What’s Wrong with the World

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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

No, Virginia, Science hasn't debunked Adam

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 15, 10:00:

Thanks Dr. Bonnette. I wd. also note that models involving created diversity (which, as I have explained elsewhere, need not be ad hoc) make the 500,000 unnecessary. More recent origins are possible. The 500,000 years results from continuing to take more seriously than necessary the objectivity of population genetics models, even though they are highly conjectural. ... [More]

No, Virginia, Science hasn't debunked Adam

Comment posted by Dennis Bonnette, Ph.D. on Aug 14, 00:01:

Here is the latest update on this ongoing discussion. It is an article I recently had published on the website, Strange Notions, entitled, "The Scientific Possibility of Adam and Eve." https://strangenotions.com/the-scientific-possibility-of-adam-and-eve/ As the reader will see, there are new scientific models that show that a single mating pair of true human beings is possible prior to 500,000 years ago and my article argues that this permits credible correlation of the philosophical, theological, and sc ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 8, 09:53:

In all honesty, I doubt very much that Dr. Keener was trying to muddy the waters. But I do find a tendency in some scholarship toward what one might call "private meanings." That is, a sentence can be clear as crystal to the reader--after all, this sentence from Keener's commentary is quite clear on its face and expresses a common trope that one finds in many authors, including very conservative authors who presumably just borrowed it from someone else. But when a challenge is faced, it's tempting to sugges ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 7, 22:41:

My strong suspicion is that the myth of the sock puppet Jesus has continued precisely because of vagueness in the discipline, so that the general claim of style similarity is "bundled in" with the stronger claim that it is literally often hard to tell whether or not Jesus is supposed to be speaking in the Gospel. one is often scarce able to discern whether the "Jesus sock-puppet" theory or the "same style" theory is being used (and perhaps for good reason, since the scholars believe themselves directed by ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 7, 21:28:

I completely agree that JPII was responsible for setting this in motion. It is, in fact, one of his most reprehensible actions as pope. That particular statement is in direct defiance of the most carefully worked out and widely taught principled body of teaching on punishment - and he laid it out with hardly even a nod to the tension (or contradiction) involved. After 20 years, hardly anybody in the Church has taken on that task seriously and TRIED to show the resolution or reconciliation. That's not w ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 7, 16:50:

Yup, one sees that in the Mark Strauss discussion as well, though as I say, Strauss himself is careful to try to block any strong anti-historical conclusions from being drawn. Things just get repeated, and then it becomes part of an overall picture of John that is treated as a cumulative case for John's lesser historicity. ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Brad on Aug 7, 15:20:

Excellent article. I think Keener's "often" is an understandable interpretation of Bruce's "at times" (which is unfortunately much more vague than necessary, in light of the facts). But this just illustrates a problem I have seen often in Biblical Studies: ideas are repeated uncritically, without fact check. In a sense, it is somewhat understandable, because it takes a lot of time to do such fact checks. But this example illustrates the danger. ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 7, 14:32:

I've learned by negative experience that it can be a bad idea to e-mail someone and try to give the impression that one is just asking the person to reconsider one small thing or asking a question about one small thing when there are, in fact, a whole host of "things" in the air, so to speak, surrounding that one question. I gather that it can come across as disingenuous, and the ensuing conversation is difficult to predict. It is all the more difficult when one is unsure precisely how far the other person ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 7, 13:02:

Well, in this case (in this post) it is just a short sentence in one part of the commentary--a matter of failure to double-check the facts at most, including the mis-citation of Bruce. It makes a good example of the meme, to prove that the meme is indeed out there. Honestly, I think Keener and I would have broader issues to discuss if we wanted to discuss, of which this is just a fairly small indication. For example, the issue (that I raised in a previous post) of saying that John "narrates theologically," ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Dan Martin on Aug 7, 12:38:

Yes, email Keener directly about this; I have on occasion and found him to be responsive and attentive. ... [More]

