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Old 05-28-2001, 09:41 PM   #1
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Post Redaction does not mean lie!

I've told this story a lot but I'll keep telling it until someone listens.

When I was an atheist I set out to do research that would disprove the Bible. I did a lot of research for about three summers and I used mainly liberal theologians all the while beleiving that they were trearing the Bible to shreads.

One book in particular was pretty old, it was published in 1923 by Bernette Hillman Streeter. It's still one of my favorite books. Streeter the official "reader" at Cambridge in Biblical textual Criticism. His title was "Canon Streeter."

I liked his books The Primative Chruch at first because I thought he particularly tore up the Bible. One day as I read through the book again after several readings I came across a statement to the effet "we see the light of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ shining through any of these textual difficulties." I was stunned. How could it possibly be tha the actaully beleived after so effectevly tearing up the Bible? Hadn't he proven that it is all redacted? Hadn't he proven that they just told the stories over and over in the coumminity and pasted them together form different versions? Doesn't taht eleiminate the possibility that it could be the word of God?

No, it does not, and after becoming a Christian Streeters book I read again and it became one of my favorites from a Christian persective and reamins so. The problem is in the expectations we place upon the model of revelation. If we assume that revlation is like dictation, the boss calls in the secretary and says "take a letter," than we have problems. But why should that be the only model?

That view is the one held by the Evangelicals and basically it only goes back to the 19th century. It began in the Renaissance by Renaissance humanists, ironically enough, but was picked up and turned into one of the 5 points of Evangliecal belief by the likes of Warfield and J.N. Darby in the 1800s in response to Darwin.

Redaction doesn't pose any problem for truth finding. It does if we assme that the only way God has of communicating is to boom form heaven and expect us to write it all out word for word. But why should that be the only form of communication? An excellent books to read on this is Models of Revelation by Avery Daulles, now one of the new American Cardinals appointed by JPII.

The model I like best is the personal experince model and its point of departure is that of Frederick Schleiermacher and his "Feeling of utter dependence." This is a pre-cognative, pre-given intuative consciousness of God in the universe; religious doctrines are verbalizations of this consciousness. There is no booming voice, no writting word for word. The message is in the experience and the text is influenced, "inspired" by the experince. This sort of model invites us to have our own experince.

I also assume that Jesus was the actual revelation. His teachings were entrusted to the Apostles, who taught the community, and the community wrote them down. The famous "eye-witnesses" were the community members themselves and they reflect these differing veiw points as each community produced the different Gosples.

Through redaction we can see that Mark Matthew for example, or the redactor who has come to be known as "Matthew" took a saying source, probably one witten by the real Matthew himself (since Papias said that's what he did) and added it to the framework of the sparce narrative in Mark. so he incorporates additional material that Mark left out? Why did Mark leave that mateiral out? Perhaps his community didn't have that sayings source? Or perhaps since it was in the form of a sayings source he didn't include it becasue it was already in its form but Matthew did becasue he thought the materila ought to be in the narrative framework that mark provided. Why does that make it suspect?

There are basically two things that guarontee the veracity of this approach.

1) Paul quotes a lot of teachings of Jesus,so we can get a sesne of the basic ethical outlines of his thinking, and those passages can be found in the Gosples. So that is good probablity that they are what he taught.

2) As I have pointed out in the other thread, there are no alternate versions of the basic story anywhere, and we have quotations form Matthew and other Gopsels in 1 Clemet and Polycarp, Ignatious, Justin and Digantous, which implies that those Gosples were in use, they were the basic list, they have the testimony of the earliest community.

So what if the pericopes are out of order? So what if there are gaps in our knowledge? The kind of gaps that scholars consider big gaps are not did Jesus claim to be Messiah? They are not things like "did Jesus really say love your enemy" they are things like was he an urban essene? So redaction does not create a problem for beleif and there are scholars who walk though very difficult problems of textual criticism everyday and manage to continue to beleive. IN fact Even Crossan has a faith of sorts.

Redaction is not regarded as dishonesty or as lying or as any real reason to deny the faith.
 
Old 05-28-2001, 10:09 PM   #2
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I hear what you are saying and in part I agree, redaction does not necessarily mean a lie. However in your post you cover only one type of redaction, that carried out by Luke and Matthew in inserting the Q material. You neglect to outline other "types" of redaction:-
1) Deletion (eg Luke and Matthew dropping some of the hard sayings in Mark such as 3:21)
2) Updating or changing their sources (even more common than the first type, basically rampant in Luke and Matthew)

It is examples of these types of redaction that people may define as "lying". I dont think they are lying in seeking to intentionally deceive their readers, instead they are redacting in order to more clearly express a theological truth. However in the process they falsify history. So when you say "Redaction doesn't pose any problem for truth finding" I have to disagree as it does present a problem for those that want to know historical facts rather than theological teaching.

