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Old 04-27-2001, 06:43 AM   #21
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Originally posted by Valar1:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">One of the key elements Craig avoids is that no new legends were created for Jesus. Other gods had run the gamut before him; he wasn't the first to have a god as a father, nor to have been of a virgin birth; he wasn't the first to irritate the authorities;</font>
I'll mention, for example, that these three themes all occur in the story of the persecution of the god-man Dionysus and his followers, as told in The Bacchae of Euripides, a source that (as far as I know) dates back to classical Greece.

Another well-known persecution/martyrdom story, though not of a god-man, was the story of Socrates. (This is not to deny that Jesus and his followers really were persecuted, first by the Jerusalem priestly establishment and later by the Romans. The point here is merely that the concept of martyrdom was not new to the Hellenistic world.)

An example of a well-known dying and rising god-king story was that of the Egyptian god Osiris.
 
Old 04-27-2001, 08:13 AM   #22
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In the thread What facts about Jesus are well-established historically?, ChristianSkeptic referred turtonm to the article Good question ....was Jesus Christ just a CopyCat Savior Myth?. The article objects to the idea that Christianity borrowed themes from other religions on various grounds, primarily by pointing out that, although various pagan myths and similarities to the story of Jesus, none of these myths were exactly identical to the story of Jewus. The author insists that, in order for the idea of borrowing to be plausible at all, we must "come up with a historically plausible explanation for the origin of any significant differences between Jesus and the Savior-gods."

To this I reply: Human creativity plus the influence of Judaism is sufficient to account for many of the differences. As for the unusually nonsexual nature of the Christian virgin birth story, this might have been influenced by various anti-sexual notions that, if I'm not mistaken, were popular at the time in the Roman empire. (I vaguely recall reading about anti-sexual attitudes as part of the Stoic philosophy. Does anyone here know more about this?)

As for how the borrowing could have occurred, let's remember that Jerusalem attracted Jewish pilgrims from all over the known world. Thus, some pagan-influenced ideas about the Jewish Messiah could easily have been introduced into Jewish culture, much to the horror of Jewish purists.

Anyhow, let's not forget the main point: A borrowing of myths is far more likely to occur than a physical resurrection from the dead. It cannot be said that there is no plausible alternative to the resurrection.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 27, 2001).]
 
Old 04-27-2001, 09:11 AM   #23
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Kate Long (KL): I'm sorry

ChristianSkeptic (CS): No you are not! You simply feel, and think that you are on top.

Next, I expect to see you smile.

KL: I'm simply not interested in reading any more by a purported scholar who makes such ridiculous assertions as a claim that "all" New Testament scholars agree on an early date for the Gospels.

CS: Please explain KL how the single assertion that ‘all’ NT scholars agree… constitute multiple assertions. I will grant your point that he is wrong or it could be a typo, but it does not follow that his attempts at a higher scholarly level are also in such manifest error.

KL: A delusional or otherwise mistaken group of people is far more likely to exist than a claimed Resurrection.

CS: Based on what apart from your presumption?

KL: The burden of proof is on those who make the more fantastic claim.

CS: The burden of proof is on both sides since whoever asserts must prove.

KL you have drawn an analogy between the disciples and urban cults but you have not substantiated your assertion.

KL: ..Are you claiming you have no presumption against supernatural stories …outside the context of the Bible?

CS: My presumption against supernatural stories apart from the Bible is a reflection of my adherence to the law of non-contradiction. If the Bible is true, then any and all supernatural claims that contradict it cannot be true.



[This message has been edited by ChristianSkeptic (edited April 27, 2001).]
 
Old 04-27-2001, 09:36 AM   #24
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James Still (JS): Minor quibble:

ChristianSkeptic (CS): Hey, quibble here, a quibble there and the next thing you know you have a point.

JS: for James, since he was Jesus' brother his martyrdom…[the high priests] would not have bothered to "prove" or "disprove" anything (what does that mean in the context of religious belief anyway?) but would have simply used their power to do away with all competitors.

CS: The nature of the Christian religious truth claim is [that it is] also an historical claim of fact. Of course the high priests would work to disprove or better stated discredit the disciples who were running around making their claim and winning converts.

Moreover, in this contest of visions regarding our salvation, the high priests, I do not believe [kept] their power and moreover spread their vision by force alone. Now, I submit, it is more likely they used a combination of both. Therefore, there should be evidence of both murder of competitors, as we agree exists, and the display of evidence (the body in the tomb) to discredit the disciples and win back converts which does not exist because [the tomb was found empty].



[This message has been edited by ChristianSkeptic (edited April 27, 2001).]
 
Old 04-27-2001, 03:09 PM   #25
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ChristianSkeptic:
CS: We know from history, at least based on what I have read, that at least Paul and James were executed for their belief. </font>
Do we? There is no reference to Paul's death until well into the second century, by which time it is taken for granted that he was executed in Rome. However, there is also small evidence that he was released from his original house arrest by Nero, travelled in Iberia (Spain), and returned to Rome.

