On a recent excursion on to Eric Svendsen's "discussion" board, David Palm sought to inform Mr. Svendsen and his viewing audience of the evidence against Svendsen's thesis on heõs hou. Of course, David got the boot as we knew he would, but while he was there, he certainly made an impact. Two members of the Fellowship of the Hou, John Pacheco and Jacob Michael, provide this commentary on Svendsen's attempts at obfuscation and diversion. Svendsen's comments are in red (ES). John's comments are in lighter blue (JP). Jake's comments are darker blue (JM).
1) Questioning the Dating of Aseneth
JM: Eric valiantly attempts to deflect the impact of the Joseph and Aseneth (J&A) document on his sham-thesis by casting doubt on the document's date. However, he gives the game away in this quote, when he questions the relevance of J&A to his thesis at all:
ES: "To save time, let's grant ALL your assumptions. The question remains, So what? I asked you in my last post whether you had read the ramifications of all this even if Aseneth were written in 50 AD (no one holds that, of course). Why didn't you address that? That completely short-circuits your objection."
JP: Granting assumptions? I think not. There are no assumptions on our part. There is only the cold hard evidence staring right in your face. And as for Aseneth being written in 50 A.D., we have showed you, time and time again, that most scholars, the majority, and the consensus favour Burchard's (the most pre-eminent authority) dating on the matter which is between 100 B.C and 135 A.D. The mean average here is 18 A.D.
JM: Obviously, Eric is hell-bent on placing J&A outside his arbitrary date-range PRECISELY because there are serious "ramifications," and they amount to a whole lot more than a flippant "so what?" Anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty can see that Eric's pretense of nonchalance here is a facade. In fact, let's let Eric himself tell us what the "ramifications" are:
ES: "...if this usage for the phrase can also be found in literature contemporaneous to Matthew's gospel (i.e., the first century AD), then there can be little objection to seeing this same usage in the passage in question, and Mary's perpetual virginity becomes a strong exegetical option." (WIMM, p.77). (emphasis ours)
JP: We have definitely found many instances of this phrase being used to sustain the continuation of the action in the main clause within Mr. Svendsen's range. Therefore, as Mr. Svendsen has already conceded to us above, it therefore becomes a strong exegetical option. The only thing left for Mr. Svendsen to do NOW is simply admit it - which, of course, he refuses to do. Instead, he resorts to running away from the real issues and playing his comfortable role as thug on his message board whenever somebody presses him on his omissions. The man simply refuses to deal with reality, and acknowledge, LIKE A TRUE SCHOLAR WOULD, the devastation now surrounding his thesis. It's quite sad, actually.
2) Artificial Padding
JM: While putting forth a great show of detachment, Eric again reveals too much of his own hand:
ES: "As I have pointed out in my article, my thesis does not hang on the dating of Aseneth--that happens to be little more than the uninformed polemic of an RC apologist whose deficient understanding about this field of study betrays him."
JM: In reality, according to Eric's own admission (see the quote from WIMM above), the dating of Aseneth is indeed critical to his thesis. No matter how loudly or how often he objects to the contrary, this amateur "scholar" cannot change what he wrote and published for all the world to see. Notice also how he tips his hand regarding the dating of Aseneth: he says it doesn't matter when it was published, since his thesis "does not hang" on the date. Read between the lines: this is an implicit admission that he KNOWS his caterwauling about "lack of consensus" on dating J&A is a ruse. He KNOWS that the majority of scholarly opinion is against him, and the fact that he only JUST started looking into the J&A matter a few weeks ago puts him at a great disadvantage. Make a note of this tactic - the "who cares anyway, this subject isn't relevant" strategy - because he uses it again later.
JP: This particular RC apologist has done significant research into this matter to be very well versed in your thesis, and to completely debunk it on many levels - evidential, methodological, statistical, and grammatical. In any case, nobody buys your chest-thumping dismissal of me. We do not judge someone on their lack of credentials or alleged "deficient understanding", Mr. Svendsen. We judge their work on THE EVIDENCE. That's all that matters. Nobody cares whether you claim to have a doctorate or not. We want to see the goods. And the brutal reality you must face, Mr. Svendsen, is that I delivered and you did not. In the Accounting world, Mr. Svendsen, that's known as the bottom line.
3) Squaring Off Against the Scholars
JM: Now we come to the scholarly opinion on the dating of J&A (the very debating of which proves just how important this subject is to Eric's thesis). Eric maintains that scholarly opinion puts the composition of J&A outside his range, but notice the subtle exaggerations and lack of attention to detail:
ES: "And, once again, a completely irrelevant point. As I already mentioned in my last post, the same 20th-century scholarship to which Palm alludes places Aseneth closer to mid-second century, not first century AD."
JM: For the third time, Eric appeals to the "irrelevancy" of the issue, only further solidifying just how truly crucial this issue is. Now notice the verbal sleight of hand: "closer to mid-second century." That would translate to something like 150 AD. But what do the scholars really say?
1) Burchard: 100BC-117AD (or possibly 135 A.D.). 200 of those years are within Eric's range, leaving him a scant 17 years to which he can desperately cling.
2) Bohak: 100BC-115AD. This time Eric only has 15 years' worth of safety net (and even then, it would be all-too telling if he were to quibble over less than two decades which are on the extreme OUTSIDE of the range).
3) Pardoe: 100BC-135AD. Now we're getting closer to "mid-second century," but barely. And again, the majority here, 200 years (from 100BC-100AD) is against him. Eric grips the outer limit of the date range here for his defense.
