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Old 09-25-2001, 11:02 AM   #51
Toto
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nomad:
<STRONG>
. . .I am not going to go chasing after undocumented arguments. . . .
</STRONG>
Giving you the page of a book where complex literary arguments are laid out in detail is not giving you an "undocumented" argument. It is just referring to a document that you, for reasons I cannot fathom, refuse to read. (I continue to wonder if English is not your native language.)

Mason's book is readily available and reads like a novel. Carrier's summary is not inaccurate, but it doesn't really give you the flavor of the book.

Nomad: Imagine if I were to refute Carrier by simply saying that I read a book, and it was persuasive, so I reject his views. I'm sure you would not see that as much of a rebuttal.

If you said that a well known academic authority who specialized in Josephus had refuted Carrier's views, and I cared about the subject, I would make a point of reading that authority.

You may have noticed that Jeffrey Lowder and others spent a great deal of time and effort in rebutting Josh McDowell, in spite of his low academic reputation.

I don't regard these threads as personal combat, but as a search for more information or ideas. There is no point in ignoring other authorities where they are reasonably available. It is impossible to read everything that has been written on the subject of Luke and Josephus, but you have undertaken to refute Mason's hypothesis. It would take very little extra time to read the original chapter instead of reading Carrier's summary, and not that much more time to read his entire book.

I know that you started this on Mike's suggestion that you could just read Carrier's article, but this is turning into a waste of time. Because you have not read the book you are trying to refute, you are setting up straw men and knocking them over. It's getting old.

But if you are going to continue in this vein, as I have said, Mason does not regard this coincidence of the same three rebel leaders being mentioned as proof that Luke had read Josephus. It is only significant as part of a larger picture.

I can see you going through the list of similarities, and trying to dismiss each one. At the rate you are going, that will take the rest of the year and most of next, and all of your audience will be bored to tears.

So why not cut to the chase. Skip ahead to "Religion as Philosophy", which is the crux of Mason's argument. Explain why the author of Luke parallels Josephus' recasting of his religion as a school of Greek philosophy. Mason himself says that all of the other coincidences could be better explained by the common source hypthesis, except for this.
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Old 09-26-2001, 01:05 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally posted by Toto:

Giving you the page of a book where complex literary arguments are laid out in detail is not giving you an "undocumented" argument. It is just referring to a document that you, for reasons I cannot fathom, refuse to read. (I continue to wonder if English is not your native language.)
Toto:

When you will refuse to present even a summary of an argument, then it is, so far as I am concerned undocumented. As I have told you before, English is my native language. I also understand that you have rejected my arguments, even before I have had a chance to present them (see your very first post after Peter entered the discussion). Such is the pattern you have adopted, and it is certainly your right to do so. But for me, this is simply not how debate takes place. Each side presents the best arguments they have THEMSELVES, rebuts the points offered by their opponents, then wraps up, knowing that those who read these threads will make up their own minds.

When you jump in, and tell me that you read somewhere an argument that is convincing, but that you will not even offer a summary of that argument, I am going to ignore it. I do this in all discussions, and with everyone I debate BTW. I once had a convinced numerologist tell me if only I would read the book, The Bible Code, I would understand exactly what he was talking about, and find it convincing. Unfortunately for him, I thought his arguments were nonsense, and that if that nonsense came from such a book, I was not going to waste my time reading it. On the other hand, if I had found his ideas interesting or compelling, then I would have been happy to read it.

Quote:
Mason's book is readily available and reads like a novel. Carrier's summary is not inaccurate, but it doesn't really give you the flavor of the book.
As I said from the outset of this thread, I am going to examine the arguments put forward by Richard Carrier in his review of Mason's book. That was what Michael asked for, and that is what I am doing. As of right now, my biggest question is really how much further Carrier takes the argument than does Mason. For example, is Mason as confident as Carrier that Luke used Josephus? Carrier says that it is virtually certain. From what I can gather, Mason merely sees it as a possibility. There is a very wide gap between the two positions.

Personally, I see the probability that Luke used Josephus as a source to be less likely than that he used Matthew as a source. Since I reject the theory that Luke used Matt, it only makes sense to say that Luke also did not use Josephus. The reasons I reject the both theories is basically the same. The differences between Luke and Josephus and Matthew are simply too great to overcome. Belief in common sources is more reasonable, and more probable.

Quote:
Nomad: Imagine if I were to refute Carrier by simply saying that I read a book, and it was persuasive, so I reject his views. I'm sure you would not see that as much of a rebuttal.

Toto: If you said that a well known academic authority who specialized in Josephus had refuted Carrier's views, and I cared about the subject, I would make a point of reading that authority.
Well, that is a lot of ifs.

Obviously you and I have different standards here. I am reading Josephus, Luke, and the Old Testament, one of the sources that was clearly used by both men. I am also reading the commentaries from other NT scholars that have studied Luke very carefully. Further, I have been examining the ideas from Goldberg, a known scholar of Josephus, and have even quoted from him. I have yet to see you respond to any of the criticisms I have made thus far, or even the quotes that I have offered.

Quote:
...It is impossible to read everything that has been written on the subject of Luke and Josephus, but you have undertaken to refute Mason's hypothesis.
Here is a key error in your belief Toto. I am not so much refuting Mason's hypothesis, as I am rebutting Carrier's presentation of his own arguments and conclusion. Carrier's beliefs appear to be rooted in Mason's book, but may well have gone a good deal further than Mason did himself. If that is the case, and Mason is more conservative in his beliefs, presenting them as possibilities, rather than virtual certainties, then I can accept that. Many things are possible, but very few are virtually certain. Luke using Josephus is one of those things that is not one of them.

