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Old 02-20-2001, 10:33 AM   #21
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Thank you for addressing the list of Pauline references. You are the first skeptic to do so. Congratulations. You seem to be right about the "third" day reference. I apologize, but will look into it more.

I assume you mean the first skeptic in this forum, right? I mean, Doherty has a long discussion of the problems, Spong has a whole book on the resurrection myth. There are others.

What a list like yours demonstrates is that the number of references to real events of Jesus is so slim that it can easily be put in a list like yours. What if we made a list of major events not in Paul? Which would be longer?

Actually, the reason I didn't address all your points is that I didn't look all of them up. Didn't mean for you to take them as admissions. I am sorry. I'll look them all up tonight, I promise.

I am not sure you are getting the central issues here. MacDonald has a theory. He thinks that Mark used Homer as his outline for his Gospel. In order to prove his point, he then looks for every similarity he can find, no matter how mundane, and gives readings that often require at least a well developed imagination in order to make them fit.

Nomad, I think it is you who has missed the central issues here. MacDonald does NOT THINK MARK USED HOMER AS THE OUTLINE FOR HIS GOSPEL!!!! Here it is again:

MacDonald thinks Mark drew on Homer, in an EPISODIC fashion, as a framework for major episodes, a few characters, and other things in the story he is telling. It ain't Homer with the serial numbers filed off. Obviously Homer is not the outline -- we could list dozens of episodes in Homer not found in Mark.

But why can we find so many episodes from Mark and relate them to Homer? Why do the events in the story again and again match the order of events in Homer, sometimes even the vocabulary and many details? For example, in the "calming the sea" passage, they both sleep at the stern on rugs/cushions. Why the details "stern" and "sleep" and "cushions?" Think of all the other ways there would be present such a story. For example, why not have Jesus raise the storm? That would be much more impressive! But no, the storm appears and Jesus takes the place of Aeolus, showing his superiority to Odysseus, who needed help to deal with a storm. Why is the sequence of events the same? Why does the narrative (in some cases not posted here) switch from 1st person to 3rd at the same points? Or use flashbacks?

MacDonald used the same technique to uncover the Homeric allusions in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew. They are based on several criteria:
accessibility (did the author have the text)
analogy (was it a much imitated plot event)
density (volume of contacts, weighty ones being more important)
order (do events follow the same sequence)
distinctiveness (are distinctive elements retained)
interpretability (does the hypotext --homer-- help use make sense of the hypertext --Mark)

Now, you can squirm about the independence of John or the Pauline information, but the fact is that MacDonald's case is very strong, at least about Mark. Sarcastic comments like "ancients did travel by boat, you know" only display insecurity.
Read the damn book.

You have certainly missed the boat with the "crossing the sea of galilee in a boat" remark. Why is it followed by arrival on a far shore where livestock graze above, and an encounter with a wild man living in a cave, etc? Why not go to port? Or meet fishermen? Or buy bread? Or go to a well? If it were only the transportation, you'd be right to chuckle, but alas, of all the things Mark could have written, he chose, by coincidence, to have one that can be mapped onto Homer with little or no shoehorning. You guys are whistling past the graveyard, and I detect that you know it in your remarks about how you could reconstruct everything without Mark.

As for John and Mark, I have to go back to the study room. I'll respond to the problems with Paul and John/Mark later tonight. I am swamped with work this afternoon and temps have reached 81 here today, so sitting in front of the computer is that last thing I want to be doing.

I'll leave you with MacDonald's comments that illustrate the reach of his case.
"Furthermore, it strongly suggests the dependence of the Fourth Gospel on the Synoptics, for several of the stories Mark generated from the epics also appear in John, such as the walking on water, the annointing of Jesus by a woman, the cleansing of the Temple, the prayer at Gethesemane, and much of the crucifixion and burial."