4) Goodacre: First to Second Centuries AD. Finally, a scholar Eric can almost safely claim. However, as with the rest, even this scholar's range overlaps Eric's range by half (that's ASSUMING that "First to Second Centuries AD" means a full range of 100BC-199AD, and not 100BC-101AD, or, following the other scholars, 100BC-117AD)
4) Dodge and Dodge Again
The real meat of this J&A issue is the fact that, by all appearances, Eric did not even know that this document existed until a few weeks ago, when Gerry Matatics dropped the bomb on Eric during the Dividing Line program. When squarely faced with this blunder, Eric responds:
ES: "And just why David Palm would expect this document, supposed (at that time) to have been written close to mid-2d cent BC, to be included in a thesis that examined the literature composed between 100 BC and AD 100 is also a mystery. Is this supposed to be a thoughtful critique, Mr. Palm? Seems more like the same smoke and mirror show we've come to expect from your crowd, nothing more."
JM: Talk about "smoke and mirrors!" Eric totally evades the question of whether he knew about this document by appealing again to the dating issue.
JP: Yes, Eric, why don't you fess up that you simply had no idea even of the possibility of J&A being within your range for the simple reason that you didn't know about the text at all? I guess the TLG search on the computer didn't catch that one. Too bad. Then again, do you really think that owning a copy of Logos Bible Software (or similar software program) can make you a scholar overnight? I am afraid that this is really the only conclusion that we can draw. A real scholar would have accounted for the existence of such a common and famous source as J&A, and interacted with it!
5) Can't Beat 'Em? Insult Them!
JM: In addition to tipping his hand via appeals to irrelevancy, Eric then begins a series of ad hominem posts, apparently hoping that the facade of brawn will make up for the facade of brains:
"Mr. Palm, I have now read several of your posts here, and each one is shallower than the previous. Are you going to present a real argument against my thesis, or continue throwing red herrings of supposed possibilities? Still awaiting a response that has substance."
At this point, it is clear that Eric is fully in panic and recover mode. His scholarship is being exposed as sloppy and shoddy right in front of his own home crowd, and he must at least give his cronies the appearance that he is still very much in charge and un-fazed by the evidence. Apparently he thinks that as long as he acts like the arguments lack substance, he can subconsciously convince his audience that the arguments do lack substance.
JP: Eric's response is a sad joke. "Supposed possibilities"? I think not. J&A, the Adam text, 4 Macc 7:3, and Matthew 18:34 are not "supposed possibilities". They are rock solid contradictions to Eric's thesis as he represented it here:
"Unfortunately, Sungenis has demonstrated neither of these points. Sungenis point (1) is a straw man. I have never asserted that heõs always terminates the action of the main verb. Nor have I ever asserted that heõs hou always terminates the action of the main verb. There are a few instances in the LXX where it clearly does not. All I have ever assertedand continue to assertis that heõs hou in all the literature of the two centuries surrounding the birth of Christ, when it means until, always terminates the action of the main clause. That is an irrefutable fact. If Sungenis had read my work he would have known this. If Sungenis has an example contrary to my proposed usage for this era, let him produce ithe cant because it doesnt exist." (http://www.ntrmin.org/sungenis_and_heos_hou.htm) (emphasis mine)
And please remember, dear reader, none of us did a comprehensive investigation into each and every instance Svendsen claimed supported his position. We started out doing so. But then when we found a sufficient number to debunk his thesis, we stopped there since the jig was up. But who knows how many more we could find after a thorough and comprehensive vetting of his work?
JM: Having been confronted once again with the dating of J&A, Eric plays the same losing cards again:
ES: "I personally would cease using that particular argument, since I'm not likely going to convince someone of the point based on a disputed dating. That's what you should do too, Mr. Palm. Hang it up. You're not convincing anyone."
"Try getting the point right, Mr. Palm. Even 20th-cent scholarship places the date outside my range (mid-2d cent AD). I am beginning to think that you are being deliberately deceptive here. Want to push this again?"
JM: Once again we're treated to Eric's artificial reality, with a dose of good-old-fashioned bullying. In Eric-World, the dating is "disputed," and "not convincing anyone," so he insists that his opponent should "hang it up." Trouble is, that J&A document isn't going away, and neither is the scholarly consensus that makes the document so damning. Thus, Eric hopes that he can create an alternate reality by simply repeating the same false statements over and over again, a little louder each time. If that fails, he can accuse his opponents of being "deliberately deceptive" (a rather ironic judgment, given the way he keeps steering the audience away from this question), and try to assert himself a little more with juvenile statements like "want to push this again?" The schoolyard bully in Eric is beginning to show - and it will continue to do so as things heat up.
JP: Yes, Eric, I would like to push it again. Here let me push it out here, front and center for everyone to see:
"It is hard to decode this into dates, but we are probably safe to say that the book was written between 100 b.c. and Hadrians edict against circumcision, which has to do with the Second Jewish War of a.d. 132-135. If Joseph and Aseneth comes from Egypt, the Jewish revolt under Trajan (c. a.d. 115-117) is the latest possible date. It does appear to have originated in Egypt, since Aseneth, and not another woman such as Ruth or Rahab (Josh 2), is the heroine of the story." (Burchard, C. "Joseph and Aseneth." In The Old Testament Pseuepigrapha. Vol. 2, Expansions of the "Old Testament" and Legends, Wisdom and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms, and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works, ed. James H.Charlesworth, pp. 215. New York: Doubleday, 1985)
"Chesnutt's book falls into three parts. The first part (pp. 1-93) consists of a thorough review of all previous scholarship on JA, and a detailed summary of the present state of research. C. notes that there is now a broad consensus on six important points--that the longer recension b (championed by Chr. Burchard) is superior to the other recensions of JA (including the short recension d, championed by M. Philonenko), that JA was originally written in Greek, that it is Jewish in origin, that it probably was written in Egypt, that it was written some time between 100 BCE and 115 CE, and that it is--generically--a Hellenistic novel. This scholarly consensus serves as a basis for C.'s own work, and it is Burchard's preliminary reconstruction of recension b which is used by C. throughout his study (as well as in the present review)." [Gideon Bohak] (ftp://ftp.lehigh.edu/pub/listserv/ioudaios-review/5.1995/chesnutt.bohak.008)
In my seminar paper on Joseph and Aseneth I will discuss the most common issues regarding the book which scholars throughout the centuries have looked at. My starting point will be the views held by twentieth century scholars, as they generally tend to agree regarding the text's date (between 100BC and AD 135), provenace (Egypt, probably Alexandria), and authorship (Jewish, possibly of Essene or Therapeutae origins). [Elaine Pardoe] (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_sd/josasen.html)
"There is no consensus about when Joseph and Aseneth was written. Our first evidence of it is from a Syriac version in the mid sixth century A.D. Battifol, who produced the first critical edition of Joseph and Aseneth, thought that it was a Christian work and dated it in the 4th-5th centuries. Most twentieth century scholarship has tended to treat it as a Jewish work of much earlier origin, probably in the First to Second Centuries A.D. One recent commentator, Gideon Bohak, even dates it in the First Century B.C.. However, Ross Kraemer, in her recent monograph When Aseneth Met Joseph, is inclined to push the dating back towards that postulated by Battifol -- it is a "late antique" work, perhaps even written by Christians. [Mark Goodacre, Univ of Birmingham] (www.bham.ac.uk/theology/g.../intro.htm)
7) Continue Dodging Ad Infinitum
JM: Challenged yet again with the question of whether he even KNEW that J&A existed prior to being schooled in this subject by Gerry Matatics, Eric responds with another non-answer:
ES: "And not citing a document that the majority of 20th cent scholars dates mid-2d cent would be a significant point to make about a study of the literature composed between 100BC and 100 AD because of what particular reason, Mr. Palm?"
