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Old 04-19-2001, 12:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Madmax,

Sorry, I didn't see Ish's preceding quote. I focused in on your reference to me and my claims that "most scholars" believe such and such. Since I never said that "most scholars" had specifically read and rejected Doherty's stuff, I thought we were speaking in the terms of the Jesus-myth. So I provided a list of scholars who accepted Jesus' existence and I could separate out for you those that I have read who directly rejected the Jesus-myth theory.

Sorry I misunderstood.
</font>
Ah, no problemo.

 
Old 04-19-2001, 12:29 PM   #22
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madmax, unfortunately you may never see a "rebuttal" from scholars if they deem the work not worth the wasted effort. Until scholars decide to take Doherty's work seriously enough to provide a rebuttal in their scholarly books or journals, you may have to settle for the very good rebuttals of Nomad, et al.

Ish
 
Old 04-19-2001, 12:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
madmax, unfortunately you may never see a "rebuttal" from scholars if they deem the work not worth the wasted effort. Until scholars decide to take Doherty's work seriously enough to provide a rebuttal in their scholarly books or journals, you may have to settle for the very good rebuttals of Nomad, et al.

Ish
</font>
Thats okay. I don't buy the thing anyway even though I haven't read Doherty's stuff much. It just seems like a strange idea - like saying Buddha or Mohammed never existed. I'd be more interested in all the incidental arguments that always seem to accompany such debates.

 
Old 04-19-2001, 01:22 PM   #24
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

(1) Regarding Gal.1:19, Doherty says "The term 'brother' (adelphos) appears throughout Paul's letters, and was a common designation Christians gave to each other. In 1 Corinthians 1:1 Sosthenes is called 'adelphos', as is Timothy in Colossians 1:1. Neither one of them, nor the more than 500 'brothers' who received a vision of the spiritual Christ in Corinthians 15:6, are to be considered siblings of Jesus. 'Brothers in the Lord' (adelphon en kurio) appears in Philippians 1:14 (the NEB translates it 'our fellow-Christians').</font>
All of this would be a lot more impressive if Paul had actually referred to someone BESIDES James as being the "brother of the Lord".

Christians call one another brother to this day, and this does not mean that I do not have an actual biological (and very real) brother. Doherty resorts to the worst kind of special pleading here.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> This is a strong indicator of what the phrase applied to James must have meant.</font>
No it doesn't. If someone cannot differentiate between "brothers IN Christ" and "brother of the Lord" then we have basic learning comprehension problems that will make further discussion much more difficult.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> James was the head of a community in Jerusalem which bore witness to the spiritual Christ, and this group seems to have called itself 'brethren of/in the Lord.'</font>
They called themselves "bretheren in the Lord".

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The pre-eminent position of James as head of this group could have resulted in a special designation for him as THE brother of the Lord" ("The Jesus Puzzle," 57).</font>
I don't know if you want to defend this as rational or not Earl, but if you can offer an example of ANYONE (besides Doherty) that accepts this as being real, then perhaps you could tell us who they might be. For example, is this what Josephus was thinking when he called James the brother of Jesus?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">See also note 26: "Compare also 1 Cor. 9:5. Here is a literal translation: 'Have we not the right to take along a sister (adelphen), a wife, as do the rest of the apostles and the brothers (adelphoi) of the Lord and Cephas?' Look at the word 'sister.' No one would say that Paul is referring to his own or anyone else's sibling.</font>
How about this: Does Paul every call ANYONE else the "Lord's brother" anywhere in his epistles?

How about:

1 Corinthians 9:5 Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas ?

Is there any evidence that Paul does not think that any of these people are real? Why doesn't he call Cephas (Peter) the "Lord's brother"? Or the apostles? Only the Lord's brothers are identified as the "Lord's brothers". How odd, no?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">(2) Regarding Heb.5:7, Doerty says "In that higher world revealed by scripture, Christ takes on a 'body' for sacrifice, in order to do the will of God and supplant the old animal sacrifices that God no longer wants. Here we can see the type of source in scripture which could have given rise to the idea that the spiritual Son had taken on or entered 'flesh,' that he had undergone sacrifice.</font>
Where is the evidence that Paul thinks that Jesus only existed on a higher plane or world? Or that the author of Hebrews did? As with your own arguments on Joseph of Arimathea, Earl, asserting it does not make it so. Please give us some proof.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Since this was envisioned to have taken place within the lower celestial sphere, it placed him, as Hebrews puts it (2:9), 'for a short while lower than the angels'.</font>
Um... human beings are "lower than the angels." Does Doherty think that we are real?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"In this way, we can understand the concept of Christ being 'in flesh' (en sarki, kata sarka, etc.), a stereotyped phrase which appears with surprising regularity in the epistles. It signifies either that Christ took on the spiritual counterpart of flesh, its 'likeness,' when he descended to the lower celestial sphere (as in the Ascension of Isaiah 9 or the hymn of Philippians 2:6-11), or as Barrett has suggested, that he entered the 'sphere of the flesh,' which included the realm of the demon spirits in the firmament. On occasion, it may refer to Christ's 'visit' to that sphere, as in 'the days of the flesh [not 'Earth' as Nomad's mistranslation says]' in Hebrews 5:7" ("The Jesus Puzzle," 122).</font>
A mistranslation???

Hebrews 5:7

NIV: During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

NET: 5:7 During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion.

RSV: In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear.

KJV: Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;


I would say that plain reading rather than special pleading makes a whole lot more sense. Every one of them has Jesus in the flesh and/or here on earth (kind of like the rest of us).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">See also note 59: "Where, then, did the idea in 5:7 come from? In the case of this epistle [Hebrews], the answer is clear: from scripture. Buchanan (op.cit., p.98)</font>
So? Just because the Scriptures predicted the suffering of the Messiah doesn't mean that a real Jesus suffered and Paul wanted to link the two ideas together. After all, Paul did believe that Jesus was the Messiah, so this would make sense.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">(3) Regarding Heb.13:12, Doherty says "Paul never locates Jesus anywhere, and for all his talk about the death and resurrection, no historical data about these events appears in his letters.</font>
Paul didn't write Hebrews. We do not know who wrote it. When Doherty wants to argue against Paul he should be citing Paul's works.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Hebrews 13:11-13 says that Jesus 'suffered outside the gate,' but no city is mentioned, and the idea is determined by scripture.</font>
We already know from 5:7 that Hebrews is talking about a city here on earth while Jesus lived in the flesh. Remember, Doherty's claim is that no one outside the Gospels EVER mentions Jesus as being a real person. You have not even begun to cover the passages you have offered here, Earl, let along the others I offered from Paul, John and Peter.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">For this writer, Jesus' experience in the realm of myth must be portrayed as paralleling the sacrifice of animals which took place 'outside the camp,' referring to the Israelite camp at Sinai.</font>
Um... the sacrifice was of real animals as well. Do you actually think that these are good arguments Earl, or are you just putting these arguments up so that I have more to shoot at?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But Nomad says regarding these passages that they "could not be clearer. Jesus lived, in the flesh, here on earth. Once again Doherty prefers to ignore the evidence rather than address it."

This is simply and obviously a misrepresentation of Doherty.</font>
I like how each time I take apart an argument, you claim that it is a misrepresentation on my part. Very clever. Sadly, it still leaves you with the requirement to demonstrate that how you (or Doherty) choose to read a passage needs to be supported by actual evidence. I do not want to get into another tail chase with you Earl so here is what you can do:

1) Show where Paul calls anyone except James the "Lord's brother".
2) Show how we have to read Hebrews as being symbolic rather than real.
3) Address the passages from Romans, 1&2 John and 2 Peter, and show us how they fit with the argument that none of the NT authors outside of the Gospels ever wrote about Jesus as living in the flesh here on earth.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Whether you agree with his arguments is a separate matter, but to declare that Doherty "ignores the evidence rather than addresses it" is blatantly false and unfair.</font>
Allow me to modify my statement here. Special pleading does not count as "addressing the evidence" in my books. Since Doherty offers nothing more than assertions to back up his claims, we have nothing tangible to respond to. I am not interested in what Doherty thinks Paul or anyone else said. I would like to see some supporting evidence that Paul, the apostles and the authors of the NT thought Jesus was mythical.

I hope that is clearer now.

Thank you,

Nomad



[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited April 19, 2001).]
 
