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Old 05-15-2001, 02:41 PM   #11
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It has all to do with the fact that you guys are loudly ignoring my point that a 'fully human' Jesus must have 'sinned' in his 30-odd years or he wouldn't be 'fully human'. Get real.

I also think that there is a good deal of 'hinein-interpretierung' going on here. You all try to force-fit the biblical account into your theology. Has it ever occurred that your theology may be very different than what the earliest Christians believed in their time? Maybe the writer of 'Mark' was projecting a spritual Christ onto the human conditions of his time, and laid the link between the actual existing John and his romantic invention to enforce the impression that his Jesus had actually lived. Maybe it didn't bother him that, in doing so, Jesus became subordinate to John because in his worldview that was not yet an issue. Maybe there was no embarrasment, not more than there is when Frodo the Hobbit claims the Ring for himself towards the end of Lord of the Rings. Or does that particular passage mean that Frodo is historical as well?

fG
 
Old 05-15-2001, 02:47 PM   #12
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by faded_Glory:
It has all to do with the fact that you guys are loudly ignoring my point that a 'fully human' Jesus must have 'sinned' in his 30-odd years or he wouldn't be 'fully human'. Get real.

I also think that there is a good deal of 'hinein-interpretierung' going on here. You all try to force-fit the biblical account into your theology. Has it ever occurred that your theology may be very different than what the earliest Christians believed in their time? Maybe the writer of 'Mark' was projecting a spritual Christ onto the human conditions of his time, and laid the link between the actual existing John and his romantic invention to enforce the impression that his Jesus had actually lived. Maybe it didn't bother him that, in doing so, Jesus became subordinate to John because in his worldview that was not yet an issue. Maybe there was no embarrasment, not more than there is when Frodo the Hobbit claims the Ring for himself towards the end of Lord of the Rings. Or does that particular passage mean that Frodo is historical as well?

fG
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Lot's of maybes in there. Most New Testament scholars, much more familiar with the gospels and culture than we, have determined that it was quite an embarrasment. In fact, I haven't seen a specific response to this argument and was interested to see how Earl D. handled it.

However, if you want to provide a defense of the view that there was nothing embarrasing to all of the synoptic authors about Jesus being baptized by someone they considered his inferior and who generally baptized people for the forgiveness of sins, I'd like to see it.
 
Old 05-15-2001, 03:00 PM   #13
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Hallooo??? If the synoptic authors descibe a real event, he was baptised, and it is up to you to explain why this was done if Jesus was God. If you can't explain that, then either 1) Jesus was not God but just a man (sinner) or 2) Jesus was God but the baptism is not historical.

So, why again was Jesus baptised?

fG
 
Old 05-15-2001, 03:02 PM   #14
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by faded_Glory:
Hallooo??? If the synoptic authors descibe a real event, he was baptised, and it is up to you to explain why this was done if Jesus was God. If you can't explain that, then either 1) Jesus was not God but just a man (sinner) or 2) Jesus was God but the baptism is not historical.

So, why again was Jesus baptised?

fG
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You are way off base. My theological perspective is irrelevant to the question of whether or not Jesus was baptized. The question is whether this would be embarrasing to the gospel authors. You have said that "maybe" it wasn't. I'd like to see you back that assertion up.
 
Old 05-15-2001, 03:13 PM   #15
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I find it amusing that you come up with this 'baptism is embarrassment' argument for the historicity of Jesus, since in doing so you are effectively creating a problem for the divinity of Jesus.

If you now say that the baptism isn't a problem for the divinity of Jesus for you, you should see that it therefore would also not have been a problem for the gospel authors. Therefore, no embarrassment. QED.



fG
 
Old 05-15-2001, 04:04 PM   #16
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by faded_Glory:
I find it amusing that you come up with this 'baptism is embarrassment' argument for the historicity of Jesus, since in doing so you are effectively creating a problem for the divinity of Jesus.

