historian of early Christianity

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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mlinssen
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historian of early Christianity

Post by mlinssen »

An interesting one

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dominic_Crossan

John Dominic Crossan (born 17 February 1934) is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, former Catholic priest who was a prominent member of the Jesus Seminar, and emeritus professor at DePaul University

It reminds me of the usual suspects calling the gospels historical records and such. Crossan has a Doctor of Divinity degree but nowhere does it say that he studied History, let alone that he got a degree in it.
What am I missing?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian
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GakuseiDon
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by GakuseiDon »

From the Wiki "Historian" link:

"A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it."

That seems to cover Crossan. Is there a better definition for the category of "historian"? And if we can remove Crossan from that category, does that make his points wrong?
StephenGoranson
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by StephenGoranson »

Without agreeing with his writings, imo, Crossan's learning, including at Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, seems to me substantial.
StephenGoranson
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by StephenGoranson »

Is it possible that an individual may experience delusions of grandeur?
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neilgodfrey
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by neilgodfrey »

The author Tom Holland writes historical books on Rome, Persia, Medieval Europe and other without a degree in history and no-one could really deny that he should be called a historian -- though some of his historical works read in places more like novels.

But to the point of the question, we have a parallel with David Irving, the infamous holocaust denier, and his credentials and whether he should be called a historian. Richard Evans, "a real" professional historian, wrote in Lying About Hitler:
. . . . Irving had never held a post in a university history department or any other academic institution. He did not even have a degree. He had started a science degree at London University but never finished it. “I am an untrained historian,” he had confessed in 1986. “His­ tory was the only subject I flunked when I was at school.”4 Several decades on from his self-confessedly disastrous schoolboy encounter with the subject, however, Irving clearly laid great stress on the fact that the catalogue of his work demonstrated that he had now become a ‘rep­utable historian’:5
As an independent historian, I am proud that I cannot be threatened with the loss of my job, or my pension, or my future. Other histori­ ans around the world sneer and write letters to the newspapers about ‘David Irving, the so-called historian’, and they demand, “Why does he call himself a Historian anyway? Where did he study History? Where did he get his Degree? What, No Degree in History, then why does he call himself a Historian?” My answer to them, Was Pliny a historian or not? Was Tacitus? Did he get a degree in some univer­ sity? Thucydides? Did he get a degree? And yet we unashamedly call them historians—we call them historians because they wrote history which has done (recte: gone) down the ages as accepted true history.6
This was true. Irving could not be dismissed just because he lacked for­ mal qualifications.

4. Videotape 175: speech at the Elangani Hotel, Durban, South Africa, 5 March 1986.

5. Statement of Claim, p. 1; Reply to Defence of Second Defendant, p.2.

6. “David Irving on Freedom of Speech,” speech presented in Victo­ ria, British Columbia, Canada. 28 October 1992. Transcript on Irv­ ing’s Focal Point website.

"This was true" -- I highlighted Richard Evans' response to what Irving said about being a "historian" -- even though he lacked qualifications.

The difference between Irving and many biblical scholars is in their methods:

Where biblical scholars of the "historical Jesus" or "early Christianity" often start with the assumption that there was a historical Jesus behind it all, and then apply their own cocktail of methods to build on that assumption (criteria of authenticity, memory theory), and in these ways mark themselves as a field quite apart from the practices we normally find in other fields of historical research, Irving gave lip service to the serious methods of other historians of German history. Where he failed was in his inability to see how his biases led him to present his sources dishonestly to his readers.
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mlinssen
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by mlinssen »

Alright then, it is the methods that make a historian. In theory anyone could get a title just to claim all kinds of wild things about anything, although his peers are then expected to jump in

So then the question is why Crossan is considered to be a historian, and by whom - and based on which method that he uses

Naturally, that would then be a valid questionnaire for all alleged historians?
lsayre
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by lsayre »

mlinssen wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:04 am An interesting one

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dominic_Crossan

John Dominic Crossan (born 17 February 1934) is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, former Catholic priest who was a prominent member of the Jesus Seminar, and emeritus professor at DePaul University

It reminds me of the usual suspects calling the gospels historical records and such. Crossan has a Doctor of Divinity degree but nowhere does it say that he studied History, let alone that he got a degree in it.
What am I missing?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian
Are you making the highly cult-like presumption that one must have certified papers whereby to prove that they have studied history?
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mlinssen
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by mlinssen »

lsayre wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 4:30 am
mlinssen wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:04 am An interesting one

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dominic_Crossan

John Dominic Crossan (born 17 February 1934) is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, former Catholic priest who was a prominent member of the Jesus Seminar, and emeritus professor at DePaul University

It reminds me of the usual suspects calling the gospels historical records and such. Crossan has a Doctor of Divinity degree but nowhere does it say that he studied History, let alone that he got a degree in it.
What am I missing?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian
Are you making the highly cult-like presumption that one must have certified papers whereby to prove that they have studied history?
I know - crazy, isn't it? Or can anyone call himself historian, or be called that by others? That surely would make my Masters degree worthless, and it's in such a wonderful area!
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by Leucius Charinus »

mlinssen wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:04 am
What am I missing?
The adjective. Many people (and articles) perhaps find no need to disambiguate between classical source criticism and biblical source criticism and thus between classical historians and biblical historians. However some do. Here are two examples:

Russell Gmirkin highlights the difference between classical source criticism and traditional biblical source criticism.

