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Old 03-19-2001, 10:37 PM   #41
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
[b] Let’s put my examples to the test. I gave three examples in my first post in this thread. They were:
1. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man.
2. Jesus taught in parables.
3. Jesus’ family members did not follow him during his lifetime.

Now, it should be fairly easy for you to determine whether or not these claims are historical or not. Use your criteria and tell me if you find these claims to be true or false. Also make sure you tell us how your criteria are falsifiable as you have been commanding me to do. After this little exercise the answers to your two questions will be apparent to all.

BTW, what scholars have you read on the topic of the historical Jesus? I ask this simply because you seem to think that all scholars have arrived at the same conclusion using these tools. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Peace,

Polycarp

</font>
I assure you Polycarp that he has access to a copy of the Oxford Companion to the Bible. And thanks to our last round of posts, he now knows who the editors are.

What I find most fascinating is how much the skeptics sound like Young Earth Creationists. They flippantly dismiss the experts in this field.

They insist that the very existence of Jesus is still "disputed," when the overwhelming majority of the historical and New Testament studies departments laugh at such a position.

They are willing to write off whole disciplines of accepted historical inquiry to justify their very Jesusexistedaphobia. They write off the leading experts in the field without having actually read much, if anything, by those experts.

They fall back to the "we weren't there to really know what happened" line of argument which I have seen so many YECS use.

The parrallels are stricking.
 
Old 03-20-2001, 12:05 AM   #42
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Layman - this thread was about the standards for historical evidence, not the existence of the historical Jesus. Why did you bring this up?

And since you have brought it up, do you have any better arguments than ridicule, or your claim that experts agree with you?

It's not as if the "experts" are a disinterested group of scientists - most are committed Christians (although the study of the Bible has made atheists out of a few.)

And it's not as if the historical evidence is overwhelming. It is quite reasonable to view the gospels as midrash, with very little if any fact mixed into a lot of fiction. And Paul never met Jesus. This leaves very little evidence for the historical Jesus.

I am not prepared to argue that there was no historical Jesus, but I don't think that the argument is so utterly ridiculous, and I think Ed Doherty makes a reasonable case.
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Old 03-20-2001, 04:58 AM   #43
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
Embarrassment - if the text refers to an incident that is not embarrassing, we're asked to take it as accurate because it is fairly plausible and non-controversial. But if the text contains an embarrassment, then that somehow proves the truth of the text and again, the skeptic is asked to accept it.
Dissimiliarity - as Bob K points out, is likewise of questionable use. If the text refers to an event that would be harmonious with the historical and social backdrop of ancient Palestine, then the skeptic is asked to accept it for precisely those reasons. On the other hand, if the event in question is dissimilar to what was expected, then the skeptic is told that "it couldn't possibly be made up, so it has to be true."
It seems that no matter what the evidence, the theist manages to create a "win" out of it.

Your choices are:
(a) address my point and show me the "strawman" you claim is inherent in my position, or
(b) reformulate your tool to remove the problem of being unfalsifiable
Quote:
</font>
I choose "a".

OK… Time for you to fall on your own sword (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Re-read my criteria again. In regards to embarrassment I said this,
“The criterion of embarrassment relates to something Jesus said or did which would have been embarrassing to the early Christians. In other words, they would not have made up this information so its MOST LIKELY historical. An example of this is the gospels' mention of the fact that Jesus' family did not follow him during his lifetime (John 7:5, etc.).”

In regards to dissimilarity I said this,
“Dissimilarity is when something attributed to Jesus is considerably un-similar to the beliefs of the earliest Christians. It is MORE LIKELY to be historical because the Christians would not have invented it. For example, scholars think Jesus taught in parables because there is no evidence that the early Christians did such a thing.”

Are you able to recognize the terms “more likely” and “most likely” ? Is it time for you to get a new eyeglass prescription? I noticed you conveniently avoided “multiple attestation” after my last post clearly demonstrated your ignorance on the matter.

If you’ll go back and re-read my first post again, you’ll also see where I said, “Different scholars use and emphasize standards and methods to varying degrees.”

This means they don’t just use one criteria to make their case. They see how each individual saying or deed fares when applying all of the relevant criteria and then make a determination as to its probability of being historical. It isn’t as if they say, “Well, this deed shows up in more than one source, therefore it must be true.” Multiple attestation, embarrassment, etc. are just measuring sticks used to increase or decrease the likelihood of a saying or deed being historical. This is why you are so very wrong when you claim that the same conclusion will always be reached. If you’d read more than one Jesus scholar, then you’d know this because they all reach different conclusions as to what Jesus said or did.

