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Old 04-28-2001, 12:26 PM   #41
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
I don't need support or references. I don't need to hide behind Raymond Brown's skirts, or invoke his name to cover what are obviously absurd constructions of one of the more culturally interesting and robust areas, historically.

BTW, Layman, in case you didn't notice, TWO POSTS AGO I substantiated my case with a long cite from Britannica. So far I have not seen YOU post anything to support this fantastic idea you have that the jews lived in isolation from all other cultures, culture robots supreme, totally uninventive, without any concept that just up the road in Syrian Roman merchants were running trade routes to China and India, and just down the road, Egypt was the terminus of another set of routes to India and China.

So far, Layman, it is YOU who has not posted any reference, cite or link to support this fantastic scenario. I ALREADY have. I can't help dismissing your case, Layman, if you don't present one.

Michael</font>
Shameles Strawman Alert:

I never said that Jews lived in isolation from all other cultures.

What I said was that the best way to understand those who produced the Jesus stories in First Century Palestine is to study First Century Palestine, which would include any Hellenistic influences on that culture.

If you really want to address the discussion, the thread is here:
http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000356.html

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 28, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 28, 2001).]
 
Old 04-28-2001, 12:35 PM   #42
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Shameles and Pathetic Strawman Alert:

I never said that Jews lived in isolation from all other cultures.

What I said was that the best way to understand those who produced the Jesus stories in First Century Palestine is to study First Century Palestine, which would include any Hellenistic influences on that culture.

If you really want to address the discussion, the thread is here:
http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000356.html

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited April 28, 2001).]
</font>
Thanks! Now we can start including all the other cultures that influenced jewish cultures, including any reports of miracle workers in those cultures, as part of the "cognitive resources" of Jesus' followers.
Which was my point from the beginning.

Sometimes shameless, pathetic strawmen have their uses....

Michael
 
Old 04-28-2001, 12:39 PM   #43
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Thanks! Now we can start including all the other cultures that influenced jewish cultures, including any reports of miracle workers in those cultures, as part of the "cognitive resources" of Jesus' followers.
Which was my point from the beginning.

Sometimes shameless, pathetic strawmen have their uses....

Michael
</font>
You are a man of extremes. Becuase there was some hellenistic influence does not mean that the cutlure was open to all hellenistic influence. You just want to assume it is all in instead of looking at the culture of the people involved and seeing to what extent it was influenced.

If pagans were running around claiming God men everywhere or miracle workers, but such reports are very different or rare in First Century Palestine, we can see how hellenism failed to impact the culture that produced Jesus.

Again, Mike, if you actually want to DISCUSS something for a change, see the link I've provided previously. Of course you might have to study that culture, but it's worth it.
 
Old 04-28-2001, 01:26 PM   #44
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
You are a man of extremes. Becuase there was some hellenistic influence does not mean that the cutlure was open to all hellenistic influence. You just want to assume it is all in instead of looking at the culture of the people involved and seeing to what extent it was influenced.

Fine! By all means, let's explore this!

If pagans were running around claiming God men everywhere or miracle workers, but such reports are very different or rare in First Century Palestine, we can see how hellenism failed to impact the culture that produced Jesus.

Again, Mike, if you actually want to DISCUSS something for a change, see the link I've provided previously. Of course you might have to study that culture, but it's worth it.
</font>
Whether they were open ALL Hellenistic influence is really irrelevant; obviously they did not become hellenes; they stayed jews. But as we saw Hellenistic thinking and practices was one of the many cultural streams that informed judiasm in 1st century palestine....and let's not forget the jewish communities around the Med, who certainly carried ideas back and forth. Consequently, the false predicaments that apologists typically erect, like Wm L. Craig's bogus statement:
  • "If one denies that Jesus really did rise from the dead, then he must explain the disciples' belief that he did rise either in terms of Jewish influences or in terms of Christian influences."
    http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html


reflect a highly artificial and impoverished view of history. In light of known influences from many cultures in the area, and of course the known creativity of human beings, you can see how silly Craig is being.

This view of history is constantly lurking in the statements you and other apologists here make, Layman, but perhaps you do have a robust view of things, and I have merely misread you.

BTW, we ARE having a discussion. We have been for the last five or six posts.

