FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-25-2001, 01:46 PM   #21
Toto
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 40,549
Post

Nomad has ignored my earlier post on the bogus use of "embarrassment", but I keep looking for other evidence that anyone uses the "criterion of embarrassment" as a major research tool. I have found another source that trashes it:

Excerpt From Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet by Dale C. Allison

I think the problem is that Nomad thinks it's just so obvious and common sense. But "embarrassment" or surprize or statements against interest may increase the probability of something being true, but hardly to the extent that they constitute proof. For example, every day people walk into police stations and confess to crimes that they didn't commit. Under the criteria of embarrassment, this should be enough to convict them, but the police have enough experience to not accept these confessions at face value without other confirming information - knowledge of the crime scene that was not in the newspapers, etc. The motives of the confessor could well be the desire for publicity or some more serious mental aberration, rather than a need to confess. Or people have been know to confess to minor crimes or misdemeanors to avoid major charges. The value of embarrassment is so weak, it is of hardly any help in deciding what is true about ancient legends.
Toto is offline  
Old 05-25-2001, 02:47 PM   #22
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

I certainly am glad that you don’t have time for a lengthy debate Philip, or I might mistake your four page reply for something quick and dirty.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

EARL: You should have no trouble then finding a scholar who uses the criterion to prove that Jesus existed. Can you quote from a scholar who says something like "Because the Church would not have kept this information were it not well-established in the tradition as historical, therefore the information is historical and Jesus existed"?</font>
Actually, yes, I did quote from two scholars in particular, Michael Grand and Donald Akenson, both atheists, who accept the historicity of the event, and by extension, of Jesus, because of the baptism. Rather than clutter up the post with additional quotes, I left it to Doherty to come up with something original to show that it was not embarrassing. Instead, he simply claims that the Church didn’t find the event embarrassing, and moves on.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The reason this is invalid is because, as Doherty pointed out and Nomad ignored, if we assume that Jesus did not exist, the material would no longer have been very embarrassing, and at best would have been embarrassing within a literary framework. Take the statement above, "Because the Church would not have…" The first part of that statement is an assumption. The claim that the Church "would not have" kept the embarrassing material already assumes that Jesus existed, because the pressure on the Church that would have forced them into what they "would not have done" is none other than the effects of an historical Jesus. If we remove that assumption, as must be done in a debate about Jesus' historicity, the extreme embarrassment vanishes and all that is left is embarrassment in a literary setting. In Mark we don't even find that. All of this was pointed out by Doherty and ignored by Nomad.</font>
We are not talking about the embarrassment to the Church, so much as we are talking about the fact that the baptism runs counter to the interests of the evangelists and apostles that want to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. Try to stay focused here Philip.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: Let me ask you Earl, how do you personally decide if someone probably existed in the past? Is it based on the belief that they actually did or said something, or on some other basis?
The books that I read, and the scholars that I study appear to think that we need to decide that a person actually did something or said something first. At that point the make a determination on the historicity of the events, words and people associated with them. What do you do?

EARL: Your very question here is circular. You ask "Is it [the decision as to whether someone existed] based on the belief that THEY actually did or said something, or on some other basis?" Your question boils down to "Is the decision as to whether someone existed based on the belief that the person who existed did or said something?" From what I've read on the subject, the scholars decide that Jesus is historical based more on (a) a feeling for all the evidence combined, for the "ring of authenticity," (b) the utility of the assumption of historicity in explaining all the evidence taken as a whole, (c) relatively unproblematic references to the individual rather than necessarily to the individual's deeds or sayings, and (d) confessional interests, the feeling that Jesus still exists and is personally related to people.</font>
Go through your criteria Philip. (a) focuses on specific acts and words ascribed to the individual. If they have the “ring of authenticity”, then they are accepted, and the historicity of the individual(s) associated with them is given greater credence. (b) couples nicely with the acceptance that the individual left his or her mark on history. (c) speaks of third party neutral references (in this case, Josephus and Tacitus). (d) applies to Jesus in particular, but not to the overall question of an individual’s historicity.
Apparently plenty of sceptics on these boards would accept Jesus existed, but unfortunately people keep claiming that He is God. This is a red herring however, and demonstrates their willingness to apply a double standard to the existence of Jesus.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Looking at the stories about someone's sayings and deeds, by lending plausibility, can support belief in someone's historicity, but the criterion of embarrassment is circular. Doherty's alternative use of the criterion proves as much. </font>
I’ll get to Doherty’s response tonight. I am only going to deal with what you wrote here.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: OH!!! I see. You were attacking my tone, and calling my TONE arrogant, abusive, sloppy, dishonest (the real meaning of misrepresentation), but you certainly were not calling ME arrogant, abusive, sloppy, and dishonest. Thank you for the correction Philip. I withdraw my charge. Obviously you were not attacking me.

