Posted: May 06, 2012 8:11 pm
by proudfootz
archibald wrote:
proudfootz wrote:This author seems to suggest that perhaps bible scholarship is ready to undergo a sea-change as the methods of the last century have exhausted their utility:

In a forthcoming volume, soon to be published in the Copenhagen International Seminar Series,
a group of scholars contribute essays on the current crisis in the scholarship that is dedicated to
the historical figure of Jesus. Many of the contributors — most of them approaching the subject
from a European mindset — seem to feel that historical Jesus scholarship has reached an impasse;
while new studies continue to be published in the field, scholars are growing tired of the
rehashing of old ideas which are reproduced in these studies anew. With the increasing number
of scholars dedicating themselves to the theory of reception in Biblical Studies, and with the
accessibility of literary criticism steadily becoming a major contender in the field of New
Testament, older scholarship in the form of historical criticism — once ingrained in consensus — is
being challenged in favor of a more literary approach, and the new approach is gaining ground.
One of the problems associated with historical Jesus studies which has not really been addressed,
in its current form, might be found in the inability to accept the probability that the figure of
Jesus might not have existed historically
. While it is clear that scholars accept the possibility,
most conclude that the hypothesis for nonexistence is so meagerly supported that it can simply
be ignored. While this position has been challenged in recent years, it remains, for reasons
which shall be addressed below, a sturdy part of the field of New Testament. This paper,
however, takes a position contrary to this and argues that not only is the position of ahistoricity
possible, but plausible enough that it deserves more attention and more respect than it is
currently given
. This contribution argues, hopefully persuasively, that by dismissing the
position of ahistoricity, or by not taking into account its possibility, contributes directly to the
problems associated with historical Jesus studies.

<full paper can be read at the link below>

Maybe the defensiveness among established scholars is in part the natural reaction of those whose era is coming to a close...

Having read that and googled the author and a few of the people he cites, I'm not sure there's a whole lot in it, other than that his criticisms of Ehrman's book are more politely put than Carrier's. I think he may be a Carrier fan, with no formal qualifications of his own. He says, on his blog, that he was a mythicist, but is now agnostic. I must admit, I didn't see anything to suggest an imminent sea change. Not that I think it may not happen (it may do, it may not), but maybe there was less indication for it in that article than the introduction suggested. Who wrote the introduction?

The discussion on the genre of the gospels was interesting. The suggestion was that the scholarly idea that they were similar to Graeco-Roman biography (and therefore more likely to contain history) has been challenged in favour of them being Jewish theological literature, by genre. He cites one bible scholar Michael E. Vines (Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, which I think means he's a teacher at a Presbyterian secondary school, but he has his Ph.D in Theology) as having written a book about it. ... nskepti-20

A very interesting read, but after googling a bit, I have some doubts about the author.

Must admit the introduction was my own - including the 'sea change' phrase'. Perhaps a bit over-the-top? Prophecy is always dangerous. But it seems to me that perhaps we are witnessing something which might move the debate in new directions, and perhaps the indication that there is indeed the possibility of real and lively debate might bring fresh blood and fresh perspectives into the field.