Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Contradictory Catholicism

I’m going to comment on this:

Bradley’s basic tactic is to substitute a caricature of my stated position for my actual position, then attack the caricature he imputed to me. That itself betrays the weakness of his case.

First, Hays is begging the question. He most definitely hasn’t shown an “oral tradition.”

Of course I have. According to Jn 21, a statement of Jesus was reported by word-of-mouth.

What John 21 shows is that some people were confused.

Which misses the point–what was the source of their confusion? Jesus’ statement was either misreported or misconstrued.

Is it the case that every time some minority of Christians is confused that their confusion amounts to an “oral tradition”? Hardly.

Bradley isn’t even attempting to address my actual argument.

Second, Hays point appears to be that nothing can be infallible until it’s written down.

i) Can Bradley quote me saying that? No.

Ironically, Bradley, throughout his lengthy reply, is illustrating the Catholic penchant for legendary embellishment. He systematically misrepresents my stated position.

Thankfully, there’s a written record of what I actually said, which readers can compare to Bradley’s revisionism. So I do thank Bradley for illustrating the unreliability of Roman Catholic tradition. He himself is a case in point.

ii) The spoken word can be infallible. For instance, what Jesus said in Jn 21 was infallible.

iii) But that misses the point. Bradley didn’t hear Jesus say that. He wasn’t there.

And even if he had heard Jesus speak, that doesn’t mean he’d have a verbatim recollection of Jesus’ statement.

But nothing was written down until it was written down. And a substantial part of the Bible wasn’t written down until after the death of the Apostles…

That begs the question.

Moreover, it reflects a fundamental contradiction in Bradley’s position. He nominally affirms the reliability of oral tradition, but he immediately rejects the traditional authorial attributions. He accuses me of sawing off the branch I’m sitting on, yet he’s oblivious to the fact that he’s doing the very thing he accuses Protestants of doing.

…such as the Gospel of John, which we know was written after the death of the Beloved Disciple because it implies that the Beloved Disciple has died!

Actually, that very chapter contains an authorial self-attribution  (i.e. Beloved Disciple). He’s in a position to write about the event because he was there. He saw it and heard it:

“This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things” (Jn 21:24).

And the Fourth Gospel contains other authorial self-attributions (i.e. the Beloved disciple).

So, Hays is, in fact, confusing his notion of inerrancy with oral tradition since he is arguing the unbiblical and idiotic position that nothing was inerrant until it was written down, and that anything said by anyone is an oral tradition, which means that he is arguing that oral traditions were not inerrant, which means that the early church had no inerrant position to select the books of the bible.

That entire statement is a straw man. Can he quote me saying that? No.

Bradley has a stock argument he dusts off when attacking the Protestant position, so he recasts what I say to conform to his stock argument. He’s unable to adapt to a different challenge.

Of course, anyone with a bit of reading on the subject knows that the early church judged the reliability of the gospels by their conformity to oral tradition. Gospels beloved of Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman didn't make the cut because they were "fishy." They were "fishy" because people knew from their oral traditions, that these other gospels were saying things that didn't square with what they'd been taught.

Bradley lacks a grasp of relative chronology. The apocryphal gospels were written well after the canonical gospels. Hence, the early church already had a set of written gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) to furnish a standard of comparison.

This is hardly earth-shaking information. The gospels didn’t descend from Heaven in a baggie, and no one claimed that the angel Gabriel came to them and said recite with respect to the gospels (unlike that other religion.)

That’s a long, irrelevant detour from anything I actually wrote. But that’s the best that Bradley can do.

Because, apparently, no one knew that the Beloved Disciple had died – and therefore conclusively disproven the speculation that the Beloved Disciple would live until the parousia – until they read the Gospel of John?

Bradley continues to predicate his argument on his theory of composition–which begs the question. Bradley has nothing in reserve. So he just repeats himself.

Second, evidence, please?

Evidence for what? Johannine authorship? If that’s the question:

i) For an overview, Keener marshals the evidence in his magisterial commentary on John.

ii) The Fourth Gospel is not anonymous. It has a title. The title ascribes the Fourth Gospel to the apostle John.

There’s no reason to assume the title is a later editorial addition. To my knowledge, all our Greek MSS attribute the Gospel to the Apostle John.

