Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Scholars Debate

Three biblical historians exchange emails regarding Jesus, Criteria and the meaning of it all. The historians are Alan F. Segal, Larry Hurtado and John S. Kloppenborg. Three quite diverse historians here, so it makes the exchange all the more interesting. [Hat tip to the Goodacre].
Another historical issue to discuss is raised by Michael Pahl
How many biblical scholars does it take to change a Christmas light bulb?
A historical critic to deny the historicity of the canonical birth narratives, thus believing he or she has answered the question.
A source critic to demonstrate from comparison with parallel questions that "Christmas" is not part of the original saying, which belonged to a Q(uestion) source that included other such queries as "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
A redaction critic to assert that the "Christmas" redaction indicates a distinctive emphasis within the later "Christmas community," a community which de-emphasised Jesus' death in favour of his birth.
A form critic to state that the question was likely the climactic saying of a pronouncement story, probably reflecting the "Christmas wars" of the early 21st century.
A rhetorical critic to note that the question is part of a diatribe in which the speaker interacts with a hypothetical interlocutor in order to support his or her contention that the light bulb needs to be changed.
A narrative critic to describe the apparent defeat of the light by darkness as part of a larger narrative in which the light ultimately triumphs over the darkness once the bulb is changed.
A fundamentalist to insist that the light bulb doesn't need to be changed; after all, we've always used this bulb, and nowhere does the Bible say it should be changed.
An evangelical to change the light bulb for one which Jesus used, based on Jesus' (verbatim authentic) saying, "I am the light of the world."

No comments: