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 08-08-2001, 05:50 PM   #41
PhysicsGuy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 73
Post

minor aside...

Quote:
Originally posted by Apikorus:
<STRONG>...my field is theoretical physics... </STRONG>
What aspect of physics?
PhysicsGuy is offline  
Old 08-08-2001, 05:53 PM   #42
Vorkosigan
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Barrayar
Posts: 11,866
Post

The author of the site sent me the following:

Quentin David Jones wrote:
&gt;
&gt; Greetings Michael,
&gt;
&gt; thanks for your feedback [ 8^)&gt;
&gt;
&gt; &gt; Also, speaking again of the big chronology, I thought Ignatius only
&gt; &gt; wrote 7 authentic letters.
&gt;
&gt; ooops, yes - fixed now, thanks.
&gt;
&gt; &gt; You say that there are only two complete chapters in manuscripts prior
&gt; &gt; to 300 AD, but doesn't p66 contain several complete chapters of John?
&gt;
&gt; Well, p66 has several chapters, but none of them complete - still it does
&gt; have many chapters worth in volume - I better add a comment about that -
&gt; thanks.
&gt;
&gt; &gt; And p75 contain complete chapters from two gospels?
&gt;
&gt; Hmmm, yes, I meant two manuscripts with one (or more) complete Gospel
&gt; chapters - my comments are a bit misleading there, sorry for the
&gt; mis-understanding - I better polish that up a bit.
&gt;
&gt; regards,
&gt; Quentin David Jones

I think he's still not clear, at least not to me. I think he's trying to say "two different manucripts with identical complete chapters from the same gospel." I'll reply to him.

Michael
Vorkosigan is offline  
Old 08-08-2001, 06:02 PM   #43
Apikorus
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,396
Post

Physics guy, send me email and we can talk shop.
Apikorus is offline  
Old 08-08-2001, 11:25 PM   #44
Metacrock
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,734
Arrow

Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>This site has a good, detailed timeline of the composition of the Gospels that some may enjoy.
http://members.iinet.net.au/~quentin...-Timeline.html


Michael</STRONG>

Quote:
The earliest Christians are the Gnostics, a wildly varying and widely spread set of cults and groups and teachers who claim their Christianity is based on ancient teachings, as informed and confirmed by direct personal spiritual experience. The archetypes which lead to the creation of Jesus Christ can clearly be seen in the centuries before our era.
The physical manuscript evidence of the Gospels does not starts until early-mid 2nd century with famous P52 - a tiny piece of papyrus with fragments of only 7 verses. The key other papyri are a few pages dated c.200 with only 2 whole chapters known before the manuscripts of c.300 and later.
The historical attestation to the Gospel actors and events - Jesus of Nazareth and the Evangelists only begins early 2nd century.
Citations to the Gospels only begin in mid 2nd century when several variant and early forms of the Gospels become known.
The number of the Gospels is not set until mid 2nd century, and the names of Evangelists are not given to the Gospels until late 2nd century

That's not even true. There are fragments and MS from early second century that have John's name on John.

The Gospel of John:
Introduction, Argument, Outline
by
Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D.
http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/jnotl.htm

Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently professor of New Testament Studies at his alma mater. His Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Zondervan, 1996) has become a standard textbook in colleges and seminaries. He is the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible. His email address is: wallace@bible.org
1. The Title

As with the other gospels, no MSS which contain John’s Gospel1 affirm authorship by anyone other than John.2 Once again, as with the others, this is short of proof of Johannine authorship, but the unbroken stream suggests recognition (or at least acknowledgment) of Johannine authorship as early as the first quarter of the second century. Indeed, John’s Gospel is unique among the evangelists for two early papyri (P66 and P75, dated c. 200) attest to Johannine authorship. Since these two MSS were not closely related to each other, this common tradition must precede them by at least three or four generations of copying. Further, although B and P75 are closely related, textual studies have demonstrated that P75 is not the ancestor of B—in fact, B’s ancestor was, in many respects, more primitive than P75.3 Hence, the combined testimony of B and P75 on Johannine authorship points to a textual tradition which must be at least two generations earlier than P75. All of this is to say that from the beginning of the second century, the fourth gospel was strongly attached to the apostle John.


1 I.e., which contain John either in its entirety or at least which have the first few verses, permitting them to reveal their inscription. It should be added here that P52, which is to be dated c. 100-150, only contains portions of five verses from John 18.
2 The simplest inscription is kataV jIwavnnhn, found in a B (“according to John” . As time progressed this became more elaborate: in the fifth century the title was customarily eujaggevlion kataV jIwavnnhn ([A] C D L W et al. [“The Gospel according to John”]), while still later it was called a{gion eujaggevlion kataV jIwavnnhn (28 and others [“the Holy Gospel according to John”]). Curiously, the two earliest MSS (P66 and P75) have eujaggevlion kataV jIwavnnhn, a fact which suggests that this gospel—even more than the synoptics—was already well accepted in the early part of the second century, for such accretions were usually associated with books which had a long-standing history of acceptance with the church. This further illustrates that even though these two papyri are our earliest (fairly) complete witnesses to John, the great codices of the fourth century may, at times, be more reliable guides to the wording of the original text.

