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Old 01-13-2001, 03:04 PM   #141
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I also just want to say that I certainly understand that Nomad's scholarship is far superior to mine. He knows 1,000 times more about the bible and about the minutia of historical investigation than I ever will.

But however well versed in the field, scholarship has little value without skepticism. Nomad, that's your failure. You're convinced of the authorship of the Gospels before you look at the evidence. I'm going not by your conclusions, but by your statements that your view deserves belief unless conclusively rebutted.

That's just not a scientific point of view. It may be a faithful point of view, but it's not scientific. The scientific POV is that unless there's an explanation which can survive even a trivial refutation, we really don't know.

Frankly, I have no idea who wrote the "Gospel of Matthew". I have no idea if the version in today's bible has the same words that some scribe penned milennia ago. And really, it doesn't matter to your faith or my atheism. Barring a miracle here and now, I'm not going to start believing in a supernatural god, and you're not going to abaondon your own belief.

I don't think your belief is so weak that it would be shaken by a change in when precisely Matthew wrote his Gospel, and whether we have an exact copy of it. I cannot see how at all your faith could be founded on the literal, scientific accuracy of the life of jesus and the resurrection; the scientific evidence is just too thin to even suggest such a scientific conclusion; even worse, the inference of divinity from an ordinary resurrection is certainly not scientifically justified.

It's entirely unobjectionable to believe in a god not from scientific evidence but from faith. But you just can't do good science from a position of faith -- the metaphysics are incompatible.
 
Old 01-13-2001, 04:13 PM   #142
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ish:
Penatis, you made what I think are some pretty bold assumptions in your response.

The first is:
"It is most unfortunate that virtually ALL textual critics of the NT are Christians."

And what I find interesting is that you later attempt to prove this by appealing to Crossan's claim of being a Christian.


I suppose I was not as clear as I could have been. Virtually all textual critics of the NT have a Christian bias. Certainly, there are exceptions, among both Christians and non-Christians. Some members of the Jesus Seminar are Christians who, for the most part, do not have a Christian bias. Again, I would like to see what a neutral textual critic has to say about the NT.

Ish: I simply disagree with the first statement, especially in light of the most prominent textual critics of today (Jesus Seminar, J. Crossan, B. Mack, etc.).

Okay. I will change the words "virtually all" to "the vast majority."

Ish: Second, I want to point out that there is a great difference in Metzger's professed Christianity as opposed to Crossan's. I can see how Metzger's viewpoints might be construed by you as biased. However, Crossan is a Christian only in name. I think you might find that he is "biased" more in your line of thinking and really doesn't have the type of Christian viewpoints that I, Metzger, Nomad, or Bede share.

I certainly agree that Crossan has views that are not consistent with those of Metzger, yourself, Bede, and Nomad. And, I agree that he does not seem to have a Christian bias. Still, he may consider himself a Christian. I am in no position to say he is or isn't. Only he is.

Ish: Here are some of Crossan's quotes:

"Miracles for me are changes in the social world, no the physical world....I don't believe God entered daily life in the first century and turned physics upside down and then stopped. In fact, I'd find it incredible and obscene to say that now and then God does intervene to do this or that little thing." From Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 17, 1994.


Crossan's views are consistent with what we observe in the real world. If you are attempting to make the point that he does not have a Christian bias, I agree with you.

Ish: Here's the obvious point of contention:

"While Jesus may have been a carpenter....he did not preach salvation from sin....he probably never delivered the sermon on the mount....he never cured any diseases. As for the other miracles? No loaves and fishes, no water into wine, no raising of Lazarus. AND CERTAINLY NO RESURRECTION." From Time, January 10, 1994 (emphasis added by me).


I agree with Crossan!

Ish: Here is what the Bible says:

1 Corinthians 15:17
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."


Those are the words Paul of Tarsus, a man who worked with leather (tentmaker) for a living. I certainly don't know why his words are supposed to have more value than the words of any other man of his day, or our day for that matter. Do you?

Paul of Tarsus also said, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8)
Obviously, Paul was a very superstitious man. Today, only the most ignorant of people attempt to put a spell (curse) on someone. It takes someone equally as ignorant to believe the spell works.

Ish: Crossan calls himself a Christian because he suscribes to what he has determined to be Christ's actual historical purpose on earth stripped of any divinity.

Precisely what is wrong with that?

Ish: To Crossan Jesus message was simply about "a way of life" or a philosophy. "It must be the embodied life that remains powerfully efficacious in this world." (Crossan from the Prologue of The Birth of Christianity)

One can certainly get this idea from reading various parts of the NT.

Ish: I think it is obvious that Crossan comes with a bias of his own and *not* toward Christianity as Bede, Nomad, I, and most Christians know it from the Bible.

As you said, Crossan has views that are not consistent with yours, et al.

"I personally would like to see what neutral scholars would have to say."

Ish: There simply are no neutral scholars. Everyone brings his own "bias" to his work.

In my view, a neutral scholar is one who approaches the Qu'ran, the Book of Mormon, the NT, the Tanakh, etc., with equal objectivity. I believe there are textual critics who could do this, but there are very few indeed.