You were making a “straw man” out my argument by claiming that if a saying or deed met one of the criteria, then it MUST automatically be TRUE. I never claimed such a thing. I was talking in terms of probability as is clear from terms like “more likely” and from the fact that I’ve been telling you on numerous occasions that scholars who use these criteria reach different conclusions all of the time.

I’ve answered your question very clearly. Now its your turn to dance. Use your criteria with my examples and tell us why your criteria are better than those used by 95% of the historians and myself…

This ought to be good !!


Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 03-20-2001, 05:09 AM   #44
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I assure you Polycarp that he has access to a copy of the Oxford Companion to the Bible. And thanks to our last round of posts, he now knows who the editors are.
Quote:
</font>
I hope he didn't break the binding on that book. Sometimes that'll happen when it lays closed for several decades. Is "textual criticism" under "T" or "C" ?

Let's give the fella a chance. We, and nearly every other Jesus scholar, might be wrong. He now has the spotlight to show us what he's got.


Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 03-20-2001, 08:29 AM   #45
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Layman - this thread was about the standards for historical evidence, not the existence of the historical Jesus. Why did you bring this up?

And since you have brought it up, do you have any better arguments than ridicule, or your claim that experts agree with you?

It's not as if the "experts" are a disinterested group of scientists - most are committed Christians (although the study of the Bible has made atheists out of a few.)

And it's not as if the historical evidence is overwhelming. It is quite reasonable to view the gospels as midrash, with very little if any fact mixed into a lot of fiction. And Paul never met Jesus. This leaves very little evidence for the historical Jesus.

I am not prepared to argue that there was no historical Jesus, but I don't think that the argument is so utterly ridiculous, and I think Ed Doherty makes a reasonable case.
</font>
Committed Christians such as John D. Crossan, Robert Funk, and E.P. Sanders?
 
Old 03-20-2001, 10:02 AM   #46
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Layman - this thread was about the standards for historical evidence, not the existence of the historical Jesus. Why did you bring this up?

And since you have brought it up, do you have any better arguments than ridicule, or your claim that experts agree with you?
</font>
He's stil smarting from the last round with me. It's his revenge-by-proxy. He's trying to hijack a thread so he can get a punch in sideways.

 
Old 03-20-2001, 10:15 AM   #47
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
What I find most fascinating is how much the skeptics sound like Young Earth Creationists.
They flippantly dismiss the experts in this field.
</font>
This should be entertaining.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
They insist that the very existence of Jesus is still "disputed," when the overwhelming majority of the historical and New Testament studies departments laugh at such a position.
</font>
BZZT. Layman stumbles right out of the starting gate; the crowd roars with laughter.

Folks, observer here one of Layman's patented attack techniques. Even though I have never stated a position on the existence of Jesus, he says that I dispute the existence. He creates a strawman, and then expects me to (a) defend it or (b) even worry about it.

And, as Toto mentioned, the historicity of Jesus isn't even the topic at hand. So what was the point in bringing it up anyhow?

He used this same "attack by blundering confusion" technique this previously on this very thread, where he accused me of distorting the opponents position, when all I was admitting to doing was

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
1. You asked when I had ever used scientific method in a discussion with you.

2. I responded by saying "isn't that what you and I are doing right now"; i.e., in this very same thread.

3. You accuse me of distortion.

Wanna back the truck up and explain how you figure that, Einstein?

</font>
And of course, he never responded or retracted here. Duh.

He'll undoubtedly do this again. The problem is that Layman takes his self-appointed role as apologist too seriously. In his rush to defend the faith, he is so eager to jump in that he fails to read and understand the opponent's position. This leads him to create strawmen, or read hostile intent where none is present.

This was cute the first few times. Now it's just wearisome.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
They fall back to the "we weren't there to really know what happened" line of argument which I have seen so many YECS use.

The parrallels are stricking.
</font>
Not really. In the case of YEC, we actually have:

1. verifiable data that we can argue about, data that was
2. extracted through the scientific method and
3. verified through multiple independent lines of science.

Notice that none of the items 1-3 above apply to your arguments.

So parallel? Not at all.

The only thing that is striking here is your desperate confusion, Layman.