EARL: I was attacking the tone of the arguments that you wrote. My comments were directed at the arguments not the person making them irrespective of the arguments.</font>
LOL! Philip, I withdrew my charge, but your continued insistence that attacking someone’s “tone” is not an attack on the person is noted. I’m going to keep that in mind for future discussions.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: Well, I have my own techniques and style Philip. I suppose your belief that I emulated Holding was formed on the same basis that Christianity emulated somebody (we may not know who exactly, but we can be pretty sure that it had to be somebody right?).

EARL: Either that or a comparison between the tone of your writing and that of Holding. I'll say, though, that I don't blame you for your approach or "style." If I were a conservative Christian and believed that Satan really does exist and deceives people in order to keep them from heaven, I would surely believe that a committed mythicist is in league with Satan. Hence, there would be no reason whatsoever for a respectful attitude when debating a mythicist. There is no commandment in the bible that I'm aware of that states "Be kind, courteous and fair to Satan." Nomad and Holding simply call a spade a spade, from their perspective. </font>
This is a two parter, and I have to say, I want to address this one first.

Philip tells us that I think that Doherty is in league with Satan, so all is fair game. Further, he continues to link me with Holding, I suppose because this is a good red meat technique with the mouth breathers out there in the sceptic world. I am not certain.

Now, from my point of view, I have no idea what Philip is talking about. I have NEVER thought of Doherty as being in league with Satan. Quite frankly, all I have ever thought about him is that his arguments are pure nonsense, and sophistry. No doubt it is more comforting to Philip to think that I will not take Doherty seriously because of some theological bias, but I would recommend that he stick to debating me, and not try to psychoanalyzing me.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Doherty didn't know how confessional Nomad's approach is, and if he did he wouldn't have entered the debate because he's interested only in tightly regulated, scholarly debates. It's his fault, though, for not making this clear enough to the moderators and demanding a guideline from the start. At the very least, there should have been a limit to the number of posts, to make certain that the participants keep to their case and attack the opponent for fear of running out of time.</font>
My approach is confessional? How did you decide this one Philip?

As for Doherty wanting to only be involved in tightly regulated debates, this is quite true. What you failed to mention is that one of the regulations he demands be met is that any opponent that offends him in any way must be censored from the debate, and possibly banned. If you have not checked out how he is trying to remove the moderator of the Jesus Mystery Boards yet, you should. It is instructive in his methods, and will go a very long ways towards informing you as to why I insisted that the debate take place on the SecWeb.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: Sigh. Do not be so disengenuous Philip. You have no evidence as to what my motives and strategy were, so your speculations are just that. At the same time, your repeated efforts to try and portray me as the bad guy here, attacking poor Mr. Doherty (when all Mr. Doherty wanted to do was have a fair and open exchange of ideas so long as we stuck to his script) can be contstrued as attacks on me personally.

