Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hobby-Horse Kings

Bloggers are intimately familiar with hobby-horse commenters, and for some time I've been meaning to single out a few for honorary notice. Yesterday's developments in the comments under James Crossley's latest post convinced me it was time to do this.

The following are the top three hobby-horse kings of the biblioblogosphere, those who enjoy pushing their pet theories at every possible opportunity (even when the subject is off-topic), to the near exclusion of other interests. Each authors a blog. And each has left zillions of comments (only a few are showcased below) on many different blogs, as if redundant repetition will earn as much respect as the attention they attract.
(1) Geoff Hudson. Hobby-Horses: Everyone under the sun is Jeffrey B. Gibson in disguise. Various conspiracy theories involving the reworking of Paul's letters (see the many comments consolidated under one post), which were originally about purifying the temple of animal sacrifices. Almost everywhere in biblioblogdom, Hudson leaves piles of repetitive and confusing comments, usually in dialogue with himself as much as others. He earns the top slot for sheer volume.

(2) Leon Zitzer. Hobby-Horses: All biblical scholars are unscientific, antisemitic, and liars. Scholars are engaged in a witch trial against Judas (see comments). Zitzer laments (see comments): "Biblical scholars suppress debate... They create a faux science so they will appear to be scientific. But real science is forbidden by virtually every scholar as far as I can see. If that seems like a strong statement, I should tell you that it is an eminently provable statement...I seem to be all alone in this. That’s how it goes with science."

(3) Steven Carr. Hobby-Horse: Paul denied that Jesus' corpse was raised from the dead. See further here, here, here, and here (all in comments) for redundantly predictable restatements. To be fair, I don't think Carr is entirely wrong insofar as what he argues against, only that he doesn't allow for more ambiguity and tension in the Pauline view of the resurrection.
I want to offer congratulations to our Hobby-Horse Kings for an unrelenting perseverance, and for holding their ground in the face of so much mainstream ignorance.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Hehe! You are spot on, Loren.

2/08/2009  
Blogger steph said...

You can add him to the list. But I agree with Antonio - of all of them, at least Geoff can make me laugh. A sense of humour is prerequisite to everything.

2/09/2009  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Ambiguity and tension in Paul's view of the resurrection?

Was the corpse of Jesus a bit like Schroedinger's cat, perhaps dead or perhaps alive?

I have a Debate on the resurrection where my opponent got wiped out trying to show that Paul believed that a corpse had left a tomb.

2/09/2009  
Anonymous mikeduncan said...

I knew all these names; it's time for me to start reading in another discipline.

2/09/2009  
Blogger gdelassu said...

I am hard pressed to believe that either Leon Zitzer or Steven Carr, accomplished hobby-horse riders though they might be, were able to beat out Jim Deardorff for the #2 slot.

2/11/2009  
Blogger Leon said...

I have never said that scholars are antisemitic. I prefer terms like anti-Jewish and prejudiced, but it all amounts to the same thing, I would agree. And yes, NT scholarship on the historical Jesus, especially on the issue of how he died, is terribly biased and does amount to a witch trial, which can basically be defined as a procedure that erases exonerating evidence and invents or exaggerates incriminating evidence. I do present specific evidence to back this up which you never address. You simply make blanket denials which is not a serious response.

Even if someone hated everything I said, how hard would it be to admit one point?: It is wrong, absolutely wrong, to use an accusation as evidence for proof of the accusation. Mark 14:1 (concerning the priests) and Luke 6:16 (the only place in all four Gospels where Judas is directly accused of being a traitor) are evidence only that an allegation was made. It could be the result of slander as well as truth. Therefore, it cannot be used to prove which. To use either verse as evidence of the possible guilt of Jewish leaders and Judas is pure witch trial. In no other field would an accusation be used like this. It is simply irrelevant.

And what do I get for making this point? I just get denial. You're wrong, I am told over and over again. No legitimate historian or scientist in any other field would agree with you. But blanket denial is a favorite technique for those who have nothing to say.

One other specific sign of prejudice in NT scholarship which I often point to is the constant misrepresentation of ancient Judaism. Over and over again, Christian scholars reduce ancient Judaism to a series of externals, usually Temple, rituals, and purity concerns as the identifying markers. Arnal does this over and over again in "The Symbolic Jesus" (and he is not alone). The point of course is to draw a false contrast between Jesus and his home culture. A truer description of ancient Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism would be constitutional government, due process, justice, peace, and open debate with God. No Christian scholar ever sums up ancient Judaism this way. You cannot produce one. There is this incredible arrogance in Christian scholars that they have a right to tell whatever lies they want about ancient Judaism in order to promote their theology of Jesus. If you think I will ever stop fighting for justice for ancient Judaism, you have another thing coming. Of course, you will win in the meantime. I don't have the power you have. But long after I am dead, many generations from now, my work will win out. Reason and evidence will not always be suppressed.

Leon Zitzer

2/12/2009  
Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

Leon,

Thanks for dropping by on the old horse and pointing out the error of my ways.

2/12/2009  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

'I am hard pressed to believe that either Leon Zitzer or Steven Carr, accomplished hobby-horse riders though they might be, were able to beat out Jim Deardorff for the #2 slot.'

Dedication, hard work,single-minded committment,not being defeated by setbacks, and you can achieve anything.

2/12/2009  
Blogger steph said...

That's strange - did you delete a comment Loren? I was referring to a preceding commenter and it wasn't Antonio! :-)

2/13/2009  
Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

I deleted a long homily left by a spambot. I think it's the fourth time it's appeared on this blog, word for word.

2/13/2009  
Anonymous steph said...

Ah - that was who I meant to add to the hobby horses, not Antonio!

2/14/2009  
Blogger Leon said...

Blanket denials, lack of engagement with the evidence, snotty remarks — this is what Loren and others consider dialogue. And they call this historical Jesus scholarship.

Leon Zitzer

2/14/2009  

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