FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-18-2001, 12:51 AM   #1
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Wink gospels according to "eyewitnesses"

Manuel asserts that the GOSPELS are eyewitness accounts of Jesus the Resurrected Jewish Messiah (JRJM):

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Each eyewitness to JRJM (persons who saw him alive after resurrection and gave their Testimony) were arrested and tortured during the decades following the incident and none of them ever recanted under extreme duress of their Testimony. They had remained visible public figures in their communities for all those years, and some, like John, even went to write several books on their first hand experience with JRJM and died of old age. Interestingly, John's book on JRJM, which was written decades after the three previous books on JRJM made by the other eyewitnesses, has surviving fragments from 30 years after he published it. No other books in history have so many existing ancient copies, partial or complete, yet no other books are so much slandered, grilled or excoriated than them.
__________________
Manuel Alonso desde el jurutungo de Bairoa
</font>


OK, scholars, a bible 101 question:

I recall no discussion of the gospels as being eyewitness accounts, that is to say, written by the ORIGINAL DISCIPLES of Christ. To the contrary, what I have read and heard on the matter has led me to believe that the gospels are sourced in oral tradition - HERESAY, NOT TESTIMONY. What's the real deal here?

[This message has been edited by soulofdarwin (edited March 18, 2001).]
 
Old 03-18-2001, 02:58 AM   #2
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by soulofdarwin:
I recall no discussion of the gospels as being eyewitness accounts, that is to say, written by the ORIGINAL DISCIPLES of Christ. To the contrary, what I have read and heard on the matter has led me to believe that the gospels are sourced in oral tradition - HERESAY, NOT TESTIMONY. What's the real deal here?</font>
It's the traditional Christian position (Going right back to Papias who lived early 2nd century AD) that the GoMatthew (Gospel of) was written by Matthew the disciple. The GoMark by Mark a friend of Peter. The GoLuke by Luke a friend of Paul, and the GoJohn by John the disciple.
Most non-Christians aren't prepared to accept the idea that the Gospels record eyewitness accounts, or they insist on later heavy editing.

There's certainly nothing against them being eyewitness accounts (apart from not wanting them to be). The account of Jesus writing on the ground (See John 8:6-8) serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. It is purely and simply descriptive. Either the author is making up a completely and utterly purposeless detail or he is recording an eyewitness account of what happened, and includes it simply because he saw it. Thus this particular bit of John looks to me like an eyewitness account... of course that doesn't necessarily mean the rest is.

[This message has been edited by Tercel (edited March 18, 2001).]
 
Old 03-18-2001, 05:26 AM   #3
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

John was completed before the Saul of Tarsus
showed up (37 CE) and Jesus dictated most of
what was written. Everybody says John was written last because another writer also called John (for this very reason) made a few additions after the other three gospels were completed. Oh, Jesus was quite human and survived the crucifixion. That is why St. Paul was able to become an apostle and, also, St. Paul was able to claim Jesus talked to him. The only way the myth could survive is to make Jesus a puka (Harvey the rabbit).

thanks, offa
 
Old 03-18-2001, 05:47 AM   #4
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
Quote:
Originally posted by soulofdarwin:
I recall no discussion of the gospels as being eyewitness accounts, that is to say, written by the ORIGINAL DISCIPLES of Christ. To the contrary, what I have read and heard on the matter has led me to believe that the gospels are sourced in oral tradition - HERESAY, NOT TESTIMONY. What's the real deal here?</font>
It's the traditional Christian position (Going right back to Papias who lived early 2nd century AD) that the GoMatthew (Gospel of) was written by Matthew the disciple. The GoMark by Mark a friend of Peter. The GoLuke by Luke a friend of Paul, and the GoJohn by John the disciple.
Most non-Christians aren't prepared to accept the idea that the Gospels record eyewitness accounts, or they insist on later heavy editing.


"Christian tradition" came over a hundred years after Jesus' death and there are good reasons for not accepting the words of the so-called church fathers.

Furthermore, it is not "non-Christians" only who question the authorship of the narratives. Christian scholar, Francis Wright Beare, writes: "All the gospels are anonymous documents, and nothing is known of the authors. The traditional names attached to them are second-hand guesses. If we continue to speak of them by the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it is simply for the sake of convenience." The Earliest Records of Jesus, P. 13.

There's certainly nothing against them being eyewitness accounts (apart from not wanting them to be).

This is simiply not true. There are problems with every narrative. THAT is the reason scholars, Christian and non-Christian, question their authorship.

The account of Jesus writing on the ground (See John 8:6-8) serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

If Jesus practiced magic, and there is a large body of evidence suggesting he did, it serves a very real purpose. Jewish magicians wrote or drew on the ground in some instances.

It is purely and simply descriptive. Either the author is making up a completely and utterly purposeless detail

It would make no sense for the writer to make up an irrelavant detail.


or he is recording an eyewitness account of what happened, and includes it simply because he saw it. Thus this particular bit of John looks to me like an eyewitness account... of course that doesn't necessarily mean the rest is.

The writer could be merely repeating things others believed and said about Jesus.

rodahi




[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited March 18, 2001).]
 
Old 03-18-2001, 05:12 PM   #5
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

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

Most non-Christians aren't prepared to accept the idea that the Gospels record eyewitness accounts, or they insist on later heavy editing.

[This message has been edited by Tercel (edited March 18, 2001).][/B]</font>
The majority of mainstream biblical scholars agree that the gospel accounts are a complex blend of historical (oral) memory and theological "faith-language."

