Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23

From: Larry Swain (
Date: Fri Sep 01 1995 - 21:16:00 EDT

I wrote:
> > On a related subject, Jan, you are still arguing issues of faith on a
> > list devoted to issues of scholarship. Our purpose here is neither to
> > confirm you faith statements nor to deride them. They in this discussin
> > are moot.

JanH Haugland replied:
> Larry,
> I think this was a very unfair statement, and completely uncalled for. My
> understanding of these texts is the most direct and natural, and if you are not
> able to show otherwise from the text itself it's bordering to ad hominem to
> throw this accusation at me. I had a very detailed knowledge about these texts
> long before I acquired this "faith" you talk about. The "faith", which is
> irrelevant to this group anyway, comes from the interpretation of the text not
> the other way around -- unlike for most others.

If I have caused offense, I apologize, it was not my intent. I do
however think that it is very called for. In your mind your
understanding of the texts is the most direct and natural. However, the
majority of academia views these texts as referring to the events of 70
AD because they do so after the fact: Matthew is usually dated in the
70s or 80s and Luke almost certainly and universally in the 80s. If the
majority of scholarship is correct in this regard, then for the people
who recorded these words in the Little Apocalypse, the parousia is yet
future. Thus, the most natural understanding of the text changes. If on
the other hand you take the preterist viewpoint, a stance of faith by the
way, then the natural understanding of the text changes again. The
natural understanding of the text depends on where you begin, and you Jan
have made it very clear that you begin with a belief that the parousia
took place in 70 AD: your first post on this subject to this list stated
it baldly. That is a statement of faith, not a statement dealing with
academic issues.

> It requires an enormous amount of faith to squeeze 1900+ years inside a "tote"
> like you do, and it has nothing more to do with scholarship than whatever I may
> have said.

Again I must confront you on ad hominem statements. First, in none of my
posts either on list or off have I suggested that TOTE means 1900 years:
Quote me. You have made unqulaified assumptions which you have used as
premises, however faulty they are. Second, another assumption you have
made is that I believe (and here we enter the realm of faith) anything
remotely similar to parousia of 1900+ years. Third, since my very brief
foray in this discussion said nothing about how many years your charge
here is not only miscontrual (deliberate? miscomprehended?) but actually
takes on the flavor of a personal attack. Fourth, and finally on this
statement, again I challenge you to show where in my statement to this
list my scholarship is in question. You may disagree with the conclusion
which I drew, but that is not the same as saying that the scholarship is
> Interpretation of an alleged holy text is very often related to faith. Whether
> you like it or not, our faith strongly interferes with all our interpretations.
> A group for "pure scholarship", whatever that is, would have to be void of
> people with any such faith.

No one has suggested otherwise. However fine the line may be at times,
there is tacit agreement that the faith presuppositions behind what we do
stay in the background as we discuss the academic approaches to the
texts, not very different than discussions on another list regarding the
meaning of something Tacitus wrote. I don't regard Tacitus as a holy text.

> So, stick to the facts.

Which is basically my adjuration here Jan. As I noted in this too long a
post, there are several glaring factual errors both in the
presuppositions you make, as well as in your reportage. Follow your own
advice, and all manner of this shall be well.

Larry Swain
Parmly Billings Library

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:26 EDT