In addition, once more than one gospel was in circulation, the gospels would need titles to distinguish one from another.

iii) Then there’s specific evidence for the Johannine authorship of Jn 21 in particular.

This is lame. Hays needs for there to be some kind of “faded memory” because in modernity we all “know” that the problem with oral statements is that people forget things.

As I already pointed out to Bradley on two separate occasions, the Fourth Gospel itself distrusts unaided human memory, which is why the disciples are promised the assistance of the Holy Spirit to refresh their recollection (Jn 14:26).

Bradley lacks adaptive ability. He repeats the same discredited arguments, despite the fact that I’ve refuted his arguments.

So he confuses the issues.
There is no evidence that anyone misremembered and misreported anything. Jesus’ answer was ambiguous. It could have been taken either that the Beloved Disciple would live to see the Second Coming or he wouldn’t. There is not a scintilla of evidence in fact or logic that if the statement had been written down – and perhaps it was for all we know – that people would have gotten it right before the death of the Beloved Disciple.

i) Assuming that Jesus’ answer is ambiguous, that’s precisely what could give rise to an erroneous oral tradition. Attributing to Jesus a statement he didn’t make, because they attribute their misinterpretation to Jesus. They substitute their misinterpretation for what Jesus actually said.

ii) The fact that an accurate written record of his statement is also subject to misinterpretation is beside the point. For absent the written record, what would survive is not his actual statement, but the garbled version of his statement.

The problem is that John 22 - 23 is not “perspicuous” in itself and that is a major problem for Protestants of Hays’ bent.

i) That’s not a problem for Protestants. Even if (arguendo) his statement is ambiguous, the proper interpretation is to leave the ambiguity intact. Not make it more specific than it is. Not make it say more than it does. If the statement is open-ended, you leave it where you found it.

You could discuss possible interpretations, without taking sides. If a biblical statement is ambiguous, you ought to respect the ambiguity–unless there’s some contextual factor that removes the ambiguity.

ii) However, is Christ’s statement ambiguous? It’s a hypothetical statement. Is Bradley claiming that hypothetical statements are inherently ambiguous?

Seems to me that hypotheticals are only ambiguous if you forget that they are hypotheticals and treat them as indicatives. A hypothetical isn’t meant to predict the future.

And that isn’t just a Protestant issue. It’s not as if the church of Rome has inside information to supplement what Jesus meant in Jn 21. The church of Rome is looking at the same text we are.

What solved the interpretation problem was that the Beloved Disciple died. Now, safely after that extra-biblical fact, Hays can play Monday-morning Quarterback and say that anyone without the benefit of his hindsight clearly got it wrong, but who, other than someone with sola scriptura glasses on, who thinks that the Church had no certain knowledge until someone came along and wrote things down, thinks for a moment that his position is credible?

i) Bradley habitually disregards the text staring him square in the face. It’s not me who’s Monday-morning quarterbacking, but the Beloved Disciple–who tells the reader in Jn 21 that some 1C Christians got it wrong.

ii) And even if we address Bradley on his own terms, we don’t need the church of Rome to tell us that John died. For one thing, the church of Rome isn’t conterminous with the early church.

Moreover, John wasn’t promised immortality. None of the apostles were promised immortality. So of course they died.

Furthermore, the church of Rome doesn’t issue death certificates.

Answer – because this isn’t a lucid argument. It’s based on all kinds of lame presuppositions that are contrary to fact and logic.

Notice how Bradley ignores my reference to Jn 14:26. Bradley is a typical Bible-hating Catholic. He doesn’t care what Scripture says. It bounces right off him.

For example, Hays assumes that the speculation about the Beloved Disciple was an “oral tradition” – there’s no evidence that it was.

Bradley has one fixed setting: deny, repeat, deny, repeat.

I’ve carefully laid out the evidence. To constantly deny it is not a counterargument.

Hays assumes that the speculation about the Beloved Disciple was a teaching under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – it wasn’t.

Bradley’s description is hopelessly scatterbrained. Did I attribute the rumor to the Holy Spirit? No.

The rumor was circulated by those who didn’t have the assistance of the Holy Spirit. A rumor run amok.

By contrast, the Holy Spirit inspires John to correct the rumor.

Is there any evidence of any bishop or apostle teaching the speculation about the Beloved Disciple – nope.