EARL: "Disingenuous"? Since when can a "suspicion" be frank? I don't claim that you prophesied the future and knew for certain that Doherty would pull out given your approach, but I don't rule out that you hoped this would happen.</font>
I have stated flatly and repeatedly that I want this debate to continue, albeit not under Doherty’s rules. Ethan has tried to get us to communicate with one another to establish a framework, and each of my emails to Doherty to do exactly that have gone unanswered. He has, instead, chosen to come to the forum and complain bitterly, loudly, and at length about the unfairness of my style. I hold him solely responsible for his own failure, and for fleeing the field when he saw that his standard modus operendi was not going to work here.

The suggestion that you attempted to plant, that I somehow plotted to drive Doherty from the debate is disingenuous, and you know full well that you are merely attempting to assassinate my character and protect Doherty in the process.

Personally, I don’t really care, I have grown accustomed to such techniques from you and others, and have been content merely to offer my arguments and evidence, and let the chips fall where they may. If my skin were even 1/10th as thin as Doherty’s I would never have come to discussion forums like this in the first place, and I am sure that he will feel much safer in his protected forum where he can intimidate (and if he gets his way, remove) the moderator and any opponents that may challenge him.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The only evidence we have is that you knew Doherty was touchy on this since he almost pulled out for good earlier on, complaining about your approach, and yet you didn't oblige him with a detailed examination of any of his arguments, such as his long argument about Q and John the Baptist in direct reply to one of your objections.</font>
Since Doherty blithely quoted from a source for which there is no historical evidence (“Q”), I saw this as extremely ironic, and pointed this out. If he has some unique method of deciding that a hypothetical “Q community” actually existed, even as he rejects the much less incredible claim that Jesus existed, I wanted to see how he did this.

As for his rejection of the criterion of embarrassment, I will deal with that tonight in my reply to his post.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> …But you probably have little interest in that, what with your necessary disrespect for the committed mythicist relative to your belief that such a person is deeply committed to Satan and deceiving people into going to hell.</font>
Don’t be stupid or dense Philip. By now you know full well that I am willing to debate with all kinds of people, including non-Christians, atheists, and agnostics. I have told you often enough that I do not judge these people as “going to hell”, and the fact that you have repeated this lie here and now is disgraceful.

I hope you will have the decency to apologize. You have done this once before with me, so I know that you are capable of it.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Were you to have shown Doherty more courtesy you would indeed have deserved extra praise, because of your initial belief that Doherty is especially evil (active in Satan's project of deception).</font>
LOL!

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: How did you determine my "tone"?

EARL: By reading such lines from your post as:

"Given that Earl has nothing but contempt for the science of Textual Criticism, coupled with the fact that he does not understand the criteria of embarrassment (or dissimilarity) leaves me wondering why he expects to be taken seriously by the scholarly community at all. If his purpose is to appeal to the anti-intellectual biases like some kind of populist, then that is fine."</font>
This is not “tone” Philip. It is a statement of fact.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"Sadly, there is no other way to look at Earl's efforts except to label them as extremely amateurish especially since the arguments are so clearly driven by his theory that Jesus was a purely mythological construct."

"Sadly, evidence that contravenes one's theory is generally seen to have disproved that theory, and in spite of Earl's rationalizations to the contrary, the number and clarity of references to Jesus is far too great to allow us to give his theories more than passing interest."

"So, why won't I debate these kinds of passages with Earl? Quite simply, I can read."

"As I said before, I do not argue sloppy translations with true believers."

"If you can do these things, and give us legitimate reasons not to find the events that I have listed as being historically probable, then we can make some progress in this discussion. If you cannot, or will not, then I will understand your desire to withdraw from the discussion, and I will pursue these questions with others that do wish to challenge me and my evidence."</font>
I do not see how anything I have said above is any better or worse “tone-wise” than what Doherty had to offer. I can also assure you that I was stating my beliefs on these matters very candidly and honestly.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad then says "In Earl's very first sentence here we have the crux of my argument in a very nice nutshell. The existence of John the Baptist is undisputed, even by Earl, and this based on one lone passage about him from Josephus."

Here Nomad's point is that Doherty is guilty of inconsistency in agreeing that John existed but not Jesus, even though there are more independent references to Jesus than John.

