Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Historicity of Peter Pan

I finally had the chance to watch the 2007 debate between James Crossley and William Lane Craig. Here is my caricature summary.

Question: Is it historically plausible that Peter Pan took the children to Neverland? Professor Craig begins with evidence for the affirmative.

Craig: (Primly dressed in a suit.) There are four pieces of historical evidence.
1) The window was open.
2) The children were not in their beds.
3) The journey was multiply attested by three independent witnesses: Wendy, John, and Michael.
4) This event is continually reported. It was even made into a movie.

Supporting evidence #1: It is especially significant that Peter's favorite is Wendy. Why would the author rely upon a girl as the main witness when girls were notoriously known as nasty little fibbers in Victorian England? Evidence, certainly, for the historicity of the narrative.

Supporting evidence #2: While some of the details of the battle between Pan and Hook may have been embellished, scholars can nevertheless trust that the children were taken to Neverland; there was indeed a battle, and Pan was victorious.

Crossley: (No tie. Shirt untucked.) Only Pansians are blind to the obvious. It is a story.

Craig: Professor Crossley has failed to address the evidence. The window was open, the children were not in their beds....

Crossley: Are you kidding me?

Craig: Crossley is a naturalist.

Crossley: Why am I here?

You can watch the debate on William Lane Craig's myspace.