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Old 01-19-2001, 03:38 PM   #11
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In defense of Josephus,

When you come to a book of the Bible you must understand that each book is written in a specific genre. These include narrative, poetry, wisdom, prophecy, apocaliptic, parable, and epistle. These are the main Biblical genres or pattens of writing. For an excellent breakdown of Biblical genre see "The Hermeneutical Spiral", by, Grant Osborne. A Gospel is a genre that contains genres, such as narrative, parable, and apocaliptic. You must learn these patterns and why a Biblical author would choose them to communicate. Mark has an initial audience in mind. If it is the Romans they are not going to care so much about Jewish prophecies being fulfilled by the life of Christ so naturally Mark isn't going to mention these things as much as Matthew who is writing to Jews who are expecting and looking for Messiah.

A Biblical author is what is called a redactor. He is a weaver of material, that redacts a story from information to speak to a certain audience. If Mark leaves out historical information from the life of Christ it is because he either didn't know it, recall it at the time, or did not feel it would suit his audience.

On the topic of the perpetual virginity of Mary, not that I want to argue. Consider this Scripture When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matt. 1:24-25
 
Old 01-19-2001, 06:32 PM   #12
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Nomad: Time to stop. You have no evidence at all that Mark considered his gospel to be the only story of Jesus' life.

penatis: If Nomad has evidence demonstrating the writer of “Mark” knew of other stories, then he needs to present it.

Nomad: The Apostles were quite famous by the time Mark was written (probably 65-70AD), and their letters, together with the basics of the Gospel (The Passion Narritive, the Q tradition, and probably even UrMark were all in circulation by this time). It is generally accepted by NT scholars of all stripes that Mark was using sources for his writings. And there is NO serious dispute about the epistles of Paul and Peter pre-existing Mark. (If we need sources on a lot of what I am going to say here, then ya'll will have to wait until I get home)

There is not one iota of evidence in Nomad's response that demonstrates "Mark" knew of stories other than the one he narrated. It is certainly possible that numerous stories were being told by the followers of Jesus, but where is the evidence that any of these stories were inconsistent with "Mark's" narrative? More to the point, Where is evidence that the virgin birth myth was known to "Mark?"

As I mentioned earlier, around 55 CE, Paul of Tarsus in his letter to the Romans stated, "[Jesus] was made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (1:3) This statement demonstrates Paul's belief that Jesus was conceived the way all men are.



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited January 19, 2001).]
 
Old 01-19-2001, 06:42 PM   #13
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Nomad: Don't read into the motivations of an author unless you get to ask him. So as you already know, I am going to slap you for advancing several arguments from silence, then address anything else you may have added to your idiosyncratic understanding of the concept of a contradiction.

penatis: I don't presume to know the first thing about the writer. Nor should Nomad. The writer is anonymous. But one thing is crystal clear: At the time of the author's writing, there was no NT.


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Nomad: Of course there was no Canonical NT writings when the Gospel of Mark came out. This is axiomatic. On the other hand, there were Christians running around, and they were teaching through oral traditions about the life of Jesus. We see elements of this in Paul's letters in particular, but no serious scholar I am aware of thinks that Mark just fell out of the sky on the Christian community.

Just for clarification, I have never thought or stated that the narrative of "Mark" "just fell out of the sky on the Christian community."

Nomad: Out of curiousity, where do you think Mark got his stories?

I think the anonymous writer probably got his information from someone who knew someone who knew about some of Jesus' words and deeds. The chronology (and possibly some of the events) of the narrative, in my view, is the creation of the writer.

 
Old 01-19-2001, 06:54 PM   #14
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penatis: 1. The writer mentions nothing of a virgin birth. (In my view, the writer knew nothing of this myth.) As a matter of fact, in "Mark," Jesus has a mother, brothers, and sisters. No mention is made of a father.