Ish: This was recognized by Albert Schweitzer in The Quest for the Historical Jesus. In this book he convincingly demonstrated that people who try to "discover" a historical Jesus wind up creating a Jesus in their own image.

I have looked at the NT and have not wound up creating a Jesus in my own image. Surely others could do the same. Actually,among other things, Schweitzer has this to say, "The study of the Life of Jesus has had a curious history. It set out in quest of the historical Jesus, believing that when it had found Him it could bring Him straight into our time as a Teacher and Saviour. It loosed the bands by which He had been riveted for centuries to the stony rocks of ecclesiastical doctrine, and rejoiced to see life and movement coming into the figure once more, and the historical Jesus advancing, as it seemed, to meet it. But He does not stay; He passes by our time and returns to His own. What surprised and dismayed the theology of the last forty years was that, despite all forced and arbitrary interpretations, it could not keep Him in our time, but had to let Him go. He returned to His own time, not owing to the application of any historical ingeniuity, but by the same inevitable necessity by which the liberated pendulum returns to its original position." The Quest of the Historical Jesus, P. 399.

In other words, according to Schweitzer, Jesus was a man of the first century CE, not someone who could be molded into a saviour for moderns. In my view, Jesus' message was clearly meant for his contemporaries.

Ish: Burton Mack, another prominent scholar also on the Jesus Seminar has this to say about Christianity:
"What if the notion of a single, miraculous, point of origin [for Christianity] was acknowledged for what it was, not a category of critical scholarship at all, but a article of fatih derived from Christian mythology." (From A Myth of Innocence, 1988)


Do you disagree with Mack? Isn't Christian belief predicated on "faith" in the impossible?

Ish: These scholars have their "bias" as does Metzger. The Jesus Seminar which they are apart of is also making a *huge* effort to get their viewpoints out to the public.

You seem to think they are somehow doing something wrong. What if their approach is more objective than yours? Isn't it possible they may me more correct than you?

Ish: "The precise method of voting [colored beads] was deliberately calculated to catch media attention since part of the seminar's purpose is to close the gap between scholarly discussion and popular awareness." (Crossan from the Boston Globe, July 26, 1992)

They neglect the viewpoints of those not in the Jesus Seminar when they "push" their ideas onto to public.


And what do other Christians do?

Ish: These particular scholars are on many T.V. shows and their books are easily found in many well-known bookstores.

The Jesus Seminar is a relatively small segment of the scholarly community. In my view, the vast majority of textual critics have a Christian bias. Btw, did you notice that you failed to mention any living scholar outside the Jesus Seminar, and you mentioned only two of those who are members of it?

Ish: No, penatis, I think views along your lines of thought are quite well represented.

I agree with some of the views of Mack and Crossan. How does that fact contradict my statement that the vast majority of NT scholars have a Christian bias?

Ish: In other matters, I honestly cannot understand why the non-appearance of two verses from Matthew in the early Papyri surprises you, or anyone else for that matter. Remember that of the ~90 Papyrus fragments that have even been found, only 64 of those date before 400 A.D. They are **fragmentary** which means that they only pieces of the books they once were. None of the contain Matthew 27:52-53.

I believe I explained very clearly why I find it problematic in an earlier post. BTW, according to the website I pointed you to, 108 extant NT papyrus fragments have been catalogued, as of July 14, 2000, not "~90." You are not telling me anything new here. Several posts back, I pointed out the fragmentary nature of all NT papyrus MSS that date before the fourth century. To my knowledge, the earliest attestation of Matt. 27:52-53 is contained in codex Sinaiticus. It dates to about 350 CE.

Ish: However, let me make sure you realize that does not mean there is a Papyrus with that complete chapter of Matthew that does not conatin those two verses.

(Are you writing this for the benefit of someone else?) Yes, I am very well aware of that fact. It is easy to see in the descriptions of the individual 108 extant NT papyrus fragments described at the website I directed you to. I don't know about you, but I have studied it very well. You might want to go back and take another look.

Ish: The gospels' content should be given at least as much credibility as the other historical works I mentioned in my earlier post.

That is not necessarily so. A critical historian looks at the credibility of the writer, his possible motives, his biases, the events and people he describes, his proximity to said events and people, corroborating unbiased independent witnesses, etc. There are certainly some historical works that are much more credible than the gospel stories.

Ish: Perhaps like you said, other people can add information to what we've given. I don't see how we can get any further without reiterating *our ideas* and "biases" on these themes.

That being the case, I bid you a fond farewell.

Ron



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited January 13, 2001).]
 
Old 01-13-2001, 09:16 PM   #143
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Nomad does a great deal of speculating.
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Nomad: Sadly, that's what I'm left with when you remain evasive in answering my questions, and take irrational positions based on a limited understanding of textual criticism.

I am not sure Nomad understands the meaning of irrational. His definition may go like this: Irrational-any belief, argument, evidence, etc., that does not agree with Nomad.


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Nomad: Now you see why I came to think you were an ex-fundamentalist.
No. I only see a person who jumps to conclusions based on nothing more than his own fertile imagination.


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Nomad: Thank you. I do like to think that I have an imagination.

I think EVERYONE knows Nomad has an imagination.

