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Old 01-01-2001, 06:31 AM   #11
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penatis: Were all the saints buried close to where criminals were executed? Where did they go after they were seen in Jerusalem?

Who knows? Matthew never tells us. Maybe they went bowling.

(I am beginning to understand why no one takes Nomad seriously. Apparently, he does not take himself or his ideas seriously.) I believe the reason “Matthew” never mentions where the saints went is because he was unconcerned with logic. The reality is, there were no resurrected saints. He merely embellished “Mark” for theological reasons.

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penatis: If it was physically possible for corpses to come back to life back then, why don’t they come back to life, at least on occasion, now?

Ummm... huh? Is this an argument of some sort?

It is a serious question asked of someone who pretends to believe in the impossible. Please notice that Nomad gives no answer.

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penatis: There are other problematic facts that relate to the above passage. Not only is the writer anonymous, but the passage itself is not attested to in any extant MS until the fourth century.

So?

A rational, thinking person would question the reliability of an anonymous writer, especially one whose work dates from hundreds of years after the events he writes about. (Obviously, it is not a concern for someone who has blind faith.)

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penatis: This is all the more amazing when we consider that literally hundreds of non-Christian MSS can be dated to the first and second century.

Check again penatis. There are virtually no surviving original ancient texts from the first century that are not Christian (the Dead Sea Scrolls being a very notable exception).

Nomad is incorrect (again!). According to Peter Van Minnen, “We have hundreds of papyrus manuscripts of Greek pagan literary texts from this period [100 to 300 CE] and again hundreds of carefully written papyrus documents that show the same types of handwriting.” (See Dating the Oldest New Testament Manuscripts online.) I decided to confirm, for myself, Van Minnen’s statement. My research was fruitful; I found that there are literally thousands of Greek non-Christian texts that date from 300 BCE to 500CE. I personally read (or read from) scores of translated Greek texts from the first century of our era. Many have the day, month, and year of composition. For example, I read a fairly lengthy contract that can be dated precisely to April 4, 33 CE. If a reader is interested, just go to www.lib.umich.edu/pap/ or www.hum.ku.dk/cni/papcoll/.

In fact, most sceptics spend their time telling me that this is because Christians destroyed it all in some kind of grand scroll burning conspiracy. On the other hand, maybe papyrus just doesn't hold up very well unless extraordinary measures are taken to preserve them, and the ancients preferred to copy things rather than keep the originals. That does seem to be the more reasonable and simpler explanation don't you think?

There is evidence that early Christians destroyed numerous MSS, but they did not destroy the thousands that are extant in the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection or the Carlsberg Papyrus Collection.


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penatis: (Ironically, without the non-Christian writings, it would be virtually impossible to determine when the Christian writings were produced. For, the non-Christian MSS are sometimes dated, the Christian ones are not.

Just out of curiosity, where do you get these curious beliefs? The reason we know the dates on the Christian documents is the same way we know the dates on most ancient documents. The copiest tells us.

Again, I quote Peter Van Minnen: “We have hundreds of papyrus manuscripts of Greek pagan literary texts from this period [100 to 300 CE] and again hundreds of carefully written papyrus documents that show the same types of handwriting. These documents are very important for paleographers because they are often exactly dated. As a rule New Testament manuscripts written on papyrus are not.”


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penatis: Experts compare the style of writing from dated MSS to those which are not dated and determine, approximately, when the undated MSS were produced.)

Not always. Please offer some sources for your beliefs. Very often the copyist made sure to include the date of the text he was copying, and thus we can see how old it was. Carbon dating comes into play sometimes as well.

See Dating the Oldest New Testament Manuscripts by Peter Van Minnen.


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penatis: If the ancient Egyptians (among others) could preserve their original religious literature for several thousands of years (see the Pyramid Texts),

[b]You mean the stuff written on stone?

According to R. O. Faulkner, “The Pyramid Texts of Ancient Egypt were carved on the walls of the pyramids of King Wenis of the end of the Fifth Dynasty [circa 2500 BCE] and of the rulers of the Sixth Dynasty, and constitute the oldest corpus of Egyptian religious and funerary literature now extant.” (See The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, PREFACE)


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penatis: why couldn't the early Christians preserve just one original of any work from the NT?

You mean the stuff written on papyrus? Maybe you have a suggestion on how they could have done this? Or even why they should have done this.

1. There are no originals of any book contained in the NT; consequently, there is no way of ever knowing precisely what the anonymous autographs (presuming there were books similar to the ones extant) actually said.
2. The early Christian writers could have carved their religious works on stone or engraved them on metal. These methods were sometimes used by ancient writers.
3. There are millions of people who would be interested in knowing what the earliest Christians originally wrote.

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penatis: The fact is, every surviving MS is a copy of a copy, etc. All scholars admit that no two copies of any work are identical.

So?

No one knows what the original writers wrote. Nomad fails to understand the significance of this fact. (Again, if someone, like Nomad, relies on blind faith, history and textual evidence are not important.)
 
Old 01-01-2001, 11:08 AM   #12
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Originally posted by penatis:

Nomad: First, did Matthew use other sources in creating his Gospel as penatis claims? Well, yes, it is generally agreed that he did do this, and that Mark (or Mark's source) was one of those prior sources. Did he copy everything verbatum? Of course not.

Anyone who takes the time to compare Matthew 27:45-56 with Mark 15:33-41 will see that “Matthew” copied “Mark” almost verbatim. That was my point. Nomad missed it.
No. I stated it clearly that Matthew copied Mark in some parts, but not ALL parts as you had stated. I corrected you, and you have narrowed your claim now, so the point is settled.

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Nomad: If he had, then we would hardly need GMatthew at all since GMark would already say all that needed to be said. So I think we should drop the simplistic notion that Matthew was simply relying exclusively on Mark for his claims.

