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Old 04-13-2001, 11:39 PM   #1
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Cool deLayman's questionable reliance upon Josephus

deLayman has indicated that Josephus' report in the Testimonium Flavium(in the non-Christianized format) is an external non-christian source that bears evidence of Christ performing miracles. He theorizes that Josephus must have been using a non-christian source for his information about christians. Why is that? Because (according to deLayman and others) it would be impossible for Josephus to have a first-hand interview with Christians and not discuss the resurrection. But is that idea really plausible?

Consider the Q document itself. It makes no mention of the resurrection. Yet I am sure that deLayman and his buddies would insist that it was a product of interviews with Christian sources. How is it, then, that the Q document can be derived from first-hand Christian accounts, and yet it makes no mention of the resurrection?

deLayman and his buddies have stated that there were different passion narratives floating around at the time, and they offer that as a reason why no passion narrative was included in the Q document. But is that really plausible?
The key point of the Christian belief system was the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the omission of which renders the rest of the belief system utterly pointless. If the Q document was intended to capture the oral traditions and beliefs of the christian community, then what possible reason would there be to leave out the most important point? Why leave out a passion narrative, ANY VERSION of one, in the Q document?

deLayman has also stated that a historial mention is the same as a historical attestation. By doing this, he hopes to equate Josephus' mention to an affirmative attestation for Christ and miracles. But is that really viable? Is a historical mention the same as an attestation?

We know that Josephus included errors and distortions in his work, so granting him prima facia benefit of the doubt is simply not reasonable. And if we were to take deLayman's claim another step - if we take a mention to equate to an attestation - then Homer's mention of the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis would be an historical attestation to the existence of such creatures. Herodotus also mentioned winged serpents in Egypt. I wonder if deLayman would consider that historical mention also an historical attestation? Most likely not. Then if not, then how can deLayman insist that a mention by Josephus is the same as an attestation?

Back to this mystery document that Josephus allegedly used. Why would anyone assume such a Jewish/Roman document in the first place? No such document has ever been located; no mention of it has ever been found in any other text whatsoever. It is a source whose existence is only asserted because christians need help getting out of an embarrassing tight spot. Christians desperately want to claim that Josephus is an authentic reference, but they need to paint an excuse as to why Josephus left out a mention to the resurrection. Presto - postulate a new document. There is no other reason to speculate that any such document exists at all, except to satisfy the above requirement.

But for the moment, let us assume that there was such a Roman/Jewish source. That still does not establish that this hypothetical Roman/Jewish source had any first-hand knowledge of Christian activities or beliefs, or that the individuals recording the text bothered to verify what they were writing down. This Roman/Jewish source may have simply been recording the local gossip about those new cultists who called themselves "christians". In other words, merely because Josephus used a hypothetical Roman/Jewish source does not show that the source was authoritative, first-hand, or correct. Herodotus STILL made mistakes about Egyptian history, even though he consulted directly with Egyptian priests and scholars on multiple occasions. He also used non-Egyptian sources. In both situations, he still got details wrong (esp. about the rule of Cambyses II).

Moreover, if Josephus used these 3rd party sources and copied material from them, then he also did not bother to investigate the written claims; he merely reported what others were saying. Creating a photocopy of a flawed, unresearched document does not add any extra validity to that document.

Next, the hypothesis that Josephus used some unknown Roman/Jewish source does not really solve the "resurrection non-mention" problem. If that hypothetical Roman/Jewish source was the result of an interview with Christians, or an examination of their beliefs, then why doesn't that unknown Roman/Jewish source itself mention the resurrection? And then, when Josephus relied upon it for his Testimonium Flavium, that mention would have been incorporated into the Testimonium Flavium? After all, deLayman's argument is that it would be impossible to interview christians about their beliefs and not come across the topic of the resurrection; that belief was too central to everything else. But that argument should hold whether the interview is done by a Roman, or by a Jew. In effect, the flawed logic that deLayman (and his buddies) have used here does not solve the problem; it only delays it a little bit. Their solution merely adds another layer of indirection and moves the "resurrection non-mention" dilemma off the shoulders of Josephus, and onto the shoulders of whomever wrote this hypothetical Jewish/Roman source.

