Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Reasonable Interpretation of Acharya's books

If Acharya's books were taken as a huge reductio ad absurdum, they would actually make sense. There is no paucity of theological works that likewise lack in quality - shoddy sources, misrepresented data, etc. I may write some reviews of such works later on (I have a couple in mind). I have no idea how the Historical Jesus-research fares on average in comparison to other parts of theology that interface with history, but I would guess there are a fair share of relatively credulous stuff there as well.

Using unreliable sources and even a clearly defined methodology can lead to mistaken conclusions. I do think this is more common among academic theologians than they like to admit, and one volume demonstrating why this is a problem would be a reasonable thing to do.

But if this were the approach she had taken, why does she not defend such a point rather than the actual arguments in the book? Why is pointing the massive amount of bad sources, distortions and downright fabrications (on the part of her sources) met with accusations of misogyny?

Would it not be better to respond by pointing to some specific works in the Historical Jesus-camp and ask why the critics do not apply the same rigor there? Personally, I do find it likely most atheists in the Historical Jesus camp apply quite a similar level of rigor there, though.

Such a reading would justify one book or so - once it is done, the point would be clear - but when there is a plethora of such books written by her, clear statements by her to the effect that this thesis really is correct and so on, it gets difficult to believe that her intent is one of reductio ad absurdum regarding the methodology of theologians.  Angry accusations aimed at any criticism - as well as a bunch of fans that are happy to accuse whoever criticizes her of being sociopaths and such - square even less well with such an interpretation.

I find using misogynist as a catch-all accusation in order to dodge criticism demeans all the men who are not misogynists, and it also demeans all the victims of genuine misogyny. Persecution complexes are weird.

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