Sunday, November 14, 2004

More on the Disputatio:

A word of clarification from the Obsequiously Hon. Ryan Hall (judge) about the disputatio. I feel like you people are freaking out over this needlessly.
A counsel for the Anti-Pelagians who shall remain nameless and locked away in an undisclosed location asked me this question:
>Any chance we could get a rough year of when this disputatio takes place? what's happened
>already, who's got what authority, etc...
I have consulted His Grooviness AKMA and here is what he "strongly suggests, sisters and brothers..." His basic intent was to have a disputatio essentially take place at the height of the controversy, seeing as its a history class. This is more like a debate on the question involved, so try not to get too hung up on what happened when in what counsel, etc. I AM NOT GOING BY PRECEDENT HERE. As a judge I do not care how other courts/disputatios/monkey trials have ruled, so please don't bring that up. AKMA in fact discouraged that. Pretend that this issue has never been argued before in any court. So who has what authority is moot. Just stick with a logical argument (read: cogent explaination) of your position(s) and you'll be fine. And if I hear anything about hanging chads, I'll throw my wig at you!
I have gotten the feeling that my summons might have given the wrong impression that I am turning this disputatio into a very legalistic type thing, and that was not my intent. The only thing that I really want to change a little from previous disputatios is to make sure it is clear that it is not completely on the shoulders of the Pelagians to prove their innocence. The prosecution's job to lay out exactly why the Pelagians are theologically dangerous to the extent that they need to be labeled a "heresy" per se. This is not to say that the Pelagians do not have to defend themselves from these charges. They still have to present their side and explain why they are not by logical and theological argument.
That having been said, my point in all this "burden of proof" business is that my default position is to rule in favor of the Pelagians if the Anti-Pelagians cannot make such a convincing case. Like I stated above, the point is discussing substance. Why or why not is Pelagianism heretical or dangerous idea and not simply a set of doctrines that the Anti-Pelagians (dare I say "orthodox") do not like.
In closing, let me stress one last time that the point of this disputatio is not leaning on what council ruled in favor of whom, therefore we must be right. The point is to, firstly, make a good rational argument and explaination of of you side's position on the question at at hand. Secondly, relax and have fun with this. The ultimate goal (and I am paraphrasing AKMA here) this is not about who wins or loses, but to educate the class on what Pelagianism is in a way other than a boring lecture. Just relax about this one folks. Just do your best, create a good sound argue, and you'll be fine! Unless of course I rule in favor of burning the alleged heretics, in which case there will be a marshmallow roast to follow. BYOM-bring your own marshmallows. (Note to self: call fire department)
Please realize I said the previous sentences in jest. I will stick a copy of this e-mail in everyone's boxes also. I am not sure if everyone checks their e-mail or reads my blog, in which case don't read this...

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