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Old 05-26-2001, 01:03 PM   #1
Toto
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Post Nomad/Brian's last entry in the debate on the Jesus Puzzle

In Brian Trafford's last post, he claims that Earl Doherty gives a late dating to Acts "with a wave of his hand."

Actually, Doherty spends a significant amount of time in his book discussing this issue. Layman and I had a discussion of it on two different threads that Nomad must have missed because he was so busy. You may disagree with his analysis, but it is much more than a "wave of the hand."

Earl D's Argument from Silence

and

Earl D.' Late Dating of Acts

I think this shows up a weakness in the debate. For a productive debate, I would expect Doherty's challenger to actually read his book and understand his arguments first, before lauching an attack. Nomad, however, clearly started with the idea that the mythicist case is rubbish, and is just taking pot shots wherever he thinks he can score.
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Old 05-26-2001, 01:52 PM   #2
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Hello Toto

I have read Doherty's argument, and now I will tell you why they are hand waving.

From Doherty's articles tell me that you understand the reasons most commonly given for an earlier dating (i.e. late 1st Century) for the Gospels. If you see him actually addressing those arguments, then I would say that he has done his homework, and actually understands the issues from all sides.

If he has not, he is waving his hands in the air, giving a one sided presentation, and those that know nothing about the dating of ancient documents may (or may not) be impressed.

Thanks,

Nomad

P.S. Add to your inquiry, the question, does Doherty address the evidence for dating the Gospel and the pre-Gospel tradition to the early to mid 1st Century. These two arguments are related. If you see that he has not done this, then it is important to ask why. After all, if the Gospel story is contemporaneous with Paul, then Earl's theories are going to look pathetic. Would you like to discuss this issue with me? I will be starting a thread shortly, and would like to see if any of the sceptics here are prepared to defend a late dating for the Gospels, and a complete absense of the pre-Gospel traditions before their composition.

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 26, 2001).]
 
Old 05-26-2001, 02:11 PM   #3
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Here is one of Brian's misreadings from his last post to Doherty. I've capitalized part of Doherty's comment below to emphasize it.

Doherty said: "This doxology may have been added later, by a pseudo-Pauline writer. (Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones BUILD ON Paul's thought.)"

Brian then tried to clarify what this statement meant, as if it weren't already clear. In Brian's words, "Are you talking about all of the epistles attributed to Paul, including the Pastorals, or only the undisputed letters? And by this statement do you mean that anything found within these letters would be reasonably attributed to Paul as one of his beliefs? In other words, if Paul did not write, say, 2 Thessalonians, or the Pastorals, would you agree that the theology and ideas given in this letter could still be safely attributed to Paul himself? The answer to this question would help a great deal in this debate."

Brian then took Doherty's lack of reply to this point to be an indication that he agreed with Brian's misreading. In Brian's words (I highlight the term "represents" for emphasis), "At no point later in other posts did Earl withdraw this statement. What does it mean? Very simply, ANYTHING we find in ANY Pauline Epistle, even if it was not written by Paul himself, REPRESENTS Paul's thought. Therefore, if 1 Timothy (clearly a Pauline letter, even if it is pseudonymous), refers to Jesus as a human being, then the game is up. Earl's case collapses. On this basis I do not know why he tries to re-insert his argument about a late dating for 1 Timothy, except to raise yet another smoke screen."

Then no less than four more times in Brian's post he argued that because all the ideas in 1 Timothy "go back" to or "represent" Paul's thought, the reference to Pilate must also and hence this reference cannot be an interpolation. Here are Brian's four uses of this argument (I capitalize the crucial phrase in each to highlight it):

"Now, has Earl addressed my arguments for the probable non-interpolation of 1 Timothy 6:13? No, he has not. He restates his assertion that it might be an interpolation, but in failing to refute my arguments (or even to address them), I consider my point to have been sufficiently proven. I have offered evidence for legitimacy. Earl himself has admitted that a legitimate reference in any Pauline letter should be TRACED BACK to Paul himself. As they say in the courts, the case is closed."

"On this basis, Earl's argument fails yet again, and interpolated or not, the passage REPRESENTS Paul's thought."

