Problems with Fundamentalist Evangelical Biblical Scholarship

by leavingwt 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • leavingwt

    Some of you may enjoy reading Paul Tobin's response to criticisms of his work in John W. Loftus new book, The Christian Delusion. These criticisms are compiled in The Infidel Delusion (PDF), which was written by Patrick Chan, Jason Engwer, Steve Hays, and Paul Manata.

    Part I of Tobin's response is at the link below.

    Here are a few snippets that were interesting to me.

    Regarding circumcision. . .

    Next Hays discussed the issue of Abraham and circumcision. In my article, I pointed out that since circumcision was a widely practiced custom among the various cultures Abraham supposed came into contact with, such as the Egyptians and the Canaanites, it could not have been used as a ‘sign of the covenant.’ In other words, it is useless as a social or cultural “boundary marker.” Such markers are supposed to set the believers apart from those around them.

    Hay’s comment was “That‘s rather silly. The same symbol can have a polysemous import depending on the cultural connotations which any given society or subculture assigns to it.”

    Perhaps I can make the issue clearer with an hypothetical example. Imagine the founder of a new religion in Iran or Saudi Arabia - where almost everyone is Muslim, and practice circumcision – telling his followers, “To set you apart, God has commanded that you remove the foreskins from your penises.” This would have been met with utter lack of comprehension, since everyone around them was already circumcised!

    His example of the swastika, presumably in its use by the Nazi’s, missed this point completely. The Nazi used the swastika precisely because it was a symbol which sets it apart from everyone else – the symbol had “Aryan roots” and it was used by the German nationalists during the 19th century. A perfect symbol to identify them (i.e. set them apart from everyone else) in their socio-politico-cultural milieu!

  • leavingwt

    On the messages of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. . .

    In my article, I had noted that the markedly different outlooks of the books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs as another example of how the Bible is inconsistent with itself.[11] Hays response that I fail “to take into account the genre of each” does nothing in resolving this problem. Genres may impact the way an idea is being presented (in music, different genres such as rock, or disco or rap can be used to speak of undying love) but not in its message (all these genres can also speak of hate). The messages of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs if they do come from one god, comes from a schizophrenic one.

  • Deputy Dog
    Deputy Dog


    I'd love to see his comments on these. Would he say this make God schizophrenic?

    Pro 26:4

    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

    Pro 26:5

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

  • snowbird

    Proverbs 26:4 Don't respond to the stupidity of a fool;
    you'll only look foolish yourself.

    5 Answer a fool in simple terms
    so he doesn't get a swelled head. MSG


  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Yes, biblical snippets. What was the big fascination with circumcision anyway?

  • Deputy Dog
    Deputy Dog


    That looks like the Silvia translation.

  • designs

    They weren't carving swatikas on their dingy's as a sign from God were they.

    For sheer entertainment value go to a Fundamentalist gathering and a Pentecostal gathering and see who Jumps, Shouts, and Writhes on the ground better. Dueling Gods

  • cult classic
    cult classic

    I thought the swastika predated Germany's use by a long shot. If I remember correctly it was in use in Asian and Indian civilizations for millenia. Some anthropologists believe it was used pre egyptian era also. If I remember correctly.

    But anyway, interesting point being made LWT.

Share this