Nomad: But your trivial objections to MSS inconsistancies is a common characteristic of ex-fundamentalists,

Here we go again, another label, based on Nomad's limited understanding of simple, well-evidenced arguments. I will continue to say this: There are thousands of errors, omissions, additions, variant readings, and obscurities in the extant NT MSS. My facts are trivialized only by those who somehow feel threatened by said facts.

Nomad: so my conclusion based on the only evidence you would give me was quite reasonable. It was wrong, but wrong and reasonable often go together, so no biggie.

1. I agree. Nomad was incorrect about me.
2. I disagree with the statement that "wrong and reasonable often go together." That statement could come from only someone who does not think straight.

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Nomad needs to reproduce my complete argument, in context, otherwise I am going to ignore this question. I will say this, though, I disagree with Metzger on some points and agree with him on other points.
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Nomad: No. Nomad does not need to do any such thing. I have read through your arguments, and quite plainly you have failed to grasp Metzger's key points, and drawn erroneous conclusions based on your incomprehension.

Bullshit! Nomad makes another false assertion. If this were an evidenced assertion, he would have presented evidence. I submit that, unless Nomad has read Metzger's book, he has no earthly idea what he is talking about. If he has read it, then he needs to demonstrate my "failure to grasp" anything in the book. He needs to demonstrate that I have arrived at "erroneous conclusions based on" my "incomprehension." He is only making himself look foolish.

Nomad: My efforts to help you look more deeply into his methodology, research, and conclusions have failed, so I will let it go now.

Again, unless Nomad has read the book, he has no idea what he is talking about. Has he communicated with Bruce Metzger telepathically?

I resent the implication that I need Nomad's help in understanding anything, much less the simple ideas put forth by Metzger. It is only out of politeness that numerous posters have not told Nomad what he can do with his "superior" abilities and knowledge.

I try never to give advice, but I will make an exception just this once. My advice: Nomad needs to consider the possibility, however infinitesimally remote he may think it is, that someone on these boards just might be able to teach him a thing or two. If he were, by the tiniest nanno-fraction, as smart as he thinks, he would be smarter than any human being who has ever lived or ever will live.

I am beginning to wonder just how many times he can make an ass of himself.


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Each time I asked you to see if you knew or understood the actual evidence that stood behind his opinions.
All Nomad needs to do is present my WHOLE argument, in context.


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Nomad: I've done that, numerous times,

Nomad has made no effort to produce my WHOLE argument, in context, because he knows that he cannot refute it.

and trying to say you made sense "in context" is really special pleading. I'm telling you that you did not, you do not like being told that, c'est la vie.

To Nomad and his argument: de nihilo hihil


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Nomad: After all, if you do not understand the evidence, how can you hope to understand the opinions that a scholar forms around that evidence?
1. I have presented clear, concise arguments supported by evidence and expert opinion.


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Nomad: Now, you see why I think you are pretty new at this?

Nope!

Nomad: I won't call you a rookie, but you are clearly still learning what evidence really is, as opposed to expert opinion.

(I am surprised Nomad didn't call me a name here. He has done it numerous times before.) I have presented clearly stated arguments supported by evidence, expert opinion, and facts. It is hard to imagine what Nomad is looking for.

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2. With respect to what I understand or what I don't understand, I don't have to prove anything to Nomad.
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Nomad: Of course you don't, and to be honest, I'm not going to pursue this any longer in any event.

I doubt that.

Nomad: Just as you form your opinions about Hitler based on limited comprehension, and what you can pick up on the internet, you do the same thing with textual criticism.

My opinions about Hitler and Nazi Germany come from extensive reading. Here is an excerpt from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich concerning one of Nomad's heroes:

"It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: their history and the influence of Martin Luther. The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obediance to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of the Jews and when they were sent away he advised that they be deprived of "All their cash and jewels and silver and gold" and, furthermore, "that their synagogues or schools be set on fire, that their houses be broken up and destroyed...and they be put under a roof or stable, like the gypsies...in misery and captivity as they incessantly lament and complain to God about us"--advice that was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering and Himmler." William L. Shirer, pp. 326-327.

I wonder if Nomad wants me to explain the meaning of this passage? BTW, this came from MY OWN COPY of the book.


"And now Staatsprasident Bolz says that Christianity and the Catholic faith are threatened by us. And to that charge I can answer: In the first place it is the Christians and not the international atheists who now stand at the head of Germany. I do not merely talk of Christianity, no, I also profess that I will never ally myself with the parties that destroy Christianity. If many wish today to take threatened Christianity under their protection, where, I would ask, was Christianity for them in these fourteen years when they went arm in arm with atheism? No, never and at no time was greater internal damage done to Christianity than in these fourteen years when a party, theoretically Christian, sat with those who denied God in one and the same Government." Adolf Hitler, My New Order, pp. 148-149.

Again, I wonder if Nomad wants me to explain the meaning of this passage? BTW, this is from MY OWN COPY of the book. I have read a great deal about Adolf Hitler and believe I understand him and his writings about as well as Nomad. (Now, I guess Nomad can go to the internet and find a Christian propaganda website to dig up something about how Hitler supposedly teamed up with Stalin and became a materialist. Or, maybe he will say that Hitler said one thing in public, but something else in private. Whatever.)




