Friday, April 27, 2012

Accused of slander for criticizing the "Jesus Discovery" claims

I was disappointed to see Nicole Austin, Associate Producer on The Resurrection Tomb Mystery documentary (The Jesus Discovery in Canada), characterizing this blog as engaging in slander.  In a comment on Robert Cargill's blog today, she responded to Paul Regnier who  had asked her a question about the scholars working on the project.  She wrote:
You are repeating the same slander which has dominated the Cargill/West/Goodacre blogs and has kept the majority of true scholars away from this discussion. 
Nicole, who works for Associated Producers Ltd., goes on to make other rude remarks, mentioning me by name again, but it is the accusation of slander that I find especially disappointing.  The others mentioned in this comment can of course answer for themselves, but I would say that I have always attempted, both in relation to the recent project and the one from 2007, to be fair and accurate, to state any objections in a calm and reasonable way, basing them solely on the evidence presented. If this kind of honest, rigorous critical analysis is characterized as slander, then it is clearly impossible to have a serious discussion about the claims made in the Simcha Jacobovici and James Tabor's project.

26 comments:

Daniel Graves said...

Complete and utter nonsense. I have always appreciated your high standards, Mark, with respect both to scholarship and decency. You can hold your head high. Accusations of slander are the last recourse of a lost cause.

Fr. Dan Graves

steph said...

Slander???? You????? Extraordinary. What a slanderous accusation. It rings of hypocrisy. Irony. What are her qualifications by the way? What is her area of expertise (apart from publishing rudeness and slander)? Is she aware that around the world critical scholarship is grateful to you and Bob for your honest and critical assessment of the "Jesus Discovery" claims? Not all those qualified to do so, are able to devote so much time to it and both you and Bob have made many sacrifices to make scholarship honest and bring us the truth. Your contributions to knowledge and truth has been vitally important. Thank you.

Justin J. Meggitt said...

I've always been grateful for your lucid and fair remarks Mark - on this and in all aspects of your work. It is absurd to call your criticisms 'slander'. This really is very disappointing. I hope it wont stop you from continuing your important, public engagement with such material.

Ken Schenck said...

Good scholarship is no respecter of media moguls.

David Mackinder said...

Even while rebutting the charge of slander, you remain eirenical and courteous. Would that we could all be so gracious towards those who vilify us.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, everyone, for your encouraging comments.

RobertW said...

Mark, Thanks for encouraging scholars to enter the debate and expose bad scholarship.

Please keep it up for all of us must rely on the scholarship of others to get to the truth of things.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Robert. It is demoralizing to hear charges like this, so all the more encouraging to receive the positive feedback.

Joe Weaks said...

I remain immensely grateful for the time and expertise you and Bob have put into engaging the scholarship behind the claims of the "Jesus Discovery" group. Your evaluations have been nothing but reasoned and scholarly, and the characterization of your work as something less says much more about the accuser.

Aletheia said...

Thank you very much for your expertise. Don't give up, Mark.

Deane said...

This is complete nonsense from Nicole. In the first place, your blog posts provide fair academic critique of the serious flaws of the arguments from the Jesus Discovery people; they make no comment on the persons who make those arguments. Second, "slander" must be spoken, not written. The term "libel" may apply to written material.

Evidently, Nicole is playing fast and loose with language. Moreover, by falsely accusing you of "slander", the irony is that what she wrote is potentially libelous. You have every right to object, and Nicole has none.

Geoff Hudson said...

Good scholarship is no respecter of bad scholarship either, never mind about 'media moguls'. What is being spoken about is obviously gimmicky, conning, downright bad. Mark has been very kind.

Paul Regnier said...

Hi Dr Goodacre,

I'm sorry that some of the venom in Nicole's response to my question was directed your way. My hope is that most of the people who read Nicole's comments are well-enough informed that they will simply treat her accusations with the contempt they deserve.

I do hope that you will continue to engage with the work of Simcha et al. We, the interested non-academics, can only respond to Simcha's extravagant claims in an informed way by considering the patient scrutiny of his evidence carried out by independent experts. It might seem like a thankless task, but if the academics stop doing their bit then the rest of us are left to the sharks!

Thanks for your efforts and keep it up.

Paul Regnier

Geoff Hudson said...

"then the rest of us are left to the sharks!"

Sharks are obviously recognised. So I have to wonder if Mark's comments are more a frustration with the kind of environment he finds himself in.

Al Schlaf said...

Evidently, Nicole is playing fast and loose with language.

But isn't that par for the course for nearly everyone associated with that ridiculous program?

Antonio Lombatti said...

Keep up the good work, Mark!

Stephen Goranson said...

NT Blog, among those that I have read, is surely one of the most fair, reliable, informative, civil, and courteous. Good work, well done, Mark.

helenmarplehorvat said...

Thank you for engaging with the documentary.

Mark Goodacre said...

From Richard Bauckham (who had trouble posting):

Mark, the accusation of slander is ridiculous. Your sharp and informed critique is always properly scholarly and much needed in this case.

mh1291 said...

I cannot speak for Dr. Tabor, but I think he'd even disagree with her comments. Your back and forth comments with Dr. Tabor are more civil than some of the other blog sites.

Rick Sumner said...

That's ridiculous. You were polite and critical in your comments. If anything you were considerate to a fault.

Rick Sumner said...

That's ridiculous. You were polite and critical in your comments. If anything you were considerate to a fault.

Anonymous said...

While slander was a poor word choice because it has legal implications that aren't present here, Nicole is absolutely spot on in the tone of her comments about your sniggering girlfriends' club.

From the start, you, Cargill and Verenna have questioned the integrity not only of the specific claims but of the journalistic process. The thrust of the argument from the beginning has been that proponents of the fish theory are only doding so because they are paid and because they are trying to make money off an outlandish theory, abetted by a credulous media.

Which shows you are sadly lacking in any knowledge about how journalism works.

Obviously, Cargill and the others are far worse in tone than you, Mark, but you approvingly link to and comment on practically every thread that has to do with this issue, so you can't just wash your hands of the bile.

You have made yourself a principal point of attack against people based largely on their credibility and honesty. Then you have the nerve (hypocracy?) to whine and squeal when they fight back.

Grow up, Mark, grow up.

Paul

Mark Goodacre said...

Your rude remarks, Paul, illustrate that you have not paid careful attention to the criticisms that I have made of the claims made by the those involved with the project.

Anonymous said...

what does it say about a man who denigrates a group of men as a 'sniggering girlfriends club.' casual chauvinism, or deep seated hostility toward women? sorry, paul regnier, but that is a very telling comment.

Mark Goodacre said...

Anon: I don't think "Paul" is "Paul Regnier". Confusion, though, could be alleviated if everyone were to sign their posts.