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 03-16-2001, 01:08 PM   #91
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Talking

Gee Layman, don't hold back...

Tell us what you REALLY think!

Well done, and thank you for the thread, and the obvious work you have put into it. It has been extremely informative.

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 03-16-2001, 03:22 PM   #92
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Thank you Layman. Again, please allow me to test your patience one more time?

Please give me an example of what you consider to be an error in the NT and how you know that it is an error.

Thank you
have a great weekend
 
Old 03-16-2001, 03:33 PM   #93
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
Thank you Layman. Again, please allow me to test your patience one more time?

Please give me an example of what you consider to be an error in the NT and how you know that it is an error.

Thank you
have a great weekend
</font>
I've answered this a few times. Perhaps if you tell me what you want me to say, or your ultimate point, I could oblige you. Or, at least tell me why my previous answers have been inadequate. You have failed to comment on all that I have said, or even indicated whether you have reveiwed my post on miracles.

Nevertheless, I'll try once again to give you the answer you are looking for. I've mentioned the timing of Peter's denials of Jesus. I think this is symptomatic of a larger issue in the Synoptics. Until we get to the Passion Narrative, I believe their chronologies are somewhat inaccurate.

The reason I believe they are inaccurate is their contradiction with each other, and with the Gospel of John. The synoptics present a ministry of about a year, while John suggests one lasting 2 or more. Most scholars believe Jesus' ministry was longer than one year.

There also seem to be gaps and disjointed connective events/teachings. I think that these issues suggest that many of the traditions and sources regarding Jesus' teaching and miracles were connected together in narrative form in a way in which they did not necessarily occur.

I also think the chronology problem is compounded by the fact that Jesus doubtless used many of the same parables, or taught the same teachings, in different places and to different people. Probably many, many times.

Do you have a specific error in mind you want me to comment on?

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 16, 2001).]
 
Old 03-16-2001, 08:02 PM   #94
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Your retreat to the "you haven't proved the analogy" argument is obviously an attempt to avoid discussing all the implications of the evdience available to us.
</font>
I see you're busy earning your title as a liar.

The analogy is where you got off-track, because you severely overstated your case with it. That's not my fault, it's not the moderator's fault, it's not George Bush's fault, it's YOUR FAULT, Layman. And in all the pages and pages of text you've posted in this thread, you still haven't worked up the moral character to admit that your analogies don't correspond with the evidence for the NT texts.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
It is the ultimate strawman. You have even laid out a list of four criteria that I never put forth, and implied that they were mine.
</font>
Hey - Layman - wake up. WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, these criteria are part of your analogy. If you uncomfortable with those four criteria, then pick another analogy that doesn't have those attributes.

It's not rocket science, Layman. Analogies have to be tangent on the points you want to make. If they aren't, then the analogy is busted. If you had an ounce of personal integrity, you'd see that.

The problem here is that you want the prestige of "independent, eyewitness testimony", without having the actual goods to back it up. Your analogy had 4 or 5 neighbors, themselves all 1st person eyewitnesses. And they all told you the same thing. So you are the direct receiver of 1st person, uncontaminated and unrehearsed eyewitness testimony. You are not hearing it 2nd-hand or as the product of cross-communication.

You also talked about a book on the Gulf war. The same points apply in that analogy.

So by that context of your own analogies, the NT texts do not qualify. But you can't handle that reality. It sticks in your craw like a chicken bone. Why?

Because you want to take the authority and authenticity normally associated in the modern world by the term "eyewitness", and transfer that wholesale to the NT texts, while ignoring the mountainous differences between the two scenarios.
This is duplicity and dishonesty in toto. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Moreover, you have failed to include several other aspects of the analogy (criterion of embarrasment, perseverance despite persecution, criterion of dissimiarlity), pretending that it only focused on "fresh, uncontamindated, eyewitness testimony."
</font>
I did not ignore those; you've simply failed to provide evidence that they apply here.


