Re: Q?????

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Oct 18 1995 - 21:17:33 EDT

At 4:58 PM 10/18/95, Matthew Ashley Morgan wrote:
> Has anyone else bothered to mention Eta Linneman's article in last
>month's Bible Review? Here we have one of the foremost former Bultmann
>scholars who is basically saying that it is all garbage. The case is closed
>as far as I'm concerned. Even the rejoinder in this month's Bible Review
>said absolutely nothing that we don't already know. Linneman's point is
>exactly right! We're talking about two completely different world views
>here as to how we even approach the issue. It all begins with
>presuppostions, and I most happily will affirm that I have a Christian
>Evangelical presupposition holding to firm view of Scripture. I'm just
>waiting for ALL critics to announce that they too have
>presuppostions...We're waiting!!!

Are you perhaps new to the b-greek list or a lurker who rarely posts a
message? You seem to suppose that you're alone in admitting that you have a
distinct perspective.

If you've been lurking for even a week and have been reading the posts to
the list, you ought to have noted Edgar Krentz's fine lengthy note on how
presuppositions will probably determine one's choice of two alernative
views of the phrase in Eph 4:9, TA KATWTERA THS GHS, both of which have
very plausible support.

Just four days ago I myself posted the following to the list, most of it
regarding the WIDELY DIVERSE presuppositions that list-members bring to
bear on texts under discussion here. If you did miss it, I cite it below:

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 15:10:22 -0500
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <>
Subject: Re: Greek Lang. vs Theology

What we come to this list for is, fundamentally, to discuss the Greek text
of the New Testament (and, occasionally, of the LXX and of ancillary
Hellenistic Greek texts). It's pretty hard for most of us (and by no means
do I exclude myself from this category) to discuss any really significant
NT text without bringing to bear a theological perspective of some sort
(even if altogether negative) that is a factor in how we approach it and
the possible meanings we are willing to see expressed or implied in it .

If that is less than fully obvious, let me just note the obvious fact that
some will not entertain the possibility of a conflict of historical fact
between two NT texts and others will; i.e., one's stance on "verbal
inspiration" or "inerrancy" is likely to have a bearing on how one looks at
a text. Moreover, there are sectarian differences that cannot help but be a
factor when we are looking at texts like 1 Cor 12-14, which some view as
validating a whole category of religious expressions in worship, while
others view it as warning against one or more of these types of expression,
such as, for instance, glossolalia.

We're not going to agree on these issues, and we surely aren't going to
come to an agreement over issues of the so-called "higher criticism." And
we may very well think that the views held by some others on the list are
"hogwash," but we have no business to use that sort of language (as I did
word yesterday in a note that I meant to be off-list and that I deeply rue
having sent inadvertently to the list) in communications on the list. I'm
quite sure that there are those who think my own views are "hogwash" or
worse (I won't speculate as to what!) but I hope that others will be more
careful than I was yesterday and that I myself can be more careful

All in all, I think we can share a lot of valuable information with each
other about the tools of NT Greek scholarship and learning--grammars,
lexica, critical editions, textbooks, bibliography, etc.--but I suspect
we'd do best to avoid theological issues that hinge on a great number of
passages rather than on the right understanding of a single verse or
passage of the Greek text. I would hope that even in such discussion,
however, argumentation can be based upon the textual evidence itself rather
than on the theological perspective with which one approaches that text.

Now, with regard to Eta Linnemann, I have not read the recent article to
which you have referred, but from your description of it it sounds very
much like the argument set forth at length in her book, _Is There a
Synoptic Problem_, which I have in fact read but which I must say did not
impress me very much. It's not a reasoned argument at all but a lengthy
attack on the motives of all who have ever been involved in the endeavor to
sort out the probabilities of the relationships of the synoptic gospels to
each other. As I read her argument (and I get the impression that what you
have read in the article is very similar), there are only two ways of
looking at the synoptic gospels: the first way is her way and that is THE
Christian way, while the other way is the way of unbelievers whose
fundamental purpose is to undermine the gospel--and if there are would-be
believing supporters of that other way--all that's associated with the
2-document-hypothesis--they are unwitting dupes of the unbelievers. That is
the kind of argument that poisons the waters and makes meaningful
discussion impossible.

As I tried to assert in my above-cited posting of four days ago, the
viewpoints of members participating in this list range all across the
spectrum from non-believers through several shades of liberals and
middle-of-the-road people to various shades of conservatives. Everybody
brings a viewpoint and a set of presuppositions to bear upon Greek texts up
for discussion, but as this is a forum for the discussion of Greek texts of
the Bible--NT and LXX and related extra-biblical texts--and NOT a forum for
the discussion of theology AS SUCH, we try to avoid justifying our
interpretations of a Biblical text solely or primarily on THEOLOGICAL
grounds and attempt to appeal rather to principles of Greek grammar and
what can be known about the historical, cultural, etc., circumstances
bearing upon the text in question.

I think Edward Hobbs said much the same thing in different words in a post
to the list earlier today (subject heading: A.T. Robertson additional).
Wherefore I, for one, although one doesn't need to be exceptionally sharp
to figure out my own place on the theological spectrum, do not see any need
to declare that position whenever I state an opinion on this list.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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