A red herring.

So, if we unpack this, we are to understand that the Holy Spirit only works through writing?????
Is that the “elementary inference”?
If it is, where is that in the Bible?

Because there’s a contextual tie-in between the testimony of the Beloved Disciple and the promise of the Holy Spirit. John’s recorded testimony is trustworthy, not only because he’s an eyewitness to the recorded events, but because the Holy Spirit vouches for his testimony. 

Let me submit that the way this passage has normally been understood outside of the fever swamp of SS – sola scriptura – is that the Holy Spirit works by teaching of the church, which is often an oral process.

“Normally” by whom? Roman Catholics? Needless to say, that’s a viciously circular appeal.

Jn 14:26 isn’t a promise to “the church.” It’s a promise to the disciples in the Upper Room.

Well, I guess the clue is that I actually say the “Triablogue account engages in a bad bit of historical anachronism.”
For a guy who is uber-critical of other people’s reading ability….well, camels and gnats.

Keep in mind that Bradley is supports the sitz-im-leben of Catholic scholars like Raymond Brown. In that case, Jn 21 would be anachronistic, would be a retrojective.

Bradley can’t keep track of his own argument.

Now it all becomes clear. Hays thinks that Chapter 21 of the Gospel of John circulated during the life of the Beloved Disciple.

I didn’t say if it circulated during his lifetime. Just that he wrote it. How long he lived after writing it (hence, how long it circulated during his lifetime) is a separate question.

But it didn’t. Biblical scholars generally acknowledge that the last chapter – Chapter 21 – is in the nature of an “appendix” added after the death of the Beloved Disciple.

i) That’s a good example of a hasty generalization. What Bible scholars? Does he mean liberal Catholic scholars like Raymond Brown, Luke Timothy Johnson, and Rudolf Schnackenburg?

By contrast, scholars like Craig Keener, Craig Blomberg, Andreas Köstenberger, Darrel Bock, Paul Minear, and J. Ramsey Michaels don’t grant Bradley’s assumption.

More embarrassing for Bradley is the awkward fact that Richard Bauckham rejects the assumption that Jn 21 is an appendix. Cf. The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, chap. 3. Yet Bradley keeps urging his followers to read Bauckham, to (allegedly) refute my own position. So that appeal backfires badly.

ii) Bradley has also oversimplified the issue. There are two distinct and separable questions:

a) Is the epilogue an appendix?

b) Even if the epilogue is an appendix, was it added by someone other than the original author?

Distinguished Johannine scholars dispute (a). But even if we grant (a), that doesn’t mean someone other than John wrote it. John could write chapters 1-20, then–shortly thereafter, when he became aware of the rumor–he could add this postscript to squelch the rumor.

Keep in mind that Jn 21 also contains an authorial self-attribution (i.e. the Beloved Disciple). So this isn’t bare conjecture.

For example, it seems that Tertullian had a copy of the Gospel of John without Chapter 21, but he was aware of the speculation by some – not all – not by any teaching authority – that the Beloved Disciple would see the Second Coming.

It’s unclear how Bradley’s reference is supposed to help his case. Smith says:

On the other hand, Tertullian is well aware of the ancient rumor that one of the disciples was expected to live until the advent of the Lord. From Concerning the Soul 50.5:
Obiit et Iohannes, quem in adventum domini remansurum frustra fuerat spes.
Even John died, for whom there was a misguided hope that he would remain unto the advent of the Lord.
This misguided hope, of course, is the topic of a passage toward the end of the Johannine appendix, John 21.20-23, in which it it affirmed that some of the brethren supposed that the beloved disciple would remain till the coming of Jesus, and thus not die. I cite only the last verse:
Therefore this word went out unto the brethren, that that disciple would not die. But Jesus said to him, not that he would not die, but: If I wish him to remain until I come, what is that to you?
It seems quite doubtful to me that an oral tradition of this frustrated hope survived to the time of Tertullian (who flourished in about the year 200). This passage of his, therefore, is evidence that Tertullian did know the Johannine appendix after all.

i) How does Bradley think that helps his case? On the one hand, Smith admits that Tertullian was familiar with the rumor recorded in Jn 21. On the other hand, Smith doesn’t think you can chalk that up to oral tradition. So it still comes down to a written source.

ii) Does Bradley think Jn 21 was written in the 3C, after Tertullian?