So what was Nomad's original point about the Baptist? Did Nomad make the mistake Doherty says he made or did Nomad make this point about inconsistency, what he now calls "the crux" of his argument? When we go back to Nomad's earlier post where he brought up John the Baptist, we find Nomad saying "Scholars of every stripe admit that this event actually happened. Why?….Well, first of all, besides being mentioned in all four of the Gospels, the existence of John the Baptist is confirmed by an undisputed passage written by the Jewish historian Josephus."

And then Nomad quotes Josephus' passage that has bearing only on John's existence not his baptism of Jesus. Thus Nomad did indeed make exactly the mistake Doherty accused him of making: Nomad argued that scholars accept the EVENT of Jesus' baptism because the EXISTENCE of John is confirmed in Josephus. That was a major blunder on Nomad's part, pure and simple.</font>
I hope Doherty was not as dense on this point as you have been Philip. The existence of John is not disputed by anyone, including Doherty, because of one mention in Josephus. I have argued from the outset that we should not treat the probability of the existence of Jesus any differently than we do any other person of antiquity. This is the very heart (i.e. crux) of my entire argument.

If we accept John’s existence on the basis of a single passage in Josphus, then we can do the same with Jesus. I will expand on this point more in my reply to Doherty, as I assume that he tried to rationalize why the two instances are not at all alike.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">(2) Regarding Nomad's line of criticism that Doherty surprisingly takes side with evangelical literalists and Christian apologists in explaining away the embarrassment of Jesus' baptism, and that if the skeptics were consistent they would chastise Doherty for this adherence to Christian strategy, Nomad's whole argument is spectacularly off the mark for one obvious reason: Doherty's point in explaining away the embarrassment of the baptism is radically anti-Christian. His point is that Jesus didn't exist in the first place! Hardly an evangelical Christian conclusion. And yet Nomad spends an awful lot of time making this J. P. Holdingian argument. At one point he says "The biggest problem I have with (the second) Earl's entire argument here is that he buys into the apologetic effect and force of the evangelists because it suits his purposes."</font>
Again, you are confused Philip. If Doherty wants to assert that the baptism is not embarrassing, he must admit that the Church and its apologetics had made the event non-embarrassing. The problem here, of course, is that when sceptical scholars look at this objectively, there is no way that they are going to buy the Church’s explanations. The most probable explanation for the reporting of the baptism was that the story was too well known to the first Christians to be discarded.

Doherty just wants us to think that the Church did a great sales job, spinning the event in such a manner that it was not embarrassing at all. Of course, this “spin” is apologetics at work, and Doherty buys it the same way Christians do, even if for totally opposite reasons.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: Second, since Earl's points were largely non-sequitor's why should I have to address all of them?

EARL: Can you quote where you demonstrated in detail that one of Doherty's arguments commits the non sequitor fallacy? The word "sequitor" is found only once in the entire debate, where you say "Alright, time to briefly talk about Earl's last non-sequitor. He wanted to talk about the Gospels apologetic embellishments of the character of Joseph of Arimathea. What does he say?"

Here you say this is Doherty's "last" non sequitor, which means that you must have discussed earlier non sequitors from Doherty.</font>
Hmmm… first I get chastized for not doing a point by point rebuttal of every one of Doherty’s points, then I get called to the carpet because you cannot find me refuting each of his non-sequitors. I have already told you Philip, I did not do this because they had nothing to do with the purpose of the debate, namely to determine the probable historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. I addressed the last one (on Joseph of Arimathea) only to demonstrate yet again Doherty’s uneven use of the evidence.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> First we have the accusation that Doherty appeals to authority, even though Doherty appeals rather to various arguments in support of his position, such as his argument (which I myself made in my debate with you and SWL) that Mark would likely have come up with a figure like Joseph merely to fill the gap between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Here Nomad confuses the fallacious and the non-fallacious appeal to authority, the difference being that the latter SUBSTITUTES for argument or appeals to the wrong authority or a non-authority. </font>
Calm down Philip. Doherty drops the Jesus Seminar name in order to lend credibility to his pathetic argument, but fails to mention that this same group rejects all of his reasons for refusing to acknowledge the embarrassment of the baptism of Jesus, as well as His crucifixion. If this authority is to be considered acceptable when arguing about Joseph of Arimathea, it does follow that we can examine their arguments for the historicity of the other two events.

