My grandmother would be proud!

I shall have to ask her, she is still alive after all. My post title refers
to the post by Dr. Jim West in response to my plea to minimalists. I will get to Grandma in a moment, but first I want to set the record straight. My post was not in support of Claude’s post per se and it certainly was not a pro-maximalist post. It was anti-minimalist in the sense that I object to a scholar telling us that none of the textual evidence is historically reliable and then offering us their own fanciful reconstruction based upon a series of suppositions and very little evidence of any sort, textual or other wise. I would probably call myself a “medialist,” as Kevin Wilson has done.

Now, to dear old Grandma. gma.gif
In his comments upon my post Jim says:

What I find curious about this request is that it has been preceded by a little bit of foisting of historical reality of its own. That is, Chris has previously written

Dr. Jim West (I am a doctor as well, just not a “real” doctor, as my grandmother will tell you)

In point of historical fact, Chris’s historical reconstruction is wrong on two points- 1) my grandmother died before I graduated High School and so was not around too many years later when I finally laid the tuition down. 2) my grandmother never said any such thing. Hence, Chris’s reconstruction of my personal history is simply, thoroughly, and mis-representatively inaccurate on every key point. Which brings me to my current point.

What is so amusing about this is that Jim has completely misread my comment. The parenthetical reference was to my own grandmother and my brother commented to that fact on the post. (At the time of this writing there are 18 comments.) Jim uses what he understands to be my slight about his grandmother to argue a point about maximalists,

That’s the way maximalists reconstruct the history of Israel. They lace their ‘reconstruction’ with imperious presupposition and hence draw conclusions that simply have no basis in the facts. As above, they presume, and then impose.

Of course, as I pointed out in my original post, this is what minimalists are, in fact, doing all the time.
Now when you start to read the comments, the whole thing becomes absolutely side-splitting. Doug comes in first, anointing me, and pointing out that I was referring to my own grandmother. Jim argues that

sentence as it stands is equally open to the interpretation which I gave to it. In fact, I think a plain and simple reading would suggest that I have read it correctly.

I still do not see that at all and my brother Steve argues, rightly, that simple, basic English usage requires a reading where the parenthetical comment is in fact self-referential to the author. Jim asserts that 50% of those polled would likely come up with his reading, but I am still at a loss to understand how he came to his reading. Peter Kirk comes to his defense, suggesting it was an “‘echoic utterance’ intended to represent words he [Chris B.] was putting in your [Jim W.] mouth.”

Claude Mariottini agrees with my reading, with the great line, “An impartial reading of Chris’ statement clearly supports his reading against your reading.” I hope so! I was the one who wrote it! You would think the author would know what his intent was.

All of this highly ironic and remarkably relevant, as Steve B, my brother (who often does not agree with me, and “me” here refers to me, the author), points out. This is a debate over a text. But is the text reliable? Can we trust what it says about grandmothers? And best of all, we have THE AUTHOR’S OWN STATEMENT of meaning and intent and still Jim insists that his reading was correct? And here I thought texts weren’t important for doing history…. *sighs and shakes head*

I will end this thread, as far as I am concerned, by pointing out that Jim’s “example” of maximalists constructing histories is thus verifiably false. I do not consider myself a maximalist, I was referring to my own grandmother and not his, and she still wishes that I had become a “real” doctor.

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