Friday, July 28, 2017

James Patrick Holding's intentional stupidity on biblical alcoholism

 Update: September 18, 2017, see end of this post.

After I wrote a blog entry enlightening Christians to the fact that their bible encourages its readers to promote alcoholism, Mr. Holding, fearsome intellectual scholar that he is, typically decides that the best way to "refute" me is not to reply to my blog directly or to write a rebuttal article, the normal way that serious bible scholars seek to address each other's work, but  to produce a cartoon video that has some type of moose character representing him,  rebutting a childish caricature of myself.

He cites to no scholarship whatsoever, providing us another reason why he presents things in cartoon format.   The lack of supporting scholarship coheres with the theory that it is Christians with the emotional and intellectual capacity of juvenile delinquents that he panders to.

According to one properly credentialed evangelical inerrantist scholar that once publicly endorsed Holding:
From: "Blomberg, Craig" <>
To: Barry Jones <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 12:18 PM
Subject: RE: questions on 2nd Timothy 2:24-26
        I answered several of these  questions explicity or implicitly in my previous response.  I don’t care to expand on it much  One can never make absolute statements about Scripture never justifying insulting behavior.  The Twelve are to shake the dust off their feet for those who reject them.  But, in general, we do much better to be positive, except to the ultraconservative Christian who needs to be rebuked. Interpretations that no bona fide scholars anywhere support are likely to be suspect because detailed scholarly studies will have canvased them already.
Mr. Holding, who is the stupid moron here?  You for failing Blomberg's criteria that a reasonable interpretation of the bible can be supported by scholarship?  or Blomberg for not realizing that God begins speaking whenever a viewer clicks one of your cartoons?

Why don't you tell the world why it is that there are no properly credentialed Christian scholars who donate any money to your ministry?

His video seems to indicate that after 20 years of stupid pretentious trifling efforts to make distinctions that make no difference, he still hasn't learned.  He'd go to his grave insisting that the charge to give alcohol to people (31:6) is significantly different from any "command" to give people alcohol.  In this he denies his own "sociological perspective" in which the Proverbs authors spoke from a community that obeyed Mosaic Law, and therefore, the "son" receiving these proverbs would have little reason to distinguish a fatherly warning against adultery, from the divine mandate to avoid adultery in Exodus 20.

For example, when I was little, bedtime on a school night was 9 pm, by Dad's decree.

So when 9 pm rolled around and Dad said spoke in non-mandatory fashion "Ok, it would be good if you guys hit the sack now" we didn't respond the way Holding would have ("you must be giving me an option to disregard your words here;  because you've couched this bedtime statement as a Proverb just now, and this is not in the same genre as your "mandate" that we go to bed at this time, because sayings cannot be commands!")  Instead, like normal kids, we understood that the proverb was no less mandatory that the mandate.

The video where he attempts to refute my interpretation is here, and I now answer him point by point.

First, the text in question
 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
 5 For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter.
 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more. (Prov. 31:4-7 NAU)
I asserted "the proverb contains the mandate to "give" strong drink (v. 6)."

Holding seizes on my word-choice "mandate" (video at 0:35 ff) as if the difference between "mandate" and "Proverb" was some significant thing.

It's not.  Otherwise you wind up with the type of stupidity that says sometimes God forbids adultery by command (Exodus 20:14), and at other times God only suggests avoiding adultery as just one among many options (Proverbs 6:24).  What stupid fool would argue based on the difference between "saying" and "command" that the Proverbs author isn't mandating the same thing mandated in Exodus 20:14?

Would the author of Proverbs 6:24 have viewed his adultery-prohibition as optional or mandatory upon his son?

Apparently Holding didn't make it as far as Proverbs 2 before he produced his silly knee-jerk reaction video:
NAU  Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you,
 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; (Prov. 2:1-2 NAU)
The author clearly equates his "words" and "wisdom" with "commandments".  "Commandments in v. 1 in Hebrew is the typical word for command, mistzvah, and the LXX provides the typical Greek work for command too, ἐντολῆς.

Again, the Proverbs author characterizes his words to his son as "command", and in context equates them as performing the exact same function:
 20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.
 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.
 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.
 26 For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. (Prov. 6:20-26 NAU)
By first saying "commandment is a lamp", and then in Hebrew parallelism saying "teaching is light", the author clearly thinks that his wisdom "teaching" is a "command" too.

