“ALAN KURSCHNER: HARVARD DIVINITY DUPE Chris discusses a recent review of the film “Tares Among the Wheat” posted by Alan Kurschner, the founder of Eschatos Ministries. The film documents the provable history of the controversies surrounding the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus. Yet, in his review, Mr. Kurschner refers to the film as “ignorant” and “kooky.” At one point, he even says that Pinto has lied to the audience. The foundation of his argument seems to be that because of his education from Harvard Divinity School he presents an educated view of the subject, and should not be questioned. But can Harvard University today still be considered an authoritative source for serious theological studies? Are most Christians aware that homosexual marriage was promoted by the leading figure at the divinity school, Peter Gomes – the man known as ‘Harvard’s Pastor’? And has Mr. Kurschner’s education really taught him anything insightful about the topics of the film? Or has he simply embarrassed himself by speaking about things he failed to properly investigate?”
I could be a closet homosexual Jesuit!
Chris Pinto responded to my post that I wrote this past week on his documentary film. The problem with responding to conspiracy nuts is that the facts do not matter to them. They will find some way to ignore the facts or to even make them part of the conspiracy!
I was hoping Pinto would reply with a meaningful interaction of the textual history of the text. I even gave him recent sources to research into Codex Sinaiticus. But to no avail.
I want to make some comments about his patently ridiculous show.
He says that I mentioned that I studied from Harvard Divinity because,
“of course he [Alan] presents his Harvard Divinity credentials there as though this is or should be the be all or end all of the conversation and that he does not really have to prove his arguments.”
Actually, I stated explicitly why I mentioned my credentials: “So my comments below are not uninformed.” It is not because “as though this is or should be the be all or end all of the conversation.” Just the opposite, it was to initiate a meaningful interaction something that I did not receive in return from Pinto. He also says that “he does not really have to prove his arguments.” I am the one who desires to enter into a debate with him, but his conspiracy syndrome ignores the arguments and the real issues.
Next, he makes blunderous assumptions about my education. I did not get a Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity. I took graduate studies there. Then he assumes that I studied there because it was Harvard Divinity. Wrong again. I studied there—not because it was “Harvard”—but because I wanted to study under a particular scholar in the field of textual studies.
Next, Pinto belabors that “Harvard” is liberal, secular, and such and such, obviously hoping that his readers will make some guilty association, since he does not have any substantive arguments (conspiracy theorists love making these “guilty-by-associations.” It’s their MO.)
No kidding Chris. Really? Thanks for telling me that Harvard is liberal. Did it ever cross your mind that as an Evangelical Christian I was a witness to people there? Of course not. You see with Pinto everything is one directional: In his mind, the world can only influence Christians, Christians cannot influence the world. I was the only Evangelical in my class and at certain times I defended my faith and the inspiration of the Bible. Not to mention when I was a philosophy student at a secular state university in Wisconsin I was the only believer who was a philosophy student at the school. So for four years I was defending my faith and always being challenged, even having atheist professors selecting me out of class as the “token Evangelical” to challenge. I wonder if Pinto could handle such challenges? Seems he would be too insecure to be in such circumstances lest the “Jesuits” brainwash him. And make no bones about it, there are countless believers who prefer to stay in their little bubbles of education and criticize those who want to make a difference.
And shall I mention that my final paper for my New Testament Textual Criticism class at Harvard Divinity was on a subject arguing against my professor’s position on a key issue he had published on. These facts do not matter to Chris, because he only wants to see through his biased lens: “Harvard” and nothing else. So Pinto’s title of his show “HARVARD DIVINITY DUPE” should say, HARVARD DIVINITY CHALLENGED BY AN EVANGELICAL.” But we would not want to disturb his little conspiracy world that he lives in.
Pinto continued to play a clip from a Harvard Divinity figure on gay marriage. How that has anything to do with Codex Sinaiticus is beyond me. But it is typical of King James folks: distract, avoid, muddle, anything except discuss the actual issue at hand. In all honesty, it bores me. I have dealt with hyper King James Bible folks all my life—I was actually one in my early years, so I know them quite well!
In his show, Pinto continued to spread the falsehood that Codex Sinaiticus was found in a rubbish basket (or parts of it were). He also blatantly misquotes James White saying that White thinks the original pages of Sinaiticus were found in a wastebasket. Truly amazing blunderous misrepresentation on Pinto’s part. Notice he does not document this, because he knows he is factually wrong. He needs to learn to check the accuracy of his primary sources because on page 34 of Tischendorf’s work, he distinguishes scraps of parchment he found of an OT text years ago from the same OT text of another manuscript, in this case Codex Sinaiticus. Oh and by the way, Pinto claims that it was only the New Testament discovered, but this is also factually untrue because Tischendorf states on page 34 “other parts of the Old Testament.” Keep in mind, this is all a diversion for actually dealing with the real issues. Whether it was found in a rubbish basket or not is irrelevant—the monks at the monastery were burning lots of old Greek manuscripts. A non-issue. We are never given an explanation how this relates to a purported “forgery.”
In short, Pinto’s response is disappointing, but not surprising. He is not willing to engage in a meaningful interaction in the actual facts of textual transmission. Instead, he spends his time trying to find “guilty associations” between this person and that person or this institution and so on, hoping that his readers will be content with that type of reasonsing—a classic ploy by conspiracy theorists. It makes it more sad because Pinto claims to be a Christian and yet he spends his God-given time undermining believers’ confidence in the Scriptures.