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Old 03-15-2001, 05:05 PM   #81
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
Because I won't let you distance yourself from your previous bogus claims. As I said earlier:

This is a forum where he who claims, will be asked to substantiate. Gee; imagine that.

If you're uncomfortable with that level of accountability, then perhaps you'd prefer a less challenging newsgroup. I suggest alt.flyfishing.

[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 15, 2001).]
</font>
I was right, you won't admit to changing your story about Josephus. Instead, you pretend that "all" we have been talking about is an analogy that I admitted was imperfect (as all analogies are). However, I used it to respond to a rather pathetic analogy to tooth fairies (which you seemed to have no problems with). My points were simple:

1. We have more than one source as to the miracles of Jesus. I never said, as you now suggest, that they "never borrowed or contaminated" each other. At a minimum Mark, John, and Josephus are independent of the others (you never commented on Celsus or the Bablyonian Talmud). You have a point that there may be some overlap between Mark's access to Peter and Paul's access to Peter. However, because Paul also had access other disciples, as well as spent time with James, Jesus' brother, I believe there is good reason to view his sources as distinct from Mark. Additionally, it does not seem that Q and L (not to mention M) came from Peter. There are differences in theological focus and christology.

2. The reports of miracles were given despite persecution imposed because of the miracle reports. At first you seemed to deny that the early Christians suffered persecution, then you seemed to admit it might have happened, so I'm unclear on where you stand on this one. Paul, Acts, 1 Clement and Josephus provide direct support for this. Hebrews and 1 Peter provide at lesat indirect support for this. Again, please review my post on Hebrews. You asked for evidence, I tried to give some. You have ignored it.

3. Dissimilarity. The Jewish Christians were reporting events that we would not expect Jews to report. Most importantly, that the resurrection that they had all previously believed to be a general resurrection, had in fact occurred to a single individual who had "failed" as a messiah. This also applies to Jesus' use of parables, the way he did miracles, and the Last Supper.

4. That there are "embarrassing" admissions of the early church. Peter's denial, the scattering of the disciples, Jesus hindrance of performing miracles in Nazareth, the baptism of Jesus for forgiveness of sins by John the Baptist, and the crucifixion of Jesus itself).

This thread, and you, have ranged far afield into many issues related to the New Testament and the points I raised. One of those issues was Josephus. You said I was grossly missinformed about New Testament studies because I stated that Josephus did provide indepenent testimony about Jesus' miracles. You claimed that the reference was a Christian invention. I responded with a list of repsected New Testament scholars who agreed with me: there were interplations but the miracles reference is genuine. You respond with a quote from the encyclopedia that actually supported my point. It did not say that the miracles reference was made up. You then specifically refer to Bruce and Metzger, and state that "they" agreed with you. To remind others, this is exactly what you said:

"3. I also checked this point about Josephus last night in the Oxford Companion to the Bible. You know, Bruce & Metzger? THEY concur with me."

Now, of course, you claim that you didn't mean Bruce and Metzger, you actually meant some as yet unnamed author who supported your position. I don't believe for a second, nor would any reasonable reader, that you did not mean to imply that Bruce & Metzger agreed with you. Of course, I would be interested in seeing the quote from the Oxford Companion that you claim states that the reference to miracles is an unoriginal interpolation. Please provide it when you can. I would also add that both Bruce and Metzger agree that John was an eyewitness to Jesus.

So what we have on this issue, is you claiming I'm ignorant about New Testament history because of my belief that there was Christian interpolation of Josephus, but that the reference to Josephus' miracles was genuine. I provide a list of about a dozen or so New Testament scholars who agree with me. You refer to F.F. Bruce as supporting you. I show that he clearly does not, but, in fact, agrees with me. (BTW, the same is true of Metzger, although I don't have a reference handy). You, despite saying I was ignorant of New Testament History, and despite my references to very respected N.T. Scholars, have completely failed to produce a single reference which supports your claim that the reference to miracles was, itself, and interpolation.

And the fact that it has taken so long to refute one simple point you still have yet to support is just another example of the fact that you have no interest in discussion, but only wish to frustrate. You have succeeded.

 
Old 03-15-2001, 05:35 PM   #82
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:

I'm not following you here.

Are you saying that someone openly expressing contempt is not being abusive?
</font>
My fault, I never finished the sentence. I wanted to say -- openly expressed contempt for the ideas --.