Quite simply, Doherty cannot have his cake and eat it too. If these scholars are trapped in their biases, and subject to unseen peer pressures (which Doherty never quite proves exist, I suppose his assertions of this “truth” should be sufficient for the people who have faith in him), then he should not be appealing to them to support him on the one or two occasions when their opinions conveniently line up with his own. Further, as I said in my own arguments, I don’t have to prove the historicity of Joseph of Arimathea to prove that Jesus existed, so the argument is irrelevant. See below.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Next, we have Nomad's declaration that a discussion of Joseph's historicity is irrelevant to the debate, even though Doherty stated clearly his discussion of Joseph was a matter of giving an example of progressive redaction of the gospels, an important point for mythicism.</font>
It is irrelevant to the discussion Philip, and you should know this. We have clear examples of legendary development for Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Apollonius of Tyana, and countless other historical figures. None of that has any bearing at all on the question of their historicity, so it is a red herring.

I really do wonder at your sceptical credentials sometimes Philip.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Then Nomad goes ahead and admits that after all Jesus' burial is indeed "controversial in the scholarly community," and states that that's the reason he didn't bring in Joseph to prove that Jesus existed.</font>
Nice little misrepresentation of my argument. Very sneaky Philip. I’m glad you did not elaborate on this lie, so I will leave it alone.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: appeals to authorities when it suits him,

EARL: And here you confuse the fallacious and the non-fallacious appeal to authority. There's nothing inconsistent, by the way, in agreeing with the consensus of scholars at some times but not others.</font>
In Doherty’s case this is not quite right Philip. In order for us to understand Doherty’s view that modern scholarship is hopelessly corrupted by its own biases and internal conspiratorial pressures, we really must reject anything offered by these “experts”. After all, a poisoned well is a poisoned well, and I would no more drink from it if the cup were handed to me by Earl Doherty, or by Raymond Brown.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: that I refuse to accept his Greek translations (since I still do not know his qualifications to translate the Greek... does anyone know what they are? I have not seen him offer them on the Jesus Mysteries boards either),

EARL: Here you rely on an anti-debate fallacious appeal to authority, whereas all you have to do is give the reasons why Doherty's translations are invalid. If the consensus of translators carries weight, you could simply demonstrate in detail where Doherty's translations go wrong. Instead you appeal to consensus in general and give no detailed objections to Doherty's translations. In other words, you avoid the debate.</font>
I have told Doherty that if the need for a translation of the Greek needs to be introduced in the debate, then he can use any translation he wishes. At the same time, if he relies on his own authority, and offers translations that differ from all other sources, then I am simply going to point it out, and leave it at that. In any event, thus far translations have not come up in the debate, so it has been a non-issue.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> NOMAD: Yes, but his arguments are mere assertions and hand waving much of the time. As just one example, he betrays his ignorance of the science of textual criticism, yet wants to use it to argue for his idiosyncratic belief in various interpoloations and mistranslations of the text. Either he gets consistent in his methodology, or he will be called for it.

EARL: Doherty doesn't betray any ignorance of "the science of textual criticism." What Doherty claims is that this is a very soft (subjective) science, and that there is therefore a lot of room for an historian of the ancient world to maneuver.</font>
No, he laughs off the science of textual criticism, and tells us that it isn’t one at all, even as he then tries to use it in a pathetic effort to claim non-existent interpolations, and his own idiosyncratic an self serving translations.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> NOMAD: You must not have been reading my posts Philip. I cautioned you about this before when you tried to criticize me in the past. Paul was not writing narrative, therefore we should not expect him to put narrative in his letters. But the language used by both Paul and John is virtually identical, and in John's narrative (but not his own epistles), he links these phrases to a clearly historical Jesus.

