Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Testament Standards Applied To Other Fields

Chris Price writes:

I have seen varied criticisms of the methodology of New Testament scholars ranging from attacks on the criteria as unique to New Testament studies to claims that their application of historical methodology lacks the vigor or sophistication of that of classical historians. Some have dismissed their efforts as mere apologetics. While the limitations of such historical methodology should be explored, it has not been my experience that New Testament scholars are less zealous or sophisticated in their application of the tools of historical methodology. To the contrary, New Testament scholars seem to obsess about the use of formal methodology more than classical and other historians. Nor is it true that the tools employed by New Testament scholars are unique to their field and unemployed by classical and other historians. While many of the historians I have read do not employ these tools as often or with the rigor as do New Testaments scholars, there are many instances where these non-New Testament historians consider the number of sources (multiple attestation), the fit of the account with more established accounts (coherence), the inclusion of facts that are not well-suited to the author's goal (embarrassment), the impact of genre, and the "vividness" of accounts to evaluate historical probabilities.

Strauss' discussion of the historicity of Sinnicus is an example of a classical historian employing some of the same tools as New Testament histories on a questioned episode.

You can read the rest of his article here.


  1. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the post and the link. Visited Christian Cadre for the first time! Only scanned about 2-3 pages of their site.

    Very interesting site. Read their Statement of Faith. Broadly ecumenical and deliberately so. Okay. Then I clicked on the Christian Philosophers page. I scrolled and nodded. Then lo and behold! Guess whose name I then saw?

    Victor Reppert's!!


    Steve's not happy.

  2. Truth Unites... and Divides,

    The Christian CADRE site is one of the best apologetics sources on the web. Some of the contributors aren't conservatives, and I disagree with them on some issues. The statement of faith page you refer to is too ecumenical. But I don't see a problem with linking to Victor Reppert's web site. We have a link to him here. Look for Dangerous Idea under our Apologetics links. You can disagree with a web site on some issues, yet think that their material has enough value to warrant a link. I don't think that linking involves a particularly close relationship, unless it's accompanied by something else. If the link is accompanied by a comment suggesting a high level of agreement with the site, then there ought to be a high level of agreement. But there can be valid reasons for linking even to sites you only agree with on a minority of issues.

  3. Hi Jason,

    I know. And I agree.

    I was just ribbing Steve Hays because he loves to argue with Victor Reppert.

    It almost seems like an obsession.

  4. Steve is OK so long as we don't talk about Calvinism or politics.