What constitutes "bantering"?

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Wed Mar 19 1997 - 09:58:57 EST

At 1:18 AM -0600 3/19/97, Apokrisis1@aol.com wrote:
>I am sorry if the following post is seen as "bantering" by anyone. This is
>not the kind of dialogue I had in mind, but sometimes people tend to forget
>to deal with the arguments for or against a particular view, and tend to
>focus instead on the motivation of an individual. I have tried not to do
>that. I have read over my post carefully, and I do not feel I have stated
>anything inappropriately, although some things may have been put a bit firmer
>than what you like. For this, I apologize.
> [approximately 22K deleted]
>Thank you for your response.

My guess is that MOST readers will see this as "bantering," but without the
good humor one would rather associate with "banter." It is not a matter of
a lack of learned argumentation from Biblical texts but rather that it is a
personal response in kind to a provocative message directed to you rather
than to the list, which message and response, while they may not
technically fit the definition of an 'ad hominem' response, are more or
less equivalent to it. What makes them seem all the more so is that in your
current message there are no real names involved, but only the pseudonyms,
"Economy" and "Apokrisis," the latter playfully personalized in a
non-personal signature, "Apok."

Others may find this exchange just simply boring or "banter," which my
dictionary defines as "good-humored ridicule; raillery, repartee." I don't
find that much good humor in it. What does bother me about it is that there
is present, not very far beneath the surface and occasionally openly
exposed, a doctrinal opposition between a trinitarian and a non-trinitarian
perspective. So far as I can see, that is what sparked and has fueled the
exchange although the exchange itself has involved exceedingly lengthy
argumentation for one perspective and against the other.

I believe that many B-Greek list-members would agree with the following
statement: Those who participate in the conference represent a wide range
of theological and denominational perspectives, perhaps even including some
whose interests are purely academic. Deep religious convictions surely
characterize many, perhaps most, of the list-participants, and some of
these convictions bear directly upon how the Biblical text is to be
understood. At the core of our discussion, however, is not what our
convictions are but what the Greek text may legitimately be understood to
mean. If discussion of this nature is to succeed, proper respect and
courtesy to other list members is important.

In sum then, what I have found particularly disturbing about this exchange
is that is HAS NOT been good-humored banter; it has not really been very
illuminating about the meaning of MONOGENHS either; more to the point,
however, is that promotion or defense of a doctrinal stance has seemed more
central to the exchange than elucidation of the meaning of a Greek text,
and that respect and courtesy are scarcely, if at all, to be discerned any
longer. If this discussion is to be continued, I would prefer it be carried
on away from the B-Greek list.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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