Words to read by

In what sense is it ever possible to answer a great work of the intellect? It is possible to go through it point by point, indicating inaccuracies or errors in detail. Such demonstration is usually tedious; and for the most part it is ineffective, because it leaves the main structure unshaken. A principle may still be valid, even though the working out in detail of its applications may leave much to be desired. … there are only two possibilities. Either it must be shown that the method adopted is inappropriate to the material to be considered, or, granted that the method is not illegitimate, it must be shown that the application of the method has been vitiated from the start by concealed presuppositions and prejudices, by the neglect of relevant evidence, or by the failure to see what kind of conclusions really follow from the evidence adduced, and what kind of evidence must be produced if certain conclusions are to be maintained as tenable.

— From The Interpretation of the New Testament 1861–1986 by Stephen Neill and Tom Wright (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988), 18–19.


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