It is not a “simplistic notion.” Since Matthew 27:45-56 is an almost verbatim copy of Mark 15:33-41, it is perfectly reasonable to believe “Matthew” “relied exclusively on Mark for his claims.”
No, the key verbatum passage is actually a quotation from Psalm 22:1, and is very likely something Jesus said while on the cross. Mark and Matthew both wrote their accounts of the same event, so it would make sense that they would say much the same thing, especially if they are relying upon the same set of witness accounts (namely the women at the cross).

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Nomad: Second, who were Mark's witnesses, and who were Matthew's?

No one knows where “Mark” got his information.
Yes we do. It is commonly accepted that most of his information came from Peter, as well as the witnesses that lived within his community. Remember that Mark was written within the lifetime of many of the witnesses, including some of the disciples themselves.

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Nomad: On the other hand, we do have a number of identifiable individuals listed in each of the Gospels, and it is a pretty safe bet that at least some of these witnesses were still alive at the time the Gospels were written.

1. The fact is, “Mark” mentions a few names. No one knows his sources.
Do you read my posts? When Mark is naming individuals, he is GIVING his sources. This is not hard stuff penatis.

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2. When a person uses the phrase “it is a pretty safe bet,” he doesn’t have any evidence. This is pure speculation.
No, this is a standard qualifier placed by any prudent and truthful writer that knows enough to not make bold assertions and claim that he KNOWS them to be facts rather than the best information we have available to us today.

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3. No one knows when the anonymous stories were written, much less who could have been alive at the time they were put down on papyrus.
Actually, Mark has been reliably dated to pre-68AD since the fragment 7Q5 was found among the Qumran documents, and is known to be a portion of Mark 6:52-53.

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No extant MSS containing Matthew 27:45-56/Mark 15:33-41 date earlier than the fourth century. To my knowledge, Codex Sinaiticus is the earliest.
Then you need to do more research. The Paris Codex contains extant copies of all 4 Gospels plus the book of Acts and has been reliably dated to no later than early 3rd Century AD. Some papyrologists are beginning to think that it can be dated even earlier than that.

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First, Nomad speculates that he knows of witnesses to the resurrection of saints. In point of fact,there were none that anyone knows of. Second, Nomad “knows” of people who “knew and met” these unknown witnesses while they were still alive. Perhaps, Nomad can provide the names of those who he “knows” witnessed the resurrection of saints. Next, perhaps he can demonstrate how he knows anything about anyone who knew these witnesses.
Now I know you do not read my posts. I said that the Gospel writers rarely say "Mary M said this, and Suzy Q said that..." and this proves nothing. The living witnesses within the communities Matthew and Mark wrote for knew the people in the stories and did not need such hand holding. You are simply projecting a modern prejudice for modern biographical writing techniqes. Until 200 years ago such techniques were wholly unknown, so this complaint proves nothing.

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Nomad: Finally, we have Paul attesting to many of the same events in his own letters (i.e. the birth of Jesus to the House of David, His death on the cross, His burial and the physical ressurection of His body).

1. I have not questioned the historicity of the execution, so why does Nomad bring up the claims of Paul of Tarsus?
Because Paul offers us clear evidence that the early Christian communities ALL knew about these events, and that the date for this knowledge was very early (i.e. no later than 40AD, and according to event he Jesus Seminar, most likely within 3 years of the death of Jesus).

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4. Paul DID NOT attest to a physical resurrection of Jesus. He merely stated that “the annointed” had been “raised” and that he had “appeared” to Paul and others. In NONE of the letters attributed to Paul does he attest to a physical resurrection of anyone, much less Jesus. He DID NOT believe physical resurrection to be possible. In 1 Cor. 15:50, he says, “I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of god”
Sigh. Okay, I see that you too have bought wholesale into the nonsense put out by Richard Carrier and the Jesus Seminar (still not sure of your scholars yet, so I am guessing that these are the biggies).

In a nutshell:

1) The Jews had NO CONCEPT of a non-physical resurrection, and still don't to this day. It simply would not have occured to Paul or any other Jew (like the disciples and ALL of the first Christians).
2) EVERYONE that read 1 Corinthians 15 up to 200 years ago KNEW that Paul was talking about a physical as well as spiritual resurrection, and never even imagined that he was talking about a non-physical resurrection. The ONLY reason some people started reading it otherwise 200 years ago is that the Enlightenment created a bias that said physical resurrections were impossible (along with all other miraclulous events). Thus, they used their a priori bias to radically change a well understood reading of the passages in question. This is not scholarship, it is prejudice in action.
3) For Paul to change the story while Peter and the other apostles were still alive would have been IMPOSSIBLE. If he had done so, then Peter, James, John and the other disciples would have identified him as a heretic, and he would have been expelled from the church.
4) If Paul had actually taught a non-physical resurrection, then the Gospels, which were produced by the communities that he help found himself would have reflected this doctrine. Instead, ALL of them attest to an empty tomb (and again, the communities knew what this meant, John believed on the basis of the empty tomb alone, without even needing to see the risen Christ), and three of them go into tremendous detail to show that the risen Jesus was not a ghost or vision, but a real physical person.
4) Since NO ONE has ever offered one shread of evidence that Paul or the early Christian communities believed in anything except a physical resurrection of the dead (i.e. explain why the Athenians laughed Paul out of town for his stories of a risen body, HINT, unlike the Jews, the Greeks had NO CONCEPT of a physical resurrection). In fact, even Carrier himself admits that a proper reading of 1 Corinthians 15 COULD be talking about a physical resurrection, and considering Carrier's agenda, that is enough for me.

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Furthermore, in the Acts, Paul is said to have seen a vision of Jesus, NOT a physically resurrected Jesus. It is claimed (in the Acts) that he saw a bright light in the sky and heard a voice.
Keep reading, in his testimony before Festus in Acts 26 he is clearly talking about a physical resurrection that is just like the ones all the other witnesses experienced.