JP: Since when is 100 B.C. to 135 A.D. the "mid-2d cent", Eric?
JM: Note the subtle deception in terms: "the majority of 20th cent scholars." The statistics correspond to quite a different reality than the one Eric has created. Regardless, he continues to evade the real issue, and that is that, in his sloppy research, he completely overlooked the existence of J&A and now refuses even to interact with the scholarship arrayed against him.
8) Hunting the Blow-Fish
JM: The blow-fish is not a particularly dangerous sea creature, and thus, to dissuade possible attacks by stronger enemies, it puffs itself up to a size not correspondent to its strength, in the hopes that the false appearance of enormity will scare off opponents. Eric blows hard:
ES: "Is repeated use of this phrase meant to taunt and gloat, Mr. Palm? If so, that's a direct violation of board rules. If I see this phrase one more time, you'll be banned. I won't even give it a second thought. Get it, Mr. Palm? Hope so. My tolerance for your deceptive innuendos is growing extremely thin."
JM: Take notes on this one. He blasts Mr. Palm for "repeated use" of a phrase that he interprets as a "taunt" and a "gloat." He then steps up the bully-talk, in the hopes that this will salvage his appearance as "the man still in charge." The phrase in question was, "Right, Mr. Svendsen?" Eric then goes on to parrot this phrase ("Right, Mr. Palm?") in nearly every subsequent post. Apparently, this means, "I can gloat and taunt, but you can't, or I'll kick you off my playground." Keep in mind this is a New Testament "scholar" we're dealing with.
JP: Eric is getting really upset. Now, it's all coming out. Before it was silly jousting, but now? Now we have the EVIDENCE to show that he really doesn't have a doctorate at all. One needs a valid thesis to have a valid doctorate. No thesis? No doctorate. That's how it works. I daresay that not too many people reading this whole fiasco with his thesis will consider him a "doctor" any more - if they ever did. Well, O.K., that's not entirely true, of course. He could be a doctor on General Hospital and there's always his "discussion" board, but neither of these venues are pertinent to apologetics, are they?
9) Badges in Place of Brains
JM: When challenged on the arbitrariness of his artificial date range, Eric appeals to his various academic accomplishments to settle the dispute. In other words, "don't challenge me, you're not educated enough." Watch carefully:
ES: "And you base this on what? You and your opinion, based on your years of exegeticval [sic] work on a doctoral level? Have you ever submitted a doctoral-level thesis to a committee of scholars for review, Mr. Palm? What, pray tell, qualifies you to decide that the date range is artificial and methodologically indefensible? Wouldn't that have been pointed out by the committee of non-Evangelical scholars that examoned [sic] my work? Wouldn't it have given pause to the community of scholars that commended my work? Do you realize that the methodology you think is indefensible is, in fact, the same methodology that leads J. A. Fiztmyer, John McKenzie and J.P. Meier--heavyweight RC scholars all, and your theological and exegetical betters all--to reject the idea that adelphos can mean "close relative" in the New Testament? The same methodology, Mr. Palm. All you are doing in this exchange is proving just how incompetent you really are to speak of exegetical methodology.
Right, Mr. Palm?"
JM: A little ad hominem ("just how incompetent you really are"), a little dodging of the question (appealing to academic experience rather than interacting with the question), and the problem is solved. Note the increased numbers of typos, signifying a loss of composure. By the way, can you imagine a true scholar, like D.A. Carson (Eric's mentor, just ask him), using a sentence like, "this exchange only proves just how incompetent you really are?"
JP: Mr. Svendsen, why don't you supply us the names and e-mail addresses of all of the scholars who endorsed your work on heõs hou? We'll take it from there. As for your question: "Have you ever submitted a doctoral-level thesis to a committee of scholars for review, Mr. Palm?" Mr. Svendsen, I hate to break this to you BUT...you haven't submitted such a thesis, either.
10) Arbitrary is In
JM: Challenged again on why he chose the date range of 100BC-100AD (Christ's birth) as opposed to a range surrounding the actual writing of St. Matthew's Gospel, Eric retorts:
ES: "Because later usage is irrelevant to the point, but earlier use shows us the etymological changes that led to the current usage. I could have stuck to the NT period itself and that would have been completely acceptable to the issue of usage, but I wanted to note the kinds of changes in the phrase that led up to its usage in Matthew's day. All subsequent usage is, of course, completely anachronistic to first-century usage and is therefore irrelevant. How is it you don't know this, Mr. Palm?"