Oh, and by the way: even if (for some strange reason) I were to grant you all these items you just listed, your analogy is still broken on the four criteria that I have been discussing. An analogy that is only partially tangent is still an invalid one.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
In short, you have completely distorted and misrepresented the scope, nature, and context of my analogy.
</font>
Not at all. I've simply forced you to confront the [entire] nature of the analogy you created. Suddenly you're finding out that the analogy isn't working for you. This puts you in the awkward position of having your feet held to the fire in a public forum. My, oh my, what to do, what to do.....

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
The analogy was intended to respond to the first analogies point (which you fail to attempt to "hold accountable)
</font>
GROW UP.. That's at least the 2nd time I've heard that whine; I let it pass previously.

Hey Layman, guess what - it's not my job to referee here. I don't have to hold the other analogy accountable. After all, it was YOUR analogy that had all the detailed elaboration, which is what caught my attention and what got you into trouble. Jeez; your whining sound like one of my nieces whining about not getting the same amount of ice cream as her sister.....

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
that we only have one source about the miracles. That is untrue. We have multiple, independent sources. The focus of the analogy was that the sources were independent, not that they were eyewitness.
</font>
Which is too bad, because I was asking about both independent as well as eyewitness evidence. So I guess it's your fault that you were not paying attention to the questions I was asking.

Oh, and maybe now you understand why your two analogies are busted - they both employed eyewitness testimony. Oh, but wait: now you say that the eyewitness part wasn't really the focus of the analogy after all. My, how convenient. And I'm supposed to believe that, right?

Wonder why not one, but both analogies specifically named eyewitness testimony as an element, then. Hmm???

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I have conceded repeatedly and from the very first that I only think that John was written by an eyewitness to Jesus. Your repeated implication that I have been arguing for such a thing is disingenuous at best.
</font>
No, it isn't. Because while you concede that only John was an eyewitness, you still want to have your cake and eat it, too.

You insist that the other gospels record eyewitness testimony, for which you have no proof that it is, in fact, eyewitness. You also miss the point that where there is commmunication and sharing of information, then even the claim of independent testimony is no longer valid. And your other references (such as Josephus) at most only show that the writers in question were aware that Christians believed such things; they are not independent evidence that those things were true, or actually happened. I'm aware of the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree; the fact that I write it down is not independent testimony of the story being true.

You seem to think that finding an ancient reference to some event is the same as certification that the event is true. It is not.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I used the comparison to embarrassing admissions to demonstrate that the gospels contain things embarrasing to the early church that they would have been unlikely to invent. This is the commonly accepted criterion of embarrasment. We discussed this, I offered specific examples (from leading New Testament scholars), you quibbled with a couple, and went silent on this.
</font>
No, actually I did not go silent on it. I simply found your arguments unconvincing, and you were not able to provide any better ones. I showed you how the baptism of Jesus by John was not an embarrassment; you had nothing further to say. I also pointed out how Christ not knowing the date of his return was not an embarrassment.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I used the comparison to reporting the incident in spite of persecution to compare it to the early church's continued preaching of Jesus in spite of persecution. I referred to first hand sources, as well as other reliable historical information to support this (Paul's letters, Josephus, and Acts). You at first denied they suffered persecution,
</font>
No. AT least, I did not mean to say that these individuals did not suffer persecution.

I thought you were referring to the general persecution of christians under Roman rule as being proof of the truth of that faith. What I then said is that the stories of persecution contained legendary material. For example, the recent PBS Frontline special "From Jesus to Christ", describes the exaggeration of material about martyrs, both in the number of martyrs total, as well as in the actual events. The Diary of Perpetua is the jumping off point here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...c/script2.html


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
then admitted they may have, then went silent on the topic.
</font>
You really like to read dark and mysterious motives into everything, don't you? Were you born with a persecution complex, or is it standard issue to all new Christians?


