Biblical Studies -Rhetorical Weaponry and Methodological Naturalism

Hector Avalos has a new Bible and Interpretation essay, “Six Anti-Secularist Themes: Deconstructing Religionist Rhetorical Weaponry.” Hector argues that rhetoric often substitutes for substance in discussions of the place of Biblical Studies in the academy. This seems rather uncontroversial to me but that just shows you how wrong I can be.
I see three ways to attack Hector’s thesis. The first is to discount each rhetorical weapon that religionists use against secularists. One might do this by providing meaningful counter examples. While I think Hector has hit the nail on the head, there is still an anecdotal quality to Hector’s list of rhetorical weapons and, therefore, his claims are subject to mitigation by counter anecdotes. Alternatively, one could explain how each of Hector’s worries are irrelevant to the discussion. After all, many academic debates feature various ad hominem fallacies mixed rather freely with the real substantive issues.
The second way to attack Hector’s thesis would be to challenge the application of methodological naturalism to Biblical Studies. Again, I agree with Hector on this but one might argue against him that methodological naturalism is inappropriate to all the humanities, or a certain subset of them, Biblical Studies included. One might even argue that Biblical Studies are somehow not part of the humanities. I can’t see how this argument would go but someone might want to take it up.
The third way to attack Hector’s thesis is to post a counter essay illustrating every single point Hector was trying to make.

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