Nope. I’m saying that the text concerning the death of the Beloved Disciple was added after the death of the Beloved Disciple when the meaning of Christ’s non-perspicuous statement was clear.
And, of course, I’m in good company for holding that position.

More like bad company.

No, Hays is completely anachronistic because he shows no awareness of how oral tradition worked in the First Century or what oral tradition means and he seems fully wedded to the modern belief that if something isn’t written down, it is immediately suspected as being inaccurate. This is simply not how people in the First Century thought.

i) There’s a difference between oral tradition and oral transmission.

ii) Orality and textuality coexisted. The 1C Roman Empire wasn’t preliterate.

iii) I gave a specific example of inaccurate oral tradition from Jn 21.

Again, I recommend Bauckham’s book.

Bradley’s a one-trick pony. All he does is to repeat the same discredited arguments. But I’ve already responded to that appeal. He says nothing to rebut my response.

Actually, the Rapture was first invented by John Darby in 1830.
No serious student of history disputes this.
Prior to Darby, no one reading the Bible had the barest idea that someone would create the doctrine of the Rapture.
Of course, I don’t expect Hays to acknowledge this. I have seen too many times, sola scriptura literalists laugh at people in the past for getting things wrong but showing keen confidence that their belief in a “young earth” or “the Rapture” is “just reading the text.”

What I said was: 

Actually, the notion of a rapture goes back to 1 Thes 4:17. Of course, how that event should be understood is a different question.

Has Bradley refuted that? No. He doesn’t even grasp the nature of the claim.

Kudos!!! My point exactly. Just like the speculation about the Beloved Disciple was not an oral tradition of the Church, it was a misinterpretation of the oral tradition which is that Jesus had said if he willed the Beloved Disciple, etc.

Another example of Bradley’s confusion. He’s comparing the oral tradition recorded in Jn 21 to Paul’s written statements about the Parousia.

First prize for missing the point about how disputes over such things in Protestantism lead to schisms, which didn’t happen in the First Century because - hint - they weren't Sola Scriptura Protestants.

Really? Does the church of Rome teach Bradley’s theory of Jn 21 as a posthumous appendix?

Well, that’s game, set and match for me. If the apostle John corrected the rumor, then that’s the teaching, which makes it the tradition. And if he did it orally, then that’s the “oral tradition.”

Notice Bradley’s shell game, where he equates teaching with tradition, and then equates tradition with oral tradition.

But John didn’t correct the rumor orally; rather, he corrected the rumor textually. That’s what we have in Jn 21.

And are we supposed to believe (a) that John never corrected the rumor orally?

A better question is: are we supposed to believe things for which we have no evidence? Bradley has no evidence that John corrected the rumor orally. By contrast, we have explicit evidence that he corrected the rumor textually. As Jacob Neusner is fond of saying, you don't know what you can't show. 

And (b) that if John had corrected the rumor orally that the rumor would have remained in circulation?

How does one rumor correct another rumor?

Hays seems to think that all of Christianity was sitting around, doing not much, just waiting for the written texts so it could know what it believed.

Bradley seems to think he needn’t pay attention to what Jn 21 actually says. This is a good example of the Catholic mindset. On the one hand, Bradley spurns the record of Scripture. Spurns the hard evidence right before his very eyes.

On the other hand, Bradley prefers to believe in things for which we have no evidence. He posits the existence of oral traditions. Imaginary evidence displaces documentary evidence.

With his facility for make-believe, it’s no wonder that he’s Roman Catholic.

PSB: In Catholicism, in contrast, there is a teaching magisterium aided by the Holy Spirit to…you know…teach!
SH: That assumes what he needs to prove.
And that is a non-response…

It’s a “non-response” because the onus is not on me to disprove a claim for which Bradley offers no proof.

…particularly since Hays’ thesis is that the Gospel of John was a, you know, “teaching moment” with respect to the issue of whether the Beloved Disciple would live to see the Second Coming.

That’s exactly what Jn 21 does.

It’s amazing how oblivious and contradictory, these wooden literalists are.

Not to mention how persistently oblivious Bradley is to the overt purpose of Jn 21.

So, we are back to “the gospels descended from heaven in a baggy” theory of the origins of the Bible.
Are these people serious?
Of course, the Gospel of John came from the Church as part of the teachings of the Church. What else was it?

