Monday, March 14, 2005

JP Responds Again

Here is Jonathan Prejean's latest:
UPDATE -- Exactly as I predicted, Svendsen turned from a substantive attack to a personal one by attacking my personal qualifications. Of course, he completely missed the point that the reason I was attacking his qualifications is because he was running afoul of people who actually do have those qualifications. If I were the one running afoul of Meyendorff, Pelikan, McGrath, Kelly, Sherrard, Schatz, Jurgens, Quasten, Newman, Thunberg, and just about every other patristics or church history scholar of significant repute, then it might be relevant to raise my qualifications. But since I am relying on their arguments, it is *their* qualifications that are relevant, not mine. I'd love to see Svendsen attempt to justify his position using any reputable work, as that would clearly expose how absurd his position is.
Two quick point before addressing the issue. First, I can't find any place where Prejean "predicted" I would engage in a personal attack. Second, here is how Prejean characterized me in his previous entry:

  • "ranting irrationally"
  • "abdicated the field of reason altogether"
  • "blatant irrationalism "
  • "mindless"
  • "thoughtless"
  • "heedless of any sense of prudence or shame"
  • "an addict who simply cannot help himself"
And then added more recently:

  • "entirely disingenuous"
  • "absurd"
What dastardly, vitriolic thing could I have said that would lead Prejean to conclude that my comments, in comparison to his, constitute "personal attacks"? Here it is . . . [drum roll again] . . . "Prejean's doctorate is in law." Oh, how utterly underhanded such a statement is! Is there no end to the ad hominem opportunities that will surely spring from my pointing out the fact that Prejean holds a degree in law--and this in response to Prejean's assessment that I have zero qualifications to comment on theological positions since my Ph.D. is in New Testament?! How shameful! I should have known better! The next time I have a question about what constitutes heresy I'll contact my attorney! Then he can explain to me what all the patristic scholars are saying about the views of modern Roman Catholic epologists! He can point me to the pages of Kelly and McGrath and Pelikan (just for the record, Prejean includes Newman and "proof-text" Jurgens in that mix as well--no one else does) where these scholars examine the views of Roman Catholic epologists and pronounce them orthodox!

In any case, I've certainly learned my lesson. From now on, instead of engaging in "personal attacks" like pointing out that one's degree is from a school of law, I will be sure instead to comment on Prejean's "ranting and blatant irrationalism," his "mindless, thoughtless" "abdication of the field of reason," his absence of "any sense of prudence or shame," and his "absurd" "disingenuousness." Thank you, Mr. Prejean, for praying for my deliverance from engaging in "personal attacks" and helping me to see the light in how I should be addressing you.

Now, let's address Prejean's specific points:
One thing, it's not a matter of simply happening to disagree on the subject. Svendsen is flat-out wrong, and it's not even debatable. He's completely out of his league here. He has zero qualifications in the field of patristics or church history (his Ph.D. is in New Testament), and his opinion conflicts with the overwhelming scholarly opinion on those subjects without the least bit of justification for doing so.
I essentially ignored this comment in my last post because it lacks foundation. What on earth is Prejean referring to when he says my views contradict those of "overwhelming scholarly opinion"? Opinion on what?
I hope that Dr. Svendsen will substantively engage the objections that I have raised to his position, particularly that his denial of the full humanity and divinity of Christ amounts to a denial of our salvation.
What objections has he raised? None that I can see, apart from empty assertions that my views contradict those of patristic scholars. Where in the world have I denied the full humanity and divinity of Christ--especially since I am a staunch defender of these things? Just ask any of the Jehovah's Witnesses who have had the misfortune of knocking on my door!

Is this the kind of "substantive engagement" that characterizes Prejean's arguments at trial? I'm sure he's a capable attorney; but he seems to have "lost all reasoning abilities" when it comes to assessing theological views (how am I doing with my new language resolve, by the way?).

I'll be glad to address Prejean's "objections"--just as soon as he tells me what they are.