As for pagans running around everywhere claiming god-men, that's exactly what they were doing. See Carrier's article here on kooks and quacks of the Roman Empire, which I am sure you have already read. There were plenty of mad men running around doing miracles; there are in folk communities everywhere.

But if you want to work out the whole relationship between jesus and other miracle traditions, not only in cultures which the jews might have heard of, but also in their own, a good start might be with the widespread mediterranean belief in magical healing, a tradition in which the jews partook, as the Bible itself notes. Thus, when jesus is doing his magical healings, he is participating in this long tradition.

I have located an interesting article on healing:

http://www.rrc.edu/journal/recon63_2/praglin.htm says:
  • "Convincing recent scholarship, however, contends that even in biblical times, healing practices involving magical spells, incantations, and exorcisms had found considerable expression. This was especially true in those Jewish communities influenced by Egyptian, Midianite or Roman culture, as Numbers, Isaiah, 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, and 2 Kings attest. The book of Numbers documents Moses fashioning an image (later destroyed by King Hezekiah) known to magically heal serpent bites.8 I Kings, as well as Josephus, depict Solomon as a magician who could repel demons with his incantations, although the Mishnah records Hezekiah's suppression of this "Book of Cures," given its use as a
    substitute for prayer.9 The Apocrypha also documented folk medicine practices featuring
    the angel Raphael, who brought health and healing in the name of God.10 According to Philo and Josephus, the Essenes were particularly interested in physical and spiritual healing. The community at Qumran embellished the story of Abraham's healing of Abimelech, while the Dead Sea Scrolls record Abraham healing on behalf of the pharaoh by expelling a plague caused by a demon.11 "

Does that last sound anything like Jesus?

Healing through magic and exorcism is a common peasant folk practice. The followers of Jesus probably didn't have to shop very far to get those tricks.

Michael
 
Old 04-28-2001, 01:29 PM   #45
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Whether they were open ALL Hellenistic influence is really irrelevant; obviously they did not become hellenes; they stayed jews. But as we saw Hellenistic thinking and practices was one of the many cultural streams that informed judiasm in 1st century palestine....and let's not forget the jewish communities around the Med, who certainly carried ideas back and forth. Consequently, the false predicaments that apologists typically erect, like Wm L. Craig's bogus statement:
  • "If one denies that Jesus really did rise from the dead, then he must explain the disciples' belief that he did rise either in terms of Jewish influences or in terms of Christian influences."
    <A HREF="http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html[/list" TARGET=_blank>]http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html
</A>

reflect a highly artificial and impoverished view of history. In light of known influences from many cultures in the area, and of course the known creativity of human beings, you can see how silly Craig is being.

This view of history is constantly lurking in the statements you and other apologists here make, Layman, but perhaps you do have a robust view of things, and I have merely misread you.

BTW, we ARE having a discussion. We have been for the last five or six posts.

As for pagans running around everywhere claiming god-men, that's exactly what they were doing. See Carrier's article here on kooks and quacks of the Roman Empire, which I am sure you have already read. There were plenty of mad men running around doing miracles; there are in folk communities everywhere.

But if you want to work out the whole relationship between jesus and other miracle traditions, not only in cultures which the jews might have heard of, but also in their own, a good start might be with the widespread mediterranean belief in magical healing, a tradition in which the jews partook, as the Bible itself notes. Thus, when jesus is doing his magical healings, he is participating in this long tradition.

I have located an interesting article on healing:

http://www.rrc.edu/journal/recon63_2/praglin.htm says:
  • "Convincing recent scholarship, however, contends that even in biblical times, healing practices involving magical spells, incantations, and exorcisms had found considerable expression. This was especially true in those Jewish communities influenced by Egyptian, Midianite or Roman culture, as Numbers, Isaiah, 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, and 2 Kings attest. The book of Numbers documents Moses fashioning an image (later destroyed by King Hezekiah) known to magically heal serpent bites.8 I Kings, as well as Josephus, depict Solomon as a magician who could repel demons with his incantations, although the Mishnah records Hezekiah's suppression of this "Book of Cures," given its use as a
    substitute for prayer.9 The Apocrypha also documented folk medicine practices featuring
    the angel Raphael, who brought health and healing in the name of God.10 According to Philo and Josephus, the Essenes were particularly interested in physical and spiritual healing. The community at Qumran embellished the story of Abraham's healing of Abimelech, while the Dead Sea Scrolls record Abraham healing on behalf of the pharaoh by expelling a plague caused by a demon.11 "

Does that last sound anything like Jesus?