Nomad: Point one of course is that this is a big old argument from silence. You have no idea why Mark didn't include a birth narrative, and offer pure 100% speculation on your part.

penatis: It is reasonable to think that a person writing a theologically-based narrative of someone's life would include something as unusual and significant as a virgin birth.


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Nomad: Since we have Matthew and Luke independently producing their stories of the virgin birth (no one thinks that Luke or Matthew used each other as sources), then it is very reasonable to assume that the virgin birth narrative was already known to the Christian community.

Nomad seems to have forgotten that "Mark" wrote his narrative years BEFORE "Matthew" and "Luke" wrote theirs. The virgin birth myth could very well have originated AFTER "Mark" wrote.

Nomad: What you have done here penatis is failed to address my central points from the previous thread. Mark had no reason to include the bith story in his Gospel. His audience was largely Greek and/or Roman, and would have had a limited knowledge of, or interest in Hebrew OT prophecies (hence the reason that Mark virtually ignores OT Scripture in his writings).

Again, the writer is anonymous. No one knows who wrote the narrative; no one knows where he wrote it; and no one knows precisely when he wrote it. Nomad is SPECULATING, nothing more.

Regardless of who "Mark" was writing for, it is reasonable to think he would have included such an unusual and important event as a virgin birth, if the author knew of it. I contend he did not know of it and that is why he does not mention it.
 
Old 01-19-2001, 07:11 PM   #15
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(Nomad must think that actual virgin births were so common two thousand years ago that “Mark’s” community would not have found it extraordinary for Jesus to have been born of a virgin.)
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Nomad: Don't be stupid penatis.

No comment.


Nomad: If you want to know what I think ask me. If you want to address my points, then do so. I am not really interested in doing yet another multipage dance with you.

I have addressed many issues on another thread. Nomad continues to ignore my commentary.


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penatis: Of course, there is nothing in the narrative that even hints of the virgin birth myth.
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Nomad: There is nothing in the narrative that even hints at a birth of any kind.

Precisely!!!!!!!!! Maybe the writer did not know enough to report.

Nomad: Since your posts have also neglected your own birth, then are we to assume that you have never been born? Do not use arguments from silence.

False analogy. No one has attempted to write my life story on these boards. One thing is for sure, though: If it got out that I was conceived by a spirit impregnating my mother, it would be BIG news. No biographer would leave out that fact, regardless of his motives or his audience.

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penatis: Jesus is portrayed as totally human, and in some cases, not a very appealing one at that.
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Nomad: Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God from the opening statement, and there is no question that the author of Mark believed Jesus was the Messiah.

1. The opening statement is disputed.
2. There is a big difference between being an "annointed" king or savior of Israel and literal "Son of God."

Nomad: As for Jesus not being very appealing, well, that is the case of the entire NT so far as you are concerned. That is why you are an atheist ex-Christian after all.

Nomad is fond of putting words in the mouths and ideas in the minds of others. I can present textual evidence from "Mark" to justify my statement about Jesus.

I have never said that I am an atheist. I have said that I am a skeptic.

 
Old 01-19-2001, 07:55 PM   #16
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

Nomad: The Apostles were quite famous by the time Mark was written (probably 65-70AD), and their letters, together with the basics of the Gospel (The Passion Narritive, the Q tradition, and probably even UrMark were all in circulation by this time). It is generally accepted by NT scholars of all stripes that Mark was using sources for his writings. And there is NO serious dispute about the epistles of Paul and Peter pre-existing Mark. (If we need sources on a lot of what I am going to say here, then ya'll will have to wait until I get home)

There is not one iota of evidence in Nomad's response that demonstrates "Mark" knew of stories other than the one he narrated.</font>
Oh my goodness, what do we have here? Another argument from silence? In none have your posts have you had the audacity to say that Mark made up his story from whold cloth (happily of course), but at the same time are you going to argue that he did exactly that or not? Since we do not have a hard copy of a pre-Markan Gospel narrative, or portions of such a thing, are you saying that none existed? Do you know what an oral tradition is?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> It is certainly possible that numerous stories were being told by the followers of Jesus, but where is the evidence that any of these stories were inconsistent with "Mark's" narrative?</font>
I need to make sure you are serious here. Where is the evidence that the stories being circulated before Mark wrote them down were inconsistent with the Gospel of Mark? I would say that there is no such evidence, so we should consider Mark to be a good representation of those stories, especially since many of the key events were backed up by Matthew's and Luke's account, as well as John's. Heck, even Paul's letters reflect a number of those traditions, and I haven't seen you commenting on that fact much.

