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Old 04-14-2001, 05:27 AM   #11
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by SecWebLurker:
Notice that I do not really argue anything akido attributes to me anywhere in this thread.

Any native speaker of English can tell you are attempting to argue against Cry Baby toward a classic skeptical stance.

I'm sure he's very excited to tell us all about his 'true' interpretation of the Gospels, but unfortunately this thread is about claims that allegedly disprove certain Christian beliefs and my purpose here is to assess the validity of those claims.

Besides assuming my post exhibits emotion I do not have, SecWebLurker missed my main point: Both SWL and Cute Little Baby appear to make their arguments within the context of modern rationalism.

If you want to have a discussion about the purpose and literary genre of the gospels, I suggest you start another thread, akido(sic). Though it might help if you present some support for your position other than an implicit 'because I say so'.

The understanding of my "position" is in the response it gets. You appear to have "understoond" on your own level and at this stage wish to go no further. Of course I will respect that.




[This message has been edited by aikido7 (edited April 14, 2001).]
 
Old 04-14-2001, 05:51 AM   #12
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SWL: Firstly, this is something that needs to be argued for, not just asserted.

CLB: You appeal to authority, so will I: this is the consensus of most all of the Scholars.

SWL: Actually, no its not. You wrote "Because the authors were not disciples of Jesus and instead were just anonymous Christians who compiled various myths and legends of Jesus into the Gospels, thats why." It is not the consensus that the Gospel authors just compiled myths and legends. It may be the consensus that the Gospel authors were anonymous but I don't really regard this as significant as a) I don't see any great arguments upon which this view is based and b) taking into consideration the fact that several brilliant scholars who oppose this "consensus" with actual arguments (Hengel, Gundry, France, Blomberg, etc.) whereas all we see from the "consensus" is the same tired old arguments being parroted with no interaction with the rebuttals. If you think I appeal to authority anywhere throughout my post, point it out, and I'll present the reason for that authority maintaining that view.

CLB: I am sure others here could explain the details better. But one thing I'd like to point out is that, since Paul's epistles can be dated with reasonable certainty to around 50 A.D., and since the Gospels contradict him via being much more fantastic accounts,

SWL: LOL. They contradict him by being more fantastic? Sorry, no dice on that one. The Gospels are ancient biographies written about the life of Jesus. Paul's writing letters to the churches he founded and he's writing them as a corrective. Its not a matter of legendary development at all. Paul's writing to people who already believe in Jesus, and are most likely already familiar with accounts of His deeds.

CLB: and since it would take most likely at least two or three decades for such legends to spring up, you can be quite reasonable in concluding that the Synoptic Gospels were written decades after Paul.

SWL: What 'legends' are you talking about? You're simply begging the question...

CBL: Do the math, it comes to 70 A.D. Rough aproximations of course, but you get the point.
The same form of reasoning goes for John.

SWL: No, I really don't get the point.

SWL: But more importantly, none of this disproves any of what you claimed to be able to disprove.

CLB: In and of itself, no, of course not, and I never claimed so - thats why I included many other arguments in addition to this one. Obviously.

SWL: This argument, which you haven't supported, even IF true, does not support your claims of "disproof" in any way whatsoever. Sorry.

SWL: This is irrelevant. Do we discount a modern biography because it isn't told in the first person? Of course not. This again does not disprove a thing.

CLB: Alone, in and of itself, no, it proves nothing. But it was part of a larger argument/paragraph, which you just cut into.

SWL: It just doesn't support your claims. Sorry. It doesn't matter what its a 'part of'. It doesn't help you, period.

CLB: I'm not going to unfairly cut into the middle of your theories before you even have a chance to explain them (like you do to mine), and will instead adress all these as a whole -
In the context of of the Bible it casts quite a lot of suspicion on them. From the book of Daniel to the Epistles to the book of Revelation; when events and teachings by a specific individual or small group of individuals (be it Jesus, angels, or whatever) are taught to a specific person and meant to me proclaimed to or embraced by others, it says so.

SWL: Let's ignore your woefully irrelevant reference to "The Bible" as if it were one book written in the same genre and just save time by saying "Yeah, uh, so what?" On some occasions, when its recording an event in which something is being taught, it specifically says who taught what. Wow. Of course, if numerous parts of the Gospel narratives were taught and this teaching is not mentioned, we just WOULDN'T know this from any mentioning in the Gospels would we? Does the fact that instances of teaching are recorded in the Gospels entail that all information reported about Jesus would mention the source right afterwards? Of course not! That's ridiculous. And it would make for a terrible ancient biography: "Jesus went out into the desert and was tempted by Satan there (note: btw, we learned this from him around the campfire one night while roastin' some dogs)"

CLB: Daniel specifically states he was taught his prophecies by angelic beings/God's inspiration. Paul makes it clear that Jesus appeared to him and wanted him to do this or that. The author of revelation pursues virtually identical verbal practices. Yet the Gospel authors make no mention of this. Its complicated to explain how they could even go around getting other sources from Jesus' contemporaries, yet not record any of it.

SWL: Ancient biographies just didn't have bibliographies. There's nothing complicated about that at all.

CLB: This is completely contrary to the style of writing used by other Bible authors, multiple ones - Paul describes a number of places he went or people he talked to, and specifically says so. The same goes with the visions that the author of revelation had. Even OT authors--people who were removed Jesus' time by centuries--describe things seen or done by themselves as such i.e. "I went here" or "I did this". When God or an angel taught them something, they clearly said so. Perhaps not every single time but certainly in very sizeable portions of their teachings. Yet the Gospels have practically no resemblance at all to such writing styles.

SWL: All of which is completely irrelevant due to the very fact that the Gospels are a completely different genre from all of the texts you mention - namely bioi - ancient biography. See:

http://www.webcom.com/ctt/stil1720.html

or:

http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_02_02_03.html

Or buy yourself a copy of Burridge's thorough book on this subject, entitled "What are the Gospels?".

CLB: They never mention themselves seeing something or going someplace or talking to someone. They read like made up stories by people who were never witness to the events they describe, and the reason they read like that is most likely because they most likely are made up stories by people who were never witness to the events they describe.

SWL: They don't read like "made up stories" (could we be a little more puerile here?) at all. They just aren't written in the first-person because they are written in the Greco-Roman genre of bioi. The "we-passages" in Acts are though. Does that mean we have to accept Acts as written by an eyewitness? Oops!

CLB: You can grasp at straws and argue otherwise, but, since your explanation is the unlikely one, the burden of proof is on you, not me.

SWL: Your entire argument is made of straw and does nothing towards proving your point. Even if we granted your argument, it says nothing towards your claims.

CLB: Interesting that you "coincidentally" see this in John, the last of the Gospels.
Interesting also that you didn't adress why the context of the Gospels is not at all consistent with eyewitness Biblical reports.

SWL: It doesn't matter at all that John is the last of the Gospels. Its just utterly obvious that everything Jesus taught could not be and is not recorded in its entirety in the pages of the Gospels. Are you honestly having trouble with that? As far as the style in which the Gospels are written, that has to do with genre.

CLB: "not eyewitness accounts" as in "not written by an eyewitness" is what I meant - I don't deny that the Gospel authors were fully aware of some people who claimed to have seen Jesus do this or that. That was the point of that particular argument of mine - that the Gospels were written by people who themselves were not personally eyewitness to Jesus' actions.

SWL: And a) you haven't demonstrated this in any way whatsoever b) that doesn't do anything towards proving your claims. If the Gospels faithfully record accurate eyewitness testimony it doesn't matter in the least who wrote them.

CLB: The New Testiment: Is it, or is it not, a message from a (presumably perfect) God, sent to all of humanity as a spiritual guide? If its not, the everything Christianity has been built upon for the past 2,000 years goes down faster than Michael Jackson in a boy's locker room, and all your attempts at rationalizing Christianity and protecting it from "unfair" critisizms are wasted. Christianity dies. Of course, for you to admit that the NT is erroneous is to admit its not some divine message to humanity from a perfect God, as it would be absurd to think such a being would write a flawed book.

SWL: LOL, someone needs to familiarize themself with the term "liberalism". Most of the criticism that you wage against the Bible COMES from liberal Christians.

CLB: In response to "Who found the empty tomb?", you said:

SWL: And?

CLB: Thats the best you have? "And"? Hows this for an answer: And thus we conclude the details on who found the empty tomb are too incoherent to be taken seriously.

SWL: Nah, I said more than "And?". I responded to point a. as well which you snipped out (snip snip snip). But the "And?" is a prompt to get you to draw a conclusion from your seemingly irrelevant point b. (in light of my response to point a.). Go pop a few pills of ginko biloba and have a look at the exchange again. Try answering this time.

CLB: Positions they were sitting are trivial. One was sitting up and the other standing vs. both sitting vs. both standing vs. both leaning against a wall? Such a thing would be no big deal...HOWEVER; claiming one came out of the sky, there was an earthquake, then he sat on the rolled away stone, vs. conveniently "forgetting" flying in the sky and an earthquake while describing a fellow inside the tomb instead of outside vs. the other source that has a good enough memory to record another angel being there, but still conveniently "Forgets" the angel flying and the earthquake, vs. entirely "forgetting" that the woman who went to the tomb and saw it was empty, ran back to tell two of the then-skeptical disciples who then went and investigated the tomb, were convinced by the lack of a body, and went away...well, a story such as that which is wrought with such great inconsistencies is not at all trustworthy.

SWL: No, this again is just bunk. As I've said before - omission of a detail is not a contradiction. The Gospel authors have their own reasons for summarizing, being breif, varying the story, etc. We see the same thing in Josephus' parallel accounts. You need to take a break from your "Bible Contradictions" web-sites.

SWL: Many scholars actually think the ending of Mark is missing (N.T. Wright, Robert Gundry, Ben Witherington, etc.) and that the original ending contained an appearance to the women as in Matthew. And plenty of other scholars interpret this silence as what Mark sees as an appropriate fearful response to the divine presence, that is only meant to be temporary, as the news that Jesus will be going into Galilee being recieved by the disciples is seemingly contingent upon the women telling them, and Mark certainly believes the men will indeed see Jesus in Galilee.

CLB: So you admit that Mark was interpolated, yet consider it "divine" text?

SWL: What are you talking about, CLB? Please elaborate.

CLB: Or, if not, then explain; how would Mark, a disciple who supposedly was describing events he remembered, somehow "forget" to mention the women preaching to people? They preached to the disciples, one of whom would have been Mark! Why would he "forget" describing the very events that instigated the resurrection story and were the only source for his info on what the women saw?

SWL: As I already stated, there are several responses, two of which are a missing ending in Mark and the implicit notion that the silence is a response to divine presence meant to be temporary. Why would he end the Gospel where he did? He can have any number of reasons....His 'apocalyptic secret' motif, his motif of the failure of the disciples (including the women in this pericope), etc. There are several different opinions on Mark's literary reason for cutting it short. Here's one:

"The gospel ends with a statement about them leaving in fear and telling no one (16:8). Thus the irony is completed: when Jesus asked people not to reveal his identity they did so; when they were asked to do so, they failed. Surely the reason the Gospel ends without any resurrection appearances is because Mark wants to draw his audience into the action. They have been subtly and skillfully invited all along to embrace Christ in his suffering. Since Peter failed to do so he becomes an example of those who are still “half-blind.” Would Mark’s Roman audience—an audience that knew well the shame and degradation of crucifixion—do the same? Or would they recognize that one cannot have Christ without the cross, that there must be suffering before glory? By ending his Gospel with such incredible abruptness, he forces the audience to put themselves in the shoes of the original disciples. Although his audience surely knew that the (eleven) disciples all saw Jesus in his resurrection body—and all, ultimately, embraced him fully—by ending his Gospel immediately he subtly invites his audience to make the same decision."[http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/markotl.htm]

CLB: b. According to Matthew 28:8, they "ran to report it to His disciples."

SWL: Consistent with the temporary silence interp. of Mark or the missing ending.

CLB: NOT consistent with the temporary silence theory since they did something after the silence, which Mark "forgets" to report, for some reason.

SWL: YES consistent with the temporary silence theory if you actually understood what I wrote. My explanation is that the SILENCE of the women is meant to be temporary. Get it? I give the reason for that above.

CLB: If its consistent with the missing ending of Mark, it just shows all the more how unlike a "divinely inspired" text it is.

SWL: Really, how does that follow?

SWL: Unless of course the redactional tendencies of the authors of the Gospels accounts for the information being left out -like perhaps the men visiting the tomb being ommitted for the purpose of not arousing suspicion as to theft of the body, etc.


CLB: Then why did the other Gospel authors report something different?

SWL: Er, probably because they are DIFFERENT AUTHORS with DIFFERENT perspectives.

CLB: The Gospel stories are terribly inconsistent with each other, and as of yet, you've provided no explanation for this which stands up to careful scrutiny.

SWL: Calling your fumbling "careful scrutiny" is akin to calling Hitler a humanitarian.

You've yet to provide any support at all for your initial claims.

CLB: He makes NO MENTION of the tomb story.

SWL: Yeah, you already said that. And I already responded. No point in repeating it. Its meaningless.

CLB: An empty tomb would indeed be a hell of a miracle, but he "forgets it"?

SWL: Er, uh, er, um....Paul isn't trying to CONVINCE anyone of miracles. He's talking to "brethren" already "in Christ". They are already saved, they already BELIEVE in the miracle of the resurrection. Stop reading first century texts as if they are written to convince 21st century atheists of the supernatural.

CLB: Oh, and how could be appear to 500 brethren "at one time"? Did Christians really gather together in such all-male groups, such a short time after Christ's "resurrection", all for no apparent reason?

SWL: I don't see anything about the passage that necessitates that they are all Christians prior to the appearance. And it is of course just your assumption that there's no apparent reason for a large Christian gathering soon after the resurrection anyway. How the hell do you know what Christians are doing and when, in the years following the crucifixion?

CLB: But with the tomb story and Paul's lack of description of the Roman Guards, we see why he didn't mention it...

SWL: Because there was no need to.

CLB: Huh? So he gives an account of the events that happened at the resurrection, but fails to mention the best source out of all of them - the skeptical Roman Guards? This is absurd.

SWL: Your train of thought - the little engine that couldn't - is derailed once again. Matthew doesn't say that the guards became disciples or apostles DOES HE? No! Paul's not trying to CONVINCE anyone of the resurrection IS HE? No! Keep on chuggin'...

CLB: Jesus going into heaven is one of the most important things in the Resurrection story. How does he "forget" such a thing while somehow managing to remember events like the appearing to the 500 or to Cephas, both of which were far less significant than the ascension?

SWL: He's specifically REPEATING something he already told them and referring to it as indicative of his own apostolic authority. He's not writing a narrative concerning what happened to Jesus because they FORGOT. Get it? Do you think he just never talked about where Jesus was? Or what had happened to him? He just left everyone to wonder whether or not he was still walking around on earth? Its just obvious that any beliefs about Jesus being resurrected would entail that His primary mode of existence is no longer in visible bodily form on earth.

CLB: Interesting. Without the Red Herring, would you care to explain why Paul fails to mention Jesus being buried in the tomb or use the word for "entombed"?

SWL: Because, as I've shown, the word he DOES use is equally applicable to burial in a tomb, and he has no reason to specifically mention the tomb itself as it has no importance in 1 Cor 15. "Died..buried...raised" It's a very short formula...He's obviously got no intention of giving details.

SWL: Paul wasn't being spoken to in Matthew 26:19.

CLB: This is lame. Paul was supposed to be an apostle of Jesus just like the rest of the Disciples, therefore; he should have been preaching the same message. Yet he was preaching something distinctly contrary to it.

SWL: No, he just wasn't specifically commissioned to baptize. Call it what you like. Bottom line - Paul is not among those being spoken to in Matt. 26:19.

CLB: Paul didn't know about Jesus' teachings? And this is nothing more than repeating exactly my thesis on this, because, why, exactly?

SWL: I don't know what kind of sentence that last one is, but anyway, please stop referring to this silliness as a "thesis" or an "essay" or anything else of that sort. Now, that Paul didn't know A teaching of Jesus in NO WAY entails that Paul didn't know many of Jesus' teachings. As Johnson said, we wouldn't EXPECT new followers to be familiar with all of His teachings at this early stage.

