Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Docetic historiography

ERIC SVENDSEN SAID:

"[Quoting Prejean] My point is that I don't consider NT (historical) exegesis as a field all that significant to the question of dogmatic authority of revelation."

Which is precisely why the charge of Docetism sticks on you. This goes hand in hand with your docetic view of the apostles. You don’t count them as authoritative because, in your view, they’re not “real” people. And it also goes hand in hand with your docetic view of Christ (for which, see below).

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/12/doing-math.html#comments

Coincidentally, I [Steve Hays] just happened to read the following statement yesterday, which immediately made me think of Prejean and Robinson alike. Although they like to talk a lot about church history and historical theology, they have no genuine historical consciousness or groundedness. Rather, they're like the Jesus Seminar:

"There is one rule of historical work that can never be ignored, however. Historical work—to really be historical—can never leave 'time and place,' a phrase that Martin Hengel, professor of NT at the University of Tübingen, used often with me in our discussions about historical method. His complaint about of the recent works is that the debate has become a discussion of ideas detached from the sources and ancient context. The result of this detachment is the spinning of theories that are historical fantasies, no matter how brilliantly creative or rhetorically powerful the argument for them is," D. Bock, The Missing Gospels (Nelson Book 2006), 36.

7 comments:

  1. I find the comment odd, because my view isn't Docetism. It's quite the opposite. I am not trying to interpret the Bible as if it speaks to the present day or to some timeless commonality of humanity. I don't try to find what the Apostles are saying to me, because ordinarily, the Apostles did not intend to say anything to me. In fact, I think the only way that they can speak to me is that they had a conviction that God would use their words to speak to others by the interpretation of the faithful.

    That's why I find the 1st century inquiry to be somewhat ancillary. There is very little that is common in 1st century culture and 21st century culture, so an attempt to establish the Bible's relevance and authority based on commonalities produces nearly nothing of relevance. There aren't many 1st century Jews walking around.

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  2. "I find the comment odd, because my view isn't Docetism. It's quite the opposite"

    Actually, you are docetic, and on many levels, including your view of the apostles and your denial of the humanity of Christ.

    "I am not trying to interpret the Bible as if it speaks to the present day or to some timeless commonality of humanity."

    Does "thou shall not commit adultery" speak to you in the present day? Does "The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him" speak to you in the present day? Does "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us" speak to you in the present day? Your assertion to the contrary is just absurd. On the other hand, what else can we expect from someone who just does not know Scripture?

    "In fact, I think the only way that they can speak to me is that they had a conviction that God would use their words to speak to others by the interpretation of the faithful."

    Based on what? This is entirely gratuitous.

    "There is very little that is common in 1st century culture and 21st century culture, so an attempt to establish the Bible's relevance and authority based on commonalities produces nearly nothing of relevance."

    Which thinking makes you a biblical heretic. Once again, the apostles aren't "real" people with a "real" voice. You are indeed docetic.

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  3. CrimsonCatholic said:

    "That's why I find the 1st century inquiry to be somewhat ancillary. There is very little that is common in 1st century culture and 21st century culture, so an attempt to establish the Bible's relevance and authority based on commonalities produces nearly nothing of relevance. There aren't many 1st century Jews walking around."

    1. We don't appeal to 1C culture to establish the *authority* of Scripture. Rather, we appeal to 1C culture to establish the *meaning* of Scripture--or the NT, in particular.

    2. You are also confusing sense with application. Relevance has to do with application, not with meaning.

    Until you know what the text means (#1), you can't properly apply it to your own situation.

    The first step is to establish the meaning, then analogize to comparable situations in your own life and times.

    3. You might as well say that one shouldn't bother to learn about Thomism or 14C Florentine politics or 14C church politics to understand the Divine Comedy since there is very little in common between 14C Italian culture and 21C American culture.

    Actually, the discontinuities are the very reason we need to acquaint ourselves with the historical background.

    4. You are also confusing epistemic common ground with ontological common ground.

    Human nature doesn't change, even if culture does.

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  4. His [C.C.] interpretive praxis also stands in stark contrast to the apostolic hermeneutic:

    "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Rom 15:3, NAS)

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  5. hostus twinkius12/28/2006 12:11 AM

    How does this guy hold any sway with anyone but the blind mice that slap each other on the back on the Envoy boards? The more he talks the more he exposes his ignorance. He doesn't really know *what* he is....

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  6. Does "thou shall not commit adultery" speak to you in the present day? Does "The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him" speak to you in the present day? Does "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us" speak to you in the present day? Your assertion to the contrary is just absurd.

    The moral commandments are well-known to be the most literally interpreted. When God says not to kill, not to commite adultery, and not to divorce and remarry, these are clear and consistent. This is because the natural law deals with matters constant and universal to human nature. The problem is that you have no adequate concept of the human nature so as to identify what matters deal with the human nature per se and what matters are situational and historical.

    Which thinking makes you a biblical heretic. Once again, the apostles aren't "real" people with a "real" voice. You are indeed docetic.

    I think they do have a real voice, and as such, it isn't intended to speak to all times. It's trying to stretch analogical reasoning beyond its reasonable limits that creates a docetistic idea of Scripture, trying to force the Apostles to speak to a 21st century audience.

    Until you know what the text means (#1), you can't properly apply it to your own situation.

    You're assuming that there IS an application to your own situation, which is precisely what I reject. I don't believe that the Apostles' intent could include application to circumstances they did not foresee. On matters that pertain to human nature, it is reasonable to expect that they were foreseen.

    The first step is to establish the meaning, then analogize to comparable situations in your own life and times.

    I don't consider such an analogical method to be a correct definition of Scriptural authority. As you have pointed out, analogical reasoning ultimately proves nothing; it does not render binding conclusions. This is an anarchic concept of authority in its essence.

    You might as well say that one shouldn't bother to learn about Thomism or 14C Florentine politics or 14C church politics to understand the Divine Comedy since there is very little in common between 14C Italian culture and 21C American culture.

    Actually, the discontinuities are the very reason we need to acquaint ourselves with the historical background.


    That's the entire point of the philosophia perennis. There are some truths that are universal to all of human existence. The discontinuities are points of experience that are not common, which is evidence that they do not pertain to such commonalities.

    You are also confusing epistemic common ground with ontological common ground.

    Human nature doesn't change, even if culture does.


    Exactly. There is science that pertains to human nature, and we can't confuse what pertains to contingent, cultural matters with what pertains to the philosophia perennis. You are throwing all sorts of things into "human nature" that are not so in the strictest sense.

    His [C.C.] interpretive praxis also stands in stark contrast to the apostolic hermeneutic:

    "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Rom 15:3, NAS)


    And who is the "we" being encouraged by the Scriptures? Those of the Christian faith, obviously.

    He doesn't really know *what* he is....

    Guessing my thoughts again. Perhaps you ought to rename this the Psychic Friends Blog, what with all of the mind-reading going on.

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