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52 of 167 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why does this book not receive scholarly attention?, February 13, 2011
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This review is from: The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (Paperback)
The answer, I submit, is because this is a very confused book, written by individuals who apparently do not understand the method of studying ancient history and the use of ancient texts to understand history. Perhaps I'm criticizing a work of popular piety unfairly by pointing out that it's not an academic study, but to somehow focus on Bauer and Ehrman instead of the evidence that they put forward (and--very importantly--modifications and revisions of Bauer's model) is at the very least disingenuous. Contemporary philosophical movements (like "post-modernism") and the contemporary interest of Western societies in "diversity" have nothing to do with the study of antiquity. Whether or not (and if so, to what degree) early Christianity was anything like Christianity in the early twenty-first century has nothing to do with the study of that historical period. Ironically, it is the authors of this book themselves--not the historians they criticize--who look into the deep well of history only to see their own reflection. Certainly positions that became "orthodox" were already to be found at the earliest stages of Christianity, the creation of a straw man of "opponents" whom it is claimed suggest otherwise notwithstanding. It is certain too that positions later regarded as "unorthodox" were also found in Christianity at this stage. So the very notion of the "heresy of orthodoxy" is entirely ahistorical and anachronistic and reveals that the authors undertake not a disinterested, critical investigation of antiquity, but are merely interested in what they view as repercussions for their own form of contemporary Christianity based on such historical study. Whether there are any repercussions (and most of us Christians today, realizing full well that the church has developed over the course of history just as any other institution, would tend to think there are few if any repercussions) is a question to be dealt with by the theologians. In that this book is interested in *that* question, it is really a work of theology--though one that does not deal honestly with the historical evidence. Theologically driven "history" is not good history; and I hope theologians would chime in to say that it's not good theology either!
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 24, 2011 10:51:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2011 10:52:25 AM PST
John Moore says:
Hi. Sorry, but I found your review wanting, to say the least. You gave not one single fact, from the massive evidence presented in the book, that would suggest you even read the book. You could point to not one single point against the arguments presented in this book, which you sneeringly refer to as "a work of popular piety".

If you had even read the book, you would have known that it was a compilation of biblical scholarship on the evidence. You appear not to have even grasped that point.

You actually state, amazingly, that it is "not an academic study". Again, no one who read the book would make such a false statement.

I challenge you to name five points from the book which you disagree with. We can debate them, one by one.

Best wishes, John

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 6:20:28 AM PDT
This review simply assumes the position contrary to Köstenberger and Kruger is true and criticizes them simply for their opposition. He fails to interact with the historical arguments they do mount.

Posted on Apr 22, 2011 10:09:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 22, 2011 10:22:28 PM PDT
Konstantin says:
@ reviewer,

"Contemporary philosophical movements (like "post-modernism") and the contemporary interest of Western societies in "diversity" have nothing to do with the study of antiquity"
-well, ontologically yes. epistemologically no. of course silly postmodernism and naive naturalism are not going to change reality or the facts of the past. BUT they do clog and distort truth and bend facts to satisfy themselves.
But I think this is not what you meant.

"So the very notion of the "heresy of orthodoxy" is entirely ahistorical and anachronistic"
- "heresy of orthodoxy" is a sarcasm. It says that it is heretical to believe in orthodoxy, while under Bauer-Ehrman thesis there is no notion of heresy. What do you mean ahistoric? This is the contemporary view of proponents of Bauer-Ehrman.

"Theologically driven "history" is not good history"
- well... whose theology are we talking about? Everyone is a theologian. Everyone has position concerning God. Well, if Ehrman opts for a theology of atheism for example, it does not mean he does not have a theological position. His theological position simply becomes that of "God does not exist".
To make things worse, it is precisely Bauer-Ehraman theology that you should test by your own filter. Why a naturalist, or atheist is granted a priori with privileged position? Why dating of 2 Peter is placed in second century by some? Well, because it implies that there were recognized NT cannon books in the 1st century. And because Bauer and Ehrman and their crew cannot accept that... what happens? yes, dating moves to that which THEY want it be so that it FITS THEIR paradigm. If you want to criticize authors of this book, why can Ehrman and Bauer and their aChristian fellows get away so easily?

