Sunday, September 21, 2003

Vernon Robbins article on-line and Kirby's new web site

Peter Kirby announced today that he has uploaded, with permission, a version of Vernon Robbins's classic article on he "we" passages in Acts:

Vernon K. Robbins, "By Land and By Sea: The We-Passages and Ancient Sea Voyages", originally in: C. H. Talbert (ed.), Perspectives on Luke-Acts, (Perspectives in Religious Studies, Special Studies Series, No. 5; Macon, Ga: Mercer Univ. Press and Edinburgh: T.& T. Clark, 1978), pp. 215-242

Peter Kirby has also written his own survey of the passages mentioned in Robbins's article and has uploaded it to the same site:

Peter Kirby, "First Person Perspective in Ancient Sea Travel"

I haven't had a chance to read this carefully, but it seems that Kirby ends up with a negative response to Robbins's thesis. The site on which these articles appears is a new one, run by Kirby himself, and rather unpromisingly entitled "Did Jesus Exist?". He explains:

Many web pages present a point of view on the existence of Jesus, but they usually contain apologetics or polemic, not critical scholarship. is dedicated to publishing articles distinguished by their attention to detail and reasoned approach.

It's good to hear about the "detailed and reasonable approach" but a great shame about the title. Let me appeal to Peter to rethink it: you've got a good mind, you think critically, you write well, you've been a great service to the academic community in the production of Early Christian Writings, The Gospel of Thomas Commentary and more, but scholars simply will not visit or take seriously a web site entitled "Did Jesus Exist?". You've lost a large part of your readership before starting. Besides, if there are essay reproductions like the one from Vernon Robbins, this is surely not directly relevant to the theme of whether or not Jesus existed, is it? The site looks promising -- please reconsider the title.

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