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Nomad: I have been through these discussions often enough now that I don't really want to have to rehash all the material yet again. But let's just say that the line bought by the sceptics is a pretty flimsy one, and it fails miserably when forced to stand up to close scrutiny.

This is a rather curious assertion. Why not just produce one iota of evidence?
I have. Check the thread called The Theoretical Foundations of Christianity on the Existence of God Board. Earl and I went a number of rounds on this, and quite frankly I am not going to do so again on this thread. If you want to hash it again, start a new thread.

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Nomad: Third, it is certain that both Mark and Matthew (and the other Gospels) were written for living breathing communities of believers.

This is irrelevant to our discussion. Living, breathing people believe in a great number of things. So what!
Many of the people who are listed in the Gospels were still alive at this point, as were those that knew them. So the community contained the witnesses themselves. This made certain that significant changes in the story were not going to be made by the Gospel writers themselves (unless of course, you want to fall back on the conspiracy theory now. Were they all liars? ).

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Nomad: The fact that these four accounts agree on every single important detail is astonishing to the point of being unprecedented.

The fact is, the four anonymous writers disagree on numerous occasions.
Note that I said significant differences penatis. You still haven't offered any except arguments from silence, and those won't do.

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“Mark” (according to scholarly opinion)created his narrative from anecdotal evidence.
Name your scholars penatis. I'm here to tell you that many of the most respected scholars in the field (i.e. Raymond Brown, Robin-Griffith Jones, Craig Blomberg, Robin Lane Fox, ect.) agree that the evidence was from witnesses to the events. Since that is pretty much the ONLY way we can reconstruct most historical events this is standard fair in historical research. And in the case of ancient history, the Gospels are the ONLY accounts we have written at the time that witnesses were still alive and could verify the factual claims. This really is quite extraordinary, and if you took the time to be a little more objective you would know this.

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The other writers used his narrative as a guide, sometimes copying him verbatim. At times the other writers altered what “Mark” wrote, depending on their respective sources/theologies.
This is conjecture on the part of your unnamed scholars. Try this: if two writers are using the same witnesses to the same event, what is the likelyhood that they would record them in a similar (or even verbatum) fashion?

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Scholarly opinion holds that much of what is attributed to Jesus in “John” actually came from the mind of the writer. None if this is “astonishing” or “unprededented.”
Of course it is. John was there. That makes it pretty astonishing. And if you do not stop with this anonymous appeal to authority our discussion will be very short lived.

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All the MSS were written by human beings. All the MSS were copied by human beings. The books that make up the “canon” were chosen by human beings.
Yes they were.

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I would challenge people to produce modern biographies on anyone dead more than a hundred years that has done as well in its consistancy. These communities would have, and did, serve as a serious check on mythological developement in the materials and stories being offered to them by the Gospel writers.

The fact is, the anonymous writers were propagandists.
Hmm... I can see the unbiased sceptical mind in action here. I see that you did not reply to my challenge.

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Their sole objective was to win over believers. (These [gospels] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31) They were not historians in any sense of the word. It is for this very reason that not one anonymous propagandist felt the need to avoid mythological embellishment.
Setting aside your last unsupported statement, could you please reply to my challenge? Also, since these Gospels were written to tell the world the good news about what God had done, the fact that they actually wanted people to believe them is bad because...?

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In fact, the severity of this check is so complete as to insure that since the Canonical Books have been accepted by Christians (basically dating back to the 2nd Century, and formally in the early 4th Century), NO deviations or significant additions or changes have been permitted.

Nomad is incorrect.
THE CANON
According to Robert Funk, “In the early centuries, what was considered ’canonical’ varied from region to region and was actually determined largely by regional ecclesiastical officials rather than by popular assent: most members of the Christian movement would not have possessed copies of any of the books, and manuscripts of a complete Bible did not yet exist.” (Honest to Jesus, 103.)
So what? None of the Gospels or epistles make any radically different claims that affect doctrine or theology. The construction of the Canon took time, but it never varied in its message. Jesus lived, died, and rose again from the dead. When Marcion tried to purge the Bible of everything except Luke, Acts and some selected letters from Paul he was expelled as a heretic. The fact that we have such a clear and consistent adherence to the same message by the Church written by so may authors is yet another unique fact of the Christian and Jewish faiths.

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DIFFEREENCES
1. No codices of all NT books date earlier than the fourth century and, due to alterations and errors, these are not identical to each other, in any way.
Irrelevant. Marcion's heresy was challenged in the 2nd Century, using ALL of the NT Scripture we find in the Canons.

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2. Fourth century Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus DO NOT contain precisely the books accepted at Nicea in 325 CE. For example, Sinaiticus contains Epistle of Barnabas and Shepherd of Hermas, and “Mark” ends at 16:8.
So?

Mark should end at 16:8, and the books of Barnabas and Hermas were considered to be too late to be reliable at Nicaea. I would think sceptics would treat this as a good thing.

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Vaticanus is missing some of the letters attributed to Paul and “Mark” ends at 16:8. Alexandrinus includes I and II Clement. “Mark” does not end at 16:8. (Perhaps Nomad knows which ending of “Mark” was divinely inspired. If so, only he knows.)
Same story with Clement. He lived too late to serve as a witness, and 2 Clement is an obvious forgery. As for Mark's ending, I trust the Church, and do not see it as any more of a big deal than I do the addition in John 8.

