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Old 06-05-2001, 09:13 PM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
No versions where he is stabbed, no versions where he escapes death (minus the Gnostic idea of his death being illusory, which still accepts the basic story but just re-interprets it. Moreover, most scholars retain the resurrection in the core passage of Josephus. The Gospel of Peter provides an independent source for the empty as well.

Meta, why do you keep saying this nonsense? The fact is that in several of the non-canonical writings, the story is different. In one he is buried in the sand, in another someone else takes the cross and Jesus does not die. The truth is that, while the majority of writings reflect the passion story as Mark recorded it, a few do not.

Michael
</font>
You are not really understanding my point. I know that in some of the non-canonical texts its different, but two things:

1) Those are latter texts, I did give a cut off date. There are texts in the middle ages in the Talmud that have him being stoned. But that's way up in the middle ages. The Gnostic texts were mostly fourth century, that's where I said it starts to break down. But that's 400 years or so latter, and they have developed their own traditions, they are far away from the Jerusalem community, it's not the same thing.

2) The kind of difference is not great enough, becasue it still alludes to the orignal story. Don't you see that? They say 'well he seemed to be crucified but it wasn't really him' that's not the same as saying "he was stabbed." It still assumes the story eveyrone knew and just explains it away.It includes the cross, they are still admiting there was a cross they just reinterpret who was on it. That's just a take off of the original story it's not an alternate version.

Now I've said this every single time you have come back with that. are you ever going to answer it?
 
Old 06-06-2001, 03:26 PM   #12
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kosh:
What is the general
thinking on just what was destroyed in the
Libary of Alexandria? Could there have been
many [pagan] writings in there which confirmed Jesus'
historicity, details of the NT, etc? If such
documents did exist, it would make sense that
they be considered as important as the Josephus references, and therefore protected
at the Library?
</font>
The one problem with this supposition is that the best preserved texts are, naturally, just about everything written by Christians (and that means mainly Nicene and proto-Nicene orthodoxists, too). In part this is due to the fact that Christians naturally loved the works of ancient (to them) Christians and so had copies all over creation, but it is also due to the fact that the Constantines arranged a massive library for Christian literature in Constantinople, and there had long been one at Caesarea--founded by Origin I believe; Eusebius studied there and is believed to have curated that library, a sticky problem given that he is under some suspicion of forging and doctoring many texts.

The result is that any pagan references to Christ were all quoted by Christians, naturally, since they had the apologetic coup to gain by citing them, and so even lost pagan sources (e.g. Phlegon) are preserved in early Christian quotations. Had there been any 1st century pagan sources on Jesus, they could not fail to have been preserved by Christian authors. Instead, they were so lacking that by the 3rd and 4th century Christians had to start making them up.

In contrast, Alexandria was the last bastion of Pagan philosophy left. The schools of Athens were always small, and were outright shut down and cleaned out in the 6th century by the Christian Emperor Justinian. Only Alexandria survived as a rare jewel of pagan literature and scholarship: by the 7th century, the West was about as book-laden as the world of Road Warrior, and the East was under attack from all borders and shrinking steadily, and getting poorer by the century (though it never ceased to find bowls of cash to build churches and adorn palaces). Fewer and fewer resources were dedicated to preserving texts, and war took its tool on most of what was left. Alexandria remained the place to go to study anything: its library was unparalleled in size and scope. Its loss was surely a major blow to preserving pagan wisdom, especially works of science and countless crucial historical authors from the pre-Christian and post-Severan periods (all three categories that the library was known to excel at carrying).

But I am sure what was far worse was simple neglect: hundreds if not thousands of men were tasked every year with copying bibles, what few were left copied Christian texts (like the miles of fantastically boring sermons of Jerome), and then a casual handful remained to preserve anything else, and then the choice was whatever their rich patron thought most exciting. Even then, we only have a handful, sometimes only one manuscript of each item, and very often it is damaged or fragmentary.