Old 04-19-2001, 03:28 PM   #25
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Nomad,

No, I am not going to defend each and every point Doherty makes. That's not the purpose of my last post. The purpose of that post (and this one) is to demonstrate not that Doherty's position is correct, but that you have misrepresented his position and are unaware of his arguments. He addresses your perfectly appropriate objections in his book and in his articles. I only quoted selections to demonstrate not the truth of Doherty's arguments but your misrepresentation of the scope of Doherty's efforts.

I'll just counter some of Nomad's latest points from Doherty's perspective. Once again I do this not to establish the truth of Doherty's arguments but to show that Nomad is unaware of the arguments and thus declared by way of misrepresentation that Doherty "ignores" the crucial NT passages as to Jesus' historicity.

Regarding James, here's a quotation from Doherty's web site (http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/rfset3.htm#Sean ):

"It is sometimes argued that the "brothers of the Lord" mentioned here [1 Cor.9:5] cannot signify the Jerusalem group with James as its head, since Peter is named separately, and "apostles" are also referred to as distinct from these "brothers". I don't see a problem. Paul himself is an apostle (as he vociferously claims in this passage) and he is not a part of James' group; the reference to "the rest of the apostles" may simply be to missionaries like himself, whether from Jerusalem or other places. Or it may be that he is referring to those among the brothers in Jerusalem who specifically do apostolic work. As for Peter, Paul may simply be picking him out of the group for special mention, as someone well known to his readers, even if only by repute. It is even possible that Peter, like Paul, was not formally one of the "brothers".

"Can we find other support for the view that James was not known as the blood brother of Jesus? Two of the non-Pauline epistles offer pretty strong evidence. The letter ascribed to James himself opens this way:

""James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. . ."

"Few believe that James the Just actually wrote this letter, but if a later Christian is writing it in his name, or even if only adding this ascription, common sense dictates that he would have identified James as the brother of the Lord Jesus if he had in fact been so, not simply as his servant. A similar void has been left by the writer of the epistle of Jude. (Few likewise ascribe this letter to the actual Jude, whoever he was.) It opens:

""Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James. . ."

"Now if James is Jesus' sibling, and Jude is James' brother, then this makes Jude the brother of Jesus, and so he appears in Mark 6. So now we have two Christian authors who write letters in the name of supposed blood brothers of Jesus, neither one of whom makes such an identification. How likely is this?

"Scholars have attempted explanations for this silence, but none of them are convincing."

And Doherty goes on to address those explanations, as he does in his book (see note 27). See also #10 from http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/sil20arg.htm where Doherty says (as he does in his book, note 26): "I also consider it a distinct possibility that this phrase [in Gal.1:19] began as a marginal gloss which was later inserted into the text. While there is nothing to indicate one way or another, it is the sort of wording that a scribe might have placed in the margin to clarify which James Paul was referring to. Such a 'clarification' would have been needed during the second century, after "James, the son of Zebedee" became known as one of the Gospel apostles of Jesus, and James the Just had come to be regarded as Jesus' brother. A distinction might have been felt necessary in order to avoid confusion on the part of the reader."

****

The mistranslation in Heb.5:7 is in regard to the word "on," as if the Greek grounds Jesus specifically on this planet as opposed to somewhere in the lower celestial sphere of "the flesh." Regarding the ancient multi-leveled view of the universe, and Jesus' descent not to the planet Earth but to a lower level of reality in general, Doherty goes into this at some length throughout his book. See, for example, chapter 10. Again, my point is not to verify Doherty's arguments, but to point out that he does make them, contrary to Nomad.

Regarding the question of whether Jesus' life was fulfilled in Scripture or whether the NT writers took details from Scripture to flesh out a fictitious life of Jesus, this is a disagreement between traditional and non-traditional scholars that has nothing uniquely to do with Doherty. Many other scholars believe the NT writers constructed details of Jesus' life out of the materials offered in the OT. Doherty goes further, to be sure, in suggesting that there was no historical Jesus at all, but his point about the author of Hebrews depicting Jesus' sacrifice in a detailed form derived from rather than predicted in the OT is quite consistent with the tenor of non-traditional (non-inerrantist, non-orthodox) bible scholarship.