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TEXT
With respect to textual difficulties, Bart D. Ehrman states, “Interpreters of the NT are faced with a discomforting reality that many of them would like to ignore. In many instances, we don’t know what the authors of the NT actually wrote. It often proves difficult enough to establish what the words of the NT mean; the fact that in some instances we don’t know what the words actually were does more than a little to exacerbate the problem. I say that many interpreters would like to ignore this reality; but perhaps that isn’t strong enough. In point of fact, many interpreters, possibly most, do ignore it, pretending that the textual basis of the Christian scriptures is secure, when unhappily, it is not...
Pause. As new evidence emerges, the appropriate changes are made. Christians do not worship a book, they worship God, and we understand that the Bible may have minor errors as redactions in it. None are imporant however.

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It is difficult to know what the authors of the Greek New Testament wrote, in many instances, because all of [the]surviving copies differ from one another, sometimes significantly...
Give us a "significant" difference please.

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No one knows for sure how many differences there are among our surviving witnesses, simply because no one has yet been able to count them all. The best estimates put the number at around 300,000, but perhaps it’s better to put this figure in comparative terms.
I hope your scholar was honest enough to point out that the vast majority of these 300,000 errors are translational, spelling and simple editorial ones. Give us a biggie please.

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There are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the NT.” (From Lecture One: Text and Interpretation: The Exegetical Significance of the “Original” Text, delivered at Duke Divinity School in 1997)
I already knew this, although the real number of differences is closer to 400,000, and if there is an spelling mistake that os carried from one copy to the next it is counted twice, then three times, then four, and so on. This, in fact, accounts for about 99% of the "errors" found in the NT. Tell me why this is important? Or were you an ex-fundamentalist that says that such errors are not allowed in the Bible?

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Bottom line, this means that the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection was COMPLETED and written down on paper within the lifetime of many of the people who were His contemporaries.

No, it means that modern readers are stuck with ancient MSS that were written by anonymous writers.
Which ones were anonymous? And can you PROVE it? Please try.

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No one knows precisely when or where the MSS were written. Complete collections do not surface until the fourth century. The codices that are extant date from hundreds of years after the events they depict. Furthermore, all MSS are copies of copies of copies.
Covered this too. Do you know what the Paris Codex is? And I'm sure you knew about the Marcion Heresy of the Second Century as well, and how he was defeated by the future Canonical books of the NT?

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How often did this happen in the ancient world? Well, basically never.

Well, actually, historians dismiss depictions of incredible events, regardless of who the writer is.
Yeah, well, this is just another prejudice coming through loud and clear. Suffice to say I'm not impressed by circular reasoning. It is unfortunate that you are.

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(It would not matter whether Pliny or Josephus or Plutarch or Tacitus or "Matthew" reported people coming out of tombs and appearing to others. People do not come out of their tombs today;therefore, it would be reasonable to think that people did not come out of their tombs at any point in the past.)
And every singular event in history never happened again ever. So they must never have happened right? See what I mean about circular reasoning? Your argument simply tells us that we must remain agnostic about all of history unless it happens exactly the same way again today.

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So again we have an extraordinary set of books and letters written by Christ's followers even before many of them died.

The MSS are in no way “extraordinary.”
I need to ask. Do you understand or know how much MSS textual evidence (including how closely it is dated to the events in question) we have from the Bible, and especially the NT when compared against the amount of MSS we have for all other ancient historical books combined?

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I challenge Nomad to give a date of composition, a place of composition, or an author of any “gospel” that is agreed upon by most scholars.
Why the qualifier that mindlessly appeals to authrity? What if I can offer better evidence than you can? Is that good enough?

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I challenge Nomad to give the name of any critical historian who believes the resurrection of saints actually occurred.
Does your definition of "critical historian" include ONLY non-believers? If so, I concede the point. But on that basis, I don't know any Muslim scholars that believe either. Am I allowed to use Christians scholars, or do you reject them out of hand?

Your biases really are showing here penatis.

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This is a rather bizarre statement. It is Nomad who believes that dead, stinking and rotting bodies came out of tombs and crawled, or walked, or ran, or flew, to Jerusalem.
Hmmm... where did Matthew say this bit about dead stinking rotting ect ect.? Or are you embellishing?

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Nomad believes this based on what was written in MSS that date from hundreds of years after the supposed incredible event occurred. The anonymous writer who wrote of these living dead is the only person in the world who wrote of it.
I think we need more threads. I think that it is reasonable to assume that Mark, Matthew, Luke and John were all written by the men that have their names on the Gospels. Paul was not anonymous in his letters, nor was John, James, Jude, or the other John. Hebrews was anonymous.

And as for the concern about Matthew being the only one to write about a specific event, Homer was the only one to write about the Trojan War. Did it happen? If all you have is arguments from silence and prior prejudice just admit as much, and we can save a ton of time here.

Thanks.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited January 02, 2001).]
 
Old 01-01-2001, 08:10 PM   #13
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Originally posted by penatis:

My comment related to what happened at the execution, not what occurred later. Nomad stated the named women were witnesses to the resurrection of the saints. I say he is incorrect. If he can demonstrate otherwise, I would be interested in his evidence.
I didn't say this at all, I only stated that the women were among the witnesses to the events described in Mark and Matthew.

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It is Nomad, not me, who must provide for the witnesses. For, no writer names any.
Listen carefully: Matthew said that there were witnesses to the resurrections. Paul said that there were 500 witnesses to Jesus' resurrection as well. The fact that specific names are not given does not mean that there are none, only that the names are not given. Since those first reading these Gospels and epistles were witnesses themselves, they would have known who these people were.

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And if you want to claim that Mark and Matthew were making up the bit about the curtain being torn, no doubt you have a document from the period in question backing you up I hope. Or are you making yet another argument from silence?

I believe “Mark,” as a propagandist, said the curtain tore into--for reasons only he could answer.
Guess what. I don't give a rat's ass what you believe. I asked for your evidence to support what you believe, and as I suspected, you don't have any. Until you do, you are believing what you believe based on prejudicial beliefs against the possibility of resurrections taking place and nothing else.