A typical example is Tacitus: since he was the most famous and fun writer on Roman history, and wrote on the age that saw the dawn of Christianity, his history was among the most popular in the Latin West (and the only actual "history" of 1st century Roman affairs to be preserved at all; e.g., Suetonius only wrote biography, etc.). Yet despite that, only one complete manuscript survives of his Annals (actually two, each missing the other half, while the middle books and much of the last one are gone entirely), and only a few books of his Histories made it through the Dark Ages. Don't get me started on the works of history and science we lost altogether. What little science that does survive largely came through the lucky event of Arab interest in science in the 9th century, so many important works survive only in Arabic or Syriac translations.

It is enough to make a lover of history weep.

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Old 06-06-2001, 03:37 PM   #13
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ernest Sparks:
What is your opinion of a 'wrong tomb' explanation?</font>
Jewish law required that the executed be buried in one of two special graveyards reserved outside Jerusalem. It is almost certain that, if the story we have is in any detail true, Joseph had to have moved the body from his private tomb Saturday night as a matter of law. He could not have given Jesus a funeral Friday because the Sabbath starts at sundown, and there wasn't enough time, yet the Law required the condemned to be taken down before sundown of the day they are executed, and buried. So the Law had a special exception: you could plop a body in a temporary tomb to ride out the Sabbath, so long as you buried it right after (i.e. Saturday night). The story we are told in Mark, for example, so closely fits this scenario it is extremely tempting to suggest it is in fact true, but the body was moved just as the law required. Other things then remain to be explained, which make the story fishy (why didn't the women go to Joseph after finding the tomb empty? Etc.), but then those might be parts of the story that are wrong and dramatized.

I believe Jeff Lowder cites the Judaic sources for the relevant laws in his new paper on the empty tomb, but if not I'll dig them up. I have them in a file here somewhere.


[This message has been edited by Richard Carrier (edited June 06, 2001).]
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Old 06-06-2001, 03:53 PM   #14
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Richard,

Regarding your comments on Paul's tradition and the empty tomb. Does it make any difference to your assessment whether Paul is referring to a bodily resurrection or a spiritual resurrection? Why or why not?

Thanks
</font>
I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean do I think lack of an empty tomb supports a spiritual resurrection, that hardly needs to be said: obviously it does. If you mean do I think lack of an empty tomb is required by the theory that the faith began with a spiritual resurrection, then the answer is no. See my above remarks about Jewish law, Jeff Lowder's new essay on the empty tomb, and: Does an Empty Tomb Entail a Physical Resurrection?.



[This message has been edited by Richard Carrier (edited June 06, 2001).]
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Old 06-06-2001, 04:01 PM   #15
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ChristianSkeptic:
Richard Carrier: None of the earlier epistles ever mentions the detail.

ChristianSkeptic: Hello Richard

Your argument from silence on this point is rendered invalid, by the fact that the epistles are letters regarding theological issues to other Christians. Therefore, we do not expect them to mention such details.

Since we are dealing with letters to fellow believers, they are marked by what they presume. Also the letters do make allusions to historical events detailed in the Gospels.
</font>
That isn't quite correct: Galatians and 1 Corinthians have a lot of important, key historical details, as does 2 Peter: why would he cite as proof the transfiguration, but not the empty tomb or anything like the Thomas episode (1:16-19). It is not moot that none of Paul's credal confessions ever mentions an empty tomb, that none of his arguments would not have been helped by mentioning it, that no one ever asked about it, that no one ever doubted it (and thus, like so many other heretics Paul fought, had to be re-educated about it), that it wasn't relevant to his explanation of what a resurrected body was like, that he never mentions going there, etc.

Also, put yourself in their shoes: here was a tomb where God Almighty Himself lay, where the most important miracle in all of human history occurred. Is it really sensible to think it would never be mentioned even once?

Now, don't get me wrong: this alone is not sufficient to conclude the story is false. It adds a weight of suspicion, but only when all the lines of evidence and context are weighed does the scale drop just far enough to make it dubious (and only just barely, IMO).
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Old 06-06-2001, 04:04 PM   #16
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offa,

No offence, but I can't figure out your argument. I'm not sure how citing books even the early Christians regarded as forgeries adds much here.
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Old 06-06-2001, 04:05 PM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Richard Carrier:
I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean do I think lack of an empty tomb supports a spiritual resurrection, that hardly needs to be said: obviously it does. If you mean do I think lack of an empty tomb is required by the theory that the faith began with a spiritual resurrection, then the answer is no. See my above remarks about Jewish law, Jeff Lowder's new essay on the empty tomb, and: Does an Empty Tomb Entail a Physical Resurrection?.

