The Myth of Persecution

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by SolaSaint, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint
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    This is the title of a new book by a so-called Christian scholar who is trying to claim that much of the persecution of the early church was fabricated. She is right up there with Bart Erhman and the Jesus Seminar fellows in another attack on the authenticity of the Christian faith throughout the ages.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L7Oeae5_OQ

    I just wonder what drives these people to attack Christianity the way they do?
     
  2. Herald

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    Maybe they are wolves in sheep's clothing?
     
  3. SolaSaint

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    More like wolves in wolves clothing....lol
     
  4. DocTrinsoGrace

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    It is the Psalm 2 thing all over again, isn't it?
     
  5. Havensdad

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    Total depravity.
     
  6. DHK

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    Take her to Islamic nations where Christians dare to share their faith with other Muslims.
    Take her to Syria where the Christians are being killed as if it were the fun thing to do. Entire villages have been taken over by militant Muslims, after slaughtering the Christians that lived there.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    Liberals are always trying to rewrite history.
     
  8. SolaSaint

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    78 Christians killed in Pakistan this weekend, she needs to tell their surviving relatives that it was false reports of persecution that gave them inspiration.
     
  9. go2church

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    Interesting listen, though not convincing for me
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    Though I am pretty sure the OP hasn't read the book in question, it should be noted that Dr Moss is a highly credentialed antiquities scholar who is widely accepted in historical circles. To question her credibility as some have above only further drives home the point that some believers are anti-intellectual and refuse to engage in appropriate dialogue.

    Having read The Myth of Persecution I can tell you that Moss does not disbelieve the NT accounts of persecution. She does, however, challenge the purported abundance of persecution myths in early Christianity including the contemporary reliance on them to further certain agendas. At the end of her text she takes time to point out that too many American Evangelical Christians take up the persecution mythos for contemporary application when it hardly matches the descriptions of antiquity.

    Many scholars have given her text glowing reviews, however there are more critical treatments being produced. I take grave exception to her historiographical method and think her model of evluation doesn't work in antiquity. She goes against the overwhelming scholarly consensus concerning persecution and makes mistakes in her application to those events in antiquity.

    However, I think she's right on about the western persecution myth in contemporary society. American Christians not being told "Merry Christmas" is not nearly equivalent persecution (or actually persecution) to events such as happened tragically in Pakistan this last wekeend, and Kenya if the early stories are to be believed.

    So, I disagree with her book but still believe that she's a fine scholar.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    Just because some persecution does not equal the level of others is not evidence that it is not persecution. I find that this argument being weak and not at all logical is an argument made out of ideology to defend lesser levels of persecution.

    When we tolerate lesser forms of persecution then it is easier to accept greater forms. We should put up with none of it.

    Whether or not she is a fine scholar will ultimately be subjective. However, not believing part of the bible is true and then writing about it weakens her credibility.
     
  12. SolaSaint

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    After reading Foxes Book of Martyrs and many of the early church fathers I see no credibility in her accusations. Again I will say she is the one fabricating just as Bart Erhman does to try and diminish Christianity. Why don't they go take their trade to the Muslims and belittle the Koran. Doubt that will happen.

    PiJ, you can call her scholarly but I hold more admiration for comic book scholars...sorry I disagree with you on this one.
     
  13. Mexdeaf

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    This part I agree with.
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    There are men and women who hold doctorates that deny the holocaust. Does that make them "credible" or "intellectual"?

    She denies the historical evidence, just as they do. She refuses to accept the scholarship of anyone who can prove her wrong. Does that make her "credible" or "intellectual"?

    She deserves no respect. She is no different than the atheists who refuse to hear facts, sticking their fingers in their ears and babbling "nanananana ... can't hear you!"
     
  15. preachinjesus

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    So, you've reviewed her historiography and found in lacking in which foundationalist category?
     
  16. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Denying the early persecution of the church isn't foundational to the faith? Perhaps you don't think so, but as Jesus said we will be persecuted, I find it laughable she would take such a ridiculous and unsupportable view.

    Not to mention that, foundational aspects of the early persecution aside, taking so radical a view reflects on the rest of her scholarship. Would you accept Ward Churchill's analysis if he stated the Great Pretender's foreign policy was destructive? First, he wouldn't say that, but if he did, would you find it "scholarly" in nature, or would you find it incfredulous that such a stance on his part would be at odds with what you know about the rest of his work?
     
    #16 thisnumbersdisconnected, Sep 28, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2013
  17. preachinjesus

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    That's not what I'm asking.
     
  18. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think the second part of my answer relates exactly to what you were asking.
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    No, it doesn't.

    Here's the thing, a significant part of Moss' presentation is her critical realist historiography. To just dismiss her because you think she's a "liberal" or "rejects persecution" misses the larger point, and is pretty anti-intellectual. The text is important if for no other reason than she articulates a philosophy of history (historiography) that has been growing in respected circles of academia (including several major evangelical seminaries) and will probably dominate much of historical research in the next generation. Her articulation is not itself original but it is well articulated.

    As for the foundationalist reply, here we're talking about the epistemological aspect of historical inquiry. If you're going to critique Moss from a classical foundationalist position you need to ready to understand her larger coherence model. If you don't understand either, do you really think you're in a position to call her out for "sticking their fingers in their ears and babbling 'nanananana ... can't hear you!'"
     
  20. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Yes it does. Here's why ...

    One, that's not why I dismiss her, and for you to make such an assumption is in and of itself anti-intellectual. A researcher's work is measured against previous work. She rejects the history of the church detailing the persecution and martyrdom recorded in the early second through the late third centuries before Rome and the Catholic Church officially merged. She claims these are not well documented nor well founded, yet she bases this premise on the fact that there is no "outside historical resource."

    This is the reasoning fallacy of many who dismiss early church history as "unfounded." They fail to consider that the most educated people of the second through the fourth centuries were church officials. In fact, they were the only ones getting a formal and well-rounded education, and were among the few elite who were being taught to write. It is understandable that church historians and commentators of the time are the only men who left us an historical record, because they were the only ones who could offer an alternate perspective to the Roman Empire's own historians, and the only ones interested in preserving the stories of those who died defending their faith.

    Growth in respected circles is not a criteria for judging the validity of academic endeavor. Such is how we have "embraced" evolution in our time. Because such "well-educated men" in such "well-respected circles of academia" have judged it true, well ... it has to be true. But it is obvious to any who study the reasoning of evolutionary theory that there is no reasoning behind it, nor is there any valid science behind it. It is all sheer speculation that has been kept afloat by a constant redefining of the parameter of the study of the theory, so it remains viable under "current scientific thought." It isn't, and neither, for the same reasons, is Moss' work.

    Yes, I am, because as I said, a new, broadened theory does not make a theory valid, it only expands the parameters under which the theory can be propped up to appear to remain viable. She has ignored hard facts and expanded parameters in order to remain cogent, when the reality is, she alters the argument in such a way that it is no longer the same discussion. You know who else is good at this? Those aforementioned doctoral awardees who deny the Holocaust.We're back to square one. None of the expansion of theories and alteration, or outright rejection, of facts can make her denial of early church persecution valid.
     
    #20 thisnumbersdisconnected, Sep 30, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2013

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