METHODOLOGY

The source-critical methods used in this book for dating texts - including biblical texts - are those familiar from classical studies, deductively establishing "terminus a quo" and "ad quem" dates between which the composition of the text under investigation must have taken place. The latest possible dates of composition (terminus ad quem) is fixed by the earliest proof of existence of the texts, such as (rarely) the earliest physical copy, or (commonly) the first quotation or other utilisation of the text by some other datable work. The earliest possible date of composition (terminus a quo) is usually fixed by the latest datable work the text in question quotes or utilises, or by the latest historical allusion within the text. This book is essentially an extended exercise in classical source criticism applied to the Hebrew Bible. [1]

[1] There is a sharp methodological distinction between classical source criticism and traditional biblical source criticism. The latter used a variety of techniques to isolate hypothetical sources within biblical texts. The identification of sources J, E, D and P preliminary to the dating arguments of the Documentary Hypothesis is a prime example of biblical source criticism. Such source documents must remain perpetually hypothetical, since they no longer exist as independent entities. This type of source criticism is rarely encountered in classical scholarship.

Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch, (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) Hardcover – May 15, 2006
Russell Gmirkin

Arnaldo Momigliano highlights the difference between classical historians and biblical historians by referring to the latter as "the insiders".

ON PAGANS, JEWS, and CHRISTIANS
--- Arnaldo Momigliano, 1987

Chapter 1:
Biblical Studies and Classical Studies
Simple Reflections upon Historical Method


p.3

Principles of Historical research need not be different
from criteria of common sense. And common sense teaches
us that outsiders must not tell insiders what they should
do. I shall therefore not discuss directly what biblical
scholars are doing. They are the insiders.

http://mountainman.com.au/essenes/arnal ... STIANS.htm

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mlinssen
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Re: historian of early Christianity

Post by mlinssen »

Leucius Charinus wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 3:08 pm
mlinssen wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:04 am
What am I missing?
The adjective. Many people (and articles) perhaps find no need to disambiguate between classical source criticism and biblical source criticism and thus between classical historians and biblical historians. However some do. Here are two examples:

Russell Gmirkin highlights the difference between classical source criticism and traditional biblical source criticism.

METHODOLOGY

The source-critical methods used in this book for dating texts - including biblical texts - are those familiar from classical studies, deductively establishing "terminus a quo" and "ad quem" dates between which the composition of the text under investigation must have taken place. The latest possible dates of composition (terminus ad quem) is fixed by the earliest proof of existence of the texts, such as (rarely) the earliest physical copy, or (commonly) the first quotation or other utilisation of the text by some other datable work. The earliest possible date of composition (terminus a quo) is usually fixed by the latest datable work the text in question quotes or utilises, or by the latest historical allusion within the text. This book is essentially an extended exercise in classical source criticism applied to the Hebrew Bible. [1]

[1] There is a sharp methodological distinction between classical source criticism and traditional biblical source criticism. The latter used a variety of techniques to isolate hypothetical sources within biblical texts. The identification of sources J, E, D and P preliminary to the dating arguments of the Documentary Hypothesis is a prime example of biblical source criticism. Such source documents must remain perpetually hypothetical, since they no longer exist as independent entities. This type of source criticism is rarely encountered in classical scholarship.

Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch, (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) Hardcover – May 15, 2006
Russell Gmirkin

Arnaldo Momigliano highlights the difference between classical historians and biblical historians by referring to the latter as "the insiders".

ON PAGANS, JEWS, and CHRISTIANS
--- Arnaldo Momigliano, 1987

Chapter 1:
Biblical Studies and Classical Studies
Simple Reflections upon Historical Method


p.3

Principles of Historical research need not be different
from criteria of common sense. And common sense teaches
us that outsiders must not tell insiders what they should
do. I shall therefore not discuss directly what biblical
scholars are doing. They are the insiders.

http://mountainman.com.au/essenes/arnal ... STIANS.htm

I just can't help of thinking that "biblical historians" never even started any study in History, let alone that they got a degree in it, whereas "proper historians" all did. Needless to say, just like referring to biblical texts as "historical records", thereby suggesting that they contain historical events, religiots abuse the term "historian" in order to suggest that whatever they say is firmly based in the study of History and thus has (fairly undisputable) historic value

I haven't taken my pills today yet, no
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