Finally, deLayman's position (that Josephus could not have used christian sources for his work) is overly simplistic and leaves no room for human error or personality. Josephus could have interviewed christians directly, heard about the resurrection, but failed to mention it because he did not believe it himself. Or, because he did not think any of his readers would believe it, or because such a claim might be considered blasphemous. Indeed, the very idea that we can know what Josephus' used for a source, based upon what Josephus did not mention; well, it reeks of a desperate attempt to fill in the evidentiary gaps with whatever material is available. That is not a prudent course of action. Therefore, deLayman's claim (and that of his buddies) is simply not convincing - I find no compelling evidence that Josephus must have been using a non-christian source.

[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited April 14, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited April 14, 2001).]
 
Old 04-16-2001, 06:41 PM   #2
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Omnedon1;
deLayman has indicated that Josephus' report in the
Testimonium Flavium(in the non-Christianized format) is
an external non-christian source that bears evidence of
Christ performing miracles. He theorizes that Josephus
must have been using a non-christian source for his
information about christians.


I have no problem with what you have written. Actually
it is quite interesting. I am very pressed for time and
will be brief.

Flavius Josephus is my favorite and I consider him a
pious Jew (Pharisee, also). Josephus often quotes somebody
else in order to set the reader up. He is wily, plus, he
does seem to copy unreliable sources. I am not sure whether
or not he does this on purpose. Myself, I am an American
citizen and I feel that religion is kind of like Aesop's
fables and I enjoy Ted Turner's attitude. Ted is an atheist
and his ex, Jane Fonda, apparently went fundie on him,
though, I really cannot verify that.

About Josephus, it is written that he was born in A.D. 37.
This is false. Josephus was born around A.D. 26. Jesus was
crucified on Friday morning, March 20, A.D. 33 and he was
40 years old, give or take a year. His feet were not pierced.

Josephus would be very aware of Jesus Christ and the
crucifixion. He would not be impressed because he is aware
of magicians and their miracles. Josephus is also very
aware of the events surrounding the crucifixion. He knew
that Jesus was wearing the sacred coat and that this coat
was taken by Herod Agrippa I. Josephus will tell a story
about Eutychus(sp?) trying to steal this coat and while
in prison Eutychus tells Tiberius that Agrippa and Caligula
were plotting against him. Tiberius will have Agrippa
thrown in jail. In A.D. 43, Agrippa will now be the last
king of Judea when he is poisoned by wine. Josephus knows
Agrippa was assassinated here is the tip-off;

All you have to do is read the first few paragraphs of
Antiquities, Book 20 (about Longinus) ... "admonished them
that they should lay up the long garment and the
sacred vestment, which is customary for nobody but the high priest
to wear, in the tower of Antonia ..."


This is immediately after the death of Agrippa and Josephus
knew he possessed the sacred garment and he knew how he got it.

You fundies are welcome to criticize me because I write my
own stuff and I cannot quote anybody else besides Josephus,
and, you will not find this opinion (about Josephus' knowledge
of the crucifixion) any place else.

Thanks, offa

 
Old 04-16-2001, 07:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
deLayman has indicated that Josephus' report in the Testimonium Flavium(in the non-Christianized format) is an external non-christian source that bears evidence of Christ performing miracles. He theorizes that Josephus must have been using a non-christian source for his information about christians. Why is that? Because (according to deLayman and others) it would be impossible for Josephus to have a first-hand interview with Christians and not discuss the resurrection. But is that idea really plausible?</font>
Meta =&gt; I dont' know what he said, but I would say that the allusion to Chrit's miracles was either an emmendation or sarcasim. Josephus could have easily known that it was calimed that Jesus was a miracle worker.

Consider the Q document itself. It makes no mention of the resurrection.

