I confess to gross intolerance of anything pretending to be scholarly opinion that comes out of Dallas Theological Seminary. Granted that idealistic young men and women enter places like these with the best of intentions, but they usually come out twice the spawn of hell, narrow, intolerant and only marginally Christian at best - in any meaningful sense of that word.
Fall afoul of the Dallas-style thought police and expect to be excoriated. In the Middle Ages the heretics were subject to the not-so-gentle ministrations of the Holy Office. These days there's an assembly of clowns at the ready to bray, shriek and gibber at any suggestion that their myopic understanding of the Christian faith - an understanding often completely at odds with established church tradition - is anything other than perfect.
Take Daniel B. Wallace's rant about Hal Taussig's A New New Testament. Wallace is a Dallasite, keen to unleash the hounds on any unfortunate person holding a contrary view that forces him to think disturbing thoughts. And make no mistake, questions about the canon, the Achilles Heel of any form of biblicism, is enough to set the Dallas crowd into a hissy fit of impressive proportions.
I want to offer a few thoughts both pro and con on A New New Testament in a later posting. But for the moment I'm still breathless after reading Wallace's diatribe. Did the man actually read the introduction to the book? Did he even bother to read the supplementary material at the end? It's hard to find much evidence that he did. More likely, after a quick skim, he flew immediately into a red-eared, full-blown apoplectic apologetic outrage.
A New New Testament is a far from perfect work, as I'm sure Taussig would agree, and I concur with Wallace that it would have been nice to include the Didache, for example. But he has to be joking when he also throws out the Shepherd of Hermas as a further red herring. I mean, does he know how long that thing is? Mark Twain called The Book of Mormon chloroform in print, but the Shepherd exceeds that description by a country mile.
But no, of course Wallace doesn't want to see either the Didache or the Shepherd included any New Testament, oh mercy no! He views the canon as inviolate just as it is, so he's just being contrary pretending to suggest a different selection. Trouble is that it's no easy thing to demonstrate just how the current canon could conceivably have a heavenly imprimatur. In fact, it's a pretty-much impossible task. Which is why, I suspect, he adopts the old preacher's strategy of shouting extra loud when he gets to the weak points in his argument.
At the very minimum A New New Testament contributes to a long overdue public conversation about scripture, what it is and what it means today. Hal Taussig and his colleagues are to be congratulated for putting their perspective, and their expanded canonical selection, out in the public arena for consideration. Critiques are to be expected, but let them at least be fair minded.
But then fair mindedness is probably not considered much of a virtue at DTS.