Talk:Lewis's trilemma

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Move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. Jafeluv (talk) 08:27, 20 June 2013 (UTC)


Lewis's trilemmaLewis' trilemma – In the English possessive usually rather than having two Ss in a row (even if divided by apostrophe) we usually just affix the apostrophe after the S, so I think it would lead to a shorter and prettier article title more in line with efficient English if we did so here Ranze (talk) 03:56, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment how is it pronounced? "Lewises trilemma" or "lewiz trilemma"? -- 65.94.79.6 (talk) 04:34, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
That probably varies from individual to individual, though only the former is unambiguous in speech. The latter would be indistinguishable from "Lewis trilemma." --BDD (talk) 04:27, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:RETAIN. The superfluous s is widely accepted, particularly in the UK (WP:ENGVAR). See apostrophe. —  AjaxSmack  03:17, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:RETAIN, and really common usage as well. It may sound a little awkward, but this is simply how we denote a possessive for a singular noun that ends in an S. The proposed form could just as easily refer to a trilemma of multiple Lewi. --BDD (talk) 04:27, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The "s's" form is normal, certainly in British English, for a singular possessive and the "s'" form for a plural possessive. As someone whose name ends in "s" I can personally attest to this! Ironically, the article Ranze cites in favour of renaming even itself recommends this form! -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:48, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose the current version is already correct and efficient. Timrollpickering (talk) 20:50, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Criticism Reverters[edit]

I'm up to three users who have chosen to revert one sentence: "From an orthodox Christian perspective all of these criticisms rely on denying the authority of Scripture (see Biblical inerrancy and Biblical_inspiration#Views), by questioning or rejecting the Biblical accounts." The first one, Flyer22, was polite about requiring references, I added in references to basic entries on Biblical Inerrancy and Inspiration because I realized that it was possible that other readers might be ignorant of the basics of orthodox Christian beliefs and this would allow them to do further research and perhaps even spot the biased writing puffing up the rest of the "Criticism section" (Hint: if you cannot spot it, do a bit of research). Since then,Thebadger33 (unsourced personal opinion) and Paul August (no reliable sources) have decided to kill the edit for the incorrect reasons listed since it was sourced in the first place and if Paul August thinks the supporting articles are "unreliable", then he needs to direct his attention there. Given the "unbiased" and "quality" of the rest of the Criticism section, I expect more reverts for no good or apparent or even false reasons. I'll continue to log them here as a public record.Kamatu (talk) 12:46, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

What you need here is a reliable source which reviews the criticisms given in the article and asserts that all "these criticisms rely on denying the authority of Scripture". You haven't done that. All you have done is point to two Wikipedia articles (neither of which say anything about Lewis's trilemma, let alone the criticisms concerning it) and in any case Wikipedia articles do not qualify as "reliable sources " for the purpose of article citation, please see WP:Reliable Sources. Paul August 19:02, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
As it seems that no source is forthcoming, I've removed the passage. Paul August 01:09, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

Top 3 Reasons this is an argument for the Incarnation[edit]

There is a fairly widespread belief that this is not an argument for the Incarnation of Jesus, but simply an assertion that the claims of Jesus should be taken seriously, in contrast to the assumption that he was simply a 'good teacher'. That's true - this certainly is what Lewis was saying about Jesus, and probably with justice - but to stop there is completely to miss the point. The first part of the argument is that Jesus is not simply a 'good teacher'. The second point, however, is equally important - which is that Jesus is not only not simply human but is the Incarnation of God.

There are at least three pieces of evidence that show this.

The first is that this is how it has traditionally been used. Charles Liddon used it in this way in 1866 in his lectures on the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ ('si non Deus non bonus'); Charles Gore used it in this way in The Incarnation of the Son of God in 1890 ('aut Deus aut malus homo'). Others have used it in this way since. It would be very strange if Lewis were the only one not to.

The second is, what is the point of the argument otherwise? Lewis says there are only three options and he clearly neither wants nor expects his listeners to accept the other two. What he is saying, therefore, is that the only real possibility is that Jesus is really God.