Healing through magic and exorcism is a common peasant folk practice. The followers of Jesus probably didn't have to shop very far to get those tricks.

Michael
</font>
Mike, you are attempting to have a "discussion" by inventing positions I do not have. If you want to discuss this, please post your thoughts in the thread I keep referencing.

Why is that so hard for you to do?
 
Old 04-28-2001, 01:34 PM   #46
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Mike, you are attempting to have a "discussion" by inventing positions I do not have. If you want to discuss this, please post your thoughts in the thread I keep referencing.

Why is that so hard for you to do?
</font>
No problem, since it apparently means a lot to you.

Michael
 
Old 04-28-2001, 02:28 PM   #47
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Hello again bd from kg

Bd from kg (BD): I want to deal primarily with the question of how strong the historical evidence would have to be to justify this belief .

ChristianSkeptic (CS): How strong the evidence need be to convince anyone depends on the person’s disposition toward the claim.

BD: one of the first, elementary principles [used] by all competent historians is that if the account of an event in an ancient document seems quite improbable, the account is probably false. And if it relates a miracle, the account is discounted completely.

CS: First, I must ask, what makes any event from ancient times quite improbable apart from good evidence otherwise know as “ordinary standards of historical scholarship.”

Also, how do you explain the existence of “competent” and “real” Christian historians like say Paul Johnson and your favorite ancient historian Luke author of the book of Luke apart from an a priori rejection that miracles can happen and the a priori rejection of the existence of the Christian God.

BD: One of the first things that real historians quickly learn is that none of the “historians” writing in Roman times (or before) is very reliable.

CS: I sure wish I had or better yet my professor believed this when I was a student. So when did historical investigation or history become reliable?
Also, how do you define history?

My quick definition is history (macro and micro) is the story/narrative of power, purpose and meaning in life.

BD: We believe [history] because there is no good reason not to, not because it is known to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.

CS: and I submit that the most decisive factor in determining what we accept based on there not being any good reason not to is our presumptions.

BD: For the sake of an illustration, recall that not so many years ago there was talk of a “four minute mile barrier,” because at the time no one had been able to run a mile in under four minutes. Now suppose that at that time an unknown athlete, Mustaph Kaphael, claimed to have run a mile in just under four minutes in an unknown town in Kazakhstan. To support this claim, suppose he submitted sworn affidavits from his coach, an “official” timer (unknown outside his home town), and several friends, all supporting his claim. Formally, this is exceptionally good evidence for a claim of a new record. However, the claim would most likely have been rejected on the grounds that it was hard to believe that an unknown runner, from an area not exactly known for producing great athletes, had done what no world-class runner had been able to do, and the testimony of any number of unknown people was simply not enough to overcome the a priori implausibility of the claim.

CS: Thanks for making my case for me.

If “formally” Mustaph has “exceptionally good evidence” in support of his case then mere prejudice (its just hard to believe an unknown from nowhere) is the best explanation as to why his claim would not be accepted and it is possible that no matter how much more evidence he presented he case could still be rejected.

BD: To get a little closer to the kind of claims that Christians ask us to believe, imagine that the claim had been that Mustaph had run a mile, not in just under four minutes, but in three minutes flat.

CS: Your analogy beaks down here since the Christian truth claim occurs within a larger religious social context and of course the presumption that God exists.

BD:In fact, in all likelihood Mustaph would have to repeat his performance,

CS: While we have every right to demand Mustaph for a repeat performance, God is sovereign and would not be God if mere mortals had the authority to control God’s actions and set the terms of our salvation

Wouldn't that be nice if we could?

BD: ..most careful scientific scrutiny, and recorded in several ways that would allow no reasonable possibility of fraud

CS: In human affairs, even science, there is prejudice and cheating. In sports, the home court advantage has literally meant a little more time on the clock on more than one occasion and not to forget those leprechans in the old Boston Garden

BD: But now let’s imagine that the claims made on behalf of Mustaph were in the category of the unquestionably miraculous.

CS: Sure Mustaph would have a lot of explaining to do since miraculous claim tend to be made within a religious historical context.

BD: Any rational method of assessing the truth of such claims is going to demand better and better evidence at every step along the continuum from a four-minute to a three-second mile.