JM: As John Pacheco already pointed out, however, if "later usage is irrelevant," then Eric's range should not include the decades following Matthew's Gospel, from about 50 AD onward. The real benefit to cutting off the range at 100 A.D. is that Eric knows the data shows a curious thing: heõs hou apparently recovered one of its possible meanings, a meaning which became common again. No matter, though, as has been shown in other articles, there are other documents that fit right in Eric's range that refute his thesis. The parting shot ("how is it you don't know this, Mr. Palm?") is nothing more than yet another childish ad hominem, thus proving two things: 1) like all cornered animals, Eric can only lash out at this point, and 2) he needs to grow up and conduct himself like a scholar if he wants people to think of him as such...
JP: Above Svendsen says: "All subsequent usage is, of course, completely anachronistic to first-century usage and is therefore irrelevant." Let me fill you in on the REAL question, Mr. Svendsen. The real question is this: Is post first-century usage anachronistic to the linguistic range of Koine Greek around 50 A.D.? Language does not change demonstrably from 100 A.D. (your outer range) to 117 A.D. (Burchard's closer outer range). We have examples of the continuation usage from the Septuagint outer date (285 B.C.) all the way through to the Acts of Thomas (225 A.D.) and beyond. End of story. Your thesis has been thoroughly discredited.
11) Dance, Doctor, Dance
JM: Yet one more time Eric is challenged to either confirm or deny whether he "failed to notice" the existence of J&A, and, true to form, he dances around the subject without answering the charge:
ES: "How many times must I explain this to you, Mr. Palm? The scholarship to which you refer DOES NOT place Aseneth in my time frame; it places it in the late 130's, almost half a century outside my time frame. If you want to take issue with that then take it up with TLG."
JM: Of course, this last sentence gives us all the proof we need. It appears as though Eric's "research" was limited to TLG, much like his "research" on the scholarly backgrounds of the participants in the "Scholar's Survey," as well as his impromptu "research" into the dating of J&A were based solely on Google searches.
And this man has the audacity to complain about e-pologists who "pick up a keyboard and an AOL account" and think they're qualified to do apologetics? Does the word "hypocrisy" mean anything to you?
Lest you should forget the point of this entry: Eric failed, once again, to answer the charge at hand. His silence only serves to confirm our suspicion: J&A wasn't even a blip on his radar screen when he did his "scholarly research" that earned him his now-questionable "doctorate." It cannot be stressed enough: if the man can't even be thorough enough in his research to locate, much less interact with, a document of such importance, what good is his work? Further, if that man, when confronted with the evidence of his oversight, cannot bring himself to admit his mistake and move on, what good is his testimony?
Indeed, how many OTHER mistakes has he made in other areas of his anti-Catholic polemic that he KNOWS were mistakes, but will simply NOT admit to, because of pride?
"Pride goeth before the fall," says Sacred Scripture. Turns out it was right, because Eric has fallen, even if, while lying on the ground, he protests that he's still standing.
12) Turnabout and Foul Play
JM: Given that Eric refused to honestly answer the charge of his ignorance viz. the J&A text, he was given a chance to explain why his sole interaction with the document has consisted of nothing more than a blanket dismissal of the evidence, under the banner of "dubious dating." He limps back with:
ES: "I don't; I simply think it unwise for your side to use a document of dubious dating as a "WE-HAVE-TO-HAVE-THIS-AT-ANY-COST" whipping boy."
JP: Funny, I was thinking the same thing about your doctorate, Eric.
JM: Really, these tactics are more befitting the gulag than a New Testament "scholar." The poor man insists on simply repeating the same phrases, hoping against hope that by sheer repetition he can convince his audience (and himself, no doubt) that he is right. "Our side" does not treat this document as something that we must have "at all costs." Eric conveniently paints the picture as though J&A was the lone document on our side, when in fact we have several (J&A, the Apocalypse of Moses, 4 Maccabees, etc.).
But the painful fact is, we DO have J&A on our side, and the majority consensus of the scholars is that this document is well within Eric's artificial date range. However, being a fortress of impregnable pride, he refuses to admit this. To watch him go into virtual melt-down with the repeated refrain, "the dating is dubious, the dating is dubious, the dating is dubious," is embarrassing. You almost have to feel bad for the guy, if he weren't so caustic in his indefensible obstinance.
13) The Devil is in the Details
JM: After temporarily dropping the J&A issue, since Eric could not seem to comprehend that this was not our sole piece of damning evidence, our side advanced the text from The Apocalypse of Moses. Here we find another example where the usage of heõs hou runs contrary to Eric's thesis, and this example is all the more salient because - unlike his ignorance of J&A - he not only knew of The Apocalypse of Moses, he cited it in his thesis! However, he interpreted it wrongly. When showed how heõs hou was used in a "continuation" sense here rather than a "termination" sense, Eric responded with more chest-thumping and evidence of sloppy reading:
ES: "Patently false. Your suggestion is ridiculous. The immediate context implies no such thing, and the broader context implies no such thing either. It is rather assumed that Adam's body would be buried--hence "touched"--after the fact. In fact, we are specifically told that he was buried in the second passage from AoM that I cite in my book."
"Nice try, Mr. Palm. Better try again, though Perhaps if you had exercised a little less sloppiness and carelessness, and a little more diligence in your exegesis years ago, you could have avoided apostatizing to a theological position that now requires you desperately to defend exegetically untenable "hack and paste" dogmas."
JM: As John Pacheco has pointed out, Eric is correct: Adam was buried. But in this case, the Devil is in the details (something Eric doesn't appear to excel with), since Adam was buried by the angels, not by men. It was the men who were told not to touch him "until," and they never do touch him after the "until." Small detail, but absolutely LETHAL to Eric's work, and he is well aware of this, just as he is well aware of the relevance of other charges laid against him, but which he chooses to ignore.