Once again I am wondering what the problem is here penatis. Mark's silence means... what again? That he may not have known the virgin birth story? That Mark did not see any reason to include it in his Gospel? Is your mind really such a one track thing?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> More to the point, Where is evidence that the virgin birth myth was known to "Mark?" </font>
Why does this matter? Are you familiar with Mark's motives in his Gospel? Is Mark to live up to your modern standards of what a biography should include? If so, why?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As I mentioned earlier, around 55 CE, Paul of Tarsus in his letter to the Romans stated, "[Jesus] was made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (1:3) This statement demonstrates Paul's belief that Jesus was conceived the way all men are.</font>
So Paul's silence means exactly as much as Mark's silence does. Gotcha. Anyone else involved in your conspiracy of silence?

Let's take care of what the scholars think about Paul's understanding of Christ's birth (and I noticed you did not reply to my point from the Catholic Encyclopedia, or any of my other direct quotations).

"Whenever Paul speaks of the birth of Jesus Christ, he uses the verb ginomai , which has the broad meaning of "come to be." This is particularly significant in Gal 4:4, 23f. Jesus Christ "comes to be" by a woman, whereas Isaac and Ishmael, born of two women, are begotten and born, since the vb. gennao, used here, carries overtones of the father's act. Paul uses the same general word in Rom 1:3 ("came of the seed of David according to the flesh") and Phil 2:7 ("coming to be in the likeness of men"). On each occasion, Paul avoids the normal word for born, which is understandable if, as the traveling companion of Luke, he knew that Jesus was born miraculously."
(J. Stafford Wright, "Son", in Dictionary of New Test. Theology, p.661)


Finally, quick question, if all four Gospels attest to the same thing (even a perfectly natural thing), do you accept it as probably being true? If your answer here is no, then you are generating a great deal of smoke, yet again, and leading us on once another great tail chase. And if that is the case, thanks, but I think I'll give it a pass. On the other hand, if your answer is yes, I will be pleasantly surprised.

Nomad
 
Old 01-19-2001, 08:02 PM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

Just for clarification, I have never thought or stated that the narrative of "Mark" "just fell out of the sky on the Christian community."</font>
On the other hand, you have tried very hard to present Mark as if he lived and wrote in a vacuum. That is a very naughty thing to do you know.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Out of curiousity, where do you think Mark got his stories?

I think the anonymous writer probably got his information from someone who knew someone who knew about some of Jesus' words and deeds. The chronology (and possibly some of the events) of the narrative, in my view, is the creation of the writer.</font>
Probably huh? So you are speculating? Never heard of the Passion Narrative? The sayings Gospel of Q? Don't be disingenuous. And as for the chronology, yet again I will remind you that ancient authors just didn't present stories or biographies the way moderns do. I would hope by now that you would know this.

BTW, you reject the things Mark reports (including natural events that all four Gospels agree upon) because...?

Nomad
 
Old 01-19-2001, 08:25 PM   #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

Nomad: Since we have Matthew and Luke independently producing their stories of the virgin birth (no one thinks that Luke or Matthew used each other as sources), then it is very reasonable to assume that the virgin birth narrative was already known to the Christian community.

Nomad seems to have forgotten that "Mark" wrote his narrative years BEFORE "Matthew" and "Luke" wrote theirs.</font>
Hmmm... wanna get into that authorship and dating thread yet...