Regarding your statement, "Um... human beings are "lower than the angels." Does Doherty think that we are real?" yes, human beings would be lower than the angels, but what sort of an odd way is it to refer to the specific location of a human being on the planet Earth with the abstract phrase "below the angels"? That sounds more like a way of locating Jesus in a general sphere of reality rather than a particular physical spot, such as Jerusalem. Moreover, Doherty's point is not that the spiritual levels of reality or the entities in those levels are "not real," but that a mythical figure living in such levels of reality is not the same as an historical person on planet Earth. The issue is not Jesus' "reality" but in particular his existence on Earth as opposed to a lower spiritual realm. As Doherty writes, "As a deity descended from the higher reaches of pure spirit, he passed through ever degenerating spheres of the heavens, and could take on an increasing likeness to lower, material forms as well as an ability to suffer fleshly fates, such as pain and death. The lowest level of the spirit realm was the air, or 'firmament,' between the earth and the moon. This was the domain of the demon spirits--in Jewish parlance, of Satan and his evil angels. The demonic spiritual powers belonged to the realm of flesh and were thought of as in some way corporeal, though they possessed 'heavenly' versions of earthly bodies.

"Thus it was wholly conceivable for Paul's Christ in that spiritual world to descend into the realm of the demon spirits. Here he would be in the sphere of the flesh, which fits the early writers' almost universal use of such stereotyped phrases as 'in flesh,' 'according to the flesh' ("The Jesus Puzzle," 103). Does Nomad deny that this was the ancient cosmology in Paul's time?

Regarding my claim that you've blatantly misrepresented Doherty, you say "I like how each time I take apart an argument, you claim that it is a misrepresentation on my part." Yet what argument have you "taken apart"? You said outright that Doherty "ignored the evidence," namely the crucial NT passages you cite, whereas I showed that he does NOT ignore those passages and DOES have arguments to back up his position. By saying that Doherty simply ignores those passages, you showed that you were unaware of Doherty's arguments, that is, his book and his articles located at his website, which means that you misrepresented Doherty. You confuse "taking apart" a strawman argument, and dealing with Doherty's actual arguments which you claimed were non-existent due to his outright "ignoring" of the evidence. To me this is as plain as day, and I call it what it is: misrepresentation on Nomad's part.

Now you backtrack and say "Allow me to modify my statement here. Special pleading does not count as "addressing the evidence" in my books." But that's a retraction rather than a modification. First you said Doherty "ignores" the passages. Now you say he engages in special pleading. In order to have engaged in special pleading Doherty would still have had to address the passages. Once again, whether you find Doherty's arguments logical or persuasive is an ENTIRELY separate matter from whether Doherty ignores the passages altogether.


[This message has been edited by Earl (edited April 19, 2001).]
 
Old 04-19-2001, 04:31 PM   #26
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Look, Earl, I appreciate that you are at least making the effort to defend Doherty's work, even though, from what I know of your past arguments, you do not believe he is correct. At the same time, I am mostly interested in discussing this issue with one of Doherty's fans, since they do think that he makes sound arguments. These people are on these boards, and have publically stated that they think his reasoning is sound. I want to hear it from them (or even better, from Doherty himself) as to why they think this.

In any event, let me clear up the points in your last post, and tonight I will offer the next four pieces of his puzzle.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

No, I am not going to defend each and every point Doherty makes. That's not the purpose of my last post. The purpose of that post (and this one) is to demonstrate not that Doherty's position is correct, but that you have misrepresented his position and are unaware of his arguments.</font>
First, you do not know what I know about Doherty's arguments, so do not presume too much.

Second, when I say that he fails to address the textual evidence, I am not saying that he does not bring them up. What I am saying is that he resorts to special pleading, and in doing so invalidates his own conclusions. Thus, for example, we have him state flatly, and without qualification:

From piece #3

Paul and other early writers speak of the divine Son of their faith entirely in terms of a spiritual, heavenly figure; they never identify this entity called "Christ Jesus" (literally, "Anointed Savior" or "Savior Messiah") as a man who had lived and died in recent history.


I then offer a number of passages in which Paul and other NT writers clearly DO talk about Jesus living in the flesh in recent history. Later on he is going to qualifiy this statement, and tell us that each time Paul or another writer does mention Jesus being a real person here on earth, we have to read the passage properly (IOW, Doherty's way) in order to understand that the clear text does not mean what it says.