CLB: This might get you off the hook here,

SWL: I'm not on any hook.

CLB: but it also eliminates any argument which seeks to establish that Paul was familiar with the story of the physical resurrection of Christ,since the latter can be interpreted as "spiritual" just as easily as the former.

SWL: It doesn't matter if Paul believes Jesus turned into Casper the friendly ghost and flew away to haunt a heavenly mansion on the third day. In light of my comments on angelic manifestation, any alleged contradiction between a 'spiritual resurrection' and that of the gospels is cleared up (contra a consistently confused Richard Carrier). But actually, I think Paul preaches a bodily resurrection, and I argue for that extensively in the following thread:

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000220.html

Have a look around

CLB: Jesus was said to be in a physical body when he ascended into Heaven, not a spiritual one as an angel has.

SWL: Woopty-doo. That's after an appearance account, not after Jesus is seen crawling out of the tomb. Don't confuse resurrection appearances with THE actual resurrection. And that Jesus ascended bodily says nothing towards Jesus' ultimate mode of existence in heaven being bodily.

SWL: Jesus' words, taken in context, refer to judging people for things you yourself are guilty of.

CLB: He says that he and the people he was writing to will judge Angels, who are clearly superior to them ethically. Talk about arrogance and contradicting Jesus' teaching on judging!

SWL: Not at all, if you read Jesus' teaching in context. Jesus clearly does not believe that you should NEVER judge, as he tells the disciples they will sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel.

SWL: Keep wondering...But what does it mean? Nothing. By the time of Tacitus' report, obviously Christians were proclaiming that Jesus had performed miracles. That Tacitus doesn't report this is evidence then that Christians weren't saying this? Of course not.

CLB: Miracles are hardly more important than Jesus being described as raised from the dead, especially when one discusses his cruxifiction.
Oh and BTW what about Josephus' lack of consistenty with the Gospel?

SWL: Uh, yeah. The belief in the resurrection was WELL in effect by the time of Tacitus too, brainy. And what's that about Josephus? Why don't you elaborate...

SWL: All rendered utterly insignificant by the fact that we know for a fact that Jesus' resurrection was proclaimed prior to this report.

CBL: "utterly insignificant"? Don't overdo it - Jesus being claimed to have raised from the dead is hardly the same as being unbiquitously claimed so by all major factions of Christianity in existence at the time. The latter is what would be expected if he really did raise from the dead. If he didn't, and those claiming that he did were just the faction that eventuall won after centuries of dispute between different versions of Christianity, then not mentioning the Resurrection story would be not be such a big deal. Which one best matches up with the evidence?

SWL: Way to miss the point. We KNOW the resurrection-belief was widespread and in existence. The fact that Tacitus or Lucian or Josephus do not mention it is like I said - utterly insignificant. I don't know what you're talking about with that factional nonsense.

CLB: Its a legitimate theory -

SWL: Its bunk.

CLB: if he rose from the dead, belief in such would be as common as believing his name was Jesus Christ and he was cruxified. But if he did not raise from the dead...well, I've explained that already.

SWL: Unless of course He only appeared to certain of His disciples. LOL. I suppose you think it was a televised event.

CLB: Oh please. I provided a very persuasive initial argument, and most of your critisizms were largely or wholely baseless from a rational perspective.

SWL: Hahahah...You haven't even provided AN argument, let alone a very persuasive one.

Try again. You set em up, I'll knock em down.

SecWebLurker
 
Old 04-14-2001, 06:11 AM   #13
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aikido has charged that Cute Little Baby and SecWebLurker argue from the context of modern rationalism; that seems to me to be special pleading, an effort to exempt the New Testament from all the rules of historical scholarship.
 
Old 04-14-2001, 04:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
aikido has charged that Cute Little Baby and SecWebLurker argue from the context of modern rationalism; that seems to me to be special pleading, an effort to exempt the New Testament from all the rules of historical scholarship.</font>
It is an interesting idea that I would wish to do away with scholarly NT methodology--I am just surprised to hear that from YOU, lpetrich.

Modern rationalism, objectivism--whatever--is OK as far as it goes. In this case, truth is that which highlights the opposed ideologies of fundamentalism/gnostic Christianity and atheistic/humanistic skepticism.

It is a very courageous thing to have the courage of one's convictions--and more courageous to mount an attack on one's convictions.
 
Old 04-15-2001, 02:29 AM   #15
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SecWebLurker,

Your said:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">SWL: Actually, no its not. You wrote "Because the authors were not disciples of Jesus and instead were just anonymous Christians who compiled various myths and legends of Jesus into the Gospels, thats why." It is not the consensus that the Gospel authors just compiled myths and legends. It may be the consensus that the Gospel authors were anonymous but I don't really regard this as significant as a) I don't see any great arguments upon which this view is based and b) taking into consideration the fact that several brilliant scholars who oppose this "consensus" with actual arguments (Hengel, Gundry, France, Blomberg, etc.) whereas all we see from the "consensus" is the same tired old arguments being parroted with no interaction with the rebuttals. If you think I appeal to authority anywhere throughout my post, point it out, and I'll present the reason for that authority maintaining that view.</font>
This was in discussion of my initial claim about the Gospels:

"1.They were all written at least 40 years or more after the death of Jesus...why did the authors wait so long? Because the authors were not disciples of Jesus and instead were just anonymous Christians who compiled various myths and legends of Jesus into the Gospels, thats why."

First, I see you did not adress my claim that the authors of the Gospels weren't the disciples. Does this mean you agree?

Second, the stories of Jesus performing miracles are legends/myths because miracles are impossible and could not ever have happened, therefore: They are legends/myths. Most scholars agree with this.

Third, the non-supernatural details, save for a very small number of them, are legends because they aren't verifiable. The combined research of every scholar on the face of the Earth probably could not change this fact.

Given that most scholars a) believe the non-supernatural details of Jesus to be myths (from an intellectual standpoint) and b) are well aware that most all of the non-supernatural details of Jesus' life are legends, its somewhat perplexing that you claim otherwise.

I also am appealing to authority here, and if you wish, I'll also present the reason for that authority maintaining my view.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">LOL. They contradict him by being more fantastic? Sorry, no dice on that one. The Gospels are ancient biographies written about the life of Jesus. Paul's writing letters to the churches he founded and he's writing them as a corrective. Its not a matter of legendary development at all. Paul's writing to people who already believe in Jesus, and are most likely already familiar with accounts of His deeds.</font>
Then why does he contradict them? Paul makes questionable statements via talking a lot about Jesus but somehow "forgetting" to mention important (Gospel) teachings of his at crucial moments, or else flat out contradicts the Gospel accounts. We thus conclude that this is probably because the Gospel stories are are largely untrue and were not written until after Paul wrote his letters.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What 'legends' are you talking about? You're simply begging the question</font>
I am talking about the legends of him being born of a virgin, performing miracles, raising from the dead, etc.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Let's ignore your woefully irrelevant reference to "The Bible" as if it were one book written in the same genre and just save time by saying "Yeah, uh, so what?"</font>
Don't you see the point? The Bible spans a large amount of time, peoples and sub-cultures of the Hebrews, yet the method of eyewitness writings i.e. "I saw this" or "I went there" or "I did this", etc., is common despite the afore mentioned differences, and this makes it all the more difficult to explain why, if the Gospels were written by Jesus' disciples i.e. first hand eyewitnesses, they do not bear any resemblance to similar writing styles that were common among quite a number of different peoples and times. True that they were being written in a somewhat different form (for the Gentiles), but this cannot explain why there is not a single claim AT ALL (as far as I know, I haven't read the text much) of the Gospel authors being direct eyewitnesses to the events they describe, even in instances when they had the occasion to say so. You'd think that claiming to be a direct eyewitness would be significantly more convincing to a skeptical audience than not doing so.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">On some occasions, when its recording an event in which something is being taught, it specifically says who taught what. Wow. Of course, if numerous parts of the Gospel narratives were taught and this teaching is not mentioned, we just WOULDN'T know this from any mentioning in the Gospels would we? Does the fact that instances of teaching are recorded in the Gospels entail that all information reported about Jesus would mention the source right afterwards? Of course not! That's ridiculous. And it would make for a terrible ancient biography: "Jesus went out into the desert and was tempted by Satan there (note: btw, we learned this from him around the campfire one night while roastin' some dogs)"</font>
See above.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Ancient biographies just didn't have bibliographies. There's nothing complicated about that at all.</font>
Of course they don't have such a thing, but they did not fail to describe events they discovered or saw themselves as being such. Yet the Gospel authors do fail in this reguard. Again, you could argue that it was the specific writing style, but again, See Above - it stands to reason that some claim, even a brief one, of being an eyewitness, would be put in there when writing to a skeptical audience. Yet there are not any.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">They don't read like "made up stories" (could we be a little more puerile here?) at all. They just aren't written in the first-person because they are written in the Greco-Roman genre of bioi.
The "we-passages" in Acts are though. Does that mean we have to accept Acts as written by an eyewitness? Oops!</font>
What "we passages" (I assume you mean admission to being first-hand eyewitnesses?) are you referring to?
Also, I would like to know how you explain the lack of "we passages" in Luke when compared with Acts, since they were written by the same author. Matter of fact, one wonders why such (obvious?) "we-passages" are in Acts but not in any of the other Gospels.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It doesn't matter at all that John is the last of the Gospels. Its just utterly obvious that everything Jesus taught could not be and is not recorded in its entirety in the pages of the Gospels. Are you honestly having trouble with that?</font>
When combined with other details in John, we see aditional and seemingly more fantastic, accounts of or details about, the events that happened to Jesus, which "coincidentally" are absent from the earlier Gospels - "coincidentally" they end up in the last Gospel which is "coincidentally" what one would expect grom a growing myth/legend, and "coincidentally" seems to speak against all of the Gospels even being coherent, reliable eyewitness accounts, let alone a message from the perfect Lord and master of the universe given to all of humanity.
Do you see the point? John, the last of the Gosels, contains accounts that are significantly extraordinary (more so in certain cases than some Gospel stories),and the earlier ones don't have these stories, probably because by the author of John's time, myths/legends had more time to grow and blossom into more extraordinary tales than those in the original, earlier Gospels.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">: And a) you haven't demonstrated this in any way whatsoever</font>
I await your opinion on that statement after you've read this post.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">b) that doesn't do anything towards proving your claims. If the Gospels faithfully record accurate eyewitness testimony it doesn't matter in the least who wrote them.</font>
Who says they did record accurate testimony? They are full of absurdities, scientific flaws, historical flaws, incoherence, self-contradictions and dissagreement with other sources about the events/persons they desribe. Such documents are hardly very reliable.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">LOL, someone needs to familiarize themself with the term "liberalism". Most of the criticism that you wage against the Bible COMES from liberal Christians.</font>
Is the Bible a message from the all powerful perfect Lord and master of the universe (God) sent to all of humanity as a book to learn from and live by, or is it not? If it is, it should have no significant flaws in it - minor translation errors are one thing but dissingenous portrayal of, or wholely fabricated, events, are something that would not be present in God's holy book to humanity, and the same goes for contradictions. Yet both are present in large quantities in the NT. How then can it be this "message from God"?
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nah, I said more than "And?". I responded to point a. as well which you snipped out (snip snip snip). But the "And?" is a prompt to get you to draw a conclusion from your seemingly irrelevant point b. (in light of my response to point a.). Go pop a few pills of ginko biloba and have a look at the exchange again. Try answering this time.</font>
"pop pills"? Such insults are hardly necassary.
I've already answered your statements on the details of the Resurrection, so I'm not certain what specifically your referring to in saying: "Try answering this time".

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">No, this again is just bunk. As I've said before - omission of a detail is not a contradiction. The Gospel authors have their own reasons for summarizing, being breif, varying the story, etc. We see the same thing in Josephus' parallel accounts. You need to take a break from your "Bible Contradictions" web-sites.</font>
Where do we see the same thing in "Josephus' parallel accounts"? Summarizing is one thing but the contradictions in these Gospel passages cannot be ignored if one wishes to establish the Resurrection as a reasonable possibility. No eyewitness accounts would be that incoherent and still have a claim to being trustworthy enough to establish something as fantastic as a supernatural claim, and this is easy to demonstrate (which I will if you want).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What are you talking about, CLB? Please elaborate</font>
I'm talking about how flawed ones reasoning must be to claim a book which was re-worked and/or edited to such an extent as Mark's ending was, still somehow has a reasonable claim to being a divine text for all of humanity to live and learn by. Why would God "inspire" such flawed writings?
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As I already stated, there are several responses, two of which are a missing ending in Mark and the implicit notion that the silence is a response to divine presence meant to be temporary. Why would he end the Gospel where he did? He can have any number of reasons....His 'apocalyptic secret' motif, his motif of the failure of the disciples (including the women in this pericope), etc. There are several different opinions on Mark's literary reason for cutting it short. Here's one:

"The gospel ends with a statement about them leaving in fear and telling no one (16:8). Thus the irony is completed: when Jesus asked people not to reveal his identity they did so; when they were asked to do so, they failed. Surely the reason the Gospel ends without any resurrection appearances is because Mark wants to draw his audience into the action. They have been subtly and skillfully invited all along to embrace Christ in his suffering. Since Peter failed to do so he becomes an example of those who are still “half-blind.” Would Mark’s Roman audience—an audience that knew well the shame and degradation of crucifixion—do the same? Or would they recognize that one cannot have Christ without the cross, that there must be suffering before glory? By ending his Gospel with such incredible abruptness, he forces the audience to put themselves in the shoes of the original disciples. Although his audience surely knew that the (eleven) disciples all saw Jesus in his resurrection body—and all, ultimately, embraced him fully—by ending his Gospel immediately he subtly invites his audience to make the same decision."[http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/markotl.htm]</font>
The "missing ending" theory is flawed if one wishes to argue that Mark is "divinely inspired", and so is the other explanation - you could just as well say that any other event reported in only one of the Gospels was fabricated just to sound entertaining. How can you claim these are holy books ordained by God and at the same time admit they were written in a contradicting manner just to sound more entertaining? Holy books are supposed to be instructional, not entertaining. To admit the opposite, or even a medium between the two, is to call the authenticity of all of them into serious question.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: b. According to Matthew 28:8, they "ran to report it to His disciples."

SWL: Consistent with the temporary silence interp. of Mark or the missing ending.

CLB: NOT consistent with the temporary silence theory since they did something after the silence, which Mark "forgets" to report, for some reason.

SWL: YES consistent with the temporary silence theory if you actually understood what I wrote. My explanation is that the SILENCE of the women is meant to be temporary. Get it? I give the reason for that above.</font>
Your "temporary silence" explanation does not explain why they were apparently perimently silent on this matter - here we have one text reporting them to be excited enough to run and tell the disciples what happened, while the other reports they kept their mouths shut and told nobody about it. If it was merely temporary silence, why did the text not say so - why no detail of them telling the disciples about this stuff? It would just lead to further problems in the story.
These stories are too inconsistent to be taken so seriously. Perhaps your explanation is right, but its more rational to just admit there is a bona fide contradiction that cannot be explained away (at least not explained away with the idea that the Gospels are "divine").

