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Old 03-14-2001, 12:14 PM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ecco:
Layman,

So now we are down to one eyewitness, John. You assert that one of his disciples “edited” the original “eyewitness” account. You provide no basis for that assertion. But, OK, for the sake of argument:
1.John was an eyewitness
2. He was well beyond his prime when he wrote it
3. It was edited by a disciple

Did the disciple have divine assistance when he did this editing? If so, how do we know this? If not, how are we to know if the editing was done correctly?

In any case, John could not have been an eyewitness to everything he wrote about (see my earlier post). Once again I must ask, was John divinely inspired? If your answer is yes, then I would ask on what you base your answer. If your answer is no, then I would ask, again: On what basis is the bible to be considered to be “The Word Of God”?

Regards,

ecco
</font>
I think you are being oversimplistic about "eye witnesses." For example, I doubt that Mark was an eyewitness of the events he wrote about. However, there is a strong, and IMO credible, early church tradition that he based his gospel on the preachings of Peter. Peter was an eyewitness. Ergo, it is reasonable to believe that the Gospel of Mark is based on eyewitness testimony.

Luke investigated the things about which he wrote. He had access to, at the very least, Peter, John, James, and whatever other eyewitnesses of Jesus' ministry remained in Jerusalem (such as other members of Jesus' family). And we can tell from Luke's careful use of Mark and Q that he stuck to his sources, rather than creating fictional material. Furthermore, Luke was an eyewitness to many of the events he wrote about in Acts.

I recently read a book about the Gulf War. The author, however, never left the country while writing it. He did not observe any of the events he wrote about. However, he did interview the generals in charge, as well as many of the soldiers.

As for your questiong about the "editing" of John's disciple. Again, I believe you are being oversimplistic. I recently read a book originally written by Matthew Tenney, a respected New Testament scholar. As he was working on a new edition, he died. Another New Testament scholar, and former student of his, then finished the work. Does that mean it is no longer Tenney's book? Even though 90% of the material was originally written by him?

You also seem uninformed about source criticism. It is because of source criticism that many scholars agree that John's gospel was "finished" by one of his disciples. The styles and points of view can be detected by vocabulary, and, perhaps less reliably, by theological focus. I recommend Ben Witherington's John's Wisdom as an able book about this issue.

As for whether the Gospel of John is "inspired," I haven't tried to prove that. I'm not sure such a thing could be proved historically. However, I believe it is generally reliable about the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Even if it isn't "inspired," if it accurately portrays Jesus' teachings and actions, then it is a very useful historical document.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:17 PM   #12
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
This obsession with whether the Gospels, which in any case are more than four in number, reflect eyewitness accounts is missing the point. The issue is the stories they tell. I can get on the net and download thousands upon thousands of eyewitness accounts of the miraculous and absurd, from Geller to Sai Baba to John Edwards. I can get eyewitness accounts from people who shot pterodactyls and who video'ed lake monsters on large US lakes. I can show strange objects removed by surgery from people who have been kidnapped by aliens. So what?

Even if M, Mt, L, or J were originally eyewitness accounts that would be meaningless as to their actual validity as far as them being accurate descriptions of events. The gospels are deliberate constructions for the promulgation of a set of beliefs, not attempts to write history with some dim idea that maybe it would good to try and find out what actually happened. Since they incorporate obvious fictions, such as miraculous events, as well as artificial structures and constructions (the 'seven signs' of John) and borrow heavily from each other, they are not useful testimony to the actuality of events.

Michael
</font>
This is just another way of saying that you don't believe in miracles, so the gospels must be fiction. As you know, I disagree with your presuppositions. And, as any other person who does not a priori reject the possibility of miracles, I find your argument completely unpersuasive. It is philosophy, not history.


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 14, 2001).]
 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:33 PM   #13
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Even the NT stories about the resurrection are second or third hand accounts at best.</font>
This is just wrong.

The only people who believe the resurrection stories to be first-hand accounts are conservative Christians and their belief is based on faith, not the text.

Any reader who takes the time to read the conflicting accounts can readily see numerous problems.