Meta =&gt; That's a deceptive argument, because fist, it was not a Gospel but a saying source, so it doesn't describe any events or talk about any naratival action. Seocndly, since we don't have any such document you can't be sure what it does nor does not say.


Yet I am sure that deLayman and his buddies would insist that it was a product of interviews with Christian sources. How is it, then, that the Q document can be derived from first-hand Christian accounts, and yet it makes no mention of the resurrection?

Meta =&gt; Q can be derived from first hand Christian acconts, what does that mean? Q Is merely a hypothetical document that is taken from a list of saying in the Gospels, it could have gotten into the narrative in any number of ways, it may have been oral or witten, but what accounts?


deLayman and his buddies have stated that there were different passion narratives floating around at the time, and they offer that as a reason why no passion narrative was included in the Q document. But is that really plausible?

Meta =&gt; I doubt that they said that. The most logical reason is becasue Q was not a narrative! It was a list of sayings! In fact it might be the Gospel of Thomas which is just a list of sayings. No action, no plot, no story, just sayings.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
The key point of the Christian belief system was the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the omission of which renders the rest of the belief system utterly pointless. If the Q document was intended to capture the oral traditions and beliefs of the christian community, then what possible reason would there be to leave out the most important point? Why leave out a passion narrative, ANY VERSION of one, in the Q document?</font>
Meta =&gt; Becasue you have misconstrued what Q was about.


deLayman has also stated that a historial mention is the same as a historical attestation. By doing this, he hopes to equate Josephus' mention to an affirmative attestation for Christ and miracles. But is that really viable? Is a historical mention the same as an attestation?


Meta =&gt; Yes, although that term usually applies to texts having more than one copy.

We know that Josephus included errors and distortions in his work, so granting him prima facia benefit of the doubt is simply not reasonable.


Meta =&gt; That's absurd. No historian would ever think that way. Sure you have to take him with a grain of salt, but he's still the best source we have on the first century, and he has two passages mentioning Jesus and his brother, which is kind of silly if he didn't exist he wouldn't have a brother. So there's no reason to doubt that.


And if we were to take deLayman's claim another step - if we take a mention to equate to an attestation - then Homer's mention of the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis would be an historical attestation to the existence of such creatures.

Meta =&gt; O brother! That is the most convoluted reasoning I've ever seen! Homer wasn't making "mention" of histoircal facts, he was bard! The Gospels are not part of a bardic tradition. Totally totally different things.


Herodotus also mentioned winged serpents in Egypt. I wonder if deLayman would consider that historical mention also an historical attestation? Most likely not. Then if not, then how can deLayman insist that a mention by Josephus is the same as an attestation?


Meta =&gt; that is such fariscal reasoning! Josephus was speaking of histoircal events of his day, Heroditus was passing on legonds which he knew to be legonds, That's the whole idea of Heroditos to demythologize mythology. Josephus was dealing in history there is no question of that.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Back to this mystery document that Josephus allegedly used. Why would anyone assume such a Jewish/Roman document in the first place? No such document has ever been located; no mention of it has ever been found in any other text whatsoever.
</font>

Meta =&gt; I don't pretend to know what his sources were, but there is no good reason not to assume he had access to the basic facts. You guys will go to any lengths, say anything, make any argument however incredulous to deny the simple fact that hsitorians have accepted for 2000 years, that Jesus was a real guy and everyone in his area knew about him!


It is a source whose existence is only asserted because christians need help getting out of an embarrassing tight spot.


Meta =&gt; What tight spot? The major historian of that period mentions Jesus twice and that blows your silly deniel of his existence which is an utterly absurd and nuncessary argument any way, so get over it! You are the one in the tight spot, but it's a spot of your own making. When I was an atheist it didn't borther me in the least to think that Jesus has been a real guy. So what? Why is that so alarming for you?