What makes his attitude all the more reprehensible is the way he lashes out in the process of violating his own integrity: again, try to imagine a real NT scholar saying things like "your apostate theological position requires you desperately to defend exegetically untenable 'hack and paste' dogmas." All of this cat-calling only tells us one thing: Eric knows he has barely a shred of credibility left. And in most cases like this, the exposed fraud usually has no other recourse than to vent his rage on those who did the exposing.
JP: Let the reader note the following very well. Svendsen does not challenge the J&A continuation usage because his "best" out is to laughingly stick to the dating game. In the case of The Apocalypse of Moses, he doesn't have the luxury of dismissing it in terms of dates simply because he cites the passage in his book! Hence, that avenue is not an option for him. What's left? Well, he will claim that there is no continuation implied in the text, of course. But the fact is that Eric blundered very, very badly here AND HE KNOWS IT. How can you know he blundered it? Well, does he even *try* to engage the passage at all. Of course not. Because he would be sunk if he did. If you pay close attention, he did challenge one of our pieces, Matthew 18:34, and that is ONLY because he thought he had a good chance at refuting it. (Of course, his explanation, while a good one, still leaves his thesis hanging out to dry. David Palm will be expanding on this in his last post on these events). Suffice it to say, dear reader, Mr. Svendsen DID NOT engage in our critiques of J&A, The Apocalypse of Moses, or 4 Macc. 7:3 at all. The most he did, in the case of the last one, is simply cut and paste from his book. That really says it all, doesn't it?
14) One Sick Gloat
JM: Recall that earlier in this exchange, Eric castigated David Palm for what he viewed as "taunting" and "gloating," merely because Mr. Palm continued to press Eric's ignorance of J&A, followed by the question, "Right, Mr. Svendsen?" Always the fair and honest follower of the Golden Rule, Eric treats us to this stream of bile:
ES: "Try to think through your argument before posting it, Mr. Palm. Whether the torture ceases or doesn't cease is completely irrelevant to the meaning of heõs hou in this passage. If it ceases, then the action of the main verb also ceases once the until is reached. If it doesn't cease, that is only because the until is never reached. In no instance does the action continue after the until is reached--which is the meaning required for your view. Is this really all you have? That's it? Please tell me you have something more, Mr. Palm--some staggering display of exegetical prowess on your part that dismantles my thesis. Please tell us you have more than this."
JM: If that's not "taunting" or "gloating," then I don't know what is. Unfortunately, Eric runs the discussion forum, so he can violate his own rules repeatedly, with no risk of repercussion. He is accountable to no one, and it appears this has gotten to his head and started to rot his conscience, as we have now seen several examples where is he demonstrates a lack of both Charity and Humility.
How very fitting it is that the issue under debate here is the Perpetual Virginity of a woman who possessed the very perfection of humility, and was accordingly rewarded with the highest honors. In contrast, the man who insists on attacking Our Lady shows himself to be the very antithesis of her character: he is proud, arrogant, rude, boastful, and - as of late - now totally discredited. That's what you get for defaming the Queen Mother, the woman chosen by Almighty God to bear the Savior of the World.
JP: As I stated before, Svendsen does finally start to engage us on Matt. 18:34. He even puts forth a very good defense of his position. Bravo, Mr. Svendsen! That's what I want to hear! The problem is that your explanation still does not save your thesis. And David Palm will explain why.
15) Accusing the Mirror
JM: In one of the more humorous posts, Eric serves as his own prosecutor, leveling the very charges against others that, as we are clearly showing here, are the charges of which he himself is guilty. I give you Eric the Prosecutor, bringing charges against Eric the Defendant:
ES: "Much has been said by the RC side regarding their need desperately to clutch onto just any example of heõs hou--doesn't matter to them what time frame it is--that will save them from a glaring exegetical dilemma. It is obvious that what they are doing is attempting to pry open any escape hatch imaginable so that they don't have to live with the horrible ramifications of heõs hou. Who could blame them?"
JM: In addition to lacking Humility and Charity, apparently Eric has no sense of irony, either.
JP: "The horrible ramifications of heõs hou"? Are you kidding, Eric? Heõs hou is going to be my signature card in apologetics. It seems that I'm quite the star, now. Everywhere I go, people stop to congratulate me. At the grocery store, at the shopping mall, on the street, at the gas station. I've started to develop writer's cramp because of all of the autographs I've been signing on your book cover. Just this past weekend, I had to fork over a few bucks to hire some security guards. The chicks are just all over me. And with my good looks and sex appeal, it's becoming a real problem for me.
16) I Can't Bear this Burden Alone
JM: Having been blindsided by the onslaught of evidence presented, and that, in front of his own home crowd, Eric eventually resorted to a tactic I've seen him use many times before: first, diversion, and then if that doesn't work, forced diversion. He must, at all costs, halt the interrogation that is painting him into an ever-shrinking corner, so he attempts a redirect. In this case, he challenged Mr. Palm's credentials (where have we seen this before?) as an NT exegete, by means of posting a home-made quiz which he insisted be taken by Mr. Palm. The quiz featured such loaded questions as:
ES: "(3) Using methodologies from NT exegesis only, can you explain what you think the difference is between adopting a position that is "highly likely" based on the exegetical evidence, one that is "probable" based on that same evidence, one that is "possible," and one that is "unlikely"? Further, can you explain what the acceptable criteria would be for distinguishing these categories?"
JM: Now, of course, this is a trap. Exactly who did Eric expect us to believe was going to grade this quiz? And given the way in which he had conducted himself thus far, was there any sense in expecting a fair trial? Of course not. Mr. Palm wisely ignored this attempted diversion and shifting of the burden of proof.
Even this, however, is only one more confirmation for us that Eric knows he has been discredited. Why else would he bring the discussion to a grinding halt so that he could switch subjects and submit Mr. Palm to a tendentious and one-sided "quiz?"
