Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why John Dickson's argument in Hearing Her Voice fails

Over at Lionel Windor's blog you can read an article by Andrew Heard critiquing John Dickson's argument in Hearing Her Voice.

I must say Andrew's argument is both well reasoned and thought provoking.
I would add to this that given John Dickson's argument hangs to a large extent on the meaning of didasko [ teach ] in 1 Tim 2:12, which Andrew points out that John wants to restrict to a technical sense of "passing on the oral traditions of the Apostles" in it's more narrow sense, which John wants to say means "deliver" or "pass on" then John's argument fails.
Why? Because Paul could more appropriately have used paradidomi [ deliver or pass on ] which when Paul used this in 1 Cor 11:23-24 has the very meaning that John wants it to have in 1 Timothy 2. This word is not rare in Paul's writings, he uses it at least 12 times in Romans and 1 Cor [ 6 each ]. So the very fact that Paul doesn't use the most appropriate Greek word to put his case [ as John
Dickson perceives it ] speaks volumes against Dickson's interpretation. It is part of hermeneutics that we take careful note of which words the author used and which ones he didn't when interpreting a passage, and that presents a powerful case against John's thesis. Certainly another possible alternative - rhuomi cannot be considered for for Paul's purpose in 1 Tim 2.
When you add to this how Paul uses teach [ didasko ] in 1 Timothy ( read both Claire Scott's articles, summarized by Lionel and Andrew's article to get the gist of this ) then his thesis is indeed weak and I'd say unacceptable.

But I would say this is not all to be said in critiquing it.
I would add as I've pointed out before, the scholarly support for his understanding of oral traditions doesn't say what he wants it to say, at least not in the case of Dunn 'Jesus Remembered'.
Secondly, and this follows on the tack of John's argument itself, that if we grant for the moment that teach in 1 Timothy 2 refers to passing on the oral traditions of the apostles, then Why does Paul go on to say in the same breath "nor have Authority." For if didasko meant what John wants it to mean nor have Authority is redundant since the apostolic oral tradition carries its own Authority.
Lastly, does this line of argument by Dickson mean that the "nebulous' oral traditions of the Apostles carry more Authority than the actual Scriptures before us? is that not a ludicrous idea?

In Christ

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