The Proverbs author once again characterizes his previous proverb as a "commandment":
 15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.
 16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of conduct will die. (Prov. 19:15-16 NAU)
 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments;
 2 For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. (Prov. 3:1-2 NAU) 
Inerrantist D.A. Garrett, in the inerrantist-driven New American Commentary, also calls the stuff in Proverbs 3 "commands":

"As in 3:3, the command to bind the teachings to the neck means that they are vital to the young man’s survival.125 The father’s teachings are personified as guide, guardian, and companion126 (v. 22) and objectified as a lamp and a way (v. 23). The last verse of the paternal appeal (v. 24) indicates that what follows will be a warning to avoid the adulteress.
Garrett, D. A. (2001, c1993). Vol. 14: Proverbs,
Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Page 99).
Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 4 Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live;
 5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. (Prov. 4:4-5 NAU)
The Proverbs author specifically equates the wisdom sayings with commandments:
 1 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you.
 2 Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye.
 3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.
 4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your intimate friend; (Prov. 7:1-4 NAU)
Murphy and Garrett are not at the fringe, that Proverbs can also be commands is a standard view.  From the Emory University's Brennan Breed, in his Oxford Biblical Studies Online article "Wisdom Literature":
Other common categories of proverbs are "commands" (Prov 24.13) and "admonitions" (Prov 24.1–2), "rhetorical questions" (Job 4), and "happy" or "blessed sayings" (Job 5.17).
"write them on the tablet of your heart" is a) a throwback to the statements by the prophets that God would write his LAWS on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), and b) is exactly like the "bind them on your finger", it is a metaphorical way of telling the reader to carefully observe this wisdom instruction with the same type of care that one would observe laws that God wrote on their heart. 

Holding says Proverbs cannot be commands or mandates. "there's no mandate in a book like proverbs...I told you this before...Proverbs can't be commands or mandates" (video at 38 ff).

This signifies his black and white fundy view of the bible, the view that he so viciously insults others for having.

Mr. Holding concludes his cartoon scholarship on Proverbs, not having quoted even one scholar in support, by saying
 "Today the fundy atheist learned a valuable lesson:  The contents of the book of Proverbs place it in a genre where nothing in its contents reflect a divine moral imperative.  The closest it ever gets to a command is where it presents instruction from figures who were wise and in authority.  And that's the exact opposite of being a fundy atheist."
Well first, I only made the simple argument that the "give" of 31:6 was a command, I did not say "divine moral imperative".  The Proverbs author is still supporting alcoholism and being inspired by God the whole while, whether it is advice or command, assuming the two should distinguished at all.  The problem of God inspiring speech that promotes and encourages alcoholism remains, even if we deny that any commands were used in the promotion.

Third, despite Holding's past history making clear that he doesn't give one flying fuck about the fact that other equally or more scholarly brothers in the Lord who believe in biblical inerrancy, disagree with him, I provide the following for anybody who isn't quite as obstinate as Holding, so they might realize that God is not necessarily speaking whenever somebody clicks on one of Holding's cartoons:

Inerrantist evangelical scholar D.A. Garrett in the New American Commentary characterizes many Proverbs as "commands" and "mandates" without caveat.  Here he specifically asserts that the commands in the Proverbs are equal to the commands of Mosaic Law:

The Paternal Appeal (7:1–5). 7:1–5 In the appeal the father urges the son to keep his “commands” (vv. 1–2), the same word that is often used of God’s commands. The authority of God in the covenant and the authority of the parent as a teacher of wisdom are joined. In addition, the son should write the instruction on his heart, much as God will write the new covenant on the hearts of his people (v. 3; see Jer 31:33). The teaching should be internal, part of the son’s character and personality, rather than an external requirement.
Garrett, D. A. (2001, c1993). Vol. 14: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (electronic ed.).
Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Page 30).
Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Admonition. This is a command or prohibition written either in proverbial form (as a couplet or bicolon42) or as an extended discourse. A command in discourse form is found in Prov 6:1–5. An example of the proverb form is 16:3.
                     Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Prohibitions in discourse form occur as units (e.g., 1:10–19) or scattered among the commands of discourse admonitions (e.g., Prov 4:10–19). Prohibition proverbs are often in two parts: the prohibition proper and the reason for the prohibition (a warning of what will happen if the prohibition is violated).
Garrett specifies that the "instruction" is equated with "command" in 13:13:
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
 13 The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded. (Prov. 13:12-13 NAU)
"Note the rich vocabulary of instruction in these two verses:
דָּבָר (“word”), מִצְוָה (“command”), מוּסָר (“instruction), and תּוֹכַחַת (“reprimand”). The parallelism of the two verses is reinforced by ending both with a pual imperfect verb."
No fool would deny that a prohibition is also a command, so when Garret say "prohibition", he likely intends the sense of the synonymous word "command".  We have the 10 "Commandments", and several are nothing more than prohibitions (i.e., "do not commit adultery").

