Shuck and Jive

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.


  1. I have been studying this passage for the last week, 1 John 4:1-10, it seems appropriate:

    1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
    4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
    7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

    Verse 10 is the most humbling, as it shows that we cannot love God enough to live through Him, but that it takes God's love that overcomes our sins through the sacrifice of his Son.