Evangelical Textual Criticism

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Response from Michael Fox on SBL Forum

Response from Michael V. Fox here.

4 comments:

  1. Fox says : "...presuppositions of faith stifle honest communication, and rational analysis gives way to pronouncements and preachments, often of an angry sort."

    Would one of these presuppositions be the closed-system, antisupernaturalism that was at the core of "secular" German scholarship of the 20th century?

    I offer some "preachments" (although, hopefully not of an angry sort):

    The author does say that there is bias in all approaches at the end of this response, but he naively seems to assume that a "secular" approach (Liberal/Agnostic?) would be essentially without bias.

    Sorry, I am not trying to be harsh, but what is wrong with recognizing your bias, and teaching both your own point of view and the main views held by others. This seems especially viable in the case where a person is studying Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, etc... Who better to teach about a contemporary religious system than one of its practitioners (unless we are simply treating the subject as history)?

    Is this an American problem?

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  2. Fox's perception that 'secular' thinking is qualitatively different from and superior to 'religious' thinking is expressed in a way that clearly is conditioned by his American context, but similar views could be expressed in the UK, where religion and state are by most but not all measurements less separated.

    German biblical scholarship is not strictly secular in the sense that most of it is done in Lutheran or Catholic settings.

    However, technically 'religious' settings that downplay talk of divine action in the world often end up with a fairly secular outlook.

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  3. Fox says : "...presuppositions of faith stifle honest communication, and rational analysis gives way to pronouncements and preachments, often of an angry sort."

    Just an observation; the above statement is itself a presupposition of faith.

    As Christian suggests, Fox would do well simply to acknowledge that his religious commitments are inseparable from his applications of higher and lower criticism of the Bible. So would more evangelical textual critics.

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  4. PJW: Fox's perception that 'secular' thinking is qualitatively different from and superior to 'religious' thinking is expressed in a way that clearly is conditioned by his American context

    Indeed, and is one of the reasons some Americans don't really get excited at the thought of returning to fight that attitude the rest of their lives, and might rather stay in Europe (without naively assuming that E is free of problems).

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