Attestation of Johannine authorship is found as early as Irenaeus. Eusebius reports that Irenaeus received his information from Polycarp, who in turn received it from the apostles directly. Although Irenaeus’ testimony has been assailed on critical grounds (since he received the information as a child, and may have been mistaken as to which John wrote the gospel), since all patristic writers after Irenaeus do not question apostolic authorship, criticism must give way to historical probability. The list of fathers include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, etc. Further, the Muratorian Canon suggests that John was given the commission to write this gospel after Andrew received a vision indicating that he would do so. If one were to sift out the possible accretions in this statement, the bare fact of Johannine authorship is not disturbed. Finally, the anti-Marcionite Prologue also affirms Johannine authorship.

In countering this external evidence are two considerations. (1) There would be a strong motivation on the part of patristic writers to suggest authorship by an apostle. Further, the internal evidence, when compared with the synoptics, strongly suggests John as the leading candidate. But this is off-set by the remarkably early documentary testimony of Johannine authorship4 as well as early patristic hints (Ignatius, Justin, Tatian). Further, P52—the earliest fragment for any NT book—contains portions of John 18:31-33 and 37-38 and is to be dated as early as 100 CE5; and the Papyrus Egerton 2, which is to be dated at about the same time, draws on both John and synoptics for its material.6 Although the early patristic hints and the early papyri do not explicitly affirm Johannine authorship, they do illustrate its early and widespread use, an implicit testimony to its acceptance by the church. Indeed, there seems never to have been a time when this gospel bore any name other than John’s.

5 For a survey of the dating of this MS, cf. D. B. Wallace, “John 5,2 and the Date of the Fourth Gospel,” Biblica 71 (1990) 177-78 (n. 6).

[ August 09, 2001: Message edited by: Metacrock ]
Metacrock is offline  
Old 08-08-2001, 11:53 PM   #45
Metacrock
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,734
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by rodahi:
<STRONG>

Maybe you should stop laughing and take the site more seriously. I can't find a single instance of "gross misrepresentation" or examples of "misinformation" in the timeline, and, yet, you state the site has a "vast array" of these. Does the truth scare you, Polycarp?

Why don't you answer Michael's question?

rodahi</STRONG>

Well for openers they start by saying that the oldest texts are gnostic. That is grossly unture. The oldest text of a Gospel is the fragment of John. There are also ms from the early second century that list John as the author and they say that there aren't any until late 2nd century that affirm any authorship.


Is The Bible The Word of God?
Metacrock is offline  
Old 08-08-2001, 11:57 PM   #46
Metacrock
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,734
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by James Still:
<STRONG>

I hear some of what you're saying Apikorus. I would also say that as bad as things seem to you the situation is far better on the net now than it was five years ago. Back then nearly every atheist I knew was a mythicist who advocated very late datings for canonical texts and was convinced that all Christian scholars were hopeless dupes with a conservative agenda.

Here's my challenge to those atheists who have never picked up the NT. Go home tonight and read the Gospel of Mark straight through. It's very short will take you no longer than 30 or 40 minutes. You'll come away with a better appreciation for what Mark was trying to do and avoid the errors that come from cherry-picking passages with no sense for the larger context. Then tackle the rest of the text over time.

Having said that let's not fool ourselves: probably nine out of ten Christians who pop in here have yet to read the NT either. Most get their information second-hand from agenda-driven preachers or in those creepy booklets you find at bus stops. The rest see the text through a thick blanket of interpretation culled from Sunday schools, Bible camps, church leaders, or through movies on television.

As far as books go here is my list of what every BC&A atheist *must* minimally have on his or her bookshelf:

Helmut Koester, Introduction to the NT or the one by Brown here

E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism

Miller and Funk, The Complete Gospels

A harmony of the gospels such as the one here

Once you have these reference books handy it's time to dig in a little deeper with a commentary on one or more of the individual texts. For example, I love L.T. Johnson's commentary on Luke as well as his commentary on Acts in the Sacra Pagina series. Johnson is a Jesuit scholar but (like Sanders) he is reasonable and even-handed. You need to surround yourself with commentaries by moderate and even conservative scholars in order to broaden your perspective. If you read only fringe or liberal scholars' ideas then you're only getting half of the story. Read the whole spectrum in order to balance these views against each other; and then after reading the expert opinions come to some conclusions on your own. Read N.T. Wright and F.F. Bruce for responsible conservative commentary and read folks like Kloppenborg, Koester, Funk, and the Jesus Seminar for liberal views.

Also qualify your arguments and conclusions. Watch out for generalizations like "scholars agree that canonical Mark reached its final form by 80 CE." Instead say "some scholars believe that canonical Mark reached its final form by 80 CE but others think that sections like the Longer Ending were added much later." When you see phrases like "all scholars," "obviously we can conclude that," "everyone agrees that" you'd better make damn sure that you're right (because you're probably wrong). Good scholarship requires that you qualify your conclusions according to the evidence available. Just because scholar X posts conclusion Y on his website that doesn't mean that conclusion Y is true or irrefutable.

