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Old 07-11-2001, 11:44 PM   #11
Peter Kirby
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"Scholars do give ranges, but when doing so they normally make it abundently clear why they think that, what other scholars think and why they think the others are wrong. Kirby simply gives a table with dates.
Which is fine, but in such a case I would expect Kirby to say 'These are my opinon (Or scholar X's) of the dates', or if he doesn't have that I would expect to see generally accepted / majority dates: I don't."

Thank you for your comments. I do take them seriously.

First, let me dispute that scholars make it "abundantly clear" why they give a certain date to a certain book. They don't. One of the most difficult aspects of New Testament research is the dating of the documents, and it is an aspect that is not normally given due attention. Based on my own research, I consider myself to be as competent as any scholar in the matter of dating the documents, which is not to say that I believe that I've got it figured out but that I understand the issues involved. Many scholars fabricate dates with inexplicably fine ranges of, say, 5 years and they emphatically do not make it in the list bit clear as to how they arrived at so narrow a delimitation.

Second, one of my goals has been to present the actual data that support a particular dating suggested, something which is in actual fact not frequently done. It is manifestly false to claim that I "simply gives a table with dates." You would realize that this is false if you would only so much as click on the individual pages and scroll down to see my information on it. I have not yet been able to provide a commentary on each document, but in those cases when I have been able to provide commentary, I have concentrated on explaining the evidence and scholarly opinion concerning authenticity and dating. My datings have not been plucked out of thin air; although, again, in some cases I have not yet gotten around to providing a commentary.

Third, I do make a disclaimer in my introduction: "Because it is the most intuitive and useful, I have ordered them based on one possible chronological scheme. The ordering is almost certainly wrong in some part. To provide some bearings, a range of probable dating is provided for the scheme, but this range of dating can be disputed."

"You posted a list of some dates yourself Michael, you don't need me to tell you that in many cases Kirby's earliest limit is later than the latest date given by any scholar in your list or only just inside it."

I have always included the consensus opinion of liberal scholarship within my ranges. If you can show that the consensus opinion of non-conservative scholarship is against me in any instance, I will revise the site. (Most of the people on the errantskeptics site, with their list of datings, are evangelicals, and their opinion doesn't count with me.)

More importantly, if you can provide any actual evidence (instead of opinion) that my termini are incorrect, I will revise the site.

My ad quems are later than most because I have tried to keep an eye on the actual evidence that fixes the latest possible dating for documents. That's called honesty. Again, if you can show that the evidence makes it so that any ad quem is too late, I will revise the site.

Thank you for your feedback - I can also be reached at kirby@earthlink.net.

best,
Peter Kirby http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/writings/
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Old 07-12-2001, 01:42 AM   #12
Bede
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Quote:
1. The writer wrote Diocletian when he meant Domitian.
So he was wrong.

Quote:
2. It is uncertain when Christians began to celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25. One thing is certain, though, no one knows when Jesus was born.
One thing is certain, it wasn't fixed by Constantine and so he was wrong again.

Quote:
3. The date 367 CE is a typo. The writer meant 337 CE.
So he was wrong.

Not a good start from a casual glance through and quite enough to convince me that I shouldn't bother give it serious attention.

I did read through the first half and it makes so many anachronistic remarks, indulges in so much suppression of evidence and has so little understanding of the motivations of the people it pillories that it is simply anti-Christian apologetics written by someone whose read a few standard works. I would suggest Kirby's work if you'd like to read good anti-Christian stuff on the net.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 07-12-2001, 10:06 AM   #13
Family Man
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bede:
<STRONG>

So he was wrong.

Not a good start from a casual glance through and quite enough to convince me that I shouldn't bother give it serious attention.

I did read through the first half and it makes so many anachronistic remarks, indulges in so much suppression of evidence and has so little understanding of the motivations of the people it pillories that it is simply anti-Christian apologetics written by someone whose read a few standard works. I would suggest Kirby's work if you'd like to read good anti-Christian stuff on the net.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason</STRONG>
So he fixes those three things, and then he's not wrong?
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Old 07-12-2001, 11:17 AM   #14
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So he fixes those three things, and then he's not wrong?
Read my post Dennis as it answers your question in the negative. Apologies if you were just being sarcastic as it's hard to tell.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 07-12-2001, 12:50 PM   #15
jre
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Quote:
Originally posted by rodahi:
1. The writer wrote Diocletian when he meant Domitian.
2. It is uncertain when Christians began to celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25. One thing is certain, though, no one knows when Jesus was born.
3. The date 367 CE is a typo. The writer meant 337 CE.

