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 06-10-2001, 03:35 AM   #1
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Question How much can be argued?

I was just wondering if many of you would indulge me in a little poll. I don't often get to read messages in full (as they are many and often long) so it's often hard to sort everyone out. My question is this:

How much of the New Testament stories can be verified as being true and what authors would you say represent your stand on the issues fairly well? For example, are you of the Charlesworth camp, who stated the resurrection is only known through faith, not historically, or the Craig/Habermas camp, who argue the resurrection can be historically argued. The other end of this, of course, would be those who hold the NT is just a bunch of religious hogwash or even those who are religious, but not Christian.

For my own part, as of now, I'm maintaining my stand as being one who does find truth to the religious experience but nothing miraculous can be argued historically, probability being a big factor. Although I'm positioning myself as thinking Jesus existed, I'm either leaning to him being a very obscure figure (ala Mack) or being totally mythical (ala Wells and Doherty). But this latter position is only something I've been seriously investigating for the past few months and don't want to accept it without sincere attention. Authors whose opinions I respect are Spong, Hick, Crossan, Lane Fox, Borg, Mack, Maccoby, Sanders, and Doherty.

Thanks for any responses but I please ask we stay on topic and not turn this thread into a peeing match, just an informational thread concerning many of the posters here for easy reference. Thanks!
 
Old 06-10-2001, 05:19 AM   #2
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Logan:
I was just wondering if many of you would indulge me in a little poll. I don't often get to read messages in full (as they are many and often long) so it's often hard to sort everyone out. My question is this:

How much of the New Testament stories can be verified as being true and what authors would you say represent your stand on the issues fairly well? For example, are you of the Charlesworth camp, who stated the resurrection is only known through faith, not historically, or the Craig/Habermas camp, who argue the resurrection can be historically argued. The other end of this, of course, would be those who hold the NT is just a bunch of religious hogwash or even those who are religious, but not Christian.

For my own part, as of now, I'm maintaining my stand as being one who does find truth to the religious experience but nothing miraculous can be argued historically, probability being a big factor. Although I'm positioning myself as thinking Jesus existed, I'm either leaning to him being a very obscure figure (ala Mack) or being totally mythical (ala Wells and Doherty). But this latter position is only something I've been seriously investigating for the past few months and don't want to accept it without sincere attention. Authors whose opinions I respect are Spong, Hick, Crossan, Lane Fox, Borg, Mack, Maccoby, Sanders, and Doherty.

Thanks for any responses but I please ask we stay on topic and not turn this thread into a peeing match, just an informational thread concerning many of the posters here for easy reference. Thanks!
</font>
At the risk of having this thread turn into a trip to the urinal, I will say that I agree with much of your commentary. (I don't find any "truth in the religious experience" myself.)

I think that IF there is any historically accurate information in the NT, it most certainly comes from the narrative written by a person known simply as "Mark." (There may be some history in "John" as well, but only in tiny chunks.) I agree with
Guignebert's view that it is highly unlikely that a follower of Jesus would have made up the negative picture that is painted of him in "Mark." (Guignebert thought that very fact was a more powerful argument for Jesus' existence as a historical person than any other.) Any person who takes the time to read "Mark" will see that Jesus is a highly problematic character--one who has few socially redeeming characteristics. That, to me, indicates that he probably existed. (It would also explain very well why Paul says very little about the man.)

Also, I think your choice of scholars/commentators is a good one. I would add that the following have made an impression on my thinking: Bart D. Ehrman, Charles Guignebert, F. C. Conybeare, Helmut Koester, Alfred Loisy, Rudolf Bultmann, David E. Aune, Robert H. Pfeiffer, and Michael Grant.

rodahi

 
Old 06-10-2001, 08:36 AM   #3
Lance
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Overland Park, KS USA
Posts: 335
Wink

Logan: I think it depends to a degree on exactly what you're wanting verified historically. If you're asking was there a city of Bethleham (just an example people!!!) at this time, it would be reasonably easy to verify.

But that's probably not the core issue. The core issue, from your question, would be the historical value of the resurrection accounts.

Here I would have to argue that there is very little proof that survives that has any integrity. Part of the problem is that the timeframe is so large, another part of the problem has been that the majority of these documents have been solely in the posession of people who have said that lying to advance the faith is okay. So...would you completely trust them? No.

I personally believe there was a person at the bottom of the Christ myths. However I think the resurrection accounts themselves belong firmly in the myth and legend categories. And whats more, until we invent a way to actually look back into the past, there is now way to know for sure. (Even if we had that ability, the hard-core believer would dismiss such technology as a "tool of satan".)
Lance is offline  
Old 06-11-2001, 03:22 AM   #4
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Lance and Rodahi,

Thanks for the responses.

Rodahi, I've recently "discovered" Ehrman myself. I checked out his historical introduction to the New Testament and it looks as if it covers many pertinent topics in one book. Very impressed on first scanning. Particularly liked how he addresses miracles and the historian (basic problem: probability).

Lance, yes, the bulk of the question would be addressed to the more miraculous aspects of the Bible, Jesus resurrection being the major one in the minds of many believers.
 
Old 06-11-2001, 06:44 AM   #5
Lance
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Overland Park, KS USA
Posts: 335
Cool

Logan: The best way to analyze the resurrection is simply to read the accounts and attempt to account for the facts.

If you do a who/what/when/where on the 5 accounts recorded in the bible, you will find very quickly the level of agreement at any level of detail is non-existant.

Then ask yourself WHO wrote the accounts? The true answer is that we don't know as they are all "attributed".

Then look at the source documents. The closest document *might* date to within 30 years of the event and more likely is closer to 50-80 years. This could imply that these accounts are not even first hand accounts but second hand or more retellings. (Ask yourself at this time how well you'd be able to recount something from 30 years ago without royally hashing the details.) Furthermore, if I remember correctly, the gospels are all in greek. Which wasn't the native language of the area. So this isn't even a Jewish/Christian perspective, but a greek one. Also, we really don't know if we have 5 independent accounts or just one or two. The history is that muddled.

Another question to ask here is why is there no secular historical validation? Cities and villages is trivial, yet its a fact Christians trumpet loudly. There are roughly 5 historical sources that are even close in time that could be construed to even mention a Christ figure (most mention Christians) and the one closets (Josephus) has clearly been altered in some places later in time.

Lastly, there is the integrity factor. Do you believe a person who routinely lies? Do you trust a person who if you don't agree with their belief, would cheerfully kill you? Do you trust a person who would tell you that lying to advance their cause is correct? Harsh words, but these describe the Christian church for most of its historical existance.

I'd suggest reading many of the valid secular criticisms of the bible and Christianity as a whole. It will help you become more acquainted with the various arguments put forth, both pro and con.
Lance is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:57 PM.

Top

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