James.

[This message has been edited by james-2-24 (edited May 28, 2001).]
 
Old 05-28-2001, 10:27 PM   #3
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Who are you arguing with? Nobody said "redaction = lie."

Michael
 
Old 05-28-2001, 11:10 PM   #4
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Hi Metacrock: this is a very interesting post. Why do you say you were an atheist? Had you read any atheist philosophers? Bertram Russell? Why did you feel the need to disprove the Bible? And if you did, why read liberal theologians? What was your conversion based on - an emotional experience, or something you read, or a personal contact?

And you say:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">1) Paul quotes a lot of teachings of Jesus,so we can get a sesne of the basic ethical outlines of his thinking, and those passages can be found in the Gosples. So that is good probablity that they are what he taught.
</font>
Doherty has argued that Paul does not quote any words of Jesus, that Paul relies on scripture (the Old Testament) and personal revelation. Nomad does not appear to have challenged this. Why do you say that Paul quotes a lot of teachings of Jesus?

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Old 05-28-2001, 11:35 PM   #5
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Why would anyone believe with certainty stuff written in 2000 year old manuscripts?

I''ve read a lot of history talk on these boards lately and its all interesting, but I suppose I'll never understand the sheer fanaticism with which some people accept historical claims.
 
Old 05-28-2001, 11:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
Why would anyone believe with certainty stuff written in 2000 year old manuscripts?
</font>
How about not misrepresenting what was actually said. The post actually acknowledged differences, as that is what redaction results in. History can only provide probabilities, not certainties.

Also what exactly what would you prefer of historical sources? Surely one criterion is that they were written as closely as possible to the events they porport to describe. Your statement about not relying on old manuscripts for history simply because they are old is absurd.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I''ve read a lot of history talk on these boards lately and its all interesting, but I suppose I'll never understand the sheer fanaticism with which some people accept historical claims. </font>
I'm not so sure anyone is being fanatical in this thread, nor would such fanaticism be hard to understand anyway when peoples beliefs are dependent on a set of historical facts.

James.
 
Old 05-29-2001, 01:51 AM   #7
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I'm not sure what kind of "atheist" Metacrock had been; he's never told us what were his favorite agnostic / atheist thinkers.

And as to the "God's voice booming from heaven" model of revelation, that appears in the law-code parts of the Bible, which are depicted as having been delivered in just that fashion.

But revealing something to a few people, and then letting their followers rewrite the words of their masters -- sheesh. IMO, it's unworthy of an omnipotent being. If I was an omnipotent being and I wanted to reveal to everybody that it is wicked to eat beans, would I reveal it to a few people only? And would I let some of their chroniclers turn my prohibition of beans into a prohibition of peas? And would I appreciate having some silly, Celestine-Prophecy-type narrative be written around that teaching? Those are some of the sorts of "redaction' that are in the Bible.

Much the same thing can be said about other supposed revelations of absolute truth, like the Koran.

And as to religious and mystical experiences, I'm sure that they are brain artifacts, something like hallucinations -- consider some recent research on that subject. As Bertrand Russell has noted, "if you eat too little, you see heaven, while if you drink too much, you see snakes."
 
Old 05-29-2001, 01:53 AM   #8
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Metacrock:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The model I like best is the personal experince model and its point of departure is that of Frederick Schleiermacher and his "Feeling of utter dependence." This is a pre-cognative, pre-given intuative consciousness of God in the universe; religious doctrines are verbalizations of this consciousness. There is no booming voice, no writting word for word. The message is in the experience and the text is influenced,"inspired" by the experince. This sort of model invites us to have our own experince.</font>
You apparently had a religious conversion because you had a personal experience.

Kierkegarde [sp?] essentially described a similar experience he called "the leap of faith" as a description of what prompted many people to become theists.

There's a problem with all this, however.

I define reality to be the people/things/events who/which are comprised of matter/energy and thus exist in contrast to being the content of ideas/mental representations.

A thing is an object, a unity which retains its identity over a longer period of time than a related event.

Example: Jane, Dick and a ball are all things.

An event is a relationship among things.

Example: Jane throws the ball to Dick; there is thus a relationship among Jane, a ball, and Dick.