JP: The purpose of this inquiry, Mr. Svendsen, is NOT to watch David pick you apart with his superior grasp of exegesis. David's inquiry has to to with your thesis on heõs hou, and your irrational defense of it in light of THE EVIDENCE. But if you are really interested in the above categories, here is one for you: the credibility of your doctorate just went from "highly improbable" to "virtually impossible" in a very short time.
17) I'm Bigger, So I Win
JM: At long last, Eric was challenged with yet another piece of relevant data that would prove his thesis to be defective: a passage from the book of 4 Maccabees. This was entirely critical, because, unlike the J&A text, this document is undeniably dated in the 60BC-70AD range (and that's an extremely liberal admission of range), which provides us with yet another strong usage of continuation.
Lest the true impact of this passage go unnoticed, it was Eric's own thesis that showed us the flaw: he incorrectly assumed (without checking) that 4 Macc. was, like the rest of the LXX, dated pre-100BC. His slip-shod scholarship came to the fore again, and was now about to bite him in the back. So what does this "scholar" do?
ES:"I am prohibiting you from posting anything new until you answer my quiz."
JM: That's right. In the face of ever-mounting evidence, Eric did the truly "scholarly" thing and simply fell back on his prerogatives as the forum administrator. He issued an ultimatum: either let me divert the discussion, or you can't play on my playground anymore.
This is absolutely the height of juvenile stupidity. However, as anyone who has spent time at Eric's board before can tell you, this is - unfortunately - par for the course when dealing with this particular "scholar." As board administrator, he can, technically, play by a vicious double-standard and get away with it. He can ignore your pertinent and legitimate charges, make them irrelevant by merely declaring them so, force the discussion to go the direction he wants it to go, and insist that you let him shift the burden of proof, or risk being booted from the forum.
Thankfully, we are not bound by Eric's arbitrary rules out here in the rest of cyberspace, and so we are free to sit here for as long as we deem necessary and continue exposing his utterly reprehensible behavior until he either a) interacts with our evidence in a respectable manner, or b) admits he was and is wrong.
JP: You know, Jake, I am glad you brought that up. I'd like to chip in my two cents worth here. Mr. Svendsen thinks that by prohibiting people from posting on his board, the visitors to his board won't be able to read our responses because he doesn't want to give us "publicity". But this is useless as he well should know. Even the drones on his board come over to my site frequently to find out how we will answer. It is so petty and juvenile, after all. Eric, I got news for you. You don't control the internet, and your efforts at damage control don't work. People want to hear the truth - even the drones on your message board. Further, even the very few non-drones who do post to your site can type in "Pacheco" or "Sungenis" in Google and find our sites. Grow up and move on to the 1st grade.
18) Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving Along
JM: Having effectively shut down the opposition (not by any scholarly argument, mind you, but by raw appeal to his power as forum administrator), Eric then went on to briskly hustle his audience past the wreckage left behind (keep in mind that Eric did NOT allow Mr. Palm to post links to the web sites containing the new Maccabeean evidence):
ES: "Just in case the reader is wondering, there is no "significant new evidence" about heõs hou vis-a-vis 4 Macc 7. Palm announces this as though this is a passage I missed. 4 Macc 7:3 is included in my book."
JM: Aldous Huxley and George Orwell couldn't have painted a better scenario. First Eric simply shuts down his opposition by means of an ultimatum (change the subject until I say it's ok to go back to this topic, or get booted), then he simply repeats to his drones: there is no significant new evidence, there is no significant new evidence, there is no significant new evidence.
Notice how he appeals to the fact that "4 Macc 7:3 is included in my book." What Eric doesn't realize - or does realize, but, as usual, simply will NOT admit - is that it is PRECISELY the fact that he covered this passage in his book, but FAILED to correctly date the document, that makes this evidence so damning. Not only does it further expose his thoroughly incomplete and sloppy research, but it also serves as yet ONE MORE example of a document that fits in his date range, the existence of which - by HIS OWN ADMISSION - makes the Perpetual Virginity of Mary in Matt. 1:25 a "strong exegetical option."
Eric's behavior is even more deplorable when it is considered that, more than likely, his drones will take his word for it and will never bother to read the evidence we've presented. If he says there is nothing new worth looking at, if he says our evidence isn't worth considering, if he says our arguments are irrelevant, chances are his adoring audience will believe it. This is why he spent so much time in these posts doing nothing more than bullying, inflating himself like a blow-fish, and repeating the same phrases and falsities over and over and over again. He knows his drones worship the water he walks on, and thus, they will sink with him, because they trusted him implicitly.
But should they trust him? Is Eric trust-worthy? Is his character one that is marked by honesty and integrity? Read on.
JP: Very nice, Jake! But before you continue, a slight addendum to one of your comments above:
"What Eric doesn't realize - or does realize, but, as usual, simply will NOT admit - is that it is PRECISELY the fact that he covered this passage in his book, but FAILED to correctly date the document [OR PROPERLY CLASSIFY THE Heõs Hou TEXT AS AN INSTANCE OF CONTINUATION], that makes this evidence so damning."
19) As Close to Victory as Possible
JM: Having no doubt sensed that his last-ditch appeal to his authority as the forum administrator had effectively brought the discussion to an end, Eric committed one final blunder. Perhaps he hoped, by this last parting shot, to create the subconscious effect - the illusion, if you will - of an impregnable fortress surrounding his Marian heresies, thereby salvaging (at least, in front of his drones) whatever was left of his credibility. But read closely:
ES: "Once you're finished wrangling about disputed dates and ambiguous meanings, do you then have plans to move on to address adelphos, the status of Mary in the NT, the rebukes of Mary by Jesus, the identity of the woman in Rev 12, etc., all of which are even more integral to my thesis than heõs hou? Or are you planning to continue focusing on an issue that is comparatively minor? I guess that helps you to take your mind off the other issues I addressed in my book.
Right, Mr. Palm?"