[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 20, 2001).]
 
Old 03-20-2001, 10:18 AM   #48
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
He's stil smarting from the last round with me. It's his revenge-by-proxy. He's trying to hijack a thread so he can get a punch in sideways.
</font>
The only thing I am smarting from about our last go round is letting myself be engaged for so long by someone who knows so little about New Testament scholarship and is too afraid to actually offer up their own version of events.
 
Old 03-20-2001, 10:29 AM   #49
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I choose "a".

OK… Time for you to fall on your own sword (metaphorically speaking, of course).
</font>
That's not a sword. It's a bear trap, set for you.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Re-read my criteria again. In regards to embarrassment I said this,
“The criterion of embarrassment relates to something Jesus said or did which would have been embarrassing to the early Christians. In other words, they would not have made up this information so its MOST LIKELY historical. An example of this is the gospels' mention of the fact that Jesus' family did not follow him during his lifetime (John 7:5, etc.).”

In regards to dissimilarity I said this,
“Dissimilarity is when something attributed to Jesus is considerably un-similar to the beliefs of the earliest Christians. It is MORE LIKELY to be historical because the Christians would not have invented it. For example, scholars think Jesus taught in parables because there is no evidence that the early Christians did such a thing.”

Are you able to recognize the terms “more likely” and “most likely” ? Is it time for you to get a new eyeglass prescription?
</font>
Your sarcasm and condescension are (a) unwarranted and (b) most likely to come back and bite you in the ass.

As I said: the terms "most likely" and similar guarded terms are inconsistent with the strong claims for "proof" and "evidence". Which means that all these high-sounding claims for proof that you and other theists use should actually be substantially more muted. You have just illustrated my point here.

Apologists such as yourselves try to use the tools of textual criticism to achieve a level of certitude and proof that is inappropriate given the limitations of those tools. You want the skeptics to believe you have proof which is of the same quality and caliber as scientific proof. But you don't have that. What you really, actually have is a bunch of "most likelys" and "reasonably sures" and "leads us to believe". Those types of guarded qualifications are inconsistent with the term "proof" and "evidence".

It is the difference between saying, "Christ went to Jerusalem for Passover" and saying "Most of the evidence suggests Christ went to Jerusalem for Passover".

A proper student of texts (ancient or otherwise) understands that the tools for such study are, by definition, not going to lead to the types of strong affirmative statements that are bandied around by theists in support of their faith, or in support of the claims of the bible.

The next conclusion that we can draw from this is that when skeptics state that there is no evidence for XYZ from the bible, your only valid response can be: "Hard evidence? No, you're right. There is none. But we have secondary evidence that suggests that XYZ may be true." Anything stronger than that is unwarranted and demonstrates bias on the part of the theist.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
You were making a “straw man” out my argument by claiming that if a saying or deed met one of the criteria, then it MUST automatically be TRUE. I never claimed such a thing. I was talking in terms of probability as is clear from terms like “more likely” and from the fact that I’ve been telling you on numerous occasions that scholars who use these criteria reach different conclusions all of the time.
</font>
Fine. Then you understand my point and agree to it?


[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 20, 2001).]
 
Old 03-20-2001, 10:36 AM   #50
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I’ve answered your question very clearly.
</font>
Sure, after I had to literally force-feed it to you on four diffrent occasions.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Now its your turn to dance. Use your criteria with my examples and tell us why your criteria are better than those used by 95% of the historians and myself…
</font>
With my criteria, the truth status of your examples is "unknown". As I said in my original post several days ago:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Another useful approach be to treat all texts as value-neutral. By that I mean, their truth status is unknown until such time as they can be corroborated by several independent lines of evidence from different disciplines.
</font>
You see, a status of "truth unknown" does not bother me or keep me awake at night. I don't feel the need to hurry up and resolve the question before the requisite level of evidence is available. Again:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
However, when we study other historical documents, the approach is different. When we encounter an area that is "murky", we simply shrug our shoulders and say that there is insufficient evidence either way. We put the issue on a shelf, and we don't let it bother us. Time goes by, and perhaps new evidence or new methodology comes to light which can resolve the accuracy of the passage.

But with christianity, the perfectly reasonable answer that a given point may be unknown, or even permanently unknow-able, is generally unacceptable to theists.

</font>
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
This ought to be good !!
</font>
It was good for me; was it good for you?

 
 

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