One Christian Scholar’s Dilemma with Christian “Logic”


The following quote is from Professor Dale C. Allison Jr.’s, “The Theological Christ and the Historical Jesus” (Kindle Version). It pretty much sums up the Islamic problem with the New Testament. His articulation of this Christian scriptural issue is so well put, I just had to share it:

Ephesians and the Pastorials are after all probably pseudepigraphical, and why would anyone refuse to preach on a word dubiously ascribed to Jesus yet preach on a word dubiously ascribed to Paul? What, moreover, should those of us who cannot decide whether Paul wrote Colossians do when a passage from that epistle shows up in the lectionary? Should we expound the text or not? Above all, what happens to the Bible as a whole if history and authorship become a criteria for determining theological authority? What, for instance, should we do with the so-called “historical books” of the Old Testament, which contain so much that is not history? And what should we do with the paragraphs and chapters that come to us under the name of Isaiah or some other prophet but which, according to critical scholarship, were instead produced by persons forever unknown?

What should we do? That’s a question each and every Christian should ask. Professor Dale clearly demonstrates that Christians as a whole, need to reconsider the rationale, the logic, the theological concepts they construct to develop their faith, in light of all the historical evidences which clearly contradict the New and Old Testament’s many scriptural, authorship and historical problems.

Would any Christian like to respond to the Professor? Comments are open for all……

and Allaah knows best.

17 comments

  • “in light of all the historical evidences which clearly contradict the New and Old Testament’s many scriptural, authorship and historical problems”

    Ijaz, I trust, therefore, that you can provide evidence, even just one piece, as to why we shouldn’t trust the internal witness and testimony of Colossians authorship?

    I wait with anticipation. If you cannot provide anything, then I guess both you and the professor have your answer.

  • “as to why we shouldn’t trust the internal witness and testimony of Colossians authorship?”

    What internal evidence do you possess?

    “The problem of Colossians is its authenticity—its genuineness as actually a work of Paul himself. Some scholars have felt that the almost Gnostic character of the views that are opposed in the letter points to a time considerably later than Paul’s day, while the doctrine of Christ that it presents in order to correct these views is out of keeping with the Christology that marks Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. The letter is certainly unlike Paul’s accepted letters in some ways, but it is a mistake to suppose that he always talked about the same things or talked in the same way. This unlikeness, so far as it exists in Colossians, is naturally explained by the novelty of the problem set before Paul by the situation at Colossae. This reflects the existence there of what may be considered an incipient form of that Gnosticism that ran riot in second-century Christianity. But it may just as well be viewed as a phase of Neo-Platonism, with its system of intermediary aeon-ideas. Indeed the Colossian error, as Paul considered it, may be thought of as standing midway between that older
    philosophy and its later reflorescence in Christian Gnosticism.” – An Intro to the NT, Edgar Godspeed, pp 102-103.

  • As I suspected. No actuial evidence. A theological or stylistic theory isn’t evidence Ijaz. I’m sure you understand that. Even your source above admits as much.

    So I ask again. What evidence do you posess that makes us question the internal witness of the document to Pauline authorship? In fact, is there even any external evidence from the patristics? I continue to wait with anticipation…

  • No actual evidence? So the scholastic claim, unanimous across the board that the letter is responding to Gnostic beliefs, isn’t evidence?

    Shocking, I suppose almost every commentary and exegete was wrong to mention that as a point of contention. My “source” which you gladly accept, mentions the dilemma of the Gnostic problem and accepts it as a source of disputation, while you are stating otherwise.

    You haven’t answered my question and I’ve provided an evidence. Where is your evidence? Sergius Paulus, you ask, I give. I ask you deny and run to your blog. It’s a new year, try not to be petulant.

    What’s your evidence and how is my evidence which you accepted, not evidence?

  • Ijaz, are you seriously contending that scholars are “unanimous across the board that the letter is responding to Gnostic beliefs”. Even your own source for this claim tells us that only “some scholars” are of this opinion. Why do you feel the need to misrepresent the entire discussion?

    Anyhow, the gnostic argument is forcibly weak, and nor does it give evidence. It is a theory, nothing more. I asked you for evidence for non Pauline authorship (this is internal evidence in case you missed it).

    “The theology of Colossians does not evidence a uniformly ‘late’ view, but links itself to major themes in almost all of Paul’s other letters. The Christology fits well with Philippians 2:6–11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 8:9; while the ironic critique of Judaism, and the argument for seeing Christians as the true covenant people, belong with Romans 2:17–29; Philippians 3:2–11 and 2 Corinthians 3, and with Galatians as a whole.” NT Wright

    “on the basis of language and style, there is no reason to doubt the Pauline authorship of the letter” R.W Wall

    The fact is, there is no internal nor external evidence to seriously question Pauline authorship, unless one is willing to rely on theoretical speculations, in which case, anything is possible. I guess you would accept that Yoda was the actual author of the Quran if a scholar suggested such. If you wish to promote certain conclusion on this blog, at least have the decency to offer an argument.