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Did it actually happen? I certainly doubt that it did. But, I am not a Christian apologist. They have “faith” when there is no evidence.
Umm... try again. We have witness testimony, which is classified as E.V.I.D.E.N.C.E. What you have is nothing except your blind faith. Notice that you have been asked to offer evidence to support your claims. Instead you have offered assertions yet again. Try again.

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On point 2, I already showed in the other thread that it was a lunar eclipse, not a solar eclipse that took place on the day Jesus died.

Nomad showed nothing of the kind. He alluded to an article written by Christian apologists, not scientists.
LOL! Go to the site again. The article is written by scientists, and the FACT of the lunar eclipse is not in dispute. If you keep arguing from groundless assertions this will be a very short discussion. Here's what you can do: offer a scientific proof that the lunar eclipse could not have taken place on the date in question. For my part I will trust the article writer to not be a liar until he is proven otherwise.

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They began with a preconceived notion and made as many assumptions as was necessary to arrive at a foregone conclusion.
You are getting boring penatis.

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Besides, as Pompous Bastard pointed out, the anonymous writer said darkness occurred during daylight hours, not at night.
Of course it occurred in daylight. So did the crucifixion, and that is what we are talking about here.

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Since I am taking a rational, logical approach to history, I question why only “Matthew” mentioned an earthquake and a resurrection.
Translation: All you have is silence to support your claim. No evidence at all. Try again please.

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It is easier for a sensible person to believe that “Matthew” embellished “Mark” for theological reasons than to think there actually was an earthquake and a resurrection and only he, “Matthew“, felt the need to mention them. This is especially true considering the fact that earthquakes and resurrections were apocalyptic signs of the end of times.
See above on groundless assertions. You believe Matthew was lying (or embellishing) so he must have been. No evidence again.

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penatis: It is inconceivable that he would have not reported them, if they had actually happened.

And you KNOW this because...?

I know this because I understand common sense, rational thought, human nature, and logic.
Umm... still looking for supporting evidence. So far we have zero from you. (Note: supposition is not evidence).

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penatis: “Matthew” simply added an earthquake and resurrection of saints, complete with additional witnesses, to the more original work.

And pentatis offers ZERO evidence to support this claim outside of arguments from silence. Please do better than this.

I offer as evidence the almost identical passages Matthew 27:45-57 and Mark 15:33-41.
This is not evidence penatis. Mark doesn't say there was an earthquake and Matthew does. All you have is an argument from silence, and if this is the best you can do, just say so.

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If the reader will compare these two short passages, he/she will see what has been obvious to scholars for over a century. “Matthew” copied “Mark” and slightly embellished the more original work, not to record history as it happened, but to give his own theological interpretation of the event.
Look, first you say that Matthew copied verbatum, then you say that he embellished Mark. Make up your mind please. And no more appeals to authority of "scholars" again please. It is even more tiresome than your arguments from silence.

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Nomad said the witnesses to the resurrection were named; they WERE NOT. Furthermore, no one knows of them besides “Matthew.”
And another thing, don't misrepresent what I actually said.

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penatis: Furthermore, those persons who are NAMED in 27:56 are not the same as those mentioned with the centurion, for the writer states, "Many women were ALSO there," and they were "looking on from a distance."

So?

You said the witnesses to the resurrection of saints were named. They WERE NOT.
See above. My guess is you are new at this, so I will assume that you simply did not understand what I said the first time through.

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penatis: No one knows what they saw. (Another anonymous writer,"John", contradicts "Matthew" and "Mark," so what should the reader believe?)

Please penatis. I am too busy to be dealing with these kinds of silly claims without supports. Do better.

Apparently, Nomad, you are too busy to deal with legitimate questions as they relate to biblical contradictions.
You are not asking questions, you are making assertions and mindlessly parrotting stuff you must have read on the internet somewhere.

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Have you actually taken a look at the contradictions?
Since there are none in the Passion Narrative you appear to be talking about, I am asking you to actually SHOW me a contradiction in them, not tell me that they are there because you and some unnamed scholars think that they are there.

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Umm... why should they witness a resurrection? What if they simply meet the individuals later? And who said the women at the cross were the only witnesses? I do think you mentioned that there were others.

Nomad stated that the named women witnessed the resurrection of the saints. This is not stated in the NT.
And it was not stated in my original post. Like many things, you have simply read into it more than I had said.

Don't do this again please.

Nomad

 
Old 01-01-2001, 08:19 PM   #14
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Guess what. I don't give a rat's ass what you believe.


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Umm... try again. We have witness testimony, which is classified as E.V.I.D.E.N.C.E.
Nomad, do you understand the difference between eyewitness testimony and H.E.A.R.S.A.Y.? Big clue: one is evidence, the other is not.

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This is not evidence penatis. Mark doesn't say there was an earthquake and Matthew does. All you have is an argument from silence, and if this is the best you can do, just say so.
The argument from silence is very persuasive here. And the argument from silence is not per se fallacious.
 
Old 01-01-2001, 08:53 PM   #15
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Originally posted by penatis:

penatis: Were all the saints buried close to where criminals were executed? Where did they go after they were seen in Jerusalem?

Who knows? Matthew never tells us. Maybe they went bowling.

(I am beginning to understand why no one takes Nomad seriously. Apparently, he does not take himself or his ideas seriously.) I believe the reason “Matthew” never mentions where the saints went is because he was unconcerned with logic.
Listen rookie, I am trying to remain patient with you, but if all you are going to tell me is what you believe and not bother to offer any supporting evidence, then our conversation will be very short indeed.

(BTW, don't worry yourself over what others think of me hear, since it is not your concern, but mine.)

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The reality is, there were no resurrected saints. He merely embellished “Mark” for theological reasons.
To establish a reality, you need to back it up rookie. Go for it.

