Sunday, March 15, 2015

(WR) Crossan's Opinions

A response to Anthony's observation that "... much of this is simply Crossan's personal interpretation of Jesus."

It is true that Crossan wrote the book, so technically every proposition in it represents his opinion, but it is not really his "personal" interpretation. It’s a bit like saying of your chemistry professor “It’s Dr. Harris’s opinion that table salt contains the chemical compound sodium chloride.” The opinion, in these cases is an expert one, emerging from a lifetime of study and scholarly engagement with hundreds of other people, subject to continuous discussion and re-evaluation in light of new research. Moreover, scholars like Crossan are not dictating, but summarizing their reasoning for the reader, who is completely free to make a case for an alternative interpretation. This is why I insisted at the beginning that I am not asking you to agree with the reading, but to get inside it — understand it as thoroughly as possible. Where you go with that understanding once we are finished is entirely up to you.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

(PD) Philosophical Theater

I'm intrigued by the hypothesis we floated Tuesday that much of the action in philosophical dialogue in the 20th century might be in theater. Aside from Sartre and Beauvoir, several names come immediately to mind: Tom Stoppard, Lee Blessing, Michael Frayn, Vern Thiessen. The latter two are particularly interesting because they, like Plato, imagine conversations involving historical persons (Heisenberg and Bohr in the first case, Haber and Einstein in the second).