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Er, probably because they are DIFFERENT AUTHORS with DIFFERENT perspectives.</font>
Who never witnessed the events they described and were merely writing things out of myths that they invented or heard from others, twisting them to fit their own motives, and hence had no "divine" inspiration.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Er, uh, er, um....Paul isn't trying to CONVINCE anyone of miracles. He's talking to "brethren" already "in Christ". They are already saved, they already BELIEVE in the miracle of the resurrection. Stop reading first century texts as if they are written to convince 21st century atheists of the supernatural.</font>
This is not what the text indicates - it indicates Paul repeating what he first did to convict the people he witnessed to, who were at that time unbelievers:
1 Corinthians 15:3
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that[Paul goes on to discuss the details on the Resurrection]"
These are past tense descriptions of the description he gave to unbelievers. One wonders why he didn't include the more persuasive evidence in his argument (the empty tomb, for example). Probably because the empty tomb story had yet to be invented.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I don't see anything about the passage that necessitates that they are all Christians prior to the appearance.</font>
"BRETHREN" and the fact that all the other appearances are to people who (save for the last appearance, Paul) were followers/fans of Jesus. It doesn't make it necassary but it certainly implies such.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And it is of course just your assumption that there's no apparent reason for a large Christian gathering soon after the resurrection anyway. How the hell do you know what Christians are doing and when, in the years following the crucifixion?</font>
I'm talking about how strange it is for a bunch of men gather around for no apparent reason, while not having any women with them. Why was this? What such custom was there that was likely to have instigated such an all-male gathering?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Your train of thought - the little engine that couldn't - is derailed once again. Matthew doesn't say that the guards became disciples or apostles DOES HE? No! Paul's not trying to CONVINCE anyone of the resurrection IS HE? No! Keep on chuggin'...</font>
You know, I suppose this would be a good time to point out another absurdity in the Bible - that being the one about the Guards. Other skeptics converted to Christianity when they saw a miracle done by Christ. Even other Roman military and Law Enforcement officials did so as described in the Bible. Yet the Guards, when presented with perhaps the most amazing proof of all, not only refuse to believe in spite of such overwhelming evidence, but do something as completely stupid as take a bribe from the Pharisees and go tell the Roman officials. would have been better for them if they had just taken the money and ran. Better than being killed, as was legally mandated by Rome for Guards who fell asleep.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">He's specifically REPEATING something he already told them and referring to it as indicative of his own apostolic authority. He's not writing a narrative concerning what happened to Jesus because they FORGOT. Get it? Do you think he just never talked about where Jesus was? Or what had happened to him? He just left everyone to wonder whether or not he was still walking around on earth? Its just obvious that any beliefs about Jesus being resurrected would entail that His primary mode of existence is no longer in visible bodily form on earth.</font>
I've now explained this already - Paul was repeating the details of an argument he gave to convince or persuade people into believing in Christ.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Because, as I've shown, the word he DOES use is equally applicable to burial in a tomb, and he has no reason to specifically mention the tomb itself as it has no importance in 1 Cor 15. "Died..buried...raised" It's a very short formula...He's obviously got no intention of giving details.</font>
See above.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">No, he just wasn't specifically commissioned to baptize. Call it what you like. Bottom line - Paul is not among those being spoken to in Matt. 26:19.</font>
"commissioned" to baptize? Any preacher could baptize. Paul was not being spoken to in Matthew, but so what? He was supposed to be a spiritual disciple/apostle of Jesus just the those who really knew him, yet he explicitly contradicts Jesus' teachings.
Just because Jesus was only speaking to his disciples then and there in Matthew is no reason to assume his teachings were only meant for them. Using this reasoning, very sizeable portions of all that Christianity is based on would be considered irrelevant, since many were only taught to the Disciples.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Uh, yeah. The belief in the resurrection was WELL in effect by the time of Tacitus too, brainy.</font>
And clearly far from being unanimously embraced by Christianity, as the lack of mention of it shows.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And what's that about Josephus? Why don't you elaborate...</font>
Josephus speaks of Jesus and describes his apostles, their relation to Jesus, Jesus' cruxifiction and perhaps even his miracles, yet fails to mention him being raised from the dead or even being claimed to have risen from the dead. Seems rather suspicious.

[This message has been edited by Cute Little Baby (edited April 15, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Cute Little Baby (edited April 15, 2001).]
 
Old 04-15-2001, 07:10 AM   #16
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CLB: This was in discussion of my initial claim about the Gospels:

&lt;snip&gt;

SWL: Gee thanks. But since I already quoted you directly, that's not necessary.

CLB: First, I see you did not adress my claim that the authors of the Gospels weren't the disciples. Does this mean you agree?

SWL: No, it doesn't. And first of all, no one, not even the biggest fundy believes that all of the Gospel authors were apostles (which I think you meant to say rather than 'disciples'). But you haven't presented any evidence either way.

CLB: Second, the stories of Jesus performing miracles are legends/myths because miracles are impossible and could not ever have happened, therefore: They are legends/myths. Most scholars agree with this.

SWL: Hahahah...We've got another one. The statement "miracles are impossible" is a statement of faith. You cannot show me one bit of evidence towards the truth of that statement, and it is on the same order as "miracles are a fact". Now, do most scholars agree that the Gospel miracles are legends or myths? First of all, I doubt you would have ANY idea what 'most scholars' think. Can you list for me please the NT 'scholars' you have read? Secondly, if you mean 'myth' or 'legend' just in the sense of 'not true', even there you'll have a problem. Any Christian scholar would obviously not necessarilly think Jesus did not perform miracles. Thirdly, but if you mean 'legend' or 'myth' in the sense that these stories of Jesus' miracles do not record what was originally thought about Jesus, but what developed later as the tradition got embellished more and more, you are just flat out wrong. Let's take a small sampling of scholars -

Craig A. Evans: "Scholarship has now moved past its preoccupation with demythologization. The miracle stories are now treated seriously and are widely accepted by Jesus scholars as deriving from Jesus' ministry. Major studies on the historical Jesus discuss the miracles, whether in general terms or in reference to specific miracles, with little or no discussion of myth or the philosophical issues at one time thought to be necessary for any assessment of the miracle traditions in the Gospels.[21] Several specialized studies have appeared in recent years, which conclude that Jesus did things that were viewed as 'miracles'."[B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998)p. 11-12]
---------------------------------

18. In the part of the so-called Testimonium Flavianum most scholars regard as authentic, Josephus describes Jesus as a "doer of amazing deeds"…(Ant. 18.3.3 § 63). This language is not negative; it is neutral.

19. …Even the Jesus Seminar, as reported in R. W. Funk (ed.), The Acts of Jesus…have accepted many of the miracles (e.g. Mark 1:30-31, Simon's mother-in-law; Mark 1:40-42, the cleansing of the leper; Mark 2:3-5, 12, the paralytic; Mark 5:25-29, the woman with the hemorrhage; Luke 8:1-2, exorcism; Mark 10:46-52, blind Bartimaeus.)

21. Many of the most significant studies in Jesus in recent years take the miracles seriously into account, e.g. G. Vermes, Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels (London: Collins; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1973) 58-82; M. Smith, Jesus the Magician (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978) 8-20; Meyer, The Aims of Jesus, 154-58; A.E. Harvey, Jesus and the Constraints of History (London: Duckworth, 1982) 105-18; Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 157-72; M.J. Borg, Jesus: A New Vision (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987) 57-75: B. Witherington, The Christology of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990) 145-77.

R.H. Fuller: "the tradition that Jesus did perform exorcisms and healings (which may also have been exorcisms originally) is very strong"[R.H. Fuller, Interpreting the Miracles (Philadelphia: Westminister, 1963), p. 39]

Gerd Theissen: "There is no doubt that Jesus worked miracles, healed the sick and cast out demons."[Gerd Theissen, The Miracle Stories of the Early Christian Tradition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983) p. 277]

Morton Smith: "In most miracle stories no explanation at all is given; Jesus simply speaks or acts and the miracle is done by his personal power. This trait probably reflects historical fact."[Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978) p. 101.]

E.P. Sanders: "There is agreement on the basic facts: Jesus performed miracles, drew crowds and promised the kingdom to sinners."[E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985) p. 157.]

H. Hendrickx: "Yes, we can be sure that Jesus performed real signs which were interpreted by his contemporaries as experiences of an extraordinary power."[emphasis his][H. Hendrickx, The Miracle Stories and the Synoptic Gospels (London: Chapman; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987) p. 22.]

Ben Witherington: "That Jesus performed deeds that were perceived as miracles by both him and his audience is difficult to doubt."[Ben Witherington III, The Christology of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990) p. 155]

Let's see what scholars you bring to the table.

CLB: Third, the non-supernatural details, save for a very small number of them, are legends because they aren't verifiable.

SWL: No silly, the fact that something isn't verifiable does not make it a legend. We can't really VERIFY any event in ancient history. We can only study the sources and make very tentative probabilistic inferences.

CLB: The combined research of every scholar on the face of the Earth probably could not change this fact.

SWL: It isn't a fact so they don't need to.

CLB: Given that most scholars a) believe the non-supernatural details of Jesus to be myths (from an intellectual standpoint) and

SWL: No, we can't give that to you because its so obviously untrue.

CLB: b) are well aware that most all of the non-supernatural details of Jesus' life are legends, its somewhat perplexing that you claim otherwise.

SWL: You aren't well aware of ONE single detail in Jesus' life being a legend. Not one.

CLB: I also am appealing to authority here, and if you wish, I'll also present the reason for that authority maintaining my view.

SWL: First present the actual authority, THEN you can attempt to present the reasons, which I will subsequently shoot down.

CLB: Then why does he contradict them?

SWL: He doesn't. Omission of a details is not a contradiction. How many times have we been over this?

CLB: Paul makes questionable statements via talking a lot about Jesus but somehow "forgetting" to mention important (Gospel) teachings of his at crucial moments, or else flat out contradicts the Gospel accounts.

SWL: You've shown one instance where it seems odd that Paul wouldn't mention Jesus' teaching on a matter, and I've answered it. You've shown no instance of flat-out contradiction.

CLB: We thus conclude that this is probably because the Gospel stories are are largely untrue and were not written until after Paul wrote his letters.

SWL: A conclusion that is completely unjustified.

CLB: I am talking about the legends of him being born of a virgin, performing miracles, raising from the dead, etc.

SWL: And where's your evidence that these are legends? Nowhere.

CLB: Don't you see the point?

SWL: Definitely not. I haven't seen you make a valid point yet.

CLB: The Bible spans a large amount of time, peoples and sub-cultures of the Hebrews, yet the method of eyewitness writings i.e. "I saw this" or "I went there" or "I did this", etc., is common despite the afore mentioned differences, and this makes it all the more difficult to explain why, if the Gospels were written by Jesus' disciples i.e. first hand eyewitnesses, they do not bear any resemblance to similar writing styles that were common among quite a number of different peoples and times.

SWL: Because they are a completely different genre.

CLB: See above: the great diversity of Hebrew religious authors who all have in common their specific claim of witnessing these events, yet the abscence of such a writing style in the Gospels, leads one to conclude that the Gospels were not written by first-hand eyewitnesses (the Disciples).

SWL: I already did see above, and its nonsense. But lets take a look at the Torah for instance - the very foundation of Judaism. It was unanimously believed to be written by Moses in the first century, but it is NOT written in the first person, is it? There goes your "theory"...right down the toilet.

SWL: Ancient biographies just didn't have bibliographies. There's nothing complicated about that at all.

CLB: Of course they don't have such a thing, but they did not fail to describe events they discovered or saw themselves as being such. Yet the Gospel authors do fail in this reguard.

SWL: This has been flushed.

CLB: What "we passages" (I assume you mean admission to being first-hand eyewitnesses?) are you referring to?
Also, I would like to know how you explain the lack of "we passages" in Luke when compared with Acts, since they were written by the same author. Matter of fact, one wonders why such (obvious?) "we-passages" are in Acts but not in any of the other Gospels.

SWL: Firstly, Luke wouldn't be writing in the first person in his Gospel because, as anyone knows, he wasn't witness to those events. Secondly, he's writing bioi anyway. But for the 'we' passages in Acts, see 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 28:16.

CLB: When combined with other details in John, we see aditional and seemingly more fantastic, accounts of or details about, Jesus' alleged miracles, which "coincidentally" are absent from the earlier Gospels - "coincidentally" they end up in the last Gospel which is "coincidentally" what one would expect grom a growing myth/legend, and "coincidentally" seems to speak against all of the Gospels even being coherent, reliable eyewitness accounts, let alone a message from the perfect Lord and master of the universe given to all of humanity.

SWL: This matters not one bit. Since Matt. and Luke are dependent on Mark we would expect them to follow his framework. But John is arguably independent for the most part, and if he's writing to supplement Mark, as Bauckham recently argues, then we would expect minimum overlap and different information/traditions. Furthermore, in John 1:14, the author claims to be among the witnesses of Christ. As Daniel Wallace puts it: "He stated that he had beheld Christ’s glory (1:14) using a verb (qeavomai) which in NT Greek always bears the meaning of at least physical examination (cf. BAGD)."[http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/jnotl.htm] Oops!

Several eminent modern commentators believe John was written by an eyewitness or is directly derived from the eyewitness testimony of 'the beloved disciple':

"…whatever his identity, the person known in Johannine circles as the Beloved Disciple is explicitly stated to be an eyewitness whose testimony stands behind the events narrated in the Gospel (Jn 21:24)…[T]he leading contemporary commentators, such as Brown and Schnackenburg, agree that the Beloved Disciple was a historical person whose testimony, as an eyewitness to some of the events recorded in the latter part of the Gospel of John, including the appearances, stands authoritatively behind them."[William L. Craig, "From Easter to Valentinus and the Apostle's Creed Once More: A Critical Examination of James Robinson's Proposed Resurrection Appearance Trajectories." Journal for the Study of the New Testament 52 (1993): 19-39.]

See R.C. Brown, The Gospel according to John (AB, 29A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970), pp. 1119- 20; idem, The Community of the Beloved Disciple (New York: Paulist Press, 1979), pp. 22-23; R.

See Schnackenburg, Das Johannesevangelium (3 vols.; HTKNT, 4; Freiburg: Herder, 1976), III, pp. 368, 452-56; so also B. Lindars (ed.), 7he Gospel of John (NCB; London: Oliphants, 1972), p. 602.]

"The Fourth Gospel ultimately derives from an eyewitness designated as 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (John 13:23; 18:15-16; 19:26, 35; 20:2-10; 21:7, 20-23), but it also shows how that witness passed through a period of reflection in light of the church's postresurrection experience."[ Johnson, Luke Timothy, Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), p. 177.]

D. A. Carson, a scholar also in favor of Johannine authorship cites Zahn, Westcott, Morris, Bruce, Michaels, Robinson, and Ellis as other eminent scholars of this century who hold the same view.

CLB: Do you see the point? John, the last of the Gosels, contains many fantastic accounts that the earlier ones don't have, probably because by his time, myths/legends had more time to grow and blossom into more extraordinary tales than those in the original, earlier Gospels.

SWL: There is just as much of a miraculous nature to Christ's deeds in the earlier Gospels. The difference in John is that it has a higher Christology. But this Christology actually corresponds with Paul's earliest theology quite well. Furthermore, Christ's HUMANITY and vulnerability is emphasized more than the other Gospels as well, which argues for the fourth Gospel just penetrating deeper into His character as opposed to just elevating His power. As L.T. Johnsons writes:

"In fact, however, John's Jesus is in some ways even more fully rounded in his humanity than the Jesus portrayed by the Synoptics. Jesus is shown experiencing fatigue (4:6) as well as anguish (12:27; 13:21). His whole being is convulsed when he contemplates the death of his friend Lazarus, and he weeps (11:33-35). On one occasion he changes his mind (7:1-10). He converses with real people in real and identifiable places. His conversation with the Samaritan woman, for example, is distinctive, not exchangeable with any other (4:7-26). Rather than issuing punchy one-liners, he enters into conversational exchanges with Nicodemus (3:1-13), the paralytic (5:2-9), the man born blind (9:35-38), his friends Martha and Mary (11:17-37), and his disciples (1:38-51; 4:31-38; 6:66-71; 9:1-5; 11:1-16; 13:31-14:31). His controversies with opponents do not end quickly but demand his continued engagement (6:41-65; 7:14-36; 8:12-58; 10:22-39). This Jesus performs a miracle simply for the pleasure of giving pleasure (2:1-11). He shows irritation (2:4; 6:26; 7:6-8; 8:25) and suspicion (2:24-25). He asks for a positive human response (6:66-71). Jesus has real friends and is involved in their lives (11:1-12:9). He has one disciple whom he loves more than the others (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:20). He cares about his mother (2:1-11) and seeks her welfare before he dies (19:26-27). He asks Simon three times, 'Do you love me more than these?' (21:15-17). And he designates his followers simply as 'friends' (15:13-15). This is a thoroughly human Jesus…"["Living Jesus" p. 183]

However, for the record, there are many similarities betw. the Synoptics and John:

"John's Gospel does share material concerning Jesus that is also found in the Synoptics. The sequence in which Jesus multiplies the loaves and walks on the water (John 6:1-21) is particularly close to the version found in Mark 6:34-51. The Fourth Gospel also includes John's baptism (1:25; 3:23) and arrest (3:24; see Mark 1:4, 14), Peter's confession of Jesus (6:68-69; Mark 8:29), the purification of the temple (2:14-16; Mark 11:15-18), the anointing at Bethany (12:1-8, Mark 14:3-9), and the entry into Jerusalem (12:12-15; Mark 11:9-10). Above all, John includes the passion account (18:1-19:42), which--although it has its distinctive elements, such as the role played by Pilate (18:29-19:22)--is recognizably the same as in the Synoptics, agreeing most closely with Luke's version.

