Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Is this proper source criticism?

Paul Minear is rapibly reaching the heights of Childs and Seitz in my personal estimation, which anyone acquainted with this blog will know is extremely high. Here's a quote taken from his magesterial work, The Bible and the Historian:

Weigh again, historian, the presence of the Spirit in unspectacular but powerful ways, though unseen. Weigh again the following evidence, historian: being crucified with Christ produced new ways of viewing all people, eliminating distinctions between sexes, classes, and religions. Listen again to the prayers of gratitude at all times for everything, even to the hymns of joy resounding from Roman prisons. Such things do not emerge ex nihilo. With all other readers, historians must also answer, and not simply ask, questions about the source of such gifts.
Paul Minear, The Bible and the Historian, (Eisenbrauns, 2002), 201


slaveofone said...

I must admit that I see this quote as being rather silly. After all, I am the historian that is being spoken to. And as a historian, I don't just ask the question, but I also seek the answer. And I know--especially as a historian--that ideas and motivations and world-views and actions don't come into being ex nihilo. Indeed, the results that are here presupposed to come by someone "being crucified with Christ" (the elimination of distinctions of sexes, classes, etc or a joy that transcends the conditions of life) are things that I also have come to share, but have come to share entirely through a historical analysis developed along critical methods.

I almost wonder if Minear is addressing the wrong audience... Either that or he is creating a false dichotomy between the things of the Spirit and the created world.

Phil Sumpter said...

To clarify: when you say that the quote is "silly," what you mean is that you agree with it but think it is so obvious that it doesn't need stating. But that's because you are an "N.T. Wrightian," who belongs to Minear's end of the spectrum. There are plenty of scholars who don't think like this and they are the target audience.