CS: I would submit, in your example, as the truth claim becomes more an more unlikely the easier it becomes to disprove it since we are simply dealing with a mere assertion without any religious historical context.

…for rational acceptance of a claim that miraculous events occurred thousands of years ago

CS: Since the Christian truth claim is an historical claim of fact it is studied by the standards of ordinarily historical scientific investigation. How many religious truth claims are of this nature?

BD: And this is the fundamental reason why historians routinely reject all accounts of miraculous events occurring in ancient times.

CS: This is an obviously gross generalization since there exists Christian historians.

BD: In order to disbelieve in the Resurrection, it is not necessary to come up with an “alternative explanation,”

CS: In the absence of an alternative explanation then you are simply assuming it away. It’s the old, Miracles do not happen. The Resurrection is a miraculous claim. Therefore, it did not happen. Those Christians are so irrational.

I do agree that it is simply impossible for it to be the case that Jesus naturally rose from the dead. However, it is not unlikely that God raised Jesus from the dead.

DB: it is perfectly rational to demand much better proof of an assertion that will convict someone of a serious crime than of a casual claim that has no particular real-world consequences.

CS: How is “better proof” something more than good evidence in a court of law? I like to think that dueling lawyers claim they have the best explanation for the evidence that is (If it don't fit you must aquit!) not that they have offered, “better proof.”

BD:..it is perfectly rational to demand extraordinary evidence that something is true if believing it means that one’s entire life will necessarily revolve around this belief.

CS: There is simply no relation between the importance of an assertion and the truth of the assertion. Granted the importance of the assertion could affect how you look at the evidence, but that is my point.

BD: the already extremely high burden of proof..

CS: The reason the burden for you, and others is “already extremely high” is a reflection of your level of disbelief, which could be warranted based on what you have learned thus far (intellectual reasons) and moreover, what you have experienced (personal reasons).

I suspect that ones level of disbelief has more to do with personal reasons than intellectual ones.



[This message has been edited by ChristianSkeptic (edited April 28, 2001).]
 
Old 04-29-2001, 03:44 PM   #48
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ChristianSkeptic:

Much of your post just consists of suggestions that people’s beliefs are biased by their preconceptions (which is undoubtedly true), while mine was about what would be required to justify rational belief . But here are replies to some of your other points.

bd: one of the first, elementary principles [used] by all competent historians is that if the account of an event in an ancient document seems quite improbable, the account is probably false.

CS: First, I must ask, what makes any event from ancient times quite improbable apart from good evidence otherwise know as “ordinary standards of historical scholarship.”


Some things are intrinsically improbable – that is, they have a low a priori probability. Really, CS, is it necessary to explain this?

bd: And if it relates a miracle, the account is discounted completely.

CS; ... how do you explain the existence of “competent” and “real” Christian historians ...?


Of course I was excluding them, since it is precisely their procedure that is in question. It seems possible that they have an axe to grind. It has often been noted that even Christian scholars routinely reject non-Christian accounts of miraculous events without serious investigation. What is their justification for treating Christian miracle claims differently?

bd: One of the first things that real historians quickly learn is that none of the “historians” writing in Roman times (or before) is very reliable.

CS: I sure wish I had or better yet my professor believed this when I was a student.


If he didn’t, he was incompetent. But most likely he presented historical accounts that he knew were backed up by multiple sources without bothering to cite all of the sources.

CS: So when did historical investigation or history become reliable?

This looks like a rhetorical question. Do you have a point?

bd: To get a little closer to the kind of claims that Christians ask us to believe, imagine that the claim had been that Mustaph had run a mile, not in just under four minutes, but in three minutes flat.

CS: Your analogy beaks down here since the Christian truth claim occurs within a larger religious ... context


Since Christianity is based on the supposed historicity of these miracles, it is circular to argue that we should believe them because they are consistent with, or “in the context of” Christianity.

Do you really think that the need for appropriate evidence of an extraordinary claim is negated because the claim “occurs in a religious context”? Does this apply to the claims of Joseph Smith? To the Islamic miracles? Why should only the Christian claims be privileged?

bd: In fact, in all likelihood Mustaph would have to repeat his performance ...

CS: While we have every right to demand Mustaph for a repeat performance, God is sovereign and would not be God if mere mortals had the authority to control God’s actions and set the terms of our salvation.


