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Old 05-28-2001, 12:57 PM   #21
Toto
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:

Doherty consistently fails to even mention the arguments used against his theories, and when a scholar agrees with him very often presents his arguments as if they are the only ones that exist. . . .

I have read his web site extensively Toto, and I have worked from the assumption that it offers many of the same arguments as he makes in his books. I have begun to tell you why I find him unconvincing, but you refuse to defend his work yourself, and thus far no one else has stepped up to the plate. When I get into my detailed arguments against Doherty's dating of Luke/Acts and the other Gospels I hope that this will change, and someone will try to defend his ideas.
. . .
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Nomad:

I will not do your homework for you.

If you think that Doherty never mentions arguments used against his theories, you have not read his book. If you have only read his website, you have not read the full scope of his arguments. There is no way that I am going to retype them here for you.

This is why I am not going to debate the dating of the gospels:

There are at least 4 possibilities:

"Jesus" never existed and was a myth that grew up around a mystery cult.

"Jesus" existed, but about 100 years before most Christians think he existed.

"Jesus" is a composite of Homeric heroes, wisdom teachers, and Jewish rebels, all of whom existed, but there was no single wisdom teacher who was crucified by the Romans.

"Jesus" existed as a person with some relation to the description in the gospels - a wisdom teacher who had disciples and was crucified.

Now how does the dating of the gospels help us pick among any of these theories? In the case of the first three, the gospels are myth, story-telling, allegory, midrash, or some other description of literature that is not meant to be taken literally, whatever higher truths it contains. The exact date does not matter. It was sometime between 50 and 150 C.E. The conventional dating assumes that the gospels were written around the time of the destruction of the Temple, but at a time when Christians could still hope for a return of the Messiah within their lifetimes. That makes as much sense as anything, but it doesn't prove anything one way or another.

If you want to prove that option number 4 is the most probable, that Jesus was historic, your biggest stumbling block is not the exact date of the gospels, it is that they are so clearly mythical and not historic.

So I view your attempt to get into a discussion of dating the gospels as an attempt to avoid the real issues, and another indication that a debate with you is not productive. Someone else may want to spend their time this way. I have other priorities.

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Old 05-28-2001, 02:49 PM   #22
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

If you think that Doherty never mentions arguments used against his theories, you have not read his book. If you have only read his website, you have not read the full scope of his arguments. There is no way that I am going to retype them here for you.</font>
I asked for only one example of where he addressed any of the points I raised. If you do not have time to offer one that is fine. Hopefully, when it comes up someone will do this. In the meantime, if you are going to do the samething as you did in the Homeric epics thread with Dennis MacDonald's work, then thanks, but no thanks Toto. I do not ask you to read all of the books that I read in order to understand an argument. If Doherty's web site does not do a fair job of representing his views, then such is life.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">There are at least 4 possibilities:

{Snip}

Now how does the dating of the gospels help us pick among any of these theories? In the case of the first three, the gospels are myth, story-telling, allegory, midrash, or some other description of literature that is not meant to be taken literally, whatever higher truths it contains. The exact date does not matter. It was sometime between 50 and 150 C.E. The conventional dating assumes that the gospels were written around the time of the destruction of the Temple, but at a time when Christians could still hope for a return of the Messiah within their lifetimes. That makes as much sense as anything, but it doesn't prove anything one way or another.</font>
Why is this important Toto? From Doherty's own answer to my question as to how his theory could be falsified, he told us that if Acts, for example, could be reliably dated to pre-70AD, his theories are dead in the water.

This was why I wanted to focus on this point, and since I believe that I can make a very good case for such an early date, then I will do so. For those that think that it either does not matter, or that they have better arguments for a late date (especially Doherty's dating of mid-2nd Century), I would like to see it, and will take into account Doherty's own arguments from his web site.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you want to prove that option number 4 is the most probable, that Jesus was historic, your biggest stumbling block is not the exact date of the gospels, it is that they are so clearly mythical and not historic.</font>
Doherty did not agree with your view here. Where did you pick this up? What evidence do you have that the historical elements in the Gospel are not accurate but mere myth?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So I view your attempt to get into a discussion of dating the gospels as an attempt to avoid the real issues, and another indication that a debate with you is not productive.</font>
As I said, since Doherty considered it to be one of the tests by which we could falsify his thesis, then I think it is very worthwhile to examine this question.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Someone else may want to spend their time this way. I have other priorities.</font>
Thanks Toto. It has been interesting.