"Thematic elements that the Synoptics compress into single incidents are found diffused through the Fourth Gospel. The Synoptic temptation account (Matt. 4:1-11), for example, finds an equivalent in John 6:14-15 and 7:3-4, while the agony in the Garden (Mark 14:32-42) is matched by John 12:27-29 and 18:11. It is even possible to discern the reworking of some Synoptic sayings material in passages such as John 1:42, 12:24-26, 13:12-20, and 21:22."[Ibid. p. 179-180]


SWL: And a) you haven't demonstrated this in any way whatsoever

CLB: I await your opinion on that statement after you've read this post.

SWL: It hasn't changed yet in the slightest and I'm half-way through. Magic 8-ball says "Outlook not good".

SWL (old): b) that doesn't do anything towards proving your claims. If the Gospels faithfully record accurate eyewitness testimony it doesn't matter in the least who wrote them.

CLB: Who says they did record accurate testimony? They are full of absurdities, scientific flaws, historical flaws, incoherence, self-contradictions and dissagreement with other sources about the events/persons they desribe. Such documents are hardly very reliable.

SWL: Uh, losing track of things here are we? YOU are the one claiming that you can DISPROVE certain Christian claims. You presented the argument that the Gospels are not written by disciples in support of this. I'm simply pointing out that even IF this is true, this says NOTHING ***against*** them accurately recording true testimony that ultimately does stem from eyewitnesses, which EVERY scholar on the planet would agree they do in many areas. Get it? YOUR conclusion doesn't follow from your premises.
As far as your typical long list of belittling adjectives used to describe the Gospels, you're just blowing hot air until you support them.

SWL: LOL, someone needs to familiarize themself with the term "liberalism". Most of the criticism that you wage against the Bible COMES from liberal Christians.

CLB: Is the Bible a message from the all powerful perfect Lord and master of the universe (God) sent to all of humanity as a book to learn from and live by, or is it not?

SWL: That varies from person to person. But if you had a clue, you'd realize that it is not necessary to believe in inerrancy to be a Christian. Most liberals just feel that much of the Bible is just humanity's way of conveying their personal experience of the divine. You certainly haven't disproved either view though.

CLB: If it is, it should have no significant flaws in it - minor translation errors are one thing but dissingenous portrayal of, or wholely fabricated, events, are something that would not be present in God's holy book to humanity, and the same goes for contradictions. Yet both are present in large quantities in the NT. How then can it be this "message from God"?

SWL: You haven't substantiated your claims with the slightest bit of evidence. Sorry.

CLB: I've already answered your statements on the details of the Resurrection, so I'm not certain what specifically your referring to in saying: "Try answering this time".

SWL: Have a look at the original convo. for the answer to your confusion concerning my statement "And?".

CLB: Where do we see the same thing in "Josephus' parallel accounts"?

SWL: Let's compare his Jewish War with Antiquities of the Jews on "The Egyptian":

"A still worse blow was dealt at the Jews by the Egyptian false prophet. A charlatan, who had gained for himself the reputation of a prophet, this man appeared in the country, collected a following of about thirty thousand dupes, and led them by a circuitous route from the desert to the mount called the Mount of Olives. From there he proposed to force an entrance into Jerusalem and, after overpowering the Roman garrison, to set himself up as tyrant of the people, employing those who poured in with him as his bodyguard."[War 2.261-262]

"At this time there came to Jerusalem from Egypt a man who declared that he was a prophet and advised the masses of the common people to go out with him to the mountain called the Mount of Olives, which lies opposite the city at a distance of five furlongs. For he asserted that he wished to demonstrate from there that at his command Jerusalem's walls would fall down, through which he promised to provide them an entrance into the city."[Antiquities 20.169-170]

Wow, 30,000 people? That's an AWFUL lot…Notice he doesn't mention that in Antiquities. Oh, and what about the walls falling at his command? Not mentioned in War. Only in War does Josephus mention that this "Egyptian" wants to set himself up as tyrant of the people. A pretty important thing to mention doncha think?!! How convenient that its left out in Antiquities! Josephus can't be trusted! He contradicts himself! And this is how the skeptics mind works…

CLB: Summarizing is one thing but the contradictions in these Gospel passages cannot be ignored if one wishes to establish the Resurrection as a reasonable possibility. No eyewitness accounts would be that incoherent and still have a claim to being trustworthy enough to establish something as fantastic as a supernatural claim, and this is easy to demonstrate (which I will if you want).

SWL: Actually, you're dead wrong. In fact, LT Johnson argues that disagreement over minor details argues FOR the probability of the points of convergence:

"The diversity among the canonical Gospels has also appeared to be a hindrance to a historical reconstruction of Jesus. Actually, that is not entirely the case, for…the obvious differences among these accounts make their points of convergence the more valuable for historical purposes."[Luke Timothy Johnson, "The Real Jesus" (HarperSanFrancisco 1996) p. 146-147.]

Dunn argues the same using Kenneth Bailey's model for orality. See:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosst...OralMemory.htm

Wenham states that the resurrection accounts in the Gospels "exhibit in a remarkable way the well-known characteristics of accurate and independent reporting" due to the fact that "superficially they show great disharmony."[John Wenham, Easter Enigma, (Baker: 1992, rev. ed.) pp.10-11.]

Various legal writers and lawyers have noted that discrepancies over detail in various eyewitness accounts is exactly what we would expect…

Retired judge and lawyer Herbert C. Casteel writes:
"The internal evidence of the resurrection accounts: Each of the four Gospels gives an account of that first Easter Sunday when Jesus arose from the tomb. When we first read these accounts it appears they are in hopeless contradiction. Matthew says it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went out to the tomb. Mark says it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Luke says it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them, and John mentions only Mary Magdalene. Furthermore, they all mention different people to whom Jesus appeared on that day.
"Does this mean that these are false reports, made-up by dishonest men to deceive us? On the contrary, this is good evidence that these are truthful accounts, because people who conspire to testify to a falsehood rehearse carefully to avoid contradictions. False testimony appears on the surface to be in harmony, but discrepancies appear when you dig deeper. True accounts may appear on the surface to be contradictory, but are found to be in harmony when you dig deeper."[Herbert C. CasteelBeyond a Reasonable Doubt, College Press: 1992, 2nd rev.; p. 211ff)]

Legal writer Clifford notes that discrepancies in eyewitness accounts are expected:

"The minor variations test. ... Whilst truthful witnesses complement each other, a judge would not expect them to describe the same incidents in precisely the same way. If they did, that would point to conspiracy. Sometimes there may not be total uniformity in the order of events. One anticipates variations when two or more people testify about the same incident."[Leading Lawyers' Case for the Resurrection Canadian Institute for Law, Theology, and Public Policy, Inc: 1991, 1996; p. 61]

The German classical historian Hans Stier similarly writes:
"the sources for the resurrection of Jesus, with their relatively big contradictions over details, present for the historian for this very reason a criterion of extraordinary credibility."[Craig Blomberg, "The Historical Relibability of the Gospels", p. 103]

CLB: I'm talking about how flawed ones reasoning must be to claim a book which was re-worked and/or edited to such an extent as Mark's ending was, still somehow has a reasonable claim to being a divine text for all of humanity to live and learn by. Why would God "inspire" such flawed writings?

SWL: But of course those of us who know that Mark's Gospel ends at verse 8 understand that THAT particular ending shows no sign of being reworked and/or edited at all.

CLB: The "missing ending" theory is flawed if one wishes to argue that Mark is "divinely inspired", and so is the other explanation - you could just as well say that any other event reported in only one of the Gospels was fabricated just to sound entertaining.

SWL: Neither explanation is flawed. There's nothing that says what we have of Mark currently is not divinely inspired. Indeed, most inerrantists believe that it is the ORIGINAL manuscripts that were inspired/inerrant.

CLB: How can you claim these are holy books ordained by God and at the same time admit they were written in a contradicting manner just to sound more entertaining? Holy books are supposed to be instructional, not entertaining. To admit the opposite, or even a medium between the two, is to call the authenticity of all of them into question.

SWL: I never admitted any of this nonsense. And I would certainly not consult you on how a Holy Book is supposed to be written.

CLB: Your "temporary silence" explanation does not explain why they were apparently perimently silent on this matter - here we have one text reporting them to be excited enough to run and tell the disciples what happened, while the other reports they kept their mouths shut and told nobody about it. If it was merely temporary silence, why did the text not say so - why no detail of them telling the disciples about this stuff? It would just lead to further problems in the story.

SWL: My explanation does just fine. The silence is obviously intended to be temporary in Mark due to the fact that the disciples going to Galilee is contingent upon them hearing the report of the women (as I've stated several times). And the Gospel ending this way is perfectly consistent with Mark's theme of failure of the disciples. If it was a known fact that Jesus appeared to the women, as in Matthew, and then sent them on their way, Mark could end his Gospel anywhere to prove any particular point he wants. Obviously Mark believes the women told someone sometime as he knows of the event. Obviously he doesn't think they went around for 30 years without ever telling anyone the tomb was empty. Obviously he thinks disciples would have investigated the tomb later…If the empty tomb account is authentic, this would just be common knowledge amongst early Christians…

CLB: These stories are too inconsistent to be taken so seriously. Perhaps your explanation is right, but its more rational to just admit there is an unreconcilable contradiction (at least not able to be reconciled with the idea that the Gospels are "divine").

SWL: I disagree for the reasons I've stated.

SWL (old):
Er, probably because they are DIFFERENT AUTHORS with DIFFERENT perspectives.

CLB: Who never witnessed the events they described and were merely writing things out of myths that they invented or heard from others, twisting them to fit their own motives, and hence had no "divine" inspiration.

SWL: None of which you have a shred of evidence for. You can assert it all you want and waste both my time and yours. I don't care if you print it on a T-shirt and wear it to school on Monday. That doesn't make it so.

SWL (old):
Er, uh, er, um....Paul isn't trying to CONVINCE anyone of miracles. He's talking to "brethren" already "in Christ". They are already saved, they already BELIEVE in the miracle of the resurrection. Stop reading first century texts as if they are written to convince 21st century atheists of the supernatural.

CLB: This is not what the text indicates - it indicates Paul repeating what he first did to convict the people he witnessed to, who were at that time unbelievers:
1 Corinthians 15:3
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that[Paul goes on to discuss the details on the Resurrection]"
These are past tense descriptions of the description he gave to unbelievers. One wonders why he didn't include the more persuasive evidence in his argument (the empty tomb, for example). Probably because the empty tomb story had yet to be invented.

SWL: If you'd ever read any serious study of 1 Cor. 15 you might have a clue as to what you are talking about. Unfortunately you haven't and you don't. Yeah, SO WHAT if they were AT FIRST unbelievers? They are believers NOW and he's arguing FROM Christ's resurrection, which they already accept (being that they're SAVED and all - see vs. 1 & 2) as a fact, TO their own future personal resurrections, which they deny on the basis of an over-realized eschatology.


SWL (old): I don't see anything about the passage that necessitates that they are all Christians prior to the appearance.

CLB: "BRETHREN" and the fact that all the other appearances are to people who (save for the last appearance, Paul) were followers/fans of Jesus. It doesn't make it necassary but it certainly implies such.

SWL: Not really. In fact, James was noted to be very skeptical of Jesus' messianic status prior to the resurrection. As you yourself note, Paul was not a believer (funny how you note this and STILL try to identify some motif to the contrary! Very poor exegesis here.). The 'brethren' could just be a referent in the present tense. For example, James might be giving a speech and say "Christ appeared to the apostle Paul".

CLB: I'm talking about how strange it is for a bunch of men gather around for no apparent reason, while not having any women with them. Why was this? What such custom was there that was likely to have instigated such an all-male gathering?

SWL: This again is just another example of you imposing your freethinker "I can spot 5,000 Bahble Conchadictions" mentality upon the text. Does Paul say "they gathered for no apparent reason without women"? No. Does Paul need to give out unnecessary details to just quickly refer to the men as witnesses? Does he need to tell us what each and every one of them ate for breakfast? No. Does Paul say that Jesus didn't appear to any women there? No. He just mentions the men. Why only the men? Probably because the testimony of women was distrusted in general.

CLB: You know, I suppose this would be a good time to point out another absurdity in the Bible - that being the one about the Guards. Other skeptics converted to Christianity when they saw a miracle done by Christ. Even other Roman military and Law Enforcement officials did so as described in the Bible.

SWL: Really, where? Give me an example.

CLB: Yet the Guards, when presented with perhaps the most amazing proof of all, not only refuse to believe in spite of such overwhelming evidence, but do something as completely stupid as take a bribe from the Pharisees and go tell the Roman officials. would have been better for them if they had just taken the money and ran. Better than being killed, as was legally mandated by Rome for Guards who fell asleep.

SWL: Yeah, take the money and go on the run…Just like Thelma and Louise…I'm not going to apologize for characters in the Gospels not doing what you think would've been the smartest thing. Not everyone in the ancient world was privileged to be as bright as modern "freethinkers". If the guards didn't convert on sight of a miracle, it only confirms Jesus' words on that matter.

CLB: I've now explained this already - Paul was repeating the details of an argument he gave to convince or persuade people into believing in Christ.

SWL: No, all you've really done is show me that you don't know what you're talking about. By your own criteria they are believers. Paul starts off by addressing them as 'brothers'.

CLB: "cimmissioned" to baptize? Any preacher could baptize. Paul was not being spoken to in Matthew, but so what? He was supposed to be a spiritual disciple/apostle of Jesus just the those who really knew him, yet he explicitly contradicts Jesus' teachings.

SWL: Its not a matter of "could", it’s a matter of what Paul's mission was. Does Paul say that others shouldn't baptize? No. He says HIS mission doesn't entail baptism. And since we don't have an account of Paul ever being told to baptize, there's no contradiction here.

CLB: Just because Jesus was only speaking to his disciples then and there in Matthew is no reason to assume his teachings were only meant for them. Using this reasoning, very sizeable portions of all that Christianity is based on would be considered irrelevant, since many were only taught to the Disciples.
SWL: That's exactly right. And I think very sizeable portions of what modern Christianity considers to be applicable to modern believers is taken completely out of its original context, so I'll STICK with the context and maintain that Jesus is talking to who He's ACTUALLY talking to.

SWL (old):
Uh, yeah. The belief in the resurrection was WELL in effect by the time of Tacitus too, brainy.

CLB: And clearly far from being unanimously embraced by Christianity, as the lack of mention of it shows.

SWL: Again, you're clueless. Every scrap of evidence we have indicates that the resurrection was the central belief. If Tacitus doesn't mention it, that's his problem. The belief was widely held. For you to assert that Tacitus' silence on something implies that it wasn't the standard belief is laughable. Tacitus would see it as a ridiculous superstition not even worthy of mention.

CLB: Josephus speaks of Jesus and describes his apostles, their relation to Jesus, Jesus' cruxifiction and perhaps even his miracles, yet fails to mention him being raised from the dead or even being claimed to have risen from the dead. Seems rather suspicious.

SWL: So either be suspicious of Josephus' skills as an historian, or his motives for writing the passage, or be foolish and deny that the resurrection belief was widespread among the early church. I don't really care either way, but this argument from silence says nothing against the resurrection belief.

How's about presenting the facts that allegedly disprove the Christian beliefs you mentioned? We still haven't seen that.

SecWebLurker
 
Old 04-19-2001, 03:55 AM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: First, I see you did not adress my claim that the authors of the Gospels weren't the disciples. Does this mean you agree?

