It's easy to find out if you are a minimalist. Just answer "no" to the following question:
Did King David exist?But trying to find out if you are a maximalist is harder. Let us suppose you have answered "yes" to the above question, but "no" to these two questions:
Did Moses exist?Are you still a maximalist? What if you answered "yes" to Moses and "no" to Abraham? Are you still a maximalist?
Did Abraham exist?
Let's stipulate that if you said "yes" to all three, maybe you really are a maximalist. But let's add a couple more names to the mix:
Did Noah exist?Now, if you answered "no" to those two, but "yes" to all the rest, are you still a maximalist? Do you have to answer "yes" to all to be a maximalist, or does that make you a "fundamentalist" (a word I hate, and almost never deployed without a subtext of polemic)?
Did Adam exist?
The question about "Adam" is particularly thorny. Unless you believe the human race has always existed, then you must believe there was at some time a first human. But you might want to object that we are not in a position, historically speaking, to know the name of the gentleman (or lady).
In fact, I submit that it is impossible to define "maximalism." Even if one answered "yes" to David, Moses, and Abraham, as I do, one might still want to add "--but I don't necessarily believe every story told about him." What does that make you?
UPDATE: Thanks for your comments (me too, Dr. Cathey). Responses, appreciative and thoughtful, have also been posted by Jim West and Tim Bulkeley.