What "Enough is enough ..." means

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 10 1998 - 19:54:17 EST

I hope the following may be sufficiently brief (although not brief at all)
and to the point.

Yesterday afternoon, at 15:40:23 -0600, i.e. at 21:40:23 GMT on Nov 9,
1998, in a message with the subject header "Re: PRWTOTOKOS: ENOUGH IS
ENOUGH AND MAYBE TOO MUCH" I asked that the thread on the subject
PRWTOTOKOS be ended. Very soon after that Edward Hobbs who shares with me
the role of Co-Chair of B-Greek, chimed in and urged that the call to halt
the thread be heeded without further ado.

In fact however, there were several posts by four different persons added
to the thread between Mon, 09 Nov 1998 17:36:38 -0800 (= Nov 10 2:36:38
GMT) and Tue, 10 Nov 1998 09:44:36 EST (= Nov 10 14:44:36 GMT). Quite
reluctantly but nevertheless from a sense of the need to take serious
disciplinary action, we are going to impose moderation upon ALL those who
continued to post to the list after I asked for the thread to be halted: we
shall not be barring those persons from posting to the list, but we shall
monitor all incoming posts from them for a period of two weeks prior to
distributing them to the list.

When I have asked in the past that list-members please read through the
incoming messages from B-Greek BEFORE posting responses to any of them, the
reason has been primarily to avoid unnecessary duplication of responses to
questions that have already been answered in the same way as one would
oneself answer them. But there's another reason also, clearly, and that was
the situation yesterday: had the admonition been heeded there was no reason
for the thread to go on further--at least once anyone wishing to post on
the subject had an opportunity to read my message calling a halt to the

"...I want to say one last thing about this ...": it has happened more than
once that, when a thread has been halted, a list-member wants to add, in
the manner of a certain Danish theologian, his or her own "Concluding
Unscientific Postscript"--or else his or her own "summary" of the
arguments. As I see it, what this amounts to is wanting to have the last
word on a topic. Far better, however, that one who is interested read
through all the messages on a thread and draw his or her own conclusions
about the upshot or the way all the arguments line up on one side or the
other. For my part, I have serious doubts about the possibility of an
"objective" summation of arguments on any truly controversial topic, and
because Edward shares those doubts, we have thus far decided against any
attempt to excerpt chunks of the B-Greek archives and preface them with
"summaries" of the major arguments on any text or larger passage.

The thread on PRWTOTOKOS was troubling from the very beginning because it
was, in effect, an apologetic challenge--a call for discussion of the
possible validity of an argument on a crucial Christological text in a
situation where it was clear that there were "sectarian" and "orthodox"
stances on this matter and different ways of understanding the Greek text
in question. In the lengthy thread that followed (these are ALWAYS lengthy
threads, usually with the same participants, when one of these texts
bearing upon a central Christological question comes up for discussion) the
discussion often did, in fact, center upon a question of how the Greek text
is to be understood. Nevertheless, theological considerations were never
far removed from the argumentation, and inevitably, it seems, hermeneutical
questions became ever more urgent. There are very good reasons for avoiding
theological discussion on this list as there are also good reasons for
avoiding hermeneutical questions: not only do we seek to avoid flame wars,
but more importantly, we seek to keep this forum open for persons of every
faith-commitment and even for persons of no faith-commitment who want to
discuss the text of the Greek Bible and the Greek language of the Greek
Bible. The fact is that list-members espouse a wide range of views on
theology and hermeneutics all across the spectrum of possible opinions.
Perhaps some might like to discuss these matters, but if so, they had
better seek some other forum. Edward and I as Co-Chairs of the List, and
Jonathan as List-Owner, are in accord that it is important to hold this
list open for discussion of questions that focus strictly on the Greek
language and the Greek text of the Bible and to avoid, so far as possible,
discussion of matters that are more strictly related to personal--or
communitarian--faith-commitments. For that reason too, therefore, let it be
said here and now, that B-Greek is not to be employed as a forum to carry
on apologetic disputations, even if the Greek text of the Bible plays a key
role in such disputations. If list-members seriously wish to engage in
them, please find or establish your own separate forum for them and allow
B-Greek to play its own "more humble" role.

Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List
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
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cconrad@yancey.main.nc.us
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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