Quote:
I know that you started this on Mike's suggestion that you could just read Carrier's article, but this is turning into a waste of time.
As this has taken a great deal of time, and I have not had much to spare of late, I wonder if Michael feels the same way. I do not know if he is even reading this thread any longer, but I began it in order to keep a promise that I had made to him.

Quote:
Because you have not read the book you are trying to refute, you are setting up straw men and knocking them over.
No, I have been rebutting Carrier's own arguments. I find it interesting that you see them as straw men. On this basis I would have to assume that you do not think that Carrier did a very good job.

Quote:
But if you are going to continue in this vein, as I have said, Mason does not regard this coincidence of the same three rebel leaders being mentioned as proof that Luke had read Josephus. It is only significant as part of a larger picture.
But here you have missed my main point in my most recent posts. Luke mentions these three men in passing, and spends far more time on men and issues that are NOT found in Josephus. Further, even when he DOES mention these men, his details differ significantly from Josephus. It is because of the critical differences in Matthew and Luke that Matthew is not thought to be a source for Luke (or vice versa). Similarly, it is the differences in Luke and Josephus that should lead us to reject that either served as a source for the other.

Quote:
So why not cut to the chase. Skip ahead to "Religion as Philosophy", which is the crux of Mason's argument.
As I started this thread as a promise to Michael, I will ask him if he is willing to dismiss the other arguments as inconclusive at best, and probably against the belief that Luke used Josephus. If, on the other hand, he finds any of them persuasive, then I would go through those.

I am sorry I am not going as quickly as you would like Toto. But I do not have unlimited time or resources. There are a lot of assertions in Carrier's article, and it takes time to examine each of them. For my part, I would be more than happy to skip over them.

Quote:
Explain why the author of Luke parallels Josephus' recasting of his religion as a school of Greek philosophy.
See how you already accept the above assertion as fact? To me, this is a question that is yet to be decided. That said, I am willing to look at it.

I leave the choice to Michael. Does he want to skip to this part of the discussion? If so, then that is what I will do.

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Old 09-26-2001, 04:41 PM   #53
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{double post deleted}

[ September 28, 2001: Message edited by: Toto ]
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Old 09-26-2001, 04:41 PM   #54
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Anyone who is still following this discussion please check in and indicate your preference.

I think that Carrier's summary of Mason's arguments is accurate. Mason seems fairly sure (within the limits of what we can actually know about the past) that the author of Luke had read Josephus, or heard it read, and incorporated details from Josephus' work into his own. Mason was writing a book, and spent a lot of time playing with different ideas, looking at things from different angles, and examining the relative strength of different arguments. His purpose overall was not to argue that Luke used Josephus, but to provide a roadmap for students who are reading Josephus. The idea that Luke relied on Josephus was proposed in 1894 by a German scholar, and has been debated for the past century. Mason provides a summary of, and a comment on that debate.

Mason's chapter 6, entitled "Josephus and Luke-Acts", is a list of parallels between the two, and includes a discussion of what meaning can be derived from those parallels. But it probably confused the issue when Carrier listed the generic parallels in an article aiming at showing that Luke relied on Josephus, because Mason does not rely on those generic parallels to prove anything. (Neither did Carrier, if you read him carefully.)

I don't think that there is any need to concede that Carrier's arguments are "inconclusive at best." There is no argument that any one of the parallels proves anything in particular.

I will give you here a brief summary of one of Mason's arguments that the differences between Luke and Josephus show that Luke had read Josephus.

In regard to the Egyptian, Josephus stresses that he was a prophetic figure, and not a member of the sicarii, while Acts has him leading the sicarii. Josephus claims that the Egyptian led his men to the Mount of Olives to prepare for the seizure of Jerusalem, while Acts has him leading men out to the desert. (Acts 21:38: "Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?")

These are very different. Acts makes no sense, in that the sicarii were dagger-men, who mingled with the crowds, then pulled short daggers out and assassinated their enemies. There would be no reason for them to go to the desert.

But Luke could have gotten this from a misreading or mishearing of Josephus, because Josephus did mention the sicarii in a passage immediately prior to discussing the Egyptian. Furthermore, Josephus seems to have been the first to borrow the Latin word sicarii, meaning assassin, to refer to the Jewish rebels in his Greek narrative. How did Luke come to use this word? The explanation that makes the most sense is that he encountered it in Josephus.
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Old 09-28-2001, 02:44 PM   #55
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I am still here. But if Nomad wants to stop, that is fine. Everyone in this debate is very busy. I thank Peter and Richard for their very fine work.

Michael
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Old 09-28-2001, 02:53 PM   #56
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{bump}

(This thread is not showing up where it should.)
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Old 09-28-2001, 08:32 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
I am still here. But if Nomad wants to stop, that is fine. Everyone in this debate is very busy. I thank Peter and Richard for their very fine work.
I take it from your response that you have found Richard and Peter's arguments convincing to this point. Perhaps this was all that you needed then, and we can wrap up. My intention was to demonstrate why scholars reject the theory that Luke used Josephus. If you find the arguments in favour of this theory to be convincing, then so be it.

On the other hand, if you remain open to arguments against Carrier's theory, then I will offer it. As I said previously, the choice is yours, but without questions, it is hard to know where you hoped this would go.

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Old 10-01-2001, 01:13 PM   #58
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Nomad: You have committed the ultimate sin. You have gotten boring.

No one seems to be interested in your approach. You do not understand enough about Mason's theory to effectively engage it, or to construct a coherent argument against it.

I would like to thank Peter Kirby for recommending Mason's book, and I would recommend it to anyone interesting in Jewish-Roman-Christian interaction in the first century.

Josephus and the New Testament
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