Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wizard of Oz Verified by New Testament Methods

Luke over at Common sense atheism posted a very hilarious video:

My comment:

Here's a more scholarly approach to Oz:

Oz has early attestation in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" which all Oz scholars agree is the first Oz book ever written.

Oz has multiple attestation: The land of Oz is mentioned not only in our earliest sources but also in "Rinkitink in Oz" "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" "The Emerald City of Oz" and "Glinda of Oz".

As the guy in the video pointed out, much of what is written about Oz is eminently plausible given what we know about history. Further, many stories about Oz pass the criterion of embarrassment: The Cowardly Lion, for example, is portrayed as being very cowardly and the whole lot of Dorothy, the tin man, and the scarecrow are portrayed in various points of the story as being weak, which isn't the sort of story that would simply be made up. Think about: If the Oz books were written by close companion of Dorothy, as most scholars believe, then why would Dorothy or the author simply invent stories that portrayed themselves in a bad light. It doesn't make sense unless you believe in Oz.


James F. McGrath said...

While I think that there are legitimate criticisms of the criteria of authenticity that can be offered (and am aware of a major scholarly volume that will suggest that none of them is viable, that should be out in 2012), the parody you offer here is problematic, because (1) it ignores that, as far as we can tell, the earliest readers and producers of the earliest Gospels thought that they were about an actual person, even if there is much in them that is not historical, whereas in the case of The Wizard of Oz we have a work that seems to have always been perceived as a work of fiction, and (2) one is set in the real world in relation to known figures, while the other is set in a fantasy realm. Obviously with regard to the second point, we could be dealing with historical fiction, a work of fiction set against the backdrop of real events. But if you had chosen to make your point using a work of historical fiction, I might not be writing this comment, and certainly its content would be very different even if I did! :)

AIGBusted said...

Hi James,

Keep in mind I only wrote all this for a laugh. ; )

James F. McGrath said...

Professional hazard, I guess - I sometimes take these things way too seriously... ;-)