If you now say that the baptism isn't a problem for the divinity of Jesus for you, you should see that it therefore would also not have been a problem for the gospel authors. Therefore, no embarrassment. QED.



fG
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You continue with your logical fallacy. Rather than examine the historical evidence and point out why Jesus' baptism was not an "embarassment" for the gospel authors, you seem to be arguing that because I believe in the divinity of Jesus--which I do--that the baptism could not be a historical fact. My belief in Jesus' divinity might be reasonable, or it might be unreasonable, but it certainly has no effect on the historicity of the baptism event.

Nomad and I have pointed out two reasons why the baptism would have been an embarrasment to the gospel authors. We also provided references to historians on this issue supporting or viewpoint. Jesus' baptism by John is not something that would have invented to promote their case for Jesus' perfection or his superiority to John the Baptist. Nevertheless it is there.

Can you provide any evidence that the gospel authors did not consider Jesus to be righteous, or that they believed John the Baptist was superior to Jesus?

I would point out, that your cheerful pursuit of this issue merely strengthens our point. You recognize that Jesus' being baptized by John posts a theological difficulty even for modern Christians. How much more of a difficulty would it have been for early Christians? Especially when, if they invented their narratives, they could simply have altered the story. They could have eliminated the baptism scene altogether. Or better yet, they could have just have had John submit to Jesus' baptism.

 
Old 05-15-2001, 05:31 PM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> ...if they invented their narratives, they could simply have altered the (baptism) story. They could have eliminated the baptism scene altogether. Or better yet, they could have just have had John submit to Jesus' baptism.</font>
If there were an oral memory of Jesus' baptism by John, then any gospel account which did not mention it might be immediately suspect. The gospel writers were free to invent the content of the baptismal event, making sure that the baptizer was reluctant when it came time for Jesus' immersion. The structure, however, had to be left intact: Jesus had to be baptized by John in the Jordan River--an outward symbolic sign of an inner change.

In John's gospel there is the story of the woman caught in adultery and Jesus says to the crowd, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Jesus does not cast a stone--no one does--and the crowd disperses. This story is called an "orphan" (or "floating pericope") because it is found in many different places in many ancient copies of John's gospel. It has also, I believe, been found in copies of the pre-canonical synoptics as well.

The point is that Jesus, if he was without sin, should have cast a stone. He did not. He also said in Matthew 5:45 that God makes the sun rise on the evil and the good and sends the rain on both the just and the unjust. He also upbraided his followers with the question "Why do you call me good? Only God is good!"(Luke 18:19).

Jesus was a human being. That is a statement of fact. That he was the Son of God, divine or the promised messiah--these are statements of faith.

(By the way, the doctrine of original sin in which our evil deeds are passed on within the male sperm is a creation of Augustine's theological vision.)
 
Old 05-15-2001, 07:49 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Nomad:
What is the propaganda purpose of the evangelists here?

Dunno, Nomad, could it have something to do with spreading their religious beliefs?

And do you believe their story as being truthful or a complete fabrication?

Neither, but myth - story based on some existing ideas, sociological principles, universal human characteristics, etc.

If it is a complete fabrication in your view, then do you discard all evidence offered regardless of what they say?

Not a complete fabrication. Miracles all myths (don't like that word, "fabrication," implies a level of maliciousness I don't impute to gospel authors). Probably a Jesus under there, don't know if he was a teacher, a revolutionary leader who preached but did not lead in battle (like Wovoka), or a would-be battle leader (Like the Army of God twins in Burma) who got killed before starting his war, layers of myth now too thick.

Don't discard all "evidence," just regard it as equivocal.

For example, in this case, whether baptism was "embarrassing" depends on point of view, no? That's why I don't buy your embarrassment criterion. Could be John the Baptist story preserves kernel of Jesus getting mandate from JtB to lead revolutionary activities. Could be gospel writers sought to link Jesus to John because he was major figure, to provide Jesus with a kind of legitimacy (a common strategy in mythmaking). Or any number of things. It is impossible to know what was going through gospel writer's head when he wrote it, so "embarrassment" won't fly.