SWL: No, it doesn't. And first of all, no one, not even the biggest fundy believes that all of the Gospel authors were apostles (which I think you meant to say rather than 'disciples').</font>
Then do you believe the Gospel authors were the Disciples of Jesus? Or are are you as yet undecided on the issue?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But you haven't presented any evidence either way.</font>
Yes, I have provided evidence, though perhaps not "proof" (not enough for you at least...then again I doubt there is any reasonable way to prove such a thing to you).
This next statement of yours is really strange:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Hahahah...We've got another one. The statement "miracles are impossible" is a statement of faith. You cannot show me one bit of evidence towards the truth of that statement, and it is on the same order as "miracles are a fact".</font>
Is that part of some joke? Do you truly believe such a statement? Were you trying to be sarcastic or something? I cannot at all see how an otherwise intelligent person such as yourself could believe such a thing as that to be true and still maintain a reasonable claim to being sane.

Science demonstrates that supernaturally healing people or making them raise from the dead, etc., are impossible. This is a scientific fact, as much so as saying: "If you jump off a cliff and flap your arms you will NOT fly, and will just plummet to the ground, because science has shown that flying in such a manner is IMPOSSIBLE".
If you think otherwise, I'm sure the entire scientific community would be thrilled to see your scientifically plausible mechanism for how miracles can happen.

I'd also like to remind you of how hopelessly ridiculous the portrayal of history would become if it did indeed accept the supernatural as valid, real historical fact.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">First of all, I doubt you would have ANY idea what 'most scholars' think. Can you list for me please the NT 'scholars' you have read?</font>
Mostly those quoted or writing in encyclopedias, and a few who wrote books about various subjects in the Bible.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Secondly, if you mean 'myth' or 'legend' just in the sense of 'not true', even there you'll have a problem.</font>
By "myth" I am speaking of the supernatural claims about him, which are not true because they are impossible and for the most part are unsubstantiated.
By "legend" I mean a (historical) claim that cannot be verified - in other words, in and of itself we cannot be sure if its true or not.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Any Christian scholar would obviously not necessarilly think Jesus did not perform miracles.</font>
It depends what you mean by "miracles" - many people perform apparently "miraculous" actions even today (Faith Healers, for example), but there is no evidence or supporting reason to confirm they are supernatural. Are you going to attempt to argue that Jesus did something beyond these - in other words; that his "miracles" were of supernatural origin?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Thirdly, but if you mean 'legend' or 'myth' in the sense that these stories of Jesus' miracles do not record what was originally thought about Jesus, but what developed later as the tradition got embellished more and more, you are just flat out wrong. Let's take a small sampling of scholars -
</font>
No, I do not at all mean that, and never said I did, I just said that they were myths and/or legends i.e. the supernatural miracles are "myths" because they are (you know), the rest of the details are legends because they cannot be verified as true or false. Wether or not Jesus was originally "thought" (Not "observed to" or "seen doing"? Interesting.) to do this is not very important, rather; it is wether these details are possible and substantiated. And for they most part, they are NOT. (most of your scholarly quotes were merely indicates that people thought he did supernatural miracles, not that he actually did, and might I add you apparently fail to present the full quotes which, no offense, makes fair suspicion for you potentially taking them out of context or from scholars with questionable intentions, as I've seen countless other Christians do to "support" their faith)

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">No silly, the fact that something isn't verifiable does not make it a legend. We can't really VERIFY any event in ancient history. We can only study the sources and make very tentative probabilistic inferences.</font>
We can verify many things in ancient history if we have unbiased, reliable sources of evidence for them. In the case of Jesus, we don't have such, and so, yes, most of the details about him given in the Gospels are mere legends. The fact that something isn't verifiable is precisely what makes it a "legend". Look it up in a dictionary if you wish.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: Given that most scholars a) believe the non-supernatural details of Jesus to be myths (from an intellectual standpoint) and

SWL: No, we can't give that to you because its so obviously untrue.</font>
Most of the quotes you provided showed that the scholars didn't believe them to be bona fide supernatural "miracles" - then again, you may have (perhaps unintentionally; by copying them from a pro-Christian site) taken even some of the miracle-supporting ones out of context, so even those it can't be certain about.
Your overdoing it by saying my claim is "so obviously untrue" (in fact you sort of just provide all the more evidence for me).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">SWL: You aren't well aware of ONE single detail in Jesus' life being a legend. Not one.</font>
Look up the definition of "legend", and you will see that virtually every single detail of Jesus' life (save for a few) fits a proper definition of "legend".

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">SWL: First present the actual authority, THEN you can attempt to present the reasons, which I will subsequently shoot down.</font>
Why should I present them now when you have lavished me with quotes supporting my claim?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">He doesn't. Omission of a details is not a contradiction. How many times have we been over this?</font>
The two stories do not match up and differ from each other significantly - this also counts as "contradiction", though this is rather trivial to Paul giving out teaching/s that are the direct opposite of those of Jesus (like "Jesus did not send me to baptize").

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You've shown one instance where it seems odd that Paul wouldn't mention Jesus' teaching on a matter, and I've answered it.</font>
I've shown several instances of such, and you've yet to refute all of them.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You've shown no instance of flat-out contradiction.</font>
"Jesus did not send me to baptize".
Paul also contradicts Jesus' alleged "virgin" birth by saying Jesus was born of the seed of David (Something like that, can't recall the specific verse at the time).
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: I am talking about the legends of him being born of a virgin, performing miracles, raising from the dead, etc.

SWL: And where's your evidence that these are legends? Nowhere.</font>
The realization that they are impossible, cannot be confirmed to have happened, and thus are worthy of being called "legends". Obviously.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: The Bible spans a large amount of time, peoples and sub-cultures of the Hebrews, yet the method of eyewitness writings i.e. "I saw this" or "I went there" or "I did this", etc., is common despite the afore mentioned differences, and this makes it all the more difficult to explain why, if the Gospels were written by Jesus' disciples i.e. first hand eyewitnesses, they do not bear any resemblance to similar writing styles that were common among quite a number of different peoples and times.

SWL: Because they are a completely different genre.

CLB: See above: the great diversity of Hebrew religious authors who all have in common their specific claim of witnessing these events, yet the abscence of such a writing style in the Gospels, leads one to conclude that the Gospels were not written by first-hand eyewitnesses (the Disciples).

SWL: I already did see above, and its nonsense. But lets take a look at the Torah for instance - the very foundation of Judaism. It was unanimously believed to be written by Moses in the first century, but it is NOT written in the first person, is it? There goes your "theory"...right down the toilet.

SWL: Ancient biographies just didn't have bibliographies. There's nothing complicated about that at all.

CLB: Of course they don't have such a thing, but they did not fail to describe events they discovered or saw themselves as being such. Yet the Gospel authors do fail in this reguard.

SWL: This has been flushed.

</font>
First,Perhaps you typed up a response and then saved it before reading my adjustments to the claim. Notice how I then remarked how strange it was that the Gospel authors, when trying to convince a skeptical audience, apparently "overlooked" a rather convincing argument: that they themselves were witness to the events. If they were, there would most likely be SOMETHING indicating this in the Gospels. Luke, for example, briefly describes his motivations and intentions for writing the Gospel, as does John with his (neither claim to be eyewitnesses, tough, save for the dubious ending of John). Yet none claim to have been eyewitnesses even in their talk of the intentions for writing the book or even in their reasons for why they wrote it. This makes the Gospel authors being direct, first hand eyewitnesses rather unlikely.
Second, just because Moses is said to have wrote the Torah is no reason to assume he did. The fact that the Torah describes Moses' death makes his authorship of it unlikely, (as do the lack of "we passages" in it).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">: Firstly, Luke wouldn't be writing in the first person in his Gospel because, as anyone knows, he wasn't witness to those events.</font>
Glad we agree on something.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Secondly, he's writing bioi anyway. But for the 'we' passages in Acts, see 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 28:16.</font>
Acts is just a companion book to Luke (Volume II). You see that there are "we passages" even in spite of the writing style - why then do the other Gospels lack them? I hope you see the problem this presents: here we have a significant number of first hand "we/I saw it" documents in Acts yet a rather stunning lack of them in other Gospels. Would you not agree that its because the other Gospels were most likely not written by eyewitnesses?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This matters not one bit. Since Matt. and Luke are dependent on Mark we would expect them to follow his framework. But John is arguably independent for the most part, and if he's writing to supplement Mark, as Bauckham recently argues, then we would expect minimum overlap and different information/traditions.</font>
And since/if he is writing decades after the other Gospel authors, we would expect more fantastic traditions...which is what the Gospel of John contain. Its probable that John is written in such a manner because of the "growing legend/myth" argument (the more time you have, the more extraordinary a story such as that will get). Not a wholely undeniable fact, sure, but for you to say "it matters not one bit" is quite an exageration.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Furthermore, in John 1:14, the author claims to be among the witnesses of Christ. As Daniel Wallace puts it: "He stated that he had beheld Christ’s glory (1:14) using a verb (qeavomai) which in NT Greek always bears the meaning of at least physical examination (cf. BAGD)."[http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/jnotl.htm] Oops!</font>
No, there is no "oops", except perhaps for you forgetting that John may very well have been interpolated to quite a significant degree. The last chapter is questionable (different writing style and all), as are other passages.

Oh, and again, would you care to explain why the other Gospels (minus Acts, of course) do not contain these first-person perspectives?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Several eminent modern commentators believe John was written by an eyewitness or is directly derived from the eyewitness testimony of 'the beloved disciple':

"…whatever his identity, the person known in Johannine circles as the Beloved Disciple is explicitly stated to be an eyewitness whose testimony stands behind the events narrated in the Gospel (Jn 21:24)…[T]he leading contemporary commentators, such as Brown and Schnackenburg, agree that the Beloved Disciple was a historical person whose testimony, as an eyewitness to some of the events recorded in the latter part of the Gospel of John, including the appearances, stands authoritatively behind them."[William L. Craig, "From Easter to Valentinus and the Apostle's Creed Once More: A Critical Examination of James Robinson's Proposed Resurrection Appearance Trajectories." Journal for the Study of the New Testament 52 (1993): 19-39.]

See R.C. Brown, The Gospel according to John (AB, 29A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970), pp. 1119- 20; idem, The Community of the Beloved Disciple (New York: Paulist Press, 1979), pp. 22-23; R.

See Schnackenburg, Das Johannesevangelium (3 vols.; HTKNT, 4; Freiburg: Herder, 1976), III, pp. 368, 452-56; so also B. Lindars (ed.), 7he Gospel of John (NCB; London: Oliphants, 1972), p. 602.]

"The Fourth Gospel ultimately derives from an eyewitness designated as 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (John 13:23; 18:15-16; 19:26, 35; 20:2-10; 21:7, 20-23), but it also shows how that witness passed through a period of reflection in light of the church's postresurrection experience."[ Johnson, Luke Timothy, Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), p. 177.]

D. A. Carson, a scholar also in favor of Johannine authorship cites Zahn, Westcott, Morris, Bruce, Michaels, Robinson, and Ellis as other eminent scholars of this century who hold the same view.</font>
These assume it was not interpolated (which it may very well have been), that the author wasn't skilled at writing something well enough to make it look as though it was an eyewitness account, and fail to explain why, if it was so early, and the author was an eyewitness, its claims contradict those of the Gospels written a decade or so after the event. One also wonders why John did not include all the prophecies about the end of the world and Jesus returning soon. Probably because by the time John was written, the author saw how the synpotic prophecies all failed, and so didn't want to make Christianity look stupid with more nonsensical "the end is near" claims.

It is likely that the entire reason for John's apparent "authenticity"/early date was because it was so late - The longer something is around, the more time people have to figure out a way to perfect it. The Jesus story is no exception - the longer it was around, the more skilled people got at telling it, the more intelligent people were converted to it, the more it had time to be reworked to make it better. Since claiming John was an eyewitness (and thus presumably an early document) does have several flaws (perhaps not fatal, but flaws nonetheless), it is reasonable to conclude that perhaps it was in fact the latest of the Gospels.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">There is just as much of a miraculous nature to Christ's deeds in the earlier Gospels.</font>
No, there is not. The Gospels all seem to "forget" the water-to-wine story, they all seem to "forget" just how many signs Jesus did to impress people, while John seems to "forget" telling all the (false) prophecies Jesus made about his return being soon (one wonders how such an important thing could be "forgot" if John was of an early date), and he "forgets" the significance of the excorcisms the Synoptic Jesus was claimed to have done (the latter probably because he was writing to an audience that was more skeptical of demonic posession and excorcism), as well as other things. Quite a lack of coherence there.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The difference in John is that it has a higher Christology. But this Christology actually corresponds with Paul's earliest theology quite well.</font>
How does it correspond with Paul's earliest theology "so well" (you imply that its better so than the synpotics)? You have not explained why.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Furthermore, Christ's HUMANITY and vulnerability is emphasized more than the other Gospels as well, which argues for the fourth Gospel just penetrating deeper into His character as opposed to just elevating His power. As L.T. Johnsons writes:

"In fact, however, John's Jesus is in some ways even more fully rounded in his humanity than the Jesus portrayed by the Synoptics. Jesus is shown experiencing fatigue (4:6) as well as anguish (12:27; 13:21). His whole being is convulsed when he contemplates the death of his friend Lazarus, and he weeps (11:33-35). On one occasion he changes his mind (7:1-10). He converses with real people in real and identifiable places. His conversation with the Samaritan woman, for example, is distinctive, not exchangeable with any other (4:7-26). Rather than issuing punchy one-liners, he enters into conversational exchanges with Nicodemus (3:1-13), the paralytic (5:2-9), the man born blind (9:35-38), his friends Martha and Mary (11:17-37), and his disciples (1:38-51; 4:31-38; 6:66-71; 9:1-5; 11:1-16; 13:31-14:31). His controversies with opponents do not end quickly but demand his continued engagement (6:41-65; 7:14-36; 8:12-58; 10:22-39). This Jesus performs a miracle simply for the pleasure of giving pleasure (2:1-11). He shows irritation (2:4; 6:26; 7:6-8; 8:25) and suspicion (2:24-25). He asks for a positive human response (6:66-71). Jesus has real friends and is involved in their lives (11:1-12:9). He has one disciple whom he loves more than the others (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:20). He cares about his mother (2:1-11) and seeks her welfare before he dies (19:26-27). He asks Simon three times, 'Do you love me more than these?' (21:15-17). And he designates his followers simply as 'friends' (15:13-15). This is a thoroughly human Jesus…"["Living Jesus" p. 183]</font>
And why could this not merely be the work of a creative author, as opposed to a personal eyewitness?
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: Who says they did record accurate testimony? They are full of absurdities, scientific flaws, historical flaws, incoherence, self-contradictions and dissagreement with other sources about the events/persons they desribe. Such documents are hardly very reliable.

SWL: Uh, losing track of things here are we? YOU are the one claiming that you can DISPROVE certain Christian claims. You presented the argument that the Gospels are not written by disciples in support of this. I'm simply pointing out that even IF this is true, this says NOTHING ***against*** them accurately recording true testimony that ultimately does stem from eyewitnesses, which EVERY scholar on the planet would agree they do in many areas. Get it? YOUR conclusion doesn't follow from your premises.</font>
I'm not saying that absolutely nothing they said about Jesus was false, I'm saying that its highly questionable because of the flaws in the Gospels. Concerning that subject, you say:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As far as your typical long list of belittling adjectives used to describe the Gospels, you're just blowing hot air until you support them.</font>
It is rather easy to support them, actually. There are a number of flaws in each category, but I'll condense them into one apiece -
absurdity:
One of the most notable is the witnessing of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb that the Roman guards supposedly saw. Its absurd because they do not convert to Christianity. Other Roman military officials did believe in Christ when witnessing or hearing of him or his teaching. Yet all of the Roman guards who saw Jesus raise from the dead do not convert, in spite of the fact that they were witness to the single most obvious, undeniable proof of Jesus' divinity that ever happened. This is completely absurd, as nobody in their right mind would look in the face of such proof and deny it.
flaws in history:
The eclipse that supposedly happened after Jesus' death is a completely unsubstantiated event and had it ever really happened, would have been visible to the entire Old World. Yet nobody else makes reliable mention of it save for the Gospels.
scientifically flawed:
Jesus said; Matthew 24:37-39
"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
"For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be."

