Friday, February 5, 2010

John Walton Responds to Vern Poythress

Readers of this blog may recall a review I did of John Walton's book The Lost World of Genesis One.  Theologian Vern Poythress did a review of the book for World magazine.  Walton has now responded to that review.  He says he normally "does not find responses and counter-responses to be fruitful, but Poythress’s review of my book is particularly problematic, and I feel it is important to set the record straight for interested readers."  The Biologos blog has invited Poythress to respond and they say they will publish his response if he would like to.  Walton's final paragraphs are of particular interest:
"All of these comments have reflected on the statements that Poythress actually made. I realize that he had limited space for the review, but it seems quite telling that he did not interact with any of the evidence from the ancient Near Eastern literature, which serves a very significant role in the argument. He also did not deal with all the Hebrew lexical information that was brought to bear to demonstrate the position within the Bible itself. Instead of dealing with the evidence that was presented, he contented himself with saying it did not make logical sense to him. But isn’t that the very point? Ancient ways of thinking are not intuitive to us, nor is their logic transparent. That is why we delve into the literature for evidence. These are serious oversights."
"I have read a few other reviews of the Lost World of Genesis One by scholars who had reservations about my theory. They were balanced, understood my position well, interacted with my ideas and evidence in depth, and offered assessment of aspects of the theory as they raised important questions. These are much appreciated. Dr. Poythress is certainly capable of offering such a review, but this effort fell far short of that helpful ideal. In the process I believe he did a disservice to me, to his readers, and to the discussion."
I was pleased to see my own review listed as suggested reading as a "representative review."  Thanks to my co-worker Jared for bringing Walton's response to my attention.