Jon Curry decided to use a recent discussion about James White, Tom Ascol, and the Caners as an opportunity to repeat some of his arguments that have been refuted in other discussions. He ignores much of what's already been written in response to him, misrepresents his opponents' arguments, and offers no documentation for his dubious historical claims. He writes:
"As we learned from Jason Engwer during our discussion on Eusebius and dishonesty, Eusebius at specific places in his writings actually talks about truth and how it is important. He talks about other virtues as well. Clearly anybody that speaks highly of honesty and truth could never be guilty of dishonesty."
Did I say that Eusebius "could never be guilty of dishonesty"? Here's what I wrote on this subject in a recent thread, one that Jon Curry participated in:
"There's a lot of Eusebius' material that I haven't read. And he surely was dishonest to some degree or another at times in his life, perhaps in some places in his writings. You've probably heard of Bob Woodward's recent book on the Bush administration and the situation in Iraq, and the people responding to that book and the issues surrounding it have been making accusations back and forth about the motives and accuracy of both sides. I saw a member of the Bush administration interviewed on television this morning, and he didn't want to accuse Woodward of lying or even of 'having an agenda', but he did suggest that Woodward had some bias and wasn't as careful as he should have been. People will make accusations back and forth about differing degrees of bias, carelessness, dishonesty, etc. on both sides of the dispute. But it's doubtful that many people, if any, from either side will accuse the other side of publicly advocating the practice of lying. That's the charge that's been brought against Eusebius. Supposedly, he publicly advocated lying in book 12 of The Preparation Of The Gospel."
Not only did I not argue that Eusebius "could never be guilty of dishonesty", but, to the contrary, I said that he "surely was dishonest to some degree or another at times in his life". Why is it that Jon Curry is so careless in representing the positions of the people he's interacting with, even after he's been corrected? Maybe dishonesty is more his problem than a problem with Eusebius.
"In my discussions with Jason he's argued that early Christians were men of high moral standards, and thus we can trust them with regards to certain claims (such as Irenaeus claims about the authorship of the gospels) though not other claims for some reason (such as that Jesus lived to his 50's or Papias claim that Judas head swelled to the width of a wagon trail). I see no reason to believe that early Christians had high moral standards. Jason points to their statements extolling the virtues of truth, honesty, and so forth. You will find similar statements from the Caner's I'm sure. It means nothing....If these men can be dishonest, all the while extolling virtuous concepts, then extolling virtuous concepts does not show you to be honest. Hence we should not assume that the early Christians had high moral standards."
Jon acts as though he doesn't know why I accept some claims of a source like Irenaeus while rejecting others. I've given him an explanation repeatedly, but he keeps ignoring what he's been told. I've also given him documentation for my belief that the earliest Christians had high moral standards, and I gave him more than "their statements extolling the virtues of truth, honesty, and so forth". See the discussions here and here, for example.
As I've explained to Jon repeatedly, he himself accepts some of the claims of a source like Irenaeus while rejecting others. He'll accept what Irenaeus reports about the authorship of a Pauline document while rejecting what he reports about the authorship of John's gospel, for example. (To see how poorly Jon has interacted with the evidence for John's authorship of the fourth gospel, see here.) No historian I'm aware of would argue that we must either accept everything a source reports or reject everything that source reports. We have to give reasons to justify accepting one piece of data while rejecting another, and I've repeatedly done that, though Jon often ignores it, but it is reasonable to accept only some portions of what a source reports. As I told Jon in another thread, one of the many threads he left without responding to what others had written to him:
"Your comment that I reject something like Irenaeus' belief in Jesus' old age because it 'makes the Bible wrong' is misleading. Irenaeus' view isn't just rejected by Christians, but by scholarship across the board. Irenaeus isn't just contradicted by the Bible, but also by many other sources. Even if the Bible was the only source we had by which to evaluate Irenaeus' claim, the Biblical authors wrote in circumstances in which they had better access to the truth. There would be reason to trust the Biblical authors over Irenaeus, even without believing in the inspiration of the Bible. I can give good reasons for rejecting something like Irenaeus' view of Jesus' age. You, on the other hand, repeatedly reject what the early sources report (Jesus' existence, the authorship of the gospels, etc.) for no good reason. Both of us accept some of what a source like Irenaeus reports while rejecting other things he reports. The difference is that I have far better justification for what I accept and reject than you have for what you accept and reject."
"And I think it's pretty obvious that they weren't, with rampant forging of documents, rampant modification of copies of canonical texts for theological motives, and later improvements on the gospel story from Mark to Matthew, Luke, and John."
Jon is repeating, once again without documentation, claims that have already been addressed. He ignores the evidence offered in response to his claims and he leaves the threads where his assertions are discussed, then he repeats the arguments later, as if they weren't addressed previously. See the threads here and here for some examples of Jon's claims being addressed. He'll make false claims, ignore the refutations, then repeat the false claims in another thread.