This clearly indicates he believed the Biblical story of Noah to be true. But that story is complete fiction with no scientific evidence for it and quite a lot of evidence against it. Yet Jesus thought otherwise, therefore: Jesus' belief about this was scientifically flawed.
incoherence and self-contradictions:
listed some of these already.
dissagreement with other sources:
See the historic flaws, but more specifically I'd like to add that Josephus wrote extensively about things happening in Israel but never once mentioned the eclipse. Probably because it never happened.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">That varies from person to person. But if you had a clue, you'd realize that it is not necessary to believe in inerrancy to be a Christian. Most liberals just feel that much of the Bible is just humanity's way of conveying their personal experience of the divine. You certainly haven't disproved either view though.</font>
And, I am to believe these scholars over the conservative ones who believe calling the Bible "errant" makes one a puppet of Satan. I am to believe this new, liberal interpretation over the countless other Christians who felt so strongly about Biblical innerancy that they slaughtered liberally-thinking Bible-thumpers like you like it was going out of style. Okaaay...

Actually, I wonder why I should believe your words about the Bible instead of what the Bible itself writes:
1 Corinthians 2:13,
"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 2:13
"you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God..."
2 Peter 3:15-16
""...Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters..."
And finally, the most clear evidence of all:
2 Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

If God is perfect, he cannot inspire people to make errors. Yet, apparently, he did.

When all the info is taken and condensed, it boils down to two pretty simple questions:
Is the Bible a message from the Perfect creator of the universe (God), given to all of humanity to learn and live By?
If it is, then why did this perfect God inspire it to have flaws?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"A still worse blow was dealt at the Jews by the Egyptian false prophet. A charlatan, who had gained for himself the reputation of a prophet, this man appeared in the country, collected a following of about thirty thousand dupes, and led them by a circuitous route from the desert to the mount called the Mount of Olives. From there he proposed to force an entrance into Jerusalem and, after overpowering the Roman garrison, to set himself up as tyrant of the people, employing those who poured in with him as his bodyguard."[War 2.261-262]

"At this time there came to Jerusalem from Egypt a man who declared that he was a prophet and advised the masses of the common people to go out with him to the mountain called the Mount of Olives, which lies opposite the city at a distance of five furlongs. For he asserted that he wished to demonstrate from there that at his command Jerusalem's walls would fall down, through which he promised to provide them an entrance into the city."[Antiquities 20.169-170]

Wow, 30,000 people? That's an AWFUL lot…Notice he doesn't mention that in Antiquities. Oh, and what about the walls falling at his command? Not mentioned in War. Only in War does Josephus mention that this "Egyptian" wants to set himself up as tyrant of the people. A pretty important thing to mention doncha think?!! How convenient that its left out in Antiquities! Josephus can't be trusted! He contradicts himself! And this is how the skeptics mind works…</font>
No, this is an innacurate representation of both skeptics and an attempt at a refutation of Bible contradictions: nowhere does Josephus contradict himself the way Gospel authors do. Josephus did not say that the false messiah here tried to incite a rebellion in one passage, then claim did not want to incite a rebellion in the other. He does not claim he stood next to the road in one passage to deliver his ranting about his "powers", then on a mountain in the other. He does not claim he would use his own powers in one passage, then claim he had a magical assistant to help him in the other. Yet this is precisely the state of the contradictions in the Gospel. Josephus merely gives two different narratives of a nevertheless coherent story, but the Gospel authors take one story and invent two very different scenarios.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Actually, you're dead wrong. In fact, LT Johnson argues that disagreement over minor details argues FOR the probability of the points of convergence:

"The diversity among the canonical Gospels has also appeared to be a hindrance to a historical reconstruction of Jesus. Actually, that is not entirely the case, for…the obvious differences among these accounts make their points of convergence the more valuable for historical purposes."[Luke Timothy Johnson, "The Real Jesus" (HarperSanFrancisco 1996) p. 146-147.]

Dunn argues the same using Kenneth Bailey's model for orality. See:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosst...OralMemory.htm

Wenham states that the resurrection accounts in the Gospels "exhibit in a remarkable way the well-known characteristics of accurate and independent reporting" due to the fact that "superficially they show great disharmony."[John Wenham, Easter Enigma, (Baker: 1992, rev. ed.) pp.10-11.]

Various legal writers and lawyers have noted that discrepancies over detail in various eyewitness accounts is exactly what we would expect…

Retired judge and lawyer Herbert C. Casteel writes:
"The internal evidence of the resurrection accounts: Each of the four Gospels gives an account of that first Easter Sunday when Jesus arose from the tomb. When we first read these accounts it appears they are in hopeless contradiction. Matthew says it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went out to the tomb. Mark says it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Luke says it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them, and John mentions only Mary Magdalene. Furthermore, they all mention different people to whom Jesus appeared on that day.
"Does this mean that these are false reports, made-up by dishonest men to deceive us? On the contrary, this is good evidence that these are truthful accounts, because people who conspire to testify to a falsehood rehearse carefully to avoid contradictions. False testimony appears on the surface to be in harmony, but discrepancies appear when you dig deeper. True accounts may appear on the surface to be contradictory, but are found to be in harmony when you dig deeper."[Herbert C. CasteelBeyond a Reasonable Doubt, College Press: 1992, 2nd rev.; p. 211ff)]</font>
So? You have failed to substantiate these claims and have failed to give any example of true (reliable) eyewitness accounts that are so contrary to each other.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Legal writer Clifford notes that discrepancies in eyewitness accounts are expected:

"The minor variations test. ... Whilst truthful witnesses complement each other, a judge would not expect them to describe the same incidents in precisely the same way. If they did, that would point to conspiracy. Sometimes there may not be total uniformity in the order of events. One anticipates variations when two or more people testify about the same incident."[Leading Lawyers' Case for the Resurrection Canadian Institute for Law, Theology, and Public Policy, Inc: 1991, 1996; p. 61]</font>
Yes, minor discrepancies are to be expected. Unfortunately, the Gospel discrepancies are hardly "minor", and since we are talking about legalistic thinking here, they would be thrown out of virtually any court of law.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The German classical historian Hans Stier similarly writes:
"the sources for the resurrection of Jesus, with their relatively big contradictions over details, present for the historian for this very reason a criterion of extraordinary credibility."[Craig Blomberg, "The Historical Relibability of the Gospels", p. 103]</font>
Again you fail to explain the very large discrepancies away.

You quote people; "so and so says this, so and so says that", but many times don't wish to add your own explanation for the discrepancies or even quote such explanations.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: I'm talking about how flawed ones reasoning must be to claim a book which was re-worked and/or edited to such an extent as Mark's ending was, still somehow has a reasonable claim to being a divine text for all of humanity to live and learn by. Why would God "inspire" such flawed writings?

SWL: But of course those of us who know that Mark's Gospel ends at verse 8 understand that THAT particular ending shows no sign of being reworked and/or edited at all.

CLB: The "missing ending" theory is flawed if one wishes to argue that Mark is "divinely inspired", and so is the other explanation - you could just as well say that any other event reported in only one of the Gospels was fabricated just to sound entertaining.

SWL: Neither explanation is flawed. There's nothing that says what we have of Mark currently is not divinely inspired. Indeed, most inerrantists believe that it is the ORIGINAL manuscripts that were inspired/inerrant.</font>
Interesting. So would you care to explain:
A-Which version of Mark is "inspired"
B-If it doesn't matter, why can we not just pull out any text of the Bible that is potentially interpolated?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I never admitted any of this nonsense. And I would certainly not consult you on how a Holy Book is supposed to be written.</font>
I assume its because I think that a book which is a message from a perfect God to all of humanity, should not be riddled with flaws?
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">My explanation does just fine. The silence is obviously intended to be temporary in Mark due to the fact that the disciples going to Galilee is contingent upon them hearing the report of the women (as I've stated several times).</font>
Mark (without the added ending) merely says that the women were instructed to do this, not that they did.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: Who never witnessed the events they described and were merely writing things out of myths that they invented or heard from others, twisting them to fit their own motives, and hence had no "divine" inspiration.

SWL: None of which you have a shred of evidence for. You can assert it all you want and waste both my time and yours. I don't care if you print it on a T-shirt and wear it to school on Monday. That doesn't make it so.</font>
Your angry frustration and lack of reservations to exagerate your views lead me to think otherwise. Everything I say, you critisize to the point where you claim it has no value at all. This is flawed reasoning on your part. I make no claim to a perfect argument but the way you entirely dismiss every single reasonable possibility because it does not fit with your views, is hardly intellectually honest.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you'd ever read any serious study of 1 Cor. 15 you might have a clue as to what you are talking about. Unfortunately you haven't and you don't. Yeah, SO WHAT if they were AT FIRST unbelievers? They are believers NOW and he's arguing FROM Christ's resurrection, which they already accept (being that they're SAVED and all - see vs. 1 & 2) as a fact, TO their own future personal resurrections, which they deny on the basis of an over-realized eschatology.</font>
More angry frustration on your part. Also more ignoring of the fact: Paul was reiterating what he said to convince people. If he was just trying to argue over the spiritual aspects of the resurrection then he would not mention the evidences for it. But he does, therefore he is repeating (probably to reinforce the faith his stressed Christian contemporaries) the evidence that he gave to convince them.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Not really. In fact, James was noted to be very skeptical of Jesus' messianic status prior to the resurrection. As you yourself note, Paul was not a believer (funny how you note this and STILL try to identify some motif to the contrary! Very poor exegesis here.). The 'brethren' could just be a referent in the present tense. For example, James might be giving a speech and say "Christ appeared to the apostle Paul".</font>
I agree, he could mean that. He also could mean people who were already Christians.

Also my opinion on Paul is that he just had a different opinion of Christianity, and thats why his teachings are inconsistent with the Gospel accounts.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This again is just another example of you imposing your freethinker "I can spot 5,000 Bahble Conchadictions" mentality upon the text. Does Paul say "they gathered for no apparent reason without women"? No. Does Paul need to give out unnecessary details to just quickly refer to the men as witnesses? Does he need to tell us what each and every one of them ate for breakfast? No. Does Paul say that Jesus didn't appear to any women there? No. He just mentions the men. Why only the men? Probably because the testimony of women was distrusted in general.</font>
Yet more of your angry frustration: "you trying to impose your (insert insulting charicature of freethinkers)". Not too professional. But we all lose our temper sometimes so I understand.

Furthermore, it is strange that Paul would leave out an extra 500 witnesses even if they were women - Paul himself certainly considered them worthy of attention:
Romans 16:1-2
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;
that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well."

Philippians 4:3
"Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
They were apparently important enough to play a significant role in the Church - I think they'd be important enough to mention.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">SWL: Really, where? Give me an example.</font>
~shrugs~Even several Christians I knew have told me this. I figured you would be aware of it. Ah well, I'll go dig up a refference somewhere later.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Yeah, take the money and go on the run…Just like Thelma and Louise…I'm not going to apologize for characters in the Gospels not doing what you think would've been the smartest thing. Not everyone in the ancient world was privileged to be as bright as modern "freethinkers". If the guards didn't convert on sight of a miracle, it only confirms Jesus' words on that matter.</font>
The problem still remains despite your derailing the topic: given that the vast majority of all Christians who ever existed believed in Jesus purely on faith alone; why would people who were lucky enough to have been presented with such overwhelming evidence for the divinity of Jesus, deny it?
[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">CLB: I've now explained this already - Paul was repeating the details of an argument he gave to convince or persuade people into believing in Christ.

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Its not a matter of "could", it’s a matter of what Paul's mission was. Does Paul say that others shouldn't baptize? No. He says HIS mission doesn't entail baptism. And since we don't have an account of Paul ever being told to baptize, there's no contradiction here.</font>
So his mission is not about baptism, but those of the other apostles are, even though Jesus appeared to Paul and was "inspiring" him throughout all his writings (according to the NT)? Sounds rather unlikely.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">That's exactly right. And I think very sizeable portions of what modern Christianity considers to be applicable to modern believers is taken completely out of its original context, so I'll STICK with the context and maintain that Jesus is talking to who He's ACTUALLY talking to.</font>
Too bad your God didn't bother to just say that in his "inspired" holy book. It sure would have saved a lot of lives.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Again, you're clueless. Every scrap of evidence we have indicates that the resurrection was the central belief.</font>
"every scrap" of evidence being apparently little to no evidence at all indicating Chrisitans of that time had a ubiquitous central belief in the physical resurrection of Christ, as there are so very few referrences to details about Christ (from that time) to begin with (outside of the Gospels, that is).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If Tacitus doesn't mention it, that's his problem. The belief was widely held. For you to assert that Tacitus' silence on something implies that it wasn't the standard belief is laughable. Tacitus would see it as a ridiculous superstition not even worthy of mention.</font>
He is discussing what originally happened to Christ, then describing his followers. The reason he does not mention Christ's claim to be physically raised is probably because he wasn't originally have claimed to, and thus was not, resurrected from the dead, and again, you present no evidence confirming independent details about Christ, you merely claim that they confirm your view.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">: So either be suspicious of Josephus' skills as an historian,</font>
Which, given his account of the fictitious heifer giving birth to a lamb and the alleged "driving out" of a demon that he witnessed, is justified when dealing with such specific, small writings as those of Jesus.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">or his motives for writing the passage, or be foolish and deny that the resurrection belief was widespread among the early church. I don't really care either way, but this argument from silence says nothing against the resurrection belief.</font>
This argument says quite a lot against the validity of the resurrection belief: it implies that, since it wasn't an original claim about Jesus, it probably didn't happen, and using an educated fellow like Josephus is far better than going on the vague, inconsistent rumors of hordes of anomyous Christians.


This post may have some spelling errors in it or some other stuff like that - its far too long for me to look over right now, since I'm tired. And I don't want to put this off any longer. I'm going to retire to my crib now

Cheers.
 
Old 04-19-2001, 09:47 AM   #18
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Wow...

Just out of curiousity, how long does it take to compose a post that long?
 
Old 04-19-2001, 10:23 AM   #19
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CLB: First, I see you did not adress my claim that the authors of the Gospels weren't the disciples. Does this mean you agree?

SWL: No, it doesn't. And first of all, no one, not even the biggest fundy believes that all of the Gospel authors were apostles (which I think you meant to say rather than 'disciples').

CLB: Then do you believe the Gospel authors were the Disciples of Jesus? Or are are you as yet undecided on the issue?

SWL: Let's just say I'm undecided on the issue. But remember that YOU are the one claiming that they did NOT, so the burden of proof would be on YOU. You have as yet not shouldered that burden of proof. For a defense of traditional views on authorship of the Gospels, see:

http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_02_02_02.html

That's an introductory page that links to a treatment of each Gospel towards the bottom.

CLB: Yes, I have provided evidence, though perhaps not "proof" (not enough for you at least...then again I doubt there is any reasonable way to prove such a thing to you).

SWL: Actually, you haven't presented one single bit of evidence, CLB. Not one. Please re-present it if you think you have. I certainly missed it.

CLB:Is that part of some joke? Do you truly believe such a statement? Were you trying to be sarcastic or something? I cannot at all see how an otherwise intelligent person such as yourself could believe such a thing as that to be true and still maintain a reasonable claim to being sane.
Science demonstrates that supernaturally healing people or making them raise from the dead, etc., are impossible.

SWL: The problem is that you're arguing against miracles by assuming your own presuppositions, CLB. Science demonstrates that, without any outside interference, these things normally/naturalistically do not occur. But you see, when a Christian talks of miracles, they aren't talking about anything naturalistic, normal, or open to scientific enquiry. They are talking about an act brought about by God. Now, unless you know of any scientific evidence that shows that God cannot exist, and unless you know of any scientific evidence that shows that, if God does exist, God cannot bring about a supernatural effect in the world, then the statement "Miracles are impossible", if it refers to what the Christian means by "miracle", is just a statement of faith.

CLB: I'd also like to remind you of how hopelessly ridiculous the portrayal of history would become if it did indeed accept the supernatural as valid, real historical fact.

SWL: Historians can do history under the metaphysical assumption of naturalism all they want, or just maintain it methodologically. That says nothing towards the truth of naturalism or the impossibility of miracles.