The work of an individual apostle, a member of Christ’s inner circle, an eyewitness reporter.

To a modern Protestant, it might seem perfectly logical that a Christian could decide to write a theological account in glorious isolation, but things didn't work that way back in the First Century. All scholars agree that the author of John was part of a Christian community, and that Christian community was a part of the universal church.

i) For someone who’s such a champion of Richard Bauckham’s scholarship, it’s ironic that Bradley is ignorant of the fact that Bauckham and other scholars have challenged that very claim:

R. Bauckham, ed. The Gospels for All Christians: Rethinking the Gospel Audiences.

ii) Bradley also blurs the elementary distinction between author and audience. The fact that the apostles were part of a Christian community didn’t prevent then from often assuming an adversarial stance towards the Christian community. Numerous NT letters are critical of local churches.

By the same token, OT prophets were members of the Jewish community, yet that didn’t prevent them from often assuming an adversarial stance towards the religious community.

Biblical teaching isn’t church teaching. It doesn’t emanate from “the church.” For it often stands in direct opposition to the religious community or the religious establishment.

And where is it written in the Bible that “the Church may not teach by having things written down”?
These people are so unbiblical.

Another straw man argument.

Except the Church was right about the Beloved Disciple. So score one for Catholicism.

“The Church” didn’t write Jn 21. Score one for the apostle John.

And nice response to the Great Disappointment and the rise of the SDA church when the world didn’t end as scheduled, again.
Apart from begging the question and ignoring the truth of what I’ve written, Hays’ statement has no value.

Since I’m not a Seventh-day Adventist, Miller’s failed predictions aren’t my problem.

As for Ellen G. White, she’s analogous to the papacy. She imagined herself to be inspired. A prophetess. She was wrong-–just like the pope.

“They” who "got it right" are obviously the Church, i.e., the bishops and the apostles and the author and editors of John.

The bishops didn’t write Jn 21.

Since Bradley denies the apostolic authorship of the Fourth Gospel, his appeal to apostles is misdirected.

They are not a minority - the "Brothers" - who hare after a rumor like a bunch of rapture-loving pre-mill/post-mill enthusiasts.

i) Popes and bishops are a distinct minority.

ii) Bradley suffers from historical amnesia. Millennial speculation is hardly confined to segments of Protestantism. There’s plenty of millennial speculation on his side of the ledger, viz. Papias, Justin, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Nepos of Arsino, Victorinus of Pettau, Lactantius, Methodius of Olympus, Commodianus, Augustine, Joachim of Fiore, Savonarola, Francisco Ribera, Manuel de Lacunza y Díaz. Catholic epologists have short memories.

The apostle, who then taught through the church? Absolutely. Hays’ point would be…?

Not through the church but to the church.

Got to love the big, thick sola scriptura glasses. Yup, if it ain’t in the Bible it just never happened.

Another flaming straw man.

Yes, the rumor took place before the Gospel was written. And the disproof of the rumor took place before the Gospel was written because John died before the appendix was written because it’s kind of hard to positively disprove that you are going to live until the Second Coming until you’ve died first.

A fallacious inference. Jn 21 wasn’t written to positively disprove that John was going to live until the Second Coming.

Rather, Jn 21 was written to either disprove the claim that Jesus said that or meant that. Jn 21 is noncommittal on whether John would live to see the Parousia.

And, in fact, that’s a very good reason to think this is not a posthumous appendix. For if John was already dead when the epilogue was written, if John’s death occasioned the epilogue, then why would the epilogue leave the issue open-ended? As it stands, the epilogue leaves the question of whether he’d live to see the Parousia dangling, unresolved. Which is just what you’d expect if he hadn’t died, and Jesus hadn’t predicted his survival until the Parousia.

Seriously, flip this around. Are we to believe that John instructed people that he wasn’t going to live until the Second Coming? Not likely since no one “knows the hour” of the Second Coming.
Prior to John’s death, speculation was permissible and no one knew the answer! After his death, people know the answer and it’s important to squelch speculation.

That’s not the issue. The issue is whether Jesus made a prediction.