Nomad
 
Old 05-28-2001, 05:30 PM   #23
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Ah, caught being peevish, the great Nomad finally condescends to acknowledge my existence.

Frankly, I think all the arguments you trot out are window-dressing. You reach conclusions on theological grounds, like that you would prefer the Olivet discourse to be prophecy not history, then manipulate the tools to support that conclusion.

Mind, I donít reject out of hand the possibility that something like the discourse actually happened. Itís one of several scenarios that could explain the emergence of the Christ cult. Moreover, such a prediction neednít have been divine, i.e., anyone surveying the geopolitical landscape of pre-rebellion Palestine could have made it. He might (or might not) have been considered a bit crazy, especially if he also claimed to be the son of God, but you must have noticed there are crazy people in the world.

Which illustrates the fundamental difference between us. You want very much to reach a conclusion, and which conclusion is more or less predetermined by other factors, whereas Iím perfectly comfortable with a range of plausible speculations. Indeed, the only thing of which Iím sure is that no confident conclusions can be drawn by minutely dissecting the particular set of words Mark, et al. used to describe them.

Another thing. Iím not impressed by your ďbuy the potĒ style of debate. Tirelessly outposting your disputants proves only that you have too much time on your hands. Whereas, for most of us, this is a casual pastime. So donít expect more than one or two posts in any exchange with me. And you shall always, of course, get the coveted last word.
 
Old 05-28-2001, 09:40 PM   #24
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JubalH:

Frankly, I think all the arguments you trot out are window-dressing. You reach conclusions on theological grounds, like that you would prefer the Olivet discourse to be prophecy not history, then manipulate the tools to support that conclusion.</font>
Hi again Jubal

From my posts could you please demonstrate how you reached this conclusion about my treatment of the Olivet Discourse?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Mind, I donít reject out of hand the possibility that something like the discourse actually happened. Itís one of several scenarios that could explain the emergence of the Christ cult. Moreover, such a prediction neednít have been divine, i.e., anyone surveying the geopolitical landscape of pre-rebellion Palestine could have made it. He might (or might not) have been considered a bit crazy, especially if he also claimed to be the son of God, but you must have noticed there are crazy people in the world.</font>
Since I have deliberately based my arguments on entirely naturalistic explanations, and made no appeals to supernatural explanations, why do you think that your reasons to accept the possibility of the Olivet Discourse being a genuine saying from Jesus are not similar to my own?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Which illustrates the fundamental difference between us. You want very much to reach a conclusion, and which conclusion is more or less predetermined by other factors, whereas Iím perfectly comfortable with a range of plausible speculations.</font>
Actually, all you have done is demonstrated that you have no idea what I think, nor what my motives are. You are so trapped in your one dimensional view of Christian apologists, that you cannot grasp that my ideas and arguments may actually be my own.

This is why I have asked you to ask questions rather than draw conclusions about me, and hurl accusations based on those erroneous conclusions. If you cannot ask me what I think, and prefer to tell me instead, then I would say that you are doing just fine in your one sided discussions.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Another thing. Iím not impressed by your ďbuy the potĒ style of debate. Tirelessly outposting your disputants proves only that you have too much time on your hands. Whereas, for most of us, this is a casual pastime. So donít expect more than one or two posts in any exchange with me. And you shall always, of course, get the coveted last word.</font>
You have not been around long enough to know how I treat others Jubal. I am happy to give you the last word here, as I have yet to see from you any interest in actually having a discussion with me.

If you are interested in such a discussion, please let me know. Until then, good bye.

Nomad
 
Old 05-28-2001, 10:12 PM   #25
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Well, I hadn't intended a further post, but you've asked several non-rhetorical questions to which, in fairness, you're entitled to answers.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">From my posts could you please demonstrate how you reached this conclusion about my treatment of the Olivet Discourse?</font>
You mean point to where you admit it? Never said you did. Itís an inference drawn from how the argument is developed.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Since I have deliberately based my arguments on entirely naturalistic explanations, and made no appeals to supernatural explanations, why do you think that your reasons to accept the possibility of the Olivet Discourse being a genuine saying from Jesus are not similar to my own?</font>
My point exactly. You have a conclusion, then deliberately craft an argument out of unobjectionable naturalistic explanations. Note my conclusion is that it's possible; yours is that itís true. From one example, I wouldn't infer that the difference was due to the difference in motive. When it happens over and over across a range of issues, I do.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Actually, all you have done is demonstrated that you have no idea what I think, nor what my motives are. You are so trapped in your one dimensional view of Christian apologists, that you cannot grasp that my ideas and arguments may actually be my own.