"Since I have already shown why it does not matter if 1 Timothy is late, or even that it may have been interpolated (using Earl's own admission that the Paulines REPRESENT the school of Paul's thoughts), then his argument here is irrelevant."

"The problem, of course, is that it does not have to be early, unless Earl has changed his mind about the pseudonymous Paulines coming from the Pauline 'school', and thereby REPRESENTING Paul's thought."

Now let's go back to what Doherty actually said: "Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones BUILD ON Paul's thought." Since virtually anything can be built on anything, Nomad's claim is not implied by Doherty's comment and is in fact an obvious misreading. Doherty never said that all the ideas in later epistles "represent" his thoughts INTACT. He said the later thoughts BUILD ON Paul's own.

Now even assuming Doherty didn't clarify this comment at Brian's request (I can't remember if he did or didn't), Doherty had no obligation to do so. It's impossible to reply to every single point from an opponent's long post, especially when this opponent makes so very many questionable statements, misrepresentations and fallacies, and misuses so many terms. And yet Brian took Doherty's silence on this point (if indeed Doherty was silent) as a concession of the point, and was so confident in this that he repeated the argument four times in his post. But obviously Brian's point doesn't follow from Doherty's, and a clarification of this shouldn't have been necessary.



[This message has been edited by Earl (edited May 26, 2001).]
 
Old 05-26-2001, 03:41 PM   #4
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Brian,

As a purely subjective observation, I find a lot of unnecessary verbage in your posts, which I (personally) find frustrating, and I truly don't know if this is your style or you're just trying to confuse. In other words, why not just cut to the point and await a reply?

For example, you just replied to Toto
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"From Doherty's articles tell me that you understand the reasons most commonly given for an earlier dating (i.e. late 1st Century) for the Gospels. If you see him actually addressing those arguments, then I would say that he has done his homework, and actually understands the issues from all sides.

If he has not, he is waving his hands in the air, giving a one sided presentation, and those that know nothing about the dating of ancient documents may (or may not) be impressed.

Thanks,

Nomad
</font>
Everything after the first sentence of that reply is attack, argument and commentary IMHO, and quite worthless in an honest exchange. Agree?
 
Old 05-26-2001, 06:27 PM   #5
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Once again we see Philip in action, having returned from the Great Red Herring Sale on the Web.

Philip? Did you read the title of this thread, and the topic given by Toto? Since your post is completely off topic, I would suggest that you start a new thread, and title it "Quibbles and Bits from Earl" or some such.

In any event, let's take care of this nonsense quickly.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

Doherty said: "This doxology may have been added later, by a pseudo-Pauline writer. (Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones BUILD ON Paul's thought.)"

Brian then tried to clarify what this statement meant, as if it weren't already clear. In Brian's words, "Are you talking about all of the epistles attributed to Paul, including the Pastorals, or only the undisputed letters? And by this statement do you mean that anything found within these letters would be reasonably attributed to Paul as one of his beliefs? In other words, if Paul did not write, say, 2 Thessalonians, or the Pastorals, would you agree that the theology and ideas given in this letter could still be safely attributed to Paul himself? The answer to this question would help a great deal in this debate."</font>
Right, so far so good. Anyone that has read the debate would see this. Thanks for reposting it here.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Brian then took Doherty's lack of reply to this point to be an indication that he agreed with Brian's misreading.</font>
Wait Philip, it is not a "misreading" when I am asking for clarification. Doherty gave no reply, so I accepted his silence as being general agreement with my understanding of what he had said.

Just so that I can help you beter understand how I interpreted Doherty's statement, IF he is saying that the pseudonymous Paulines are buliding on Paul's thoughts, and come from a Pauline school, then I believe it is very reasonable to assume that Doherty means that the pseudonymous writings represent Paul's thoughts.

If this is NOT what Doherty means, then I would like to hear it from him, since I do not believe that a reasonable understanding of Doherty's words would be that building on Paul's thoughts would include contradicting Paul's ideas.

So, let's consider Doherty's main thesis:

Paul did not believe in a human Jesus, but rather, a heavenly one that lived and died and rose again on a Platonic heavenly plane.

The Paulines that build on Paul's thoughts would then NOT be expected to show that Jesus did, in fact, live here on earth.

