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Old 05-15-2001, 10:22 PM   #31
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:
[b]NOMAD: For what it is worth, Earl was free to use his opening arguments to help account for the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus, as well as explain the foundation of the Christian movement sans a real Jesus. Since he didn't, I believe the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that he could not account for these things.

EARL/PHILIP: Except that Doherty does account for the crucifixion story and the rise of Christianity both in his book and on his website. See Doherty's arguments about the mystery cults, the dying and rising godmen, and the platonic multi-level model of the universe. </font>
MEta =&gt; he accounts for it with a lot of hogwash and distorted facts. He basically takes a fourth century notion of neoplatonism and reads it back into the first century with no proof whatsoever that it existed in those terms. Than he reads Paul into it based upon the similarities between vocabulary form only one Pauline epistle essentially, blithely ignoring the obvioius possibility that the Gostics barrowed their vocab from Paul because he was a the "Apostle to the Gentiles" and never indicating any reason to ignore Paul's Jewish background. but all of that is cast into even more doubt if Jesus was an historical figure.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
See also Doherty's arguments about the Q community and the patch work of groups combined in Mark, which explains the popularity of early Christianity (the religion was a combination of several other groups which already had followers). </font>
Meta =&gt;Of course it was! People had to be doing something before Jesus came along, that doesn't prove anything!


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
You were supposed to be aware of Doherty's arguments, and to attack them. Doherty was then supposed to defend the arguments he's already made and summarized in his opening and second last post. But how can he defend them if you never attack them? </font>
Meta =&gt; Why isn't it attcking them to prove that they are wrong at the core?


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Using the embarrassment criterion to show that Jesus was very probably baptized by John is hardly strong evidence for Jesus' existence. Jesus' baptism by John would not necessarily have been embarrassing to Mark's readers. The event could have been seen as a passing of the torch from John to Jesus. After all, Mark does call John the prophesied messenger sent out ahead of the Lord. That's a pretty important role for John, according to the early Christians, so there wouldn't necessarily have been anything embarrassing about Jesus being baptized by John. One important figure baptizes another important figure. Although Jesus would have been regarded as more important than John, Jesus is portrayed in Mark as a humble servant of the Lord, not a know-it-all king of the universe as in the gospel of John. </font>
MEta =&gt; That's just ignoring the argument. If Jesus was really baptized by John than he was a real guy, and if he was a real Guy than Dhorty's thoery is wrong. I think you guys didn't make the peramiters of debate celar enough to bein with. You didn't have a clear resolution or a clear understanding of what the debate would be about. We can hardly balme Nomand than for going after the central point.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Furthermore, Jesus' special connection to God isn't indicated prior to the baptism but only just after, so Mark's readers would have been free to think that prior to the baptism Jesus was just an ordinary fellow. Notice also that it's not John who confers divinity upon Jesus, but the Father who does so. John's baptism was just the setting for the Father's compliment to Jesus, and the sending of the dove, or Holy Spirit.</font>
MEta =&gt;Wouldn't the "speicial status" be assumed anyway? I mean by the fact that the commuity was worshiping him in the first place?

Yea whatever, run away Dhortey. The debate was fixed the judges were wrong the time limit wasn't right the sun was in my eyes, wahtever.
 
Old 05-15-2001, 11:17 PM   #32
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I must admit, this thread has been very educational. Allow me to make a couple of points please:

1) This debate has been between Earl and I, and the last time I checked, that means that each of us can use whichever arguments we like best. We also decide our own strategy. The key, of course, will be to engage one another.

2) I cannot believe how impatient many of the members are here. Anyone that has been to Doherty's site must know how much material we are talking about, and if I have not managed to decimate the whole lot in three posts, it appears that some of you think I am just not doing my job. Allow me to offer a metaphor: You don't have to vaporize a ship to sink it. If you can blow a big enough hole in it that it takes on more water than it can handle, the whole damn thing goes to the bottom.

So, have I addressed every point offered by Earl as of tonight? No. Then have I ignored all of his work? Again, no. I have looked for the weakest points in his arguments, and cut to the chase as they say. Can Earl and I spend weeks running around and around talking about this or that point? Sure. But I do not plan to make a career out of debunking the Jesus Puzzle. From where I sit, I want this stuff put to bed, and the sooner the better. I am sure most will admit that we can be thorough without having to debate every nuance to the nth degree. On the other hand, if that does not please everyone here, c'est la vie as they say in the movies.

I have made no secret of my strategy in the debate. From my opening post I said that I was going to not only debunk Earl's arguments, but establish the case for an historical Jesus. I am now doing exactly that. In the course of building my own case, I am bringing the relevant arguments as offered by Earl on his web site, and showing why they just don't work (see, for example, my arguments countering his rationalizations on 1 Timothy 6:13). If Earl thinks that I have done a poor job of refuting him, then he bears a responsibility to show my failings.

