From: Brian Holtz []
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2003 11:13 PM
To: G. Zeineldé Jordan
Cc: Steve Locks; Ed Babinski
Subject: Holtz-Jordan Debate

You write at

J: Okay, we agree on an operational definition of scholarly authority.

H: I note that you do not dispute my correction of your characterization of the baseline scholarly consensus. Does your "definition of scholarly authority" include a provision that you don't have to defend your mischaracterizations of the baseline consensus produced by that "scholarly authority"?

 J: Do you agree or disagree with my affirming our agreement you quoted above?

We seem to disagree on the "operational" significance of "scholarly authority", insofar as your "position" invokes scholarly authority but then contravenes it.

H: theists tend not to seriously consider alternative superhuman explanations is another sign of their dogmatism

J: I now solicit your best “alternative superhuman” explanation as to Christ’s body’s whereabouts—then and now.

The alternative I mentioned is not an alternative set of hypothesized events to explain the evidence, but rather the same outward events you say happened, but with an alternative interpretation of the causing agency's intentions (or ability to make those intentions understood). Again, I doubt whether you would be non-dogmatic enough to seriously consider such alternatives.

If you want to focus on what events caused the resurrection reports instead of on interpreting those events, are you at least willing to demonstrate your freethinking about the disposition of the body, specifically by assigning numeric probabilities (with any confidence margin you choose) to a taxonomy of possible explanations?  For example, you might propose the following probabilities for the gospels reports of an empty tomb as resulting from:

Are you more dogmatic than this, or less?  By how much? Or, what estimates would you assign in some other taxonomy of possibilities? Do you at least admit that it's untenable to assign zero probability (i.e. logical impossibility) to all non-Yahweh explanations?

Steve and Ed are doing such a thorough job of rebutting your thesis about the body's disposition that I don't want to distract you from giving them the best answer you can. If you're unwilling to seriously explore the entire space of possible explanations for (what you do not disagree is) the baseline scholarly consensus, then we should defer further discussion.