Bill Hamblin is presently not saying much in our continuing debate.
Frankly, I am pretty much done with the whole thing, and plan to end my contributions to the exchanges, unless he specifically makes any statements demanding a direct response. For me, the whole Book of Mormon thing is about historical methodology, rather than that Book itself, and I’ve made all the points I wanted to. Anything I said from now on about the Book of Mormon would be repeating myself, so why do it? Anyone who’s interested can check out the online record. Much like when we started, he has his views and I have mine.
Where we go next is very much his call.
It’s been instructive for me in lots of ways, in helping me define questions of my own methodology. So just what is the difference between evidence and proof? I know the answer well enough, but it’s interesting framing it. And just what is empirical scholarship? I have learned quite a bit about Meso-American history in the process, not to mention Mormonism.
We have both said some quite harsh-sounding things, but always aimed at each other’s ideas, rather than personalities. His words about me, for instance: “It is hard to imagine a more toxic combination of utter ignorance, arrogance and contempt in scholarship.” Ouch! And I have responded in kind. But it’s good having people who are both experienced academics free to discuss ideas in a robust and adult way. Professional speaks to professional, and we learn in forthright debate. Non-academics tend not to understand those exchanges, seeing them as way more personal or even malicious than they are. Hamblin has his sense of humor in debate, I have mine.
In one way, Hamblin is much smarter than me. No, really. He has a capacity that I don’t to set aside blogs and the Internet awhile in order to focus on other things in the real world. Enviable, and I should learn from him. He’s still wrong on other stuff, though.
Oh, and the other thing: never once was I criticizing Mormons, rather than “Ancient Book of Mormon Studies” folks. Big difference!
I am hoping to become extremely wealthy as a result of these exchanges. I assume the LDS Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, will want to use all my materials in their future classes in apologetics. I will only request a small royalty, but the volume of traffic will be significant. Maybe they should have me come and lecture?
Lord, but I love walking Rock Canyon.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2015
I have collected links to all the contributions in this debate – both Bill Hamblin’s and mine – at one convenient web page. They are quite numerous!