Prior to John’s death, speculation was permissible and no one knew the answer! After his death, people know the answer and it’s important to squelch speculation. That common sense insight is entirely consistent with the fact that Tertullian had a copy of the Gospel of John without chapter 21, verse 22- 23.

So John died after Tertullian? Impressive longevity!

SH: But “getting it right” didn’t take place without a written text. For the text is the medium by which John corrects the erroneous rumor. John doesn’t first correct the rumor by word-of-mouth, then later write down what he said. No, this is the occasion when he corrects the rumor. Through this very chapter.
Did Hays get this knowledge from the angel Gabriel like Mohammed got the Koran?
Because that is not what most serious bible scholars believe.

i) First of all, Bradley keeps making sweeping statements about “all” or “most” Bible scholars or Bible scholars “in general” without citing his sources.

ii) Notice how he also throws in the no-true-Scotsman qualifier about “serious” Bible scholars. So that preemptively disqualifies any scholar who disagrees with his theory as less than “serious.”

iii) And he doesn’t quote any “serious” scholars who say that John first corrected the rumor by word-of-mouth.

iv) Finally, he’s in no position to mock Muslims. How is the Angel Gabriel speaking to Muhammad any more ridiculous than Mary appearing to Bernadette, Juan Diego, or Lúcia dos Santos? Why is that any more ridiculous than papal infallibility when the pope speaks ex cathedra?

Notice how Hays’ isn’t responding to the point.

To the contrary, I noted how Bradley builds a false premise into his description.

And he’s wrong. The context is about a past event, namely it is recounting the story that Jesus told prior to the writing of it in the Gospel of John.

That’s a bait-n-switch. Bradley’s been claiming that the past event is the death of John.

Notice that last part about “we know that his testimony is true.” One of the reasons that scholars believe that verse 22 – 24 is a post-mortem, post-script is that it changes the narrative voice to a “we” that is apparently doing the writing of what “he” said.

i) Needless to say, scholars who affirm Johannine authorship address that objection. For instance:

ii) Apropos (i), Bradley fails to consider the nature of self-referential expressions. When someone refers to himself, the subject is taking himself as his own object. As such, it’s not usual for the speaker of a self-referential expression to shift from the first-person to the third-person.

In addition, third-person discourse is a standard literary convention in historical writing, even if the writing is autobiographical.

iii) Likewise, there’s a natural shift in pronouns as John transitions from a character within the narrative to the voice of the narrator himself, directly addressing the audience. A point made by Bauckham. Cf. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, 380.

iv) Bauckham also takes the third-person plural to be a Johannine idiom for the “we” of “authoritative testimony.” Ibid., 371. Yet he identifies the Beloved Disciple as the author.

So Bauckham disagrees with Bradley on key points.

v) The shift from first-person singular to third-person plural can also mean the narrator is speaking on behalf of others. So the alternation in pronouns indicates that he’s speaking both for himself as well as speaking in a representative capacity.

(i)-(v) are all consistent with the Johannine authorship of Jn 21.

vi) But even if (arguendo) we treat 21:24 as an editorial addition, that doesn’t mean the whole chapter is an editorial addition. Indeed, if we treat 21:24 as an editorial addition, then what preceded 21:24 would still be the work the Beloved Disciple. For on that analysis, 21:24 stands in contrast to what went before.

vii) Bradley either treats the Beloved Disciple as a real person or a literary fiction. If the former, then the Fourth Gospel was written by an eyewitness, a member of Christ’s inner circle.

If, however, Bradley treats the Beloved Disciple as a literary fiction, and attributes the Fourth Gospel to an anonymous redactor, then what occasioned the “appendix”? The death of a fictitious character? The death of an anonymous redactor? His theory of composition doesn’t make sense even on its own terms.

God bless the wooden literalists.

Bradley keeps using “literalist” as a term of abuse. I wonder how he glosses Jn 6. Does he think the Bread of Life discourse alludes to the Eucharist? Does he think communicants at Mass “literally” consume the blood of Christ? Or is that “woodenly” literal? Is Bradley a Zwinglian?

But so what? Are we to believe that if the "accurately remembered oral statement" had been written down, then there would have been no "inaccurately rumored statement"?
That’s the burden of Hays’ argument, and he has offered no data and no logic to prove his point.
I’m afraid Bradley isn't very attentive. He keeps raising the same tired objections even though I’ve rebutted his objections.

i) First of all, having an accurate written record of Christ’s statement furnishes an objective check against an orally misreported version of what he said.

ii) In addition, as I’ve pointed out before, what we get in Jn 21 is not merely an inspired record of Jesus’ statement, but John’s inspired interpretation, which corrects the rumor.

