You accuse me of being "simplistic", and yet, in a number of the threads at Articuli Fidei where I have delineated the “methods” and “presuppositions” of liberal scholarship, you have been noticeably absent, and have failed to supply a conservative critique of the liberal paradigm.Elsewhere, he had said, “perhaps John will give some thought to Garry Williams' reservations...”
And so, yes, in a recent blog post, I commented on his objection that a conservative Presbyterian had called Eamon Duffy a “revisionist historian,” and I had commented on David’s failure to suggest precisely how “Duffy’s work on the English Reformation intersects with what he has written about the early papacy” was a good reason to characterize his objection as “simplistic”.
But if he is inclined to suggest that his other materials offer more substance, well, that’s questionable too. For example, this post of his seems to contain and summarize his strongest objections to, and remedies for, the work of Peter Lampe. In this thread, which gets posted around the internet by some of David’s followers and fans who seem to be less thoughtful and sophisticated even than he is, which he seems to proclaim as his “magnum opus” against Lampe, I want to summarize his “objections,” just to show how absolutely “fluffy” they are.
After providing a series of links to my various blog posts responding to him (and which I have supplemented here), here, unvarnished, is his devastating criticism:
I do not believe that John has adequately addressed the most pressing issue—which I have mentioned on more than one occasion—here it is again:Look again at that most pressing issue: “The premise/presuppostion [sic] that archeology and secular history must take precedence over Biblical historicity." And that Lampe (and so many other liberal scholars) apply this method “also to the history provided in the writings of early “Catholic” bishops and authors.”
The premise/presuppostion [sic] that archeology and secular history must take precedence over Biblical historicity.
This is the method that is foundational for Lampe (and so many other liberal scholars), and he applies it not only to Biblical historicity, but also to the history provided in the writings of early “Catholic” bishops and authors.
For gosh sakes, I hate to bring this up, but the Bible is history. And “archaeology and secular history” do not take precedence over “Biblical historicity” – these things confirm and provide a backdrop for “Biblical historicity.”
What in the world is David actually saying here? I grant that “Liberal Scholarship” has relied on the methodology of “historical criticism” (which incorporates – gasp – “archaeology and secular history) to challenge the Bible – Old Testament, New Testament, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the missionary journeys of the Apostles, the letters of Paul and the other New Testament writers.
Yes, using the tools of “historical criticism” – yes, “Liberal Scholarship” has provided the very Revelation of God [to which I hold most dearly] with the most intimate rectal exam that any school of thought or body of literature has ever undergone in the history of the human race.
But in doing so, two things have happened (and I have noted this repeatedly):
1. The facts and historicity of the Bible, especially the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, have been confirmed as true, in and by “archaeology and secular history,” to a degree that far exceeds virtually any other body of knowledge that we can point to, andAnd so, from a factual point of view, especially with respect to the New Testament, there are very few unresolved questions about persons, dates, places, events, etc. “Liberal Scholarship” and “Conservative Scholarship” largely have come to a consensus on these things (there are some outliers, but I am speaking of a vast majority). The one key difference is an allowance for the Supernatural or not. Conservatives embrace the supernatural, and take it for what it says it is; Liberals seek to explain it away.
2. In the process of #1, “Liberal Scholarship” has beaten itself upon the Rock of Truth in such a way that it can no longer protest against the factuality of the Bible, Life of Christ, etc. Such things are now well-established facts. And thus, “Liberal Scholarship” has been reduced to one thing, and that is, to a denial of the supernatural character of the Bible.
And thus, when in Acts 2, for example, when Peter says, “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know …” – there is not much question between Conservatives and Liberals as to what Jesus said and what these folks are reported to know. There is not much disagreement about what “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it” means. Conservatives and Liberals, having both adopted methods of “historical criticism,” largely agree on the events that Peter was talking about.
Does everybody get this so far? Does anybody have any questions?