Garrett continues, citing to Proverbs 30 twice:
Finally, biblical wisdom stresses the limitations of human knowledge. The gulf between human perception and divine reality is never really closed. The sage is commanded to go about his task with humility and reverence for God. The learned must never forget their limitations (30:2–4) and that they are prone to error and conceit. Above all, they must subordinate their quest to the Word of God. For “every word of God is flawless” (30:5).
The blessing in v. 18 might appear to be a promise of many children,104 but again the passage emphasizes the sexual pleasure of marriage and not having offspring (v. 19). The command to “take pleasure105 in your first wife”106 implies negatively that a man should never have sexual relations with another woman (whether in adultery or by divorce on contrived grounds) and positively that marriage should include sexual joy and fulfillment.
Lest Holding pretend he doesn't feel threatened by another evangelical inerrantist Christian scholar's disagreement with him (which attitude would be not be fruit of somebody who is a legitimate part of the body of Christ and desires more unity than diversity in exegesis), let Holding provide quotes from any properly credentialed Christian scholar who agrees with his astoundingly stupid belief "there's no mandate in a book like proverbs...I told you this before...Proverbs can't be commands or mandates" (video at 38 ff).

 Holding then at 1:30 ff, insists the scholar I quoted (to show the saying "give alcohol" in Proverbs 31:6 was a command) I had misunderstood, and he says the scholar meant "command" only in the sense of "saying" and supports this by analysis of v. 1-5.  Again, Holding's trifle is unnecessary and is a lie:  Here's the full quote from my original article naming the scholar:
The WBC is a bit more realistic:
6–7 The emphasis on royal justice is followed by a rather bold and singular recommendation. Instead of enjoying personal consumption of the royal cellar, the king is to provide a supply of drink for the unfortunate people who need it as a kind of comfort (?) for their misery. This strange command has provoked several hypotheses. On the one hand, it has been considered to be “cynical” and perhaps a later addition; as noted in Note 5.a.*, the command is in the plural. On the other hand, it has been interpreted as providing some relief for the unfortunate. What is to be, as it were, doled out to kings is to be provided generously for afflicted members of the realm, whose comforts are little enough. Even though this can be only a temporary measure, a kind of ancient opium (as well as modern?), it is nonetheless recommended.  
Murphy, R. E. (2002). Vol. 22: Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs. 
Word Biblical Commentary (Page 241). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Holding insisted that Murphy meant "command" in the sense of "saying", but Murphy asserts, repeatedly throughout his commentary on Proverbs, that many of them either include, or ARE, "commands", and in some contexts, he clearly equates them with the Mosaic law, or else clearly distinguishes them from "sayings".
Proverbs 16: 3 Trust in the Lord is a frequent topic in this book; here it is expressed in a command, while in v 20 it is in a saying.
Murphy, R. E. (2002). Vol. 22: Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs. 
Word Biblical Commentary (Page xxii). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