JM: We only need note in passing the inexcusable final sentence, "Right, Mr. Palm?" After all, it was Eric who declared this kind of talk to be "gloating" and "taunting," worthy of swift punishment. The word for this is hypocrisy. The rules apply to you, but not to me, because I can abuse my authority.
But read what he wrote: he admits that his heõs hou thesis is less "integral" to his overall thesis, that it is a "comparatively minor" issue. In other words, just as he tried to do with J&A by claiming that it was irrelevant, so also here he implicitly concedes defeat. To paraphrase, "so what if you've proved that my heõs hou thesis is a sham, because it wasn't really integral to my overall thesis anyway."
This is as close to an admission of defeat as we can expect from the likes of Eric. His character is such that we cannot hope for anything more honest. So we'll accept this for what it is: a white flag, albeit waved in an embarrassingly and almost comically defiant manner.
JP: Get a load of this comment by Eric: "...all of which are even more integral to my thesis than heõs hou? Or are you planning to continue focusing on an issue that is comparatively minor?" Oh? It's a "relatively minor" issue NOW, is it? No, no, no. That's not how it works, Eric. That's kinda like the caption I saw on CNN's website the other day: "Saddam to U.S. troops: 'I want to negotiate.'" Negotiate?
Aren't you the same guy who had vaulted yourself into Greek Grammarian stardom? You know - "Svendsen's Rule" and all? Don't you remember? Here, let me remind you:
"I have no idea why Pacheco included this quote, since if it destroys the basis for my rule then it also destroys the basis for all rules of Greek grammar." (emphasis mine) [http://www.ntrmin.org/sungenis_and_heos_hou_3.htm]
I don't think you should be allowed to vault yourself into time immemorial, then, when you've been stripped of your glory, be permitted to distance yourself from YOUR rule when the jig is up. That move is akin to Saddam Hussein's pleas when caught by the U.S. Army: "I am President Saddam Hussein. I want to negotiate." Huh? Negotiate?
20) An Honest Man?
JM: There is one last consideration that we must make. Throughout all of this we have seen that Eric consistently behaves in a manner that makes his work extremely suspect. He refuses to admit glaring mistakes, sloppy oversights, and obvious inconsistencies. He continues to repeat, ever-louder, statements that have been demonstrated to be false.
But more than this, we have observed a tendency in Eric to engage in outright dishonesty.
For example, we KNOW that he simply overlooked the J&A text. He had never even heard of it before Gerry Matatics introduced it to him. Consider this statement:
ES: "The scholarship to which you refer DOES NOT place Aseneth in my time frame; it places it in the late 130's, almost half a century outside my time frame. If you want to take issue with that then take it up with TLG."
JM: Here he admits that he relied solely on TLG for his research, and apparently TLG did not include the J&A text. After the radio debate with James White against Gerry Matatics, Eric emailed James:
"You'll love this. The quote Matatics provided (and Sungenis has foolishly championed) turns out to be of extremely dubious dating, and is thought by some to be a 4th-5th cent. document."
The way he begins this statement ("You'll love this") and later uses the phrase "turns out to be" PROVES that neither he nor James White had any clue about the existence of this document. Consider further, when Eric provided James with evidence of the "dubious dating" of J&A, all of his sources were from the Internet. That is, of the five sources he quoted for James White, every one of them referred back to a URL, which means one thing: he used a research method that he regularly castigates others for relying on, namely, the Google search engine.
Further, when Mr. Palm challenged Eric to admit his oversight, one of Eric's drones stuck his neck out and spoke for Eric:
"You have been answered in this. And you are wrong. Now cease the smear campaign."
JM: Did Eric step up, as Christian honesty binds him to do, and correct the zealous error of his faithful drone? No. He let the comment stand, with no further comment, thus by his silence deceiving the people and allowing them to go on thinking Mr. Palm was merely out to "smear" Eric's reputation. That's two sins: lying and slandering Mr. Palm.
Now, we realize that Eric's dishonesty in these matters does not affect the substance of his arguments. Even Judas the Traitor preached the Gospel on behalf of Christ for a time (not that Eric preaches the Gospel, but nonetheless, we recognize that a man's conduct does not affect the objective truth or error of his beliefs - in this case, Eric's beliefs are discredited by their own inherent deficiency). But what this does suggest to us is that Eric is not a trustworthy source, nor is he a credit to his fellow Evangelical apologists. We would hope that he would do the right thing and step down from his self-awarded position as a spokesman for the Protestant position, and at the very least, we would hope that his associates would recognize the danger of associating with NTRMin and begin to distance themselves from Eric's discredited ministry. At the absolute minimum, we hope that his own drones will think twice the next time they put stock in the things he says.
JP: Quite right, Jake, quite right. And speaking of the drones, I'd like to make a few comments about them. Although we have stripped Eric Svendsen of any remaining shred of credibility, I want the drones on his message board to know something. I do not have contempt for their views on Mary's perpetual virginity, much as I happen disagree with them on this issue. Unless enlightened by the Church's Tradition, there are obviously Scriptural reasons why they might think Our Lady had other children. I understand and appreciate this. But what I do have contempt for is a sham-thesis. If you want to align yourselves with Eric Svendsen and his thesis on heõs hou, the only thing you will succeed in doing is showing how desperate you really are. And no informed Catholic (or even objective reader) will consider you a sincere inquirer of the truth. And, like Eric Svendsen, you will not have a scintilla of credibility left.
One more thing. Two of these drones have been casting aspersions on my integrity by stating that I intentionally omitted one particular scholar's contribution to my "scholar survey". One of them wrote, "because this Greek scholar agreed with Eric's [position on heõs hou] regarding its usage, Pacheco didn't include him in his 'list of scholars'". I specifically said (in point #10 on "Eric's Top 10 Errors" page) that NO consulted scholar or other source (other than Svendsen's book endorsers) gave the least bit of support to his thesis. Not one. Now it turns out that these drones have been going on and on about how great this particular scholar is. And guess what? I agree! Based on the comments that these drones have shared on the message board, they are just giddy with euphoria that this particular scholar was not included in my scholar survey. Why this is, I do not know. It takes a pretty big leap of logic to ASSUME that my omission means that this particular scholar supports Eric's thesis. And, I really cannot divulge why I cannot refer to him in my paper. I will say this, however. These drones are way off the mark on their presumptions. Much as I would like to, I cannot explain the situation any further. You'll just have to trust me on that one. Alternatively, if you have some actual comments from ANY independent source including the aforementioned one, then supply it. Otherwise, desist. It's really that simple.