EARL: What you fail to see is that Doherty is free to argue that John chose to write a narrative because his belief in Jesus' historicity was central to him, whereas Paul chose to write only abstract theology because his belief in Jesus' historicity was at best optional if not non-existent. Your point is that it was possible to use the abstract theology and believe in Jesus' historicity since that's what John did. But since Paul doesn't give substantial references to an historical Jesus, at most we have the possibility that he believed Jesus was historical with no evidence of that. Thus I don't see your point as strong enough to justify forgoing a discussion of Doherty's arguments about Paul.</font>
All we have here is Doherty’s beef that Paul didn’t write a gospel, and then tries to say from that, that Paul’s Gospel was substantially different from the Synoptics and John. Since this is complete nonsense, and Doherty has failed to address the fact that the Gospels and Paul relay the same core events of that Gospel (namely Jesus’ death on a cross and resurrection to life again), then the debate is basically over. Comparing incidental letters with narrative biographies is nonsensical, and Doherty should know this by now. No rational individual is going to demand the same level of biographical evidence in a letter as one would from an actual narrative.

Thus, when Paul employs phrases and words that are common with the Gospels, but Doherty wants to pretend that Paul’s meaning is significantly different from that used by those Gospels, he is blowing smoke.

Again, how credulous can you get to even grant Doherty the right to make such fallacious arguments?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: Since Earl wants to focus on the letters, but not the narratives, he is simply beling selective in his use of evidence. No sceptic should be willing to let him get away with such tactics, but again, all I can do is point out when and how Earl did this. I cannot make anyone accept the truth of this matter.

EARL: Far from being arbitrary in his selection of evidence Doherty focuses on the earliest, most independent, and thus the most important evidence, Paul's letters.</font>
And uses idiosyncratic translations, and baseless arguments for interpolation to try and rationalize away the problematic passages that DO refer to an historical Jesus.

By comparing the phrases to what we find in the Gospels (not to mention other epistles, like from Ignatius), we can see how faulty Doherty’s reasoning really is.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">NOMAD: Poor Doherty. I think it was Harry Truman who talked about heated kitchens and the like. If Doherty thought that this debate was hot, he should try and get in front of a genuinely scholarly audience and see what happens.
Now you know why he prefers to hang out in protected forums.

EARL: The problem wasn't just your abusive and hostile language. The problem was that this language mostly substituted for detailed arguments on your part.</font>
Since the question is not a complicated on, the arguments in favour of an historical Jesus are not overly involved either. Punching holes in Doherty’s sophistry takes more time, but that is the nature of the beast. He uses a lot of words, but rarely has much to say. Unfortunately, it requires similar volumes of words to show that fact.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I'll give the last word in this thread to you.
</font>
Given your history, I’m not holding my breath.

At the same time, I will deal with Doherty again tonight, and who knows? Maybe he will have a rethink yet again, and return.

Brian (Nomad)
 
Old 05-25-2001, 04:01 PM   #23
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Question

Would someone please point me to a link or two presenting a credible apologetic for the baptism? I've checked the JP debate and if it's there I couldn't find it. I've also checked Gleason Archer and took a spin through Tekton, all to no avail.

Frankly, I think the odds are about zero that there's an apologetic acceptable to contemporary Christians that would not also have been a plausible rationalization for the Gospel writers, but I'd rather read the apologetic before making a judgment.

BTW, Nomad, the notion (as you suggest in the JP debate) that only believers may use apologetics in an embarrassment analysis is absurd. The question is how the author whose statement is being tested could have or should have perceived the point.
 
Old 05-25-2001, 04:45 PM   #24
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

I have to respond to a few of last Nomad's comments.

****

NOMAD: I certainly am glad that you don't have time for a lengthy debate Philip, or I might mistake your four page reply for something quick and dirty.

