Sunday, May 22, 2011

Charles Hedrick's Take on the Agamemnon Tselikas's Report for the Biblical Archaeology Review and My Announcement of a Special Guest Blogger Coming Here Next Week

I am leaving on a jet airplane and handing over the keys to this blog to someone of far superior talent than myself. His name is Allan Pantuck and aside from being far more intelligent, successful and better looking than I am he is more importantly much better informed about all things related to the Mar Saba discovery. Indeed he is almost universally admired and respected. I don't know how many posts I can get him to write. Maybe it will be just one. Maybe there will be a series of posts. Who knows. But isn't that's the best part of life. You never know what is going to happen next.

You see I have become so addicted to posting articles at my blog that the people at my primal therapy class suggested I spend sometime reconnecting with my son. I decided to take him to Disneyworld. I hope you're as excited about the new changes at the blog for next week as I am, and to show how fair and impartial I am, when I start training for the 2012 Olympic games in October I plan to hand the blog over to Peter Jeffery.

All of which brings me to the point of this post, my good fortune at having got a sneak peak of part of Professor Charles Hedrick's paper from the recent Secret Mark conference in Toronto. What I saw takes a hard look at Tselikas's report given to BAR (better described as a very interesting collection of raw data). My feelings on that report are that there isn't a critical argument with support for all his positions.

Tselikas is a very nice man and obviously skilled in what he does. But that does not excuse him. He like the rest of us must present his argument with supporting documentation for the guild to see and evaluate.  Hedrick points out that Tselikas is basically saying "trust me with respect to the standard that I am using to evaluate the handwriting."  He must prove his point that his observations are correct—not just assert them.  Indeed as Hedrick notes in his paper:

It seems to me that in the absence of a formal critical argument by Tselikas that lays out the comparative handwriting evidence by which he judges that the Letter to Theodore “contains completely foreign or strange and irregular forms” that do not follow traditional forms and rules of writing Greek,[i] we have no option but to begin with the evidence on the table. That evidence points to the late 17th and early 18th centuries as a date for the inscription of the Letter to Theodore.

[1] See his Palaeographic Observations. But the most these features in themselves suggest is that the scribe was both unskilled and not formally trained
I really hope that I can Pantuck to publish more than one article here.  He knows so many interesting things.  I notice that the statistics for my blog at Alexa (see below) suggest that the vast majority of my readers are sixty year old males with a graduate degree surfing the web at home.  If Pantuck runs out of things to say about the Mar Saba discovery, perhaps next week would be a good time as any to give a presentation here at the blog to my readership on how to massage the prostate to check for prostate cancer.  I'm giving him free reign to do whatever he wants here.

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