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Old 04-15-2001, 10:10 PM   #11
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Hi Opus1

Let's see, where were we?

Samaritan Lady:
According to your chronology, Jesus appears to the disciples as follows:
1) To all the disciples (minus Thomas) while they were having dinner on the first night
2) Then to all the apostles (1 Cor. 15:7)
3) Then to the disciples including Thomas
4) Then to the disciples in Galilee
5) Then he ascends to Heaven
Some questions:
Why does John refer to Jesus' appearance to the disciples while fishing as Jesus' third appearance, when it is clearly at least his fourth?

>>> I don't think you quite reflect my chronology accurately. You number 2 separate appearances to all the disciples. I would only number that as one separate event. The appearance to the disciples in Galilee is in fact the third appearance.

How can you possibly consider Lk. 24:36-48, John 20:19-22, and 1 Cor. 15:5 to describe the same appearance, when Luke specifically says that he appeared to the Eleven, John specifically says that it was to the Ten, and Paul specifically says that it was to the Twelve!?

>>> Luke & John are both specifically talking about dinner that first night; Luke seems to be unaware of the fact that good old Thomas was absent, something only mentioned by John, who gives the only first-hand account of that dinner. As for Paul & the mention of "the twelve" it's a toss-up whether he's talking about the first Sunday dinner or the second, but "the Twelve" by then is just a figure of speech meaning the inner group of disciples. (There are other instances where there is talk of "twelve" when it's unlikely that all twelve were actually there.)

I guess if Christians believe that 3=1 they can believe that 10=11=12 as well!

>>> Cute, but we don't believe that 3 = 1. We believe that Father, Son, and Spirit exist within each other, so to speak, in such a way that they are truly united.

According to your chronology, Matthew tells the disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations." Then, for some unknown reason, they do not follow his advice, but instead all return to Jerusalem, where Jesus changes his mind and tells them to stay there for seven weeks. What's up with that?

>>> You read texts like a fundamentalist; did you used to be one? Matthew doesn't go into what happened next at all; that's the end of Matthew's account. This doesn't mean he denies that anything happened afterwards.

You would have us believe that between Lk. 24:48 and Lk. 24:49, Jesus appeared to five hundred people, then to James, then to the eleven apostles, then went to Galilee and made two appearances. I defy anyone to read those two verses and tell me that Luke intended for them to be anything but part of the same speech. Hell, I defy you to find me a Bible that even puts them in seperate paragraphs, much less weeks apart!

>>> Nah, I specifically said that the time frame for the appearances to some of these others isn't given, & just noted the "appearances, time frame not given" at that point in my text because, even though the time frame isn't given, I have to say so somewhere. All that we really know about the timing of the appearances to the 500, to James, and to all the apostles is that those happen between the appearance to "the Twelve" (there was a suitable one the day of the resurrection, & another a week later) and the appearance to Paul; presumably they were also before the ascension since the only one Paul mentions as being unusual in this regard is himself.

Why did certain people doubt in Mt. 28:16-20 if they had seen him so many times before?

>>> Because they saw him die. If they took it in stride, you'd have to wonder if they had any clue what they were seeing. When skeptics react with initial shock to the resurrection accounts, I take that as a good sign: hey at least you realize something astonishing is going on here.

Why does Jesus at one point tell Mary Magdalene not to touch him, and at another point invite Thomas to touch him?

>>> He doesn't say, but to go by what we have, it looks like he's trying to build up Thomas' confidence in the reality of it all. Mary seems to have plenty of confidence by that point.

I have many more questions, but I doubt you'll even answer these.

>>> And the way you say that, it makes me think that the answers to my questions will not generate honest consideration of the Christian claim that God actually redeemed you from the power of death, but only more questions. If I have reason to think you're an honest enquirer (someone who uses questions to gather information & not just to hassle), I'll be glad to answer your questions.

Take care & God bless
SL


 
Old 04-15-2001, 10:14 PM   #12
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Hi TrueThinker, & well-met.

I haven't been by the SecWeb in awhile. Good to make your acquaintance. Are there many Christians here or are you kind of just out here on your own?