EARL: I said in the other thread that I don't have time now for a "serious" debate (such as one on the mystery traditions), as in one where I would have to run all over the place to do research.



NOMAD: Actually, yes, I did quote from two scholars in particular, Michael Grand and Donald Akenson, both atheists, who accept the historicity of the event, and by extension, of Jesus,

EARL: But their use of the criterion of embarrassment presupposes Jesus' existence, and therefore can be used only to show that given Jesus' existence he was baptized by John. Show me where a scholar uses the criterion and explicitly says "therefore Jesus probably existed" as opposed "therefore given that Jesus existed he did such and such."



NOMAD: OH!!! I see. You were attacking my tone, and calling my TONE arrogant, abusive, sloppy, dishonest (the real meaning of misrepresentation), but you certainly were not calling ME arrogant, abusive, sloppy, and dishonest. Thank you for the correction Philip. I withdraw my charge. Obviously you were not attacking me.

EARL: I was attacking the tone of the arguments that you wrote. My comments were directed at the arguments not the person making them irrespective of the arguments.

NOMAD: LOL! Philip, I withdrew my charge, but your continued insistence that attacking someone's "tone" is not an attack on the person is noted. I'm going to keep that in mind for future discussions.

[SNIP]

EARL: You call that a withdrawal? Sounded pretty sarcastic to me.



NOMAD: Don't be stupid or dense Philip. By now you know full well that I am willing to debate with all kinds of people, including non-Christians, atheists, and agnostics. I have told you often enough that I do not judge these people as "going to hell", and the fact that you have repeated this lie here and now is disgraceful.

I hope you will have the decency to apologize. You have done this once before with me, so I know that you are capable of it.

[SNIP]

EARL: I didn't say you believe that Doherty is necessarily going to hell. I'm aware of your beliefs regarding hell, freewill, sufficient knowledge, religious experience, and so forth. I said that you must believe--assuming you believe that Satan exists--that Doherty whether he knows it or not is doing Satan's work, turning people away from Christ in a way more audacious than non-mythicist skeptics. Do you believe that Satan exists? If so, then it's reasonable to believe that that is indeed a factor in the abusive tone you use towards Doherty. I'm sure you also believe that Doherty's arguments are untenable, and that's a non-confessional factor in your response to him. But it's possible to have mixed motivations, isn't it?

If you don't believe that Satan exists, then my claim has no basis in fact and I apologize.



EARL: Then Nomad goes ahead and admits that after all Jesus' burial is indeed "controversial in the scholarly community," and states that that's the reason he didn't bring in Joseph to prove that Jesus existed.

NOMAD: Nice little misrepresentation of my argument. Very sneaky Philip. I'm glad you did not elaborate on this lie, so I will leave it alone.

EARL: Yes, Nomad had another reason why he didn't want to introduce Joseph, because he thought it would bog down the debate in irrelevant matters. Otherwise my statement was perfectly accurate. Here is Nomad's comment in its entirety from the debate:

"There are a couple of reasons that I did not bring up this particular incident in my "proofs" of the life of Jesus. First, I did not want to present any that are in any way controversial in the scholarly community, no matter how restricted that controversy might be. I happen to agree with Raymond Brown (Death of the Messiah), Robin Lane Fox (The Unauthorized Version), Michael Grant and other historians and scholars that consider Joseph of Arimathea to be probably historical, but I do not have to prove it in order to establish the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. Respected scholars disagree on this particular issue, and I did not see any reason to bog down the discussion on such points, and this was the second reason I elected not to introduce it into the discussion. We already have plenty to talk about in this debate. There is no point bringing in even more just yet. At the same time, for those more interested in why I consider this person to have been historical, I refer you to another conversation I had with another Earl on these boards found at the thread Jesus Christ: Worth Burying in a Tomb?"

 
Old 05-25-2001, 06:53 PM   #25
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Wow! I'm gone 36 hours and the board explodes.

