Monday, April 19, 2010

Some Scholarly Smack-Talk from Leon Morris

Awhile ago I posted an article about what some Bible nerd friends and I call "scholarly smack-talk". You can go there for the full explanation, but scholarly smack-talk is what happens when one scholar slams another's work while maintaining an academic writing style and tone.

It is always a joy to come across this sort of thing, so I thought I'd pass along a good example I found from Leon Morris's commentary on the Gospel of John. Enjoy:
    Perhaps we should notice that Kysar makes some strong criticisms of those who view John the Apostle as the author of this Gospel. He says of Werner de Boor, Jean Colson, and myself that "In both cases -- their failure to take into account the work of form and redaction criticism and their view of history -- they represent critical efforts more at home in the previous century than the current one and certainly at odds with the major movements of fourth gospel criticism in the past decade."

    It is curious to find oneself consigned to the last century, but besides doubting the accuracy of this view I find myself wondering whether the scholars of that century were invariably wrong. I would prefer to have been shown to be in the wrong by the facts as we have them than by allegations that I have failed to take into account form and redaction criticism. It does not seem to occur to Kysar that the confident assertions of some redaction critics are not as convincing to all as they evidently are to him. And I wonder how he would deal with the fact that Werner, Colson, and I have been joined, among others, by I. Howard Marshall and J. A. T. Robinson in seeing the evidence as pointing to John the son of Zebedee as the author of this Gospel. Did Robinson belong to the nineteenth century? Did he too fail to take into account "the work of form and redaction criticism"? That such an eminent scholar, so far from conservatism, could find the evidence for authorship as pointing to John bar-Zebedee surely indicates that the testimony for this position should be taken far more seriously in Kysar's cavalier treatment.
You tell 'em Leon!

And as I said in the other scholarly smack-talk post, I'd b glad for any examples you have.

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