Allow me to offer an example:

If I offer evidence that someone said "X", and you tell me that the "X" actually was meant to be "Y", you are not addressing the evidence. Unless you can actually demonstrate that "X" actually meant "Y", you are resorting to special pleading. Conjecture and wild speculation to the contrary is not the way one proves a point. Since all we have from Doherty is conjecture, wild speculations and special pleading, my point remains. Doherty fails to address the textual evidence, and instead resorts to the worst forms of mental torture to make his theories work.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> He addresses your perfectly appropriate objections in his book and in his articles. I only quoted selections to demonstrate not the truth of Doherty's arguments but your misrepresentation of the scope of Doherty's efforts.</font>
I don't think you have understood the purpose of my thread here Earl. I already know Doherty's arguments. I presented the summaries from his web page because they are what he has presented as fair summations of his own arguments. I then challenged them, and would like him, or one of his defenders to step forward and make his case. Thus far no one (including you) had done that, but that has not caused me to give up hope just yet. This thread will go on some time longer, and I have at least two more summations to go through.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Regarding James, here's a quotation from Doherty's web site (http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/rfset3.htm#Sean ):

"It is sometimes argued that the "brothers of the Lord" mentioned here [1 Cor.9:5) cannot signify the Jerusalem group with James as its head, since Peter is named separately, and "apostles" are also referred to as distinct from these "brothers". I don't see a problem. Paul himself is an apostle (as he vociferously claims in this passage) and he is not a part of James' group; the reference to "the rest of the apostles" may (note here: this is a key point showing how conjecture works) simply be to missionaries like himself, whether from Jerusalem or other places. Or it may be that he is referring to those among the brothers in Jerusalem who specifically do apostolic work.</font>
Now do you see how this special pleading is working here? Any sensible person reading the text is going to say that Paul is talking about three groups of people, namely the apostles, Peter and the brothers of Jesus. This is pretty reasonable since that is exactly what the text says.

1 Corinthians 9:5 Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?

I am left to wonder how Paul could have worded this sentence if he DID want to talk about Peter, the apostles and the Lord's brothers. Torturing the language to make it fit a preconceived belief is brutal logic, and you should know this Earl.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As for Peter, Paul may simply be picking him out of the group for special mention, as someone well known to his readers, even if only by repute. It is even possible that Peter, like Paul, was not formally one of the "brothers".</font>
Hard to argue with this last bit, since Peter and Paul were certainly not related to Jesus. On the other hand, if Jesus did have brothers, it would be pretty normal to call them the Lord's brothers. Perhaps someone could offer another suggestion on what to call them?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"Can we find other support for the view that James was not known as the blood brother of Jesus? Two of the non-Pauline epistles offer pretty strong evidence. The letter ascribed to James himself opens this way:</font>
Oh oh. Time for more arguments from silence. Refer back to my point under piece #1, since this will form the basis of virtually every substantive argument Doherty will put forward.

Let's make this simple, perhaps the James and Jude being considered here were not the same James and Jude that were the brothers of Jesus. We have absolutely no way of telling one way or the other from the text. What we do have, on the other hand, is the confirmation from Josephus (a non-Christian source) that Jesus did have a brother named Jesus, and he is the same person identified by Paul as the brother of Jesus. This is two separate sources that say the same thing, and we have no reason to question either (unless you want to believe Doherty is right that is ).

So, thus far we have an argument from silence, and special pleading. These are not good signs. BTW, I know that Doherty tells us that the Josephus reference "shows signs of Christian tampering", but the only argument he will put forward to defend this absurdity is that he thinks it is so. Sadly for Doherty, no one else thinks that it is an interpolation (including Origen, who lived before any interpolations could have been made in any event).

At this point it is easier to see why you do not wish to defend Doherty's position Earl, but I am hoping that someone will step into the breach yet.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">{Snip conjecture}

"Scholars have attempted explanations for this silence, but none of them are convincing."</font>
How about this one?

The person who wrote James was not the brother of Jesus, nor was he writing in the name of the brother of Jesus named Jesus, and the person who wrote Jude was not the brother of Jesus either.

