doctors are often being asked questions about cures that they "know" cured somebody of cancer or whatever and the doctors are forever having to explain that their training and all of the evidence must offer them the counterintuitive reply that correlation is not causation in many cases, and just because they rubbed their left elbow while turning three times under the full moon and the next day no longer had their chronic cough .... you get the idea.

A common lay misunderstanding is about the nature of the past, as if there is one true national history, for example, and that it is sacrilege and lying dishonesty to tamper with it. What the lay person often fails to grasp is that the story they have been told is a myth, an ideological narrative, and is not the way the past really was.

Historians do have things to teach students -- and lay audiences generally -- about the nature of history and how it works. Historians themselves have been learning as they think through their activity. Once they thought, most of them, that "laws of history" could be discovered by studying the past. They've learned that that was wrong and history is not a science in that particular sense. So if a lay person insists on discovering "laws" in history then the opinion of the historian does have some validity when he or she can explain why the lay person's quest is misguided.

And so forth.
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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none would professionally recommend a looney goo cure for a serious illness.
No, none would.
biblical historians do not abide by the practices of normative historical methods and their claims to be historians (like other historians) is simply false
Nevertheless, the resemblance stands as claimed.

Perhaps the indeterminacy of language explains how the biblical studies' professionals claims to be historians (because they do in fact study specific aspects of the human past) conflict with other meanings of the word historian.

Could be, and if so, then good for you to clarify that for the benefit of both specialties.

Meanwhile, I have questions about the human past which are well-posed and which academic historians won't answer. It doesn't follow that I will direct some of the questions to biblical scholars instead, it just follows I won't pester historians with questions they won't answer anyway.

The questions are well-posed, however, and I will seek answers to them. Historians do not determine whether or not questions are well-posed, that quality inheres to the question and its form. Historians do determine what questions they will field. I have no problem with that.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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Paul the Uncertain wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 5:07 pm
Meanwhile, I have questions about the human past which are well-posed and which academic historians won't answer. It doesn't follow that I will direct some of the questions to biblical scholars instead, it just follows I won't pester historians with questions they won't answer anyway.
I don't know which historians you have asked but have they explained why they "won't answer"?

(What sound is green? what became before infinity? those are well-posed questions. but there are reasons X or Y will not answer them and will explain why)
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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Actually, I'm hearing from you that there are well-posed questions about the human past that academic historians would decline to answer. Apparently, the reason has something to do with the best possible answers being substantially uncertain, which seems to be unacceptable for questions whose answers would preferably be fact claims.

"What sound is green?" is debatable as to whether or not it is well posed (Chomsky wrote some interesting things about such critters, as I suspect you know). It is, in any case, not a question about the human past, which strikes me as a great reason for any historian to pass on it.

"What came before infinity?" appears to be about the past, but might be an example of why some people use the qualified term "the human past" to define the scope of historical inquiries.
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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Well we can ask all we want to know about the past but the past is dead and gone so unless there are special circumstances that have left just the right records of the past then it will simply be impossible to answer factually what even the most well-posed question would like to know. We can't on that account justifiably turn to seances or other communications with the dead or appeal to our own imaginative speculations to find out what happened when the particular thing we want to know has left us no trace.
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

Well now - after the latest history lesson - a recap on ancient history:

Aretas III

Aretas III (/ˈærɪtəs/;[1] Arabic: حارثة الثالث‎ Ḥārthah; Greek: Αρέτας Arétās) was king of the Nabataean kingdom from 87 to 62 BCE.

Conquest of Damascus

Damascus straddled the primary commercial route from the Mediterranean Sea to India and the Middle East. The city was taken from the loosening grip of the Seleucid Empire in 85 BCE by Aretas, who styled himself as Aretas Philhellen (Philhellen, "friend of the Greeks").[4] He ordered the mints of Damascus to produce the first silver Nabataean coins, in a Hellenic style and lettering his name in the Greek language instead of Nabatean Aramaic.[5] To further reinforce the new culture of the Nabataeans, Aretas endeavoured to bring architecture of Greek and Roman fashion to the Nabataean capital, Petra,[6] and to new settlements such as Humayma, including a 26.8 km aqueduct.[7] Nabataean rule of Damascus was interrupted in 72 BCE by a successful siege led by the Armenian king Tigranes II. Armenian rule of the city ended in 69 BCE when Tigranes' forces were pulled out to deal with a Roman attack on the Armenian capital, allowing Aretas to re-take the city.