Take care & God bless
SL

 
Old 04-15-2001, 11:09 PM   #13
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[quote]And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
[/qoute]

Something to remember here is that Dan Barker did not "finish the race" and as a drop-out cannot know because he does not have the mind of God. To have finished the race is to have the mind of God and surely, if us dumb believers can obtain the mind of God the mythmakers that wrote the bible must have had the mind of God.

If this be the case the challenge is easy which does not mean that it is easy for me (in case you think I am ready to take up the challenge). If the challenge is easy it must give an account of the same and prove that Barker and co. is understanding the bible wrong while reading the same words.

It will go something like this:

Christ was not crucified nor was he raised because the bible states that Jesus was crucified and Jesus was raised. The question now becomes: who was Jesus and who was Christ.

Since Jesus was both God and human he had a dual nature. His Christ identity was God and his human identity was Jesus. From this follows that the human identity was crucified and was raised. If our humanity is but a condiditon of being that pertains to the being it is easy to see how our illusory human nature can be crucified and raised into the mind of God or Christ identity. The resurrection of Jesus into the mind of God only proves that reason prevailed after the crisis moment took place. Hence the Divine comedy instead of a tragedy.

This is made very clear in the bible when Jesus the Jew was convicted and Bar-abbas set free. Bar-abbas was the son of the father and therefore Christ and Jesus the Jew was the reborn Joseph to be crucified.

All of the rest is decoration to make faith acceptable for those who wish to enter the race in their effort to resolve the identity crisis each one of us or will be faced with sooner or later in life. Having said this these decorations must be valid components to be recognized if and when we have finished the race.

It is only when we have finished the race that "all will be made clear."

Amos
 
Old 04-16-2001, 06:06 AM   #14
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No, Samaritan Lady, as I knew you would, you didn't touch any of the really serious contradictions. Who was first into the tomb, Peter, or Mary Magdalene and the girls? Was the rock rolled away when they got there, as in Mark or John, or by angels right in front of them, as in Matthew?

"All the texts are there, in full, so the requirement to "put everything in" has already been met. I suppose what you want resolved by way of "contradictions" are listed below."

The point is that you have to resolve the many contradictions (which I did not all list, of course) to write one coherent account. And you haven't. Like I said, you failed to answer the challenge. In fact, it can't be done.

For example, you put the rolling away of the stone prior to the arrival of the women, but Matthew is very clear: the women witness it. In the other gospels the stone is rolled away when they arrive. When Jesus appears, did they clasp his feet, as in Mt, or did they not touch him, as in John? Who did Jesus first appear to, Mary alone (and she didn't recognize him), or the women (who recognized him instantly).

You see, you left out some things...

Michael

 
Old 04-16-2001, 06:21 AM   #15
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OK, here I am a disciple of Jesus. Iíve followed him around for a couple of years, studied with him, learned from him. Then JC goes and gets himself nailed to a cross, dies and is put into a tomb. The next day, or a few days later, he shows up and says ďHi, Iím baaaackĒ. The first thing Iím going to do is get something to write on so I can record this miracle of miracles. If Iím illiterate, Iím going to find someone who can write and have him write it down right then and there. But I didnít.

And none of the other eleven did it. And the Maryís didnít do it. In fact no one did it at the time. Amazing. JC returned from the dead and NO ONE thought to write it down! No first hand written accounts. I guess that no one thought a man returning from the dead was important.
 
Old 04-16-2001, 06:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SamaritanLady:
To aikido

Are you a brother / sister in Christ? If so then peace to you, and peace between us.

Take care & God bless
SL

</font>
I will thankfully take your blessing and your peace. I believe there has not been a "brother or sister in Christ" since before Nicea. Churches teach the religion ABOUT Jesus instead of the religion OF Jesus. Biblical scholarship points a way but, alas, only dimly.

 
Old 04-16-2001, 07:51 PM   #17
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Samaritan Lady, you didn't answer my questions. Here they are again:

Re: Numbering Jesus' resurrection appearances

I'll admit that Paul's chronology is hazy. But you're still stuck with the issue of Luke's appearance. You try to fix this by making it the same as John's, but this just doesn't work. You admit so yourself:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Luke & John are both specifically talking about dinner that first night; Luke seems to be unaware of the fact that good old Thomas was absent, something only mentioned by John, who gives the only first-hand account of that dinner. </font>
Care to tell me how Luke, inspired by an omnipotent deity, could be unaware of Thomas' absence?

