Thursday, January 6, 2011

John Bugay and 'revisionist historian' Eamon Duffy

While researching a topic that was totally unrelated (i.e. autotheos), I happened upon some "notes" from a Reformed gent named Guy Davies which he wrote down during a lecture/paper delivered by Garry Williams: 'The English Reformation Today: Revise, Reverse or Revert?' (LINK). The following is from Guy's "notes":

Revisionists historians such as Eamon Duffy and Christopher Haigh wish to overturn the traditional Protestant view of the English Reformation. Some Evangelicals seem to want to reverse the Reformation for the sake of unity with Rome. Protestants might wish that we could revert to English Reformation, but that is not without its problems.

John Bugay (a contributor at the Beggars All blog) has been invoking Eamon Duffy (along with other liberal/revisionist historians like Peter Lampe—see my threads displayed HERE for some of my musings on liberal/revisionist historians) as a representative of "honest" scholarship (LINK TO BA LABEL - EAMON DUFFY) for sometime now; and earlier today, did so yet again IN THIS BA THREAD.

I have cautioned John about using liberal/revisionist historians like Duffy and Lampe in the AF threads linked to above (and in a number of combox posts)—but alas, my reflections have pretty much fallen on 'deaf ears' (I suspect because I am not Reformed)—perhaps John will give some thought to Garry Williams' reservations...


Grace and peace,

David

12 comments:

Blogahon said...

Any scholar that says anything contrary to Rome is a friend of Bugay. He is pretty obvious with that. Any scholar that says anything supportive of Rome is either dishonest or not to be trusted for some reason of Bugay's choosing. It's a nice set up he has got going there.

Chris said...

Hi David,

I agree that there is a consistency problem when evangelicals use liberal scholarship to attack Catholicism. Incidentally, this is the number 1 reason I'm not an evangelical anymore. I used liberal scholarship to criticize Mormonism, and then realized that the same scholarship was equally devastating to the evangelical position.

IIRC, you told me at one point that you treated certain doctrines such as the authority of scripture as non-negotiable. I am curious, given your recent withdrawal from Catholic communion, whether you hold the same view or are now more willing to countenance "liberal" critiques of such non-negotiables? It seems you are willing to use scholarship to evaluate some of the RCC's religious claims, so how do you decide which claims are fair game and which are off-limits?

Peace,

-Chris

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

So nice to 'see' you back at AF; you wrote the following:

>>I agree that there is a consistency problem when evangelicals use liberal scholarship to attack Catholicism. Incidentally, this is the number 1 reason I'm not an evangelical anymore. I used liberal scholarship to criticize Mormonism, and then realized that the same scholarship was equally devastating to the evangelical position.>>

Me: Very interesting. Couple of questions: first, it seems that Mormon apologists 'opened that door up' (i.e. the use of liberal scholarship) via their attacks on historic Christianity (however, as you well know, they then put on a much more conservative 'cap' when defending the BoM, D&C and BoA); second, since you are no longer Evangelical, how would you classify your beliefs?

>>IIRC, you told me at one point that you treated certain doctrines such as the authority of scripture as non-negotiable. I am curious, given your recent withdrawal from Catholic communion, whether you hold the same view or are now more willing to countenance "liberal" critiques of such non-negotiables? It seems you are willing to use scholarship to evaluate some of the RCC's religious claims, so how do you decide which claims are fair game and which are off-limits?>>

Me: For the most part, I meet conservative Catholics on a 'level playing field', in that I only utilize sources they consider authoritative. (E.g. though I believe Hans Küng to be quite brilliant, and own and have read over a dozen of his published books, I would never attempt to bring him into any dialogue with a conservative Catholic.)

Now, I really do try to apply the same standard to pretty all religious traditions that I examine, meeting them head-to-head with their accepted authorities and methods, asking them in turn to refrain from double-standards when they critique my musings.

As for Scripture, it still is pretty much "non-negotiable" for me, though do have questions concerning the 'canon', even going to far as to suggest that the 'canon' may be 'open' (though I am not dogmatic at all on this).

Bottom line for me is that I believe God has indeed spoken to mankind via supernatural revelation, and that belief is foundational for much of my assessment of Scripture.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

If Bugay wants to use Eamon Duffy, that's great. It isn't what Duffy says about the Catholic Church that is the problem. In the article David linked, Bugay used Duffy to "prove" the well-known fact that Catholics began to build larger, more expensive and ornate structures in which to meet after Christianity was legalized. So what? So, according to Bugay, that means that the Catholic Church were the originators of mega-churches and would have been televangelists if there had been TV.