Michael
 
Old 03-15-2001, 07:46 PM   #83
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I guess it's too much to ask for you to address my point about your analogy.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Your analogies had the following attributes:

1. first-person eyewitness testimony from 4 or 5 sources,
2. none of the sources borrowed or contaminated each other;
3. the testimony was transmitted freshly and immediately after the event in question;
4. the receiver of the testimony (YOU) got it second hand, without any intervening person to add a layer of indirection

None of these attributes are true of the NT texts. Yet you still want to say that your analogy is valid.
</font>

I also remind you that there are two other questionable claims of yours for which the proof is still outstanding. I'm "holding my horses", but I'm not holding my breath.

And, of course, let's remind everyone what you said about Tacitus - are you ready to admit that he is wrong yet? (I think I already know the answer).

Because of your "artful dodging" of such straightforward questions as these, it's obvious that you are either not reading what I post, or are simply not interested in an actual exchange of ideas.

What's even harder to believe is that, after all the above, you still have the gall to accuse others of not wanting a serious discourse. What a marvelous example of the pot-kettle-black technique of debating.



[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 15, 2001).]
 
Old 03-15-2001, 10:17 PM   #84
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Red face

Well, I blew it on at least two counts with my comments about Josephus and the Testimonium Flavium.
[list=1][*]The Oxford Companion to the Bible was not edited by Metzger and Bruce, but by Metzger and Coogan. That's the minor error, though.[*]The major error is that, as I re-read the section on Josephus tonight to double check myself, I discovered that there is no reference whatsoever to the Testimonium Flavium in that section. None. Zero. All I can say in my defense is that in perousing books, articles and websites yesterday to prepare my response to Layman, I obviously transposed something I read elsewhere. And in the rush, I didn't double-check. Mea culpa.[/list=a]

Rather than let this error stand, I would prefer to admit the error here. It's more important to be honest than to be right all the time.

So Layman, I toss a rose in your direction.
 
Old 03-16-2001, 08:21 AM   #85
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
I guess it's too much to ask for you to address my point about your analogy.



I also remind you that there are two other questionable claims of yours for which the proof is still outstanding. I'm "holding my horses", but I'm not holding my breath.

And, of course, let's remind everyone what you said about Tacitus - are you ready to admit that he is wrong yet? (I think I already know the answer).

Because of your "artful dodging" of such straightforward questions as these, it's obvious that you are either not reading what I post, or are simply not interested in an actual exchange of ideas.

What's even harder to believe is that, after all the above, you still have the gall to accuse others of not wanting a serious discourse. What a marvelous example of the pot-kettle-black technique of debating.

[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 15, 2001).]
</font>
If you will read two posts up you will see that I did return to the analogy. You did not respond to it.

I have not forgotten the other two claims. Expect it in a separate post. Luke's genre and historical accuracy, especially as it relates to his relationship to Paul's missionary activities.

I think you misunderstood what I said about Tacitus. When I said "they" I was referring to the gospels. You made the point that Josephus, Tacitus, and Philo were wrong on some things, and then asked if I would be willing to apply the same admissions to the gospels. When I said that I would when you proved them wrong, I was referring to the gospel. I, of course, do not believe that Josephus, Tacitus, or Philo were inerrant in their historical works. So, if your question is, do I concede that Tacitus was wrong about some of what he wrote, the answer is yes.

There are two main reasons I do not believe you are interested in a discussion. The first and most obvious is that you are playing hide the ball about what you believe about these events, claiming that your beliefs are irrelevant, rather than seeing how they could provide a mutual basis for discussion.

The second is your disregard for New Testament scholarship. I cannot be certain, because you will not tell me what you really believe, but it seems you are ignorant of the state of New Testament scholarship and the methods of New Testament scholars. The blow up over the Josephus reference is just the most obvious example. You accuse me of being ignorant of NT studies because I believe that Josephus' references to miracles was genuine. I give you many respected NT scholars as sources, and you then accuse me of lying about what they say. And you counter with a quote to an online encylopeida (which is consistent with MY opinion), and the Oxford Companion to the Bible which you now concede doesn't confirm your argument at all. Now. I want to be clear that I do not hold it against you for getting a reference to a source wrong, I do that too. But your claims that I was ignorant of the clear state of NT scholarship and that I was lying about what those scholars I referenced believed, despite your lack of sources to the contrary, is especially tedious and reflective of a desire to obstruct, rather than discuss.

And, for the record and because your accusation lingers in the air, I want to add another reconstruction of the relevant Josephus reference. This one from perhaps the preeminent New Testament scholar in the United States:

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was one who wrought suprising feats and was a teacher of people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."

E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, at 298.
 