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Should we discount the opinion of an individual because the evidence leads them to become a believer?
I try not to "discount" anything without seriously considering it; however, I don't find words in ancient MSS or people's stories particularly convincing.


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Nomad: I know you don't. Considering how much research you have begun to do on the question, perhaps that is simply a function of your newness to the topic.

I have been researching for years and pondering the absurd gospel accounts for even more. Perhaps Nomad fails to grasp the fact that people can, and often do, disagree with him based on a careful, thorough,and thoughtful analysis of as much data as possible.

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Yes, but must the observer remain permanently neutral in order to remain credible in your view?
I see nothing wrong with approaching religion and science from a neutral perspective.


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Nomad: Yes, we all begin from a position of not knowing, and therefore should be neutral. As we gain knowledge, we are more able to draw conclusions. This is the pattern of all learning. My question has been, and remains, are we to remain neutral forever in order to remain credible to others?

We should remain cautiously skeptical and as objective as is humanly possible each time we approach new evidence. Should we remain like this forever? Yes.


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So since the Holocaust is disputed, we can say that we do not know that it happened? Or that Oswald shot Kennedy, we cannot know if he did it?
This is a false analogy. The Holocaust and the Kennedy assassination occurred during modern times. We have film and pictures PLUS the eyewitness testimony of thousands with respect to the Holocaust, and scores with respect to the Kennedy assassination. Even with all the available evidence, some maintain that there was no holocaust (I believe there was) and that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the shooter (I believe he was).


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Nomad: Hmmm... and in 2000 years when all of this evidence for these things will have vanished, you will feel people will be justified in not believing in the Holocaust or Kennedy's assisination by a lone gunman?

Since this question requires speculation about a hypothetical scenario that may or may not come to pass, I will not answer it. I do find it curious that Nomad doesn't seem to comprehend the difference between reports of events (dead people coming to life) that DO NOT occur and events (war crimes and assassination) that DO occur.


Nomad: Do you see how you draw false conclusions by setting up an impossible standard for your definition of "acceptable evidence"?

Quite frankly, I do not see that at all. All I have asked for is evidence that would convince a neutral observer. That is not "impossible." I wonder if Nomad believes the eyewitness reports of people who have seen Elvis after he died? There are certainly thousands of them. If Nomad discounts them, why would he not discount the words of half-a-dozen Christian propagandists?


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Do we have film of the writer of "John?" No. Do we have pictures of the writer? No.
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Nomad: Nope, nor do we have such evidence for any of antiquity.

True enough, but what is the point?

Nomad: Yet you discount the fact that we have way more evidence (Metzger's famously quoted "embarrassment of riches) on the NT events than we do anything else before the invention of modern recording methods like film.

Nomad is purposely being obtuse on this point. For the twelfth time: Bruce Metzger's comment had a disclaimer. Apparently, Nomad has ignored this, much like he has ignored much other material I have posted.

Bruce Metzger has stated that there is a "wealth of material" for the textual critic of the NT. What he means is there are thousands of extant Greek MSS attesting to the accuracy/inaccuracy of the fourth to eighth century codices. These thousands of MSS DO NOT attest to the autographs. This is because only fragmentary MSS are extant from the second century and later. The complete list of catalogued NT papyrus fragments is available online for anyone to see. For the first two hundred years after the execution of Jesus, there is not much. If Nomad wants to view this as a "wealth of riches," then he can do so.

As I have pointed out several times, in a footnote, Metzger states, "Lest, however, the wrong impression be conveyed from the statistics given above regarding the total number of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, it should be pointed out that most of the papyri are relatively fragmentary and that only about fifty manuscripts...contain the entire New Testament." The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, P. 34.

BRUCE METZGER IS ADMITTING THAT HE MAY HAVE GIVEN THE WRONG IMPRESSION WHEN HE USED THE PHRASE "WEALTH OF HIS MATERIAL." Metzger is a Christian, writing to a Christian readership. THAT IS WHY HE RELEGATED THE DISCLAIMER TO A FOOTNOTE. Can a textual critic use the relatively few fragments in an attempt to find out what MIGHT be in an autograph? YES. There is a major problem, though: ALL extant NT MSS, whether they be fragments or codices, contain numerous errors, omissions, additions, variant readings, and obscurities. Does any textual critic think he knows precisely what any NT writer wrote in his autograph? NO. Will we ever find out? Probably not.

Actually, I am starting to enjoy presenting these facts. Plus, every time they are posted, it just reinforces it in the brain of the reader.

Finally, fragments of papyrus are not film and they are not pictures. There are ONLY 108 of them. The thousands of MSS that Nomad likes to bring up date from after the fourth century, hundreds date to the middle ages and later. NONE of these attest to the ORIGINALS. They only attest to the fourth century (or later) codices.

Nomad: You are unimpressed by this, such is your right.

Am I unimpressed by a few fragments? Yes!


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Do we have scores of eyewitnesses who will testify to who actually wrote the fourth gospel? No.
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Nomad: Yes we do

Nomad needs to name the scores of people he KNOWS could testify to who actually wrote the fourth gospel.


Nomad: sadly they died 2000 years ago, so you want to discount them.

Again, why doesn't Nomad name them?