Nothing is certain about Paul's death.

As for James (I'm assuming you mean the greater, at the hands of Herod II) we have only Acts' account, 12:1-2; it doesn't say, however, that it was because of his announcing his belief in Jesus. We must view Acts with some suspicion, too, as it makes a rather grievous error in noting that the disciples went into Temple and preached Jesus. If, as the canon would have us believe, the priests were the cause of Jesus' death, and these men continued to preach him, why were they unmolested?

Remember, we can't take as "gospel" that the priests had no authority to execute blasphemers. Acts shows us that Stephen was executed in the prescribed manner (Leviticus 24:16.) Rome took no interest in religious judgements; there was no need for the priests to incorporate Pilate into their conspiracy, unless Jesus did not blaspheme but preached revolution. So too with James.

Acts, coming as it allegedly does from the pen of the author of Luke, is written by a man who would have us believe that Herod the Great, king some 30+ years, would rely on travelling astrologers to report a rival for his throne, when that rival was a mere six miles distant. This from the author who would have us believe that the astrologers (the Magi were the elite, priests of Zoroaster, in Persia, and as such would have been well acquainted with Herod's reputation for killing his own sons in disputes over the throne!) would go straight to Herod to report that a rival had been born in his Kingdom.

Hence, we must view his reports of "history" with a very skeptical eye. These have the appearance of third hand stories which were woven into an apologetic text, and not second hand reporting of historical facts.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Now why would the authorities go through the trouble to execute these men for something they could readily disprove without incident?</font>
Perhaps because their execution was for something other than preaching the resurrection. In neither Rome nor in Herod's court would such a concept be all that uncommon; as Riley wrote in Resurrection Reconsidered:
"Any Semitic or Greco-Roman soul could appear to the living, still bearing the recognizable form of the body. Any soul could pass through closed doors, give preternatural advice, and vanish. Did Jesus appear to and instruct his disciples after his crucifixion? S Patroklos appeared to Achilles, Samuel to Saul the elder Scipio to his grandson, as did numerous others to their survivors." (emphasis added; 1 Samuel 28.)

It is very unlikely that Herod, raised a Jew and in Rome's highest circles, would have been impressed by the uniqueness of a claim of a resurrected Jesus made by James. Even the priests, surely familiar with 1 Sam 28, would not have thought it outrageously odd.

It is far more likely that James, if he was executed by Herod, died because of politics and not religion.


 
Old 04-27-2001, 03:17 PM   #26
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bd-from-kg:
&gt;&gt; As to the second point, it is so self-evident that miraculous claims require extraordinary evidence that it should hardly be necessary to belabor the point. &lt;&lt;

Excellent post, with one quibble.

I suggest we view this in just the opposite light: that miracles were so very common during the period (as you note in your first point, it wasn't uncommon for "historians" to incorporate them into their tales, and the existence of thaumaturgists, wonders workers, is well documented in the period.

Honi the Circle Drawer, Hanina ben Dosa were two very famous miracle workers among Jews contemporary with Jesus and his disciples; Apollonius of Tyana was a gentile healer of great fame.

So, while we need strict scientific evidence to clearly establish this miracle or that, the argument of the apologists fails not because they posit extraordinary events, but rather because these extraordinary events are actually rather commonplace in the time and place.

19th Century America didn't invent snake oil salesmen! &lt;G&gt;
 
Old 04-27-2001, 03:28 PM   #27
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by aikido7:
The word "resurrection" has/had many other meanings other than "resusitation." </font>
This brings up an interesting point: the debate between the Pharisees and Saduccees about whether or not there was life after death, and the narrower debate among various Pharisees about whether that life was a resurrection or a resuscitation.

On the broader issue, the Saduccees believed, as apparently did the Hebrews of old, that there was no life after death, that all mortals were animals, as it were, whose entire essence vanished at death. They believed the Kingdom of God could be nothing but an earthy political entity, one in which the world would be under the leadership of God's chosen people.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, did believe that there was life after death. Their internal debate was whether the corporal flesh was resuscitated, recycled as it were, in a Greek fashion, or it was resurrected, i.e., a new, ephemeral body was created from whole cloth, to house the soul.

If you read the gospel accounts in the gnostic books, you tend to see this second interpretation; i.e., a brand new body was created for Jesus, one which eliminated the need for a tomb, for a burial scenario, for angels moving large rocks. Paul's epistles all point to such a resurrection.

The canon, however, tends to mix the two freely; having a resurrected Jesus enter closed rooms, appear to travellers from nowhere, etc., with the resuscitated version, ala the Doubting Thomas story (touch me.)

When considering what was written about the resurrection, this argument must be considered, as it helps place the authors into their proper camps.
 