The myth of the sock puppet Jesus

Comment posted by Kevin Wells on Aug 7, 11:22:

Any direct communication with Keener on this issue? He seems pretty willing to adjust his views when warranted, from my perspective as a follower of his work. ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 7, 09:43:

I'm inclined to agree with Mactoul that JPII was setting the course for this. His rationales against the dp were unconvincing and (to my mind the biggest change) retribution completely disappeared from the rationale *for* it. He didn't even *address* it! He wrote EV as though, literally, preventing future harm was the only possible rationale for the dp. This was a huge change. Anti-retributism was *assumed* in JPII's discussions of the dp, and the existing catechism reflects this. I have used this previousl ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Mactoul on Aug 7, 05:15:

Does capital punishment offends against human dignity or support it? In the existing 1997 CCC we have the statement 2267: If non-lethal means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. So, the same idea is present in the existing catechism that the ... [More]

The gift of cussedness

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 6, 08:13:

The soft, smooth voice of reason: "It's OK, you don't have to do anything REALLY horrible, all you have to do is eat this small piece of pork. Do not make your mother saddened by watching you suffer out of sheer irrational stubbornness." The mother's cussed response: My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three years. I have taken care of you and looked after all your needs up to the present day. So I urge you, my child, to look at the sky ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 6, 07:17:

In other words, does that sort of empirical counterfactual (one of these would happen in the world if he tried to do that) follow deductively from the principles of the infallibility of the church? Yes, that is my sense of what the Catholic Church has always meant under the teaching of papal infallibility (under the required conditions). It's not a moral sense of "he cannot", it is a much stronger sense that God will prevent it. I take under advisement the passage in the Torah in which God kills the pr ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Urban II on Aug 6, 06:38:

All the controversy surrounding this Pope is very disturbing. I feel like he thinks we are stupid. It’s an attempt to change doctrine while simultaneously assuring us nothing has changed. All the lies, deceptions, and ambiguities only confuse the faithful. It goes something like this: 1) Church traditionally teaches X 2) Pope teaches not-X 3) We are told this is not a change, but a development of doctrine. Then we are left scratching our heads. ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 6, 00:29:

One additional point to pick apart: the language of "an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" may seem obvious in meaning, but most people will fail to understand it in detail. "Involability" is a particularly in-apt means of expressing what is true here. In one sense, if a person is "invoilable", then no attack can succeed in violating, because they CANNOT BE VIOLATED. If a person is protected by an impenetrable force field, then an "attack" will leave them untouched, undamaged, undef ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 6, 00:10:

Would you say that such prevention (being struck dead or not being permitted in some way to do such a thing publicly) absolutely must happen, by the nature of the Catholic Church? In other words, does that sort of empirical counterfactual (one of these would happen in the world if he tried to do that) follow deductively from the principles of the infallibility of the church? ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 5, 21:17:

Well, it's simple: either the Pope gets it right (states the truth), or he fails to say anything. Could be because he is struck dead. Or is struck dumb. Or is prevented from speaking by some extraneous circumstance. Or, he sets out to declare some stupid error, but he is guided to use language that HE thinks entails the nonsense but he "accidentally" slips in some qualifier or other that undoes what he set out to do ... but he doesn't even notice it. I invite the Pope to try it. I hope he will - pu ... [More]

Pope Outlaws the Death Penalty ... Or Does He?

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 5, 19:40:

I saw one meme that said, "I think we're gonna need a bigger dubia." Question: What happens if the Pope tries to teach error and *says he is invoking the charism of infallibility* when he does so? I mean, Francis *could* up the ante I suppose by doing that. ... [More]

What is classical theism?