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Christians desperately want to claim that Josephus is an authentic reference, but they need to paint an excuse as to why Josephus left out a mention to the resurrection. Presto - postulate a new document. There is no other reason to speculate that any such document exists at all, except to satisfy the above requirement.</font>

Meta =&gt; Did he? My version has him mentioning the resurrection. Why assume that is part of the emmendation? He doesn't say he believes it he's just saying what his followers calimed. If he did leave it out it might have been because he thought it would just strike the Romans as incredulous and they would think him a fool for wasting time some lunatic, not understanding the political importance of his life.

There's no reason to assume he didn't mention him and no one challenges the other mention, the one with James in it.
 
Old 04-18-2001, 05:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Meta =&gt; I dont' know what he said, but I would say that the allusion to Chrit's miracles was either an emmendation or sarcasim. Josephus could have easily known that it was calimed that Jesus was a miracle worker.
</font>
Those are two valid possibilities, in my opinion. But in neither case is it a testimony to anything; it is either:

(a) a falsehood, or
(b) a hearsay repetition of someone else's unsubstantiated claims.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Consider the Q document itself. It makes no mention of the resurrection.

Meta =&gt; That's a deceptive argument, because fist, it was not a Gospel but a saying source, so it doesn't describe any events or talk about any naratival action. Seocndly, since we don't have any such document you can't be sure what it does nor does not say.
</font>
First, even if we assume your statement (Q is merely a sayings source) is correct, your argument is still bogus. Why? Because it amounts to admitting that there were no sayings written down about the resurrection - given the centrality of that event to Christian belief, how likely is your scenario?

Your second objection is also off-base. The hypothetical reconstruction of the Q document is what we work with today. What you are implying is that there might have been such sayings about the resurrection in the original, but that those sayings were not employed by any of the writers. That the writers saw no point in using any of that material, even though it concerned the central, fundamental event in Christian theology. Again: how likely is your explanation in light of that?


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Yet I am sure that deLayman and his buddies would insist that it was a product of interviews with Christian sources. How is it, then, that the Q document can be derived from first-hand Christian accounts, and yet it makes no mention of the resurrection?

Meta =&gt; Q can be derived from first hand Christian acconts, what does that mean? Q Is merely a hypothetical document that is taken from a list of saying in the Gospels, it could have gotten into the narrative in any number of ways, it may have been oral or witten, but what accounts?
</font>
It means that Q was written as a result of interviewing Christians, instead of talking to 3rd parties or looking up records. For that reason, it should mention the resurrection. That is what deLayman and his buddies tell us proves that Josephus did not have a Christian source - the failure to mention that topic.

What I am saying is that a failure to mention the resurrection doesn't prove anything about who the sources were, either for the Q document or for the Josephus passage. It's simply impossible to know why neither text mentions that topic.

And the reason that point (in bold, above) is important is because it demonstrates how shoddy and flimsy the assumptions are that deLayman and his buddies use. Their so-called "tools" of textual criticism hang on the slimmest of threads.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
deLayman and his buddies have stated that there were different passion narratives floating around at the time, and they offer that as a reason why no passion narrative was included in the Q document. But is that really plausible?

Meta =&gt; I doubt that they said that.
</font>
Sure they did.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
The most logical reason is becasue Q was not a narrative! It was a list of sayings! In fact it might be the Gospel of Thomas which is just a list of sayings. No action, no plot, no story, just sayings.
</font>
And again: your argument amounts to telling us that there were no sayings connected to the resurrection; given the centrality of that event in Christian theology, how likely is that?


 
Old 04-18-2001, 05:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
deLayman has also stated that a historial mention is the same as a historical attestation. By doing this, he hopes to equate Josephus' mention to an affirmative attestation for Christ and miracles. But is that really viable? Is a historical mention the same as an attestation?


Meta =&gt; Yes, although that term usually applies to texts having more than one copy.
</font>
Multiple mentions are not historical attestations.

If they were, then we'd have to admit that sea monsters, ghosts and witches exist, because we have multiple references to all of these from independent sources.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
We know that Josephus included errors and distortions in his work, so granting him prima facia benefit of the doubt is simply not reasonable.