Furthermore, you totally failed to answer my question about Lk. 24:48-49. Once again, let me spell it out:

According to Luke, Jesus appeared to the Eleven 3 days after his death, on Sunday. He tells them not to leave Jerusalem.

According to Matthew and John, the disciples do indeed leave Jerusalem.

Despite your attempts, we can't move Luke's speech by Jesus to some random point in the future, when it is clearly continuous throughout.

So we're stuck with how the disciples could have gone to Galilee if they stayed in the Temple and prayed until after Jesus' ascension.

Finally, your textual parsing is absurd at times. Look at how you have to split up the text at arbitrary points in order to make everything work. For example, Mark never mentions Mary Magdalene leaving the group, and yet we're supposed to believe that the "they" refered to throughout Mark's account excludes Mary Magdalene, who has left earlier, but whom Mark hasn't told us about.

Even with this type of parsing, we're left with bizarre concoctions like this:

Mark 16:8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Matt 28:8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Huh?

And how about how you split up John 2:2 and John 2:3? Mary Magdalene leaves the tomb, but apparently the other women stay. A bunch of stuff happens, then they leave and tell the Eleven. But somehow (Lk. 24:10), Mary Magdalene ends up with the other women even though she had left earlier to tell Peter. And somehow, after Peter had learned of this, he reunited with the other disciples, but hadn't told them what Mary had told him yet.

And somehow, Mary makes two visits to the tomb, which is not contained in any of the gospels.

Also, you have Mary leaving to talk to Peter, but no perceivable way of her going back to the tomb.

Mary tells the disciples of Jesus' rising twice. Oddly, in the second instance, Jesus tells her to do so, apparently unaware that she already has. Jesus then tells the other women the same thing.

If this weren't such a confusing mess in the first place I could probably find even more problems.

Here's the bottom line:

I was never a fundamentalist, or even a Christian. I view the resurrection stories as theological and political parables.

For example, in Mark, there's a big theme about how Jesus' family does not support him, and how his own disciples are stupid and cowardly. This idea is culminated in Jesus' final week.

In Jewish custom, a man's parents should help with his funeral service if he dies before them. What happens to Jesus? His father, Joseph, does not bury him, but another Joseph does. His mother, Mary, does not spice his body, but two other Marys do. And his best friend Simon Peter does not carry his cross as a friend should, but another Simon does.

Furthermore, none of these characters--Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, and Simon the Cyrene--receive any print in Mark prior to their abrupt appearances in Jesus' last days. This leads me to conclude that they are at least partially Markan literary creations intended to express an idea, rather than recount an historical event.

Another example: In John, the beloved disciple beats Peter to the tomb. Was this an historical event? Probably not. Rather, it was another literary structure. John wanted to stress the idea that while Peter may have originally been the heir to Jesus' church, he has since been displaced (beaten out) by another disciple. This idea is also found in the Johannine pericope where Jesus tells his mother to adopt the beloved disciple as her son. It's uncertain exactly who the beloved disciple represents, but it is probably a church or school of belief, rather than an actual person.

Now, I'm not saying that everything is fictional. I'm not certain what is real and what isn't. The reason I react so strongly to people trying to "reconcile" the Easter accounts is because most people don't realize that the accounts were never intended to be reconciled in the first place. They were meant to be independant literary creations. Changes were deliberate and intentional.

Well, that's my rambling sermon. If SL or anyone else still wants to "reconcile" what happened at Easter, you're welcome to it. It may even be possible. But it's not what the authors intended, and whatever reconstruction you come up with will not be an accurate description of what really happened at Easter.
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Old 04-16-2001, 10:24 PM   #18
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Hi all

I hope nobody minds that I'm going to collapse the responses into one response tonight, & anybody looking for a response to one part in particular can find the name of the person I'm responding to at the top of the pertinent section.