These minor errors do not detract from the general accuracy of the article.

rodahi[/QB]
Woah, I've heard of biblcal apologists claiming inerrancy by re-writing parts of the bible, but website apologists?
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Old 07-12-2001, 05:40 PM   #16
rodahi
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bede:
<STRONG>

So he was wrong.

Not a good start from a casual glance through and quite enough to convince me that I shouldn't bother give it serious attention.

I did read through the first half and it makes so many anachronistic remarks, indulges in so much suppression of evidence and has so little understanding of the motivations of the people it pillories that it is simply anti-Christian apologetics written by someone whose read a few standard works. I would suggest Kirby's work if you'd like to read good anti-Christian stuff on the net.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason</STRONG>
I will keep an eye on how many "facts" you screw up, Bede, and point them out. It seems to me you have committed a factual blunder in several of your postings. Does that mean that NONE of your commentary is worth reading?

rodahi
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Old 07-12-2001, 05:42 PM   #17
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3172
posted July 12, 2001 01:50 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by rodahi:
1. The writer wrote Diocletian when he meant Domitian.
2. It is uncertain when Christians began to celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25. One thing is certain, though, no one knows when Jesus was born.
3. The date 367 CE is a typo. The writer meant 337 CE.
These minor errors do not detract from the general accuracy of the article.

rodahi[/QB]


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

jre: Woah, I've heard of biblcal apologists claiming inerrancy by re-writing parts of the bible, but website apologists?

Whoa! Have you read the article being discussed?

rodahi
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Old 07-12-2001, 07:33 PM   #18
Peter Kirby
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I am honored that Bede considers my material to be "good anti-Christian stuff." :-)

I have a few problems with the article as well -- I skipped ahead to the New Testament part of the essay.

As to whether the article is revisionist, by a strict denotation of the term it is (in part). That is not to say that the essay is wrong, illogical, or of no value -- it is just to say that the author intends to overturn the current consensus on a particular issue. One part that is revisionist is the skepticism concerning the historicity of Jesus. Again, that is not a value judgment but just a statement of fact that most experts would disagree.

Concerning Gal 1:19: "The use of the term "Lord's" even makes that single reference somewhat questionable to scholars." What this is supposed to mean, I am at a loss to say.

"There at least ought to be a record of his arrest and trial, or some of the political notoriety the gospel writers describe. Yet the Roman records are silent, even though they are quite thorough, and a surprising number of them have survived." This is not true. A few Roman historians have survived by being copied through the Dark Ages, and a few inscriptions from the Roman era have been uncovered, but there is a dearth of material that could be considered "Roman records" of the type of the Acta Diurna, Acta Senatus, and so on. We cannot say whether or not there was a record of the trial of Jesus based on the evidence that is available to us.

On Josephus: "his two small references are seriously doubted by scholars as being genuine, because they don't appear in early copies of the work" -- this is a myth. We don't have copies of the work prior to the tenth century, and all the copies with the relevant portions do contain the passages quoted by Eusebius without notable variation.

"Why, if he had as much influence, and caused as much a stir as the Bible says he did, do we not know of him at all from reliable, contemporary testimony?" Of course, it is easier to argue against the existence of the Bible Jesus than it is to argue against a historical Jesus, whose impact in the world at large may have been minimal.

"Founded late in the second century B.C.E., the Essenes were either founded by or greatly influenced by one Jesus or Jesua Ben Pantera, Pentera or Pandera, who gathered considerable influence with his movement" -- it is very odd, then, that no mention of a Jesus can be found in the writings of the Essenes (the Dead Sea Scrolls) or in the write-ups on the Essenes from the Hellenistic writers Josephus, Philo, and Pliny. The author has gotten himself confused between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Talmud (or perhaps Celsus), the latter of which does contain some brief mentions of a Jesus son of Panthera -- it's a joke, by the way, a play on the Greek word for virgin, parthenos.

