What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 27, 11:46:

Does he thinks he can see through your work in a way that the scholars who give blurbs for it can't? Yes. Presumably he's hitching his wagon to Richard Burridge and Christopher Pelling and perhaps Craig Keener as well. Lydia disagrees with these scholars, who agree with Mike. These scholars have been working in this field with the ancient literature "for decades." Lydia has not been working in this field for decades. (Though actually, I *was* working on Augustine as well as various Greco-Roman literary th ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Sean Killackey on Jan 26, 23:12:

It is strange that he should dismiss your work because you recieved a PhD in English, or haven't had the requisite degree. Does he thinks he can see through your work in a way that the scholars who give blurbs for it can't? Sure they might not agree with everything, but if Licona was right in saying, 'So read her work very skeptically,' why does Blomberg, for instance, think there is a good deal of value in it? But you're right that credentials and debates dont matter: the work itself is the thing. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 26, 09:36:

I continue to think that a scholarly exchange in the pages of a journal like Philosophia Christi would be a good venue for Licona and me to dialogue. I will not have such a dialogue by proxy, though. (As Licona has suggested. This suggestion seems to me to be a proposal of an unprofessional arrangement. A living scholar with a written corpus whose views have been criticized should defend his own views, not "tag" a follower to defend his views in a debate type of format. The latter arrangement introduces far ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Callum on Jan 25, 08:48:

Thanks for the link Lydia. Much appreciated. I can say from the twittersphere that people reacted to your recent Unbelievable episode with eagerness to see a debate on the topic, regardless of whether they agreed or not. I'd imagine Licona will have to substantiate his criticisms sooner or later. At the moment I'm harping on to anyone who will listen just to read the book. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 25, 08:25:

Andrew, the "criteria of authenticity" are still used. Some of them are highly problematic, particularly the "criterion of double similarity and dissimilarity," now renamed ambitiously the "criterion of historical plausibility," which really makes it much worse! This has to do with Jesus' teachings or actions being "plausible in its historical context and demonstrate some influence in earliest Christianity, while at the same time disclosing Jesus’ individuality within his original context and with some tend ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 25, 08:20:

Callum, here's the recording of Bock's paper. The last few pages he couldn't read in the time all the way through, but you can tell from what is recorded that he is saying that he thinks Licona's views are compatible with what he's been reading from the ancient sources. I mainly followed up on his references, not (of course) agreeing with that conclusion. I found all the references for myself, including the contexts, and sometimes selected a different translation to quote. (Licona has recently publicly refe ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Callum on Jan 25, 05:03:

Lydia do you know what Bock's paper was titled as? I'm not a member of the ETS so it looks like I'll have to email him for a copy. BTW, i have TMOTM. Fantastic. So tightly argued I couldn't help but agree with Tom Gilson that it's convincing. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Tony on Jan 24, 23:20:

Andrew, I haven't dabbled much in the works of recent historians, so I would not have seen this phenomenon by direct observation. If it really happening, I would conjecture that it is a natural outflow of the loss of underlying principles and, especially in the humanities, a loss even in a belief in truth as such, which has infected the universities. How can you even talk about criteria of historical veracity when it is so hard to even have an agreed-upon lexicon of what "true" shall be taken to mean (wit ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Andrew on Jan 24, 08:46:

Although scholarly skepticism of the Gospels is clearly motivated by ideological prejudices, I wonder if this skepticism isn’t also a consequence of the fact that there is no consensus on how to assess the historical value of ancient sources. A generation ago scholars touted various “criteria of authenticity” as a mechanism for making such judgments, but that way of thinking no longer seems to carry as much weight as it once did. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 24, 08:34:

Yes, and 21:24 as well. Even if one regards those last two verses as written by another hand, the emphasis upon truth is very strong *at least* in the first audience. Richard Burridge has a lot of prestige that then gets put behind some very dismissive comments he makes about John's references to truth. I quote these at length in The Mirror or the Mask. Burridge tries to give the impression that the word "truth" in such statements in John should receive an asterisk and doesn't mean what "we" mean by it, be ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jan 24, 01:35:

Somehow I got double-posted. I also wanted to add: because of the prologue and 19:35, we can't wave away whatever perceived difficulties exist in the text (e.g. the hours of the trial and crucifixion) and say "literary device!" --- we have to face the difficulty head-on. And I'm totally fine with that, much more than if somebody cooked up some critical theory to explain the difference. ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jan 24, 01:32:

Glad to see somebody appreciates the Morris essay on John's being an eyewitness as much as I do! His volume of studies on the fourth gospel is best $5 or $10 I ever spent for a used book. I appreciate his carefulness, sobriety, and willingness to let the evidence speak for itself, without trying to bolster up whatever fashionable critical theories/fads were around in his day. Between the prologue to the fourth gospel and 19:35, it seems apparent that the writer or writers of the fourth gospel (who I think ... [More]

John--The Man Who Saw, now at RC

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jan 24, 01:31:

Glad to see somebody appreciates the Morris essay on John's being an eyewitness as much as I do! His volume of studies on the fourth gospel is best $5 or $10 I ever spent for a used book. I appreciate his carefulness, sobriety, and willingness to let the evidence speak for itself, without trying to bolster up whatever fashionable critical theories/fads were around in his day. Between the prologue to the fourth gospel and 19:35, it seems apparent that the writer or writers of the fourth gospel (who I think ... [More]

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 20, 09:40:

It's interesting that even a somewhat loose paraphrase of the words of Jesus there would destroy the point of the coda. Suppose that Jesus had really said, "If I want him to tarry for a thousand years, what is that to you?" instead of "until I come." And suppose that the author had changed it to "until I come," which started the rumor. It would take a lot of gall for the author himself solemnly to explain that Jesus only "said" "if," if he himself knew that he altered that part! And if the last verses were ... [More]

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 20, 09:23:

I think the point that John is trying to report something very close to what Jesus said is supported either way (either if 23ff are written by John or someone later), just in slightly different ways. If John wrote those last verses, then that means that John himself was emphasizing the specifics of what Jesus said, and that prima facie means that he is claiming to report them quite accurately. (He'd have to be a really eyebrow-raising deceiver if he made up the saying and then made a big deal about the spec ... [More]

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 18, 08:58:

Thanks for this report, Paul. I have no "hot take" on the circumstances you describe. They sound dire, as you say, either way. What is most unnerving is that it seems like someone here in the SEALS must have been very bad indeed--either Gallagher himself or his accusers. I agree with you that in principle the natural light can still result in a military command that has honor and doesn't permit atrocities or recklessly accuse others of them. One wonders what it would take to reinstate this knowledge in the ... [More]

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Comment posted by Paul Cella on Jan 18, 02:53:

Lots of good points, Tony. I share your worries. And as a general statement, I wholly agree with your chief emphasis: that our individual institutions will ultimately reflect the character of our people. Still, within so broad a statement, covering so huge a country, there are wide variations. For instance, we find fairly solid grounds for stating that, in the Second World War, the sheer battlefield savagery of the European theater was exceeded by that of the Pacific theater. A similar comparison might be ... [More]

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Comment posted by Tony on Jan 17, 12:33:

So ample cause exists for worry about the health of the SEAL command, and indeed the entire SOF structure of the US military. Americans must fervently hope, and pray, that the service branches and JSOC can address and mitigate it. These are our best soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen; they have carried a huge portion of the burden of our wars over the last two decades. May God bless them and preserve their honor. I agree: we must fervently hope and pray that the service branches, and command structure, ... [More]

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

Comment posted by Sean on Jan 16, 12:41:

"Whether John is the author of v. 22 and vv. 23-25, or only v. 22, it seems that vv. 22-25, and particularly vv. 22,23, are good evidence that John intended, and was able to report Jesus' words fairly well, and that his audience would take him to be doing that (even if they may have misinterpreted them)." I mean, vv. 22,23 are good particular evidence to this effect. vv. 24 and 25 are clearly good general evidence that John intended and was able to be reliable in these ways. ... [More]

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

Comment posted by Sean Killackey on Jan 16, 12:39:

Thanks, that would be pretty neat. When I shared some information about your book to a friend of mine, Ben Fischer, a professor at the university I attend, he said, "That is the kind of stuff they should be teaching in the theology classes." From which you can tell that the books assigned in those class are typically suboptimal. But hopefully there will be some academic audience for your book, or at least the ideas in it will find their way to students, laymen, and apologists in greater number. When are ... [More]

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Jan 15, 16:04:

Thank you! (I was in New Orleans for a couple of days last week and catching up since then, which is why I just now saw this comment.) You have a good point, and one that I had not thought of before. It is a fairly conservative position to take John 21:23-25 to be a short "coda" to the Gospel, written by another hand, though Bauckham, rather surprisingly, argues that even those three verses were written by the Beloved Disciple. I would argue that *at most* those three verses were a coda, not (as other scho ... [More]

The Mirror or the Mask is now fully available!

Comment posted by Sean Killackey on Jan 11, 19:03:

It is an excellent book, too long for me to relate in a comment, and which you'd well know anyway. I'm looking forward to your book on John, not just because John is my favorite gospel, but also because if it is even half as good a book as this one, it will be a fine book indeed. I still have a 150 pages to go on The Mirror or the Mask, so perhaps you mention something there. But I was reciting John 21 and noticed how the particular remarks Jesus said to Peter while at least he and John were listening spar ... [More]

O Night Divine

Comment posted by Tony on Dec 27, 23:22:

Thank you, Sage, Lydia, and Paul. Good words, every one of them. Thank you Beth and Nobody, for coming here again and spending some time at Christmas with us. And our other readers who don't post, as well. Merry Christmas to all of you, and a blessed new year. ... [More]

O Night Divine

Comment posted by Nobody special on Dec 25, 14:21:

A blessed Christmas to you all!😊 ... [More]

O Night Divine

Comment posted by Beth Impson on Dec 24, 23:29:

Thank you all. This made lovely almost-midnight reading. Merry Christmas, and God bless. ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Dec 21, 16:29:

I wonder if Licona (and his co-"scholars") have ever read much in the Fathers on how to read the Scriptures. Yes, Origen. :-) He seems to be a fave. Augustine and his harmonizations, not so much. (Except when misreading him.) ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Ben on Dec 18, 08:38:

It's a variant of Bulverism, where there explaining peoples' psychological or social motivations for making an argument is viewed as a legitimate response or even rebuttal to them. In my entire adult life, I've been driven crazy by people who smugly dismiss anything I say as being too "black and white". Well ok then. What's the argument that it's a "grey area"? If I play the role of speculator, I guess the idea is to label Lydia as a "black and white" thinker to conjure up the image of some rigid fundie-t ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by The Masked Chicken on Dec 17, 18:34:

The whole problem with Licona's position is, in my opinion, that he, implicitly, calls God a deceiver or at least an incompetent God, who can't seem to get His poor apostles and Gospel writers to be consistent. Yet, the Act of Faith, which could apply indirectly, here, says: . I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church [in interpreting Scripture, my comment] teaches because Thou [God] have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Good cannot deceive, saying one thin ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Dec 17, 17:58:

I have been encountering a mindset where merely labeling a persons arguments, without actually addressing them, seems to be regarded like some kind of magic incantation that refutes said persons arguments automatically. It's a variant of Bulverism, where there explaining peoples' psychological or social motivations for making an argument is viewed as a legitimate response or even rebuttal to them. In my entire adult life, I've been driven crazy by people who smugly dismiss anything I say as being too "bl ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Ben on Dec 17, 14:59:

Unfortunately other people are picking up the phrase "black and white thinking" and passing it around to refer to my objections. The fact that it is not an argument does not seem to occur to them. Who got it from whom is hard to say. Yet I saw one person refer to the few minutes of drive-by negative talk about my work in Licona's approx. 40-minute (total, including long Q & A) presentation as "addressing" my work. Despite the fact that he admits openly, right there, that he has read very little of it! Yep, ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Tony on Dec 17, 12:26:

I wonder if Licona (and his co-"scholars") have ever read much in the Fathers on how to read the Scriptures. One of the essential, indeed critical facts is (as they say it) that much of the meaning and force of the spiritual and anagogical senses unequivocally rest on the primary sense being, simply, true. Their entire stance is that God, being all knowing and all powerful, is able to write these spiritual and allegorical and typological truths into ACTUAL HISTORY, so that REAL EVENTS in the Old Testament ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Dec 17, 09:06:

Unfortunately other people are picking up the phrase "black and white thinking" and passing it around to refer to my objections. The fact that it is not an argument does not seem to occur to them. Who got it from whom is hard to say. Yet I saw one person refer to the few minutes of drive-by negative talk about my work in Licona's approx. 40-minute (total, including long Q & A) presentation as "addressing" my work. Despite the fact that he admits openly, right there, that he has read very little of it! Yep, ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Ben on Dec 17, 08:36:

[Lydia McGrew's work] doesn’t impress me because she has this black and white thinking that’s an all or nothing. It’s troublesome. Because I don’t understand how people think that way, to be honest with you, because we just don’t communicate this way in our everyday conversations. I mean she might. She and her husband might. Sometimes I describe it in my lectures as the guy version vs. the girl version of the story. Just about every married couple can understand what I mean by that. Girls like lots of detai ... [More]

Greetings from Waco, Texas

Comment posted by Leeroy Jenkins on Dec 17, 03:30:

What's wrong with Waco, Tx? I've read about so many messed up things happening there. I then looked up its population and there is a city near me the same size with nothing bad ever going on. Fix your gun laws and fix your religious zealousness. Well wishes. Leeroy ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Tony on Dec 16, 00:42:

That is to say, there is something at least a little bit distasteful about imagining someone *going to the trouble* to change that. That's another aspect of the detail actually mattering. If it is a small little point that doesn't matter, then there is no need to change it. That's the point of declaring that it is immaterial. But if it is immaterial, then there is nothing to be gained from changing it, right? The fact is, Licona is trying to have his cake and eat it too: it's too little a point for acc ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Dec 15, 15:38:

So, naturally, (with such a hard-boiled account) they (the hearers) assume that if it's a detail you included, it's one that matters. You can't then alter it without altering the bottom line AWAY from what really was so. That's just what it means for the detail to matter. That's a very good point. I also tend to think that the notion of "details" is getting pretty stretched. The centurion example is a kind of a star of the literary device view. And I suppose it's not totally silly (as it is with many of L ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Tony on Dec 15, 14:42:

When we tell a story to another guy, we will abbreviate, we’ll alter details a little bit in order to get to that bottom line, because we know the guy we’re talking to couldn’t care less about the minutiae. (laughter) We don’t think that we’re deceiving. And of course there’s a wide range and a spectrum, right? But for her there’s just no room to change, to alter details or it's deceit. I just don’t get that. That's just bull****. (I am assuming that the guy is not telling a joke, meant to be taken as ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Dec 14, 22:29:

But in point of actual fact, it is not simply common for honest people to go around telling detailed stories in which they knowingly pretend that someone talked to them personally when in fact he was not personally present. If someone told you a sober-sounding, detailed story in which he chatted personally with someone, and if you considered this person honest, you wouldn't constantly keep at the back of your mind the live possibility that he was making it up and simply chatted with someone else who was a f ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Dec 14, 21:59:

It's all a classic motte and bailey strategy: Make a controversial claim. When challenged, retreat to a claim so boring and uncontroversial that no one can possibly challenge it--People sometimes leave out details. Not everybody cares about all the details, etc. But continue to leave a little door open for going back to the more controversial claim by slipping that in about *altering* details. Then when the coast is clear, go back to the more controversial claim. But in point of actual fact, it is not simp ... [More]

Keeping clear about "transferral" and centurions

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Dec 14, 17:39:

Licona's claim is so general at best and sloppy at worst. There's "locker room talk" and guy banter where men are engaging in some (usually friendly) banter and trash-talking. There, some points may be exaggerated for dramatic effect and nobody takes those exaggerated points as a matter-of-fact accounting of truth. Somebody tells me I hit my forehand 150mph at them is really saying that I hit a hard, heavy forehand at them, not that if you took a radar gun it would say 150mph. (Nobody can hit a 150mph fore ... [More]