The passages he wishes to dispute clearly tell us that Jesus lived and died here on earth (see, for example, 1 Timothy 6:13 and 1 Thesselonians 2:14-16). Therefore, if these are building on Paul's thoughts, this is one thing. If they are contradicting Paul this is another. I would like to know from Doherty which he believes to be the case. As it stands right now, I think that he believes that they build on Paul's ideas.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> In Brian's words (I highlight the term "represents" for emphasis), "At no point later in other posts did Earl withdraw this statement. What does it mean? Very simply, ANYTHING we find in ANY Pauline Epistle, even if it was not written by Paul himself, REPRESENTS Paul's thought. Therefore, if 1 Timothy (clearly a Pauline letter, even if it is pseudonymous), refers to Jesus as a human being, then the game is up. Earl's case collapses. On this basis I do not know why he tries to re-insert his argument about a late dating for 1 Timothy, except to raise yet another smoke screen."</font>
Right again, directly from my post in the debate.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Then no less than four more times in Brian's post he argued that because all the ideas in 1 Timothy "go back" to or "represent" Paul's thought, the reference to Pilate must also and hence this reference cannot be an interpolation. Here are Brian's four uses of this argument (I capitalize the crucial phrase in each to highlight it):

{Snip referneces, available in my post}

Now let's go back to what Doherty actually said: "Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones BUILD ON Paul's thought." Since virtually anything can be built on anything, Nomad's claim is not implied by Doherty's comment and is in fact an obvious misreading.</font>
Umm... no Philip. Again, I do think that your effort to defend Doherty, and to save him from his own errors and contradictions is truly noble, but I think that it is best to let him speak for himself on these things.

Perhaps you could write to him, have him confirm your own view, and let us know. In the meantime, try not to blow any more smoke and confuse people with your red herrings.

Just as an aside, do you think that the phrases "build on" and "contradicts" are compatible in this situation? If so, I would love to see how you rationalize this.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Doherty never said that all the ideas in later epistles "represent" his thoughts INTACT. He said the later thoughts BUILD ON Paul's own.</font>
Check. Now, from your mind reading of what Doherty meant when he said this, what do you think he was saying? Does "build on", in this case, mean "directly contradicts"?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Now even assuming Doherty didn't clarify this comment at Brian's request (I can't remember if he did or didn't), Doherty had no obligation to do so. It's impossible to reply to every single point from an opponent's long post, especially when this opponent makes so very many questionable statements, misrepresentations and fallacies, and misuses so many terms.</font>
Hmm... and now we have a kettle calling the pot black. How cute. My question was an easy one Philip, all he has to do is say 'yes, that is what I meant', or 'no, I meant something else', then tell us what he meant.

In the meantime, I do not see my understanding of his words to be erroneous.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> And yet Brian took Doherty's silence on this point (if indeed Doherty was silent) as a concession of the point, and was so confident in this that he repeated the argument four times in his post. But obviously Brian's point doesn't follow from Doherty's, and a clarification of this shouldn't have been necessary.</font>
Of course my reading of his plain english follows from Doherty's argument Philip. Keep bailing though, you may save the day yet.

BTW, Doherty did not clarify his point. I have read his posts.

Nomad

P.S. I really am curious about what you are trying to do here Philip. Your guy came, he saw, he left. I know that you are disappointed, and I know that you lack the time to step into the gap. But this constant carping, red herring raising and quibbling is very odd. Could you possibly help me understand what your objective is here, because I really don't have a clue what you are hoping to achieve.
 
Old 05-26-2001, 06:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by joedad:
Brian,

As a purely subjective observation, I find a lot of unnecessary verbage in your posts, which I (personally) find frustrating, and I truly don't know if this is your style or you're just trying to confuse. In other words, why not just cut to the point and await a reply?

For example, you just replied to Toto
"From Doherty's articles tell me that you understand the reasons most commonly given for an earlier dating (i.e. late 1st Century) for the Gospels. If you see him actually addressing those arguments, then I would say that he has done his homework, and actually understands the issues from all sides.

If he has not, he is waving his hands in the air, giving a one sided presentation, and those that know nothing about the dating of ancient documents may (or may not) be impressed.

Thanks,

Nomad


Everything after the first sentence of that reply is attack, argument and commentary IMHO, and quite worthless in an honest exchange. Agree?</font>
No.