Causality is people/things/events as causes causing/creating new people/things/events as effects.

Example: Jane's throwing the ball is the cause of the effect of the ball traveling to Dick (and, hopefully, the ball being caught by Dick).

A concept is a mental representation/idea of a thing.

A principle is a mental representation/idea of an event (of the causality {causal relationships} among people/things/events).

I define philosophy to be a collection of concepts and principles describing the things/events of reality.

I define religion to be a philosophy which includes a belief in the existence of gods.

The fundamental question concerning religion is this: Do gods exist?

I define proof to be (1) physical evidence as people/things/events who/which can be seen/heard/touched/smelled/tasted; (2) eyewitness reports and corroborating reports from credible people, defined as people judged to be sane/not insane and who have no motives other than presenting their description of truth by their reports of the people/things/events they believed they saw/heard/touched/smelled/tasted (physical evidence); (3) logical arguments in which the premises are verifiable/falsifiable/verified (by physical evidence) and which lead to conclusions which are true if the premises are verified/true (most false logical arguments suffer from unverifiable/unfalsifiable/unverified premises).

Feelings do not prove anything.

Feelings are reactions to realizations of desires.

A desire is a wanting for a person/thing/event.

A fear, in contrast, is a not-wanting of a person/thing/event.

A realization is an achievement/nonachievement of a desire (desired person/thing/event) or an avoidance/nonavoidance of a fear (feared person/thing/event).

If you have a desire and a realization, then you will react with a feeling, particularly an emotion of happiness (from a perception of the achievement of a desire/avoidance of a fear) or unhappiness (from a perception of the nonachievement of a desire/nonavoidance of a fear), with unhappiness as sadness from a perception of an actual loss or of no hope of achieving a desire/avoiding a fear, anger from a perception of a nonachievement of an expectancy, a promise, a contract, an ethic, or a law, or/and fear from a perception of a threat of a loss, a loss of self-esteem, an accident, an injury, an illness, or a verbal or physical attack.

Thus, a feeling is a reaction to a realization of a desire.

Many people use the term "feeling(s)" incorrectly, as in "I feel that ..." or "the feeling of utter dependency."

"I feel that ..." is not a feeling: it is a judgment, a decision made after considering proof (physical evidence/eyewitness&corroborating reports/logical arguments).

"The feeling of utter dependency" is not a feeling: it is a judgment, a judgment that one is utterly dependent upon someone or something for some perceived reason.

These judgments are often based upon delusions.

A delusion is an idea which is either (A) false or (B) unverifiable/unfalsifiable/unverified.

If an individual has convinced himself that he is "utterly dependent" upon someone/thing, he is begging this question: Why are you not dependent upon yourself?

If he cannot answer THAT question fully, then his judgment is delusional.

There are some people who have physical/mental handicaps and therefore ARE dependent upon someone/thing other than themselves, but those are the exceptions herein.

There are other people who are physically and mentally able and who allow themselves to be convinced that they are utterly dependent upon someone/thing else other than themselves, but in most of those cases when they are challenged to prove their dependency they cannot, as people who are physically and mentally able have, in fact, no less time than anyone else, no less personal responsibilities for achieving their desires and avoiding their fears than anyone else, and no less luck in achieving their desires/avoiding their fears than anyone else. These people suffer (A) from the delusion that they have less than anyone similarly able, and (B) from the delusion that there is someone/thing "out there" or "up in heaven" who/which can provide the people/things/events they need to avoid their fear of utter dependency.

We thus come to the fundamental question concerning religion: Do gods exist?

This question requires proof (physical evidence/eyewitness&corroborating reports/logical arguments) of some kind, which, if not conclusive, at least leads to reasonable belief.

The problem herein is determining what people/things/events serve as reasonable proof of the existence of gods.

Feelings are not proof of the existence of gods.

Feelings are personal experiences. You feel your feelings, I cannot, neither can anyone else.

Feelings cannot prove any proposition/assertion.

Feeling good about O.J. Simpson does not prove he is innocent (note the infamous jurors who believed the Menendez brothers to be innocent because they had good feelings about them). Feeling good about a car does not guarantee that you will not get a lemon, or that it will do everything the salesman says it will, and, likewise, feeling good about a salesman is not a good reason to buy from him or that what he says is true is true—same deal with self-appointed prophets and sons of gods and writers of holy books.