The reason I'm doing that is so that everybody who reads can see one particular notice, which I now won't have to put into each response: My holiday visit to my skeptical friends here at infidels, which I started late in Holy Week, will be up tomorrow night when I have to get back to my normal day-to-day commitments.  So I'll reply tonight & check for posts tomorrow night, & I'll expect to reply again tomorrow night & wrap up. But from time to time I try to make the time to visit, so I'm sure I'll see some of you again even after tomorrow. So skeptics, if you've got anything you want to say, please say it in this next round of posts so that I have a chance to see it. So that much said, on to the posts:


----------------------------
Turtonm's section:

No, Samaritan Lady, as I knew you would, you didn't touch any of the really serious contradictions.

&gt;&gt;&gt; There aren't any "really serious contradictions". People spend most of their time haggling over when the sun rose (as if it weren't going to rise at some point that morning) & where the angels were sitting/standing during all that time (as if they were statues that couldn't move). Some people spend all their skeptical efforts on Mary Magdalene, & the fact that John records more information on her activities that morning than anyone else. That's not major-league stuff. Everybody agrees the women went to the tomb at dawn, found it empty, received a message from an angel-looking guy that Jesus was alive, & then the women left. Those with more detail (Matthew, Luke, John, & Paul) between them fill in the rest of the picture: they told the apostles, the apostles checked it out, Jesus met them at dinner and on various occasions over the next few weeks. A "really serious contradiction" would be like "Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus" versus "Mary Magdalene wasn't even at the tomb & never saw him." The arguments like "ooh the sun rose at dawn, it's a contradiction because somebody mentioned darkness & somebody mentioned dawn" -- it's not going to cut it. I'm not about to blow off accounts that are so recognizably similar over that.

Who was first into the tomb, Peter, or Mary Magdalene and the girls?

&gt;&gt;&gt; I don't think any of the accounts specify "the person who was first to set foot inside the tomb was so & so". That's one of the times when it would be nice to be able to ask a follow-up question Ö but in historical matters, that's not one of our options.

Was the rock rolled away when they got there, as in Mark or John, or by angels right in front of them, as in Matthew?

&gt;&gt;&gt; Add Luke to the accounts that specifically state that the rock was found rolled back. Matthew does make it sound like the women were close enough to see when the rock was rolled back, but somehow focuses on the reaction of the guards not the women; what, didn't the women react? This is another one of those times when it would be great to have the luxury of asking follow-up questions: "Hey Matthew, are you saying that the women saw the stone being rolled back, or is that just as good a place to write down the fact that the stone got rolled back as any?"

The point is that you have to resolve the many contradictions (which I did not all list, of course) to write one coherent account. And you haven't. Like I said, you failed to answer the challenge. In fact, it can't be done.

&gt;&gt;&gt; In fact, the challenge isn't that hard, and a single coherent account out of all the verses didn't really take that long. But some people won't be satisfied. For instance, who was the first to set foot in the tomb? Well, nobody says "so & so was first." How far away were the women when the stone was rolled back? If none of the women were close enough to see but that was just a convenient place in Matthew's narrative for him to record it, do we throw out Matthew? There are also lots of details people can ask that just weren't recorded. If people applied the same standards to the news reports from 4 different sources, they might have some of the same problems & have to throw out the evening news even when the basic outline of the accounts agreed.

&gt;&gt;&gt; The agreement on the basic events is so solid that a lot of people read those accounts their whole lives without noticing any "really serious contradictions."

When Jesus appears, did they clasp his feet, as in Mt, or did they not touch him, as in John?

&gt;&gt;&gt; Are you assuming those are the same event? I know people argue back & forth on that point; so just to make your case the strongest let's assume for this point that those are the same event. But the most likely reason for Jesus to tell Mary "Don't touch me" in John was that she was touching him. You wonder if a less patient person would have said "Would you just let go already" instead of "Donít touch me."

Who did Jesus first appear to, Mary alone (and she didn't recognize him), or the women (who recognized him instantly).

&gt;&gt;&gt; Jesus first appeared to Mary, but we don't know if she was alone. On the appearance of Jesus to Mary as recorded in John, John focuses on Mary for his whole account. He focuses on her so exclusively that the only way you can tell from John's account that Mary M isn't the only one involved is that she says "we".

&gt;&gt;&gt; So what do you think more unlikely: that accounts from history would exist & we don't have all the details we'd like, or that somebody was raised from the dead?