And seriously, while I agree that Mark did come first, we cannot know how long he wrote before Matthew and Luke, and since Luke was very likely using Mary as one of his key sources, while Matthew's was very possibly using Joseph, the idea of the virgin birth was coming from somewhere, and trying to claim that it was a late invention (but not very late since Matt and Luke came out before 80AD) is really reaching.

Historians that study the ancients found that mythological developement generally takes 3 or more generations to develope. Your argument would require us to believe that it developed after Paul's death, which gives us less than 15 years. And if Paul did know about the virgin birth (as noted in my previous post), you have the same problem, since Paul converted within 3 years of the crucifixion.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The virgin birth myth could very well have originated AFTER "Mark" wrote.</font>
Of course it "could", it's just not very likely to be a later tradition. To make your case you must lean very heavily on Mark's silence (note that John didn't mention a virgin birth either, eventhough everyone agrees that by the 90's the virgin birth tradition was well established). You need to offer much more solid proofs than silence, and your beliefs penatis.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: What you have done here penatis is failed to address my central points from the previous thread. Mark had no reason to include the bith story in his Gospel. His audience was largely Greek and/or Roman, and would have had a limited knowledge of, or interest in Hebrew OT prophecies (hence the reason that Mark virtually ignores OT Scripture in his writings).

Again, the writer is anonymous. No one knows who wrote the narrative; no one knows where he wrote it; and no one knows precisely when he wrote it. Nomad is SPECULATING, nothing more.</font>
Now penatis. I thought we agreed that anonymous does not translate into "unknowable". If you are going to start building an argument based on anonymous authorship of the Gospels just say so, but it's going to be pretty lame.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Regardless of who "Mark" was writing for, it is reasonable to think he would have included such an unusual and important event as a virgin birth, if the author knew of it. I contend he did not know of it and that is why he does not mention it.</font>
You may well be right, but again you are speculating on the motives of the author of Mark. Let me give you something to think about. Perhaps Mark, in writing for the Romans, wasn't crazy about the idea of his readers thinking Jesus was just like Romulous and Remus. Who knows? But if he wanted his readers to get past their pagan roots, then he would want to downplay a story like the virgin birth that would remind them that such things happened in their older religions as well.

On the other hand, like you said, maybe he didn't know the story. Not knowing a story doesn't prove it didn't happen of course, especially if Mark didn't have access to Matthew and Luke's sources.

We need something more solid than your speculations penatis. If you want to prove Mark contradicts the virgin birth story, you have to prove that Mark argued against it, not just that he didn't mention it.

Nomad
 
Old 01-19-2001, 08:56 PM   #19
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

Nomad: If you want to know what I think ask me. If you want to address my points, then do so. I am not really interested in doing yet another multipage dance with you.

I have addressed many issues on another thread. Nomad continues to ignore my commentary.</font>
First, you dodged my point. If you want to know what I think, don't presume, ask. That was my point.

Second, if you think I have ignored any of your commentary, show me where and I will address it. Personally, I remain puzzled as to why you will not address my own points, but I cannot compel you to do so, and I have stopped trying to get you to respond to most of them.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: There is nothing in the narrative that even hints at a birth of any kind.

Precisely!!!!!!!!! Maybe the writer did not know enough to report.</font>
Of course that is a possibility. Now all you have to do is admit that he may have known about it, but decided not to report on it.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Since your posts have also neglected your own birth, then are we to assume that you have never been born? Do not use arguments from silence.

False analogy. No one has attempted to write my life story on these boards.</font>
Actually the analogy fits very nicely. Your birth has nothing at all to do with any of your posts, so it is irrelavent to the discussion.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> One thing is for sure, though: If it got out that I was conceived by a spirit impregnating my mother, it would be BIG news. No biographer would leave out that fact, regardless of his motives or his audience.</font>
I would hope he wouldn't. At the same time, Mark is not a comprehensive biography. And I'm sure even in your own case, some commentaries on your life would skip mentioning your parentage, even if they knew it because it would not be important to their story, or may even distract the reader from the point they were trying to make.