What is unconvincing about that argument?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And Doherty goes on to address those explanations, as he does in his book (see note 27). See also #10 from http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/sil20arg.htm where Doherty says (as he does in his book, note 26): "I also consider it a distinct possibility that this phrase [in Gal.1:19] began as a marginal gloss which was later inserted into the text. While there is nothing to indicate one way or another, it is the sort of wording that a scribe might have placed in the margin to clarify which James Paul was referring to.</font>
Tell me, can you spot an argument being constructed from whole cloth here? Does Doherty demonstrate the slightest familiarity with how textual criticism works? Can he point to ANY copies of MSS of Galatians that show such a modification?

Again, IF Paul actually did write this bit, how would he have made sure that his readers knew that he was talking about James, the brother of the Lord? Is it possible that he might actually have said, "James, the Lord's brother"? If not, why not?

Sheesh.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The mistranslation in Heb.5:7 is in regard to the word "on," as if the Greek grounds Jesus specifically on this planet as opposed to somewhere in the lower celestial sphere of "the flesh." Regarding the ancient multi-leveled view of the universe, and Jesus' descent not to the planet Earth but to a lower level of reality in general, Doherty goes into this at some length throughout his book. See, for example, chapter 10.</font>
Look, just because he asserts that this is what Paul and the Jews believed doesn't make it so. Do not be so credulous Earl. I want to see evidence that they believed this stuff, and thus far no one has shown us squat.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Again, my point is not to verify Doherty's arguments, but to point out that he does make them, contrary to Nomad.</font>
And again you appear to be missing my point. I want to see the convincing evidence that proves Doherty's point. He can make assertions all day long for all that I care, but without anything substantive it is all hot air and moonshine.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Regarding the question of whether Jesus' life was fulfilled in Scripture or whether the NT writers took details from Scripture to flesh out a fictitious life of Jesus, this is a disagreement between traditional and non-traditional scholars that has nothing uniquely to do with Doherty.</font>
This also has nothing to do with whether or not Jesus was a real person. Anyone can believe that Jesus picked 12 disciples to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. None of that proves that there were not 12 disciples. Scriptural parallels do not equate to complete fabrication.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Many other scholars believe the NT writers constructed details of Jesus' life out of the materials offered in the OT. Doherty goes further, to be sure, in suggesting that there was no historical Jesus at all, but his point about the author of Hebrews depicting Jesus' sacrifice in a detailed form derived from rather than predicted in the OT is quite consistent with the tenor of non-traditional (non-inerrantist, non-orthodox) bible scholarship.</font>
No, his interpretation is completely beyond the pale of even non-orthodox scholarship. The NT writers clearly wanted to link Jesus to the only Scriptures that they had at the time, namely the Hebrew (OT) Bible. None of this proves anything about them thinking that Jesus never came to earth.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Regarding your statement, "Um... human beings are "lower than the angels." Does Doherty think that we are real?" yes, human beings would be lower than the angels, but what sort of an odd way is it to refer to the specific location of a human being on the planet Earth with the abstract phrase "below the angels"?</font>
Since Paul also talks about us one day being "judges" of the angels, I see nothing unusual about this at all. I think that Doherty needs to spend more time looking at how 1st Century Jews really thought, and spend less time making up ideas in his head.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Let's see the evidence that the Jews did think like this. Don't just tell us that you think that is how they thought.

[quoteRegarding my claim that you've blatantly misrepresented Doherty, you say "I like how each time I take apart an argument, you claim that it is a misrepresentation on my part." Yet what argument have you "taken apart"?</font>
Go reread my original post. Doherty states that none of the NT writers outside of the Gospels wrote about a flesh and blood, living on earth man named Jesus. I offered several passages that show that they did do this. Special pleading does not make it go away Earl.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You said outright that Doherty "ignored the evidence," namely the crucial NT passages you cite, whereas I showed that he does NOT ignore those passages and DOES have arguments to back up his position.</font>
No Earl. When someone resorts to special pleading they are ignoring the evidence. When someone says that black is white, they are ignoring the evidence. When someone says that "X" means "Y" they are ignoring the evidence.