One last bit of advice, which happens to be a pet peeve of mine. There is something called "academic charity" in which you try to see your opponent's argument in the best light possible. Suppose Polycarp says, "according to Luke the Capernaum centurion approaches Jesus in person (7:1)." I could jump on my high horse and say "aha Polycarp, you fool! In Luke, the centurion sends elders to speak on his behalf! I guess I can't trust anything else you say either..." The dictates of academic charity suggest that I recognize the mental slip and instead say, "By the way, Polycarp I think you meant 'Matthew' rather than 'Luke' in that statement (Matt. 8:5)." Then, assuming that he meant Matthew rather than Luke, I would go on to make my point or to analyze his argument. We're all human, we make mistakes, and this ain't an academic conference with polished thesis papers. A little bit of charity goes a long way. It also keeps the discussion on track.

I'm just as guilty of overstating a case or failing to look something up before writing about it as anyone else so I don't want to sound preachy. I just wanted to throw out some tips for everyone's consideration.</STRONG>

O come on Still! Most Christians are learned scholars (cough cough). hey what's that thing sticking out of my face, it's growing too! O it's my nose. Would you believe most Christians have at least read the Bible? Would you believe most have a copy?
Metacrock is offline  
Old 08-09-2001, 05:27 AM   #47
Vorkosigan
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Barrayar
Posts: 11,866
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Metacrock:
<STRONG>


O come on Still! Most Christians are learned scholars (cough cough). hey what's that thing sticking out of my face, it's growing too! O it's my nose. Would you believe most Christians have at least read the Bible? Would you believe most have a copy?
</STRONG>
I expect most have a copy. It would be interesting to find out how many have actually read the NT.

Barna's got a whole list of Bible-reading related stuff here: http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PageCat...p?CategoryID=7

Meta, do us a favor, when you're quoting, quote only the relevant parts of a post. Thanks.

Good to see you back.

Michael
Vorkosigan is offline  
Old 08-09-2001, 07:21 AM   #48
rodahi
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Weslaco, TX, USA
Posts: 137
Post

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by rodahi:

Maybe you should stop laughing and take the site more seriously. I can't find a single instance of "gross misrepresentation" or examples of "misinformation" in the timeline, and, yet, you state the site has a "vast array" of these. Does the truth scare you, Polycarp?

Why don't you answer Michael's question?

rodahi


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Metacrock: Well for openers they start by saying that the oldest texts are gnostic.

Please quote the author where he says "the oldest texts are gnostic." Your saying he said it is not enough.

Metacrock: That is grossly unture. The oldest text of a Gospel is the fragment of John. There are also ms from the early second century that list John as the author and they say that there aren't any until late 2nd century that affirm any authorship.

1. You haven't shown anything the author said is "grossly untrue."
2. List extant MSS from the early second century that suggest John is the author.

rodahi
rodahi is offline  
Old 08-09-2001, 08:55 AM   #49
James Still
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Pacific Northwest (US)
Posts: 527
Post

I don't have a problem with the guy saying that the gnostic texts were the oldest. For my money any theory is worth consideration. The problem is that his suggestion is not supported by the available evidence and he doesn't back it up with his own arguments. We don't really know which trajectories are "first" because after the fall of Jerusalem each community seems to have simultaneously nurtured its own liturgy and teachings. Thus, while the gnostics were in Alexandria preaching an otherworldly Christ the Jewish-Christians in Syria were focused on the wisdom teachings of Jesus the rabbi. Even if we did know that the gnostics were the first to produce a written version of the gospel message it hardly matters. Rushing something to print does not establish historical accuracy or primacy. In the first two centuries oral tradition and the memories of the elders were held in far higher regard than anything that was written down. We see hints in Eusebius' gloss of Papias that many ancient Christians were outright hostile to the written gospels and saw them as corruptions of the thriving oral tradition.
James Still is offline  
Old 08-09-2001, 09:21 AM   #50
Vorkosigan
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Barrayar
Posts: 11,866
Post

Here's what he actually says:
  • The earliest Christians are the Gnostics, a wildly varying and widely spread set of cults and groups and teachers who claim their Christianity is based on ancient teachings, as informed and confirmed by direct personal spiritual experience. The archetypes which lead to the creation of Jesus Christ can clearly be seen in the centuries before our era.
  • The physical manuscript evidence of the Gospels does not starts until early-mid 2nd century with famous P52 - a tiny piece of papyrus with fragments of only 7 verses. The key other papyri are a few pages dated c.200 with only 2 whole chapters known before the manuscripts of c.300 and later.

Metacrock, where does he say the earliest texts are gnostic? I can't find that claim anywhere in the time-line.

The author is clearly aware of p52's place as the earliest gospel fragment. Polycarp has already noted the problem of "only 2 whole chapters" and the author's response is posted above.

There are fragments and MS from early second century that have John's name on John.

p52 does not have John's name on it. The manuscripts with John's name on them appear toward the end of the second century.

Michael
Vorkosigan is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:30 PM.

Top

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