And if the story was already well known (as in, taken as a given), it can be safely ignored. See how arguments from silence can be made to fit a previously held bias?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God from the opening statement, and there is no question that the author of Mark believed Jesus was the Messiah.

1. The opening statement is disputed.</font>
Oh dear. Does this mean that Mark didn't think that Jesus was the Son of God? Or the Messiah (Christ)? (Mark 1:1, 3:11, 5:7, 15:39)

BTW, for those that don't know what penatis is talking about, one papyrus, I*Q28 (or a*Q28) the reference to "Son of God". Most scholars do not see this as a great concern, since many of the other manuscripts that we do have show it.

From The NET Bible Note on Mark 1:1:

2tc Í* Q 28 et pauci omit uiJou' qeou', while virtually all the rest of the witnesses have the words, so the evidence points very strongly for the authenticity of the words. Most likely, the words were omitted by accident, since the last four words of v. 1, in uncial script, would have looked like this: iu_c_r_u_u_u_q_u_. With all the successive upsilons an accidental deletion is likely. Further, the inclusion of uiJou' qeou' here finds its complement in 15:39, where the centurion claims that Jesus was uiJoV" qeou'. Even though Í is in general one of the best NT mss, its testimony is not quite as preeminent in this situation. There are several instances in which it breaks up chains of genitives ending in ou like this one (cf., e.g., Acts 28:31; Col 2:2; Heb 12:2; Rev 12:14; 15:7; 22:1), showing that there is a significantly higher possibility of accidental scribal omission in a case like this. This christological inclusio parallels both Matthew ("Immanuel . . . God with us" in 1:23/"I am with you" in 28:20) and John ("the Word was God" in 1:1/"My Lord and my God" in 20:28), probably reflecting nascent christological development and articulation.

sn The first verse of Mark's Gospel appears to function as a title: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is not certain, however, whether Mark intended it to refer to the entire Gospel, to the ministry of John the Baptist, or through the use of the term beginning (ajrchv, arch) to allude to Genesis 1:1 (in the Greek Bible, LXX). The most likely option is that the statement as a whole is an allusion to Genesis 1:1 and that Mark is saying that with the "good news" of the coming of Christ, God is commencing a "new beginning."


Another interesting discussion on the point of the disputed Mark 1:1 comes from Dr. Daniel Wallace on his homepage, Prof's Soapbox. Wallace concludes:

"a* Q (28) and a few others omit uiou qeou, while virtually all the rest of the witnesses have the words. Although normally the shorter reading is to be preferred by most textual critics, this rule cannot be applied mechanically. In this case, if a good reason for an accidental omission can be found—especially since the MSS lacking the words are very few, then the longer reading probably should be regarded as authentic."

"In conclusion, in light of the slim pedigree for the omission, coupled with the high probability of homoioteleuton here, as seen in other multiple —ou passages, as well as intrinsic evidence, it is most likely that Mark wrote ‘God’s Son’ in the opening verse of his gospel. But the strongest argument that Sinaiticus accidentally omitted these words actually becomes evidence for the great antiquity of its form of text. More study of course needs to be done, but this textual problem may help point to the antiquity of a text’s Vorlage by the kinds of errors found in that MS."


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. There is a big difference between being an "annointed" king or savior of Israel and literal "Son of God."</font>
Since Mark uses the exact title "Son of God" in at least 3 other locations we know he meant it as a title, just as Mark tells us that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah (Mark 1:1, 8:29, Mark 9:41, 14:61) and that this title meant the Son of God (including to the Jews).

Nomad: As for Jesus not being very appealing, well, that is the case of the entire NT so far as you are concerned. That is why you are an atheist ex-Christian after all.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad is fond of putting words in the mouths and ideas in the minds of others. I can present textual evidence from "Mark" to justify my statement about Jesus.</font>
Go for it slugger.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I have never said that I am an atheist. I have said that I am a skeptic.</font>
Fair enough. I'll stick with ex-Christian sceptic then when talking about you.