Old 03-16-2001, 09:09 AM   #86
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Thank you for the reply - you are very patient and I am grateful. Thank you very much for giving an example.

But, be that as it may,
May I ask you, (in light of your claim that the Bible is not inerrant)

Is the prophets rising (Matthew) an error or not?
How do you know?

to be Skeptical is not relevant, I want to know if your criteria can actually spot an error or not.
Up to this point you still have not adequately answered my question.

Many humble thanks,
JMAC
 
Old 03-16-2001, 09:39 AM   #87
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
Thank you for the reply - you are very patient and I am grateful. Thank you very much for giving an example.

But, be that as it may,
May I ask you, (in light of your claim that the Bible is not inerrant)

Is the prophets rising (Matthew) an error or not?
How do you know?

to be Skeptical is not relevant, I want to know if your criteria can actually spot an error or not.
Up to this point you still have not adequately answered my question.

Many humble thanks,
JMAC
</font>
My patience is more due to your manner of questioning than any virture on my part. And I assure your that I have attempted answer, and believe that I have answered at least some, of your questions.

And, I think that even the more skeptical scholars of the Jesus Seminar would explain to you the difficulty of finding an "error." I think the criteria are much better at putting things into the "most likely" box than they are kicking things out of the "possibly" box.

I do not think that the historical criteria I outlined above, without direct contrary evidence, can demonstrate anything stronger than that Matthew's account of the prophets rising has little historical support. If we had another account which was aware of, but rejected Matthew's claim, then I think it might be appropriate to classify Matthew's story as an error (or fabrication). Much would depend on the source material and purpose of the negative account.

However, I have to admit that much of this is off the top of my head and I haven't spent much time studying Matthew's uniquel material. My focus has been more on Jesus' relationship to John the Baptist, his teaching, his teaching style, his performance of miracles, the events surrounding his death, and his resurrection.

 
Old 03-16-2001, 09:52 AM   #88
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
Thank you for the reply - you are very patient and I am grateful. Thank you very much for giving an example.

But, be that as it may,
May I ask you, (in light of your claim that the Bible is not inerrant)

Is the prophets rising (Matthew) an error or not?
How do you know?

to be Skeptical is not relevant, I want to know if your criteria can actually spot an error or not.
Up to this point you still have not adequately answered my question.

Many humble thanks,
JMAC
</font>
I brought up the Jesus, Miracle-Worker post, so you could see, at least in one instance, how I used some of the criterion I mentioned above.
 
Old 03-16-2001, 10:47 AM   #89
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
If you will read two posts up you will see that I did return to the analogy. You did not respond to it.
</font>
You did not address the analogy of the nextdoor neighbor, or of the Gulf war book.
Nor did you explain why the NT texts should map to those analogies. Do I need to repeat the criteria that your analogies set forth?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Your analogies had the following attributes:
1. first-person eyewitness testimony from 4 or 5 sources,
2. none of the sources borrowed or contaminated each other;
3. the testimony was transmitted freshly and immediately after the event in question;
4. the receiver of the testimony (YOU) got it second hand, without any intervening person to add a layer of indirection

None of these attributes are true of the NT texts. Yet you still want to say that your analogy is valid.

</font>
So again I ask you: based upon your own analogies, do you still insist that the NT texts map to these attributes?

If yes, explain.

If not, will you concede that your analogies overstep the evidentiary case for NT texts?

That really is the core problem here. You've publicly set up a set of analogies, which I continue to bring you back to. I think it is only your pride which prevents you from admitting that your analogies are somewhat overboard, and don't map exactly to the quality of the evidence you have for NT texts. That is not a negative comment about the NT text evidence; it is merely a recognition that you got carried away in trying to defend them. The net result is a set of analogies that are a lot stronger than the evidence you have at hand.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
There are two main reasons I do not believe you are interested in a discussion. The first and most obvious is that you are playing hide the ball about what you believe about these events, laiming that your beliefs are irrelevant, rather than seeing how they could provide a mutual basis for discussion.
</font>
No, I am forcing you to substantiate your claims. You object, because you think all the work in on your shoulders. But you know what? This is exactly as it should be. Why? Because you're the one who's blasted a bunch of claims to this folder. He who claims, must prove.

In other words, Layman, I don't have to believe anything about Christianity, textual sources, etc. It's simply not necessary. That's a point that you don't seem to understand, so I'll try to make it clear for you.