 Murphy again demolishes Holding's stupid trifling pretentious bullshit, and admits part of a proverb is a command and is thus different from the "saying" that follows it:
Proverbs 25: 6–7a The two verses go together; the command is motivated by the better saying that follows it.
 Murphy also says:
 In a sense, the whole book of Proverbs is instruction, for even an experiential observation (which is best included in the neutral term “saying”) is meant to impart some awareness or knowledge. However, it is well to note the appropriateness of “instruction” as an overall designation of the kind of writing evidenced in chaps. 1–9, where the parent/teacher strongly urges “son[s]” to a particular lifestyle. The same is true of the section associated with the Instruction of Amenemope, Prov 22:17–24:35. A simple example would be some kind of command, followed by a motive clause (“do this, because”), as in Prov 3:1–2. But this can be developed at great length, as in Prov 2:1–22. In the context of the book, the instructions of chaps. 1–9 can also be called wisdom poems. The command (or the prohibition) can also be framed as a statement. For example, there is no change of meaning between Prov 16:3 (a command) and 16:20 (a saying), despite the differences in form.
From the point of view of wisdom, how should “ethics” be understood? I would offer the following considerations. It is not just commands and condemnations, but rather the art of living honestly together with others before God.
  It is obvious from what has been said that Israelite wisdom is more practical than theoretical. It attempts to persuade, cajole, threaten, or command a particular attitude or course of action.

Proverbs 1:10–14 The instruction begins with a dramatic description of temptation that youths can expect to face. 10 The parent/teacher issues a command and proceeds to describe the danger coming from “sinners”; they are not called “fools.”

Proverbs 2:1–4 The teacher promises wisdom as a gift of the Lord, if the “son” truly follows the bidding to seek wisdom above all else, beyond any riches. The intensity of the appeal matches the intensity of the speeches of Moses in Deuteronomy. 1 The “commands” are those of the teacher, not the Torah. Although the technical term (מצות), so frequent in Deuteronomy, is used, and thus may have another level of meaning for later readers, it is generally understood here in its literal historical sense as referring to the commands of the father/teacher.

5–6 O. Plöger points out that wisdom joins Yahwism (were they ever really separate?) in this command to trust in the Lord,

Proverbs 3:27–28 The couplet style returns (if not already in vv 25–26) with prohibitions and commands dealing with relationship to neighbors. 27 The presupposition seems to be that a neighbor has some right to consideration (in the LXX translation, a poor person), and that one has the means to help. 28 The admonition to help the neighbor is strengthened by this verse; there is no reason for postponing kind action. Delaying tactics are equivalent to a refusal. Cf. Jas 4:16.
29–30 These are commands to live at peace with one’s neighbor, and in particular to avoid unjustified legal disputes (such is the meaning of “contend”).

Proverbs 4: 4–9 These verses are to be regarded as a summary in the form of a “quotation” of the grandfather. It is a very intense passage, and its erotic quality has been described by R. E. Murphy (CBQ 50 [1988] 600–603). 4 The father was pressured by his father to keep the “commands” (see Comment on 2:1) and to pursue wisdom, which stands in parallelism with the “words” from the grandfather’s mouth

Proverbs 5: 1–5 The topic is that of going surety, of providing some financial backing for someone who is in debt. 1 The instruction is addressed by the father/teacher to “my son,” but without the customary command “listen.”
Murphy agrees that "teaching" is parallel to "command" in the Proverbs, so Holding will probably trifle, as usual, that "teaching" is different than "saying", just so he doesn't have to admit that Murphy meant some of the "sayings" are parallel to "commands":
Proverbs 7:1–3 The introduction reflects 3:1–3, and thereby Deut 6:6–9. “Teaching” and “command” are parallel as in 3:1; cf. 4:1–2. 2 V 2a is the same as 4:4b; again, the typical wisdom emphasis on life appears. 3 The commands are to be bound on the “fingers” (like amulets, or tephillin?) and also on the tablet of the heart, a phrase occurring in 3:3; cf. Deut 6:6 and Jer 31:33. It is not certain that a material tablet is meant; so B. Couroyer, RB 90 (1983) 416–51. It could be metaphorical, emphasizing the interiorization of the teaching.

Proverbs 8: V 5 is a command; the tone of the speech remains imperious throughout; it is not the pleading tone of the parent/teacher.