How often do you have to explain something to Bradley before the light bulb goes on?

In fact, he has shown the opposite in his defense of the biblical basis of the Rapture while not knowing/forgetting/participating in an “inaccurately rumored statement” that the Rapture is biblical.

This is another example of Bradley’s deficient reading skills.

Bradley is confusing “the Rapture” as a technical term for the Dispensational interpretation of 1 Thes 4:17–with “rapture” as a traditional descriptor via the Vulgate:

deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus

I can draw further distinctions if that’s too subtle for Bradley.

Again, God bless the wooden literalists.

Like the way Catholics take Jn 3:5 as a literal allusion to water baptism.

Hays doesn’t seem to have any understanding that the point of a statement is to communicate meaning. The “dominical statement” could have been a rhetorical statement – it looks like a rhetorical statement – and if that was the case, then the answer to the Jesus’ question is “John will see the Second Coming.” Even if John pointed out that the statement was a question, not an answer, it can still be interpreted as meaning that John will see the Second Coming. What showed that the statement was a real as opposed to a rhetorical question was John’s death.

No, it’s a hypothetical statement, not a prediction. Ironically, Bradley is making the same mistake as “the brothers.”

Hays’ is doing something very typical for wooden literalists; he is begging the question by assuming that everyone knew from the beginning what he knows now. If that approach is convincing to you, then that’s because you already accept his position.

One doesn’t need to know that John died to know that this is a hypothetical statement. Bradley is the one who handles the statement woodenly.

Well, gosh, it sounds like Hays’ is up to speed on modern Catholic scriptural studies. Yes, that’s right, I’ve read Raymond Brown’s “The Community of the Beloved Disciple;” Brown was both consistent with mainstream bible studies and a member of the Pontifical Bible Commission. So, he was hardly a crazy “modernist.”

That’s because the modernists won. They lost the initial skirmishes, went underground, regrouped, and reemerged to win the war.

But notice that rather than arguing for his position, Hays just assumes it to be true. Given that Hays has yet to make an argument not based on begging assumptions and jumping to conclusions, it’s hard not to ignore his arguments.

Once again, we have to explain the obvious to Bradley. I’m responding to him on his own grounds. That means I don’t have to argue for my own position.

He accused me, and Protestants generally, of sawing off the tree we sit on by questioning oral tradition. But I’m pointed out that he himself is doing the very thing he accuses Protestants of doing.

Notice how he appeals to Brown’s historical reconstruction. Brown denies Johannine authorship.

Yet that runs counter to tradition. Johannine authorship is attested such early sources as Tertullian, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Theophilus of Antioch, and the Muratorian Canon. So Bradley treats patristic tradition as highly unreliable.

Now Bradley thinks he has a backup system by appealing to living tradition (i.e. teaching office of the Roman Magisterium). However, he disregards that as well. For instance, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, under the auspices of Pope Leo XIII, reaffirmed the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel:

Question 19: Considering the constant, universal, and solemn tradition of the Church, a tradition going back to the second century and especially manifested in the testimonies of the Holy Fathers, of Ecclesiastical writers, nay even of heretics — testimonies and allusions which must have been derived from the disciples of the Apostles or their immediate successors and which are therefore closely connected with the origin of the book, a tradition manifested, too, in the constant and universal reception of the name of the author of the Fourth Gospel both in the Canon and in the catalogues of the Sacred Books, and manifested lastly in the public liturgical use prevailing throughout the Church from the first ages, can we, in view of these considerations, and abstracting from all theological arguments, hold that the authorship of the Fourth Gospel by John the Apostle and no other rests upon so solid an historical basis as not to be invalidated by the arguments alleged by critics who reject this tradition?
Reply: In the Affirmative.
Question 20: Further, do the internal arguments which are deducible from the text of the Fourth Gospel considered apart, as also those derived from the testimony of the writer himself and from the evident relationship existing between the same Gospel and the First Epistle of John the Apostle, serve as sufficient confirmation of the tradition which unhesitatingly assigns the Fourth Gospel to the same apostle?
Reply: In the Affirmative to both questions.
On May 29, 1907, in an audience graciously conceded to the two consultors, the Holy Father ratified the above Replies and ordered their publication.

i) So Bradley’s position has been falsified on its own grounds.

ii) In addition, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I can refer readers to scholarly defenses of Johannine authorship.