Comment posted by R.C. on Aug 2, 16:27:

In response to Dan: Not so. The conception of God in the Old Testament is partly clear, partly hazy. Speculations by rabbis and sages pre-1 A.D. attempted to clarify the hazy parts. Some attempted clarifications led in directions which were compatible with later Christian understanding; others led in the opposite direction. The Word of God then became Incarnate, and His testimony about Himself offered additional data. This additional data clarified much that had been hazy, and did so in a fashion compatibl ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 2, 08:12:

A point that historical Jesus scholars rarely make is that this cannot have been how Jesus actually taught. If Jesus did, as Mark represents (4.1), address the crowds from a boat on the lake of Galilee, he cannot have spoken merely the three parables Mark attributes to him on this occasion or even the larger collection of parables that Matthew provides. This is an excellent point that Bauckham makes. If Jesus was preaching to a crowd basically all day, and this is why they could not merely be dismissed wi ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 1, 10:16:

One thing I like about Morris. He makes it quite clear that he's coming to the so-called "naive" view as a conclusion, not as an a priori assumption based upon theology. I have noticed again and again in trying to dialogue with contemporary evangelical scholars that they are almost literally psychologically incapable of believing that my objections to dehistoricization are based upon epistemology and historical considerations rather than theological worries. They will read some kind of a priori theology int ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jul 31, 15:25:

I see the whole zeitgeist thing when I read older commentaries and compare them with newer commentaries. For example, Bishop Westcott's commentary on John (which gave a solid argument for John's authorship that has not been refuted in 125 years or so) goes through the text and takes the attitude that this is eyewitness stuff, recollections of John and those who told things to John. There is a humility to the commentary that I like very much, and this humility has Westcott analyzing what he thinks John is sa ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 31, 09:42:

Yes, such echoing can happen almost anywhere. I think what confuses evangelical biblical scholars is that to some extent they are bucking the zeitgeist. This causes them to assume that they have remained free of the biases of that zeitgeist. After all, the reason Pannenberg was poking the young WLC was because WLC was defending the historicity of the gospels! I've actually recently been looking at the version of the dissertation to which Pannenberg referred, because WLC published it as a book later after h ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 31, 08:36:

Cameron, I think it is undoubtedly true that this happens in biblical scholarship and in virtually all other disciplines. It is a feature of human nature that a person's mind will, unless conscious care is taken, gradually bend toward the mental framework of those around you who are the leaders if they are perceived as good, or sympathetic, or admirable, etc. It is quite natural to believe that the leading professors in your field, who are not only brilliant but also thoughtful and who listen to you and w ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Cameron on Jul 30, 17:35:

I was reading C.S. Lewis and he once said (in a book called Christian Reflections), "The minds you daily meet have been conditioned by the same studies and prevalent opinions as your own. That may mislead you." Do you think this has happened in biblical scholarship? Also, could this happen in other disciplines? ... [More]

Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, R.I.P.

Comment posted by Karine on Jul 29, 18:02:

She was a ruthless and opportunistic person. An evil and power thirsty woman. ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 27, 09:22:

I wonder how much secular history could survive the acid of this textual skepticism. What's generally happening when they try to apply it to some ancient history (Plutarch, for example) is that the theories are much too fancy. To begin with, alleged contradictions are multiplied by wooden readings. This is particularly ironic, since supposedly it's those from my side of the aisle (as it were) who, according to the theorists, are the "wooden literalists." But on the contrary, it's the theorists who read Plu ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Kevin Wells on Jul 27, 07:37:

Can the psychlogical element be pressed too hard? Perhaps not. John uniquely, insists that he is loved by his Master. John was a sycophant of tge highest order, and rightly so. If one is going to fawn after a mentor, then the Son of God is the one to go with. There are a bunch of little J. Petersons running around today who sound like him,imagine how how close the manner and speech would be if J. Pete took one (one barely past puberty) under his wing as his personal favorite for 3 years! Even if John devel ... [More]

The voice of the Master--Pure Style

Comment posted by Paul J Cella on Jul 27, 00:12:

Fine work as usual, Lydia. I wonder how much secular history could survive the acid of this textual skepticism. It need not even be ancient. Even when actual audio or video recordings exist, real questions and ambiguities remain; I need only mention the rabbit hole of the JFK assassination, which has driven many a man to distraction. Perhaps some enterprising critic, a couple hundred years from now, will conjure, out of the dispute concerning the doubted inclusion of the phrase "under God" in Lincoln's or ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 26, 05:27:

