Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Read Some Portions Of Lydia McGrew's Upcoming Book On John's Gospel

She's posted the first chapter and the conclusion of the book.


  1. Dr. McGrew's opening chapter mentions Maurice Casey. His tendentious appellation "Critical scholarship" appears throughout his major works, and it is simply code for scholars who are skeptical of the supernatural and of miracles in particular. I'm reading his book on Jesus mythicism, which is excellent and absolutely destroys the mythicists core arguments, but he's obsessed with believing Christians and how they "corrupt" biblical scholarship with their fundamentalism. I guess his atheism didn't equally corrupt, to some degree, his scholarship?

    Looking forward to reading Dr. McGrew's book!

    1. Bart Ehrman is another atheist/agnostic NT scholar who argues against Jesus mythicism, viz. Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.

    2. Yup, I have it! It's not as thorough as Casey's book though, and Casey spends inordinate time on explaining ancient historical methods. Casey's book is titled, Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? If you can put up with his repeated slights against evangelicals, it's an excellent tome.

    3. Thanks, Cory! I appreciate your recommendation.

      To answer your original question, I think some people can be unbiased despite their biases (e.g. Casey and Ehrman when it comes to Jesus mythicism), whereas other people are biased because of their biases. Sadly I think we're seeing more of the former than the latter in wider society. There are even some people who think it's justifiable to lie or deceive if it achieves their ideological ends. The "narrative" is what matters, regardless of its truth or falsehood. A prime example is the political left.

  2. The phrase "critical scholars" is also used pretty freely by some of the evangelicals I'm chiefly responding to. Craig Evans, for example, stated in his debate with me in 2018 that all "critical scholars" agree that Matthew's discourses are composite. I have an appendix to TMOM on the Matthean discourses. What Evans apparently didn't know was that D.A. Carson does not think that the Matthean discourses are composite, at least not the ones that are "bracketed" by phrases like, "When Jesus had finished all these sayings..." Clearly "critical scholars" was meant as a term of approbation and was meant to deprecate me as fringey, though as a matter of fact *at that time* I was not questioning the thesis that the Matthean discourses are composite, and I said so explicitly in the debate. Since then my spine has been stiffened on that point by reading Carson. Perhaps Evans would say that Carson doesn't count as a "critical scholar," but he clearly meant the term to include himself, so it wasn't intended only to include skeptical or even very liberal scholars. I doubt he would want publicly to say anything derogatory about Carson, such as calling him hyperconservative or anything. If "critical scholars" was supposed to mean "real NT scholars like me who are knowledgeable rather than pipsqueak outsiders like you," then I think Carson would have to count. I thought it was an interesting overstatement. One has to be careful about that word "all."