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penatis: If it was physically possible for corpses to come back to life back then, why don’t they come back to life, at least on occasion, now?

Ummm... huh? Is this an argument of some sort?

It is a serious question asked of someone who pretends to believe in the impossible. Please notice that Nomad gives no answer.
You did not ask a question rookie. You made a statement using a rhetorical question as a device. You have given us no reason to wonder why a singular historical event (the death of God on the cross followed by the resurrection of some of His followers) should be repeated today. So save your close minded prejudices and make serious arguments please.

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penatis: There are other problematic facts that relate to the above passage. Not only is the writer anonymous, but the passage itself is not attested to in any extant MS until the fourth century.

So?

A rational, thinking person would question the reliability of an anonymous writer, especially one whose work dates from hundreds of years after the events he writes about.
Time to prove how you know the author wasn't known. You have said "anonymous writer" enough times to make me want to puke, and thus far have told us nothing about why this is important, or why you believe he is anonymous.

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(Obviously, it is not a concern for someone who has blind faith.)
LOL! Check. Do your homework rookie, then get back to me.

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penatis: This is all the more amazing when we consider that literally hundreds of non-Christian MSS can be dated to the first and second century.

Check again penatis. There are virtually no surviving original ancient texts from the first century that are not Christian (the Dead Sea Scrolls being a very notable exception).

Nomad is incorrect (again!). According to Peter Van Minnen, “We have hundreds of papyrus manuscripts of Greek pagan literary texts from this period [100 to 300 CE] and again hundreds of carefully written papyrus documents that show the same types of handwriting.” (See Dating the Oldest New Testament Manuscripts online.) I decided to confirm, for myself, Van Minnen’s statement. My research was fruitful; I found that there are literally thousands of Greek non-Christian texts that date from 300 BCE to 500CE. I personally read (or read from) scores of translated Greek texts from the first century of our era. Many have the day, month, and year of composition.
First question, do you know how these documents are actually dated? Second question, do you know how many NT papyrus fragments we actually have, and how close they are in dating to the originals? Third question, do you understand the science of papyrology?

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For example, I read a fairly lengthy contract that can be dated precisely to April 4, 33 CE. If a reader is interested, just go to www.lib.umich.edu/pap/ or www.hum.ku.dk/cni/papcoll/.
Umm... you know that at the sites you have listed, many of the papyri they have in stock are from the Bible right?

From The NET Bible:

No ancient literature has survived in its original form; everything we have is derived from copies of the originals. The NT is no exception. However, in comparison with any other ancient literature, the NT is without a peer—both in terms of the chronological proximity and the surviving number. Several ancient authorities are preserved in only a handful of manuscripts. Not so with the NT. There are approximately 5,500 Greek witnesses, ranging in date from the second century AD into the middle ages. Besides the Greek evidence, there are nearly 30,000 versional copies (e.g., Latin, Coptic, and Syriac), and over 1,000,000 quotations from the NT in the church Fathers. NT textual criticism has always had an embarrassment of riches unparalleled in any other field.

No other work of antiquity has so much hard copy papyrus evidence standing behind it. None is even close.

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In fact, most sceptics spend their time telling me that this is because Christians destroyed it all in some kind of grand scroll burning conspiracy. On the other hand, maybe papyrus just doesn't hold up very well unless extraordinary measures are taken to preserve them, and the ancients preferred to copy things rather than keep the originals. That does seem to be the more reasonable and simpler explanation don't you think?

There is evidence that early Christians destroyed numerous MSS, but they did not destroy the thousands that are extant in the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection or the Carlsberg Papyrus Collection.
Present your evidence rookie. I am tired of your assertions without support.

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penatis: (Ironically, without the non-Christian writings, it would be virtually impossible to determine when the Christian writings were produced. For, the non-Christian MSS are sometimes dated, the Christian ones are not.

Just out of curiosity, where do you get these curious beliefs? The reason we know the dates on the Christian documents is the same way we know the dates on most ancient documents. The copiest tells us.

Again, I quote Peter Van Minnen: “We have hundreds of papyrus manuscripts of Greek pagan literary texts from this period [100 to 300 CE] and again hundreds of carefully written papyrus documents that show the same types of handwriting. These documents are very important for paleographers because they are often exactly dated. As a rule New Testament manuscripts written on papyrus are not.”
And he tells you exactly how these are dated again? I am trying to make my point as clearly as I can here penatis. Tell me what you know about dating methodology in papyrology, then we can look at how the evidence for ancient non-Canonical texts compares to what we know about Canonical dating. I assure you, NT and OT texts are among the best and most accurate available to us today.

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penatis: Experts compare the style of writing from dated MSS to those which are not dated and determine, approximately, when the undated MSS were produced.)

Not always. Please offer some sources for your beliefs. Very often the copyist made sure to include the date of the text he was copying, and thus we can see how old it was. Carbon dating comes into play sometimes as well.

See Dating the Oldest New Testament Manuscripts by Peter Van Minnen.
And? Is this the only expert you know of? How about Carsten Thiede, Colin Roberts, Herbert Hunger, Jose O'Callaghan?). I'm sure that you are aware that accurate dating methodology is revolutionizing what we know about NT papyri dates. Here's a question for you, what century do your sources say that the codex first came into use? This will give you a very good insight into how current your sources really are (hint, it's the First Century).

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penatis: If the ancient Egyptians (among others) could preserve their original religious literature for several thousands of years (see the Pyramid Texts),

[b]You mean the stuff written on stone?

According to R. O. Faulkner, “The Pyramid Texts of Ancient Egypt were carved on the walls of the pyramids of King Wenis of the end of the Fifth Dynasty [circa 2500 BCE] and of the rulers of the Sixth Dynasty, and constitute the oldest corpus of Egyptian religious and funerary literature now extant.” (See The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, PREFACE)
So, the answer is yes, you are talking about writing on stone as opposed to papyrus. And just so you know, I am not surprised that the original copies of the writings on stone had lasted longer than writing on the earliest form of paper.