Proverbs 8: V 9 indicates the requisite reaction: Those who have understanding will “find,” or acquire knowledge. The comparison to precious objects such as gold and silver is a frequent one (e.g., 2:4; 3:14–15; 16:16), but v 10 is a command, not merely a comparison.
Proverbs 13: 13–14 “Word,” “command,” and “teaching of the wise” give a certain unity to these verses. The word and command refer, at least in the first instance, to the teaching of the sage, not to the Decalogue.
Proverbs 25: 21–22 This quatrain, made famous also by Rom 12:17–21, has given rise to many studies and differing interpretations. 21 The command is so clear that it loses its quality of shock, and perhaps it has become domesticated by long use.
Murphy, R. E. (2002). Vol. 22: Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs. Word Biblical Commentary (Page 193). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

Proverbs 30: 32–33 An admonition with motivation follows the numerical sayings, and there seems to be a deliberate threefold repetition of “pressure” in v 33. 32 The word for fool here is nbl, the same consonants which appear in the name of Nabal in 2 Sam 25, whose conduct exemplified “pride” as well. It is not clear what “plans” (see Note 32.a.*) are meant, but in an admonition such as this against foolish pride they are probably foolish. The gesture of hand to mouth is broad enough to indicate various reactions. In Job 21:5 it appears to designate being appalled, but here it is a clear command: Silence!
Murphy finally makes clear, one last time, as clear as anybody could ask, that a teaching in Proverbs 31 is an actualization of specifically Torah Commandments:
Proverbs 31: These instructions were produced among educated women and men belonging to the urban upper class of the Yehud province. Their teaching is conceived as an interpretation and an actualization of Torah commandments.
Holding must not think Paul's statements in Romans 12 about feeding one's enemy are mandatory, but only optional, since he'd otherwise have to admit calling this "mandatory" constitutes calling a proverb a "mandate"
 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
 22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you. (Prov. 25:21-22 NAU)
Apostle Paul sets forth that Proverb as if it it's instruction is a mandate which no Christian has a right to avoid obeying:
 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.
 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21 NAU)
 Inerrantist Mounce interprets Paul's statements here as mandatory upon the Christian:

12:17–21 The natural impulse is to return injury for injury. But retaliation for personal injury is not for those who claim to follow the one who told his disciples to turn the other cheek and go the second mile (Matt 5:39, 41; cf. Gal 6:10; 1 Thess 5:15; 1 Pet 3:9). Instead, believers are to be careful56 to do what is honorable in the sight of everyone57 (cf. Prov 3:4). The early church understood the necessity of having a good reputation with outsiders (1 Tim 3:7).
Mounce, R. H. (2001, c1995). Vol. 27: Romans (electronic ed.).
Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Page 240).
Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Christian Scholar Murphy says in the Word Biblical Commentary:
Proverbs 25: 21–22 This quatrain, made famous also by Rom 12:17–21, has given rise to many studies and differing interpretations. 21 The command is so clear that it loses its quality of shock, and perhaps it has become domesticated by long use...The enigma of coals on the head is not the issue (if it can even be understood) that calls for discussion here. Rather, it is the sharp commands: feed, give drink to the one who hates you, literally—not merely a vague “enemy.” The concrete situation is not known, but the application has a universal impact; who does not have enemies? The saying, along with Prov 24:17 (cf. 20:22), is contrary to the Schadenfreude, the joy in the downfall of an enemy, that is not uncommon in the Old Testament. It belongs with the strong command of love of neighbor expressed in Lev 19:17–18, even if the perspective is that of the Israelite community.
Murphy, R. E. (2002). Vol. 22: Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs. Word Biblical Commentary (Page 193). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Holding, apparently learning as he goes along, starts qualifying what he meant, and now says at 1:45 ff that proverbs cannot be a command "in the sense of being a divine imperative".

But not even this qualification will save him.  The "give" in v. 6 is an imperative by grammatical necessity:

נתן verb qal imperative masculine plural   שֵׁכָר noun common masculine singular absolute  

 And Gensenius says:
§ 110. The Imperative.
Mayer Lambert, 'Sur la syntaxe de l’impeÃratif en heÃbreu,' in REJ. 1897, p. 106 ff.
1. The imperative,1 which, according to § 46, is restricted to the 2nd pers. sing. and plur., and to positive commands, &c., may stand either alone, or in simple co-ordination (as in 1 K 18:44, Is 56:1, 65:18) with other imperatives:
 Matthew Henry thought the "give" of 31:6 was a "must" implying mandatory observance:
III. The counsel she gives him to do good. 1. He must do good with his wealth. Great men must not think that they have their abundance only that out of it they may made provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of it, and may the more freely indulge their own genius; no, but that with it they may relieve such as are in distress, v. 6, 7. "Thou hast wine or strong drink at command; instead of doing thyself hurt with it, do others good with it; let those have it that need it." Those that have wherewithal must not only give bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty, but they must give strong drink to him that is ready to perish through sickness or pain and wine to those that are melancholy and of heavy heart; for it was appointed to cheer and revive the spirits, and make glad the heart (as it does where there is need of it), not to burden and oppress the spirits, as it does where there is no need of it. We must deny ourselves in the gratifications of sense, that we may have to spare for the relief of the miseries of others, and be glad to see our superfluities and dainties better bestowed upon those whom they will be a real kindness to than upon ourselves whom they will be a real injury to.
The Talmud Rabbis interpreted the verse to imply that houses that did not have wine could not be considered blessed.  How mandatory is it that one make sure one's house is blessed?
R. Hanan said: "Wine was created only to comfort the mourners and to pay the wicked their reward for any good they may have done, on this earth, as it is written [Proverbs 31.6]: "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those who have an embittered soul." (By "one that is ready to perish," is meant the wicked and by "those who have an embittered soul," are meant the mourners.)

