Posts Tagged As: Jean-Fabrice Nardelli
October 23rd, 2012
Dr. Robert Gagnon may have decided to ignore Jean-Fabrice Nardelli, a classical philologist at l’Université de Provence, but Nardelli is not choosing to do the same. Nardelli has revisited Gagnon’s assertions and pretentions and now has given us a second, revised edition of his monograph.
While Nardelli certainly has the scientific (and scholastic and intellectual) advantage, I think it is his logic and wordsmanship that make this an enjoyable read.
I don’t entirely agree with Nardelli on every point. For example, I think that orientation – or at least a self-awareness of attractions and one’s difference from the majority – has a strong essentialist component. But his criticisms are nevertheless presented in a way that delights and encourages thought rather than invite challenge. Here’s a sample:
Gagnon is nothing but an entrenched essentialist student of homosexuality and a believer in the framework theological-scientific of the male and female sexes who will never admit that biological sex is dependent on culture and ideology, therefore historically determined, and that his critical box of tools amounts to the following analogy : provided that the lexemes ‘red’, ‘blue’, and ‘white’ appear in a short passage which, conjecturally, could be made to yield the ideas of ‘country’ or ‘nation’, he trumpets that it must be the United States and nothing else, although France has indeed the same colours in her flag.
ROBERT GAGNON’S THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICE
TEN YEARS AFTER: A NON-THEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT.
SECOND, REVISED EDITION
September 7th, 2012
I love Dr. Robert Gagnon; I truly do. He delights me regularly.
I’ve never encountered someone so convinced of his theological and intellectual superiority, yet transparent in his lack of logic or consistent thought. Watching him jump through hoops to simultaneously believe completely contradictory teachings and seeing the steps he takes to try and support his positions leaves me laughing out loud.
But he’s disappointed me in his public dispute with Jean-Fabrice Nardelli, a classical philologist at l’Université de Provence. In July, we hosted a monograph by Nardelli in which he systematically illustrated that Gagnon’s assertions in his book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, were a bit, ahem, lacking:
The level of naivety, superficiality and incompetence in this section of his book, whether on matters technical 76 or on issues of interpretation 77, puts the other existing accounts of Mesopotamian homosexuality by fellow evangelicals (those in Wold, Out of Order. Homosexuality in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, Grand Rapids, 1998, or Davidson) on a class apart, despite their insufficiencies linguistic and text-critical and their ideological shortcomings. Even if one eschews a comparison between Gagnon’s text and the best short survey at hand 78, his pages have no claim to be called a fair review of the Egyptian, Levantine and Assyro-Babylonian traces of male-male sex and affect 79. Was it really so difficult, for a biblical scholar untrained in the relevant languages but accustomed to juggling with Semitic documents and their huge critical literature, to reap the benefits of the best scholarship in the field and then proceed without compromising the indispensable awareness that even the most reasonable conclusions grounded in solid facts and arrived at by a sturdy-looking network of conjectures might be found, in the end, to be fallacious and not square really well with the evidence 80 ? The unpretending L’homosexualité dans le Proche-Orient ancien et la Bible by T. Römer and L. Bonjour (Geneva, 2005), pp. 13-35, 80-102, shows that it was no superhuman task, simply one which demanded care, modesty, the control of the limits, philological and anthropological, between which the sense is to be fought within the primary documents, and a strong sense of self-effacement. In the place of it, we are dealing with a scholar who holds his farthing candle to the sun, but remains silent whenever a difficulty unmapped in his sources crosses his path.
As has always been his habit, Gagnon responded without hesitation and sought to intimidate his opponent. His rather bizarre choice of attack was to obsess on the numbers of pages of each (a rather revelatory peek into his thinking which certainly helps explain his seemingly-endless ranting diatribes).
Nardelli obsesses on relatively minor points of the book, such as a ridiculous three-and-a-half page critique (pp. 9-12) of a three-sentence observation that I make about the Greek word epithumia (Ἐπιθυμίᾳ), “desire,” and another three pages (pp. 22-24) on a short paragraph in my book on Jesus’ use of the term raka in Matt 5:22 (and otherwise no discussion of a 43-page chapter of Jesus).
Gagnon (who often posts multi-part rebuttals) warned the reader that this was “In process as time and interest permits” and ends his mere 7 pages with “to be continued…”.
But after Nardelli clearly, in a detailed rejoinder, illustrated the extent to which Gagnon was lacking in adequate scholarship to undertake the debate, Gagnon became silent.
As day after day slid by, week after week passed, I marveled. I’ve never seen him hesitate for a moment to whip out 20 or 30 pages in response to the slightest criticism or imagined slight. And here he was allowing Nardelli’s words hold the place of final statement. Totally out of character.
But now it has become clear. Though he hasn’t found time or interest to address the latest round, he has found time and interest to (laughable) reconcile his position that gays are invariable condemned to hell and the doctrine of eternal security (but that’s left to perhaps a separate commentary).
Gagnon has moved on. His “to be continued…” must mean “… at some date so far distant that I hope no one recalls that I’ve been corrected and refuted by one who is better skilled and more principled.”
Gagnon has laid down his arms and retreated to fight on another front. So very sad. I could have used a chuckle.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.