David Barton & Nathan Finn: What is True History?

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Rhetorician, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hello all:

    I do not frequent this section of the BB often. Although I have written in several areas of Baptist History and Rhetoric in the past. Because of his lack of credentials I have had some misgivings about David Barton's work for some time. I am just not sure that American, or even in that case Baptist History, is so simplistic or monolithic as he has made it out to be.

    Now my colleague Dr. Nathan Finn and other Evangelical Baptist Historians have entered into the discussion about a new book of Barton's. I am posting the hyper-link where the discussion is taken up.

    Also note that if you scroll down you can hear the NPR radio piece. I, for one, do not discount the liberal bias of NPR in this regard. However, as we say here in the South, "even a blind hog gets an acorn from time to time!"

    http://www.toddlittleton.net/nathan...ence-of-the-marriage-for-which-dr-land-called

    Please read the article and listen to the NPR piece and get back to me. "I am not a prophet, nor the son-of-a-prophet," I am just a humble college professor. But I would like to know what the rest of the rank and file of the History section of the BB thinks about this very public discussion.

    "That is all!" :thumbsup:
     
  2. The Biblicist

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    I read the blog and all the responses. I listened to the NPR tape. I have studied other sources in early American History, particular Isaac Backus who was alive and well when some were still alive.

    The NPR was weak and an obvious leftist smear job. In the blog not one single solitary statement by Barton was shown to be wrong.

    Thanks but no thanks.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    Well NPR isn't trying to "smear" Barton. The simple fact is that Barton is a bad historian.

    His historiography is malformed and incredulous towards reputible academic vigor. He should be shouted down as bad history and agenda driven research. He has zero credibility and makes evangelicals appear to be exactly what so-called "liberal" academics and intellectuals think of us. (I reject the term liberal in this instance.)

    If Christianity is supposed to be better, Barton isn't.

    Why are evangelicals happy to defend a bad historian who has been telling them a false version of history? I'll never understand the extent to which so man go to take stand no one should consider taking.

    Barton is a hack and a bad historian.

    He discredits legitimate evangelical scholarship.

    I can go on about this some more but think this is a pretty good concise engagement. Ive posted a thread on this subject in the general forum but am not using a device that can easily access it.
     
  4. The Biblicist

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    That is what I keep hearing but I still have yet to see any evidence to support the charges. NPR sure didn't produce any hard facts. Just opinions. The bias was very evident. Apparently you do not listen to NPR often.
     
  5. go2church

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    http://search.atomz.com/search/?sp-q=barton&sp-a=sp1001b611&sp-advanced=1&sp-p=any&sp-w-control=1&sp-w=alike&sp-c=10&sp-m=1&sp-s=0

    You don't see, because you don't want to see. Click on a few of the articles referenced above. Barton has a far right wing agenda and distorts and twists history accounts to fit his far right wing agenda. That may be politics as usual, but it's horrible history.

    Finally with the cancellation by Thomas Nelson of his latest book, folks will start to see him for what he really is.
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    I looked at your site. Like the other site it is loose with Barton's words. Often they simply make their own summary of what the claim he said but do not quote him and then start to attack him on the basis of what someone says he said. Sorry, after going through it up to the second site, I lost interest because of the sloppy manner in how they dealt with his words, better come up with something a little more credible.
     
    #6 The Biblicist, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2012
  7. preachinjesus

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    I'd encourage you to go and download, then read, a text by Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter called Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President. This is the definitive treatment against Barton's latest work. In this work the authors carefully work through Barton's arguments and claims and excise the plethora of error. They show how his underlying political commitments define his conclusions.

    I'm not an early American historical scholar. My PhD is in patristic theology. However, of the little I've heard from Barton, his research is dubious and has a bad historical method. He seems to extract texts and select phrases which bolster his case without regard for their context, accuracy, or place in the whole of the historical figures' lives.

    Perhaps another place you can look for some insight is here:
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/dav...ysis-of-their-claims-thomas-jeffersons-faith/

    This article is rather comprehensive and works through a discussion between both Throckmorton and Barton.

    Also please consider this SBC blog and the words from a reputable SBC historical scholar who specialized in this period:
    http://sbcvoices.com/nathan-finn-ca...e-for-which-dr-land-called-by-todd-littleton/ (I think this was noted in the OP's point)


    Hopefully these above resources and links will be more direct.

    Please check them out and reply with complete answers to the refutations myself and others have posted.

    My overarching point is that this is not an isolated incident involving Barton. He is a terrible excuse for a historian. His method lacks coherency, accuracy, and erudition which are necessary for good historical contemplation. His results are agenda driven, political statements and do not reflect the careful method of actual scholarly history. Barton is not a historical scholar of any standing in the proven communities (both Christian and secular) which make works stronger by allowing them to be scrutinized. When Barton is asked to "show his work" or is called for his blatant overstatements and mischaracterizations his personal approach has been to fly back to the conservative media he is safe within and he never engages with his critics.

    If necessary I will be happy to provide substantial interaction with Barton's failures, but will only do so if the inquiring parties meet me halfway. (I've learned around these kinds of forums that people are all too happy to dismiss hours of prodigious work after its posted.)

    I'll await your reply. :)
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    Thanks for the resources. I will check it out as soon as I can.
     
  9. asterisktom

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    I agree very much with this assessment of Barton. Also he is very much a product (as well as a shaper) of these times we live in, when much of American Christianity is coopted by this reactionary vision of what America purportedly used to be.
     

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