The third is that he explicitly tells us that is what he is trying to do. In God in the Dock there is the text of a speech he gave to youth leaders and priests in Wales in 1944, in which he advises them on preaching to working class people and explains that when it comes to the Incarnation, many think Jesus was just a good teacher, so he recommends the 'aut deus aut homo non bonus' - clearly a reference to this argument in the formulation used by Gore, whom he had read. --Rbreen (talk) 21:43, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

"Largely ignored by theologians and biblical scholars, who do not view Jesus as having claimed to be God."[edit]

"This argument is very popular with Christian apologists, but largely ignored by theologians and biblical scholars, who do not view Jesus as having claimed to be God. Some argue that he identified himself as a divine agent, with a unique relationship to Israel's God .[2] Others see him as wanting to direct attention to the divine kingdom he proclaimed. [3] The current majority opinion among Biblical scholars is that the proclamation of the divinity of Jesus was a product of the Christian communities in the years after his death.[4]"

I don't know the proper WP conventions to list when taking issue with this statement, but it's errant nonsense and only true of very liberal theologians who do -not- 'largely' represent anyone but themselves. Citing a 2-page opinion piece by an author [4] is not evidence that the author's claims are true, nor, even if peer reviewed, is it evidence that other scholars in his field back up his statement. He himself gives no substantial evidence or research to back up such a broad sweeping claim. This makes it 'opinion'.

Does WP actually make allowances for such poorly supported claims?

I don't actually think you could quantify the entire group of "theologians and biblical scholars" and their opinions on this issue even if you were able to first a) ascertain who qualifies as a "theologian or bible scholar", and then b) individually poll each and every one of them. I think it would likely be impossible to poll a representative sample, most especially because a) itself is pretty well impossible. I know people who hold no degree who know far more of the Bible and supporting texts and histories than most Masters of Divinity or Theology scholars.

I do know one group who as a whole supports this point of view... Jehovah's Witnesses. I somehow doubt the Watchtower is a) representative of Christian scholarship and b) is suitable criticism of Lewis.

Thank you. Thistledowne (talk) 19:09, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

This issue continues as several users have attempted to remove the questionable text, only to be reverted by Rbreem.

My primary issue is that one scholar's article is used to make this claim of "majority opinion". Yet, in perusing the source, it clear this "majority opinion" is based on the opinion of Gerd Lüdemann, not any research he has conducted. I would argue it's confirmation bias on Gerd's part as he himself takes this tack as does an assumed high majority of HIS peers. Gerd takes a very low view of scripture an makes several claims in this terse article, but nothing that is substantiated at all. Ergo, this is a poor citation and should not be allowed. And the majority of Wikipedia editors in this matter agree with me.

If this source is invalid, then what else supports the claim, "The current majority opinion among Biblical scholars is that the proclamation of the divinity of Jesus was a product of the Christian communities in the years after his death."? Indeed, it is very hard, bordering on impossible, to support such a claim (see Thistledown's argument above).

In order to remain neutral on the subject, we cannot take such a hardline view to say that liberal theologians are more correct than conservative, orthodox theologians. By allowing Gerd's tainted view of "the majority" we do just that and insinuate that orthodox theologians are somehow myopic.

Cpflieger (talk) 16:50, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

That this is the majority opinion is well supported by the citations in the article. Luedemann is a respected scholar and he is certainly not presenting this view as his alone, but as the consensus of modern scholarship. He is in a position to know and his assertion is certainly a better basis of evidence than 'the majority of Wikipedia editors' (which is not supported by anything other than one editor's opinion (and subject to ... confirmation bias).

I really don't want to get involved in a document dump, but it doesn't seem to be avoidable here:

"such evidence as there is has led the historians of the period to conclude, with an impressive degree of unanimity, that Jesus did not claim to be God incarnate. This is so generally agreed today that a few representative quotations, drawn from writers who themselves affirm an orthodox christology, will suffice for our present purpose. Thus the late Archbishop Michael Ramsey, who was himself a New Testament scholar, wrote that 'Jesus did not claim deity for himself (Michael Ramsay, Jesus and the Living Past (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980) 39).. His contemporary, the New Testament scholar C.F.D. Moule, said thai 'Any case for a "high" Christology that depended on the authenticity of the alleged claims of Jesus about himself, especially in the Fourth Gospel, would indeed be precarious' (Moulc 1977, 136). In a major study of the originsof the doctrine of the incarnation James Dunn concludes that 'there was no real evidence in the earliest Jesus tradition of what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity' (Christology in the Making, SCM Press (1980), page 60). Again, Brian Hebblethwaite, a staunch upholder of the traditional Nicene-Chalcedonian christology, acknowledges that 'it is no longer possible to defend the divinity of Jesus by reference to the claims of Jesus' (Hebblethwaite, Brian 1987: The Incarnation (Cambridge University Press), 74). Yet again. David Brown, another staunch upholder of Chalcedon, says that 'there is good evidence to suggest that [Jesus] never saw himself as a suitable object of worship' and that it is 'impossible to base any claim for Christ's divinity on his consciousness once we abandon the traditional portrait as reflected in a literal understanding of St. John's Gospel' (David Brown The Divine Trinity Open Court 1985, 108). These quotations (which could be multiplied) reflect a remarkable transformation resulting from the modern historico-critical study of the New Testament. Until about a hundred years ago (as still very widely today in unlearned circles) belief in Jesus as God incarnate was assumed to rest securely upon his own explicit teaching: 'I and the Father are one', 'He that hath seen me hath seen the Father', and so on. Now, however, to quote one of the most recent defenders of a Chalcedonian christology, Adrian Thatcher, "there is scarcely a single competent New Testament scholar who is prepared to defend the view that the four instances of the absolute use of "I am" in John, or indeed most of the other uses, can be historically attributed to Jesus' (Thatcher 1990,77).'" John Hick, The Metaphor of God Incarnate: Christology in a Pluralistic Age (Westminster John Knox Press, 2006) pages 27-28.

