Can Hobby Lobby Buy the Bible? Article in the Atlantic

In the January/February issue of The Atlantic is a provocative piece by Joel Baden and Candida Moss entitled, “Can Hobby Lobby Buy the Bible?” Without further comment, here’s the link:


9 thoughts on “Can Hobby Lobby Buy the Bible? Article in the Atlantic

  1. From the article:

    “Scholars who join the initiative must sign a nondisclosure agreement, a common practice in the business world, but one that is unusual in the humanities.”

    Dr. Wallace, are you a member of the “Green Scholars Initiative”, and did you sign this unusual nondisclosure agreement?

    Did you sign it before or after you announced a first-century fragment of Mark to score a debate point against Bart Ehrman? And how many more years will pass before said fragment of Mark will be revealed?


  2. The article was fascinating, but they didn’t show any smoking guns. They hinted at guilt by association. This, of course, fits with our culture to have not heroes, but anti-heroes. The Greens are pictured not a heroes for building a museum, but as anti-heroes—with their “narrow purpose” they are influencing the world with their agendas, and buying mss in questionable ways.

    And to such a worldview, one would appear to be supporting ISIS if you endorse the museum. Who needs proof when a few well placed questions can do as much? It is like trying to answer “do you still beat your wife?”

    I love a provocative article that causes one to stop and think. So Moss & Baden gave to me what I wanted—an essay to chew on.


  3. nonsupernaturalist

    Dear Dr. Wallace,

    One of your “disciples” came to my atheist/agnostic blog and made the claim that since you are a scholar of the NT, and I am not, the public should listen to your opinion over my opinion on the claim of the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus.

    My response to your disciple was the following: Dr. Wallace is a brilliant scholar/expert of the New Testament and an expert in the beliefs and deeds of first century Christians and Jews. I cannot compete with Dr. Wallace on these issues. However, Dr. Wallace is NOT an expert on the supernatural. His opinion regarding the probability of a supernatural/miracle/magical event is of no greater value than my own or that of any other person. By definition, supernatural events cannot be verified and analyzed with the standard scientific tools of investigating evidence.

    There is no evidence for the actual “resurrection” of a dead, first century body, only evidence for the BELIEF by first century peoples that such an event had occurred.

    Thank you in advance for your response!



    1. Karl

      Dear Non,

      Hume, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding X, i, 86

      Hume first explains the principle of evidence: the only way that we can judge between two empirical claims is by weighing the evidence. The degree to which we believe one claim over another is proportional to the degree by which the evidence for one outweighs the evidence for the other. The weight of evidence is a function of such factors as the reliability, manner, and number of witnesses.

      We know miracles are impossible therefore anyone who is making a report of a miracle is unreliable.

      Therefore all reports of miracles are unreliable.

      Hume discounts witnesses that don’t comport with the data. Ignoring his problem of induction, he states all swans ever seen in the last several centuries are white. Any sailor, coming from say Australia, with a report of a Black swan stands in opposition to those data and must be giving an unreliable report.

      Empiricists recognized that Hume’s ham-handed attempt at producing skeptics of miracles and other unaccounted phenomena, were not just circular but destroyed the very thing that made the scientific method so strong! Namely, the best explanation for the data must change over time to account for new data.

      Because he preceded Bayes by a few years, Hume can be forgiven his ignorance of same. Here is a restatement in Bayesian interferential form:

      Probability that a miracle occurred = Probability of a miracle given our background knowledge divided by the probability of not a miracle given our background knowledge times the probability of the evidence for the miracle given the miracle occurred and given our background knowledge divided by the probability of the evidence given that the miracle did not occur and given our background knowledge.

      So what is the probability that sailors told the truth about seeing black swans in Australia/ the probability of other explications of their reports of seeing black swans (e.g. Mass hallucinations, or a black swan conspiracy)

      Within a few years
      George Campbell, A dissertation on miracles, p. 31-32, London: T. Tegg, 1824

      “He [Hume] rests his case against belief in miracles upon the claim that laws of nature are supported by exceptionless testimony, but testimony can only be accounted exceptionless if we discount the occurrence of miracles.”

      Every major step forward in science was met with Humean skepticism. Quantum Mechanics, Einsteinian Special and general relativity were rejected by most top scientist of their day due this circular reasoning.

      You are correct in not going to Dr Wallace as an authority, although he is certainly one in the areas of both the text of scripture, and the history of the eye-witness evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus. But remember….

      Your assertions destroy all historical accounts! One cannot reproduce such things as events that occurred yesterday in a lab, using scientific tools. Your problem is not an evidential one but rather a epistemological skepticism that if implemented consistently, will lead you to reject the reality of the past, reality of an external world, and even that other minds exists.

      Enjoy your solipsistic future, and if this reply has in anyway offended you, be comforted in knowing that there is no way of proving I exist and as such I am just a figment of your imagination.


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