Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stormin Norman on Licona

This has gone viral now - all kinds of posts across blogdom have been published (and our friend Nick in particular makes a good counter-point to balance some of the anti-fundie-evangelical vitriol. We know that they are out there and we know what they believe. And though it can be kinda irritating, it is nothing new).

I could now make a case that Giesler's understanding of inerrancy is neither healthy nor particularly evangelical. But as my previous post was about humourlessness and truth, all I would add is my own personal reaction to Giesler's letter. It struck me as quite simply dreary. Great that he meant well and laudably sought to communicate directly with Licona. Fine. But the letter had my icky-ometer in the gag-zone, and I don't think that this reaction (crikey, the spell-checker tried to make this "erection"; that could have been embarrassing!) says something only about my cockiness and arrogance (vices to which I am sadly prone).

"The ETS and ICBI framers have drawn a line in the sand", writes Giesler, "and Licona has clearly stepped over it. Only a clear recantation will reverse the matter and, unfortunately, Licona has not done this". Faced with this kind of talk, I would certainly be tempted to punch the air, grab my luggage and sprint for the door in tears of joy if I were L., but I am not (he can be glad). So things may get a bit tricky for him now (I can see L. awkwardly sipping coffee at the back of an ETS meeting, with members of an orthodoxy-inquisition hovering around like thunder clouds!).

Let's find more important things to squabble about!

Oh, and for what it is worth, I think Licona is quite right about the incident in Matthew 27. Dale Allison made a similar argument on the same text that convinced me.


At 9/14/2011 11:57 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

I'm a member of ETS, but I hardly view them as the arbiter of truth-lines that are drawn.

At 9/15/2011 12:03 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

How do you feel about this letter? How big a voice is G. in the ETS and
is the ETS changing, do you think, becoming more conservative?

At 9/15/2011 5:46 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

Chris: I had no qualms with his letter until he mentioned the ousting of Robert Gundry from the ETS--he seemed to suggest such a thing could/should happen to him.

As far as any change in the ETS, I've not been a part of it nearly long enough to say. I remember a few years ago with the whole open theism kerfuffle that there was talk of ousting members. But that had nothing to do with inerrancy, and frankly, I don't think Licona's interpretation does either.

At 9/24/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger Edwardtbabinski said...

Why not just shut up Norman by comparing Mark with Matthew's death of Jesus stories? Mark and Matthew are the only two Gospels that contain the same last sayings of Jesus and the same message at the tomb, but Matthew adds much that Mark lacks. Too much. Anyone with half a brain can see Matthew has added everything including the kitchen sink to the story. Neither are any of Matthew's additions found in Mark or the other Gospels, nor alluded to by Paul or Acts.

Here are Matthew's additions: a first earthquake, an opening of many tombs, a "terrified" reaction from the Centurion "and those around him" at seeing such things, the addition of guards at Jesus' tomb, a second earthquake that this time opens Jesus' tomb, an angel coming down out of heaven and sitting on the stone outside the tomb. None of the other Gospels add a single earthquake let alone two. None of them mention the raising of many saints who "enter the holy city and show themselves to many," a story that also doesn't go well with the other Gospels mentioning how unbelieving the apostles were of the woman's story of Jesus' resurrection late Sunday morn when "many saints entered the holy city and showed themselves to many" on that same Sunday morning.

Other comparisons make it plain that Matthew has edited Mark's tale adding the kitchen sink. For instance in Mark the women are going to anoint Jesus' body, but in Matthew they are going only to "see where he is laid," a rewrite by Matthew because now there are guards and a sealed tomb, something not found in Mark nor any other Gospel. In Mark the women know nothing of a sealed guarded tomb because they are carrying things with which to anoint Jesus' body, and also because their only worry is who would open the heavy tomb door for them, which supposes no one was there to do so. Matthew has obviously edited the story, changing the reason the women show up on Sunday morning to match his addition of guards. They are only going to "see where he was laid." Trying to combine stories makes no sense, as if the women were carrying stuff for an anointing and hoping to get past a sealed tomb with guards, and lamenting that there was no one there to move the stone. First of course they should lament that there was no one there to overpower the guards and then move the stone for them.

At 9/24/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger Edwardtbabinski said...

Matthew also edited the reaction of the centurion. In Mark a lone centurion is "standing in front of Jesus," keeping a close on ON JESUS, and reacts to "seeing how Jesus died." His eyes are on Jesus. But Matthew adds the stories of the earthquake and tombs cracking open, and so the centurion "and those around him" are "terrified" by "all" these things and they declare in unison, in chorus, "Surely this was the Son of God."

Mark 15:37-39
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:50-54
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

So Matthew added everything including the kitchen sink to his tale, but there's a problem in having so many witnesses in Matthew's story to the first earthquake and the opening of many tombs and to the second earthquake and the guards feigning death while an angel descends from heaven and sits atop the stone outside the tomb. The problem is that Matthew had to add the above lines about the centurion and those around him being terrified by all that happened during the first earthquake, and the guards at Jesus' tomb also terrified, "shaking with fear," then feigning being dead outside Jesus' tomb, and they never telling anyone the truth of what happened. For the latter he introduced Jews to pay the guards to lie about what they had seen. Great. Matthew's Jew-hating taken to another level. The reason the guards didn't speak was because they were paid a large sum by Jewish elders and the council. Too bad no other Gospel writer ever heard of a sealed and guarded tomb. This stuff is not only mythical but sick. And Norman Geisler can suck it for defending this as literal truth. And Licona can also suck it for writing a letter of apology to Geisler and saying that he'd "rethought" the matter and now he doubts that Matthew's kitchen sink additions are mythical.


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