Take care & God bless
SL

-----------------------------
Reply to ecco

IP: Logged
OK, here I am a disciple of Jesus. Iíve followed him around for a couple of years, studied with him, learned from him. Then JC goes and gets himself nailed to a cross, dies and is put into a tomb. The next day, or a few days later, he shows up and says ďHi, Iím baaaackĒ. The first thing Iím going to do is get something to write on so I can record this miracle of miracles. If Iím illiterate, Iím going to find someone who can write and have him write it down right then and there. But I didnít.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Hi ecco, nice to meet you. You seem like a fairly down-to-earth kind of guy, & fairly calm too. I appreciate that.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Ok, let's say you are a disciple. Let's say that, instead of a 21st century guy used to evening news & cyberspace, that you're a first-century Jew who is used to teachings being passed on by oral tradition in certain formalized ways, & great numbers of people are taught in this manner either by the lucky few who can read or by other people who had to memorize the tradition they received so that they can pass it on correctly. I appreciate what you're saying, I just think you read our modern mind-set "ooh let's get it written down right away" back into things. We even have historical documents of people of that era saying things like "oh there was something written down but I thought I'd do better talking to a living human being so I went to so & so & asked for real live recollections when I could." They valued living voices over pieces of paper back then, which seems to have changed. The early church histories have it that the disciples only started taking to writing accounts of Jesus' life when they went on road trips & were leaving behind a group of people who wanted some record.

And none of the other eleven did it. And the Maryís didnít do it. In fact no one did it at the time. Amazing. JC returned from the dead and NO ONE thought to write it down! No first hand written accounts. I guess that no one thought a man returning from the dead was important.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Eh, the "no first-hand written accounts" isn't so. You seem to acknowledge that it's ok for someone who isn't very literate to get help writing. That's exactly what the histories record happened with the gospel according to Mark: he took notes for Peter, whose Greek was apparently not so great. That's why you find so many first-hand details in Mark's account (like who was sitting / standing where), even though Mark wasn't personally a witness. Like take the account of Jesus calming the storm. Matthew says they went to wake Jesus; Peter (through Mark) mentions exactly where Jesus was: in the stern, on a cushion. That's the voice of whoever actually went to wake him up. Peter's longer letter (the first one, written with the help of a scribe) also talks about the resurrection -- from the standpoint of figuring people already know about it, & discussing the implications.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Also, regardless of who you think was the author of the gospel according to John, it makes a claim to be written by a disciple, and one who was actually talking to Jesus after his resurrection. (The ancient church histories say that the last-surviving apostles got together & decided to write a more complete narrative, since the earlier 3 bio's just gave the last year of Jesus' ministry, & organized themselves around just events instead of teachings. So the last gospel was written to supplement the existing accounts & make sure the spiritual teachings, plus the other 2 years of ministry, didn't get forgotten. John took the lead and was the primary author which is how his name got attached to it, & the others made their own additions & added their testimony to the validity of what they had read at the end of the document. That's according to the ancient church histories, anyway.)

&gt;&gt;&gt; And about Matthew, there's good reason to think that it really was Matthew who wrote the first edition, the notes in Aramaic that people have observed are behind certain sections of the Greek texts of Matthew & Mark. And there's good reason to think even the Greek edition of Matthew was fairly early. There are a couple of fragments of an early Greek copy of Gmatthew in England, & the "paper" & writing style suggest that those fragments date from the 60's AD.

&gt;&gt;&gt; So there you have at least 3 disciples recording the resurrection, 2 for themselves & one with someone to help him write. Then you have Luke the historian who collected all the earlier accounts -- and he makes it sound like there were a lot of them, see his introduction -- and set out to investigate everything.

&gt;&gt;&gt; The life, death, and resurrection of Christ are better-documented than most other events before the invention of the printing press. I mean, who else in antiquity had 4 biographies written of him within 100 years of his life?

Take care & God bless
SL

--------------------------
response to aikido7

I will thankfully take your blessing and your peace. I believe there has not been a "brother or sister in Christ" since before Nicea. Churches teach the religion ABOUT Jesus instead of the religion OF Jesus. Biblical scholarship points a way but, alas, only dimly.