[This message has been edited by Richard Carrier (edited June 06, 2001).]
</font>
Sorry, I'll clarify.

If Paul believed in a physical resurrection from the dead, do you think that lends support for the historicity of the empty tomb?

That is, if 1 Cor. 15 presumes that Jesus' body was resurrected, does not that indicate the early existence of an empty tomb tradition?
 
Old 06-06-2001, 04:28 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Layman:
Sorry, I'll clarify.

If Paul believed in a physical resurrection from the dead, do you think that lends support for the historicity of the empty tomb?


What Paul believed is of no account, since he witnessed nothing. Nor does he appear to have carried out any investigation to determine what had actually happened.

Further, Paul believed that Adam was the first man. Does that lend support for the historicity of Adam? According to 1 Cor 15:36, Paul believed that seeds must be dead to germinate. Do we now tear down modern biology on Paul's say-so?

That is, if 1 Cor. 15 presumes that Jesus' body was resurrected, does not that indicate the early existence of an empty tomb tradition?

If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.

No, 1 Cor. 15, even if interpreted as refering to a physical body, doesn't mean the tomb was empty. It merely means Jesus was somehow raised, either physically, or spiritually (1 Cor 15:44: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.). It says nothing about the tomb either way. Is there a better reference in Paul?

And if the tomb was empty, it doesn't mean Jesus rose from the dead -- what an absurd belief! If I find an empty tomb, do I assume the occupant rose from the dead?


Michael
 
Old 06-06-2001, 04:34 PM   #19
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Where does it say that Paul was crucified (in the gospels) or that Peter was crucified upside-down? Where does it say that St. Peter's body was recovered so that the Catholic Church could have possession of his bones? Now, if the tomb was empty because Jesus walked out (conspiracy theory my ass!)
then what happened to his bones. Maybe those are the bones laid up in the vatican.

Thanks, offa
 
Old 06-06-2001, 04:49 PM   #20
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:

What Paul believed is of no account, since he witnessed nothing. Nor does he appear to have carried out any investigation to determine what had actually happened. </font>
Paul stands in close proximity to the earliest Christians and witnesses of the empty tomb. He was converted within three years of Jesus' death on the cross and had access to the earliest traditions. But perhaps even more important than that is that he knew and discussed theology with, at a minimum, James, Jesus' brother, and Peter, Jesus' chief disciple and the reputed investigator of the empty tomb.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Further, Paul believed that Adam was the first man. Does that lend support for the historicity of Adam? According to 1 Cor 15:36, Paul believed that seeds must be dead to germinate. Do we now tear down modern biology on Paul's say-so? </font>
Paul does not stand in any such proximity to Adam. So no, we don't believe it just because Paul said so. Absurd analogy Turton.

And, Paul was not a biologist and apparently was not a farmer. So no, we don't tear down modern biology on Paul's say-so. Yet another absurd analogy.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.

No, 1 Cor. 15, even if interpreted as refering to a physical body, doesn't mean the tomb was empty. It merely means Jesus was somehow raised, either physically, or spiritually (1 Cor 15:44: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.). It says nothing about the tomb either way. Is there a better reference in Paul? </font>
If Paul believed in a physical resurrection, as he clearly did, then it implies an empty tomb. Or, at the very least, it implies an empty burial spot.

Certainly if Paul was passing along a tradition from the earliest Christians that Jesus' body did not rise, but only his spirit, then the historicity of the empty tomb would be damaged.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> And if the tomb was empty, it doesn't mean Jesus rose from the dead -- what an absurd belief! If I find an empty tomb, do I assume the occupant rose from the dead? </font>
I would agree with you that an empty tomb--standing alone--is a necessary, but insufficient, basis for belief in the resurrection from the dead.

 
 

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