    Your argument is inherently weak and illogical because it has no premises, and offers no plausible explanation to reject the consistent internal and external witness of the MSS traditions as well as the patristics. Face the facts and stop this incessant undergraduate reasoning.

  • “Anyhow, the gnostic argument is forcibly weak, and nor does it give evidence. It is a theory, nothing more.”

    The Gnostic argument is an evidence in itself, how can Paul himself be responding to a heresy, if Gnosticism, is decades after him? If that’s a weak evidence, then you need to stop Google Studying and start reading books on “Internal Criticism”, it’s a very strong argument against the authorship of Paul.

    “The fact is, there is no internal nor external evidence to seriously question Pauline authorship, unless one is willing to rely on theoretical speculations, in which case, anything is possible.”

    None?

    “The differences come at the authorial level – the ‘fingerprint’ differences of (unconscious) speech mannerisms and (second nature) patterns of compostion.

    Second, it is difficult to deny that the theological and parenetic content is significantly different from what we are accustomed to in all the undisputed Paulines. The christology expressed in 1:15-20 and 2:9-10 and 15 looks to be further along the trajectory (which on any count stretches from what we find in the Synoptic Jesus tradition through John’s Gospel to Ignatius to Iraneus) than that of the undisputed Paulines; closest would be Rom. 10:6-13, 1 Cor. *;4-6 and Phil. 2:6-11, but even so the thought of 1:19-20 and 2:9 is a step beyond any of those passages.

    So, too, the eccesiology of 1:18, especially as correlated with 2:10, clearly reflects a development closer to Eph. 1:21-23 than to the ecclesiology of Rom. 12:4-8 or 1 Cor.12. There is a clear note of realized eschatology in 2:11-12 and 3:1, as compared with Rom. 6:4-5 and 8:11, though a note of future expectation is also maintained at other points (see on 1:5, 24, 27-28; 3:4, 6, 10, 24-25). And the parenesis using the “household rules” form in 3:18-4:1 is again much closer to Eph. 5:22-6:9 and the Pastorals than to anything we find earlier in Paul. Here again one could speak of the development of Pauk’s own thought, but again that would simply indicate that there is a later “Paulinism” that can be attributed to the late Paul or to a close Pauline disciple without altering the character of the “Paulinism” or its authentic character as “Pauline.” ”

    I would stop there, but you did say:

    “Your argument is inherently weak and illogical because it has no premises, and offers no plausible explanation to reject the consistent internal and external witness of the MSS traditions as well as the patristics”.

  • “In addition, we cannot ignore the degree to which Colossians and Ephesians overlap, sufficiently often with very similar phraseology, structure, and content (cf., e.g., Col. 1:1-2, Eph. 1:1-2; Col. 1:4, Eph. 1:15; Col. 2:13, Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:19, Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 3:12, Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 3:22-4:1/Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 4:7-8, Eph. 6:21-22).

    This feature is best explained by Ephesians being written using Colossians as a kind of template (so most), so discussion of its full significance belongs more to a treatment of Ephesians than of Colossians. Nevertheless, the fact that (post-Pauline) Ephesians did make such use of Colossians suggests that Colossians itself may have provided something of a model for Ephesians – that is, as an expression of “late Paulinism” or as written by a Pualine disciple close to Paul.”

    I would stop, but you went on to say:

    “Face the facts and stop this incessant undergraduate reasoning.”

    So with that, we read:

    “Here the close overlap with Philemon at precisely the same point becomes a factor of some importance. The two letters name precisely the same authors (Paul and Timothy – Col. I : I ; Phm. I) and more or less the same list of greeters (Epaphras, Aristarchus and Mark, Demas and Luke – Col. 4:10-14; Phm. 23-24). Such overlap can be the result only of deliberate contrivance (a later writer of Colossians simply copying Philemon, though with variations difficult to explain) or of closeness of historical origin (both letters written at about the same time).”

    While it’s cute what you wrote, your comment and its subsequent quotes are useless dribble in light of the extensive amount of evidences I’ve provided through the use of internal criticism. Which leads me to wonder what exactly you were trying to convey with this inane and asinine comment:

    “and external witness of the MSS traditions as well as the patristics. ”

    Determining authorship is dependent on internal criticism, not external witnesses – I’m not sure if you’re trying to fool yourself by using terms alien to you, through your Googled Apologetic answer, or if you understand what exactly I have provided.

    What ‘external witness’ are you referring to and how does it interact with internal criticism? What of the Patristics are you referring to? None of them met Paul/ Sergius Paulus, so I don’t see what imaginary and frivolous connection you’re trying to make.

    Sit down, purchase a book on internal criticism and when you read it – under the study of what I hope is a textual critic, try to understand and hopefully respond to my initial point, if you can grasp it that is, you still have not demonstrated you are capable of doing so. How can Paul be responding to Gnostic heresies, if Gnostics did not exist until several decades later?

    Either he pulled a Christ and ressurrected himself, or the more sensible answer (which of course I don’t expect to manifest itself given your already petulant apologetic thinking), would be that it was written post-Pauline. Unless you have a better explanation of course?

