Re: Scope of discussion (was: 3rd-person imperatives ...)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Aug 21 1997 - 11:42:32 EDT

At 9:36 AM -0500 8/21/97, wrote:
>In relationship to the discussion of the authorship of 2 Peter (or disputed
>Pauline epistles for that matter) and Higher Criticism, if the discussion was
>limited to the issues of style and vocabulary that an author may or may not
>have used and its validity as a criteria in these matters, would that not be
>acceptable under the B-Greek FAQ?

Of course the FAQ doesn't say anything about "Higher" or "Lower" Textual
Criticism; what it indicates rather is that the focus of discussion ought
to be on the NT Greek language or on the Greek text of the NT, and the
section on "Netiquette" is as clear as can be about the need for mutual
respect for the differing faith-stances of list participants. The real
point of my comments yesterday is that, since almost all, if not all, of us
have existential commitments to our own understanding of the nature of the
Biblical text, we need to be very careful arguing for or against what is a
matter of faith rather than a question of what the Greek text means, and we
want to obviate any use of the list to promote or to disparage any faith
stance held by any list member. And since the doctrine of Biblical
inerrancy and questions of disputed authorship are critical to the faith of
many list members, we would do best to focus most sharply upon those
matters concerning the Biblical Greek text regarding which we are most
likely to learn mutually from each other. It was never the intention of the
compilers of the FAQ to formulate a list of off-limits topics but rather to
make as clear as possible the focus of list discussion upon the GREEK
language and text of the Bible itself rather than upon more general issues
concerning the Bible and the Biblical text, while at the same time spelling
out the kind of respectful and courteous discourse essential to sustaining
the authentic mutual benefit afforded by list discussion to list members.

I don't think I have answered your question directly so much as I have
sketched out a rationale for the FAQ's conception of "civiilized list
discourse" for B-Greek. I really think that the list and its staff have
been pretty successful in handling problems on those few occasions when
they've arisen. Rather than give you a YES/NO answer to your question, let
me suggest that I think it would be inappropriate to argue the case for or
against the authenticity of 2 Peter on the list; on the other hand, it
might be perfectly reasonable to raise questions about the Greek style and
vocabulary of 2 Peter or any other Biblical text where the matters in
question are judgments of fact about the Greek. The line I think I'd not
want to see crossed is between discussion of the Greek text and promotion
or disparagement of a judgment about the the larger textual corpus. And in

But I really think it would be a mistake to try to spell out in advance all
the areas that are off-limits. Hopefully we are reasonable and civilized
people, and the mechanism is in place to deal with any problems that really
are problems as they arise. What I wanted to do in my message yesterday was
to explain the reason why I thought that the discussion of authorship had
crossed over into issues of what people perceive as attacks upon or defense
of the faith. This is not the place for either attacks or defense or even
for discussion of "the faith" AS SUCH. Okay?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:26 EDT