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penatis: why couldn't the early Christians preserve just one original of any work from the NT?

You mean the stuff written on papyrus? Maybe you have a suggestion on how they could have done this? Or even why they should have done this.

1. There are no originals of any book contained in the NT; consequently, there is no way of ever knowing precisely what the anonymous autographs (presuming there were books similar to the ones extant) actually said.
Do you want to get into a discussion on authorship or not? Simply asserting that the NT is anonymous is really quite stupidly dense you know.

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2. The early Christian writers could have carved their religious works on stone or engraved them on metal. These methods were sometimes used by ancient writers.
Hmm... so since they wrote on papyrus instead, you think that they were conspiring to deny us of originals? Tell me exactly WHY they should have written on metal or stone instead of papyrus.

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3. There are millions of people who would be interested in knowing what the earliest Christians originally wrote.
So would I. And you have done nothing to establish that we don't have an extremely good idea of what they wrote and thought. I still don't see which direction you want to take this discussion penatis, and until you decide we are going to be flaying around a lot.

If, for example, you want to argue that there are significant changes to the NT documents from original to what we have now, you no doubt have evidence of this. So skip the spelling and translational mistakes and give us something concrete to look at.

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penatis: The fact is, every surviving MS is a copy of a copy, etc. All scholars admit that no two copies of any work are identical.

So?

No one knows what the original writers wrote. Nomad fails to understand the significance of this fact.
No, you have failed to make your case (whatever it may be) rookie. Your ignorance is really rather telling, and yes, I have little patience to listen to much more. Here, for example, I am force to wait yet again for you to tell me what big changes you KNOW have been made to the NT manuscripts. Silence doesn't cut it. Do some homework and show us what you can come up with.

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(Again, if someone, like Nomad, relies on blind faith, history and textual evidence are not important.)
Penatis:

You have been rude, arrogant, assertive, and almost totally lacking in substantiating evidence for your claims on both the original thread, and now this one. No doubt you don't like my dismissiveness, but quite frankly, I still do not know what your major beef really is here. Is it authorship, translational integrity, age of documents, conspiracy theories, the Resurrection accounts, or what?

You strike me as a very confused individual more interested in advancing your agenda than a discussion, and as you can see, I have little patience for such foolishness. Get to your point, and tell me what you want to prove, or ask me some serious questions. Let's tighten things up here, shall we?

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited January 01, 2001).]
 
Old 01-01-2001, 08:57 PM   #16
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Originally posted by SingleDad:

Nomad: Umm... try again. We have witness testimony, which is classified as E.V.I.D.E.N.C.E.

Nomad, do you understand the difference between eyewitness testimony and H.E.A.R.S.A.Y.? Big clue: one is evidence, the other is not.
SingleDad

The Gospels ARE eyewitness accounts, as are the epistles. That is the point. And I am glad that you find it convincing, thank you.

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Nomad: This is not evidence penatis. Mark doesn't say there was an earthquake and Matthew does. All you have is an argument from silence, and if this is the best you can do, just say so.
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The argument from silence is very persuasive here. And the argument from silence is not per se fallacious.
Tell me why you think it is persuasive. In other words, how much evidence is enough? If all four Gospels agree on a point, is it reliable? Or three of them? How about two?

On the other hand, if you refuse to believe them when all four agree, then what else would you like to see?

Nomad
 
Old 01-01-2001, 09:33 PM   #17
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Were the gospels actually written by those who actually witnessed the events with their own eyes? More importantly, the burden of proof is upon you to establish they are not hearsay.

The fact that some gospels omit evidence that should clearly appear (why would Mark omit an earthquake) cast doubt on the factual credibility of them all. I'm no biblical scholar but if I'm going to validate purported eyewitness testimony, I'm going to look for collusion and fabulation.

I will detect collusion by noting accounts from various eyewitnesses that agree in too much detail. If two people tell me exactly the same story, I can deduce that they colluded and they are telling me a shared fabrication rather than their separate testimony.

I will detect fabulation by the differential presence of highly important general aspects. So, if one witness to a car crash insists that there's an airplane involved, and the another doesn't even mention it, I'm going to consider one of them lying, and neither corroborating the other.

I'm not a biblical scholar, so I'm not going to make factual claims about the bible itself. That being said, I can say, if two gospels show almost exactly the same wording, then I would consider that evidence of collusion or borrowing. If one gospel mentions a significant event, such as an earthquake, eclipse or a shitload of corpses walking around, and another mentions nothing about such events, I would find that evidence of fabulation.

I'm not trying (at first) to sift the truth out of a limited number of sources, I'm trying to determine the overall confidence I can have. And from the arguments I've seen, I wouldn't accept the gospels as testimony.
 
Old 01-01-2001, 10:42 PM   #18
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Originally posted by SingleDad:

Were the gospels actually written by those who actually witnessed the events with their own eyes? More importantly, the burden of proof is upon you to establish they are not hearsay.
The argument on the question is quite involved, but the evidence that they were written by witnesses that were there is pretty good (with the exception of Luke, who tells us right at the start that he is reporting witness testimony as opposed to being one of the witnesses himself).

Mark, for example, can be dated to the early to mid 60's, as can Matthew. This means that John Mark, and Levi/Matthew, both disciples of Jesus were very likely to be the authors, and that other witnesses were still very much alive and offering their first hand accounts to the writers.

And as for Luke's reliability, given that he was not a personal witness to the events, again he assures us that he does use witnesses. Clearly we can choose not to believe him, but I would think anyone that was going to question the integrity and honesty of the man would offer some clear evidence that he was a liar rather than simply dismissing him out of hand (again, keeping in mind that his Gospel was written when the witnesses could have been questioned independently, especially by someone with the social stature and power of Theophilus (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1), the sponsor of the GLuke and Acts.