Whatever. I never supposed that large numbers, and large buildings to provide meeting places proved the Catholic Church to be true. But I sure never dreamed it was something to be interpreted negatively! I guess the Reformed camp thinks that 50 people on folding chairs in Grange halls and public school basements are a point in favor of Calvinism.

For the record, based on who markets Eamon Duffy's work, I am confident that his historical revisionism is in no way discouraging to Catholicism. I know that he takes a dim view of the Protestant revolt, especially in the British Isles. One of his works is called "Stripping the Altars", which highlights how the Protestant Reform in England was motivated much less by a devotion to Reformed doctrine than by the desire to get wealthy plundering Catholic monasteries, convents, and churches.

Rory

Chris said...

Hi David,

In answer to your first question, it went something like this: I criticized Joseph Smith for his "false prophecies". The Mormons then pointed out that there are prophecies that appear equally false in the Bible. They wanted me to react by saying, "You're right; I guess we shouldn't take prophecies at face value." Instead, I reacted by saying, "You're right; I guess Joseph Smith and the biblical prophets were both misguided."

One of the most important examples of this was the prophecy that a temple would be built in Independence, MO in Joseph Smith's generation. As I'm sure you're aware, Jesus made a very similar prophecy about his own return. The shoddy excuse given in 2 Peter for his delay is the kind of rationalization I'd expect to encounter on mormonapologetics.org vis-a-vis the temple.

In answer to your second question, I waffle between pluralism and agnosticism.

With respect to what you've said about "liberal" vs. "authoritative" or conservative sources, do you really think sources can be neatly divided along such lines? And is limiting oneself to conservative sources a sufficiently sophisticated methodological guideline? It seems to me that if one is going to take a confessionalist approach to religious scholarship, one should do so systematically-- not just by dividing confessionalist from rationalist sources, but by distinguishing confessionalist from rationalist lines of inquiry. This requires deciding precisely which religious claims are off-limits to inquiry, and which range of views on a given issue is unacceptable. Without such systematic criteria, you end up dabbling in rationalism to the extent that your conservative sources dabble in rationalism, while simultaneously condemning those sources that admit their rationalism outright. In other words, a double standard.

Peace,

-Chris

Chris said...

Although, perhaps I have misunderstood you. Perhaps you are merely saying that in dialogue with Reformed people you limit yourself to conservative "Reformed" sources as a rhetorical strategy, because those are the sources they are most likely to listen to? And you are merely suggesting that for the sake of fairness, Reformed critics of Catholicism should adopt same rhetorical strategy?

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Good post; I particularly loved the following:

>>I guess the Reformed camp thinks that 50 people on folding chairs in Grange halls and public school basements are a point in favor of Calvinism.>>

Me: Indeed! Probably a Reformed Baptist "church" (grin).

You may enjoy the following thread:


The Slander of Pope Saint Damasus


Grace and peace,

David


P.S. Poor Ducks...did you watch the game?

David Waltz said...

Hello Chris,

Thanks much for your responses. For the record, the last post you put up was what I was attempting to convey.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Yeah Dave...

You know I watched the game...until Dyer was tackled, and thought he was tackled but wasn't. I knew it was over then. I quit and I have no regrets. I didn't want to see the end.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Chris,

I'm curious about your theory on the supposed failed prophesy of Jesus' return. It sounds like you're talking about Matthew 24, in which Jesus responds to the question(s), " “when will this [the destruction of the Temple] happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

I've addressed that claim before here (http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2010/12/did-christ-predict-end-times-within-his.html), but I'm not positive that's what you're saying.

More than that, I'm curious as to what you're theorizing DID happen. Are you saying that:

(1) Christ correctly predicted the Destruction of Jerusalem, but got His own Return wrong?

(2) the Apostles made up Christ's predictions before 70, and inadvertently got the Destruction of Jerusalem right themselves?

(3) the Apostles (or someone else) made up Christ's predictions after 70, and "postdicted" the events of 70 A.D. without accounting for the fact that Christ didn't return?

Chris said...

Joe,

Yes, that is the passage I am referring to. The standard "liberal" understanding of this passage is that it was written in 70 AD, so that the destruction of the temple was accurately postdicted but the events thereafter were inaccurately predicted.

Peace,

-Chris

David Waltz said...

Hi Chris,

You wrote:

>> The standard "liberal" understanding of this passage is that it was written in 70 AD, so that the destruction of the temple was accurately postdicted but the events thereafter were inaccurately predicted.>>

Me: Have you read John A. T. Robinson's, Redating the New Testament ???

Robinson argues, quite persuasively (IMHO), that ALL of the NT books pre-date the fall of Jerusalem.


Grace and peace,

David