That is how debate takes place, and where I come from, no one walks into a debate agreeing in advance to argue only those points, issues and arguments as dictated by one side or the other. If I see a point that Earl has failed to address, and that point is central to the discussion, then I am going to bring it up, and expect a response.

Now, have I offered all of my arguments? No. I would have thought my posts were plenty long enough as it is. Will we get to all of them (as well as those key points Earl wants to raise)? I certainly hope so, but that will depend on Earl. I have not placed any demands on him (or myself for that matter) for time limits. He has a book to sell, and a life outside of discussion boards. But if he cannot defend the central tenants of his own thesis, then I expect we will get to pack our bags and go home much earlier than many here may have believed before this all began. After all, one of the keys to good thinking is clarity. If an argument cannot hold together after even one brief assault, then it is likely that this argument was hardly worth defending in the first place.

What I am saying here, is that there is a reason we do not kill flies with sledgehammers, but if that fly turns out, in reality, to be an 800 pound gorilla instead, then the force that will be needed to put it down will be much greater. Besides, as Earl has said himself, my challenges to his theories cannot be considered a surprise by him. He has been defending his views for a long time, and the basic arguments for the historicity of Jesus are pretty well known, and I certainly haven't invented any new ones. Perhaps after he has had a time to relax for a bit, and gather his thoughts, then we can begin anew. I sincerely hope that we can.

Towards that goal, I have written to Ethan and to Earl. Hopefully we can come to some kind of agreement to resume the debate. At that point we can see how strong the case for the Jesus Puzzle really is. And if Earl does not choose to return, then I am more than happy to engage someone else who would like to defend this position, or Jesus as myth in general.

Thanks to all of you for your interest.

Brian (Nomad)
 
Old 05-15-2001, 11:30 PM   #33
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The problem I see with Nomad (Brian Trafford) is that he did a lot of peripheral attacks rather than examine Earl Doherty's central claims, and ED may understandably have reached the limits of his patience.

I do find it puzzling that he has had so much trouble with these forums; I don't see why he is having such difficulty, especially as he has been so successful in constructing a case for the proposition that Jesus Christ is a myth. However, I may simply be very Internet-savvy, and that may make this forum seem very easy for me.
 
Old 05-16-2001, 12:12 AM   #34
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">LAYMAN: The question we all thought was being addressed in this debate was whether or not Jesus really existed.

EARL/PHILIP: No, Layman. That was not the subject of the debate. The debate was supposed to be about MYTHICISM, and in particular Doherty's arguments. Nomad was supposed to refute Doherty's case for Jesus' ahistoricity.</font>
SWL: Call me crazy, but I don't think people who reason this poorly (B.A. in philosophy or not) are qualified to make judgements about anything. Its sophistry like this that is just too time-consuming to refute, and too misleading to ignore (hence my relative absence from these boards as of lately).

SecWebLurker
 
Old 05-16-2001, 01:46 AM   #35
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My 2 cents:

I think Nomad is fully entitled to bring in any argument he wants to support his position - regardless of whether these arguments are at the core of ED's thesis or not. Those who claim otherwise are being disingenious.

As a matter of courtesy to our invited guest, however, it would be desirable if he also could spend some more effort on addressing Earls points. This is after all to a large extent what the audience came to see.

Finally, I would hope that Earl D could respond to Nomad's three points, because I myself am not yet convinced that those points establish the historicity of Jesus beyond reasonable doubt.
The first two are based on the Gospels (plus some support from the problematic Josephus passage), and may or may not be convincing, depending on how one regards the overall historicity/fictionality of the gospels. His third point has been debated to death here, and I am still not convinced that there needs to be a historical figure behind every religion known to mankind, including Christianity.

I hope the debate can be revived by a bit of give-and-take from both sides.

fG
 
Old 05-16-2001, 06:36 AM   #36
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by faded_Glory:
My 2 cents:

I think Nomad is fully entitled to bring in any argument he wants to support his position - regardless of whether these arguments are at the core of ED's thesis or not. Those who claim otherwise are being disingenious.

As a matter of courtesy to our invited guest, however, it would be desirable if he also could spend some more effort on addressing Earls points. This is after all to a large extent what the audience came to see.

Finally, I would hope that Earl D could respond to Nomad's three points, because I myself am not yet convinced that those points establish the historicity of Jesus beyond reasonable doubt.
The first two are based on the Gospels (plus some support from the problematic Josephus passage), and may or may not be convincing, depending on how one regards the overall historicity/fictionality of the gospels. His third point has been debated to death here, and I am still not convinced that there needs to be a historical figure behind every religion known to mankind, including Christianity.