CLB: Mostly those quoted or writing in encyclopedias, and a few who wrote books about various subjects in the Bible.

SWL: Not a very good background from which to be discussing these things, CLB. How can you assess the validity of your stance if you don't even read those scholars who disagree with you?

CLB: By "myth" I am speaking of the supernatural claims about him, which are not true because they are impossible and for the most part are unsubstantiated.

SWL: Of course, these are statements of faith.

CLB: By "legend" I mean a (historical) claim that cannot be verified - in other words, in and of itself we cannot be sure if its true or not.

SWL: And of course, not being able to verify something does not make it untrue. And what do you mean by 'verify' anyway?

SecWebLurker: Any Christian scholar would obviously not necessarilly think Jesus did not perform miracles.

CLB: It depends what you mean by "miracles" - many people perform apparently "miraculous" actions even today (Faith Healers, for example), but there is no evidence or supporting reason to confirm they are supernatural. Are you going to attempt to argue that Jesus did something beyond these - in other words; that his "miracles" were of supernatural origin?

SWL: No you see. I didn't make any claims about miracles - you did. I don't have to argue anything. You said that Jesus' miracles were IMPOSSIBLE. That's a claim for which YOU have to shoulder the burden of proof. As yet, since you have not presented any evidence in support of it, its a statement of your own personal faith. But really, we're straying from the topic. I said that certainly several Christian scholars, brilliant ones at that, believe Jesus performed authentic miracles, and I meant it in a supernatural context - Raymond Brown would be one, Luke Timothy Johnson another, Craig Blomberg, Craig Evans, NT Wright, Ben Witherington III.

CLB: No, I do not at all mean that, and never said I did, I just said that they were myths and/or legends i.e. the supernatural miracles are "myths" because they are (you know),

SWL: No I don't know. This is a faith-claim on your part.

CLB: the rest of the details are legends because they cannot be verified as true or false.

SWL: No, this doesn't follow either and you need to define 'verification' in the sense you're using it.

CLB: Wether or not Jesus was originally "thought" (Not "observed to" or "seen doing"? Interesting.)

SWL: Yes, observed and seen doing. The original apostles claimed to have SEEN the resurrected Jesus after His death. That's miraculous enough.

&lt;snip nonsense on misquoting. I gave the soruces. If you think I'm misquoting, look them up yourself. I'm not going to type out the entire page of a book because someone thinks I MIGHT be misquoting.&gt;

SWL: We can't really VERIFY any event in ancient history. We can only study the sources and make very tentative probabilistic inferences.

CLB: We can verify many things in ancient history if we have unbiased, reliable sources of evidence for them.

SWL: No, we actually don't have any such thing as unbiased sources. All writers of ancient history have a bias and a point of view. All PEOPLE everywhere have a bias and a point of view. There's no such thing as "objective history". Just by selecting a topic to write about, you evince a preference. And the question of 'reliability' is what is at issue here. You certainly have not presented any evidence against the general reliability of the Gospels.

CLB: In the case of Jesus, we don't have such,

SWL: A claim which you still have not substantiated.

CLB: and so, yes, most of the details about him given in the Gospels are mere legends.

SWL: In the sense you're using 'legend' that just means currently unverifiable. If I overhear in the hallway that a certain teacher is giving a pop-quiz, I haven't yet verified the truth of this claim, but it may or may not be true. I have no problem with material in the Gospels being seen as such. Much of ancient history is seen as such. But there is also a great deal about Jesus that is considered to be very historical.

CLB: Most of the quotes you provided showed that the scholars didn't believe them to be bona fide supernatural "miracles" - then again, you may have (perhaps unintentionally; by copying them from a pro-Christian site) taken even some of the miracle-supporting ones out of context, so even those it can't be certain about.

SWL: Actually, I took them directly from James Charlesworth's scholarly work "Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls" which I am currently reading, and Craig A. Evans and Bruce Chilton's "Authenticating the Activities of Jesus", which I just finished reading. But none of the scholars I quoted give any hint that they did NOT believe that Jesus performed "bona fide" miracles. In fact, I know that at least two of them do believe Jesus did.

SWL: You aren't well aware of ONE single detail in Jesus' life being a legend. Not one.

CLB: Look up the definition of "legend", and you will see that virtually every single detail of Jesus' life (save for a few) fits a proper definition of "legend".

SWL: I thought you were using the term 'legend' in the sense of 'untruth'. If you just mean it as 'currently unverifiable by historical standards', that's fine. No disagreement there, as it says nothing towards the untruth of any of it. But virtually every detail in Jesus' life does NOT fit the proper definition of 'legend', and if you would pick up one of the millions of books on the historical Jesus that are in print, you'd see why.

SWL: First present the actual authority, THEN you can attempt to present the reasons, which I will subsequently shoot down.

CLB: Why should I present them now when you have lavished me with quotes supporting my claim?

SWL: My quotes in no way support any of your claims.

SWL: He doesn't. Omission of a details is not a contradiction. How many times have we been over this?

CLB: The two stories do not match up and differ from each other significantly - this also counts as "contradiction", though this is rather trivial to Paul giving out teaching/s that are the direct opposite of those of Jesus (like "Jesus did not send me to baptize").

SWL: Of course, stories can be told from different perspectives with different emphases and when conducting historical investigation, we must often attempt harmonization. That's just the way reportage works. None of this entails contradiction. And yo uhave shown no such thing as concerns a contradiction between Jesus and Paul.

CLB: I've shown several instances of such, and you've yet to refute all of them.

SWL: Certainly I have. Haven't you noticed that I answer all of your points? Whether or not you can rebutt my responses remains to be seen.

SWL: You've shown no instance of flat-out contradiction.

CLB: "Jesus did not send me to baptize".

SWL: Which, since we have no instance of Jesus telling Paul to baptize, is not a contradiction. Keep holding onto that one for dear life...Its slipping away...Also, try to keep on track w/your original argument. Even if you COULD SHOW that Paul contradicted JEsus, this would say nothing towards your intial claims:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">There was nothing supernatural about Jesus,

he is not part of some plan by God,

he did not rise from the dead,</font>
CLB: Paul also contradicts Jesus' alleged "virgin" birth by saying Jesus was born of the seed of David (Something like that, can't recall the specific verse at the time).

SWL: Which obviously isn't literal semen as Paul certainly does not mean to say that David's actual semen impregnated Jesus' mother. As we learn from Strong's concordance, this word can simply mean "family, tribe, or posterity" in a generic sense so there's no contradiction here either. Mat 22:24 reads: "Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother." But its talking about an instance in which the brother is dead, so obviously we aren't talking about the actual 'sperm' in such an instance. And obviously the 2 Gospels that report the virgin birth agree that Jesus' is of the offspring of David as they go through so much troubles to present the geneaologies in an attempt to establish it. Acts 13:23 reads: "Of this man's seed hath God according to [his] promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus" and we KNOW that the author of Acts believes Jesus was born of a virgin. Layman has already posted on evidence that Paul recognized special circumstances in the birth of Jesus:

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000265.html

CLB: I am talking about the legends of him being born of a virgin, performing miracles, raising from the dead, etc.

SWL: And where's your evidence that these are legends? Nowhere.

CLB: The realization that they are impossible, cannot be confirmed to have happened, and thus are worthy of being called "legends". Obviously.

SWL: Actually, there is nothing demonstratably impossible about any of these events as they are considered to be brought about by God - not mere naturalistic occurences.

CLB: First,Perhaps you typed up a response and then saved it before reading my adjustments to the claim. Notice how I then remarked how strange it was that the Gospel authors, when trying to convince a skeptical audience, apparently "overlooked" a rather convincing argument: that they themselves were witness to the events.

SWL: Here again we see an ignorance of the purpose of the Gospels. The Gospels aren't written necessarilly to CONVINCE a skeptical audience. They are accounts of the events in Jesus life written primarily FOR those interested Christians in the believing community. The problem is that you really don't have a good enough background to discuss these things, and your imposing your own 'freethinker' framework upon ancient events. Early Christians didn't go around handing out Gospels like missionary tracts.

CLB: If they were, there would most likely be SOMETHING indicating this in the Gospels. Luke, for example, briefly describes his motivations and intentions for writing the Gospel, as does John with his (neither claim to be eyewitnesses, tough, save for the dubious ending of John).

SWL: I've given other areas indeed, but we know that John's ending is dubious how? On what grounds? Regarding John 21:24 which identifies an eyewitness as the author, Hall Harris Ph.D., a Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, writes:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">21:24 Ou|tov" ejstin oJ maqhthV" oJ marturw'n periV touvtwn kaiV oJ gravya" tau'ta The Fourth Gospel concludes with an authentication of the testimony of the one who both witnessed the events described and wrote them down. Many have understood this to be a conclusion written by someone other than the Evangelist. It is argued that the plural oi[damen indicates more than one person is involved in this statement of authentication, and thus it has been added by others after the completion of the Gospel. This may be so, but several points favoring authorship of these final verses by the Evangelist himself need to be considered:

(1) If this statement of attestation were added by a later writer we would expect it to stand at the very end of the Fourth Gospel, but in fact it is followed by verse 25, which resorts to the first person singular (oi\mai) again;

(2) Manuscript evidence for treating both verses 24 and 25 as a later addition to the Gospel is so slim as to be virtually nonexistent (verse 25 was omitted by the original copyist of Ĺ, but the same copyist then added it as a correction; there is no manuscript evidence of any kind for the omission of verse 24);

(3) Jesus in 3:11 uses a plural verb where it is clear in context that only he is speaking;

(4) 1 John 1:1 uses plural verbs in the same way, in a context where authentication of testimony is concerned; and

(5) The author of 3 John, who elsewhere uses the first person singular, uses a plural verb and pronoun to refer to himself in verse 12 in a context where authentication of testimony is concerned: kaiV hJmei'" deV marturou'men, kaiV oi\da" o{ti hJ marturiva hJmw'n ajlhqhv" ejstin. In light of all this it seems probable that the Evangelist himself is the author of 21:24.[http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/joh/harris/gjohn-24.htm#TopOfPage]</font>
CLB: Second, just because Moses is said to have wrote the Torah is no reason to assume he did. The fact that the Torah describes Moses' death makes his authorship of it unlikely, (as do the lack of "we passages" in it).

SWL: Uh, you miss the point, CLB. My citing the Torah as lacking the first-person perspective, given the fact that it was UNANIMOUSLY considered to be written BY Moses (WHETHER OR NOT that attribution is genuine), COMPLETELY undercuts your attempt to establish the first-person perspective as normative for documents considered to be eyewitness accounts.

SWL: Firstly, Luke wouldn't be writing in the first person in his Gospel because, as anyone knows, he wasn't witness to those events.

CLB: Glad we agree on something.

SWL: The traditional stance on Luke's Gospel was never that Luke was an eyewitness to Jesus. However, Luke does begin his Gospel attributing the traditions to eyewitnesses:

"1.1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, 1.2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 1.3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, 1.4 that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed. 1.5 "

CLB: Acts is just a companion book to Luke (Volume II). You see that there are "we passages" even in spite of the writing style - why then do the other Gospels lack them? I hope you see the problem this presents: here we have a significant number of first hand "we/I saw it" documents in Acts yet a rather stunning lack of them in other Gospels. Would you not agree that its because the other Gospels were most likely not written by eyewitnesses?

SWL: Of course not. Simply because the Synoptic Gospels are bioi, which was generally not written in the first-person, and Acts IS NOT bioi.

SWL: This matters not one bit. Since Matt. and Luke are dependent on Mark we would expect them to follow his framework. But John is arguably independent for the most part, and if he's writing to supplement Mark, as Bauckham recently argues, then we would expect minimum overlap and different information/traditions.

CLB: And since/if he is writing decades after the other Gospel authors, we would expect more fantastic traditions...which is what the Gospel of John contain.

SWL: No, we wouldn't necessarilly expect this unless we ASSUMED fabrication on the part of the Gospel authors (but we can't do that), and the traditions are NOT more fantastic. Jesus is just as much of a miracle-worker in the Synoptics as He is in John. If you read the link I gave you to the essay by James D. G. Dunn you'll find good info. refuting the idea of linear legendary development.

CLB: Its probable that John is written in such a manner because of the "growing legend/myth" argument (the more time you have, the more extraordinary a story such as that will get). Not a wholely undeniable fact, sure, but for you to say "it matters not one bit" is quite an exageration.

SWL: I should state it "It helps your case not one bit unless you assume your conclusion (that the Gospel authors were prone to fabrication)."

SWL: Furthermore, in John 1:14, the author claims to be among the witnesses of Christ. As Daniel Wallace puts it: "He stated that he had beheld Christ’s glory (1:14) using a verb (qeavomai) which in NT Greek always bears the meaning of at least physical examination (cf. BAGD)."[http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/jnotl.htm] Oops!

CLB: No, there is no "oops", except perhaps for you forgetting that John may very well have been interpolated to quite a significant degree. The last chapter is questionable (different writing style and all), as are other passages.
Oh, and again, would you care to explain why the other Gospels (minus Acts, of course) do not contain these first-person perspectives?

SWL: LOL! See how ridiculous it is for anyone to even discuss the Gospels with you? Your preconcieved notions are entirely determinant of your consideration of the evidence. You say the Gospels don't claim to be eyewitnesses. I show you a place where one does, and you just say "Oh well, that could be an interpolation!!" Hahah..well, baby, you can say that about ANY TEXT so its meaningless. Its just your convenient backdoor. Regardless, your statement to the effect that there is no claim to eyewitness in the Gospels is refuted, so again: "Oops!".

CLB: These assume it was not interpolated (which it may very well have been), that the author wasn't skilled at writing something well enough to make it look as though it was an eyewitness account, and fail to explain why, if it was so early, and the author was an eyewitness, its claims contradict those of the Gospels written a decade or so after the event.

SWL: Where are the huge contradictions, that can't be reconciled? And all of your other comments are meaningless 'backdoor' escape-routes for the atheist that can be said about any texts. Regardless, your initial claim is refuted.

CLB: One also wonders why John did not include all the prophecies about the end of the world and Jesus returning soon. Probably because by the time John was written, the author saw how the synpotic prophecies all failed, and so didn't want to make Christianity look stupid with more nonsensical "the end is near" claims.

SWL: Also just as easilly explained by interpreting most of what people consider predictions of the second coming (i.e. references to the apocalyptic cypher "son of man") to be references to the destruction of the Temple which had occured by the time of John's writing. On this and other alleged places where Jesus was mistaken about the end-times, see:

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qaim.html

SWL: There is just as much of a miraculous nature to Christ's deeds in the earlier Gospels.

CLB: No, there is not.

SWL: Yes, there is. In fact, much much more. In John, Jesus only performs 7 or 8 miracles, compared to the more than double that amount in the other individual gospels. And the miracles in John are really not of a higher order at all.

CLB: The Gospels all seem to "forget" the water-to-wine story,

SWL: No, they don't seem to FORGET it, they just don't mention it. Is it necessary that every miracle of Jesus be recounted within each Gospel? Of course not. They are ALL working with different sources and they ALL recount events that others do NOT. The miracle of water-to-wine is NO more miraculous than Jesus walking on water or raising the dead in the other Gospels and probably isn't recounted due to the fact that it isn't seen to have any theological significance.

CLB: they all seem to "forget" just how many signs Jesus did to impress people,

SWL: NO, they don't. They are full of miracles from beginning to end.

CLB: and he "forgets" the significance of the excorcisms the Synoptic Jesus was claimed to have done (the latter probably because he was writing to an audience that was more skeptical of demonic posession and excorcism), as well as other things. Quite a lack of coherence there.

SWL: LOL, what bunk! That's equivalent to "John left out the exorcisms because he's scared of demons". More likely, especially considering the fact that John narrates so FEW miracles in the first place, is that John is supplementing Mark.

SWL: The difference in John is that it has a higher Christology. But this Christology actually corresponds with Paul's earliest theology quite well.

CLB: How does it correspond with Paul's earliest theology "so well" (you imply that its better so than the synpotics)? You have not explained why.

SWL: Because Jesus' divine and premundane status is explicit, as it is in Paul.