Nomad




[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited January 19, 2001).]
 
Old 01-19-2001, 08:57 PM   #20
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Nomad:

Okay, first things first. To SD, the ancients never used, or had any use for the scientific methods of recording history as we understand it.

Mark does not show the same historical methodology as Heroditus, Thucydides, Josephus, or other ancient historians. But that's ok, Mark is not accurate history by our standards or his.

So to use our standards to test the methodology of the ancients is quite pointless.

It's not pointless. We can use our modern standards to draw accurate conclusions from ancient writing. However, yes, it's unfair to simply say, "Mark doesn't fulfill modern standards, therefore it's worthless."

The Apostles were quite famous by the time Mark was written (probably 65-70AD), and their letters, together with the basics of the Gospel (The Passion Narritive, the Q tradition, and probably even UrMark were all in circulation by this time).

Is there any mention in any of these documents of the virgin birth? If not, why not? Did all of them think the other would have written it? Did they all find it unremarkable?

Since we have Matthew and Luke independently producing their stories of the virgin birth (no one thinks that Luke or Matthew used each other as sources), then it is very reasonable to assume that the virgin birth narrative was already known to the Christian community.

Then why do we hear nothing of it before Luke and Matthew?

Do not use arguments from silence.

Nomad, the argument from silence is not fallacious. It may be wrong, but it's significant. Don't just dismiss it.

That is why you are an atheist ex-Christian after all.

Don't complain about penatis crawling into your head and then in the same message try to get into his.

Since the Greek Orthodox Church and the ancients who used Greek as one of their first languages seem to think Jesus never had any brothers, I take that pretty seriously as an argument that He never had any brothers.

I don't find this persuasive.

You are aware, penatis, that adelphos has more than one definition I hope.

Definitional arguments are lame, especially when both usages in dispute are legitimate.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Mark 3:31-35 (KJV) There came then his brethren (adelphos) and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.</font>
I read this five times and I get the same sense that penatis did. Jesus' mother and biological siblings come to him, and he renounces them and calls his followers his real brothers.

The analysis from the New American Bible is more on point. Even so, using a sense of adelphos as "cousin" from Mark 3:31-35 weakens that verse considerably. It becomes more: Jesus renounces his biological cousins and calls the crowd his real cousins. How lame. Mark is, overall, a better writer than this.

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Second and third century theological commentary really does not illuminate our understanding of Mark as he wrote it. This whole section makes little sense and does nothing to refute penatis' evidence that Mark's writings fit well the actual theology of early christians.


Josephus:

I must apologize for my arrogance in my manner.

Accepted.

Still, I hold to my evidence.

Good idea

An argument from absence of evidence (or silence) does not discredit the Bible any more than it would discredit evolution that has not found the missing link.

Actually an valid argument from silence would indeed discredit evolution. We do expect to see (for instance) transitional fossils, if we did not see any at all then we would be worried. The refutation, of course, is that there are transitional fossils, exactly the sort we think we ought to see.

I said it to Nomad, I'll say it to you. When there's strong reason to expect something and it's not there, the argument from silence does have weight. It's not a killer, but it's meaningful.


Cornerstone:

If Mark leaves out historical information from the life of Christ it is because he either didn't know it, recall it at the time, or did not feel it would suit his audience.

That's understood. I'm just saying if one claim's Mark is not trying to be an accurate and thorough historian, then that same person shouldn't argue Mark's historical accuracy.


penatis:

If Nomad has evidence demonstrating the writer of “Mark” knew of other stories, then he needs to present it.

Is there evidence of contemporaneous accounts of Jesus' life? We can probably assume Mark was "hooked in" to some extent with the Jesus crowd. The hermaneutic of Mark as theology rather than history is a good counter to that (of course, it will bite them in the ass in the long run! )

Who came first? Paul or Mark? Is it fair to restrict your commentary to only Paul and Mark? Do we need Acts as well?
 
 

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