The Christian view is that Matthew and John were both eye-witnesses. Whether or not you agree with this opinion it still exists, 'at best' therefore they are first hand.

The writers of Matthew and John contradict each other. This demonstrates the error of thinking they were first-hand eyewitnesses.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What is the bible? It certainly is not a first person account. It doesn’t have corroborating evidence like a docu-drama. That only leaves fiction.</font>

I suggest you read some of the writings of C S Lewis, he answers this question well.

I have read some of C. S. Lewis' works. He didn't answer any of my questions.

rodahi

 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:41 PM   #14
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
"These hardly seem like first person eyewitness accounts. Furthermore, it is my understanding that these books were written AT LEAST seventy years after the event described. Neither Matthew nor John indicates that the other eyewitness (John, Matthew) was
there."

While I don't believe that the author of Matthew was himself an eyewitness, the scholarly consensus is that he wrote no later than 75-85 CE.

The evidence that John was an eyewitness, however, is very strong. The outside date for John is probably 95 CE.

</font>
Your last statement is rather curious. What does the "scholarly consensus" say about your claim? If you are going to use it to support your dating of Matthew, why not use it to support your claim that the writer of John was an eye-witness?

rodahi

 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:48 PM   #15
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Layman (and others),

I ask, for the third time:

On what basis is the bible to be considered to be “The Word Of God”?

I merely used the resurrection accounts by Matthew and Mark as examples to show that they could hardly BOTH have been first hand accounts.

Perhaps the problem is that you have not truly questioned the basis for your faith.

1. Your faith is based on the teachings of the bible.
2. You believe the bible to be the word of god.

However, you seem unable to define HOW you KNOW that the bible IS the "Word Of God".

 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:48 PM   #16
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
This is just another way of saying that you don't believe in miracles, so the gospels must be fiction. As you know, I disagree with your presuppositions. And, as any other person who does not a priori reject the possibility of miracles, I find your argument completely unpersuasive. It is philosophy, not history.


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 14, 2001).]
</font>
So, if your neighbor comes over and says his house has been invaded by scores of tooth fairies, you would rush over and investigate that possibility? After all, it could be a miraculous event and you don't have presuppositions about such things.

Go ahead and investigate! I think I will watch TV.

rodahi

 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:52 PM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
Your last statement is rather curious. What does the "scholarly consensus" say about your claim? If you are going to use it to support your dating of Matthew, why not use it to support your claim that the writer of John was an eye-witness?

rodahi
</font>
There is less of a scholarly consensus regarding who wrote the Gospel of John compared to how many scholars would date Matthew no later than 75-85 CE.

There have been relatively few surprises in the study of Matthew recently. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and some other archeological and papyri discoveries, however, have caused something of an upheaval in the study of the Gospel of John.

Some of the respected scholars who advocate the view that the GoJ was written by an eyewitness are Rayomnd Brown, Ben Witherington, J.W. Pryor and R. Schnackenbrug. If you are interested in checking the theories out, I recommend Raymond Brown's "New Testament Essays" and Ben Witherington's "John's Wisdom."


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 14, 2001).]
 
Old 03-14-2001, 12:59 PM   #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ecco:
Layman (and others),

I ask, for the third time:

On what basis is the bible to be considered to be “The Word Of God”?

I merely used the resurrection accounts by Matthew and Mark as examples to show that they could hardly BOTH have been first hand accounts.

Perhaps the problem is that you have not truly questioned the basis for your faith.

1. Your faith is based on the teachings of the bible.
2. You believe the bible to be the word of god.

However, you seem unable to define HOW you KNOW that the bible IS the "Word Of God".
</font>
I see you have decided to completely ignore my points about eyewitness accounts and the Gospel of John. It is just as well because you don't seem to have much information about either issue.

I don't advocate inerrancy. So if that is what you mean by the Bible being "the Word of God" then we have nothing to argue about. However, because I believe that the gospels are historically accurate, I do believe that Jesus was indeed the prophecied Messiah, sent by God. As such, because the New Testament contains his teachings, I believe that those teachings are the Word of God.