Michael
 
Old 02-20-2001, 10:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:

MacDonald thinks Mark drew on Homer, in an EPISODIC fashion, as a framework for major episodes, a few characters, and other things in the story he is telling. It ain't Homer with the serial numbers filed off. Obviously Homer is not the outline -- we could list dozens of episodes in Homer not found in Mark.</font>
And there are dozens of episodes found in Mark that are not found in Homer. That is the whole problem with this theory. I like Ish's idea, and suggest that we look for how many parallels we can find between Mark and any other novel we care to look at.

And you are STILL not getting the main point. How do parallels=fiction? You have not made this connection at all.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But why can we find so many episodes from Mark and relate them to Homer?</font>
Why can we find so many events in the assasination of Kennedy that line up with the assassination of Lincoln? Why can we find so many themes and episodes in many books that line up with other books?

If I may offer a suggestion, you may want to take a look at CS Lewis' book, The Abolition of Man. The list of parallels he draws between the Bible and other religious systems is really quite astonishing.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why do the events in the story again and again match the order of events in Homer, sometimes even the vocabulary and many details?</font>
I covered some of these off. Both are set onor near large bodies of water. Both are set in ancient agrarian societies. If there were not parallels it would be astonishing, but you might as well say the movie Titanic borrowed from the Posieden Adventure because both involved ships that sank.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> For example, in the "calming the sea" passage, they both sleep at the stern on rugs/cushions.</font>
And did Odysseus calm the storm?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why the details "stern" and "sleep" and "cushions?"</font>
People sleep at the stern, and they sleep on cushions. Get serious Michael.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Think of all the other ways there would be present such a story. For example, why not have Jesus raise the storm?</font>
Perhaps because He only calmed it? Sheesh. Mark reported the facts of the story as he knew them. Trying to line them up so that they would match MacDonald's parallel story thesis was probably not high on Mark's list.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> That would be much more impressive! But no, the storm appears and Jesus takes the place of Aeolus, showing his superiority to Odysseus, who needed help to deal with a storm. Why is the sequence of events the same?</font>
You mean why did Jesus have to wake up before He could calm the storm? Perhaps you think He should have done it in His sleep.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why does the narrative (in some cases not posted here) switch from 1st person to 3rd at the same points? Or use flashbacks?</font>
Writers do switch back and forth at times. And yes Michael, coincidences do happen you know.

Finally, the central question remains, how does this prove non-historicity of the events? Even Carrier doesn't believe that. Why do you?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Now, you can squirm about the independence of John or the Pauline information, but the fact is that MacDonald's case is very strong, at least about Mark.</font>
We shall see how strong his case is by how it is received by the scholarly community Michael. Right now things do not look promising for him.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Sarcastic comments like "ancients did travel by boat, you know" only display insecurity.</font>
Hardly. I have been through these debates with the likes of Doherty and Peter Grady (The Jesus Mysteries) first hand, the only thing I get is sick of the conspiracty theories, special pleading, and arguments from silence that they must fall back on in order to make their case for a non-historical Jesus.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You have certainly missed the boat with the "crossing the sea of galilee in a boat" remark. Why is it followed by arrival on a far shore where livestock graze above, and an encounter with a wild man living in a cave, etc?</font>
The wildman lived in a cemetary, not a cave. And the society is agrarian, so we should expect to see animals around.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why not go to port?</font>
What? How many ports are there at the Sea of Galilee?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Or meet fishermen?</font>
Jesus' disciples were fishermen, and most of the boats on the Sea of Galilee are owned by fishermen.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Or buy bread? Or go to a well? If it were only the transportation, you'd be right to chuckle, but alas, of all the things Mark could have written, he chose, by coincidence, to have one that can be mapped onto Homer with little or no shoehorning.</font>
You must be kidding here. Use a little critical thinking please.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You guys are whistling past the graveyard, and I detect that you know it in your remarks about how you could reconstruct everything without Mark.</font>
Sigh. Am I now part of the grand conspiracy too Michael?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">As for John and Mark, I have to go back to the study room. I'll respond to the problems with Paul and John/Mark later tonight.</font>
Thank you. This might help a lot.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I'll leave you with MacDonald's comments that illustrate the reach of his case.
"Furthermore, it strongly suggests the dependence of the Fourth Gospel on the Synoptics, for several of the stories Mark generated from the epics also appear in John, such as the walking on water, the annointing of Jesus by a woman, the cleansing of the Temple, the prayer at Gethesemane, and much of the crucifixion and burial."</font>
And I will leave you with Bede's question:

Why is it that only one person in 2000 years (namely MacDonald) has finally put all of this together when we have had Greek scholars that knew Mark and Homer backwards and forwards, yet didn't think this was a theory worth pursuing?

Maybe they are all in on the conspiracy too eh?

Nomad
 
Old 02-20-2001, 11:13 AM   #23
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Time to demonstrate how astonishing coincidences can be. From:

<A HREF="http://www.abeusa16.com/html/coincidences1.html" TARGET=_blank>Coincidences Between Former Presidents
Eighteen similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy</A>:

1) Both Lincoln and Kennedy were concerned with civil rights.
2) Lincoln was elected President in 1860. Kennedy in 1960.
3) Both were slain on a Friday and in the presence of their wives.
4) Both were shot from behind and in the head.
5) Their successors, both named Johnson, were Southern Democrats and both were in the Senate.
6) Andrew Johnson was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson in 1908.
7) John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839. Lee Harvey Oswald in 1939.
8) Booth and Oswald were Southerners who favored unpopular ideas.
9) Both Presidents lost children through death while in the White House.
10) Lincoln's secretary, whose name was Kennedy, advised him not to go to the theater.
11) Kennedy's secretary, whose name was Lincoln, advised him not to go to Dallas.
12) John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and ran to a warehouse.
13) Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and ran to a theater.
14) The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
15) The names Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson each contain 13 letters.
16) The names John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald each contain 15 letters.
17) Both assassins were killed before being brought to trial.
18) Lincoln was shot in the Ford's Theater. Kennedy was shot in a Ford car. (And, as a matter of fact...it was a Lincoln!)

One is left to wonder how an historian living 2000 years from now and possessing an overactive imagination is going to view this evidence, and how it might affect his judgement that either of these events were historical.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 20, 2001).]
 
Old 02-20-2001, 11:24 AM   #24
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"As for John and Mark, I have to go back to the study room. I'll respond to the problems with Paul and John/Mark later tonight. I am swamped with work this afternoon and temps have reached 81 here today, so sitting in front of the computer is that last thing I want to be doing."

Take your time. Odd as it may seem for this website, you are outnumbered. And I can understand having to cope with a high workload.
 
Old 02-20-2001, 01:43 PM   #25
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Take your time. Odd as it may seem for this website, you are outnumbered.

Yes, it has given me considerable sympathy for your side.

Why is it that only one person in 2000 years (namely MacDonald) has finally put all of this together when we have had Greek scholars that knew Mark and Homer backwards and forwards, yet didn't think this was a theory worth pursuing?

I dunno. I'll give you a two-part answer.

First, the *why* of discovery is always a problem. How is it that it took 70 years of exposure of what is surely the most popular 20th century work, _The Wizard of Oz_ before somebody realized it was a political parody? How come it took 2,200 years for the concept of circulation of the blood to transmit to the West from China? How come of the constellation of advances the Chinese made in nautical technology, the west only adopted some (copper sheathing, compartmentalization) but not others? How come nobody built a camera until 1830, when the necessary chemical and optical knowledge had been around for at least 150 years before that? How come nobody built a hot air ballon in the West until the 18th century, when the necessary materials had been around for a couple of thousand years? How come the Incas worked platinum by sintering, but did not work iron? How come nobody came up with the concept of industrial districts until Marshall in 1920s, when such districts flourished in Europe from medieval times on? How come only the Chinese invented paper? How come they never invented cement? Invention is a really deep historical and individual question (and a very interesting one). I am certain that future ages will marvel at the fact that we had X, but not an FTL drive.

