Friday, August 19, 2011

Is There Anything that Allan Pantuck Can't Do Well?

Aside from being crowned unofficial 'winner' of the Toronto Secret Mark Conference this past year, Allan Pantuck plays doctor with men and jet sets across the globe. He is the envy of one and all. But on top of this stellar resume and most enviable of professional resumes, Pantuck has also written the last two 'responses' for BAR to arguments that Morton Smith's discovery of a manuscript at the Mar Saba monastery is a hoax. The first was an answer to Francis Watson recent attempt to out crazy Stephen Carlson. Now he has taken on my good friend and paleography expert Agamemnon Tselikas.

Pantuck is by profession a surgeon and he has an amazing way to 'cut' right to the heart of an issue (I'd have used a urology metaphor but it would coarsen the post unnecessarily). Everyone should read Pantuck's post. I have linked it here. What more is there to say?

Someone should do a study why it is that so many great scholars have stumbled over Morton Smith's discovery? Is there something inherently flawed about the humanities? Are all things so subjective in this field that all things comes down to 'what we want to believe'? I don't know. Tselikas is a great man. He is the expert on Greek paleography from the Byzantine period. I can't explain why he seems to be on the wrong side of this issue.

I have dared him to find the manuscript at the Jerusalem Patriarchate library and we'd get it tested. Only that will settle things. Maybe this latest episode in the ongoing 'debate' over the Letter to Theodore will finally prompt him to go through that annex he found with thousands of documents that have never been examined in centuries. Please, please Memos. I worship the ground you walk on. Seriously. But in this one case you are on the wrong side of history. Please find the manuscript and prove us all wrong.

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