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Old 05-09-2001, 07:28 PM   #1
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Post If the gospels are forgeries, then why...?

If the gospels are forgeries then why...

is the most significant and datable event in early Christian history, the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, never once mentioned in them as a past fact?

does Matthew's gospel, the gospel of the tax collector, include two parables centered on money which are not in any of the other gospels (Matt 18:23 and 20:1), and many other details concerning money that are unique to his gospel?

are two of the four gospels unanimously ascribed to non-apostles, and one of the two which are ascribed to apostles, the Gospel of Matthew, to one so little eminent among the apostles as Matthew?

are all the gospels unanimous in saying that women were the first witnesses of the empty tomb and of the risen Jesus, when women in first century Palestine were considered to be such unreliable witnesses that they were not even allowed to testify as witnesses in a religious court?

did 11 of the 12 apostles probably, and 2 of them certainly, die for their testimony of the risen Christ?

do the gospels record that on at least 3 occasions, Jesus was not immediately recognized as himself by his disciples, thus casting doubt on whether or not it was certainly Him whom the disciples saw?

do they never record any appearance of Christ to his enemies to confound them?

do they contain so many other cryptic sayings of Jesus with absolutely no editorial remark expositing them?
 
Old 05-09-2001, 10:00 PM   #2
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I forgot to mention that the destruction of the temple was in 70 A.D., far earlier than Matthew, Luke, and John are commonly dated by most critical N.T. scholars, yet they, like Mark, are silent concerning it.
 
Old 05-10-2001, 05:56 AM   #3
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Matt: I don't think the gospels are forgeries, just poor mythology.

- the temple. Well, if I remember the dating of the texts, some of them were written before this event and some after. Perhaps the more pertinant question, is of what importance to Christianity would this have been? (Saw your follow-on. Mark is definitely before this event, and some skeptical thinking on the gospels is that you don't have 4 independent sources here, you have maybe one or two as the later drew heavily on the original.)

- I don't see any relevance here. Isn't it strange that God loves the poor and wants us to offer treasure to his priests? Is it God or God's priests that want this?

- Your point? Matthew contains at least a few historical gaffes which we know are not likely true (story of Herod killing the 2 year olds) and so on.

- Again, the point? Women were property in this society. Just read the O/T law if you can't figure it out. Since you're harping on the resurrection here, kindly explain the horrid inconsistancies in all the tales.

- urban Christian legend. I'll agree with 2, the rest are hyperbole more than likely. Ask yourself then why did the 900 or so die at Jonestown? Why did the Hale-Bop wackos die for their belief? Why did Koresh's followers fort up and die for their beliefs? Intensity of belief has zero to do with VALIDITY. It simply means the person is past any hope of reason...

- they weren't drunk enough yet???

- because it was only in their heads?

- because they were going, "wow, HEAVY man...?"

Now my turn to pose a few "questions"...

- If the gospels are true, then why are they so corrupt in detail? After all, this is the inerrant word of mighty God... Specifically, harmonize the resurrection across all accounts, omitting nothing and assuming nothing extra-biblically.

- If the gospels are true, and as they say "hundreds of witnesses" saw the risen Christ, then why is there literally nothing in the secular record? Or any other record anywhere?

- If the gospels are true, then why are the events of the resurrection (earthquakes, dead men walking, sky darkening) not documented ANYWHERE in the ancient world? There were numerous people living at the time that would have had an interest and should have noticed. What we have indicates they didn't.

That will do for starters...
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Old 05-10-2001, 06:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by matt:
If the gospels are forgeries then why... </font>
Both fundamentalists and skeptics tend to see the gospel accounts as biographies in the modern sense we do today. But in fact they are faith documents--a complex blend of faith, history, and theology.

Mainstream biblical scholars do not need to prove the gospels are or are not forgeries; the categorization is not part of their methodology in critical analysis.

 
Old 05-10-2001, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by matt:
If the gospels are forgeries then why...

</font>
A new apologist in training. Welcome Matt.
Please remember to open your mind and think for yourself.

:-)



[This message has been edited by Kosh (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 06:15 PM   #6
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Secular history contains several accounts of the darkness. Non-Christians argued that it was an eclipse, and Christians argued that the darkness was inconsistent with that of an eclipse.

There are also accounts of the earthquake, though unbelievers thought that it was simply another earthquake, and nothing was special about it.

The dead rising was only in Jerusalem if I remember correctly. Have you ever seen Jerusalem? Even modern day Jerusalem is only a few square miles, and has only a few thousand residents. Back then, probably a few hundred.
 
Old 05-10-2001, 08:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by matt:
Secular history contains several accounts of the darkness. Non-Christians argued that it was an eclipse, and Christians argued that the darkness was inconsistent with that of an eclipse.

There are also accounts of the earthquake, though unbelievers thought that it was simply another earthquake, and nothing was special about it.

The dead rising was only in Jerusalem if I remember correctly. Have you ever seen Jerusalem? Even modern day Jerusalem is only a few square miles, and has only a few thousand residents. Back then, probably a few hundred.
</font>
\

Matt -

Please post source references for the several
secular accounts. Then compare those dates
with those of eclipses around that time.
Eclipses (past and future) are easy to
calculate thanks to this thing we know as
Astronomy...

Earthquakes aren't that special. Check
some statistics. Once again, please post
the sources.

The area of Jerusalem is 123 square miles
(is that what you mean by a few square miles?)

Check out the chart below. The population
density of Jerusalem is an average of
2000 people per square mile.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/Libs/PCL/M...Israel_pop.jpg

The population is over 602,000 (is that
what you mean by a few thousand?).

http://www.greatestcities.com/jerusa...rusalem-4.html

http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH01gv0

According to this link:

http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~arch343/lecture2.html

There were 150,000 at the time of Herod. That's more
than a few hundred, wouldn't you say?