This is why I have asked you to ask questions rather than draw conclusions about me, and hurl accusations based on those erroneous conclusions. If you cannot ask me what I think, and prefer to tell me instead, then I would say that you are doing just fine in your one sided discussions.</font>
Oh, it's okay for you to make such statements about Doherty, but not okay for me to make them about you? Or do you mean simply that you aren't required to concede the accusation? Never expected you to.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You have not been around long enough to know how I treat others Jubal. I am happy to give you the last word here, as I have yet to see from you any interest in actually having a discussion with me.</font>
And how many more thousands of words would I have to see you post before I could (in your opinion) draw reasonable inferences? I've been around for a couple months and followed the JP debate very closely. That's enough. Especially when I see so many of your long-time playmates saying the same thing.

As for discussion, who are you trying to kid? We're not talking to each other; we're both talking for the benefit of the observers. Who probably couldn't care less one way or the other. But it amuses me to point out flaws in your arguments and I'll continue doing so as long as it amuses me. Answer or not as you please.

BTW, debating Doherty without bothering to read the book was unbelievably amateurish. Especially for someone with pretensions of scholarship.

[This message has been edited by JubalH (edited May 28, 2001).]
 
Old 05-28-2001, 11:34 PM   #26
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
From Doherty's own answer to my question as to how his theory could be falsified, he told us that if Acts, for example, could be reliably dated to pre-70AD, his theories are dead in the water.
...
What evidence do you have that the historical elements in the Gospel are not accurate but mere myth?
</font>
Well, it's good to see that you finally recognize the theory can be falsified.

Just to keep you honest, Doherty said:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But certainly, if, for example, Acts could be conclusively shown to have been written, as some claim, around 60-62, if one or both of Josephus' references could be shown to be reliable, or if a given Greek passage could be shown to mean nothing else but a reference to an historical figure, then of course, the mythicist claim would be weakened or demolished.</font>
And I take the gospels as myth because that's how they read. Acts does read more like a history, but parts of it are clearly mythical. (I've just been reading Randall Helms on Who Wrote the Bible.) What evidence do you have that they are historic? (That's a rhetorical question.)
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Old 05-29-2001, 08:07 AM   #27
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I am extremely disappointed with Earl Doherty's decision to drop out of the debate this way. I was looking forward to some good discussions on this subject. It seems his main complaint was that Brian was asking him to back up his claims with some established facts. This is no more than what is demanded of any of the Christians that make claims on this board. Earl also seemed to be extremely annoyed with Brian making his own points in refutation of Earl's points. What else was he to do, just smile and nod his head at Earl's points if he did not agree with him? If Earl did not agree with the evidences presented by Brian, then his duty is to refute them. That is what a debate is all about.
Mr. Doherty is presenting a position that is not held by virtually any of the mainstream scholarship anymore, conservative or liberal, christian or non-christian. This in itself does not make it right or wrong but he should expect to have to defend his position against all comers if he ever hopes to move his views into the majority position.

A big complaint against Brian has been that he seems not to have read Mr. Doherty's book (which may or may not be true). This was suppose to be a debate about what was presented on this board. If Mr. Doherty has points in his book that he feels defends his position then all he need do is present them.

This unfortunately reminds me of a discussion years ago on radio between James White and Dr. Funk of the Jesus Seminar. When pressed on supporting his positions about Jesus he eventually told all to go to hell and hung up. Someday I hope to see an honest and forthcoming debate without all the animosity showing forth.

Jeff
 
Old 05-29-2001, 09:42 AM   #28
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

Earl Doherty: But certainly, if, for example, Acts could be conclusively shown to have been written, as some claim, around 60-62, if one or both of Josephus' references could be shown to be reliable, or if a given Greek passage could be shown to mean nothing else but a reference to an historical figure, then of course, the mythicist claim would be weakened or demolished.</font>
Thank you for offering Doherty's response to my question as to how his theories could be falsified.

I will be starting a thread on these topics as soon as I have the time, and I look forward to the discussion.

Peace,

Nomad
 
 

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