As to the epistles, I believe that they are the Word of God because they were written by men selected by Jesus as his Apostles to spread the Gospel. Thus, the writings of Paul are inspired because Jesus commissioned him to be a leader in the church. Ditto Peter and James.

In short, it all comes back to Jesus. I view, as did the early church, Jesus' resurrection as the complete ratification by God of all he taught and did.
 
Old 03-14-2001, 01:06 PM   #19
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Layman:
I think you are being oversimplistic about "eye witnesses." For example, I doubt that Mark was an eyewitness of the events he wrote about. However, there is a strong, and IMO credible, early church tradition that he based his gospel on the preachings of Peter. Peter was an eyewitness. Ergo, it is reasonable to believe that the Gospel of Mark is based on eyewitness testimony.

You seem to be forgetting that no one knows who wrote the narrative attributed to a person named Mark. On what rational basis do you give so much credence to "early church tradition?"


Luke investigated the things about which he wrote.

To be correct, you should say that Luke made the claim that he "investigated the things about which he wrote." Do you believe every writer's claims? I do not.

He had access to, at the very least, Peter, John, James, and whatever other eyewitnesses of Jesus' ministry remained in Jerusalem (such as other members of Jesus' family).

How do you know this?

And we can tell from Luke's careful use of Mark and Q that he stuck to his sources, rather than creating fictional material.

There is strong evidence that the writer of Luke embellished (i.e., created fictional material) Mark.

Furthermore, Luke was an eyewitness to many of the events he wrote about in Acts.

Again, the writer claimed to be an eyewitness. That does not mean he necessarily was.

I recently read a book about the Gulf War. The author, however, never left the country while writing it. He did not observe any of the events he wrote about. However, he did interview the generals in charge, as well as many of the soldiers.

What is the point? Is this supposed to lend support the idea that one of the NT writers was an eye-witness?

As for your questiong about the "editing" of John's disciple. Again, I believe you are being oversimplistic. I recently read a book originally written by Matthew Tenney, a respected New Testament scholar. As he was working on a new edition, he died. Another New Testament scholar, and former student of his, then finished the work. Does that mean it is no longer Tenney's book? Even though 90% of the material was originally written by him?

False analogy. Which of the NT writers died before finishing his work?

You also seem uninformed about source criticism. It is because of source criticism that many scholars agree that John's gospel was "finished" by one of his disciples. The styles and points of view can be detected by vocabulary, and, perhaps less reliably, by theological focus. I recommend Ben Witherington's John's Wisdom as an able book about this issue.

I recommend Bart D. Ehrman's The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture or Bruce Metzger's The Text of the New Testament, Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration or Helmut Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels, Their History and Development.

As for whether the Gospel of John is "inspired," I haven't tried to prove that. I'm not sure such a thing could be proved historically.

That is a sensible statement.

However, I believe it is generally reliable about the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Even if it isn't "inspired," if it accurately portrays Jesus' teachings and actions, then it is a very useful historical document.

What makes you think it is "generally reliable about the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus?" You must have a good reason.

rodahi

 
Old 03-14-2001, 01:08 PM   #20
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
So, if your neighbor comes over and says his house has been invaded by scores of tooth fairies, you would rush over and investigate that possibility? After all, it could be a miraculous event and you don't have presuppositions about such things.

Go ahead and investigate! I think I will watch TV.

rodahi
</font>
Probably not. Because I do not believe in tooth fairies.

However, if my neighbor was not one who normally made these kinds of claims, I would suspect something was up. Moreover, if four or five other people separately confirmed that there were strange beings in his house, then I would get even more suspicious. And if, while telling me what was going on, my neighbor admitted something embarassing (like they appeared as he was committing adultery), then I would suspect he wasn't making this up for his benefit. And finally, if he persisted in claiming such things, despite the fact that other neighbors accused him of being a heretic and started beating him up, then I would get off my butt, turn off the tv, and check out what was going on at his house.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 14, 2001).]
 
 

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