There is a scholarly consensus that Mark is the earliest gospel to have been written. If one reads the four accounts in parallel--side-by-side--one can clearly see how both Matthew and Luke had a copy of Mark in front of them when they wrote their gospels and one can then pay attention to how they both adapted his gospel to fit their own early Christian communities.

The differences are sometimes glaring, and interestingly highlight the "spin-doctoring" each gospel brings to the words and deeds of the historical figure of Jesus.

So,Matthew and Luke are not primary gospels; they are variations of Mark.

The textual relationships between and among the gospels have been known for nearly 300 years and have been taught in seminaries and divinity schools for a century, but the pastors in the pulpit have not seen fit to disemminate such truths to the people in the pews. This may be due to a fear of "rocking the boat," but may also be the result of a vague sense that the average churchgoer has no real need of such knowledge.

 
Old 03-18-2001, 05:59 PM   #6
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Also, making up "purposeless" detail is a common fictional narrative technique, seen often in Homer.
 
Old 03-18-2001, 09:52 PM   #7
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
"Christian tradition" came over a hundred years after Jesus' death and there are good reasons for not accepting the words of the so-called church fathers.</font>
The obvious answer is that within the hundred years there was no need for a 'tradition'. There would have been then people alive who either had firsthand or secondhand accounts of what happened, Especially the Church leaders. One hundred years is the expected length of time for something to become a tradition rather than a memory. By then all those who saw the event are dead, and few are alive who talked to those who saw the event. The event is now history or a tradition rather than memory.
Why ignore the writings of the Church Fathers??? They were in a position to be knowledgable about there subject and I see no reason for them to lie. They would have access to hundreds of times the number of records and documents which have survived to us. What actual evidence is there that they were not capable of writing the truth?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Furthermore, it is not "non-Christians" only who question the authorship of the narratives.</font>
Of course. I simply gave the tradition Christian position and the Athiest position.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If Jesus practiced magic, and there is a large body of evidence suggesting he did, it serves a very real purpose. Jewish magicians wrote or drew on the ground in some instances.</font>
Jesus did magic? Is that like miracles but without God? Or is it like modern magic without any actual miracle?
Even given that Jesus might have been a magician who drew on the ground:
1) Why is he doing it in a passage where no miracle takes place?
2) Why doesn't he do it when miracles do take place?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It is purely and simply descriptive. Either the author is making up a completely and utterly purposeless detail
It would make no sense for the writer to make up an irrelavant detail.
</font>
Duh, that was my point!

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">or he is recording an eyewitness account of what happened, and includes it simply because he saw it. Thus this particular bit of John looks to me like an eyewitness account... of course that doesn't necessarily mean the rest is.

The writer could be merely repeating things others believed and said about Jesus.</font>
The whole point is that in repetition through many people the details are lost. The fact that there is such an apparently irrelevant detail described suggests that the account is either eyewitness or at the most second-hand. It seems to me unlikely that such a detail would survive in a worse than second-hand account.
 
Old 03-18-2001, 11:05 PM   #8
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Check out http://infoweb.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/home.htm

Earl Doherty on the Jesus Puzzle.

He proposes that the Gospels were anything but eyewitness accounts, that they were essentially allegories with collections of sayings added in.

In fact, he concludes that there never had been a historical Jesus Christ. This solves a lot of puzzles, such as why Paul had shown no interest in JC's (supposed) earthly career. As only one example, Paul presents JC as someone who had risen from the dead -- *without* mentioning the raising-the-dead miracles in the Gospels.
 
Old 03-19-2001, 09:13 AM   #9
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
Jesus did magic? Is that like miracles but without God? Or is it like modern magic without any actual miracle?</font>
The latter, I think he meant: magic as a combination of psychology and sleight-of-hand. Magic that works because we believe it does.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The whole point is that in repetition through many people the details are lost. The fact that there is such an apparently irrelevant detail described suggests that the account is either eyewitness or at the most second-hand. It seems to me unlikely that such a detail would survive in a worse than second-hand account.</font>
Wrong, and you're guilty of an Either/Or fallacy. There are other options than a) someone made it up and b) it's so trivial it must be true. I am not the best student of Biblical Criticism--I quickly found that one has to be able to argue in Hebrew and Greek for that--but I am an astute student of folklore, myth, and oral tradition, and when one knows the nature of oral tradition, one sees a much more likely possibility for this apparently trivial detail.

You yourself said that "in repetition through many people the details are lost." This is absolutely true. So why wasn't this detail lost? One answer could be that all the detail that went with it, that made sense of it, was lost, and that this curious oral remnant is all that remained when it was written down. In the original tale, maybe Jesus was more like a Hebrew magician, and he did indeed scribe some warding symbol, or maybe a prayer, or the name of God, on the ground to protect the woman. Another possibility is that the tale originally featured someone other than Jesus, and that Jesus was simply put in as the main figure; it is a common happening in myth and legend (for example, the shift in Arthurian legend between Percival and Galahad). As the story was told and retold, with Jesus as the central figure, the sorcerous elements were lost--perhaps because the Church didn't like them, perhaps because it would have been obvious to both teller and listener what such gestures meant, and thus it didn't need repeating. By the time it was written down formally, only the strange physical action remained.

--W@L
 
Old 03-21-2001, 10:20 PM   #10
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

That the writings of Matthew, John, and Peter are eyewitness testimonies is confirmed both in the writings themselves and in the churches who received them. (cf. 1John1, 2Peter1, Irenaeus: Against Heresies, Book III) Read the old stuff!
 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:43 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.