Stephen L. Young

Stephen L. Young

12-10-2022

13:36

Folks: Inerrantist "scholarship" in a nutshell here -Arguments that seem 'academic' to evangelical insiders who lack academic expertise to assess? โœ… -Failure to engage the most basic reasons us critical scholars think the Pastoral Epistles are forgeries? โœ… Time for a ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿงต 1/

For example, if you're wondering, compare what Paul writes about marriage in 1 Cor 7 (the only extended discussion of marriage in his seven letters) with how the writer of 1 Timothy and Titus sketches his normative world. My first-year undergrad students see this stuff... 2/

Inerrantist responses involve generalizing about, "But what if Paul wrote 1 Tim to a later time and setting?" That's not an argument, and it ignores the fundamentally different configurations of patriarchal ideologies about marriage, God, and authority between these writings. 3/

Like many inerrantists, Philip loves to tell heroic stories of exposing shallow "higher critic" scholars who apparently exists to persecute evangelicals out of academia if they won't "deny the Word of God." Please permit me a less dramatic anecdote... 4/

In my former life as an evangelical, I also confidently regurgitated the same arguments - promoted in evangelical NT Intro (apologetics) books - against the idea that the Pastorals are forgeries in Paul's name. Then something unexpected happened... 5/

I began reading actual critical scholars on the Pastorals. They bore little resemblance to the apologetic rhetoric on them I'd consumed. They were making positive arguments not b/c they wanted to "disprove" Pauline authorship, but b/c they wanted to read them more accurately. 6/

Suddenly the Pastoral Epistles and how their polemical rhetoric about things like gender, the household, marriage, self-mastery, passions, hierarchies of leaders, and teaching all became interesting things to study and situate among other early Christian literary voices. 7/

This is a key point: in the imaginary of inerrancy evangelicals, critical scholars are (incompetent) debunkers who make an "idol" out of academic respectability and "the thrill of intellectual discovery" unlike the steadfast inerrantists. Two examples plus my analysis below. 8/

In reality, us critical scholars come in a lot of varieties. Many of us want to read texts accurately and truthfully, and to ask how these texts have been used to naturalize certain values or hierarchies of authority and to erase others. Try @DocHoklo 9/

Worth noting that many critical scholars are also Christians. Many teach at Christian schools, and teach about "errors" (or, more importantly, reprehensibly immoral parts of Bible) to promote a Christianity that seeks truth and justice @somethingwithin 10/

To zoom back in on inerrancy and Pastoral Epistles: For real, if you're going to argue that the same person wrote 1 Corinthians and the Pastoral Epistles, then you've lost the ability to differentiate the authorship of most literary texts in the ancient Mediterranean. 11/

But hey, keep up the hero narratives and energy to make Paul the writer of stuff that's forged in his name. You're providing more data for those of us who write about the ideological workings of inerrancy. @JillHicksKeeton @CavanConcannon say hi!๐Ÿป 12/

My claim that inerrantist work tends to be for insiders who agree or lack the expertise to assess comes from my 2015 article. Such inerrantist scholarship is a parallel field with its own self-authorizing special methods, and it's parasitic upon wider academia for legitimacy. 13/

Final Big Picture Point: Inerrancy involves commitment not to reading truthfully, but to upholding Bible's reputation. This entails bigger problems than denying "errors." It entails erasing biblical promotion of injustice and violence. That's bad. /fin



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