Again, more misdirection on Hays’ part. His argument is that no one could be sure of Church teachings until it was written down. The idea that people sat around for 70 years just waiting for the Gospel of John is lame.
John was teaching orally long before the Gospel of John was written.
If Hays’ disbelieves that, he can prove his claim.

i) My argument wasn't about “Church teachings.” Bradley is substituting his Catholic framework. The Apostle John wasn’t “the Church.”

ii) You also have Bradley’s chronic diversionary tactic, where he tries to turn this into a universal claim–whereas I cited a specific case. Now, that case happens to be a worse-case scenario for the Catholic appeal to oral tradition. And so it’s applicable beyond that one case–which is why Bradley is so discombobulated.

I tend to favor an early dating of John, as does, I believe, Pope Benedict XVI.

Yet he just said: 

The idea that people sat around for 70 years just waiting for the Gospel of John is lame.

Does he ever think before he speaks?

PSB: Think about that last, and you see “chronological snobbery.” Protestantism develops after the printing press and so incorporates a human tradition that could only have developed after the invention of the printing press – namely that writing is trustworthy and oral tradition is not.
SH: Notice how he disregards my qualified statement about testimonial evidence.
Notice how Hays is beginning to dimly become aware of the fact that he’s sawing off the branch on which the Bible is sitting?

i) This is something I said at the outset. It’s not a dawning recognition.

ii) And Bradley is busily sawing off the branch he’s perched on. He’s just too slow on the uptake to see that, even after I’ve drawn his attention to his own point-blank contradictions.

Testimonial evidence is good, per Hays. Oral tradition is bad per Hays.

A caricature. Every time Bradley caricatures the Protestant position, that’s a backdoor admission that his own position is indefensible, while the Protestant position is irrefutable.

But out there waiting is Bart Ehrman was says that all of the written bible is nothing but garbled oral statements that were written down. What is Hays to do now?

Well that’s easy. Since Ehrman’s claim is predicated on a false premise, I’d challenge the premise.

And this is totally irrelevant.
I wasn’t talking about modern Catholicism. I was talking about the First Century.

So everything changes the moment we cross over from 99AD to 100AD?

I think that we have a written text for the purpose of preserving the testimony of those who were eyewitnesses.

So oral transmission is unreliable over the long haul. Eyewitness testimony must be committed to writing to be preserved. Thanks for the fatal concession.

My point was that according to Bauckham, the preference of First Century people was “to get it from the horse’s mouth” so that they could judge the credibility of the eyewitness. Bauckham documents that in antiquity, people preferred oral reports to written reports. Our preference is the opposite.

i) Is that really the case? Or is the lapse of time the differential factor?

ii) Moreover, even if that’s an accurate description of the difference between our preference and their preference, that doesn’t begin to demonstrate the superiority of their preference. So that wouldn’t be sawing off the limb we’re sitting on. Bradley needs to show that we depend on their preference.

That, incidentally, is another reason that Hays’ argument that people weren’t able to disabuse themselves of rumors until it was put down in writing is wrong.

Bradley has a hard time understanding even the simplest issues. In Jn 21, only seven people (not counting Jesus) were present at the event. Only seven eyewitnesses.

So folks who weren’t there wouldn’t be in a position to disabuse themselves of the rumor unless they had a reliable source of information from someone who was there. And that’s what John does in Jn 21.

If you weren’t there, you lack independent knowledge of what really happened. Who said what. Who did what.

You can’t disabuse yourself of a false rumor unless you have a standard of comparison. Unless you have access to the truth. Jn 21 provides the benchmark.

It is also another reason for thinking that the appendix of Chapter 21 was written after John’s death. The preference would have been to have oral testimony, and only when people became concerned about losing that oral testimony did they write down or have John write down his testimony. Prior to the death or approaching death of John, people in antiquity wouldn’t have preferred writing to oral testimony.

Notice how Bradley is backpedaling. He now makes allowance for John writing Jn 21.

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