Now, to sum up, if you are going to be the only person to even try to defend Doherty, then so be it. I have been hoping to find a true believer however. I am also interested in seeing someone defend each of Doherty's points and arguments, since many depend on one another for support. Your effort to give the Jesus Puzzle the veneer of respectability is noble on the face of it, but I am actually looking for someone to show me why Doherty is right.

Thanks again Earl, and if you are going to respond again, please begin at my post just before this one and answer my questions.

Nomad
 
Old 04-19-2001, 05:04 PM   #27
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Nomad,

Well, I'm not going to carry this discussion on indefinitely. But I will point out that you confuse raising an alternative possibility with the fallacy of special pleading. Do you know what the fallacy of special pleading is? Here's a definition of the fallacy from http://www.nizkor.org/features/falla...-pleading.html :

"Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:

1.Person A accepts standard(s) S and applies them to others in circumtance(s) C.
2.Person A is in circumstance(s) C.
3.Therefore A is exempt from S.

"The person committing Special Pleading is claiming that he is exempt from certain principles or standards yet he provides no good reason for his exemption."

Yet you say Doherty commits the fallacy of special pleading by using the word "may" in "the reference to 'the rest of the apostles' may simply be to missionaries like himself, whether from Jerusalem or other places. Or it may be that he is referring to those among the brothers in Jerusalem who specifically do apostolic work. As for Peter, Paul may simply be picking him out of the group for special mention, as someone well known to his readers, even if only by repute."

This shows that you simply don't know what the term "special pleading" means. There's nothing WHATSOEVER fallacious about raising an alternative possibility, which is precisely what Doherty and ALL scholars do. "Special pleading" is a form of inconsistency: standards are applied to others but not to oneself without explaining why this should be so. Doherty does not do that, and therefore he does not commit the fallacy of special pleading.

****

Regarding the argument from silence, Doherty addresses this obvious and legitimate objection as well. In my view, even a solid or curious argument from silence is only inductive rather than deductive evidence for a position. Doherty can't logically argue from silence that Paul necessarily could not have believed in an historical Jesus, but Doherty can argue that a large number of such silences add up to a probabilistic conclusion, inductively arrived at. See http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/silintro.htm :

"Before getting under way, let's take a brief look at the "argument from silence." This is a method of reasoning which is often condemned by scholars in the field of New Testament research. But it is an important and legitimate element in the Jesus-as-myth theory. It states in one of its applications that if a document fails to mention something in a context where we would strongly expect to find it, this would tend to show (depending on the state of all the evidence) that the subject is not known to the author and therefore may not exist.

"We might illustrate the principle involved with this analogy. If a deceased man's descendant claims that the man once won a lottery, yet there is no contemporary record of such a win, no entry of a large sum in his bank statements, no mention of it in his diaries and letters, no memory of a spending spree, if on his deathbed he told someone he never got a break in his life, if he died of starvation, etc., we would have some good reason to use the argument from silence to say that the claim is probably false, that in fact he had never won a lottery. (See also my "parable" which opens the book review of Robert Funk's Honest to Jesus.)

"Morton Smith, in condemning one of G. A. Wells' articles (M. Smith, "The Historical Jesus", in Jesus in History and Myth, Prometheus Books, p.47), calls the argument "absurd", since "silence can be explained by reasons other than ignorance." The latter may sometimes be so, but it points to the fact that the conditions under which the argument is used must determine its validity. Ernst Haenchen, in his commentary on Acts (Acts, p.476), admits it is justified when everything urges the writer to mention something, yet he fails to do so; Haenchen uses it himself to support a contention about Paul. We must therefore ask, in looking at each silence, whether we have good and strong reason to expect that a Christian writer would have said something here about Jesus, and whether there seems any good reason to explain why he did not. If, for example, the writer is making an argument, and he fails to bring in a supposedly well-known point about Jesus that would serve him well, or if a description or discussion invites obvious comparison to an element of the Gospel story and we do not get it, we are justified in finding the omission at least curious.

"A silence can be especially compelling if it is expressed in a way which seems to exclude the idea or involvement of an historical Gospel Jesus, and there are many cases like this. Finally, the frequency of the silences has to be given weight. Taken individually, one failure to mention Jesus may be an oversight, a quirk of the author, an odd characteristic of one document or writer; but when it occurs in document after document, in writer after writer, when it extends to every single aspect of Jesus' earthly life, such pervasive silence must mean something and cannot be dismissed out of hand.

