Re: Which do I seek ?

On Mon, 24 Oct 1994, Carl W Conrad wrote:

> On Mon, 24 Oct 1994, John Whitlock wrote: (to John Whitlock)
> There's another issue (maybe it's the same one) in the questions you have 
> posed. Are there definite limits to the text-critical questions that may 
> be raised and discussed here? Is lower criticism acceptable but higher 
> criticism off limits? Or, insofar as there is plausible evidence in the 
> Greek text for phases of development of the NT texts, is there some place 
> that is more appropriate to discuss them than this list? I almost fear to 
> raise such a question, but I'd like to know what others think. 

I personally expected to find some discussion of higher criticism here 
(although I am not qualified to engage in such a discussion), along with 
"lower" textual criticism (don't you just love those loaded terms 
"higher" and "lower"?).  Even if the two concerns must be the domains of 
different specialists, it would be irresponsible for them to operate in 
ignorance of one another.

But more importantly, I am concerned about the fact that every so often 
on this list a post is answered by a panicked and tearful "true believer" 
whose weak faith in Christianity is obviously being shaken by exposure to 
the scholarly give-and-take here.  Some others seem to be taking on the 
roles of defending confessional orthodoxies by mere fiat.  The last 
thing I want to do is belittle these people or their concerns, but I 
honestly wonder whether or not their capacities and interests would be 
better served by a bulletin board or a particular denominational list 
for discussing religious issues.  I think lists like this one presuppose 
a certain capacity to detach one's self, at least in one's manner of 
speaking, temporarily, from one's deepest and most unarguable convictions.  
Respect, reasoning, diligent study of evidence, eagerness to test one's 
statements by others' opinions, intersubjective agreement-building, and
open-mindedness are qualities that are basically necessary for scholarly 
discussion, as they are for interfaith dialogue.  And those qualities are 
what I find and appreciate in most of the posts to this list.  I hope I 
communicated that properly & gave no offense to anyone.

Greg Jordan

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