Nomad
 
Old 05-26-2001, 07:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
. . .From Doherty's articles tell me that you understand the reasons most commonly given for an earlier dating (i.e. late 1st Century) for the Gospels. . . .

. . .. Would you like to discuss this issue with me? I will be starting a thread shortly, and would like to see if any of the sceptics here are prepared to defend a late dating for the Gospels, and a complete absense of the pre-Gospel traditions before their composition.

</font>
Nomad, I specifically mentioned the dating of Luke-Acts, not the Gospels in general, or the pre-Gospel traditions. I do not think that a late first century date for Mark destroys the mythicist case.

I am not sure that I want to get into the details of dating the Gospels at this time. Haven't you already started several threads on that topic? Is there really much more to say about what the best guess is for their dates?

And Earl is commenting on your last post in the JP debate, just like the title says. How is it off-topic?

It's a holiday in this country (not sure what you do in Canada this weekend.) Take a rest.

[This message has been edited by Toto (edited May 26, 2001).]
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Old 05-26-2001, 08:57 PM   #8
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NOMAD: Once again we see Philip in action, having returned from the Great Red Herring Sale on the Web.

EARL: Do you know what the term "red herring" means, Nomad? I pointed out a questionable argument you repeated four times in your post to Doherty. This thread is entitled "Nomad/Brian's last entry in the debate on the Jesus Puzzle." I take it that criticism of that post in this thread is permitted. Don't you get dizzy reversing the truth so thoroughly?



NOMAD: Philip? Did you read the title of this thread, and the topic given by Toto? Since your post is completely off topic, I would suggest that you start a new thread, and title it "Quibbles and Bits from Earl" or some such.

EARL: Off which topic, genius, a thread about your last post to Doherty?



NOMAD: If this is NOT what Doherty means, then I would like to hear it from him, since I do not believe that a reasonable understanding of Doherty's words would be that building on Paul's thoughts would include contradicting Paul's ideas.

So, let's consider Doherty's main thesis:

Paul did not believe in a human Jesus, but rather, a heavenly one that lived and died and rose again on a Platonic heavenly plane.

The Paulines that build on Paul's thoughts would then NOT be expected to show that Jesus did, in fact, live here on earth.

EARL: The term "building on" does not entail that the subsequent construction has to resemble the original plan or idea exactly and to the letter. Doherty's language didn't restrict him to mean that the later epistles had to "represent" Paul's ideas intact with no additions. That meaning is simply not inherent in "building on." Yet instead of realizing that Doherty might have been silent on this point because he wanted to focus on others and couldn't conceivably reply to every single confusion you present in your posts, you went ahead and misrepresented Doherty four more times in your post. If Doherty had said that the later epistles "represented" Paul's ideas intact you would have had a good point. But that's clearly not what Doherty said. Doherty's point was an off-hand one, made in brackets about the irrelevance of the identity of the later epistles' authors, because they were all from the same "school"--and Doherty put that word "school" in quotation marks, indicating the group was not a totalitarian empire or some such thing, demanding rigid copying from Paul and an exclusion of additional ideas, such as the view that Jesus was an historical individual. Obviously this wasn't clear to you, but it was to me and I wager it was clear to many other readers.

Judge for yourself. Here's Doherty's exact words once again: "This doxology may have been added later, by a pseudo-Pauline writer. (Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones build on Paul's thought.)"

 
Old 05-26-2001, 09:16 PM   #9
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Fair enough, Philip sees this as a catch all thread on my last post. I saw Toto trying to focus the discussion on the dating of Acts. On the other hand, I wonder how many topics we would like to discuss under one heading, but let's see what happens.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

NOMAD: If this is NOT what Doherty means, then I would like to hear it from him, since I do not believe that a reasonable understanding of Doherty's words would be that building on Paul's thoughts would include contradicting Paul's ideas.

So, let's consider Doherty's main thesis:

Paul did not believe in a human Jesus, but rather, a heavenly one that lived and died and rose again on a Platonic heavenly plane.

The Paulines that build on Paul's thoughts would then NOT be expected to show that Jesus did, in fact, live here on earth.