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I used the comparison to the fact that the person who was reporting things wouldn't normally report those to illustrate the criterion of dissimilarity. I again referred to examples offered by leading New Testament scholars. We have Jews reporting a resurrection unlike the Jews were expecting. We have Jews reporting a Messiah unlike the one the Jews were expecting.
</font>
Which I responded to by saying the following:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
You're suggesting that because the story of the resurrection was different than what was expected, therefore the story must be true. How did you come up with that?

Returning to the original analogy of the nextdoor neighbor, we were supposed to believe him because he wasn't prone to just making up wild stories about tooth fairies. I.e., miraculous events.

Besides being a non sequitir, your suggested explanation above does not map to the original analogy of the nextdoor neighbor.

</font>
And then you said nothing at all.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
When you are shown to have no idea what the scholarly consensus is about Josephus, you retreat back to the analogy.
</font>
It is not a retreat. It is bringing you back by the nose, like a kicking mule, and forcing you to return to your original claim. And if you go back to the original posts I made on this topic, I was focused on your analogy.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
When I ask you what you do believe so I can see if there is a common basis for discussion, you refuse and retreat back to the analogy.
</font>
The analogy is where you got off track. And the analogy is where I will continue to bring you to, because you fail to acknowledge that you are engaged in a bait-and-switch scheme here. Again:

You want to take the authority and authenticity normally associated in the modern world by the term "eyewitness", and transfer that wholesale to the NT texts, while ignoring the mountainous differences between the two scenarios.
This is duplicity and dishonesty in toto.



Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
When I provide quotes and pinpoint refernces to Josephus's miracles passages, you claim that "many" scholars believe the Arabic version is superior, and completely fail to name which scholars, provide the Arabic version, or explain why you think Arabs wouldn't interpolate but Christians would.
</font>
I assumed you would know those answers. I mean, really, Layman. You haven't failed to blow your own horn yet; was all that noise about how well-read and educated you are just bluffing, or ego-stroking?

In any event: if I need to point you to it, here it is:
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Topi.../josephus.html

The reason why scholars would prefer the Arabic version is because it is rougher (i.e., all things being equal, the less polished text is to be preferred). That, and the fact that the Arabic text is less christianized in its tone than the Greek text.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
You sir, are a coward.
</font>
Oh, bite me, Layman. There is only one person here who flung two lame, busted analogies out and then tap-danced to avoid admtting his error. That would be YOU, Layman.




[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 16, 2001).]
 
Old 03-16-2001, 09:07 PM   #95
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

A note on the arabic text on Josephus.

When I give you a list of more than 10 respected New Testament scholars who support Josephus' references to miracles, you accuse me of lying. I then provide some exact quotes and other citations. You don't withdraw your characterization of me as a liar.

Then, when you make the statement that the arabic version is considered by "scholars" to be more valid than the Christian version, you offer NO evidence what so ever. When I point this out, I am just demonstrating my lack of knowledge about New Testament criticism?

And the point remains that my reconustruction, including the references to miracles, is the majority position. Yes, the arabic version is more likely accurate than the interpolated version. However, it is not likely more accurate than the reconstructed version I have posted twice. Do you see the difference between the two? I have never advocated that the interpolated version was completely accurate. I have from the beginning argued that the reconstructed version was the most likely original text.

By the way, I visited your link. I didn't see WHICH scholars claimed that the Arabic version was more original than the commonly accepted reconstructed version. Perhaps you could clarify it for me. Or perform another internet search on it. Of course, it would probably be easiest for your to check out all those books by New Testament scholars you have at home. Wouldn't it?

Another reconstruction from one of my sources:

"Around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, but those who had first loved him did not cease. To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared." Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament, at 93.

And pinpoint references to others. J.P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, 1:63, and Raymond E. Brown, Death of the Messiah 1:373-74.

Please let me know when I have freed myself of your accusation that I lied about what these scholars had to say.

Moreover, the reason most of these scholars keep in the reference to "amazing" deeds is because the language he uses doesn't show up in our Christian sources. That is, literary and source criticism is thought by these scholars to demonstrate that the tradition is independent of Christian sources. Even though all four gospels had been written by the time Josephus wrote, his references to describe Jesus' works were unique, and show no Christian influence. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament at 94-95.

