Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gary Habermas' D.D. degree

The Access Research Network, a young-earth creationist organization formerly known as Students for Origins Research, states the following in its description of a DVD it sells of the 2003 debate on the resurrection of Jesus between Antony Flew and Gary Habermas, a professor at Liberty University:
Dr. Habermas holds an M.A. in philosophical theology from the University of Detroit; a D.D. in theology from Emmanuel College, Oxford; and Ph.D. in history and philosophy of religion from Michigan Sate [sic] University.
The D.D. in theology from Emmanuel College, Oxford is also mentioned in the description of Habermas on a website advertising the DVD "Jesus: Fact or Fiction." It shows up in his bio for a talk he gave at First Family Church in Overland Park, Kansas.

There's a slight problem with a doctorate of divinity in theology from Emmanuel College, Oxford--there is no such college at Oxford. This same false claim is made in the Wikipedia article for Gary Habermas, with a link from "Emmanuel College" to the Wikipedia entry for Emmanuel College at Cambridge University, not Oxford. (Emmanuel College at Cambridge does have a "sister college" at Oxford, but its name is Exeter College.)

Habermas's current online resume lists no D.D. degree at all.

So what's the story? Is this Habermas's error, or someone else's? And what kind of error is it? If Habermas has a D.D. degree from a UK school, why doesn't his current resume list it?

(Hat tip to Roger Stanyard, who pointed this out in a comment at RichardDawkins.net last year.)

I once exchanged some letters with Gary Habermas, beginning with a critique I wrote of the first edition of the book on immortality that he co-wrote with J.P. Moreland. I don't believe anything in my critique was accounted for in the second edition of their book; the second edition still includes this false statement about psychic detective Peter Hurkos, even though I pointed them to critical material: "In carefully documented situations, Hurkos demonstrated very precise knowledge of cases as famous as the stolen Stone of Scone...and the Boston Strangler murders." Even if they rejected my criticism, shouldn't a matter of simple honesty to their readers have demanded that they include a reference to the existence of published rebuttals?


Leo said...

...To this simple Christian you continue to prove the truth of Luke 12:2 - But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Hopefully Mr. Habermas is brought to task for what seems to be a lie.

Unknown said...

A D.D. degree is usually an honorary one and nothing to focus on when a professor has a Ph.D. degree. Why are you trying to attack his credibilty on such a small item? What a waste of time!