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What we do have is an anonymous MS and people who enjoy speculating about who wrote it.
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Nomad: Are all NT scholars mere speculators then? Or are your conclusions not speculations for some reason?

Nomad doesn't comprehend that there are different levels of evidence. For him, it is all or nothing, evidence or no evidence. Perhaps I could explain it to him by using examples: There is an overwhelming body of evidence suggesting that the earth is spherically shaped. To say that the earth is a sphere is not speculation, but an observable fact. There is not an overwhelming body of evidence to suggest who wrote the fourth gospel. Actually, there is very little hard evidence; therefore, scholars are in disagreement about this issue. That is why some SPECULATE as to who the writer might be. NO ONE KNOWS WHO WROTE THE BOOK. Anyone who says he KNOWS who wrote the book is blowing smoke.

Nomad: Is it even possible that your amateur status on these questions has given you a false sense of pride in your abilities and knowledge?

Knowing that Nomad is just as much the amateur as I gives me great satisfaction. I could very well have asked him the very same question.


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When you resort to such reductionist tactics, almost any form of knowledge is going to be tossed out of the window.
(Nomad is a man of labels. If someone isn't stupid, then he is dense. If he isn't dense, then he is daft. If he isn't daft, then he is a rookie. If he isn't a rookie, then he is a bigot, or a reductionist, or a fundamentalist, or a this or a that.)


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Nomad: Actually, it is entirely possible for a person to be some, or even all of these things at the same time.

And Nomad could find a way to call the same person all of them, but that does not mean that the person is actually one, some, or all of the following: stupid, dense, daft, a rookie, a bigot, a fundamentalist, a reductionist, etc.


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I don't "toss" anything "out the window." Nomad is fond of creating strawmen and then attacking them.
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Nomad: Of course you toss them out. You create impossible standards, measure the available evidence by those standards, then throw them out the window on the basis of your false a priori requirements.

(This reminds me of a time, years ago, when I had a short conversation with the south end of a horse facing north. Actually, I think that conversation was more productive, and far more pleasant.)

Nomad: Too bad you don't realize that you do this, but that kind of failing is quite common really.

If this keeps up, I am going to throw in another Hitler quote.


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Here we have another label. I have noticed that these labels are attached only to people who disagree with Nomad.
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Nomad: Not really. When they agree with me the most common label I apply to such people is "genius", "brilliant", "profound" and the like.

Yes, Nomad the dreamer.


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Nomad: Penatis needs to define the term "knows". If he is saying "knows with 100% ironclad certainty", then I concede the point.
No. I don't ask for "100% ironclad certainty," but I do ask for evidence that would convince a neutral person.


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Nomad: The really cool thing is that this evidence has convinced neutral people. Where do you think converts come from?

Oh, I believe most converts come from their parents.

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Nomad: The absurd can be anything that contradicts a known set of rules of science, like quantum mechanics conflicting with the theory of relativity for example.

If Nomad knew anything about science, he would know that scientists do not consider this a contradiction or an absurdity. (It certainly does not compare with the idea that dead people can come back to life.)

Let's see. Do I believe in anything absurd? Well, to be totally honest, I looked the word up in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition. The word "absurd" is defined this way:
1. ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous 2. having no rational or orderly relationship to human life: meaningless. 3. just about anything and everything Nomad has to say.

I will go with definition no. 2. and say that I do not believe in the absurd.

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Second, if, at any time, science demonstrates that a dead person has come back to life, I will accept the reality of it. What I wonder is this: Why would anyone consider it a possibility?
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Nomad: Why not? Science keeps seeming to do what was considered to be the impossible in the past. Why shouldn't they continue to perform such amazing feats?

I will ask the question again: Why would anyone consider it a possibility?


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Nomad: I won't quibble with your right to disbelieve in the resurrection(s).
This is tantamount to my saying, "I won't quibble with your right to disbelieve in the resurrection of Heracles and His ascension to the Heavenly Father, Zeus, the One Living God."


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Nomad: Not really, we have evidence for the resurrection that manages to convince determined sceptics.

Surely Nomad doesn't think people convert to Christianity because of the hearsay testimoney of a handful of people about a claimed resurrection.

Nomad: So far as I am aware, we don't have any such evidence for your other examples, even from the people that claim to believe in them.

The event is attested to in ancient MSS. People believed it happened. What other evidence does Nomad need?

 
Old 01-14-2001, 05:47 AM   #144
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by John the Atheist:
I didnít read all of the source material that Bede listed because the sources were too scant in what was offered up. Penatis evidently re-read what material Bede must have had in mind. I only thought I would make a go of it with Iraeneus, by re-reading everything from Iraeneus AH 28th chapter, in books I, II, IV and V. No 28th chapter in Book III.

Iím not even sure if the word ďresurrectionĒ even gets mentioned once in any of these chapters, let along anything about Matthew 27:52-53 or any ďresurrection of the saints.ď Iíve re-read it twice. Itís only about 15 minutes to read all four chapters in question. Book I was short enough, so itĎs definitely not there. Bede do you think you might be mistaken. If you donít want to go back and try to find it, no problem, I understand about time constraints, and I donít care to read all five books in their entirety myself either, so if you recollect that it was another chapter or other works altogether, I would appreciate it.