I think that making mountains out of the molehills of the sorites "problem" is all part and parcel with modernist skepticism. For modernism generally refuses to accept the reality of there being natural kinds at all, or that the human mind would be capable of knowing them as true and certain knowledge, mere well-formed opinion being the most we are capable of. Thus they turn all questions of categorization into debates at the level of "preference" and "opinion" and mere numerical prevalences. Never mind ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 25, 19:48:

The other thing that Evans and others will try to add in there is all the other stuff about supposed "ancient pedagogy" in which the students were allegedly encouraged to sock puppet using their teachers after the teachers were dead. There is pretty much zero evidence for that view. It is largely based on a terrible misreading of rhetorical textbooks (such as Theon's Progymnasmata) which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how to write a biography of your recently deceased mentor. The really str ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jul 25, 18:15:

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying there really isn't much evidence for the "paraphrase" view. Since I don't find the Jesus of John at odds with the Jesus of the synoptic gospels, it looks like the main argument for the paraphrase view loses most or all of its force. So what's left then? Just scholarly speculation? However, the whole John vs synoptics seems to be mainstream now, so for them I guess they have some sort of argument. From my end, it looks like cloud castle theorizing. I find C ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 24, 15:47:

Yeah, it's more or less start with your suggested "reason" #3 and then take comfort in your suggested "reason" #2 in order to make it "not lying." In his debate with me Craig Evans literally went so far as to say he is counting votes on the character of Jesus and it's three to one against John! He gets away with such a jaw-dropping comment only because he has so much antecedent respect. If I ever said something like that, given scholarly views about interdependence among the synoptics, Q, etc. (which he h ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jul 24, 15:15:

But in those taking the "paraphrase" view, it's used in a stronger way: These self-presentations are the literal things that happened, approximately as narrated. The uniquely Johannine scenes are "paraphrases" of that "more implicit self-presentation" (aka, dramatic, made-up scenes that never happened but were inspired by the realization that Jesus was presenting himself as God in these other ways). What counts as actual evidence that the unique-to-John events are "paraphrases" of that "more implicit self- ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 24, 13:13:

I don't see how somebody can take an innocuous garden-variety utterance of Jesus and "paraphrase" it into "I and the Father are one" or "Before Abraham was, I am"; that's just too big a leap. What they usually try to do is up-play (a word I just coined) Jesus' utterances and actions as recorded in Mark or other synoptic gospels (because Mark is treated as more historical than John by "critical scholars") and hold that John knew of these "Jesus traditions" in which Jesus "presents himself as God" in a "more ... [More]

The beard and the heap

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jul 24, 12:20:

This is so much common sense. Just like with miracle claims, there really isn't any way to avoid dealing with things on a case-by-case basis and making the evaluation based on the specifics of that case. Some of Jesus' claims in John are so extreme, so "I'm God"-ish (or more "I fully partake in deity and am not just a man"-esque), that either John is reporting the correct essence or gist of what was said, or he was writing 1C clickbait fit for the Roman Enquirer, Drudgius Chronicle, or the Weekly Empire Ne ... [More]

On minimalism, the resurrection, and more: Response to Dr. Craig's podcast

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 24, 09:36:

gary definitely qualifies for "Don't feed the trolls" treatment. ... [More]

On minimalism, the resurrection, and more: Response to Dr. Craig's podcast

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Jul 24, 06:59:

"Most Scholars Agree" is the approved modernist version of the appeal to authority, which is interesting because that's a form of appeal that modernists in general otherwise reject. Of course there are quite a few examples from history where "Most Scholars" were wrong. It's funny that we moderns tend to discount examples of consensus that have stood the test of time while granting credence to scholarship that basically sprang up yesterday, provided enough "experts" espouse it. ... [More]