I was browsing through old posts from the blog and came across this one from almost exactly six years ago, about criticisms people make of my work. They still make the same wretched criticisms! But here I try to answer two of the most common ones I hear, based on a perceptive (and non-antagonistic) question about them. I think the same thing today, as I’m demonstrably older and allegedly wiser.
I want to ask your thoughts on something quickly because I think it points out one of the concerns I have with what you write and say.
It seems that you have a willingness to take different positions (or maybe emphasize different positions is the right way to say it) depending on where you are and what you’re advocating. In your interview with the Infidel Guy and other places, you talk about how ancient writings were dictated all the time. On the Infidel Guy show, for example, you said the following: “Every person who wrote epistles in the ancient world dictated them to scribes”. But in your debate with Darrell Bock on the Unbelievable radio show (August 6, 2011) you try and argue the case that there is no evidence for dictation having happened in the ancient world (specifically in response to this claim about 1 and 2 Peter).
I have also been told that when you speak in scholarly circles, the sensationalistic claims you make about the unreliability of the Bible when speaking to laymen are much more toned down because your peers aren’t as susceptible to the shock factor as college students.
Like I said above, I like how you speak and write and I think you’ve done some real good by turning peoples’ attention to a greater awareness of Biblical criticism. But it disturbs me that you seem to be willing to take different positions based on what you’re trying to achieve at the time.
I hear this criticism from time to time, and so would like to respond to it here. I wish I could say that I will respond to it once and for all, but the reality is that there is no way to keep anyone from criticizing you, even if they make criticisms you’ve already answered (or tried to answer). Or so I’ve noticed…. But I don’t think this criticism is fair and so want to address it.
I should explain that this question came to me in an email, and I explained myself to the person who sent it, who wasn’t being mean-minded or bad-willed about it at all; afterwards he indicated that he was satisfied with my response and thanked me for it. Here I’m just using his question as an example of the kind of criticism I sometimes get.
The first part of the criticism, on the question of dictation, is, I think simply a mistake from not …
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