The question isn’t whether we have a right to make demands on God, but whether we have a right to make demands on men who make claims about things that God supposedly did.

bd: But now let’s imagine that the claims made on behalf of Mustaph were in the category of the unquestionably miraculous.

CS: Sure Mustaph would have a lot of explaining to do since miraculous claim tend to be made within a religious historical context.


He’d have a lot of explaining to do anyway. Let’s assume that his claims were made in a religious context. Would that reduce the “burden of proof” that you would demand to have met?

bd: Any rational method of assessing the truth of such claims is going to demand better and better evidence at every step along the continuum from a four-minute to a three-second mile.

CS: I would submit, in your example, as the truth claim becomes more an more unlikely the easier it becomes to disprove it since we are simply dealing with a mere assertion without any religious historical context.


Why would more miraculous claims be easier to disprove in general than less miraculous ones? And as I said before, why do you assume that there is no religious context? Why would it matter?

CS: Since the Christian truth claim is an historical claim of fact it is studied by the standards of ordinarily historical scientific investigation. How many religious truth claims are of this nature? [/b]

I already explained what the results would be of applying the standards of ordinary historical investigation. How such claims could be examined “scientifically” in any other sense is beyond me. As to how many religious truth claims are of this nature, I don’t know. But I do know that it the cases I’m familiar with (Islam and Mormonism) these claims are rejected by Christians, almost all of whom have not even bothered to investigate them seriously. They just take it for granted that such claims are false because they involve miracles.

[b]CS: The Resurrection is a miraculous claim. Therefore, it did not happen. Those Christians are so irrational.

Did you understand my argument at all?

Suppose a Mormon complained that your attitude was “Joseph Smith’s claims were miraculous. Therefore the things he claimed did not happen. Those Mormons are so irrational.” How would you answer him?

CS: ... it is not unlikely that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Why isn’t it unlikely a priori? God doesn’t exactly raise people from the dead on a routine basis. If I claimed that my Uncle Harry had been raised from the dead (in a religious context), I suspect that you would be very skeptical. I just gave a long explanation of why this attitude would be rational. Why is Jesus’ being raised from the dead different?

Just contradicting the conclusion of an argument isn’t a refutation.

bd: it is perfectly rational to demand much better proof of an assertion that will convict someone of a serious crime than of a casual claim that has no particular real-world consequences.

CS: How is “better proof” something more than good evidence in a court of law?


Is there a relevant point here? Do you have evidence for the Resurrection that would hold up in a court of law? Do you have any evidence that would even be admissible?

bd:..it is perfectly rational to demand extraordinary evidence that something is true if believing it means that one’s entire life will necessarily revolve around this belief.

CS: There is simply no relation between the importance of an assertion and the truth of the assertion.


True, but there is a relation between its importance and the standard of proof that must be met before it is rational to act on it. We send a child to his rooms on evidence that we would consider inadequate to justify expelling him from school. We expel someone from school on evidence that would be insufficient to fire someone from his job. We fire someone from his job on evidence that would be insufficient to send him to prison for a year. We send someone to prison for a year on evidence that would be insufficient to hang him. If a doctor thinks that you have the flu, chances are that he won’t do extensive tests to confirm it. If he thinks that you have a terminal disease, most likely he will. (And even then you may want a second opinion.) Do you really not understand this principle?
 
Old 04-29-2001, 07:16 PM   #49
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I'm curious if you are going to withdraw your statement that Paul's death in Rome was not written about until "well into the second century." Have you ever read 1 Clement? Did you know it was written around 95 CE?</font>
Sorry for the delay; this has been a working weekend. I keep having debates with my creditors about such
things, but they remain adamant.
Clement, written in the very tail end of the first century (the Christian site I use as source claims it to have been written around 97, but no matter for a couple of years, says:
But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.

Clement makes no mention whatsoever of where Peter was martyred; only that he was. For Paul he notes that he was killed "by the Prefects." There was two kinds of Prefects; one an urban magistrate of sorts, the other a
military administrator. This second type of Prefect, such as Pilate, was an office outside the city, and does not support you. Of those Prefects in Rome at the time, only the Praefectus Urbi and Praefectus Vigilum seem to fit the bill. Unfortunately for your argument, Layman, these offices were also held in other cities, as well; there just
isn't enough detail given by Clement to acknowledge him as source for Peter's legendary death in Rome, and while it can be argued that he is source of Paul, it is not said with direct or sufficient detail to be unquestioned.
Eusebius, although he speaks of Clement, and refers to his epistle, does not cite this as early information about the martyrdoms of the two.

