That Exhilarating Feeling

I’ve said a number of times that intellectual life affords very few thrills that equal the feeling that a claim you’re inclined to doubt, one that contradicts what you’re pretty sure to be right — when such a claim’s arguments and evidence convince you that you had been wrong, and that this claim has a stronger case. It’s taken up my whole work day, but I’ve been revelling in that feeling in connection with the verb diakrinomai in James 1:6. It’s conventionally treated as meaning “doubt,” but Peter Spitaler’s article in Novum Testamentum 49 (2007) pretty much blows that interpretive habit out of the water.
Now, I had been dissatisfied with “doubt” myself, though I had tentatively opted for “hesitate,” another option that Spitaler rejects. I’m not as sure of his criticism of “hesitate” as I am of his devastatingly careful exposé of “doubt” — but, happily, I think I’m onto an even more satisfactory alternative. That feeling this morning, though, when “Nice work, but I’m unconvinced” turned into “Well, strike me pink! I think he’s right after all!”, that was pure delight.

2 thoughts on “That Exhilarating Feeling

  1. “I think I’m onto an even more satisfactory alternative”

    Well, what is the alternative?! Or would you have to kill me if I was told?

  2. Initial Beliefs + Recent Objective Data = New and Improved Beliefs

    Bayes’ Theorem

    adapted by the Revd Tobias Stanislas Haller

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