Tuesday, October 19, 2004

RB15790-Rob #20: Where we go from here 

(15790) Robert Bowman [Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:31 am]( John 8:58: Rob #20: Where we go from here (again))

Perhaps you missed some things in my recent posts, including the last one.
You wrote:

Not only that, but by (falsely) portraying it this way, you suggest that I should not be allowed to respond to this material.... You have posted a whole set of new material and then, in your message today, you try to unilaterally declare the exchange over and the forum open with all of your new material unreviewed.... People might say that these are the tactics of a desperate man, one who realizes that he has been refuted at every turn and will be again if his opponent is heard from. I would have a hard time sleeping nights knowing that people were left with that bad impression of you.
Jason, the subject heading of my post today reads as follows:

"John 8:58: IF JASON AGREES, the discussion is now open to the forum" (emphasis added).

That subject heading alone makes it clear that your allegation that I tried to end our exchange "unilaterally" is false. In the body of the post, my very first sentence reads:

"AS SOON AS JASON AGREES, the discussion on John 8:58 will be open to all list members" (emphasis added).

At the end of my post #18, I wrote:
"I LOOK FORWARD TO WHATEVER RESPONSE YOU FEEL YOU HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION TO MAKE, as well as the discussion that we will have with those who have been waiting for several months for our one-on-one exchange to reach a conclusion" (emphasis added).

Really, Jason, how could you so badly distort my intentions? Could I have made myself any clearer?

In my post #14, I wrote:
"The fact is that we had no timetable for completing this discussion and I am accommodating you by hurrying my response to your criticisms of my book.... If you wish to return to the list and resume our discussion at a later date, of course that would be fine."

The last sentence was not precluding you responding whenever you were ready, but was simply acknowledging your statement that you were about to run out of time to continue our exchange.

You wrote:
I made it perfectly clear why introducing a new line of argument now, when our readers are anxious to field their comments and questions and when my time for this exchange is drawing short, would be unacceptable, because it would not give me time to review your new material. You have now introduced in your post 15 a completely new argument in support of the traditional English translation of John 8:58, one that is not in your book and has not been seen in our on-line debate before now, that is, before the prior arguments of your book and postings had been largely invalidated.

You are a hard man to please, Jason. In your post #13, you complained that I had not responded to your posts #9 and #10 (which were actually #8 and #9). In your post #14, you accuse me of "ignoring" your criticisms, again referring to those posts. My post #15 responds in detail to much of your argument in one of those posts, and now you complain about that!

My post #15 is in its entirety a defense of my claim that the PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI clause does not denote duration from the past up to the present but is instead marking a point in the past *before* which the state or action of the main verb is said to occur. You criticized that claim in your very first post, and post #15 was my first direct response to that criticism. Part of that response addressed your criticisms of my exegesis of Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 89:2 LXX, and Prov. 8:25, which were a major part of the two posts that you had complained about me "ignoring."

You wrote:
New evidence has been introduced, new arguments not found in your book have been presented all along. You admit that, right? And now, more new things from you.

It is truly bizarre for you to criticize me for presenting new evidence and arguments in support of the position taken in my book. Perhaps you would have preferred it if I had simply repeated myself?

You wrote:
I think it fair to say that mostly, if not exclusively, I have been just responding to each new attempt of yours to dislodge my position and support your own, as you drop arguments tried in your book and in your earlier postings that did not work, and keep piling on new ones, the latest of which is clearly brand-spanking new, as you suggested in your earlier post when you said you thought you could come up with a new argument that did not invoke your "eternal present."

Toward the beginning of our discussion, I pointed out some serious deficiencies with your argument about the proper word order of the conventional translations of John 8:58. You thanked me for the opportunity to "clarify" your argument. Well, it looked to me like a heavily reformulated argument if not a new argument, but I did not challenge your characterization of it. Perhaps I should have.

Unlike you, I have never complained about you taking the discussion in any direction you wished, except when you started speculating about my motives, methods, and values.

You wrote:
I think it is necessary for me, therefore, to rescue you from this self-damaging tactic. I mean, Rob, it just looks bad. People might say that these are the tactics of a desperate man, one who realizes that he has been refuted at every turn and will be again if his opponent is heard from. I would have a hard time sleeping nights knowing that people were left with that bad impression of you. So I need to make the sacrifice of helping you to save face here.
Jason, I have to say it: the more you indulge in this sort of posturing on the basis of easily documented distortions of things I say, the more "it just looks bad" for you. Anyone who has followed the discussion can see that YOU started angling over a month ago for an early end before I finished answering you, as with the following comment:

I have run through the data with you, and made my own argument of how your conclusion is based on misconstrual and misinterpretation of the grammarians and of the examples. I suppose we can go around and around on this. But without any expectation of progress, I think we have both had our say. (Jason #9, message #15585, 9/8/2004)

Then five days ago, without any warning, you announced that you only had a couple more weeks that you could participate and insisted I not post any further:

I must agree with those on this site who have intervened to say we have
reached the completion of a cycle of this discussion.... We had promised to those who wished to see this discussion/debate on this site that there would be an opportunity for anyone who wished to comment or raise questions. Our readers have now called for this promise to be fulfilled, and for that purpose, I will remain on the site for two weeks. (Jason #12, message #15758, 10/13/2004)
I, on the other hand, have NEVER tried to squelch your participation, NEVER called for an end to the discussion, NEVER opposed you offering a further response of whatever kind you wished, whenever you wished.

You wrote:
Since you have gone away from our discussion for several weeks at a time, either to attend to other things or to develop new arguments, I will invoke this as a precedent to get around the current pressures on my own time. I will afford myself the same privilege you have afforded yourself. I will review all of your remarks carefully and respond to them as warranted. I will continue to respond to your arguments, at a pace of my own choosing. Given the fact that I warned about the consequences of pressing on to new arguments at the expense of our patient readers, I hope they will now understand why your new material merits careful review and comment before we can open things for them. Any other course of action would just be blatantly unfair, as I am sure they will agree. They have my sincere apologies that things have transpired in this way against my best efforts and intentions. But if I couldn't open the forum when I and they wished, neither can you. We will have to wait for the time we are both satisfied.... I will work on this as time permits, but I am sure it will be into December before I am able to find the time to respond as thoroughly as you have (when I get to them, it does not take so long; but it is in finding the time to get to them that I am now particularly tied up).

A simple check of the web site archives will show that at no time did two weeks ever go by after you had posted to our discussion before I posted to it again. One of the two longest gaps occurred when I reported to the group that I had a medical problem arise without warning. You now wish to use these relatively short delays as "precedent" for keeping the list waiting two months. I well understand the difficulties of juggling responsibilities and interests in one's schedule, but I object to the manner in which you are trying to control the flow of information. You tried to stop me from posting, and since that didn't succeed, you are now trying to put discussion on hold for a very long time.

Since you say you are "sure" that the list members will agree with your position on how we should proceed, I am "sure" you won't mind if I put it to a vote of the list membership. I will agree to move immediately into group discussion, delay group discussion for a few days, or delay group discussion until January, according to whatever our list membership decides. In a few minutes, hopefully, I will post a poll on our list for the members to use to express their desires.

In Christ's service,

Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
Center for Biblical Apologetics
Online: http://www.biblicalapologetics.net

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