SV: Ethics of our Profession -THANKS!
Thomas L. Thompson
tlt at teol.ku.dk
Thu Feb 17 02:05:32 EST 2000
[Thomas L. Thompson] Dear Proctor Burress,
Of course the assumption that ancient texts are written for
us--like the assumption that such texts have plain or obvious meanings--is
an important aspect of the history of scholarship. This was an essential
error of the Boman/ Cullmann tradition (I haven't read Tresmontant) and is
also one of the reasons that their salvation history understanding collapsed
so thoroughly; it is also one of the reasons that intellectual history is
now one of the most pressing needs in biblical scholarship. When we try to
limit ourselves to translation we allow substantial presuppositions of our
own thinking to influence our reading. I wouldn't consider Hershel Shanks'
understanding of the Bible as particularly Jewish. This form of naive
realism that he promotes as biblical archaeology is I think peculiarly
American--but then I may be mistaken.
> Dear Dr. Thompson,
> Thank you for your gracious and thoughtful response.
> To be more specific...my interest is this: The tradents in church
> synagogue seem to convey in teaching and preaching that the thought
> if not
> the life circumstances of the OT/HB writers is very accessible to we
> "moderns." In fact, it seems, they convey it is almost the same.
> This subtle
> proposition that the thought of ancients and moderns is
> interchangeable is
> counter intutitive.
> For example a number of writers have stated there was no word for
> in biblical Hebrew. How then could they think about causation? Was
> everything cause by YHWH? If it happened, "he caused it!" If it did
> happen, "he caused it!"
> As you know better than I, Boman and Tresmontant write on the matter
> Greek and Hebrew thought. But their work is so full of theological
> presuppositions as to not be very useful. Of course, you may
> admonish, that
> the role of the tradents in the church have been enormously valuable
> Jewish tradition! Valuable in the sense of sustaining if not
> protecting the
> Jewish tradition by insisting the the thought of ages past is
> into modern times. Surely Jewish folks, if they realized this, would
> grateful...even Hershel Shanks.
> This is fuzzy...and messy. I thank you for reading it. One more
> thought..isn't all of this rather fantastic...especially as so much
> Western tradition is based in part on the above notion (the thought
> transposable). Surely what David & Solomon lacked in mighty armies
> monumental architecture their heirs made up for in "the book!" It is
> all so
> fantastic...and imaginative!
> BTW, I have Barr, Van Seters and Gordon...I'll get to them...
> thanks for
> the prompt.
> I would share a favorite quote in closing. It is found in "Faith,
> Reason &
> Existence" by John Hutchison.
> "Unthinking faith is a
> curious offering
> to be made to
> the creator of the human mind."
> Please do work on that monograph!
> Regards and thanks again,
> Proctor Burress
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