Throughout the book [Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity] Bauer argues extensively from silence. This is always a difficult argument, since one must be able to establish that the silence is significant and not just accidental, that there ought to be something there which is missing. An argument from silence, to be persuasive, must present us with an absence that needs explaining and that can only be explained in a particular way. But quite often, Bauer simply uses silence as a space within which to create history out of whole cloth." (J. McCue, Bauer's Rechtglaubigkeit und Ketzerei p.31)
Specific details of Bauer's demonstration were immediately seen as problematic. Bauer was charged, with good reason, with attacking orthodox sources with inquisitional zeal and exploiting to a nearly absurt extent the argument from silence. (Bart Ehrman, Lost Christianities p.173)
Positive German reviews of the first edition (1934) commended the ingenious approach of boldness of Bauer' vision; they joined, however, the moral critical ones in underlining Bauer's use of the "argument from silence" and excess of interpretation. (Eduard Iricinschi, Holger M. Zellentin, Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity p.6)
Friday, September 25, 2009
Quote(s) of the Day - Bauer and Silence
Indeed, we are mixing it up today with plurals!