Give a person the internet and they will often take advantage of it to put on parade their invincible and unredeemable dilettantish ignorance. For instance, A-J Levine, one of the finest scholars of the NT presently working wrote a piece for CNN the other day on the parables of Jesus. Unsurprisingly, she got a good bit of push-back from the slathering unwashed ignorant mob. Here are some of the comments offered by that lot:
On Sep 21, 2014, at 11:48 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Must Look good on a resume! I read your article on The prodigal son. Your words made absolute no sence? Not only was it mind numbing, It cluded to no truth or conclusion. This was simply a parable. You tried to make it something silly. If you don’t believe in faith and or God that’s fine. Don’t write A stupid article that makes no sense!
Good heavens… a person without any skills in grammar at its most basic lecturing someone about an article? Here’s another-
You are burying yourself in a mountain of arrogance. Do you know what you sound like? “I care about this more than you do, and I know about this more than you do, and I see the details more than you do, and I am a university professor and you are not, you little peasant, and therefore I will not deign to talk to you because you are insignificant.”
That is what I hear from you. In fact, the first part is almost verbatim what you said. Ironically the truth is that I know more about all of these things than you do, and a sign of that is how wrong you were. My opinion is that you aren’t responding to my points because you know you are wrong, but you are too conceited to admit being wrong, and therefore don’t want to entertain and legitimize that idea by conversing with me.
As I said before, I was not trying to insult you. Because you are arrogant, you feel like my criticisms are insults, but really I’m just trying to help you by showing you how wrong you are so you can correct yourself and prevent displaying such foolishness in the future.
As for your comment about the purity rules, you even refuse to accept that you did not know the facts, which are plain for everyone to see. The Bible clearly states that the Levites are forbidden from touching dead bodies, but you did not know that and claimed otherwise. And when I correct you, you arrogantly claim that I am in the wrong.
Also, I never believed that purity rituals were involved in the parable. The parable itself never mentions purity, it simply mentions that the first two individuals passed by the traveler; it doesn’t mention their motives for not helping him (but we are led to assume it’s because they don’t care about him). Your assertion that the purity rituals are unimportant is not something anyone would have considered in the first place, and I certainly never took it that way or thought it was an issue. Why would I? Those verses never in any way imply that the priest and Levite passed for reasons involving the purity rules. The only reason I can think that you would bring them up at all is because you lack knowledge of those parables and thought that it was part of the parable. Those little details though… haha.
I’ve met a lot of people in academia like you. Nothing I can say will change your mind, you know you’re perfect and therefore anything anyone else says is meaningless because you already know everything. I understand, carry on then.
What a ghastly ignoramus! And one final example-
Hello Mrs. Levine,
I just finished reading your article on CNN about the four parables we all got wrong and I feel compelled to email you and comment on it. Now it may seem like I’m trying to offend you with what I write but what I’m really trying to do is help you. Because people like me, when we read the kind of stupidity that you displayed in your article, well let’s just say it doesn’t look good for you or the institution you represent.
Let’s just talk about the first parable you discussed in your article, the prodigal son. At the end of that section you concluded that the parable is literally about COUNTING!!!! At first I laughed and thought you were joking. I thought to myself there is no way an intelligent person can come away with that conclusion, so there must be more. But no, it seems from the article that you actually believe that the parable of the prodigal son is a lesson in elementary school level mathematics.
Let me ask you a question: Are you insane? Are you ABSOLUTELY BATS@#T INSANE? Or are you just extremely stupid and ignorant? Because those are really the only two options for someone who reads that parable and comes away thinking that Jesus is trying to teach people how to count, reducing him to nothing more than a glorified 1st grade math teacher.
Forget the other three parables you talked about, which you butchered equally bad, while inconspicuously (not really) throwing in some of your personal political beliefs about employment and such. It’s enough to read the first part of your article and realize how deluded you are.
How on earth did you become a university professor? Does their employment non-discrimination clause include a line for very, very dumb people? You are an embarrassment to academia and Vanderbilt. You probably think you are really smart, and you probably thought people would read your article and be impressed with your insight and sagacity, didn’t you? And what’s worse, you are actually supposed to be someone who studies this stuff and teaches about it to other people. You are an immense shame and I shudder to think that there are probably lots of foolish, ignorant people like you in our universities who can’t see their own lunacy because of how arrogant they are.
I laugh at your ignorance and idiocy. I truly laugh to think that you sit there believing you are smart, but at the same time display such overt foolishness and outright stupidity. Do yourself a favor, next time you write something that will be read by large numbers of people, make sure it actually makes sense and doesn’t expose your absolutely lack of anything resembling intelligence. That way you won’t shame yourself and your colleagues in the process.
Sigh… The internet is a great tool if you know how to use it. But it turns so many into tools that I sometimes think the bad outweighs the good. I do have to give A-J this, though- she is far more patient with such sots than I would be. My response would be far simpler- Here’s your dilly, now move along and get back to marrying your sister.