Aretas IV Philopatris

Aretas IV Philopatris (Nabataean Aramaic: 𐢊𐢛𐢞𐢞 ḤRTT, possibly Ḥāritat;[1] Arabic: حارثة الرابع‎) was the King of the Nabataeans from roughly 9 BC to AD 40.


Damascus

It is speculated that control of Damascus was gained by Aretas IV Philopatris of Nabatea between the death of Herod Philip in 33/34 AD and the death of Aretas in 40 AD but there is substantial evidence against Aretas controlling the city before 37 AD and many reasons why it could not have been a gift from Caligula between 37 and 40 AD.[52][53] In fact, all these theories stem not from any actual evidence outside the New Testament but rather "a certain understanding of 2 Corinthians 11:32" and in reality "neither from archaeological evidence, secular-historical sources, nor New Testament texts can Nabatean sovereignty over Damascus in the first century AD be proven."


Unknown Aretas V

Greg Doudna

The case for a short-lived, otherwise uncorroborated Aretas V of 69-70 CE--this is original from me--is not yet published. I start from the well-known problems with making sense of Aretas IV controlling Damascus in the 30s CE in light of 2 Cor 11:32. Then I argue to establish plausibility for an Aretas V at 69-70 following a death of Malichus II in the last year attested for him, sometime in his Year 31 argued to be the year 69-70 (Nisan to Nisan). It happens that 69-70 was a time when Nabatean forces were actively allied with and provided military units under the command of Vespasian and Titus. In that context Roman control of Damascus could well have been implemented by Nabatean auxiliaries under Roman command such that Paul's claim to have escaped a commander under king Aretas controlling the walls of Damascus could be other language for Roman control of Damascus in 69-70, in a way that was not the case with Aretas IV.

https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/comment ... mment-1046

The historian Dr. Richard Carrier:

Doudna: You did not respond to any point I made. Ignoring content and obsessing over tone instead is precisely the behavior of a crank. As also of anyone who does not have a legitimate case to make.

Richard Carrier is a historian - and he says Greg Doudna does not have a legitimate case to make. Is Carrier following the proper historical methods when stating the above ?

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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

Historian Dr Richard Carrier:

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archive ... ment-32859

ŔUSSELL DOWSETT AUGUST 21, 2021, 12:09 AM

Richard, here is the link to Neil Godfrey’s Godfrey’s article touching on the veracity of the King Aretas reference in Paul.
https://vridar.org/2021/08/15/reason-to ... s-letters/

RICHARD CARRIER AUGUST 23, 2021, 3:46 PM
Thank you.

Those appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of Imagination. I can easily find entirely coherent intentions in the passage and its context. So that some guys couldn’t, is not evidence of an interpolation, but of their lack of imagination or their failure to discern Paul’s actual point.

Note you cannot understand this passage if you do not recognize how Paul is associating himself with other Biblical heroes (a context that illuminates a lot of what Paul means the Corinthians to understand here), and relying on his readers already knowing what he is talking about. The verse makes no sense as an interpolation in the latter regard, as an interpolator would have to make more sense of the insertion and its point and context (because an interpolator cannot assume his readers already know what he is talking about; even the story in Acts cannot be such, because it has no relation to Aretas or Paul’s point to the Corinthians—the author of Acts is fictionalizing and writing revisionist history from this passage in Paul, just as he does with the narrative in Galatians: cf. OHJ, Ch. 9).

Balance of probability strongly favors authenticity here. Citing a bunch of scholars who lack imagination and totally miss Paul’s point and the assumptions Paul is depending on is not going to move the needle.

Whatever are Carrier's views on interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 - methinks he is right on one thing. Interpolation ''is not going to move the needle''. Interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 would be to deny the text an opportunity to have it's say regarding Paul in Damascus under Aretas. Aretas III being the only Aretas to have control of Damascus. Which suggests that the timeline of Aretas III has a relevance for the early Jewish roots of Christianity.

Interestingly, in the article Carrier has linked 'Biblical heroes' to the spies escaping over the walls of Jericho.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NIV

(Carrier's link in the copied post does not work - but the link is the link listed above.)

