Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Everyone's Prejudice is Prejudice Except For My Prejudice'

I am starting to become suspicious of the motives of many of these scholars who claim the Jesus had a wife papyrus is a fake.  I trust them when they tell me is something wrong with the papyrus.  I believe them when they tell me there are problems with Coptic grammar and the handwriting.  But when they start telling me that there is something wrong with Karen King being associated with the discovery because she shares the same views as the document, I wonder whether they have looked in the mirror.  These people typically 'believe' in the inherited beliefs about Jesus and the Church and few people seem to question their bias.

I say this because I am not a big fan of the idea that Jesus had a wife.  I don't believe that for reasons that regular readers of this blog are likely familiar with.  I went along with the opinions of Alin Suciu and Stephen Emmel because they are experts in the field of Coptic papyri.  But when I actually read an interview with Alin Suciu I found a lot of 'my bias is truth and her bias is prejudice.'  Aside from the questions about the papyrus itself his arguments are terribly unconvincing.

What's more he seems to have already lumped 'Secret Mark' (a non-existent document) as another modern forgery.  Excuse me how and when was it decided that Mar Saba 65 was a forgery?  Certainly not at the recent Secret Mark conference.  I encourage you all to read this interview with Alin Suciu in Romanian (with a Chrome browser you can translate the whole page into English) and Francis Watson's latest scribble posted at Mark Goodacre's site and you will see what I mean.  The main proof for forgery here comes from the fact that the texts seem to contradict their inherited presuppositions and prejudices.  But Suciu is a papyrologist.  How did he become the final arbiter on what 'works' with respect to first and second century Christianity?

But this is how it works in the study of religion.  It is still essentially all about establishing right belief and wrong belief.  Now as I said, I do not believe that Jesus was married.  But this can't be an argument for helping establish this new papyri is a forgery.  That's ridiculous.  It's like saying I think that all blondes are dumb and so I shouldn't believe anything someone with blonde hair tells me because it is bound to be unintelligent.  Of course they couch their arguments in more sophisticated language.  But I am increasingly seeing their arguments as little more than clever ways of justifying their inherited prejudices.

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