To conclude, I think you [1] for sure have not read this book at all, hence how can you REVIEW it if you have not even opened it, [2] you have a wrong impression about the content of the book and actually didn't get the idea what it is all about, and maybe [3] you have ideological predisposition to deny what it says by a priori philosophical allegiance to naturalism and Bauer-Ehrman thesis.

Posted on Aug 26, 2011 6:47:34 AM PDT
Rory W. Tyer says:
you criticize the authors for claiming that (what they consider) heterodox movements did not exist as early as orthodoxy, and you suggest that it is simply taken for granted that there was in fact such diversity from the movement's earliest stages. but that is precisely what is being questioned here; they challenge that assumption. they are certainly not the only ones doing so, either, and i think this book was written with an eye towards encompassing both scholarly and lay audiences.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 6:54:48 AM PST
Gersham says:
This reviewer says:
"Contemporary philosophical movements (like 'post-modernism') and the contemporary interest of Western societies in 'diversity' have nothing to do with the study of antiquity."

So you don't think an historian can project his bias on data studied? The age one lives in has no effect on how he or she reads history?

So... How familiar are YOU with historical studies? I think the answer is in your review.

Posted on Sep 20, 2012 1:32:10 PM PDT
Mr. Twisted says:
The reviewer, who names himself a punctuation mark, states that this book is "not an academic study," yet in another review said that the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" by Michael Moore was a "very well done film." Just stop and consider that for a moment -- no serious student of....anything at all...ever... would look at Michael Moore's work as a legitimate authority on critiquing how the military prepares young men to go to war (which is what this reviewer took away from the piece of trash masquerading as a documentary).

While some may say that the two are not related, I disagree; if he's really a PhD student, then this thing called "research" should be of slightly more importance than it obviously is before he goes and labels what is and what is not "academic study."

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2013 9:26:02 AM PST
. says:
Michael Moore is Michael Moore ... he does what he does and serves his purpose, and he was an almost singular voice in bringing numerous important issues to light, as you know. But that has nothing to do with the study of early Christianity (which you undoubtedly also realize).

Funny ... my research gets published in peer-reviewed journals and by reputable publishing houses after I've subjected it to the scrutiny of the best of my colleagues at international venues. Oddly, I've never seen Andreas Kostenberger at one of these venues and I've never happened upon an article or book of his (apart from this one). Granted, that's anecdotal; but considering he and I are interested in the *exact* same historical questions, it's also odd. This book goes a long way in clarifying this peculiarity: He's not writing for academic historians of early Christianity because he's not writing academic history that can withstand critical scrutiny.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2013 6:01:58 AM PST
B. F. Mooney says:
Your skepticism is probably warranted. I was wondering why only remarks from various theologians are cited at the start of this page, and not a single quote from a scholarly review published in a peer-reviewed journal. (The theologians all seem to come one group with a particular bent.). There is not a review from one of the "standards" (such as Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, or The Library Journal). These remarks are not reviews, but rather hype such as can be found on the rear cover of many books (AKA "pre-publication praise", which is at least an honest description).

When I see a plentiful helping of this sort of material instead of actual words from a published review, it makes me think the work MAY be a biased polemic which lacks favorable reviews to cite. If a book is supposedly this good, why the lack of wider attention? It should raise some flags of caution. So yes, it may very well still be a fine book, but reader beware!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2013 6:31:58 PM PDT
Honest says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2013 2:56:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2013 2:57:20 PM PDT
@reviewer:
You cite your own qualifications, and say that the author does not appear in your circle of acquaintance. What is your area of expertise (that in which you were published)?

And you still have shown us none of the actual arguments in the work with which you take issue. Did you read it?
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