R. Hanin bar Papa said: A house where wine does not flow like water cannot be classed among those that are blessed, as it is written [Exod. 23.25]: "And he will bless thy bread and thy water." The bread referred to is that which can be bought with the proceeds of the second tithes and the water which cannot be bought with such money really means wine. If, then, wine is so plentiful in the house, that it flows like water, the house is counted among the blessed.
 The Gemara holds that the expense of such wine "must" be borne by the congregation:
When one was going to be killed, they used to put a grain of frankincense in a goblet of wine and gave him to drink, so that he should become dazed. As it is written [Prov. 31.6]: "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those who have an embittered soul." And there is a Boraitha that the wine and the frankincense were donated by the respectable women of Jerusalem. Now, if it happened that they were not donated, who must bear the expense? Says the Gemara concerning the latter: Common sense dictates, at the expense of the congregation, as the verse reads "give," which means the congregation.
 Holding then falsely caricatures me as saying his view can be dismissed, as if I had totally discounted Proverbs' genre as useless to the debate (video at 2:00 ff).  I never expressed or implied any such thing.  But the quotes of Garrett and Murphy, supra, Christian scholars who say multiple times that proverbs often contain, or ARE, "commands", make clear Holding gets no help from appeal to "genre".  To repeat:

Excursus on Theology
The assessment of biblical ethics is a difficult one, and questions of methodology abound. In one of the latest studies (Ethics and Politics in the Hebrew Bible, ed. D. Knight [Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994]) it is only tangentially that wisdom literature is mentioned. From the point of view of wisdom, how should “ethics” be understood? I would offer the following considerations. It is not just commands and condemnations, but rather the art of living honestly together with others before God.
Murphy, R. E. (2002). Vol. 22: Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs.
Word Biblical Commentary (Page 276). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Holding, pretentious childish immature repressed idiot that he is, then entertains his idiot followers with a parody of himself becoming He-Man or some cartoon character and physically attacking me, as his childish way of expressing how he defeated my argument. 

As usual, Holding
a) sets forth his view as if it was non-controversial common knowledge, when it is anything but, and 
b) doesn't cite to any scholarship to support his point, despite the fact that Craig Blomberg said a position on the bible that cannot be supported with any published scholarship is likely to be false, which must mean Holding's denial that Proverbs can be divine imperatives is likely false until and unless he supplies scholarship to support his points;
c) is contradicted in his trifling distinction between wise-saying and "mandate" by properly credentialed conservative Christian bible scholars, and yet
d) still has to pretend that his opinion of the matter is so obviously true that those who disagree with it deserve to be called morons.
Perhaps Holding would like to do his admiring audience a favor and explain when it WOULD be appropriate for a modern-day Christian to obey Proverbs 31:6-7.


Update: September 18, 2017
Holding's answer to this post is his plagiarism of the intro to the 80's cartoon "He-Man", nothing more.

The reader can decide for themselves why it is that the atheist is the only person in this debate quoting evangelical inerrantist Christian scholars, and the "Christian" in this debate is the only one trying to prove things by plagiarizing secular cartoons.

Update: September 25, 2017 
Holding has removed that video, probably because it took an atheist to remind him that there are limits to how creatively stupid and immature a person can be in their apologetics, and of all the ways to bring the presence of the Holy Spirit into one's arguments, imitating secular 80's cartoons probably isn't the way any serious Christian would do it.

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