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by neilgodfrey »

maryhelena wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:13 pm
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archive ... ment-32859

ŔUSSELL DOWSETT AUGUST 21, 2021, 12:09 AM

Richard, here is the link to Neil Godfrey’s Godfrey’s article touching on the veracity of the King Aretas reference in Paul.
https://vridar.org/2021/08/15/reason-to ... s-letters/

RICHARD CARRIER AUGUST 23, 2021, 3:46 PM
Thank you.

Those appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of Imagination. I can easily find entirely coherent intentions in the passage and its context. So that some guys couldn’t, is not evidence of an interpolation, but of their lack of imagination or their failure to discern Paul’s actual point.

A web search for "argument from lack of imagination" will yield up numerous explanations demonstrating that Russell Dowsett has misunderstood and misused the term "argument from lack of imagination", otherwise known as the "argument from incredulity". He has, on the other hand, fallen into "the fallacy of invincible ignorance" by which he simply ignores the arguments he is opposing -- denying himself any capacity to even entertain their logic and evidence-base and reasoning (his own "fallacy of lack of imagination") -- and responds as follows:
The Fallacy of Invincible Ignorance: This is one of the strange errors in logic, by which a person justifies outright dismissal of all arguments and conclusions, no matter how objective the facts and reasonings are in support of a position.
There are several instances of argument from fact-free, uncontrolled imagination and Dowsett's is one of them. Simply declaring "I can imagine X to be true" is not an especially strong argument in most people's books.
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 2:34 pm
maryhelena wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:13 pm
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archive ... ment-32859

ŔUSSELL DOWSETT AUGUST 21, 2021, 12:09 AM

Richard, here is the link to Neil Godfrey’s Godfrey’s article touching on the veracity of the King Aretas reference in Paul.
https://vridar.org/2021/08/15/reason-to ... s-letters/

RICHARD CARRIER AUGUST 23, 2021, 3:46 PM
Thank you.

Those appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of Imagination. I can easily find entirely coherent intentions in the passage and its context. So that some guys couldn’t, is not evidence of an interpolation, but of their lack of imagination or their failure to discern Paul’s actual point.

A web search for "argument from lack of imagination" will yield up numerous explanations demonstrating that Russell Dowsett has misunderstood and misused the term "argument from lack of imagination", otherwise known as the "argument from incredulity". He has, on the other hand, fallen into "the fallacy of invincible ignorance" by which he simply ignores the arguments he is opposing -- denying himself any capacity to even entertain their logic and evidence-base and reasoning (his own "fallacy of lack of imagination") -- and responds as follows:
The Fallacy of Invincible Ignorance: This is one of the strange errors in logic, by which a person justifies outright dismissal of all arguments and conclusions, no matter how objective the facts and reasonings are in support of a position.
There are several instances of argument from fact-free, uncontrolled imagination and Dowsett's is one of them. Simply declaring "I can imagine X to be true" is not an especially strong argument in most people's books.
The argument against interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 is from Richard Carrier - not from Russell Dowsett. All Russell Dowsett has done is post a link to your blog argicle - and Carrier is giving his appraisal of that blog article. Saying, in regard to that blog article: ''These appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of imagination.''

RICHARD CARRIER AUGUST 23, 2021, 3:46 PM
Thank you.

Those appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of Imagination. I can easily find entirely coherent intentions in the passage and its context. So that some guys couldn’t, is not evidence of an interpolation, but of their lack of imagination or their failure to discern Paul’s actual point.

Note you cannot understand this passage if you do not recognize how Paul is associating himself with other Biblical heroes (a context that illuminates a lot of what Paul means the Corinthians to understand here), and relying on his readers already knowing what he is talking about. The verse makes no sense as an interpolation in the latter regard, as an interpolator would have to make more sense of the insertion and its point and context (because an interpolator cannot assume his readers already know what he is talking about; even the story in Acts cannot be such, because it has no relation to Aretas or Paul’s point to the Corinthians—the author of Acts is fictionalizing and writing revisionist history from this passage in Paul, just as he does with the narrative in Galatians: cf. OHJ, Ch. 9).

Balance of probability strongly favors authenticity here. Citing a bunch of scholars who lack imagination and totally miss Paul’s point and the assumptions Paul is depending on is not going to move the needle.

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