Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dr. Michael Heiser: “Another Bart-Sequitur”—authorship and “pseudonymity” concerning the New Testament

One of my favorite Evangelical scholars, Dr. Michael Heiser, has recently commented (LINK) on Bart Ehrman’s new book, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are, which, of course, delves into the issue of “pseudonymity” concerning certain books/epistles of the New Testament canon.

Though I own, and have read, eight of Ehrman’s books, I have not yet read this new one (I usually wait until the paperback edition is released). With that said, I cannot at this time fully endorse Dr. Heiser’s reflections; however, given his past contributions, I have little reason to doubt that his assessment of Ehrman’s new book is anything less than accurate.

In addition to his own thoughts, Dr. Heiser links to a number of other important contributions by scholars that include Ben Witherington III and Donald Guthrie—hope everyone will take the time to check the material provided in all the links, I am sure you will agree that it is worth the effort.


Grace and peace,

David

9 comments:

Lvka said...

A suggestion or two... ;-)

Ken said...

I agree with Michael Heisner in his assessment of Ehrman:


"Actually, Ehrman’s new book is good news and bad news. The good news is that none of what he’s going to say hasn’t been said before. Doubts as to the authorship of certain New Testament books is nothing new. New Testament scholars of all persuasions have been writing about pseudonymity and authorship problems for a very long time. The bad news is that most lay people within the “Bible believing” church will never have heard of any of this before. It will be totally new to them, for example, that there are “disputed Pauline epistles,” or that a majority of New Testament scholars don’t believe 1-2 Peter were written by Peter."

"Bart knows that. Sure, you can accuse him at this point of just wanting to make more money, but I doubt that’s what’s driving him. It’s at least partly about his belief that he’s disabusing people of false beliefs. But I also think he’s doing it as someone who’s been wounded by the faith. It’s working out some rage."

I don't need to read Bart Ehrman's new book to know that he is wrong.

Ehrman has already been refuted by Dan Wallace, Darrell Bock (I think he has written some stuff on Ehrman's writings), and James White. (and Guthrie and Witherington)


http://bible.org/article/gospel-according-bart


http://bible.org/seriespage/second-peter-introduction-argument-and-outline

Ken said...

2 more responses to Bart Ehrman:

http://www.answeringinfidels.com/answering-skeptics/others/misunderstanding-christianity-do-scribal-changes-really-matter-and-why.html

http://www.isca-apologetics.org/sites/default/files/papers/Jared%20Martinez/Howe-AResponseToBartEhrman.pdf

Ken said...

James White’s (and Turretinfan) refutations of Ehrman

First initial response that they had a debate:
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3091

2nd follow-up to the Ehrman debate:
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3092

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3096

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3105

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3108

Ehrman Redux: (about his book about alleged Bible contradictions)
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3115

Turretinfan on the debate with Ehrman:
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3113

Ken said...

David,
You have been mighty quiet for several weeks now.

How is your study of Theonomy going?


This is off topic here, except that it relates to the author of the article you link to in your post, Michael Heisner.

I looked again at Heisner's articles on "Elohim" and the Divine Council, Psalm 82, John 10. I read about 3-4 articles about this at his web-site. (again)

Why does he call the other spirit beings "divine beings" ??

The bottom line, it seems to me, what Heisner seems to be saying, is that they (Elohim, "gods") are angels and evil spirits, demons, and some of the evil spirits are behind the idols of the false gods of the nations.

He is saying the divine council is made up of "angels and demons" - other "elohim" (lesser gods).

But they are not equal to Yahweh or the eternal unique Son of God, the Word of God from all eternity.

If they are angels and demons, why does he call them "divine beings"?

Why not just "spiritual beings" - spirits. ?

How do spiritual beings "die like men"? (Psalm 82:7)

I did not see where Heisner dealt with "I said" "you are gods" - they are not gods, but God says "you are gods" (because you think you are gods by your political power and judging unjustly) He seems to be saying "I am calling you "gods", but you are really not Gods at all" - you are human and you will die just like all other humans. (physically)

How do spiritual beings (demons; false gods behind idols and false ideas of God) die physically?

Surely the good angels are not going to die. They are the elect angels. I Timothy 5:21

So, it is only the unjust elohim (demons) who are going to die like men, according to Heisner, right?

Or does he mean the "elohim" are going to be judged like men?


Did not God call the human judges "elohim" (gods) in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9 ?

He seems to be talking about human judges and rulers and dictators who think they are "gods" because of their political and military power and they are unjust and cruel and oppressive.

"I said" meaning, "I call you "gods", because you think you are because of your pride, but you are really not gods.

But God calls them "gods"; but the Son of God really is God by nature, being the one who really is one with the Father from all eternity and sanctified ( John 17:19; 10:36; John 1:1-5); and that the Father sent into the world. (John 10:36; 3:16; 17:18)

Ken said...

oops
I just noticed I have been mis-spelling his name.

It should be Heiser, not Heisner.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Noticed the comments you posted earlier today; in your post you wrote:

>>David,
You have been mighty quiet for several weeks now.>>

Me: Have been deep in study and prayer.

>>How is your study of Theonomy going?>>

Me: Have confirmed my earlier understanding of the original relationship between 16th Reformed thought and God's law.