Regarding 4 Macc 7:3
since it doesn't make the point you need it to make. If the
passage is irrelevant because of its ambiguous meaning, how much
less relevant is the date? Yes, indeed, once again we are treated
to a magnificent display of Palmerian "fresh evidence"
JP: Eric, don't get so excited. David simply asked you to INTERACT with our critique of your coverage of 4 Macc 7:3. Why don't you do it? Here's a clue, kiddies: he can't. He's finished. And he knows it. The fact is the passage is hardly ambiguous. It's crystal clear for anyone who has but a hair of honesty and integrity. You've got it all wrong, Eric, we HAVE PUT UP our objections. Now it's time for YOU to take your own challenge above.
ES: Just because you have imagined a mistake doesn't mean there is one, Mr. Palm. Just because you have asserted dazzling "fresh evidence" doesn't mean there is such a thing. We have already demonstrated--over and over again in this forum--that there is no mistake.
JP: You have? Where? When? You have not answered our CRITIQUE of your "analysis" of 4 Macc 7:3. Your analysis was an exercise in pure gratuity, being slanted against the apparent and obvious meaning of the passage.
ES: We have given you ample opportunity to explain your position and you can't seem to do it. I personally have given you ample opportunity to prove you really do understand NT exegesis, and so far you have chosen to ignore it. I certainly understand why. It's much easier to level empty assertions about "mistakes" in methodology than it is to demonstrate that you even understand what NT exegetical methodology is, right Mr. Palm? You are obviously quite adept at the former--and equally inept at the latter. But we both know the truth, don't we Mr. Palm?
JP: Eric's methodology - if you want to call it that - was so flawed that even dud bullets could take it down.
ES: You're angry because you just can't seem to "win your argument," aren't you, Mr. Palm? Here's another truth we both know: You really do not know what you are talking about, right Mr. Palm? You really are incompetent in this area of study, aren't you Mr. Palm? One who touts the virtues of "admitting mistakes" should really practice a little self-introspection on this issue, don't you agree?
JP: That's right, Eric. Do what you always do. Divert and re-direct. It's about the evidence, Eric. T-H-E E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E. Jake nailed your diversion tactic with a cheeky little line that about says it all: "Just move on, folks, nothing to see here. Move on."
When David Palm was starting to hit the right buttons and get down to the business of exposing Eric Svendsen, Mr. Svendsen did what he always does - give us a flash of his bouncer days by engaging in cyber-thuggery. Here is David's question which got him booted from the board: "When did you first know about the existence of heõs hou in Joseph and Aseneth? When did you first learn that 4 Maccabees was written within your thesis range?" To which Svendsen replied:
ES: That's all, folks. I looked past David Palm's expressly stated anti-evangelical reasons for coming to this forum (a violation of the forum rules right off the bat).
JP: I told David Palm that he would get booted within 2 days. While I was off a bit on the number, I was nevertheless right on the outcome. David Palm came on your site to find out how you interacted with THE EVIDENCE arrayed against your thesis on heõs hou. Don't trump up the charges by calling David an "anti-Evangelical". What a silly joke. There was not a smidgeon of "anti-Evangelicalism" during David's very brief sojourn in your hole of a board. He was there to press you on a technical question only. Anyone who says differently is delusional. Mr. Svendsen, if you are going to take a public position on heõs hou, then be prepared to defend it. We're not interested in your little dances and chest-thumping acrobatics on other matters. Just answer the challenges. That's all.
ES: I overlooked his insults and goading (another violation of forum rules).
JP: Don't be ridiculous. David did not insult you in the slightest, and his goading was very mild in comparison to your screeds. Mind you, you're getting a little bit of your own medicine in this little rebuttal.
ES: I overlooked his posting of third-party anti-evangelical links.
JP: You mean www.catholic-legate.com and www.catholicintl.com? You mean these links? The ones that actually discredited your thesis? And the ones that you censored from your drones? The same drones that visit my site regularly? Hey, Eric, I have some news for you. My site traffic has been going through the proverbial roof since November 18 with your appearance with Gerry on The Dividing Line.
ES: I extended to him opportunity after opportunity to answer my competency quiz, and to put an end once and for all to any question about his competency in this field of study. He has refused time after time. I have even directly warned him at least twice not to post anything else until he answers them. He has ignored those warnings.
JP: Oh Eric, you're so strong and muscular! It takes a real man to boot people off when the heat is on. Of course, people see such conduct as VERY masculine and mature, and not cowardly and desperate at all.
ES: I have openly answered every question he has posed, and have shown them to be completely irrelevant to the issue; and he has been unable to answer any of mine. He came to this forum thinking he was going to make brilliant points, and they all backfired on him.
JP: He did make brilliant points, Eric. Thank you for describing them as such. And none of them backfired on David. For the simple reason that you failed to interact with most of them. Why is that?
ES: Most embarrassing of all, judging from the links and arguments he has posted, he is now apparently little more than John Pacheco's puppet and errand boy. I have no more patience with him, so he is officially banned from this forum.
JP: Well, there you have it, folks. If there was ever a concession of defeat from Svendsen, that's as close as you're going to get. Mr. Svendsen, you will forever be remembered for your grammatical rule on heõs hou. We've termed it "Svendsen's rule". You won't mind, of course, that it's the exact opposite of what you were hoping for.
Jacob Michael & John Pacheco
Two members of The Fellowship of the Hou
December 19, 2003