I hope the debate can be revived by a bit of give-and-take from both sides.

fG
</font>
Yes, I agree.

As Brian said, you don't have to blow a ship to smithereens to sink it. And both Brian and EarlD, in my view have already sunk the other's ship, and as a result have decided to jump into their respective lifeboats.

EarlD's lifeboat is to claim foul because Brian has tactfully set aside the traditional Biblical Christian picture of Jesus. Brian's lifeboat is agreeably a bit larger, but he has still jumped ship by abandoning his beliefs (in "God"?) for purposes of debate. I'm not sure either position is honest.

(Brian, I hope I've not misstated your religious position.)

I look forward to further debate.
 
Old 05-16-2001, 06:42 AM   #37
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EarlD's lifeboat is to claim foul because Brian has tactfully set aside the traditional Biblical Christian picture of Jesus. Brian's lifeboat is agreeably a bit larger, but he has still jumped ship by abandoning his beliefs (in "God"?) for purposes of debate. I'm not sure either position is honest.

(Brian, I hope I've not misstated your religious position.)

I look forward to further debate.


Brian does not have to prove his own position to sink Earl D's. Earl D's position is that Jesus is a construction of myth. Brian merely has to sink that position; he does not have to prove Jesus was god, merely that there is a real person there.

Michael
 
Old 05-16-2001, 08:09 AM   #38
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
The problem I see with Nomad (Brian Trafford) is that he did a lot of peripheral attacks rather than examine Earl Doherty's central claims, and ED may understandably have reached the limits of his patience.

I do find it puzzling that he has had so much trouble with these forums; I don't see why he is having such difficulty, especially as he has been so successful in constructing a case for the proposition that Jesus Christ is a myth. However, I may simply be very Internet-savvy, and that may make this forum seem very easy for me.
</font>
You guys are amazing. How is demonstrating that Jesus was actually baptized by John, or referenced by Josephus, peripheral to Doherty's thesis? His thesis, whatever the arguments he or you may think it rests on, falls apart if Jesus actually existed.
 
Old 05-16-2001, 08:11 AM   #39
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by joedad:
Yes, I agree.

As Brian said, you don't have to blow a ship to smithereens to sink it. And both Brian and EarlD, in my view have already sunk the other's ship, and as a result have decided to jump into their respective lifeboats.

EarlD's lifeboat is to claim foul because Brian has tactfully set aside the traditional Biblical Christian picture of Jesus. Brian's lifeboat is agreeably a bit larger, but he has still jumped ship by abandoning his beliefs (in "God"?) for purposes of debate. I'm not sure either position is honest.

(Brian, I hope I've not misstated your religious position.)

I look forward to further debate.
</font>
This is peachy. Because Nomad believes in God, he can't argue for the minimal position that Jesus existed without being dishonest?
If Brian says, "okay, even if all that is true, you still lose because ____," he is not being dishonest he is engaging in a good debate.
 
Old 05-16-2001, 08:31 AM   #40
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
The problem I see with Nomad (Brian Trafford) is that he did a lot of peripheral attacks rather than examine Earl Doherty's central claims, and ED may understandably have reached the limits of his patience.

I do find it puzzling that he has had so much trouble with these forums; I don't see why he is having such difficulty, especially as he has been so successful in constructing a case for the proposition that Jesus Christ is a myth. However, I may simply be very Internet-savvy, and that may make this forum seem very easy for me.
</font>
If I may point something out here, this is the problem as I see it.

First off, I agree with Layman and Nomad (did I really say that?). If they can prove that
Jesus DID exist, then the debate is over. THis as I've pointed out before, is the only thing you can prove. You can't prove a negative. You can't prove that somebody didn't exist.

HOWEVER - Layman (and perhaps Nomad - I'm
having trouble keeping up with all the rhetoric) are declaring themsevles winners
based on these three things that they say
proves Jesus existance

1. Johns Baptism of Jesus
2. Josephus' reference
3. same as above.

The PROBLEM with this is that #1 is in a
gospel story, so you can't use that as evidence that he existed, regardless of the
embarrassment argument (which is crap anyway).
As for 2 and 3, the references are believed
by scholars to be Christian interpolations, and
Doherty includes this in his theory.

So it's like this:

Doherty: Jesus was a myth...yada &lt;evidence&gt;
yada yada...Josephus references are invalid..
yada yada yada

Layman: But Josephus referenced him, so he
must real. Whooppeee! We win!

Am I the only one who sees how illogical this
is? Or did I really miss something?

 
 

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