[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Herod' killing of John is an example of that. John was not a political revolutionary or a zealot. [QUOTE]

Again, are you certain of this? John was preaching the apocolypse, when all secular power will bow before God's wrath. He was attracting huge crowds out of the Galilee and Judea. Pilate later didn't hesitate to interpret the actions in Samaria when that zealot (sorry; I disremember his name at the moment) claimed he could part the waters of the Jordan for reentry as politics. The writings of the DDS manuscripts, which some believe was the place from which the Baptizer arose, show they clearly believed the war was coming. As you note, lines
between politics and religion were quite blurred. The zealots who wished to overthrow Rome were as much religiously motivated as the Hebrews who wished to leave Egypt, or those who followed Joshua into the promised land. Even when these events were solely religiously motivated, Layman, politics enters as you yourself note. Hwever, when no religious law is seen to be broken, religion can't be seen as the motivator for the
political ploy of execution.
Antipas, himself a Jew, would have had no cause to kill the Baptizer on religious grounds. John spoke no blasphemy, nor did he break Mitzvah. The Sanhedrin, who had the religious authority to deal with him, had he
broken any laws of Torah, did nothing. John was killed ostensibly because he was criticizing the Tetrarch for his marriage, and stirring up the crowds, and his death silenced the potential for political opposition. In this case it is difficult to put any religious stain on the execution.
Quote:
I don't think that because one Herod was raised in Jerusalem and the other wasn't makes any difference to the analysis.</font>
That's apparent. I do, however, see a great difference.
As I said, the movement was insignificant in the eyes of Josephus. How much more so in the eyes of a man who had seen, from the closest vantage point, Rome at its worst? Even Herod the Great, executor of his own
sons (and Herod Agrippa's father), couldn't match the violence of Roman imperial politics. What Antipas might have thought can not be put against what Herod might have thought, based on their varying experiences.
Note how Josephus speaks of the Baptist:
2. Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late.
Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.


In this case there is no reference to Antipas' looking to John's religion, save for his zeal against a brother marrying his brother's wife. Antipas had only a political fear.
And Josephus reference to Jerusalem falling because of James' death carries no implication that James was anything other than a religious leader.
Now you misread me. My point was that James was so well respected that the belief in Jerusalem was that it was his death that brought about their destruction, regardless of whether he was a religious, a political, or a combined leader. This respect implies that he was well within a mainstream Jewish belief system, a conclusion that preaching a second god would not support. Exodus 20:5 would have taken care of that. And that is just how the Jews would have interpreted Jesus as Son of God, should it have been presented in more than a "all Jews are sons of God" fashion. To have called him special, because of his resurrection, would not have overly irritated the Jews, save for the Saduccees who did not believe in life after death. But, then, they weren't going around killing Pharisees who were teaching the same thing.
Hence we have James, ostensibly preaching a second god, living not only peacefully but universally respected and honored, for 35 years following his brother's demise.

This, then, raises another question: why was the execution of James the Greater and the arrest of Peter postoned for some 10 or so years? If we accept that Jesus was born in the reign of Herod the great, who died in
4 BCE, that he spent his first two or so years in Egypt, and that he was crucified when he was 33, his death would have been in 27. Herod was first granted Palestine by Caligula, who assumed the Imperial throne in 37, so James could not have been executed for nearly 10 years following his master's death. For most of this time Pilate still had control of Judea, and Peter apparently worked in Jerusalem.

What occurred in or around 37 that changed the situation? If they were blaspheming (which they clearly would have been doing by announcing a second god), the Sanhedrin had authority to handle it. If they were political revolutionaries, Pilate would have handled them. Yet nothing is done (save for some alleged beatings, something that is inconsistent with the tale; Gamaliel convinced the Sanhedrin that they were either doing the work of God, or God would deal with them; yet they beat them. Is this the Gamaliel of whom Paul boasts? Why
then does Paul not heed his mentor's words, but rather persecute Christians?)
Now, a case could be made that Agrippa, who had imperial ambitions of his own for an eastern empire, was out
to please the rich and powerful, and so, with his rise to power, decided to eliminate those whom the rich and powerful despised. This would be a sensible thing, for he was known to have been a friend of Caligula, that
same evil who attempted to put his own image in Temple, and appeasement of the priests and rich Jews would have been wise.
However, this doesn't answer why, if these men were despised AND perceived to be dangerous, or, more to the point, blasphemous, Pilate, no purveyor of gentle rule, or the Sanhedrin didn't act far sooner on their own.