&gt;&gt;&gt; There shouldn't need to be any opposition between faith in Christ and the practices that Christ taught. Jesus said it was all about himself. "You search the Scriptures diligently because you think that by THEM you have life. These are they that testify of ME, yet you refuse to come to ME and have life." Or if you're not fond of Gjohn, he says basically the same thing in Luke, 'Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." God has redeemed his creation; it is the rational basis for our trust in him. He has redeemed us from death & has broken the power of death; in this He has been faithful to us even when we were faithless. We trust God not blindly, but because he is trustworthy, and we know that in Christ.

Take care & God bless
SL

---------------------
Reply to Opus

Samaritan Lady, you didn't answer my questions.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Sure I did. But if you want more detail, let's do it.

Here they are again:
Re: Numbering Jesus' resurrection appearances
I'll admit that Paul's chronology is hazy. But you're still stuck with the issue of Luke's appearance. You try to fix this by making it the same as John's, but this just doesn't work. You admit so yourself:
quote:

Luke & John are both specifically talking about dinner that first night; Luke seems to be unaware of the fact that good old Thomas was absent, something only mentioned by John, who gives the only first-hand account of that dinner.

Care to tell me how Luke, inspired by an omnipotent deity, could be unaware of Thomas' absence?

&gt;&gt;&gt; Luke never says he was "inspired by an omnipotent deity" (whatever that means). He says he set out to investigate all the accounts of these things. Somewhere, somehow, this really odd view came into being that the gospels were dictated from heaven. But none of the authors says anything of the sort. They are records of the life of Christ: that is their holiness.

Furthermore, you totally failed to answer my question about Lk. 24:48-49. Once again, let me spell it out:
According to Luke, Jesus appeared to the Eleven 3 days after his death, on Sunday. He tells them not to leave Jerusalem.
According to Matthew and John, the disciples do indeed leave Jerusalem.
Despite your attempts, we can't move Luke's speech by Jesus to some random point in the future, when it is clearly continuous throughout.
So we're stuck with how the disciples could have gone to Galilee if they stayed in the Temple and prayed until after Jesus' ascension.

&gt;&gt;&gt; You're probably aware that Luke & Acts are written by the same author as part of the same project. It's Luke himself who explains that the "don't leave Jerusalem" thing wasn't the first night, over in Acts. He has that "don't leave Jerusalem" thingy jotted down after his notes about the "forty days", and as "on one occasion when they were eating." So Luke himself resolves this for us, which was originally brought up by Luke. I'll grant that in the gospel of Luke the accounts are all rolled together without distinction, but in Volume 2 (Acts) Luke makes it clear that there were a lot of appearances, not just that one.

Finally, your textual parsing is absurd at times. Look at how you have to split up the text at arbitrary points in order to make everything work. For example, Mark never mentions Mary Magdalene leaving the group, and yet we're supposed to believe that the "they" refered to throughout Mark's account excludes Mary Magdalene, who has left earlier, but whom Mark hasn't told us about.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Actually parallel columns would have worked better, for reasons like the details you mention. John tells us that Mary flipped out & left, then came back, which nobody else bothered to mention. Possibly nobody else knew, or nobody else thought it was all that important. But we don't know at what point she rejoined them since nobody says, & sure my picking a point has to be a little arbitrary because we don't know at what point everybody met up again.

Even with this type of parsing, we're left with bizarre concoctions like this:
Mark 16:8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Matt 28:8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Huh?

&gt;&gt;&gt; It's 2 accounts of the same thing, friend, set side-by-side for easy comparison.

And how about how you split up John 2:2 and John 2:3? Mary Magdalene leaves the tomb, but apparently the other women stay. A bunch of stuff happens, then they leave and tell the Eleven. But somehow (Lk. 24:10), Mary Magdalene ends up with the other women even though she had left earlier to tell Peter. And somehow, after Peter had learned of this, he reunited with the other disciples, but hadn't told them what Mary had told him yet.

&gt;&gt;&gt; From what John says, we know Mary M left, & don't know whether she had any tag-alongs or not, & we don't know exactly at what point in the other women's visit Mary gets back. And sure, I'd expect her to meet up with the people she came with, eventually.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Luke sums up all the women's comings and goings, & just says the ladies left & got word to the disciples, & lists some of the ladies involved. That's one thing people have a lot of trouble with, is that John records more details on Mary M.'s comings & goings. The other writers either didn't know or didn't think it was important and just summarized.

