[b-hebrew] Academic Debate
Bryant J. Williams III
bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Tue Oct 30 22:54:43 EDT 2007
However, if someone presents you with evidence that the depopulation was severe
but not complete do you have a faith response which is to say -- your evidence
is wrong, or you have a scientific response which would be to say -- ``all''
must be hyperbole or that ``all'' refers to a small specific group of people and
not the entire population. What is in question is not the text but your
interpretation of it. Do you insist on your interpretation based only on
internal evidence or do you allow your interpretation to be informed by external
Bill, again, I have to say that "faith" and "knowledge" are being separated. You
are making a dichotomy between the two. Both are always present. The question
regarding the deportation of Judeans from Judah has textual problems in the II
Kings 25 and Jeremiah 40-43 passages. Tentatively, I making a decision that the
Judeans were removed, but only the majority of the population, in the 3
deportations to Babylon and the flight to Egypt in 581 after the death of
Gedaliah. Does the word "all" refer to everyone in Judah including slaves, etc.,
leaving absolutely NO ONE; or does it refer to only those who were removed? Is
hyperbole being used? I sense from the contextual clues that hyperbole is being
used. I am using faith and knowledge. I am not separating them. In fact, faith
and knowledge cannot be separated by their very natures since both cannot exist
without the other. Faith requires content, an object and a subject. Knowledge
provides the information for that faith. Both presuppose the existence of each
The whole issue centers around the creditability of the text. How much
creditability is there in the text? Does the text ring true based on previous
evidence? What criteria do I apply in assessing the creditability of the text?
In most cases, verification can be seen in history from eye-witness
accounts/documents, textual consistency/inconsistency, etc. Most of the evidence
is tangible, but a lot of evidence is intangible. Thus, I have to rely on the
faithfulness of the witnesses (human, textual, etc.) to go on from there. Like I
said, We ALL use faith and knowledge. Those who say they rely on scientific
evidence are placing their faith in that method.
I titled this "Academic Debate" for a good reason. Frequently, we all are
unconscious of the presuppositions that we bring to the text. I try very hard to
make sure that I approach the text fully cognizant of those presuppositions.
Intellectual honesty demands that I do so. It is intellectually dishonest not to
acknowledge those presuppositions. I try to be fully honest with myself, the
text both internal and external, the context: history, language, grammar,
literary genre: poetic, narrative/prose, prophetic, etc., and rhetorical
devices: hyperbole, metaphor, chiasm, parallelism, accommodation,
over/understatement, allegory, type/anti-type, puns, etc. When I use any or all
of these devices to help me understand the text, then I am using both faith and
knowledge. If, after all this, I still am not able to understand the text, then
I acknowledge that, and withhold final judgment, but acknowledge tentative
conclusions as speculation and be HONEST about it. I am still using both faith
and knowledge. I have not separated them. Remember what God said in Isaiah, Come
now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:... This states quite clearly
that God expects us to use our brains. That is a faith and knowledge issue.
Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Rea" <bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 2:13 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Academic Debate
> Yigal wrote:-
> > The academic/scientific approach does not accept any authority
> >just on faith, and considers everything open to questioning -
> Rev. Bryant wrote in response:-
> >You must remember that all people use "faith" in everything they do,
> >think, or say. Do not make the mistake that "faith is without knowledge."
> I think you missed the point. Let me give you my take. The essential
> question is what do you do with evidence. In the question of whether
> ``all'' people were either deported or otherwise left Judah, if you
> only look at the written text then taking the meaning of ``all'' as
> literally meaning ``all'' is a reasonable thing to do. However, if
> someone presents you with evidence that the depopulation was severe
> but not complete do you have a faith response which is to say -- your
> evidence is wrong, or you have a scientific response which would be
> to say -- ``all'' must be hyperbole or that ``all'' refers to a small
> specific group of people and not the entire population. What is in
> question is not the text but your interpretation of it. Do you insist
> on your interpretation based only on internal evidence or do you
> allow your interpretation to be informed by external evidence?
> Rev. Bryant further wrote:-
> >I do not use phrases such as, "most scholars," "scholars," etc., because
> >frequently that is basically implying/stating, "You are not a scholar if
> >you do not accept this reasoning or fact."
> Nonsense. I don't know how you can say that. In any debate on this list
> there are a lot of lurkers. They are entitled to know where the mainstream
> of thought actually is. There are currently a lot of people advancing
> views which are way out of the mainstream. The reason the mainstream is
> where it is, is because that's whether the evidence points, nothing more,
> nothing less. To shift the mainstream requires evidence. To draw an
> analogy from a different field, Fred Hoyle is a scientist but he's not in
> the mainstream of cosmological thought.
> Bill Rea, ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
> E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz </ New
> Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax 64-3-364-2332 /) Zealand
> Unix Systems Administrator (/'
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