Second, we do not know that "nobody ever thought of this before." Alas, the arguments of the pagans were suppressed. Further, for most of Western history, critical thinking about anything, let alone the Gospel, was verboten. Third, gospel scholarship dates from only 300 years ago. Why didn't anybody formulate the Synoptic problem before recent times? Why was Q only discovered in this century? Heck, you could ask your question about any advance in gospel studies this century!

Coincidences Between Former Presidents: Eighteen similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy:

I appreciate the humor, but it has nothing to do with MacDonald's argument. To use Kennedy-Lincoln in MacDonald's framework, Kennedy would have miraculously survived, and left us with a piece of good news about how much greater he was than Lincoln.

Maybe they are all in on the conspiracy too eh?

You do fine, Nomad, until you get into nonsense like this. The only one here who thinks in conspiracies is you.

Now go read the book, the whole book. As I said, it won't come across in bits and pieces. I am off to research John and Paul.
I may be back tonight, but probably tomorrow, the 21st.

Michael
 
Old 02-20-2001, 02:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Time to demonstrate how astonishing coincidences can be. From:

<A HREF="http://www.abeusa16.com/html/coincidences1.html" TARGET=_blank>Coincidences Between Former Presidents
Eighteen similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy</A>:

1) Both Lincoln and Kennedy were concerned with civil rights.
2) Lincoln was elected President in 1860. Kennedy in 1960.
3) Both were slain on a Friday and in the presence of their wives.
4) Both were shot from behind and in the head.
5) Their successors, both named Johnson, were Southern Democrats and both were in the Senate.
6) Andrew Johnson was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson in 1908.
7) John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839. Lee Harvey Oswald in 1939.
8) Booth and Oswald were Southerners who favored unpopular ideas.
9) Both Presidents lost children through death while in the White House.
10) Lincoln's secretary, whose name was Kennedy, advised him not to go to the theater.
11) Kennedy's secretary, whose name was Lincoln, advised him not to go to Dallas.
12) John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and ran to a warehouse.
13) Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and ran to a theater.
14) The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
15) The names Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson each contain 13 letters.
16) The names John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald each contain 15 letters.
17) Both assassins were killed before being brought to trial.
18) Lincoln was shot in the Ford's Theater. Kennedy was shot in a Ford car. (And, as a matter of fact...it was a Lincoln!)

One is left to wonder how an historian living 2000 years from now and possessing an overactive imagination is going to view this evidence, and how it might affect his judgement that either of these events were historical.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 20, 2001).]
</font>
Nomad, you are obviously missing a rather more dramatic correlation. Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs and Jesus with the Field of Pigs. Hmmm, perhaps a papal conspiracy?
 
Old 02-20-2001, 02:35 PM   #27
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:

Why is it that only one person in 2000 years (namely MacDonald) has finally put all of this together when we have had Greek scholars that knew Mark and Homer backwards and forwards, yet didn't think this was a theory worth pursuing?

I dunno. I'll give you a two-part answer.

First, the *why* of discovery is always a problem.
{Snip invention examples}</font>
I'm sorry Michael, but we are not talking about invention here. We are talking about Bible studies, and contrary to what you might believe, there was a TON of study that went into the works of the Early Father's for example. And no, this was not all loves and kisses stuff either. I would refer you to the works of Origen, Jerome, Augustine, Iraeneus, not to mention all the heretics that kept trying to steal from the Canons and non-Canonical works alike.

Maybe you are right, and MacDonald is the newest genius in the field, but remember as well that there have been plenty of cranks... memories of G.A. Wells comes to mind...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Second, we do not know that "nobody ever thought of this before." Alas, the arguments of the pagans were suppressed.</font>
See what I mean about conspiracy theories?

And you thought I was just making this stuff up. And to be serious, I do think that you are pretty new to the Jesus-Myth debate, but trust me on this one, there are tons of conspiracy theorists out there.