A note on my example of embarrasment.

The Baptism. I believe I had the last word on this and you failed to respond. You make a good case that John's blessing of Jesus was not embarrassing, something I freely admit. But, as I explicitly said, it was the BAPTISM itself that was embarrassing. You have still failed to explain why the baptism itself was not an embarrasment to the early church who was competing with John's disciples to show the superiority of Jesus during the early church's formation. And you are not arguing with just myself on this point. Most New Testament scholars, including J.P. Meier, Raymond E. Brown, N.T. Wright, Ben Witherington, Graham Stanton.

Oh yes, and E.P. Sanders, who states: "According to the gospels, Jesus began his active ministry after being baptized by John. That he accepted John's baptism is virtually certain. The gospels and Acts reveal that John had a sizeable following, and the authors were a little embarrassed at having to admit that their hero, Jesus, had been at first a follower of the Baptist.... In view of this, it is most unlikely that the gospels or earlier Christians invented the fact that Jesus started out under John. Since they wanted Jesus to stand out as superior to the Baptist, they would not have made up the story that Jesus had been his follower. Therefore, we conclude, John really did baptize Jesus." The Historical Figure of Jesus, at 94.

A note on the crucifixion.

You still seem to imply that it was invented by the authors. A patently ludicrous position. But, I argued that it was also embarrassing. Afterall, the supposedly perfect leader of early Christianity died a criminal's death at the hands of Jewish AND Roman leaders. You said it wasn't embarrassing because it was the core of their belief. This completely begs the question. I asked you WHY would such an embarrasing belief become the core of their belief. You failed to answer.

I pointed out the dissimilarity of the resurrection accounts of Jesus (and other examples, which I tire of repeating but you continue neglecting). Your only response was rhetorical. So this proves it? (or something to that effect). I hardly consider that a persuasive, or even reasoned, rebuttal. My point was not that it necessarly proved it, but that it was embarrassing. It is one factor to consider. Because all of our evidence suggests that the Jews were expecting a general resurrection as a major eschatological event, and then only of the righteous, not of executed criminals, WHY did THESE Jews base their religion on something so dissimilar from Jewish belief?

But,in order to provide other commonly accepted examples of dissimilarity, I'll mention Jesus' prohibition of divorce and failure to fast. These are examples of double dissimarity, because they are different than Jewish and early Christian practice.

Eyewitness testimony.

You are right that I argued that Mark contained eyewitness testimony. But I from the start did not claim what you repeatedly asserted I did, namely that Mark, Matthew, or Luke were themselves eyewitnesses to Jesus ministry. I believe the evidence is strong that Mark had access to Peter. I also argued that Paul's accounts were based on the eyewitness evidence of more than one source. I haven't seen you even attempt to refute this. But I never said that Matthew, Mark, or Luke were themselves eyewitnesses. So, I'm not sure what your obsession is with the Gulf War analogy. My point was that an author can record eyewitness testimony, without himself being an eyewitness.

A note on persevering in spite of persecution.

How on earth did you think I was referring to the persecution of the likes of Perpetua? I was CLEAR that I was referring to Roman AND Jewish persecution. I raised, more than once, Paul's recounting his persecution of the early Church, as well as his persecution by the Jewish and Roman authorities, Josephus' recounting of the murder of Jesus, the brother of James, by Jewish authorities, and Acts' recounting the persecution of the disciples and the Jerusalem church. I also raised 1 Clement, who records the martyrdom of Paul and Peter in Rome. But now you expect me to believe that all along you thought I was talking about martyrdoms that took place hundreds of years later, after the New Testament was completely written?

But all that aside, are you now conceding the point?

And you aren't a coward because you don't agree with me. You are a coward because you refuse to even mention one iota of what you believe happened. This also demonstrates that you have interest in discussion, or even debate for that matter. All you know is cut and slash.

