The Great Divorce Debate: Redux-a-dux!
--Turkel Responds Again (and again, and again) and Mr. Krueger Answers—
Submitted by Doug Krueger
Following is Part 1 of Mr. Krueger’s rebuttal to Turkel’s on-going rant over Mr. Krueger’s original divorce article. The format here is what Mr. Krueger used. I have not edited any of the material he sent to me. Recall that whenever Turkel quotes from critics that use his real name, he replaces it with his pseudonym, “Holding,” in brackets.
My exchanges with Turkel have shown that the bible contradicts itself on whether one can divorce and remarry. Turkel has tried to rebut, but his arguments have failed. I think he realizes that his defense is in trouble. In his latest attempt to rebut me, he omits some of my most damaging evidence that his position cannot work. He's afraid to allow readers of his website to see some of my arguments. I have already shown that Turkel lied about my sources, and his glaring omission of some of my evidence eliminates any doubt about whether he wants his readers to get a fair hearing of the evidence so that they can make an informed decision on the issue. He doesn't.
In addition, more and more of his defense is just repetition of the same refuted material. In fact, the twenty-nine pages of his most recent material is almost entirely verbatim repetition of his previous posts. Since there is little that is new, I will not respond in a point-by-point manner (I didn't last time either, for the same reason), and I'll address Turkel's defenses and show, once again, that they don't work.
Turkel's main defense is that the audience in Mark and Luke would have already known that divorce was sometimes permitted because it was the mainstream Jewish belief that divorce was permitted in cases of adultery. This is the "context" that Turkel refers to ad nauseum, especially that the Hillel and Shammai schools of Judaic theology disagreed about divorce in the time of Jesus, but they agreed that it was permitted in cases of adultery.
PART ONE: Turkel lies about Hillel and Shammai in my sources
Not only does Turkel repeat over and over the spurious charge that I ignore this context, he tried early on in our exchange to convey the impression to his readers that I was using sources that did not refer to the Hillel and Shammai schools.
But Turkel was inaccurate. The Oxford Companion to the Bible, one of my sources, does refer to the Hillel and Shammai schools. So Turkel misrepresented my sources. When caught in this lie, instead of admitting that he was incorrect, Turkel tried to pass this off as some sort of fact/opinion distinction: Turkel wrote of my sources: "...the Interpreter's Bible Encyclopedia and the Oxford Companion to the Bible, which says nothing at all about the social background context, zero about Hillel and Shammai..." I exposed his distortion in my previous response and pointed out that his rebuttal is silly. Now Turkel realizes that his response was silly, and he no longer emphasizes a fact/opinion angle and instead tries ad hominem abuse as a defense:
This continues in the tertiary response in which he tries to convince his Skeptical cohorts that I was saying that these sources themselves, beyond his quote, said nothing at all about these subjects, and this is nothing but the desperate ravings of a critic backed into a corner and otherwise unable to defend his case), or about the Greco-Roman world, or about adultery as an
honor challenge, but does say (according to the quote he provides!) that Matthew added the words himself without Jesus' own words in mind, a matter which we addressed above and which Krueger called a non sequitur.
Turkel was caught lying about my sources and he should come forward and admit this or at least admit that he spoke about my sources without checking them first to see if they contained the information that he falsely claimed they don't. It should be no small concern to his website supporters that Turkel has no qualms about such gross misrepresentation, in addition to his other mistakes. Calling me "raving" and quickly changing the subject is fooling no careful readers. Turkel was caught lying, or being inexcusably careless, and he knows it. His readers deserve better than that.
PART TWO: TURKEL NEEDS TO LEARN WHAT CONTRADICTIONS ARE
In any case, I have already shown Turkel why his "they would have known what was missing" defense doesn't work. There are several reasons that it fails. I've explained this to Turkel. Let's see his responses. Or lack thereof.
First, whether Jesus' listeners assumed that Jesus had beliefs that he neglected to mention, the fact that one description of the event omits the important adultery exception is sufficient to show that there is a contradiction. Although I have repeated this several times, Turkel either cannot understand this point or intentionally pretends that he doesn't understand. Explaining HOW a contradiction comes about does not show that there is no contradiction. The bible clearly contains statements on divorce and remarriage that are logically contradictory, and there is no longer any question about it. Turkel's defense does not make contradictory statements noncontradictory, it only expounds on their origin. Turkel's only response to this observation is to repeat his claim that there is no contradiction.
Krueger continues to bleat that this remains a contradiction which anyone can discern, and all we do is explain how it got there!
Well, that is exactly what he's trying to do. Since it is obvious that Jesus' statements contradict each other, Turkel had directed his attention to WHY two reports of Jesus' statement would have been contradictory. But that they are contradictory is a fact that remains. To talk of what people would have been thinking about when they heard one statement as opposed to the other statement does not eliminate the fact that they are contradictory. Until Turkel understands what a contradiction is, he is certainly not fit to argue the point about whether one is present in a text or not. If I go in one room and say "All X are Y" and go into another room and state "Not all X are Y," I have contradicted myself regardless of what the people listening to me are thinking as long as the X's and Y's refer to the same classes in each case, and in Jesus' statements, they obviously do. Jesus says both that anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery (Mark 10), and that not everyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery (Matthew 5 and 19). These statements cannot be true at the same time, and all of Turkel's pages and pages on context cannot change the rules of logic and allow otherwise.
"All X are Y" contradicts "Not all X are Y" regardless of who you tell it to or what they think upon hearing it.
PART THREE: The events are contradictory.
We now know that Turkel admits that the events in Mark 10 and Matthew 19 are supposed to be accounts of the same episode. He writes:
"Krueger beats the readership senseless laying out 65 points of correspondence between the pericopes to prove that, as we agree, they are the same episode..."
But if the reports have different statements of Jesus' answer of the same question, one or both of them must be in error. So Turkel concedes error in the bible. If what happened was the events in Mark, then Matthew is incorrect. If the Matthew account is correct, then Mark is incorrect. They can't each be true accounts of the same event, since they differ. And, as
Turkel stated, I gave 60+ points of correspondence between the pericopes, but there are many differences as well.
What is Turkel's response to this? Turkel writes that my charge:
"makes it out that our explanation is somehow antithetical to inerrancy (actually, only to the sort of fundamentalist formulation of inerrancy that is one brick short of KJV Onlyism, and to which preschool exegetes like Farrell Till and Krueger continue to adhere after their low-context fashion)..."
So all he has is name-calling. That is no rebuttal. My point stands.
Turkel concedes that the NT accounts in either Mark or Matthew are incorrect (or both!), so he concedes that the bible is not free of error.