Here is the Catholic sight that I used to read from Iraeneus:

www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103.htm

John

</font>
Thanks, John, for doing the research. With respect to Iraeneus, Against Heresies, all books, Chapter 28, you have substantiated my findings. At this point, we need Bede to give documentation to back up his original claim. So far, he has not.

Ron

 
Old 01-14-2001, 06:49 AM   #145
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Well, I'm not sure that I'll get out of this with honour intact but here goes.

In Ignatius to the Trallians IX, widely seen as a genuine second century letter we find:

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">By those in heaven I mean such as are possessed of incorporeal natures; by those on earth, the Jews and Romans, and such persons as were present at that time when the Lord was crucified; and by those under the earth, the multitude that arose along with the Lord. For says the Scripture, "Many bodies of the saints that slept arose," their graves being opened.</font>
I take this as a direct reference to the tradition stated in Matthew and hence prooving it to be very early.

Iraeneus I screwed up my reference which is XXVIII of the lost fragments as given in the CCEL. It says:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This event was also an indication of the fact, that when the holy soul of Christ descended [to Hades], many souls ascended and were seen in their bodies.</font>
This is a clear reference to the same tradition that we find in Matthew but as it is a quotation of I by a later author penatis probably won't accept it.

Finally Origin CM XII, 43 (another cock up on my part) reads:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Moses, the law, and Elijah, the prophet, became one only with the Gospel of Jesus; and not, as they were formerly three, did they so abide, but the three became one, But consider these things with me in relation to mystical matters; for in regard to the bare meaning of the letter, Moses and Elijah, having appeared in glory and talked with Jesus, went away to the place from which they had come, perhaps to communicate the words which Jesus spake with them, to those who were to be benefited by Him, almost immediately, namely, at the time of the passion, when many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep, their tombs being opened, were to go to the city which is truly holy-not the Jerusalem which Jesus wept over-and there appear unto many.</font>
This is a near direction quotation from Matthew's Gospel and proofs that this tradition was in Origen's copy.

I still call this debate silly and I still deny the pyramid texts are autographs unless there is more proof. That the lasted thousands of years doesn't mean they are the original versions. I'm also happy to call the Gospels the product of human inspiration and don't consider this an admission of any sort.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 01-14-2001, 08:55 AM   #146
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Ish: On to other things...

Later, I said "I guess I'm unsure as to how you are using this [the Pyramid texts] to the advantage of your argument? The Pyramid texts are not a good example because they don't really parallel the NT."

You replied: "I believe your bias is showing."

I say "Huh?"


I think you are not seriously considering the implications of the facts: 1. There are no originals of the NT (and only small and large fragments for at least two hundred years after the events described). 2. There are originals of Egyptian religious texts that date to circa 2500 BCE. Of course you don't consider the two works "parallel," you are a Christian, with a Christian bias. The neutral observer can see that the preservation of the Egyptian religious texts is FAR MORE impressive than the preservation of the NT; hence, there is no question what the Egyptian writers wrote. There are numerous questions surrounding what the NT writers wrote.

Ish: Then, you said: "The Pyramid Texts ARE originals that are over four thousand years old."

Yes, I did. My statement is BASED on the work of recognized scholars and translators of the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. The works are carved on the walls of the pyramid.

Ish: This statement reminds me of your discussion with Bede.

He said this about the Pyramid texts: "Just guessing but I expect the stone masons were carving in something that had been around for a good while. It might have been commissioned especially for the pyramids but I doubt it."

You replied: "As you said, you are "just guessing."

I'd like to concur with Bede and lend something extra to support his educated "guess".

The Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University of Sydney, Australia has this to say about the Pyramid Texts: "It is clear from the content of the inscriptions that many of the utterances had been in existence for centuries. Spell 662 tells the dead king to cast the sand from his face, which seems to allude to burial in the desert sand as practiced in the Predynastic period. Spell 355 says that the bricks have been removed from the tomb, and must refer to the mudbrick mastabas of the Archaic Period."

Reference Site:
www.museum.mq.edu.au/eegypt2/ptexts.html

Who knows what the traditions were behind the Pyramid Texts as they were inscribed?


You seem to ignore the fact that the traditions behind the Pyramid Texts are not the issue here. Their preservation as originals IS THE ISSUE. There are no preserved NT originals. Even if the Pyramid Texts represent older traditions, one must appreciate the fact that they have been kept intact for around 4500 years. Textual critics do not have to sift through hundreds of thousands of errors, additions, omissions, and variant readings in order to determine what the original writers wrote.

Ish: Since I really don't see that the Pyramid Texts tell us much about the transmission of the New Testament, let me provide what I think are a few better examples.

How about this: If the various books of the NT were so important to Christians, why didn't someone save just one original copy of any work? (To me, this conclusively proves that the earliest Christians had no expectations of a distant future.)

Ish: Julius Caesar's De bello Gallico
composed: between 50-58 A.D.
extant MSSs: several, but 9-10 of good quality
earliest MSS: ~850-900 A.D.