You are also a coward because you would rather debate the exactitude of an analogy that I have already stated was imperfect, rather than the actual evidence of the matter at issue. Which is more important? I just used the analogy to counter an even more seriously flawed analogy. I believe it was approrpiate for that point. I'm not trying to "put one over" on anyone, by "sneaking in" that the gospel authors were themselves eyewitnesses. I have expressly stated that I believe that only John was an eyewitness. But, you have figured out that, given your serious lack of New Testament knowledge, it is easier to whine about the exactitude of an admittedly imperfect analogy than it is to debate the matter underlying the analogy.

You are like a kid who keeps wresting until the other person says the magic words. I've said imperfect, but I haven't said "busted!" yet. So you keep whining and wresting on until I say the magic word.

Would a lollipop help?

It is also apparent that you are uninformed about New Testament scholarship. You said that I have been blowing my own horn, implying that I have bragged about my knowledge. I have not. I have repeatedly pointed out your ignorance, not my superiority. I call myself Layman because I am not an expert.

But so far you have posted a couple of links (found after our discussion forced you to scramble for some source that supported your claims) and misread your own Oxford Companion to the Bible (apparently the only New Testament resource you have at home).

I'll see you Monday, I am sure. Why not spend the weekend end doing some research? You will have more time to surf the net.
 
Old 03-16-2001, 09:39 PM   #96
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

I thought that when I caught and publicly admitted my mistake with the Oxford Companion, that such an act of integrity might at least make you grant me some credit in the "honest debater" department. Evidently I was wrong.

So I'm going to go out on a limb here once again. We'll see how far it takes me.

You say you admit that your analogy was "imperfect." And that your intent was never to characterize the gospel authors as all being first-person eyewitnesses. Fine. I'll drop the analogy point here, and apologize to you for losing my temper.

And if I called you a liar, I retract that as well. Now, the slate is clean.

Perhaps we should discuss the difference between a historical reference, and a historical witness.

Your move.


[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 16, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 08:24 AM   #97
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

"IF I called you a liar" (emphasis added).

LOL.
 
Old 03-19-2001, 11:48 AM   #98
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Layman -
Thanks for the reply - promise that this'll be the last time.

You wrote,
Do you have a specific error in mind you want me to comment on?

Look, you're the one who claimed that the Bible was not inerrant.
Ummm, I was thinking that you were the one with a specific error handy to back your claim.

So, on what basis do you make that claim?(your apparatus seems inadequate to make a sufficient basis for such an assertion)

How do you know the Bible is not inerrant?

It seems to me that anyone who made such a claim would at least have an example of a concrete error - not a probability. And along with that example, an explanation of why such is an error.

Or are you saying that yes, the account, for example, of the prophets rising is an error? or are the 'somewhat inaccurate' details of Peter's denial errors?
Are those things you would consider errors?

Thank you for the reply.
 
Old 03-19-2001, 12:09 PM   #99
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
Layman -
Thanks for the reply - promise that this'll be the last time.

You wrote,
Do you have a specific error in mind you want me to comment on?

Look, you're the one who claimed that the Bible was not inerrant.
Ummm, I was thinking that you were the one with a specific error handy to back your claim.

So, on what basis do you make that claim?(your apparatus seems inadequate to make a sufficient basis for such an assertion)

How do you know the Bible is not inerrant?

It seems to me that anyone who made such a claim would at least have an example of a concrete error - not a probability. And along with that example, an explanation of why such is an error.

Or are you saying that yes, the account, for example, of the prophets rising is an error? or are the 'somewhat inaccurate' details of Peter's denial errors?
Are those things you would consider errors?

Thank you for the reply.
</font>
Well, if you believe the Bible to be inerrant, I have no desire to try and damage your faith. As I said, I believe that history demonstrates that the New Testament is historically reliable. So, given your belief in inerrancy, I'd say we agree with each other much more than we disagree with each other.

If you want to prove the Bible is inerrant, and are looking for a debate on that issue, you should probably take it up with one of the skeptics.
 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:19 PM.

Top

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