Hi slimboyfat....Thanks for your comments, and you offer some good criticism of how I expressed myself towards the end, which could probably have been better phrased (after all, I spent all last weekend writing the thing, and I was ready at that point to finish it and send it off), although I was commenting more on the Society's behavior in the 20th century than the situation in early Christianity (with a rather abrupt transition from writing as exegete to writing as critic of Watchtower policy). And while I am not a believer in any usual sense of the word, and certainly have no "faith" per se, I still derive a genuine spiritual appreciation for the whole gamut of early Jewish and Christian thought -- including the eschatological dimension. More to the point, I was speaking more to the middle ground between having no eschatology whatsoever and an "ultra-imminent expectation". From personal life experience, I feel that the latter can be unhealthy for the reasons I stated. But its alternative is not necessarily letting go of any hope of the things expected. Sure, that is possible too, but many have still maintained the hope while not being dogmatic on how soon its realization is supposed to be. I'm not entirely sure of the situation in contemporary SDAism but my impression is that they still very much expect the tribulation and millennium but are not dogmatic (as their forbearers used to be in the early to mid-1800s) on how long the "probation period" is supposed to last. My criticism was directed at the Watchtower position throughout the 20th century that insisted dogmatically on the basis of a false date (1914) that Armageddon was at most just a few years away, and thus strongly recommended JWs at various times to forego long-range planning, education, marriage, etc. I do think the Society is in a transition phase right now and may be backing away from such dogmatism, and the new "generation change" -- while exegetically unsound -- is possibly a step in that direction.
I think the only thing worth commenting with respect to pseudo-scholar's remarks is his characterization of original post as "simply a diatribe dressed up as scholarship" that neglects to provide references to "lexica, commentaries or journal articles". This comment completely misrecognizes the purpose and intent of the essay. It was not written as if it were a journal article, and it is not "amateurish" to write something in a different format that has a different purpose. It was intended to be my own "comments you will not hear at the Watchtower study". That is to say, it consists of my own comments and opinions about the Watchtower study article -- my take on the claims, interpretations, logic, and rhetoric of the article. When Ritchie Rich was the guest commentator, what he posted was his take on that week's article from his own unique point of view. When Don Cameron was the guest commentator, what he posted was his take on that week's article, and again, he eloquently discussed the problems with the article as he saw it. I was not trying to do anything different. Nor in presenting my analysis and explaining the reasons for it was I trying to say that there couldn't be other views. Of course, I read the academic literature and can present a more scholarly-informed discussion of the content of the study article, and I tried to explain as best as I could in the limited format of the "Comments You Will Not Hear" series the evidence and reasoning involved in the conclusions and opinions I presented. I gave, as I always do, all the specific citations to the texts and sources I used. So for instance, rather than appeal to a secondary source like a lexicon to assert what the range of meaning of parousia was, I went to the actual primary sources and gave specific examples showing that "coming" was a perfectly normal sense of the word -- and I also showed how the context itself supports this understanding of the term. That is far beyond anything that the Watchtower article did. I could have easily cited published scholarship and journal articles for any one of the points that I made, but that was not only unnecessary in what the "Comments" were supposed to be (i.e. an informal discussion of the article that any average JW could benefit from), but I also would never have been able to complete my Comments in time. The purpose of my essay was to introduce for the average JW a different way of looking at the relevant biblical texts -- supported by logic, context, the actual meanings of words, and the wider conceptual context. And all the points I made reflect what is found in biblical scholarship; while I have my own slant (as everybody does), there is nothing especially original about the ideas that I've summarized from the critical literature. Nor, in presenting those ideas, was I claiming that there was only one analysis or view in the literature. This was, as I have said, Leolaia's exegesis (designed to specifically critique another interpretation, the one provided by the Society) and I provided the evidence and argumentation, and showed how I reached my conclusions. Criticism should follow from those grounds, rather than the mere casting of aspersions.
(And I agree that certain comments from Lex were uncalled-for, that's not what this thread should be about)