Julius Caesar was an eyewitness to many of the events he describes. The writers of the gospel narratives were not. Also, the gospel writers were removed by decades from the events they describe. Caesar was not. No scribes came along adding to, subtracting from, and otherwise modifying, the text of Casear to suit their own religious beliefs. This was a common practice with Christians and their works. Lastly, even though Caesar is a somewhat credible witness, when he says incredible things, critical historians have every right to discount them. The same goes for the gospel writers. When they speak of dead people coming back to life, for instance, critical historians have every right to discount them.

Ish:
Tacitus' Histories
composed: ~100 A.D.
extant MSSs: 4-1/2
earliest MSS: 9th century

Tacitus' Annals
composed: ~100 A.D.
extant MSSs: 10 full / 2 partial
earliest MSS: 9th century

Thucydide's History (Pelop. War)
composed: ~460-400 B.C.
extant MSSs: 8 from ~900 A.D.
earliest MSS: a few 1st century fragments

Herodotus' History
composed: ~488-428 B.C.
extant MSSs: 8 from ~900 A.D.
earliest MSS: a few 1st century fragments

(Taken from p.233 of The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible by Paul D. Wegner - 1999)

In Metzger's The Text of the New Testament that we've mentioned before he provides this information:
---
Homer's Illiad (the "Bible" of the ancient Greeks) is preserved in:
457 papyri
2 uncial MSS
188 miniscule MSS

Euripides' works are preserved in:
54 papyri
276 parchment MSS
(almost all dating from the Byzantine period)
---

At these levels of attestations, the works mentioned above are used as a backdrop for history as we know it.


You seem to believe that the number of MSS available to textual critics somehow guarantees the accuracy of the original works. That is not necessarily so. Every extant NT MSS has errors, additions, omissions, variant readings, and obscurities. Textual critics continually debate which is the best reading for hundreds of NT passages.

Ish: Now, Metzger presents the statistics for the NT as follows:
---
81 Greek Papyri
266 uncial MSS
2,754 miniscule MSS
2,135 lectionaries
25 ostraca containing short portions of 6 NT books
"numerous" talismans w/ Greek text of NT
---

Man! To me that blows the other stuff out of the water!


It shouldn't. In the extant NT MSS, over 300,000 errors, additions, omissions, variant readings, and obscurities have been found. This is conclusive proof that the Christian scribes made many mistakes and had no qualms about altering the texts over the years.

Ish: Metzger thinks so too in his quote which is all to familiar to readers of these posts:
"...the textual critic of the New Testament is embarrassed by the wealth of his material" (an "embarrassment of riches" as I saw it put).


As everyone should know by now, Bruce Metzger is a Christian, with a Christian bias. The quote above does not tell the whole story. In a footnote he added a disclaimer to the "an embarrassment of wealth" comment. He knows there is no early attestation of the NT, except in the form of tiny fragments.

Ish: Penatis, you may still be unconvinced, but I think both sides have been presented. Either you have cast a shadow of doubt or not. For me, not...

It is not my objective to cast a shadow of doubt. I am here to present factual information and commentary. If an original NT MSS were to show up, I would be among the first to acknowledge it.

Ron

 
Old 01-14-2001, 11:09 AM   #147
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Bede: Well, I'm not sure that I'll get out of this with honour intact but here goes.

For what it is worth, I think your honor and credibility are still very much intact.


Bede: In Ignatius to the Trallians IX, widely seen as a genuine second century letter we find:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By those in heaven I mean such as are possessed of incorporeal natures; by those on earth, the Jews and Romans, and such persons as were present at that time when the Lord was crucified; and by those under the earth, the multitude that arose along with the Lord. For says the Scripture, "Many bodies of the saints that slept arose," their graves being opened.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I take this as a direct reference to the tradition stated in Matthew and hence prooving it to be very early.


I agree that the letter is considered to be genuine by the vast majority of scholars, but there are three versions: short, middle, and long. The middle version is the one most widely accepted. The long one is a fourth century interpolation. (See Michael W. Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers, second edition, P. 32.) The above quotation is from the long recension. Since it is considered to be a fourth century interpolation, it cannot be accepted.

Bede: Iraeneus I screwed up my reference which is XXVIII of the lost fragments as given in the CCEL. It says:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This event was also an indication of the fact, that when the holy soul of Christ descended [to Hades], many souls ascended and were seen in their bodies.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a clear reference to the same tradition that we find in Matthew but as it is a quotation of I by a later author penatis probably won't accept it.


I agree that it attests to an ascension of souls who were "seen in their bodies." It may or may not be a reference to the saints who physically came out of their tombs and appeared to many people in Jerusalem. There is not enough information for it to be considered definitive. Also, as you say, it is a quote attributed to Iraeneus, but it is not in his extant works. There are certainly some unanswered questions here.

Bede: Finally Origin CM XII, 43 (another cock up on my part) reads:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Moses, the law, and Elijah, the prophet, became one only with the Gospel of Jesus; and not, as they were formerly three, did they so abide, but the three became one, But consider these things with me in relation to mystical matters; for in regard to the bare meaning of the letter, Moses and Elijah, having appeared in glory and talked with Jesus, went away to the place from which they had come, perhaps to communicate the words which Jesus spake with them, to those who were to be benefited by Him, almost immediately, namely, at the time of the passion, when many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep, their tombs being opened, were to go to the city which is truly holy-not the Jerusalem which Jesus wept over-and there appear unto many.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a near direction quotation from Matthew's Gospel and proofs that this tradition was in Origen's copy.