"As to why and how Jesus came to be held and treated as messianic and a divine figure among early Christians, two major approaches can be mentioned as par- ticularly influential, with both of which I take issue. Among Christians of more naive orientation (this can include otherwise sophisticated people who have simply not been made aware of the issues) and among some anticritical Chris- tian apologists, there is often the view that Jesus was regarded as divine simply because he was in fact the Messiah and divine Son of God and made both his messiahship and his divinity clear to his disciples during his ministry. Conse- quently, in this view, there is no historical process to investigate and nothing particularly difficult to understand historically about Christ-devotion in the early period. The early Christian claims about Jesus may be difficult for non- believers to accept for various reasons, but the explanation of how and why early Christians promoted such high views of Jesus as are attested in the New Testament and other early Christian writings is thought to be simple: the truth of Jesus' messiahship and divinity was revealed by Jesus himself, and so natu- rally was taken up from the beginning in Christian beliefs and religious prac- tice. In effect, in this view it is either puzzling or downright inappropriate (es- pecially in the view of anticritical apologists) to apply historical analysis to the Christ-devotion of early Christianity and seek to explain how it developed. In the anticritical expressions of this viewpoint, it is held that the theological and religious validity of traditional Christian devotion to Christ would be called into question if it were really treated as a historical phenomenon. The other influential approach arose in large part in reaction against this naive and ahistorical view. " Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity By Larry W. Hurtado, page 5.

If any editor can find a reputable citation for an alternative view, it would be welcome. But it would need to be from a substantial scholar.

Rbreen (talk) 01:59, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Your argument about Gerd Luedemann seems to fall under, "he speaks for everyone, because he says he speaks for everyone."

As far as other citations, and your tone in general, it smacks of elitism. I can only infer that you would only accept a theologian as "a substantial scholar" if they are agnostic. Cpflieger (talk) 20:50, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia does focus on scholarly academic sources, which I suppose can appear as elitist to some, but it's the only way to ensure sound and reasonably neutral content. In the case of Luedemann we have a world renowned scholar who speaks for the academy and ought to be a reliable source for scholarly views. His view is clearly supported by the other sources. A substantial scholar in this case would be a well-known and widely published and well respected source. Their individual religious views are irrelevant - Hurtado, for instance, who is a highly respected expert on this era, is certainly not an agnostic.Rbreen (talk) 16:55, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

I've made a change that I hope you'll find ameliorative. I've changed the sentence in question to read "many of whom do not view Jesus..." From pure sentential logic, I think the original sentence was fine, but it's easy to see how a casual reader would find it objectionable, reading it as saying that ALL theologians/scholars hold this view, when of course we could come up with at least one counter-example to that. I hope the "many of whom" maintains the original intent while removing some of the worries mentioned above.Tdw92 (talk) 23:23, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Even the rather tame changes by TDW92 to express that there is a difference of opinion on this subject were deleted quickly. I have restored a recent change, that make note that, yes, despite the opinions of some, there are those that hold a differing opinion. I believe is wrong that this article cannot be allowed to show that there is diversity of opinion and that, no, the liberal point of view is not exclusive. In an effort to maintain a NPOV, I urge you all to set your biases aside and allow for this change to remain. Cpflieger (talk) 15:28, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

However "tame" you think the changes may be, they come with no supporting sources, so I've had to revert again. To change what the article says you need to supply an appropriate source which supports those changes. Paul August 17:40, 17 March 2016 (UTC)