Old 04-27-2001, 03:36 PM   #28
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Valar,

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Do we? There is no reference to Paul's death until well into the second century, by which time it is taken for granted that he was executed in Rome. However, there is also small evidence that he
was released from his original house arrest by Nero, travelled in Iberia (Spain), and returned to Rome. </font>
Flatly and grossly untrue. 1 Clement, which was written in Rome in the first century, records that Paul and Peter were martyred in Rome.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> As for James (I'm assuming you mean the greater, at the hands of Herod II) we have only Acts' account, 12:1-2; it doesn't say, however, that it was because of his announcing his belief in Jesus. </font>
First, you are talking about the wrong James. I believe CS is referring to James the brother of the Lord. Josephus records his martyrdom at the hands of the High Priest.

Second, regardless, the most reasonable inference is that James the Just was executed for his association with the Jesus Movement.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> We must view Acts with some suspicion, too, as it makes a rather grievous error in noting that the disciples went into Temple and preached Jesus. If, as the canon would have us believe, the priests were the cause of Jesus' death, and these men continued to preach him, why were they unmolested? </font>
I believe that Acts is quite clear that Peter and John were apprehended by the temple authorities after they preached in the temple. They were then interrogated, flogged, and ordered not to preach about Jesus anymore. Is that your idea of unmolested?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Acts, coming as it allegedly does from the pen of the author of Luke, is written by a man who would have us believe that Herod the Great, king some 30+ years, would rely on travelling astrologers to report a rival for his throne, when that rival was a mere six miles distant. This from the author who would have us believe that the astrologers (the Magi were the elite, priests of Zoroaster, in Persia, and as such would have been well acquainted with Herod's reputation for killing his own sons in
disputes over the throne!) would go straight to Herod to report that a rival had been born in his Kingdom. </font>
Ummm. I believe it was Matthew who records the Magi, not Luke. Unless I am mistaken, Luke makes no mention of the Magi at all. Please provide me with the scripture references to where Luke discusses the Magi.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Hence, we must view his reports of "history" with a very skeptical eye. These have the appearance of third hand stories which were woven into an apologetic text, and not second hand reporting of historical facts. </font>
Well, as I explained, you are completely wrong on this one.

Regardless, I notice that you have no support for your characterization of Acts. Is this your opinion? Did you get it from reading Acts in the original Greek and customs of first century writers of historiagraphy?

Examine, for a moment, Luke's practice in writing his Gospel. He relied heavily on preexisting source material: Mark, Q, and "L." It also appears that he was pretty faithful to those sources (how else would Markan dependence be detected and how else would we know that Q even existed?). The most reasonable conclusion would be that Luke followed the same practice in Acts.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> It is very unlikely that Herod, raised a Jew and in Rome's highest circles, would have been impressed by the uniqueness of a claim of a resurrected Jesus made by James. Even the priests, surely familiar with 1 Sam 28, would not have thought it outrageously odd.

It is far more likely that James, if he was executed by Herod, died because of politics and not religion. </font>
The line between religion and politics wasn't always so clear cut. And when you start making messianic claims, which the disciples were making based on their argument that Jesus had risen from the dead then those would have made the a Herod nervous enough to take action. Afterall, it was a Herod who had John the Baptist killed for merely being a religious leader.

Remember?

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 27, 2001).]
 
Old 04-27-2001, 07:14 PM   #29
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Kate,

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I'm sorry, I'm simply not interested in reading any more by a purported scholar who makes such ridiculous assertions as a
claim that "all" New Testament scholars agree on an early date for the Gospels. </font>
Where did Dr. Craig make this claim?

And if he did what did he mean by early?

I think the gospels were early too. That is I think they were all written in the first century. Something many skeptics still don't recognize.

Anyway, I'd like to see the context of the claim.
 
Old 04-27-2001, 07:18 PM   #30
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Valar1:
bd-from-kg:
&gt;&gt; As to the second point, it is so self-evident that miraculous claims require extraordinary evidence that it should hardly be necessary to belabor the point. &lt;&lt;

Excellent post, with one quibble.

I suggest we view this in just the opposite light: that miracles were so very common during the period (as you note in your first point, it wasn't uncommon for "historians" to incorporate them into their tales, and the existence of thaumaturgists, wonders workers, is well documented in the period.

Honi the Circle Drawer, Hanina ben Dosa were two very famous miracle workers among Jews contemporary with Jesus and his disciples; Apollonius of Tyana was a gentile healer of great fame.

So, while we need strict scientific evidence to clearly establish this miracle or that, the argument of the apologists fails not because they posit extraordinary events, but rather because these extraordinary events are actually rather commonplace in the time and place.

19th Century America didn't invent snake oil salesmen! &lt;G&gt;
</font>
The case for many miracle workers in Jesus time or location is largely overstated. In fact, when we focus, as we should, on first century Palestine, such reputed miracle workers are downright rare.

Please see my post on this topic:

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000356.html
 
 

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