I see no good reason to question this quote and concede that Matt. 27:52-53 is attested to here by Origen. Since Origen wrote around 230-240 CE, there are still a couple of hundred years between the claimed event and clear attestation of it.

Bede: I still call this debate silly and I still deny the pyramid texts are autographs unless there is more proof. That the lasted thousands of years doesn't mean they are the original versions.

1. Yes, Bede, I believe you have said that this issue is "silly" three times now. It isn't silly to me.
2. On what grounds do you deny the pyramid texts are autographs? A world-renowned scholar and expert, the late R. O. Faulkner, states, "The Pyramid Texts of Ancient Egypt were carved on the walls of the pyramids of King Wenis of the end of the Fifth Dynasty and of the Sixth Dynasty, and constitute the oldest corpus of Egyptian religious and funerary literature now extant. Furthermore, they are the least corrupt of all such collections of funerary texts, and are of fundamental importance to the student of Egyptian religion." The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Preface.
What kind of "proof" do you want, Bede?
3. I agree that the age of the texts does not demonstrate their originality; but, on what basis do you question their originality?

Bede: I'm also happy to call the Gospels the product of human inspiration and don't consider this an admission of any sort.

It is an admission that the gospel accounts are not divinely inspired. (There are many who will not admit this.)

Ron



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited January 14, 2001).]
 
Old 01-14-2001, 02:45 PM   #148
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Ron,

I can completely agree with this quote you give...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"The Pyramid Texts of Ancient Egypt were carved on the walls of the pyramids of King Wenis of the end of the Fifth Dynasty and of the Sixth Dynasty, and constitute the oldest corpus of Egyptian religious and funerary literature now extant. Furthermore, they are the least corrupt of all such collections of funerary texts, and are of fundamental importance to the student of Egyptian religion." </font>
...but it doesn't say they are autographs. It says they are early and uncorrupt. Fine. So is the Codex Sinacticus. Ish has shown the traditions contained in the texts are far older. Sorry, but no you do not carry this point. The pyramid texts are not autographs - they are an early and important text the survival of which we can attribute purely to them being carved out of stone on the orders of a powerful pharoah. If Tiberius had converted to Christianity then no doubt a Gospel would have been carved into the Temple of the Divine Augustus (which would have been a church) instead of the Res Gestae (also carved out in its entirely and still fully extant for that reason.)

I'm bowing out of this now.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 01-14-2001, 03:36 PM   #149
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Ron, I want to go back to your original post in which you asked:

If the ancient Egyptians (among others) could preserve their original religious literature for several thousands of years (see the Pyramid Texts), why couldn't the early Christians preserve just one original of any work from the NT?

Hell, thatís the easiest question of them all; the Egyptians just had wiser gods.

If I can be of any further help, donít hesitate to ask. Kind of tired having to pull all of the load on this thread though.

John

 
Old 01-14-2001, 06:26 PM   #150
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Bede: I can completely agree with this quote you give...

...but it doesn't say they are autographs. It says they are early and uncorrupt. Fine.


Most of the carvings are original works; however, they may contain older traditions. (This would be no different from original NT works.) Also, they have been preserved for 4500 years.

Bede: So is the Codex Sinacticus [early and uncorrupt].

Well, actually, Codex Sinaiticus is corrupt. Here is a quote from a Brown University website: "Codex Sinaiticus was originally a complete Bible. The NT portion (148 leaves) is well preserved and includes the Letter of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas.

The leaves measure 15"x14". The letters were written in brown ink, four columns per page, with 48 lines to a column, and usually 12-16 letters perline. The text is written on the ruled lines in scriptio continua with some punctuation (high and middle points and colon). Some letters are crowded in a smaller size at the end of a line. Often, sections of text end in mid-line; a new section begins at the beginning of the next line and is moved into the margin slightly.

Scholars have identified three scribes as having produced the manuscript. The one who was involved with the NT is labeled Scribe A. It can be shown that the scribe of the OT copied the manuscript from dictation in part of that portion.Likewise, it is held that the NT portion was copied down from a written exemplar. Taken altogether, perhaps as many as nine correctors worked on the manuscript from the fourth to the twelfth century. [emphasis added]

Bede: Ish has shown the traditions contained in the texts are far older.

No, Ish presented evidence indicating that maybe some of the traditions were far older. That does not mean that most of the carvings were not autographs.

Bede: Sorry, but no you do not carry this point. The pyramid texts are not autographs

You don't know if most of the texts are autographs or not, so your assertion is unevidenced and unconvincing.

Bede: - they are an early and important text the survival of which we can attribute purely to them being carved out of stone on the orders of a powerful pharoah.

Agreed.

Bede: If Tiberius had converted to Christianity then no doubt a Gospel would have been carved into the Temple of the Divine Augustus (which would have been a church) instead of the Res Gestae (also carved out in its entirely and still fully extant for that reason.)

But, the fact is, Tiberius did not convert and the earliest Christian writings were not preserved.

Bede: I'm bowing out of this now.

See you later,

Ron

 
 

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