    When you’re ready to jump out of the play pen and able to use adult reasoning, I’d gladly await your reply or dribble, whichever you can muster.

  • BTW, external witness is a rather large part of authorship discussions. And also note that Jimmy Dunn places Colossians during the time of Paul’s life, postulating that TImothy wrote the work for Paul.

    Any yet you quote Dunn as if he supports your argument thus far, when in reality he dates Colossians well before your gnostic theory friends. Time to hang up your hat Ijaz.

  • Not only do you use sources that are not your own, but you addd conlusions to their work that they never make. For example, you say,

    “Either he pulled a Christ and ressurrected himself, or the more sensible answer (which of course I don’t expect to manifest itself given your already petulant apologetic thinking), would be that it was written post-Pauline”

    …at the end of your lengthy uncited quotes from Dunn. Yet, here is Dunn’s conclusions,

    “for what it is worth I find myself inclining toward the more traditional hypothesis that Colossians was written from Rome and was thus the last Pauline letter to be written with the great apostle’s explicit approval.”

    Your overinflated misuse of Dunn to suit your deluded conclusions is both disastrous and rather predicable. When in doubt, fudge it right?

  • “BTW, external witness is a rather large part of authorship discussions.”

    Thanks for letting me know that, how does that substantiate what I asked you though?

    “Any yet you quote Dunn as if he supports your argument thus far, when in reality he dates Colossians well before your gnostic theory friends. ”

    I provided two theories from two well reputed scholars. How is that difficult to understand? Both hoever conclude that Paul himself did not write it, as you yourself said:

    “postulating that TImothy wrote the work for Paul.”

    You’ve proven my point for me, Paul did not author it!

  • “Not only do you use sources that are not your own”

    I didn’t claim the quotes were mine? This is a straw man argument, I put quotes in my response, I didn’t claim the quotes to be my own work? Seems like you’re getting desperate now.

    “but you addd conlusions to their work that they never make”

    I think I’m allowed to make my own conclusions, given the information presented, or does that seem strange to you? You take information, process it and arrive at a conclusion. That isn’t difficult to understand, now, is it?

    “Your overinflated misuse of Dunn to suit your deluded conclusions is both disastrous and rather predicable. When in doubt, fudge it right?”

    Dunn concluding that Paul himself didn’t write it? That was my point from the start, how is that misusing Dunn? I say Paul didn’t write, so does he, how did I misuse him there?

  • Lastly, your long irrelevant comment, dealing with neither of the two issues I brought up, is very telling. You seem to be upset that you can’t respond to them, and I somehow doubt attacking a straw man with a 500 word rant on James Dunn’s quotes is going to help your inability to defend what you claim.

    That comment’s been deleted, for I never claimed the quoted words were my words, I put quotes on them for a reason. Why would I quote my own words? Funny enough you were able to see what was from Dunn and what was from me, yet here you are, writing 500 word essays on me ‘copying’ Dunn’s work. I put it in quotes for a reason, heck, when I put something in quote, I’m quoting someone – if that wasn’t obvious to you then, it should be now.

    Christian Logic, so funny.

  • Ijaz, why did you moderate my comments?

    Like usual, I screen shotted this whole conversation so a new blog post might be in order exposing your deceit. Remember, Allah knows best. Regards.

  • Thank God you screen shotted it, now do let me know where I claim Dunn’s words to be my own.

    Lying is a sin, I’m sure your God taught you that one. Sure, make a blog post out of it, I don’t mind, perhaps then you might be able to actually explain why you spent 500 words arguing on something I neither claimed nor stated!

  • Moderated your comments? I approved two and deleted your rant about me claiming Dunn’s works to be my own, despite me putting quotes on the passages I used. Come on, it’s a new year, if you’re this desperate to lie, who knows what else you might lie about?

    Funnily enough, you did exactly what I expected you to do. I presented two theories, gave evidences from two scholars and what do you do? Whine about me, write an essay about me using quotes and then threaten me with a screen shot and blog post.

    Listen kid, if you can’t respond to the arguments provided, and want to focus on me instead, that’s cute, but I’m not interested. I’m here to deal with the arguments presented, if you want to discuss me, I’m sure you can write a 100 blog posts if you wan’t, atleast you’d be wasting your own time and not mines.

    Let me know when you’re ready to respond to the arguments, if you continue about me – and focusing on straw men (which I did ask you to prove), I’m just going to do to you, with what YHWH did to Christ when he was suffering – ignore you.

  • I think Paulus is running scared. Deep in his heart he knows Professor Dale C. Allison is right about the letters forged in Paul’s name. So Paulus goes on the attack. One day he will come to terms with biblical scholarship – renounce fundamentalism – and who knows? maybe he will accept Islam inshallah…

  • InshaaAllaah, nice to see you around these neck of the woods, don’t get too much British folk around these parts. You’re just in time for the fun:

    https://callingchristians.com/2014/01/01/christian-commenter-discovers-quotation-marks/

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