CLB: And why could this not merely be the work of a creative author, as opposed to a personal eyewitness?

SWL: You see...You can ALWAYS say stuff like that. On another thread I was arguing with a skeptic on the burial accounts. He consistently resorted to "Well, this looks historical because the author is fabricating, but trying to make it look historical". That's just another skeptical backdoor. The accounts look like eyewitness testimony and we see a quick flight down the escape hatch of possibility. But regardless, I'm not really concerned with whether or not you accept the accounts as accurate eyewitness testimony in this example, I'm simply demonstrating that as exalted as Jesus is in John, he's also equally human.

CLB: I'm not saying that absolutely nothing they said about Jesus was false, I'm saying that its highly questionable because of the flaws in the Gospels.

SWL: Bottom line: You haven't presented ANY support for your initial claims.

CLB: It is rather easy to support them, actually. There are a number of flaws in each category, but I'll condense them into one apiece -
absurdity:
One of the most notable is the witnessing of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb that the Roman guards supposedly saw. Its absurd because they do not convert to Christianity. Other Roman military officials did believe in Christ when witnessing or hearing of him or his teaching. Yet all of the Roman guards who saw Jesus raise from the dead do not convert, in spite of the fact that they were witness to the single most obvious, undeniable proof of Jesus' divinity that ever happened. This is completely absurd, as nobody in their right mind would look in the face of such proof and deny it.

SWL: What is absurd is that you think this is a good argument. They would have NO reason to attach this to Jesus' divinity living in a world where the miraculous was commonly accepted, without having witnessed it in the CONTEXT of the specific beliefs of Israel and the ministry of Jesus. If anything, it would've scared the crap out of them, and that's about it.

CLB: flaws in history:
The eclipse that supposedly happened after Jesus' death is a completely unsubstantiated event and had it ever really happened, would have been visible to the entire Old World. Yet nobody else makes reliable mention of it save for the Gospels.

SWL: Actually that's not necessarilly true. See: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/jrthal.html

CLB: scientifically flawed:
Jesus said; Matthew 24:37-39
"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
"For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
This clearly indicates he believed the Biblical story of Noah to be true. But that story is complete fiction with no scientific evidence for it and quite a lot of evidence against it. Yet Jesus thought otherwise, therefore: Jesus' belief about this was scientifically flawed.

SWL: Actually, there's no real scientific disproof of the flood account if it is interpreted as a local flood, rather than a global flood, as many Christians see it. The flood being said to cover the whole world is insignificant as 'eretz', the word for world is predominantly used to mean 'land' in the OT. See:

http://www.angelfire.com/ca/DeafPreterist/noah.html

or

http://www.reasons.org/resources/boo...tion/gq18.html

or the whole series of articles by a Christian evolutionist at:

http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/fld.htm

CLB: incoherence and self-contradictions:
listed some of these already.
dissagreement with other sources:
See the historic flaws, but more specifically I'd like to add that Josephus wrote extensively about things happening in Israel but never once mentioned the eclipse. Probably because it never happened.

SWL: You haven't pointed out any historical flaws, and this is yet another argument from silence.

CLB: And, I am to believe these scholars over the conservative ones who believe calling the Bible "errant" makes one a puppet of Satan.

SWL: Your problem, CLB, is that you haven't read any conservative "scholars". You've read web-pages written by fundamentalists.

CLB: I am to believe this new, liberal interpretation over the countless other Christians who felt so strongly about Biblical innerancy that they slaughtered liberally-thinking Bible-thumpers like you like it was going out of style.

SWL: This sentence really doesn't make any sense, and I REALLY hope you aren't calling me a Bible-thumper. But there's nothing new about liberal interpretation, its been the majority view of scholars for the past century.

CLB: Okaaay...
Actually, I wonder why I should believe your words about the Bible instead of what the Bible itself writes:
1 Corinthians 2:13,
"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit."

SWL: Obviously not referring to the Gospels, so what's your point?

CLB: 1 Thessalonians 2:13
"you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God..."
2 Peter 3:15-16
""...Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters..."
And finally, the most clear evidence of all:

SWL: Same comment as above.

CLB: 2 Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

SWL: Oops though. The author of 2 Timothy wouldn't have even known about the Gospels.

CLB: When all the info is taken and condensed, it boils down to two pretty simple questions:
Is the Bible a message from the Perfect creator of the universe (God), given to all of humanity to learn and live By?
If it is, then why did this perfect God inspire it to have flaws?

SWL: You haven't pointed out any flaws, and there are much more capable men than myself who defend inerrancy (see: www.tektonics.org where you can see pages and pages of refutation of alleged Bible contradictions and you can e-mail the owner himself with any you can come up with that haven't already been answered) but a defense of inerrancy isn't even necessary. One could just maintain that there is a major human component to mediating the revelation and so that aspect is obviously not going to be perfect.

CLB: No, this is an innacurate representation of both skeptics and an attempt at a refutation of Bible contradictions: nowhere does Josephus contradict himself the way Gospel authors do. Josephus did not say that the false messiah here tried to incite a rebellion in one passage, then claim did not want to incite a rebellion in the other.

SWL: Show me a Gospel contradiction on this order.

CLB: He does not claim he stood next to the road in one passage to deliver his ranting about his "powers", then on a mountain in the other. He does not claim he would use his own powers in one passage, then claim he had a magical assistant to help him in the other. Yet this is precisely the state of the contradictions in the Gospel. Josephus merely gives two different narratives of a nevertheless coherent story, but the Gospel authors take one story and invent two very different scenarios.

SWL: You'll have to show me the verses in the Gospel narratives and then we'll give possible harmonizations, but the example from Josephus offers a perfect parallel for many of the claims of skeptics. Ommission of details (extraordinary details) seen as a contradiction.

CLB: So? You have failed to substantiate these claims and have failed to give any example of true (reliable) eyewitness accounts that are so contrary to each other.

SWL: Uh, see the link I gave you. But I don't have to prove that the Gospels are eyewitnesses. You haven't substantiated the claims that YOU have made. I haven't been doing anything here but undercutting your individual claims.

CLB: Yes, minor discrepancies are to be expected. Unfortunately, the Gospel discrepancies are hardly "minor", and since we are talking about legalistic thinking here, they would be thrown out of virtually any court of law.

SWL: Let's see some of these MAJOR discrepancies then.

CLB: Again you fail to explain the very large discrepancies away.

SWL: Simply because you haven't shown any.

CLB: You quote people; "so and so says this, so and so says that", but many times don't wish to add your own explanation for the discrepancies or even quote such explanations.

SWL: This is BLATANTLY false. I've dealt with every alleged discrepancy you've presented. Let's be clear about that.

CLB: Interesting. So would you care to explain:
A-Which version of Mark is "inspired"
B-If it doesn't matter, why can we not just pull out any text of the Bible that is potentially interpolated?

SWL: Its quite simple. The oldest MSS don't have the ending. That's how we know its interpolated. Inspiration only need maintain that the original manuscripts were inspired. See:

http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_IHI.html

CLB: I assume its because I think that a book which is a message from a perfect God to all of humanity, should not be riddled with flaws?

SWL: No, its because you have repeatedly demonstrated a shallowness and ignorance when it comes to assessment of the relevant passages.

SWL: My explanation does just fine. The silence is obviously intended to be temporary in Mark due to the fact that the disciples going to Galilee is contingent upon them hearing the report of the women (as I've stated several times).

CLB: Mark (without the added ending) merely says that the women were instructed to do this, not that they did.

SWL: I've addressed this several times. See if you can get it this time. Mark, WHO OBVIOUSLY knows that the risen Jesus must appear to the discipls in Galilee (given the fact that he has Jesus predicting that He WILL in earlier chapters) makes the men getting to Galilee to see Jesus CONTINGENT upon hearing the message of the angel (that's the purpose of the angelic appearance), so OBVIOUSLY he feels the message eventually gets through - probably in a way similar to that in Matthew where Jesus appears to them midway in their flight first and eases their fears.

CLB: Your angry frustration and lack of reservations to exagerate your views lead me to think otherwise. Everything I say, you critisize to the point where you claim it has no value at all. This is flawed reasoning on your part. I make no claim to a perfect argument but the way you entirely dismiss every single reasonable possibility because it does not fit with your views, is hardly intellectually honest.

SWL: Firstly, I'm not angry. I'm just a sarcastic person. If you don't wish to have a convo. with such a person, then you probably shouldn't be talking to me. I'm not going to sit here like a robot and repeat refutations over and over and over again. If you continue to make assertions which you have not even come CLOSE to substantiating then I'm going to say something like "Look, you can have a plane fly by my house with a banner trailing and it still is meaningless until you support the claims made thereon." You claim that I'm exaggerating but I'm being perfectly honest. You have not yet presented one shred of evidence towards your claims. Not even the smallest crumb. You may find that to be absurd, but I really don't expect much more from you. After all, you have continually demonstrated what I consider to be a woefull ignorance concerning biblical studies, you really don't have near the adequate background, your ability to argue logically ALONE needs major work, and you started off this entire thread with what is probably the most naive argument I have seen on this board. If you wish me to demonstrate w/examples where I think you fit these descriptions, I will be glad to. Its all only a post or two above.

CLB: More angry frustration on your part.

SWL: No, CLB, its just that you need to be told when you really don't know what you're talking about. Sorry, I'm a straightforward kind of guy.

CLB: Also more ignoring of the fact: Paul was reiterating what he said to convince people. If he was just trying to argue over the spiritual aspects of the resurrection then he would not mention the evidences for it. But he does, therefore he is repeating (probably to reinforce the faith his stressed Christian contemporaries) the evidence that he gave to convince them.

SWL: More blithe ignorance. Paul is combatting an over-realized eschatology. The Corinthians believe that Christ has been raised from the dead (Paul would NEVER be calling them 'brothers' otherwise, and saying that they are 'saved'), but they also believe that that is the end of things...The end has come in that singular event and now there is no FUTURE resurrection of the dead. So Paul argues FROM Christ's resurrection, which they accept as fact, to THEIR general resurrection, by employing the motif of the first-fruits of the harvest. Christ was the first, and soon after their resurrection will come as the latter abundance of the harvest. The list of the apostles as witnesses is just a quick cite of the tradition ALREADY taught and accepted by them to reiterate and emphasize his own apostolic authority. There isn't even a HINT in all of 1 Corinthians 15 that Christ's resurrection is being denied.

CLB: I agree, he could mean that. He also could mean people who were already Christians.

SWL: And either way there would be no problem.

CLB: Also my opinion on Paul is that he just had a different opinion of Christianity, and thats why his teachings are inconsistent with the Gospel accounts.

SWL: Well, that too is a faith-based opinion as you have yet do demonstrate one inconsistency.

SWL: This again is just another example of you imposing your freethinker "I can spot 5,000 Bahble Conchadictions" mentality upon the text. Does Paul say "they gathered for no apparent reason without women"? No. Does Paul need to give out unnecessary details to just quickly refer to the men as witnesses? Does he need to tell us what each and every one of them ate for breakfast? No. Does Paul say that Jesus didn't appear to any women there? No. He just mentions the men. Why only the men? Probably because the testimony of women was distrusted in general.

CLB: Yet more of your angry frustration: "you trying to impose your (insert insulting charicature of freethinkers)". Not too professional. But we all lose our temper sometimes so I understand.

SWL: Its not a loss of temper, its a category of behavior and ignorance that I see
on your part, and all over the web. I'm sorry if you don't like me classifying it as such but that's the way I see things.

CLB: Furthermore, it is strange that Paul would leave out an extra 500 witnesses even if they were women - Paul himself certainly considered them worthy of attention:
Romans 16:1-2
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;
that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well."
Philippians 4:3

SWL: Yeah, Paul mentions them as helpers, but that is of a different order then the status that comes with having seen and been commissioned by the risen Christ. But anyway, there's nothing in his mention of 'the 500' to imply that there were no women there at all. He's just making a generalization. He didn't take a census.

SWL: Really, where? Give me an example.

CLB: ~shrugs~Even several Christians I knew have told me this. I figured you would be aware of it. Ah well, I'll go dig up a refference somewhere later.

SWL: Hahaha...great source! Several Christians! Since when do you trust what Christians say? Get to diggin, Baby!

CLB: The problem still remains despite your derailing the topic: given that the vast majority of all Christians who ever existed believed in Jesus purely on faith alone; why would people who were lucky enough to have been presented with such overwhelming evidence for the divinity of Jesus, deny it?

SWL: Because the miraculous alone does not necessarilly bring about a genuine conversion, just as Jesus Himself said. And this is in a culture where the miraculous was seen as commonplace.

CLB: I've now explained this already - Paul was repeating the details of an argument he gave to convince or persuade people into believing in Christ.
[quote]Its not a matter of "could", it’s a matter of what Paul's mission was. Does Paul say that others shouldn't baptize? No. He says HIS mission doesn't entail baptism. And since we don't have an account of Paul ever being told to baptize, there's no contradiction here.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CLB: So his mission is not about baptism, but those of the other apostles are, even though Jesus appeared to Paul and was "inspiring" him throughout all his writings (according to the NT)? Sounds rather unlikely.

SWL: Doesn't sound unlikely to me in any way whatsoever given the fact that there are different commissions for different apostles. For instance, see(Gal 2.9f):

"James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do."

Now, what DOES sound unlikely is that Paul thought there was something wrong with other's baptizing given the FACT that he never says there is anything wrong with it, its going on all around him, and yet he only says that he personally does not have the commission to baptize.

There is simply no contradiction here and you are grasping for straws to say there is.

CLB: Too bad your God didn't bother to just say that in his "inspired" holy book. It sure would have saved a lot of lives.

SWL: Yeah, God has to put in a footnote for every nutball who wants to impose their own context upon a passage. That's reasonable. It would be an awful big Bible though. Perhaps larger than the entire Earth.

SWL: "every scrap" of evidence being apparently little to no evidence at all indicating Chrisitans of that time had a ubiquitous central belief in the physical resurrection of Christ, as there are so very few referrences to details about Christ (from that time) to begin with (outside of the Gospels, that is).

SWL: Hence I said every scrap we have. Since you have no evidence to base YOUR views on, they are baseless.

SWL: If Tacitus doesn't mention it, that's his problem. The belief was widely held. For you to assert that Tacitus' silence on something implies that it wasn't the standard belief is laughable. Tacitus would see it as a ridiculous superstition not even worthy of mention.

CLB: He is discussing what originally happened to Christ, then describing his followers. The reason he does not mention Christ's claim to be physically raised is probably because he wasn't originally have claimed to, and thus was not, resurrected from the dead, and again, you present no evidence confirming independent details about Christ, you merely claim that they confirm your view.

SWL: Will you please grow a brain? It is an undeniable fact that by the time Tacitus wrote, belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead was widely held. It would have been preached in every church that Paul founded and the Gospels had already all been written. Get a clue.

CLB: This argument says quite a lot against the validity of the resurrection belief:

SWL: Not even the tiniest wee little bit. Its utter stupidity. That's why you'll see no serious scholar making such an argument. Its the type of garbage you find on the Sec Web and that's about it.

CLB: it implies that, since it wasn't an original claim about Jesus, it probably didn't happen, and using an educated fellow like Josephus is far better than going on the vague, inconsistent rumors of hordes of anomyous Christians.

SWL: Firstly, regarding Josephus, the passage actually says: "for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day."

It is entirely possible that it originally spoke of the fact that early Christians just believed this, but that was altered.

Secondly, JP Holding responds to the assertion regarding Josephus alleged failure to mention the resurrection, as follows:

"In fact, we may assert that Josephus does refer to this [resurrection] belief, albeit obliquely, when he indicates that those who loved Jesus at the first "did not forsake him" - indicating that they were in some way still devoted to Jesus himself, even after his death. Even so, this sort of objection [that Josephus did not know of the resurrection] presumes to know that there must have been a reason for Josephus to make a more direct mention, and no reason why he should not have, which is easy to assert but rather difficult to prove."[http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_01_01_01_JOS.html#rez]

CLB: This post may have some spelling errors in it or some other stuff like that - its far too long for me to look over right now, since I'm tired. And I don't want to put this off any longer. I'm going to retire to my crib now

SWL: Sleep tight.

SecWebLurker
 
 

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