If I were debating a Buddhist right now, I would have substantially less information about that religion than I do christianity. However, if the Buddhist made unlikely or outlandish claims, I would feel perfectly justified in asking him/her for proof. Even though I have no particular scholarly belief about Buddhism whatsoever, or the particular claims which that religion makes. The very fact that the claims are hard to believe and internally inconsistent is all the basis that I need for fielding the questions.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
NT scholarship and that I was lying about what those scholars I referenced believed, despite your lack of sources to the contrary, is especially tedious and reflective of a desire to obstruct, rather than discuss.
</font>
You'll have to forgive me if I have no tolerance for your complaints of tediousness. AFter forcing me to wade through your army of strawmen, your complaints are not especially interesting to me.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
And, for the record and because your accusation lingers in the air, I want to add another reconstruction of the relevant Josephus reference. This one from perhaps the preeminent New Testament scholar in the United States:
</font>
1. Even if this reconstruction were 100% accurate, at most it only proves that Josephus was aware of folk legends about Christ. It does not indicate that Josephus personally verified any of this, or endorsed it. Considering his status as a Jewish priest and scholar, it's unlikely that he would have done either.

2. Please note the reference that I provided, indicating that Josephus may have merely been transcribing text from another source, when he wrote the Test. Flav.

3. Interesting, however, that many scholars consider the Arabic version of the text to be superior, and it makes no mention of any miracles or "amazing deeds".



[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 16, 2001).]
 
Old 03-16-2001, 11:52 AM   #90
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Your retreat to the "you haven't proved the analogy" argument is obviously an attempt to avoid discussing all the implications of the evdience available to us. It is the ultimate strawman. You have even laid out a list of four criteria that I never put forth, and implied that they were mine. Moreover, you have failed to include several other aspects of the analogy (criterion of embarrasment, perseverance despite persecution, criterion of dissimiarlity), pretending that it only focused on "fresh, uncontamindated, eyewitness testimony." In short, you have completely distorted and misrepresented the scope, nature, and context of my analogy.

The analogy was intended to respond to the first analogies point (which you fail to attempt to "hold accountable) that we only have one source about the miracles. That is untrue. We have multiple, independent sources. The focus of the analogy was that the sources were independent, not that they were eyewitness. I have conceded repeatedly and from the very first that I only think that John was written by an eyewitness to Jesus. Your repeated implication that I have been arguing for such a thing is disingenuous at best.

I used the comparison to embarrassing admissions to demonstrate that the gospels contain things embarrasing to the early church that they would have been unlikely to invent. This is the commonly accepted criterion of embarrasment. We discussed this, I offered specific examples (from leading New Testament scholars), you quibbled with a couple, and went silent on this.

I used the comparison to reporting the incident in spite of persecution to compare it to the early church's continued preaching of Jesus in spite of persecution. I referred to first hand sources, as well as other reliable historical information to support this (Paul's letters, Josephus, and Acts). You at first denied they suffered persecution, then admitted they may have, then went silent on the topic.

I used the comparison to the fact that the person who was reporting things wouldn't normally report those to illustrate the criterion of dissimilarity. I again referred to examples offered by leading New Testament scholars. We have Jews reporting a resurrection unlike the Jews were expecting. We have Jews reporting a Messiah unlike the one the Jews were expecting.

But you don't want to get bogged down in actually discussing history, all you want to talk about is how I haven't proved an analogy that you have distorted beyond its context (while ignoring many other points which I believe have been fairly made).

When you can't refute the scholars and arguments about the independence of Paul, Mark, Q, L, M, and John, you say its not like the analogy. At first you seemed to suggest that only one person ever reported the resurrection or miracles of Jesus, then you fell silent.

When you are shown to have no idea what the scholarly consensus is about Josephus, you retreat back to the analogy.

When you accuse me about lying about souces, and I start producing them, you retreat back to the analogy.

When I ask you what you do believe so I can see if there is a common basis for discussion, you refuse and retreat back to the analogy.

When I back up all of my claims with references from leading New Testament scholars, your give me the online encyclopedia (which didn't even support your point), accuse me of lying, and then retreat back to the analogy.

When I provide quotes and pinpoint refernces to Josephus's miracles passages, you claim that "many" scholars believe the Arabic version is superior, and completely fail to name which scholars, provide the Arabic version, or explain why you think Arabs wouldn't interpolate but Christians would.

In short, you have used the analogy defense to avoid discussing what the evidence does show. You have used it to cover up your own ignorance about New Testament scholarship. You have used it to cover up your own disproven accusations that I am a liar. You have used it as an excuse to avoid having to attempt to put forth what you believe.

You sir, are a coward.
 
 

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