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The fact that some gospels omit evidence that should clearly appear (why would Mark omit an earthquake) cast doubt on the factual credibility of them all. I'm no biblical scholar but if I'm going to validate purported eyewitness testimony, I'm going to look for collusion and fabulation.
Which brings me back to my questions from my final post. The empty tomb is attested to by all four Gospel writers. Is this example sufficient evidence for you to believe it is probably true or not?

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I will detect collusion by noting accounts from various eyewitnesses that agree in too much detail. If two people tell me exactly the same story, I can deduce that they colluded and they are telling me a shared fabrication rather than their separate testimony.
Fair enough. Since most people tend to focus on the minor variations between the Gospels in the Passion Narrative, you won't have to worry too much about collusion.

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I'm not a biblical scholar, so I'm not going to make factual claims about the bible itself. That being said, I can say, if two gospels show almost exactly the same wording, then I would consider that evidence of collusion or borrowing.
Again, it is generally accepted that Matthew borrowed from Mark. This does not mean that one copied the other however, especially if both are relying upon similar first hand witness accounts. Considering the variations and differences between even the Synoptics, I think it is prudent to treat them as reliable documents.

To quote the leading classical philologist (the study of ancient Latin and Greek) Wolfgang Schadewaldt: "As to the substance of the anrratives and sayings, I would say that if, as often in philology, we make a comparison in terms of good tradition, bad tradition, and very good tradition, on this scale of values we would say that the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) are very good tradition." (As quoted in Eyewitness to Jesus, by Matthew D'Ancona and Carsten Peter Thiede, pg. 9. Robin Lane Fox, a well respected atheist and historian drew a similar conclusion with regards to the historicity of the empty tomb (albeit, not of the mass resurrection, nor Jesus actual resurrection which he leaves as an unexplainable puzzle) in his book The Unauthorized Version

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If one gospel mentions a significant event, such as an earthquake, eclipse or a shitload of corpses walking around, and another mentions nothing about such events, I would find that evidence of fabulation.
And I am not necessarily saying that Matthew is not embellishing history, but at the same time, the simplicity of the passage (meaning that it is simply presented as something that happened, but without great ellaboration), and the complete lack of contrary evidence does lend it some credence. When the ancients tended to make up mythology, they always did so with a great deal of detail. Matthew does not do that, and for an historian of antiquities, this is extremely unusual, and serves to support the idea that the author, at least, believes the event to be true.

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I'm not trying (at first) to sift the truth out of a limited number of sources, I'm trying to determine the overall confidence I can have. And from the arguments I've seen, I wouldn't accept the gospels as testimony.
Whatever. If you did, you would be a Christian. What I am arguing against here is the almost knee jerk rejection of the Gospels simply because they make miraculous claims. This is not a sound reason to reject the documents out of hand, unless you want to reject every piece of literature from ancient history, and that would be pretty simple minded in my view.

Nomad
 
Old 01-02-2001, 10:24 AM   #19
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Nomad,
I have followed this thread with interest and admire your audacity and outrageous style. At first I thought my cognitive faculties were failing me, but now realise my error. Would I be right in thinking that when you use the terms 'Fact' and 'Evidence' you are in fact talking in tongues?
 
Old 01-02-2001, 11:09 AM   #20
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Remember I'm not an expert historian, but I understand the rules of evidence. Hearsay is not wrong by definition, but it's much weaker than direct testimony.

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Mark, for example, can be dated to the early to mid 60's, as can Matthew. This means that John Mark, and Levi/Matthew, both disciples of Jesus were very likely to be the authors, and that other witnesses were still very much alive and offering their first hand accounts to the writers.
This makes it possible that they were witnesses and the authors. As far as other witnesses, that's hearsay and not a primary source. AFAIK, Mark doesn't even describe a proper ressurection, much less earthquakes or eclipses.

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And as for Luke's reliability, given that he was not a personal witness to the events, again he assures us that he does use witnesses.
Luke is therefore hearsay and thus a secondary source.

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... but I would think anyone that was going to question the integrity and honesty of the man would offer some clear evidence that he was a liar rather than simply dismissing him out of hand...
Just don't start with the fallacy of a false dichotomy. We don't know that "Luke" wasn't (for example) merely a writer of fiction.

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The empty tomb is attested to by all four Gospel writers. Is this example sufficient evidence for you to believe it is probably true or not?
No. I might be reading four works of fiction. There might be a single primary work ("Mark") and then the others were derived from it with additional embellishments. There are a lot of possibilities here, not just it's absolutely true or they were despicable liars.

Besides, an empty tomb does not a resurrection make.

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Fair enough. Since most people tend to focus on the minor variations between the Gospels in the Passion Narrative, you won't have to worry too much about collusion.
I'm assuming we're not discussing inerrancy, which I think is a ludicrous concept even for an actual christian to hold. And yes, minor details like that are good (of course, a very clever author can fake that too, but I'll give you that one).

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Considering the variations and differences between even the Synoptics, I think it is prudent to treat them as reliable documents.
I disagree. Given their explicit non-historical purpose, I think it's prudent to treat them as propagandistic fiction unless confirmed by neutral sources.

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the simplicity of the passage ... and the complete lack of contrary evidence does lend it some credence.
Some. Not much, though. Remember good fiction will have the same characteristics.

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. What I am arguing against here is the almost knee jerk rejection of the Gospels simply because they make miraculous claims.
It is unfair to characterize a disagreement with a knee jerk reaction. I have seen quite a lot of scholarly work on the historical analysis of the bible, and I have come to a layman's conclusion based on that study. Certainly extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I see tremendous problems with the gospels even as ordinary evidence, much less extraordinary.

 
 

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