If you have had personal experiences which convinced you that you are utterly dependent upon someone/thing other than yourself, then, assuming you do not have any serious physical or mental handicaps, you must prove that your dependency is real and therefore not delusional.

I seriously doubt that you can do that, and that you have done so.

If you have good feelings about gods, those feelings do not prove that gods exist. To believe so is delusional.

Many discussions of sex/politics/religion suffer from ill-defined terms/phrases.

The best definitions are operational definitions.

Operational definitions define terms/phrases by observations/measurements of people/things/events.

Children often spontaneously create operational definitions when they use specific sentence structures such as "_____ [term/phrase being defined] IS WHEN _____ [description of the observation/measurement of people/things/events]."

Example: Love [term being defined] IS WHEN someone says they like you and they do nice things for you and with you [description of the observations of people who love, descriptions of the actions people do when they love someone].

Most Famous Operational Definition: Happiness is a warm puppy! [Charles Shulz, PEANUTS]

When individuals have trouble creating operational definitions of terms/phrases they use in discussions of sex/politics/religion, most often (A) the people/things/events required do not exist or (B) the individuals do not know what they are talking about.

Many of the terms you are using are incomprehensible without operational definitions.

I challenge you to provide operational definitions providing the descriptions of the observations/measurements of the relevant people/things/events for the following terms/phrases (which you have used):

pre-cognitive

pre-given

intuitive consciousness

God

universe

Once you provide operational definitions for the terms/phrases you use, then perhaps your phrase "pre-cognative, pre-given intuative consciousness of God in the universe" used to describe "the feeling of utter dependence" will make sense and no longer be an abstraction; but it might also not make sense.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The message is in the experience and the text is influenced, "inspired" by the experince. This sort of model invites us to have our own experince.</font>
This quote is an example of the word salads you use, which you might not if you create operational definitions of terms.

You seem to be saying that if you have a religious experience, such as a "feeling of utter dependence," then you get a message from the gods ("the message is in the experience") and the message "inspires" you to read holy book texts in a manner that prompts you to accept the content of the texts as true.

This is delusional thinking.

Deluding yourself into thinking that you are utterly dependent upon someone/thing can prompt you to believe that you have a realization of a fear of being utterly dependent which can then prompt you to develop bad feelings, but those feelings cannot and will not prove that you are in fact utterly dependent.

And deluding yourself into thinking that the gods exist and that they care about you and that you can be utterly dependent upon them can prompt you to believe that you have a realization of your desire for someone/thing to help you with your utter dependency which can then prompt you to develop good feelings about the gods, but those good feelings cannot and will not prove the gods exist and care about you (they might exist and not care about you).

Summary: A delusional religious experience can prompt you to feel good about the gods and therefore judge that they exist when in fact neither good feelings nor bad feelings cannot prove any person/thing/event exists/is true.

If you want to prove to atheists and agnostics that gods exist, then follow this advice: Show us the gods!!! (Physical evidence, please!!!)

[This message has been edited by Bob K (edited May 29, 2001).]
 
Old 05-29-2001, 07:31 AM   #9
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Do personal experiences of people who have honestly tried to believe but couldn't no matter how hard they tried count any less than personal religious experiences? If so, explain why, please.
 
Old 05-29-2001, 08:00 AM   #10
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How about not misrepresenting what was actually said.

No problem. But what did I "misrepresent"? My post was actually a side comment concerning the reliability of historial evidence and the degree to which people believe historical claims. In this case it was alluded that some view redaction as a lie. As turtonm noted, there doesn't seem to by anyone defending the view that it is. Of course I don't see anyone saying that redaction = truth either. I guess the question for me becomes: How much can we believe, redaction notwithstanding?

The post actually acknowledged differences, as that is what redaction results in. History can only provide probabilities, not certainties.

I whole-heartedly concur.

Also what exactly what would you prefer of historical sources? Surely one criterion is that they were written as closely as possible to the events they porport to describe. Your statement about not relying on old manuscripts for history simply because they are old is absurd.

I suppose it would be absurd if that were the jist of what my post referred to. As you stated before, history is about probabilities, not certainties. We don't "know" things about history. We believe things about history and we believe in varying degrees.

I'm not so sure anyone is being fanatical in this thread, nor would such fanaticism be hard to understand anyway when peoples beliefs are dependent on a set of historical facts.

Not in this thread, your correct. But I have seen certain posts in this forum that seem to hold to historical claims to a degree that goes far beyond what the evidence can reliably show.

As to the second part of your statement here, I have to agree as well. People's beliefs are often motivating factors.

 
 

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