"Nor is it valid to rationalize that Paul and the other early writers did not need to mention a given point about Jesus because their readers were already familiar with it. Perhaps so, but do none of us, in our letters and conversations, ever insert things our listeners are familiar with? We might have little to say to each other if we didn't. Moreover, such reasoning hardly applies in the context of argument. An argument is delivered more forcefully precisely by appealing to a point that does mean something to the reader or listener, something the audience is familiar with. Adding, for example, the simple phrase "as Jesus himself said" could not help but support many of the views these letter writers are urging, and there hardly seems any good reason, especially a blanket one, for why they would all consistently fail to do so.

""Explanations" are often offered to explain Paul's silence, such as that he had never met Jesus, had different agendas than the other apostles, had particular sensitivities to the authenticity of his own credentials. Such objections falter on one general consideration. Every other epistle writer expresses himself in exactly the same way as Paul in regard to the silence about an historical Jesus. This includes those who wrote later in Paul's name (Colossians, Ephesians, etc.), writers who would have had no reason, nor the necessary insight, to faithfully reproduce Paul's own idiosyncrasies. Many of the individual reasons offered for Paul's reticence on the historical Jesus also fail upon closer examination: they don't "work" when you bring other considerations into play. I have dealt with such points in many places on the site and many will arise in the present feature in the course of examining the passages themselves."



[This message has been edited by Earl (edited April 19, 2001).]
 
Old 04-19-2001, 06:44 PM   #28
Lance
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Hi Nomad, good to see ya!

As to Jesus being a myth, while I don't agree with this particular web site, I do think the chances that he is are very high.

Now bear with me a moment...the Jesus as depicted by the gospels is a complete myth, but there may and we can not prove, that there was a man at the bottom of it all.

A very thorough and good discussion on this very topic is contained within this web site:

http://www.infidels.org/library/hist...out_jesus.html

As to the point about Josephus being altered text, that's likely as well. Oreigin (early apologist) hit every string in trying to advance the faith...yet omitted mention of Josephus. Why?
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Old 04-19-2001, 09:40 PM   #29
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A little more on the argument from silence (or ignorance). From http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html :

"Argumentum ad ignorantiam means "argument from ignorance". The fallacy occurs when it's argued that something must be true, simply because it hasn't been proved false. Or, equivalently, when it is argued that something must be false because it hasn't been proved true.

"(Note that this isn't the same as assuming something is false until it has been proved true. In law, for example, you're generally assumed innocent until proven guilty.)

"Here are a couple of examples:

"Of course the Bible is true. Nobody can prove otherwise."

"Of course telepathy and other psychic phenomena do not exist. Nobody has shown any proof that they are real."

"In scientific investigation, if it is known that an event would produce certain evidence of its having occurred, the absence of such evidence can validly be used to infer that the event didn't occur. It does not prove it with certainty, however."

****

Note that the theist often commits the argument from ignorance. For example, the theist sometimes attempts to shift the burden of proof where it does not along, arguing that unless skeptics demonstrate that Jesus was not buried, the traditional account of Jesus' burial must be considered true. That is a classic argument from ignorance. Notice that this is not the way Doherty argues from silence. As I said in my last post, Doherty doesn't argue that because Paul doesn't mention an historical Jesus therefore there MUST not have been an historical Jesus. Doherty's argument is inductive and probabilistic not deductive. Therefore his argument from silence is not fallacious. See the last two sentences from the quotation given above.

 
Old 04-19-2001, 10:43 PM   #30
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Lance:

As to the point about Josephus being altered text, that's likely as well. Oreigin (early apologist) hit every string in trying to advance the faith...yet omitted mention of Josephus. Why?</font>
Hello Lance

Actually, Origen goes into considerable detail about what Josephus had to say.

Here it is again:

Origen quoting Josephus

"And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did this James rise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the "Antiquities of the Jews" in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James."
Origen - Matthew X, XVII

"For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless-being, although against his will, not far from the truth-that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),-the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice."
Origen, - Against Celsus I, XLVII


And welcome to the SecWeb. It is good to see you again.

Nomad

(Edited to include my Origen references from the Sceptic Myths thread)

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited April 20, 2001).]
 
 

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