>>This is off topic here, except that it relates to the author of the article you link to in your post, Michael Heisner.

I looked again at Heisner's articles on "Elohim" and the Divine Council, Psalm 82, John 10. I read about 3-4 articles about this at his web-site. (again)

Why does he call the other spirit beings "divine beings" ??>>

Me: Because the OT (and probably the NT) calls Yahweh's angels "gods" (elohim). Further, they are pure spirits, and as "sons of God", bear and reflect His image and likeness—i.e. they are "divine beings".

>>The bottom line, it seems to me, what Heisner seems to be saying, is that they (Elohim, "gods") are angels and evil spirits, demons, and some of the evil spirits are behind the idols of the false gods of the nations.

He is saying the divine council is made up of "angels and demons" - other "elohim" (lesser gods).

But they are not equal to Yahweh or the eternal unique Son of God, the Word of God from all eternity.

If they are angels and demons, why does he call them "divine beings"?>>

Me: See the above.

>>Why not just "spiritual beings" - spirits. ?

How do spiritual beings "die like men"? (Psalm 82:7)>>

Me: The Bible, once again, calls them "gods", not "spiritual beings"; "gods" are "divine", hence, they are "divine beings".

As for the rest of your post, I need to locate an excellent essay that I read a few years back that, if I remember correctly, addresses the points you have raised.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

Thanks for your thoughts, David.

Ok, but why call demons, "divine" ?

they are created spirits, along with the good angels. They sinned and fell and became evil, so they are no longer "divine", wouldn't you say?

Satan comes among "the sons of God" in Job 1-2. There, it seems like Heiser is correct, that it is a term for all the angels, both good and bad.

I still thing Monotheism causes and necessitates the other understanding of Psalm 82; that in other passages they include good angels and bad angels (demons) (Heiser); but in Psalm 82, they seem to be humans who are unjust and evil and prideful and think they are "gods"(like Hitler, and other megalomaniacs in history); they are humans judges (both Israel and all nations) who think they are "gods"; also false non-existent gods who are in the minds of pagans. (they don't really exist, but in the minds of people, they do; the "grandfather on a throne" or the liberal view of God (all love and no judgment) is also an idol, a false god.)

Although some OT passages show that "elohim" includes demons (per Heiser); it is better to call them demons and dark powers of the air, as Ephesians 2:2-3 and 6:12 does.

These "elohim" that Heiser says is the "divine council"; they are created beings, right? (spirits); but ontologically different from the One True and Only Yahweh/Elohim/Adonai/El Shaddai - The Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Spirit, right?

Does Heiser hold to the doctrine of the Trinity?

He does not seem to mention in these articles. Unclear to me.

Are LDS people using his material to support Mormonism's view of "many gods" ??

What is the difference between Heiser's view and LDS?

How does Heiser's view help us with Muslim objections to John 10 - they might say, "see, the OT is polytheistic and this is all non-sense and illogical and against monotheism". Your response?

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>>Ok, but why call demons, "divine" ?

they are created spirits, along with the good angels. They sinned and fell and became evil, so they are no longer "divine", wouldn't you say?>>

Me: Once again, because the Bible calls them "gods" (elohim), and "sons of God", along with the elect angels. When man sinned, we did not lose the "image of God", and this, along with the above, must be taken into consideration when determining the "divine" status of the fallen angels. As for the issue of monotheism and the divine status of the angels, it is discussed at length in the "essay" (actually it is a masters thesis) that I said I would try to locate yesterday; here is a link to an online pdf version:

http://www.macdiv.ca/faculty/documents/McGinnThesisMA.pdf

Now, I believe you said that you are a member of the SBC, interestingly enough, Dr. Marvin E. Tate (Professor of OT interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) in his Word Biblical Commentary - Psalms 51-100, takes the same view as Dr. Heiser, stating that, "several studies have grounded Ps 82 firmly in the tradition of accounts of the meetings of the divine council or assembly of the gods" (page 332).

>>These "elohim" that Heiser says is the "divine council"; they are created beings, right? (spirits); but ontologically different from the One True and Only Yahweh/Elohim/Adonai/El Shaddai - The Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Spirit, right?>>

Me: Created for sure, which is why Heiser, Tate and others who believe Psalm 82 is speaking of a heavenly divine council, still maintain that the Hebrew religion was/is monotheistic; as such, I think it is safe to say that the angels are "ontologically different", even though the Bible itself does not tell us what the difference/s between God's 'spirit' and the 'spirit' of the angels is/are.

>>Does Heiser hold to the doctrine of the Trinity?>>

Me: Yes.

>>Are LDS people using his material to support Mormonism's view of "many gods" ??

What is the difference between Heiser's view and LDS?>>

Me: I read an LDS critique of Dr. Heiser's view awhile back; will try to locate the article for you.

>>How does Heiser's view help us with Muslim objections to John 10 - they might say, "see, the OT is polytheistic and this is all non-sense and illogical and against monotheism". Your response?>>

Me: It shows us (as did I in my "one true God" threads), that the use in the Bible of such terms as God, divinity, the divine, etc., was much broader in their application than ours.


Hope I have been helpful...


Grace and peace,

David