EARL: The term "building on" does not entail that the subsequent construction has to resemble the original plan or idea exactly and to the letter.</font>
Well, since when does "building on" entail directly contradicting Paul's entire belief system?

If you will answer this question for me, then you can show how I somehow "misrepresented" Doherty's views.

BTW, have you written Doherty to find out what he meant by this phrase, or are you just making this up as you go?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Doherty's language didn't restrict him to mean that the later epistles had to "represent" Paul's ideas intact with no additions. That meaning is simply not inherent in "building on."</font>
You mean building to the point of contradicting Paul? Are you being serious here Philip?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Yet instead of realizing that Doherty might have been silent on this point because he wanted to focus on others and couldn't conceivably reply to every single confusion you present in your posts, you went ahead and misrepresented Doherty four more times in your post.</font>
Until you demonstrate that Doherty could not possibly have meant that "building on" means "staying consistent" with Paul's thoughts, then I would suggest you withdraw your charge that I somehow misrepresented him.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If Doherty had said that the later epistles "represented" Paul's ideas intact you would have had a good point. But that's clearly not what Doherty said. Doherty's point was an off-hand one, made in brackets about the irrelevance of the identity of the later epistles' authors, because they were all from the same "school"--and Doherty put that word "school" in quotation marks, indicating the group was not a totalitarian empire or some such thing, demanding rigid copying from Paul and an exclusion of additional ideas, such as the view that Jesus was an historical individual.</font>
How do you know this? Have you communicated with Doherty, or are you guessing?

If the Pauline "school" (presumably founded by Paul and his disciples) decided to contradict their own teachers single most important theological view, and did so within a few years of his death, then perhaps Paul was not as clear in his original view as Doherty would like us to believe.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Obviously this wasn't clear to you, but it was to me and I wager it was clear to many other readers.</font>
Given your ability to read Doherty's mind, and to offer zero evidence to support your opinions, I think it would be more productive if we heard from him first.

At the same time, if you actually believe that your interesting interpretation of "build on", where it means "directly contradict", and this truly is obvious to others, then I think we have a serious problem on our hands.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Judge for yourself. Here's Doherty's exact words once again: "This doxology may have been added later, by a pseudo-Pauline writer. (Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones build on Paul's thought.)" </font>
Yes, we have read it, and I remain convinced that the best reading of this statement is that Doherty does not care if the words are directly from Paul or not. They represent his thoughts and teachings.

Personally, I cannot wait to see you actually rationalize how 'building on Paul's thoughts' can mean that Paul's school felt free to directly contradict their founder.

BTW, we haven't even gotten to the arguments about who authored these letters. If Paul wrote them himself, things get even more problematic for Doherty. Sadly, he is not here to present his reasons for believing that they are actually pseudonymous. The reason I never brought it up, however, was that his statement told me that it didn't really matter. In Doherty's own words:

Who was the exact author isn't important here; all these epistles come from a Pauline 'school', and the later ones build on Paul's thought.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 26, 2001).]
 
Old 05-26-2001, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

Nomad, I specifically mentioned the dating of Luke-Acts, not the Gospels in general, or the pre-Gospel traditions. I do not think that a late first century date for Mark destroys the mythicist case.</font>
Toto

Since the dating of Luke/Acts is directly connected to the dating of Mark (remember, Luke borrowed from Mark according to Doherty), then the dating of ALL of the Gospels is critical.

Further, if John is independent of Mark, then things get even trickier for Doherty's theories.

All of that said...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I am not sure that I want to get into the details of dating the Gospels at this time. Haven't you already started several threads on that topic? Is there really much more to say about what the best guess is for their dates?</font>
I do not know if there is much more to be said. Thus far no one has challenged my dating of the Gospels to mid 50's to 60's, and if that remains the case, then Doherty's dating of these works into the 2nd Century looks very weak indeed.

After all, if no one is prepared to defend 2nd Century dates, then it is pretty hard for anyone here to say that they think they were written so late, right?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And Earl is commenting on your last post in the JP debate, just like the title says. How is it off-topic?</font>
No sweat. This is a catch-all thread. I had mistakenly thought you wanted to focus on the dating of Luke/Acts.

Have a good holiday. Monday is a work day for us Canucks.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 26, 2001).]
 
 

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