Meta =&gt; That's absurd. No historian would ever think that way.
</font>
Of course they do; absolutely they do. Any historian is aware of the problems and biases of his/her sources. And a good historian is on the lookout for areas where the flaws of the source intrude into the work, and he/she compensates for those sources accordingly. You are amazingly ignorant of such a basic premise.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
And if we were to take deLayman's claim another step - if we take a mention to equate to an attestation - then Homer's mention of the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis would be an historical attestation to the existence of such creatures.

Meta =&gt; O brother! That is the most convoluted reasoning I've ever seen! Homer wasn't making "mention" of histoircal facts, he was bard! The Gospels are not part of a bardic tradition. Totally totally different things.
</font>
The existence of the sea monsters was a historical reference found inside the body of an epic poem; that does not make them fiction. His writings also mention Troy; does that mean that Troy was a fictitious place? Homer was a poet, but that does not mean he was writing deliberate fiction. Your criticism is baseless.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Herodotus also mentioned winged serpents in Egypt. I wonder if deLayman would consider that historical mention also an historical attestation? Most likely not. Then if not, then how can deLayman insist that a mention by Josephus is the same as an attestation?


Meta =&gt; that is such fariscal reasoning! Josephus was speaking of histoircal events of his day, Heroditus was passing on legonds which he knew to be legonds,
</font>
Absolutely incorrect. Herodotus was doing no such thing.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
That's the whole idea of Heroditos to demythologize mythology.
</font>
Utter nonsense. You are 100% ignorant of the topic here, Metacrock.

Herodotus' work was intended to explain the causes of the Greco-Persian war. It had nothing to do with de-mythologizing anything. His work was a historical enterprise; that is precisely why he titled it "The Histories". Sheesh.

www.britannica.com, the article on Herodotus:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Qualities as a historian.
Herodotus was a great traveler with an eye for detail, a good geographer, a man with an indefatigable interest in the customs and past history of his fellowmen, and a man of the widest tolerance, with no bias for the Greeks and against the barbarians. He was neither naive nor easily credulous. It is this which makes the first half of his work not only so readable but of such historical importance. In the second half he is largely, but by no means only, writing military history, and it is evident that he knew little of military matters. Yet he understood at least one essential of the strategy of Xerxes' invasion, the Persians' dependence on their fleet though they came by land, and therefore Herodotus understood the decisive importance of the naval battle at Salamis. Similarly, in his political summaries he is commonly content with explaining events on the basis of trivial personal motives, yet here again he understood certain essentials: that the political meaning of the struggle between the great territorial empire of Persia and the small Greek states was not one of Greek independence only but the rule of law as the Greeks understood it; and that the political importance of the Battle of Marathon for the Greek world was that it foreshadowed the rise of Athens (confirmed by Salamis) to a position of equality and rivalry with Sparta and the end of the long-accepted primacy of the latter. He knew that war was not only a question of victory or defeat, glorious as the Greek victory was, but brought its own consequences in its train, including the internal quarrels and rivalry between the leading Greek city-states, quarreling that was to later culminate in the devastating internecine strife of the Peloponnesian War (431404 BC).

</font>
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Back to this mystery document that Josephus allegedly used. Why would anyone assume such a Jewish/Roman document in the first place? No such document has ever been located; no mention of it has ever been found in any other text whatsoever.


Meta =&gt; I don't pretend to know what his sources were, but there is no good reason not to assume he had access to the basic facts. You guys will go to any lengths, say anything, make any argument however incredulous to deny the simple fact that hsitorians have accepted for 2000 years, that Jesus was a real guy and everyone in his area knew about him!
</font>
Your complaint is baseless. My original point was merely this: that the Josephus quotation is not an external, independent historical witness to Christ's miracles.

I have deleted the rest of your ranting, since you missed my point long ago and degraded into your own mistaken musings.


 
 

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