From the commentary on the Gospel of the Hebrews at the Early Gospels s site:

The earliest followers of Yahshua believed that Yahshua was empowered by the Holy Spirit at his immersion, not at his birth (thus they did not include the later birth narratives in their gospel).

Since apparently at least some of the earliest Christians believe baptism was not only not embarrassing, but necessary, it follows that Nomad's application of the embarrassment criterion in the JBaptist case would fail even in its own terms.

Michael
 
Old 05-25-2001, 07:11 PM   #26
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Wow! I'm gone 36 hours and the board explodes.

From the commentary on the Gospel of the Hebrews at the Early Gospels s site:

The earliest followers of Yahshua believed that Yahshua was empowered by the Holy Spirit at his immersion, not at his birth (thus they did not include the later birth narratives in their gospel).

Since apparently at least some of the earliest Christians believe baptism was not only not embarrassing, but necessary, it follows that Nomad's application of the embarrassment criterion in the JBaptist case would fail even in its own terms.

Michael
</font>
I checked the link and couldn't find the commentary. Could you give a better link or direct me how to find the commentary?

I am truly amazed at how quickly you accept that the Gospel of the Hebrews has some historical value as to what the earliest Christians believed but are so skeptical about gospels that were written so many years earlier.

One what basis do you claim that the author of the Gospel of the Hebrews was one of the "earliest Christians?" I was under the impression that it was written well into the second century at the earliest?
 
Old 05-25-2001, 11:30 PM   #27
Toto
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 40,549
Post

I had previously posted an indication that the Ebionites also saw the baptism as the anointing of Jesus, the point at which God adopted him as his son. So the baptism could not be considered embarrassing.

It is one thing to use a text as evidence of what people believed when it was written, and quite another to use it as reported history. But you knew that, right?

Mike's quote is from an offsite link. (The earlygospels.net site will never win an award for good web design.) Try this:

http://home.talkcity.com/ParadiseDr/nkuehl/Hebrews.html

Toto is offline  
Old 05-26-2001, 01:24 AM   #28
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

FYI, Layman, I decided to take a look at Early Gospels just for giggles. The link is there. You just have to scroll down the left-hand navigation window.
 
Old 05-26-2001, 05:30 AM   #29
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I am truly amazed at how quickly you accept that the Gospel of the Hebrews has some historical value as to what the earliest Christians believed but are so skeptical about gospels that were written so many years earlier.

</font>
I am truly amazed at your inability to read simple English. I did not say I accept anything about the gospel of Hebrews. The quote is from a COMMENTARY on the gospel of Hebrews at the early gospels site, which as someone else wisely pointed out, is not very well constructed. You have to scroll down into the commentary to find the discussion.

Once again, since some early Christians, as two of us noted, considered baptism a necessity, Nomad's application of the embarrassment criterion fails in its own terms (never mind in its presupposition, as Earl and I have both pointed out, that the gospels are recording actual events).

Michael

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited May 26, 2001).]
 
Old 05-26-2001, 06:19 AM   #30
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Wink

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:

I am truly amazed at your inability to read simple English. I did not say I accept anything about the gospel of Hebrews. The quote is from a COMMENTARY on the gospel of Hebrews at the early gospels site, which as someone else wisely pointed out, is not very well constructed. You have to scroll down into the commentary to find the discussion.

Once again, since some early Christians, as two of us noted, considered baptism a necessity, Nomad's application of the embarrassment criterion fails in its own terms (never mind in its presupposition, as Earl and I have both pointed out, that the gospels are recording actual events).</font>
Welcome back Michael

Here' all that you have to do in order to demonstrate that the event was not embarrassing to the evangelists:

Show that 1st Century Jews expected the Messiah to be baptized or to be subject to anyone besides God. Do that, and then you will have made your case. Try not to be so credulous about what 3rd Century sources like the Ebonionites thought (or 21st Century ones for that matter) please.

Nomad
 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:19 PM.

Top

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