And somehow, Mary makes two visits to the tomb, which is not contained in any of the gospels.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Sure, the gospel of John gives us lots of information that we hadn't known otherwise; that was part of why he & his friends wrote.

Also, you have Mary leaving to talk to Peter, but no perceivable way of her going back to the tomb.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Walking I'm sure? Maybe you could clear up what you're asking here?

Mary tells the disciples of Jesus' rising twice. Oddly, in the second instance, Jesus tells her to do so, apparently unaware that she already has. Jesus then tells the other women the same thing.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Cute, but on her first visit to the disciples, after her first visit to the tomb, Mary didn't tell anybody about anyone rising. She said the body was gone & she didnít know where it was.

Here's the bottom line:
I was never a fundamentalist, or even a Christian. I view the resurrection stories as theological and political parables.

&gt;&gt;&gt; I can see you're sincere, but -- if they were meant that way, then why didn't the letters going along with them talk that way? Why don't the speeches in, say, Acts, or the letters of the disciples, start talking about things like that? Why didn't the early church know about it, if that was the right understanding?

For example, in Mark, there's a big theme about how Jesus' family does not support him, and how his own disciples are stupid and cowardly. This idea is culminated in Jesus' final week.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Yep, but what reason do we have to think they didn't mean it at face value?

In Jewish custom, a man's parents should help with his funeral service if he dies before them. What happens to Jesus? His father, Joseph, does not bury him, but another Joseph does. His mother, Mary, does not spice his body, but two other Marys do. And his best friend Simon Peter does not carry his cross as a friend should, but another Simon does.

&gt;&gt;&gt; I don't want to dismiss, but it just seems so out-of-step with waht we know. If you look at the other documents of the early church, these are real historic people, despite them having common names.

Furthermore, none of these characters--Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, and Simon the Cyrene--receive any print in Mark prior to their abrupt appearances in Jesus' last days. This leads me to conclude that they are at least partially Markan literary creations intended to express an idea, rather than recount an historical event.

&gt;&gt;&gt; But Mark just wasn't that literarily creative. And if this was his aim, why didn't he say so at some point, instead of telling people he was writing about the Christ?

Another example: In John, the beloved disciple beats Peter to the tomb. Was this an historical event? Probably not. Rather, it was another literary structure. John wanted to stress the idea that while Peter may have originally been the heir to Jesus' church, he has since been displaced (beaten out) by another disciple. This idea is also found in the Johannine pericope where Jesus tells his mother to adopt the beloved disciple as her son. It's uncertain exactly who the beloved disciple represents, but it is probably a church or school of belief, rather than an actual person.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Well ... again, I know you're sincere, but ... the early church records take it for granted that the beloved disciple is actually John. John went on to stay many years in Ephesus, & one of the early church controversies has the bishop of Rome getting pushy with the bishop of Ephesus over the Asian church having different customs than the Roman church. (I promise this has a point, hang on, I'm almost there.) Anyway, the long & short of it was that the underdog writes back to the effect that hey John the beloved disciple founded our church, the guy who leaned back against Jesus at supper that last night, his tomb is here in our city, and so are the tombs of (a few other people who are probably beside the point at the moment). Now if it was meant to be understood as just a literary device, nobody would argue from that person's tomb being in their city. This controversy was in the 100's, with all these things relatively fresh in everybody's mind.

Now, I'm not saying that everything is fictional. I'm not certain what is real and what isn't. The reason I react so strongly to people trying to "reconcile" the Easter accounts is because most people don't realize that the accounts were never intended to be reconciled in the first place. They were meant to be independant literary creations. Changes were deliberate and intentional.

&gt;&gt;&gt; Thing is, if that's true, then why didn't the early church know it? There's a lot of face-value improbability to what you're saying.

Well, that's my rambling sermon. If SL or anyone else still wants to "reconcile" what happened at Easter, you're welcome to it. It may even be possible. But it's not what the authors intended, and whatever reconstruction you come up with will not be an accurate description of what really happened at Easter.

&gt;&gt;&gt; God, having become man, broke the power that death has over men. It's good news.

