The Speckled Mind

Friday, July 04, 2008

Preposterous Theological Statements: Episode 1

As many of you know, I am working my way toward a Ph.D. in Biblical studies. This involves, amongst other things, a ton of quality time in the library. A lot of the things I read are very good, but the process of winnowing can also be frustrating when the percentage of chaff of is very high. As a tribute to the theological chaff, I am starting a new series on the Speckled Mind called, "Preposterous Theological Statements." This will, I hope, help all of you to share the journey with me and participate in mocking and ridiculing Biblical scholars who have truly missed the point.

Our subject today is James M. Robinson, professor emeritus of religion at Claremont Graduate school in California. Robinson, a member of the Jesus seminar and prominent 'Q' theologian wrote the following preposterous theological statement:

"[Q is] the most important Christian document we have."

The preposterous nature of this statement is pretty evident. For those who don't know, Q is the proposed source material shared by Matthew and Luke that is not found in Mark. Basically the math works like this: If Matthew = Luke and does not = Mark, that = Q.

The biggest absurdity of the statement is that WE DON'T HAVE Q. It is a hypothetical source reconstructed by Biblical scholars who could find nothing better to do with their time. IF it ever existed--and some scholars consider that a big IF--it is lost and gone forever (oh, my darling Clementine).

Second, to say that it would be more important for the Christian layperson and scholar alike if we could reconstruct it with any certainty (which we can't) is just plain silly. How does a document with bare statements aid us more than the narrative beauty of the existing gospels?

Third, a hypothetical source is clearly NOT a 'document.' To say it is would be like referring to Pegasus as a farm animal. Which gives me an idea...

Mr. James Robinson--in your honor I have to assert that, "Pegasus is the most important farm animal we have."

How do these people get degrees?

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  • Hey Tim,

    1. Good blog. I agree wholeheartedly...maybe a bit harsh but you did label it as a rant. :)

    2. Miguel Cabrera and walk off home's a beautiful thing. Big weekend for Minnesota and Detroit. Per usual, Bjeerkas and I will jawing at each other the whole time. Maybe this time Detroit will play up to Minnesota' s level.

    3. No joke, I found the best album I'm going to buy this year. I'm sure you'll find better but I'm not a musichead like you. With that, Greg Laswell's "Three Flights from Alto Nido" (only $7.99 on i-Tunes) is amazing. By amazing, I mean really amazing. It's beautiful, a bit more produced than I care for but the music is tight (I asked Rachel if it was and she said yes, so it is). The lyrics are incredibly real and spiritually deep. There's a strong theme of committed, unending, sacrificial love that runs through the album. I might be having an over-emotional day but my first listen brought me to tears on almost every song. You have to get it. That's all...hope your doing well.

    By Blogger jerod, at 10:28 PM  

  • What about the idea of co-authoring a blog? Maybe invite Mr. Phillips and some of your Bethel contacts in?

    By Blogger Aaron, at 5:47 PM  

  • Tim,
    I am waiting to hear some insight, some sports, some theology, even the odd "preposterous theological statement." where are you going to provide.


    Looking forward to having you and Jess back in MN shortly

    By Anonymous Alan Price, at 2:01 AM  

  • nice work

    By Blogger jb, at 1:34 PM  

  • And, still waiting

    By Anonymous alan price, at 8:34 AM  

  • I agree with Jerod. Greg Laswell's new album is sweet.

    Potential for next preposterous statement:

    "I am a theologian"
    - Joel Osteen

    ohhhh, too soon?

    By Blogger The Scottish Wisdom, at 12:58 PM  

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