 
Old 04-29-2001, 07:29 PM   #50
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Valar,

The notion that Paul somehow did not believe in a bodily resurrection of Jesus has been refuted.
</font>
Having read your linked post, you and I nearly agree on this one, Layman. I'll post what I prepared anyway.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Layman writes:
The notion that Paul somehow did not believe in a bodily resurrection of Jesus has been refuted.
</font>
You read more than I wrote, Layman. While I haven't had time to read your refutation (WHICH I DID JUST NOW, AS NOTED ABOVE), let me explain my point more clearly for you. I do not deny that Paul believed many to have had earthly visions, but he does not clearly present it as such.
My argument rests on 1 Corinthians 15, that chapter which most Christians claim Demonstrates Paul's theology of the
resurrection. In verses 3-8, Paul notes his belief that Jesus lived, died and was resurrected.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3. For I delivered unto you first
of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and
that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6. After
that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are
fallen asleep. 7. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one
born out of due time.
</font>
In verses 5 through 7, he notes the experiences of the disciples prior to Pentecost, and while he does not make this
particularly clear, from other sources we infer that these experiences included seeing a living Jesus on earth. However, in verse 8 he equates his experience with theirs, and we know that his was not an vision of an earthly Jesus. Indeed, on the Damascus road he did not see anything but a blinding light; he heard voices only. In 2 Cor 12, if he does indeed speak of himself, as some believe, again we have him (or his unnamed acquaintance) traveling to heaven, and not Jesus to earth, for the vision.
Now, if we accept that Paul, because of his equality of vision, is as much an apostle as Peter and James, and we have no claim, by him or others, that he had a vision of an earthly Jesus, then we must assume that he also believed their visions to be as his own; i.e., otherworldly.
Moving on, it is my contention that Paul, although believing that Jesus appeared in Jerusalem and elsewhere to over 500 persons between the resurrection and Pentecost, does not believe it is the same body that died on the cross, and that, furthermore, he does not believe that Jesus' resurrection is unique, save that it came first. In verse
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">12. Now if Christ be
preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13. But if there be
no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith
is also vain. 15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ:
whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17. And if Christ
be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
</font>
he tells us that he sees resurrections as the same; if there was a difference between Jesus and all others, then the above would
not be a valid argument. It could easily be said that there is no resurrection, but that, because of his special status, Jesus
could pull it off (or more precisely, given Paul's phrasing, that God did it for/to Jesus).
In verses
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">20. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming </font>
Paul further demonstrates this idea that Jesus was not unique, save that he was first among the resurrected. He seems to make no distinction between Adam's influence on men and Christ's, save that one was first and brought death, the other last and
brought resurrection. "By man came death; by man came resurrection." Seems to be a rather undivine portrait of Jesus Paul is presenting in these verses.
In verses
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> 35. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36. Thou fool, that
which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: Paul begins his explanation of his belief of the resurrected body.
</font>
Consider these key verses:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> 42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
44. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
</font>
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. Flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God. We shall all be
changed. Consider the progression of his thought; there are two bodies, one of which can't inherit the kingdom of God, but
we shall be changed. Paul is telling us that the body which we will have in heaven will not be the flesh and blood, i.e., a
resuscitated body, but rather that we will have a new one, a spiritual body.
Given Riley's QUOTE, found in the previous post, re: the belief in the spirits of the dead in the Greco-Roman world in the period, the prevailing belief, echoed in the debates among the Pharisees in Palestine, that flesh was corrupt while spirit was pure,
and the symmetry of these beliefs with Paul's explanation, I posit that Paul did not believe that the body crucified was
resuscitated, but rather that God "raised up" a new, incorruptible body for Jesus.
This in no way denies the idea that Paul believed Jesus was seen by Cephas, and the twelve, and the 500, in an earthly way;
just as Saul saw Samuel.

 
 

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