 
Old 05-10-2001, 09:51 PM   #8
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No, not more than a few hundred. Only 1500 100's.

Thanks for doing the gruntwork. I was too lazy I guess; I only went on what I had remembered hearing.

All of those sources are in THE CASE FOR CHRIST, by Lee Strobel.

Matt
 
Old 05-11-2001, 12:15 AM   #9
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The destruction of the Temple is mentioned--as a prophecy by Jesus. Clearly, if one is attributing a prophecy to your religion's founder, it doesn't help to mention that you are writing at a time when that particular prophecy has already come true. Much better to not mention this event, leaving the impression that you were writing before it happened, and as such could not possibly be making up the prophecy.

You're going at the Matthew gospel back-assward. The scholarly opinion is that the gospels were originally anonymous. The early church fathers tried to divine authorship by looking at them. They would have surely noticed that Matthew contained the most money related material, and thus assumed that it must have been the tax collector disciple who wrote it.

As to the assignation of the rest of the gospels:

John is pretty self-evident: John's a real important apostle who is never mentioned in that gospel, so he must be the beloved disciple.

Mark and Luke: I can't speak for why these gospels were assigned to non-apostles. Again, scholars do not consider them frauds. They were originally anonymous, with titles affixed later by Christians doing educated guessing. Luke explicitly states that it was written by a non-eyewitness. Why they decided that the author must be Luke I cannot say. I vaguely recall that Mark has a lot of material on Peter, and Mark was Peter's interpreter, so that would explain that attribution. But I'm not certain.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about the gospels being unanimous in the women going to the tomb. Three of the gospels have tons of material in common. I won't get into the synoptic debate here, but at most we have 2 independent accounts, possibly only 1 if John used Mark or came late enough that all the relevant material was commonly known.

Again, neither I nor most scholars are of the opinion that the gospels are entirely fraudulent or mythical. The women going to the tomb may have actually happened. There could be some historical kernel, but it is quite difficult to say for certain.

Please provide some evidence that 11 of the 12 apostles "probably" died for their testimony of the risen Christ. This claim is bandied about so often I feel like vomiting every time it is brought up again, especially when it is supported by zero evidence.

I don't know why the gospels state that Jesus' disciples did not recognize him. I'm sure there are hypotheses galore, of which I can provide you some, but I don't have any ideas of my own off hand.

Why doesn't Jesus appear to his enemies? My opinion is that Jesus' original appearances to his disciples were of a deeply spiritual variety. Later, as time passed, and stories were retold, they became physical, especially when the gnostics needed to be rebuffed. Clearly, only Jesus' friends are going to have visions of him after his death. So my answer is that Jesus does not appear to his enemies in the gospels because he did not do so in real life.

The cryptic sayings of Jesus may very well be real. Jesus probably said a lot of strange and undecipherable things that people remembered and told to each other after his death, and eventually writing down.

I've answered your questions. Here are mine. Read these two articles:
http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/gosp1.htm
http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/gosp2.htm

Posit your own theory of gospel authorship (don't just criticize other people's). Then see how your ideas stack up with the information presented on those two links. If, for example, you believe that Matthew wrote first, explain why Mark "un-fixes" so many of Matthew's correct statements to make them incorrect, or grammatically poorer. If you think that Mark wrote first, then why does Matthew, an eyewitness, use 90% of Mark's material, often word-for-word? How does Luke fit into the equation? Why does John disagree so much with the synoptics (e.g., did Jesus teach in private?) if he is an eyewitness?

These are just sample questions. Like I said, formulate your own ideas, making sure they are consistent with everything on those two links. Then compare the number of holes and curiosities in your theory to the handful that exist for the reigning scholarly ideas (which, BTW, are that the gospels are complex hagiographies and literary documents, like aikido said, not forgeries or biographies). You'll see just how tough it is teasing out the truth about gospel authorship, and why apologetic pulps like Stroebel's don't carry much weight in the scholarly community.
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Old 05-11-2001, 07:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by matt:
No, not more than a few hundred. Only 1500 100's.

Thanks for doing the gruntwork. I was too lazy I guess; I only went on what I had remembered hearing.

All of those sources are in THE CASE FOR CHRIST, by Lee Strobel.

Matt
</font>
And yet you came here willing to evangelize us all by posting this information.
You expect people to listen to your arguments in favor of Christianity, something
which has huge impacts on peoples lives, without even bothering to check your
information to see if it's true!

Matt - reverse the tables. What if you were visited by a missionary from [insert your
favorite cult religion which you feel is obviously debunked] and the guy started
spewing misinformation at you which he strongly believed?

One of the arguments that apologists like to use is that Christianity would have
not have spread so quickly had it not been true. They assume that all those early
Christians would have verified the claims of the Apostles before accepting them.


But here we have a perfect modern example of typical human nature. Matt has heard
something (or read it) and assummed it to be true. He doesn't remember where he
heard that there were only a few hundred people in Jerusalem, but he's ready to
preach it to the world. Same with the "facts" from Strobel's book. Because it's
printed, it must true, right? WRONG! Why is it that apologists insist on removing
human nature from the characteristics of the early Christians? And on top of this,
I would propose that Matt is educated immensely more than any of those early Christians.


Matt - do you now understand just how easy it is to start an Urban Legend?

Here's some reading suggestions for you:

George Orwell's "1984". If you don't like to read, you can rent the movie.

http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/StrobelIntro.htm

(I apologize if I went off on you too strong)

Kosh
 
 

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