In the interest of more open discussion

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Sep 01 1998 - 18:52:25 EDT

Dear B-Greekers,

Since B-Greek is meant to be a forum for discussion, not for debate, we
would like those with helpful experience in apologetics to assist our efforts
to foster open discussion. Our concern arises from observation in posts of
recent weeks of several tendencies that appear inimical to open discussion.

Some individuals appear to enter into our discussions primarily when the
Greek texts under discussion impinge on particular issues, whether purely
theological or more broadly social and ethical--or even purely grammatical.
It appears that such individuals have fully resolved their own minds on
these issues, have perhaps even published their views in extensive
apologetic monographs, and are more concerned to enlighten the rest of us
by citing their own published work than to engage in an exchange of
perspectives. It would be
helpful--and might also save us some bandwidth--if persons posting on a
topic on which they have published views should state at the outset that
their views on this topic are settled, that they have published on it and
indicate the title(s) of such publications and the pages on which their
definitive account of this topic may be found.

Sectarian groups (whether recognized as 'orthodox' or not is irrelevant)
also threaten the free exchange of ideas when they seek to dominate
discussion of particular NT texts, perhaps because they fear opponents
will misrepresent what these texts must mean. Anyone whose list-tenure
extends more than a few months knows in advance who will respond to queries
on particular texts and also knows pretty well also what they will
say--there is neither danger nor hope of their changing their views. They
are engaged in apologetics rather than discussion. What's particularly
unfortunate about this is that unsuspecting newcomers who step into these
topics often have new and
interesting things to say, and there is opportunity for interesting
discussion if we can step back and expose ourselves to learning something
new instead of choking the discussion with well-rehearsed viewpoints.
Suggestion: those confident that they possess the entire truth about topic
'X' should limit themselves to two posts on that topic. Offenders are
likely to be warned off privately by the B-Greek staff.

Please understand that all views are welcome here. But you must all help
ensure that all views MAY be openly discussed here. Those who seek to
ensure the domination of one particular viewpoint are not being helpful.
Any poster whose interpretation of a particular NT Greek text is heavily
influenced by some particular theological perspective or sectarian doctrine
might do us all a favor by being up-front about these views rather than by
pretending that they are disinterested inquirers. Often enough such candor
may help clarify for others exactly what such a poster has in mind.

Of course we cannot bar discussion of texts that impinge on the deity of
Christ, the regulation of marriage, questions of homosexuality, war, etc.
When it comes down to it, pretty much everything in the New Testament is
justifiably controversial, and its central figure was crucified as a result
of what he did and taught. So it's not surprising when controversy breaks
out here. Nevertheless, we need to keep the focus on how the Greek text may
legitimately be understood. Moreover, if we want interesting, enlightening
discussion rather than recurrent restatement of well-established views, it
is open discussion that we need to have, not a debate, and certainly not a

Carl Conrad and Edward Hobbs
Co-Chairs of B-Greek

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