As a side note, most of the pagan material we do have was preserved by Christians, and not all of it (like Tacitus and Celsus for example) was very flattering to Christianity or Jesus.

And on that same note, we have lost almost all of the works of many of the ancient Fathers as well, so let's not play the "suppression card" too seriously please.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Further, for most of Western history, critical thinking about anything, let alone the Gospel, was verboten. Third, gospel scholarship dates from only 300 years ago.</font>
This is another standard myth common amongst sceptics. I really do recommend a good reading of the debates amongst the early Fathers, as well as Arius, Pelagius, Marcion, Mani and many others.

Lively debate on the Gospels has been around a very long time Michael.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why didn't anybody formulate the Synoptic problem before recent times?</font>
Have you ever heard of Augustines' work on this subject?

Take a look at his Harmony of the Gospels as well as On Christian Doctrine, especially the chapters on using pagan sources to help understand the Bible.

As someone once said, there isn't much new under the sun Michael, and more than one person has travelled these roads before.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why was Q only discovered in this century? Heck, you could ask your question about any advance in gospel studies this century!</font>
Well, I wouldn't necessarily call all of them advances. After all, some of the more "out there" ideas that have cropped up of late (see my comments on Barbara Thiering and her Dead Sea Scrolls nonsense) have also cropped up in the last few years, gain steam and a following for a bit (she was the rage in the early 90's), then kinda vanish.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Coincidences Between Former Presidents: Eighteen similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy:

I appreciate the humor, but it has nothing to do with MacDonald's argument. To use Kennedy-Lincoln in MacDonald's framework, Kennedy would have miraculously survived, and left us with a piece of good news about how much greater he was than Lincoln.</font>
Maybe, but this stunning list of similarities is going to look mighty suspicious to someone in the future.

BTW, you know that some people actually think Shakespeare didn't write his stuff don't you?

The problem is that anyone can get theory published. The trick is to make it hold any water over the long haul.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Maybe they are all in on the conspiracy too eh?

You do fine, Nomad, until you get into nonsense like this. The only one here who thinks in conspiracies is you.</font>
Like I said, you are probably new to these debates. But the conspiracy theory nuts are out there, and new ones are popping up all the time. The Jesus Myth crowd was "in" back in the late 19th Century, and they are back "in" again, and as you will learn, much of the argument depends on conspiracies and Church suppressions of evidence, inuendo and the rest. It is humourous to a degree, but can get tiresome after a while.

I'm looking forward to your research on John and Paul. Take your time as well. I will be gone tomorrow, but will be around to look at it. I promise.

Nomad


[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 20, 2001).]
 
Old 02-20-2001, 02:44 PM   #28
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Nomad, you are obviously missing a rather more dramatic correlation. Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs and Jesus with the Field of Pigs. Hmmm, perhaps a papal conspiracy?</font>
LOL!!!! Thanks Layman. And to be honest, you just can't have enough conspiracies can you?

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 02-20-2001, 03:55 PM   #29
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Odd as it may seem for this website, you are outnumbered. </font>
Mike is not outnumbered on this website - there is a thread in open discussion comparing the Bible to Grimm's Fairy Tales.

All of Layman's and Nomad's posts only make it clear that neither one understands McDonald's thesis and neither one has read his book.

At least we're keeping you off the streets.

Toto is offline  
Old 02-20-2001, 04:13 PM   #30
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Let's see about Tacitus and Celsus. Tacitus said next to nothing about Christianity except for the early Christians having been scapegoated for that big fire in Rome by emperor Nero. And that's hardly unflattering. And Celsus survives only by being quoted at length by those who wanted to criticize him.

Also, people would get severely persecuted for departing from the Party Line about details of the Trinity and the Incarnation, so critical inquiry into the sources of the Bible was not very likely to have been done. And when it had been done, it would land its performers in (metaphorical) deep doo-doo. Only over the last few centuries was anyone willing to publish openly the view that the first few books of the Bible had been put together after the Babylonian Exile and that the Gospels are copied off of each other.
 
 

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