Friday, May 7, 2010

Robert Price vs James White in Innisbrook, FL

I had to actually purchase this one. If you don’t want to do so, e-mail me and I’ll have you over to watch it in my living room, free of charge.

Price leads off by noting a few common apologetic arguments and take a few pokes at them. Memorably, he questions whether the early disciples were really akin a first-century Snopes, assiduously tracking down and debunking any Jesus myths which went beyond their actual experiences. He also outlines some of the processes by which pious fictions are transformed into holy writ and giving examples from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

White leads off with an argument against the principle of analogy in favor of internal consistency rather than a Bayesian approach to the a priori likelihood of seemingly miraculous events. He then has a go at Price's view of the authorship and transmission of the Biblical texts. Basically, he is saying that extraordinary claims do not require extraordinary evidence. White goes on to argue, in effect, that it is implausible and unlikely that NT authors would borrow from contemporary Greek religions, whereas it is not implausible and unlikely that actual miracles took place. He makes this argument by stealthily incorporating the principle of analogy as to the former phenomenon, while attacking the principle of analogy as to the latter. He makes a few other arguments, none of which are particularly original, and most of which are directed at tearing down Price's work rather than building an affirmative case for Biblical exceptionalism.

Overall, it was a fine debate. Both men presented some of the best available arguments for his side. I was not, however, such an amazing debate that it was worth spending actual money to watch on mp4 video. I'd advise watching the free Price and Ehrman debates online, which cover pretty much the same ground.

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