"These references would have had to be penned during the life of the traditional Jesus" -- unless, of course, the Talmud began to be compiled c. 200 CE, as everyone else on this planet seems to think.

It is a little odd to me that he borrows the language of "Jesus Movements" and "Christ cults" from scholars such as Burton Mack but rejects the premise that the former were responses to a historical Jesus and that the latter grew out of the former (as exemplified by Paul).

"That Paul's early writings are very early in the Christian mythmaking process is exemplified by his frequent use of the term, "Christ Jesus." This name is stated this way because the original meaning of the word "christ" was "beloved teacher" or "esteemed lesson giver." " -- this is nonsense, as the Greek word xristos meant 'anointed'.

That Paul was gay - I wonder whether we would be proposing this if it weren't for the fact that it irks Christians. This betrays the author as being engaged primarily in religious polemics as opposed to history (which should be obvious enough from the intro and conclusion anyway). This is not to say, of course, that I can prove that Paul wasn't gay - for that matter, I can't prove that Tom Cruise isn't gay either.

"Judaism was under direct threat from Roman persecution" - actually, although there were some antisemitic Romans, Roman law of the time recognized Judaism as an ancient religion to be tolerated. This is natural enough if, as some surmise, the Jewish religion extended to as much as 20 percent of the population.

In the same paragraph - the author seems to imply that the apostle Paul foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem and deliberately invented a meme that would survive the tumultuous times to come. How does that work, master Po? Supernatural foresight?

Couple paragraphs down - the author says that there were pagan religions that included the crucifixion of a god as a doctrine. This is quite doubtful. Consider this passage (Justin Martyr, First Apology LX): "But in no instance, not even in any of those called sons of Jupiter, did they imitate the being crucified; for it was not understood by them, all the things said of it having been put symbolically."

The author says that the author of Mark was "not fluent in Greek." This is quite odd for a person who has managed to write the entire Gospel of Mark in Greek. It goes without saying that a person who can write the language can probably speak it, even if it is a secondary language (to what? Latin?). And I wonder how the author figured out that Mark wasn't well educated.

Mark "wrote his gospel in Rome (probably in the early 70's C.E.) for an audience of Roman Christians" - contemporary scholarship tends to place Mark in Syria (e.g. Schnelle, Perrin), but the issue is a matter that is still up for debate (cf. Brown).

"The author of John is believed by some scholars to also be the author of Revelation" - but not by many since the time of the Enlightenment. The issue was up for debate even in the time of the Church Fathers.

Same paragraph - where does John quote "Wisdom books attributed to Solomon"?

Same paragraph - "This is why all of the "I AM" sayings." - what does this mean?

"Tertullian of Carthage" in Rome as a Christian leader in the year 140 CE? I don't think so; he appeared on the scene significantly later.

For what it matters, I agree with his basic contention that the Bible is not the Word of God.
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Old 07-12-2001, 07:53 PM   #19
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Peterkirby,
"I have always included the consensus opinion of liberal scholarship within my ranges. If you can show that the consensus opinion of non-conservative scholarship is against me in any instance, I will revise the site. (Most of the people on the errantskeptics site, with their list of datings, are evangelicals, and their opinion doesn't count with me.)"

It is perfectly fine that you wish to give the opinion of liberal/non-conservative scholarship ranges. My suggestion is merely that you point out somewhere to the reader that you are doing this.
A vague statement that the ranges might be open to dispute doesn't really qualify in my opinion as any range is open to dispute and it says nothing about whos opinion of the range is being presented here.
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Old 07-12-2001, 08:04 PM   #20
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"It is perfectly fine that you wish to give the opinion of liberal/non-conservative scholarship ranges. My suggestion is merely that you point out somewhere to the reader that you are doing this.
A vague statement that the ranges might be open to dispute doesn't really qualify in my opinion as any range is open to dispute and it says nothing about whos opinion of the range is being presented here."

I have appropriately changed my introduction. Please let me know if you have any issues with the particular datings that are made on the site, which I have not changed.

best,
Peter Kirby
http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/writings/
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