&gt;&gt;&gt; So, out of curiosity, what is it that makes you decide not to take the accounts at face value? Do you see value in them that you don't want to lose with the outright atheistic dismissal? And what in particular makes you decide to take a more symbolic approach to the gospel texts? Is it the supernatural elements?

Take care & God bless
SL




[This message has been edited by SamaritanLady (edited April 16, 2001).]
 
Old 04-17-2001, 07:20 AM   #19
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That's why you find so many first-hand details in Mark's account (like who was sitting / standing where), even though Mark wasn't personally a witness. Like take the account of Jesus calming the storm. Matthew says they went to wake Jesus; Peter (through Mark) mentions exactly where Jesus was: in the stern, on a cushion. That's the voice of whoever actually went to wake him up.

If Mark wasnít personally a witness, then who was? The voice of whoever? Who? The same problem as with all biblical writings going back to Leviticus. How did Leviticus know what god said to Moses? Was he there? Did Moses tell him exactly what god said? These are stories of stories. Look at the resurrection accounts. The author(s) write about who was there and what those people saw. How do they know? Did any of them talk to Mary? More stories of stories. Stories passed down and embellished to the point that we are told where Jesus was sitting in a boat. Legends have existed for thousands of years. Their existence does not make them a reality any more then King Arthur or Bigfoot.

Take care and use your mind to THINK CRITICALLY.


[This message has been edited by ecco (edited April 17, 2001).]
 
Old 04-17-2001, 05:21 PM   #20
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Samaritan Lady:

For some odd reason, you insist that the Easter accounts are accurate, but you admit that you do not agree to the doctrine of Biblical inspiration or infallibility. That's a little odd.

Once again, you skip over any substantive points that I make with non-rebuttals. For example, your response to Mt. 28:8 following right after Mk. 16:6 is simply that they are two accounts of the same thing, completely ignoring the fact that Mark has the women not telling the disciples, whereas in Matthew they do.

I feel like I'm arguing against a brick wall with you and your abysmal lack of real scholarship. You dredge out the same old apologist line that John is so different from the other gospels because it was written specifically for the purpose of adding information omitted in the other three gospels, blissfully unaware that the scholarly consensus is that John never had any clue about Luke or Matthew, and may not have even known Mark.

You state that Luke "clarifies" his earlier statements in Acts, but this is not true. Luke tells the story of the resurrection differently in Acts, just like he tells the story of Paul's conversion differently two times within Acts. He does this because in those times it was considered boring to tell a story exactly the same way twice. So he varies the details: Jesus ascended after 3 days in one version, and after 40 days in another. Paul's companions heard the voice in one telling, but not in the other. Luke didn't care about scientific accuracy; he cared about writing a good, exciting story.

On Mark:
He was an extremely literary author. Despite his poor Greek and ignorance of Judaism, the themes found in his gospel are quite sophisticated and continue to amaze me. The reason he doesn't state that he's writing a literary story is because that would be a little heavy-handed.

More on John:
Again, John is telling a story with the resurrection appearances. Don't you think that the story of Thomas is a little too obvious? It's clearly a story meant to impart an important precept: believe on faith.

On the Early Church:
We have very little actual information on the early church. It's likely that hardly any members of the Pauline church ever knew Jesus. Thus I place very little credence in what they have to say. Papias, for instance, was just plain wrong on a whole bunch of stuff. Irenaeus says that Jesus lived to be 50, which contradicts with the gospels.

Among the non-Pauline churches, things get even worse, as we have the gnostics denying the resurrection entirely.

What convinced me that the gospels were literary accounts is the overwhelming evidence that much literature of that time period is myth--that is, religious themes written as history. And the gospels fit perfectly into that mold. It's a little bit more than I care to get into right now, but I might want to start another thread on it.

The bottom line for me is that I require extraordinary evidence to convince me of the supernatural. Accounts with even minor discrepancies is enough to cast doubt upon such events. In the case of the gospels, even where they don't contradict, they don't overlap much. Of the dozen or so different resurrection appearances of Jesus, only 3 or 4 appear in more than one account. That is troubling. Toss in a pre-scientific worldview and strong evidence of the literary rather than historic nature of the gospels, and I am highly skeptical that the resurrection actually happened.
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