"Embarrassing" myths from history are a legion and they are not strawmen. For example, an oft-repeated story has Kurita fumbling the battle of Samar, getting all confused and running out of cowardice and incompetence. Embarrassing, so must be true. Actual story is more prosaic; Kurita retired when it became apparent he could do no good where he was. Similarly, embarrassing myth records Pearl Harbor pilots pleading to make additional strike on PH to reduce oil tanks and dock facilities; actual story is less dramatic. I could adduce '00s more. I could also adduce many true ones. I could adduce -- and you as a lawyer, Layman, know this -- embarrassing stories told because the truth is even more embarrassing. Either way, "embarrassment" remains subjective and worthless as a criterion.

The only way, once again, to demonstrate the truth of some assertion about history is to accumulate facts and arguments in support of it.

If your last answer is yes,

But it was "no...."

then you have simply destroyed the means by which we can study history (see why I asked you if Julius Caesar was assassinated Michael? Using your criteria above, we would have to say we just don't know, there is no evidence either way.).

Um...no. There's a wonderful science called archaeology. Even if all the Roman texts were declared null and void, there'd still be thousands of inscriptions. One of those still surviving, Nomad, mentions Caesar's assassination and the ensuing Civil War.

Since archaeology confirms many of the Roman writings (for example, Julius Caesar's dedication of a market in Greece is remarked upon in one of Cicero's letters), we have two independent streams confirming each other. Does Jesus' life appear anywhere in archaeology? Of course, as Layman will no doubt jump in to say, that doesn't mean anything either. But it does mean that our evidence is not very "thick."

Michael
 
Old 05-15-2001, 10:09 PM   #19
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:</font>
Alright, so the only evidence you are willing to consider is archeological evidence. Fair enough, but we still won't know anything about history Michael.

As for the letters from Cicero re: Caesar's assassination, we have already covered this off. Cicero was known to lie to advance his own cause, so we should not trust him as a source. And as for an archeological find in which an inscription refers to the asssassination, how naive can you get Michael?

Octavian/Augustus and Mark Antony won the war against the "assassins" and the Julian family and its successors ruled the empire for over a hundred years. If the inscription was made during this time frame, then obviously it was made with the permission-authorization of one of these two tainted sources. If it was later, then it is based on hearsay evidence that was almost certainly under the control of the Caesars.

Face it Michael, using your criteria, we just don't have any means to know anything about history.

Thanks for your thoughts however.

Nomad
 
Old 05-15-2001, 10:17 PM   #20
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Alright, so the only evidence you are willing to consider is archeological evidence. Fair enough, but we still won't know anything about history Michael.

As for the letters from Cicero re: Caesar's assassination, we have already covered this off. Cicero was known to lie to advance his own cause, so we should not trust him as a source. And as for an archeological find in which an inscription refers to the asssassination, how naive can you get Michael?

Octavian/Augustus and Mark Antony won the war against the "assassins" and the Julian family and its successors ruled the empire for over a hundred years. If the inscription was made during this time frame, then obviously it was made with the permission-authorization of one of these two tainted sources. If it was later, then it is based on hearsay evidence that was almost certainly under the control of the Caesars.

Face it Michael, using your criteria, we just don't have any means to know anything about history.

Thanks for your thoughts however.

Nomad
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I'm having a hard time understanding the skeptic obsession with engravings and coins. It is not as if any of the witnesses of the assisnation of Ceasar (if it indeed occurred) ran out and personally carved any inscriptions themselves. In fact, the inscribers most likely are merely second, third, or fourth hand recipients of the knowledge of which they write.

Of course, proving who did the inscribing would also appear to be highly problematic. Are they anoynmous? If not, how can we verify they were who they claimed to be?

And it is a specious argument anyway. Whatever help some archeological finds may be, the fact is that historians DO rely heavily on the ancient writings about the Roman Empire. I have yet to see anyone publish a paper or book entitled, "The History of Rome Based ONLY On Engravings and Coins."

 
 

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