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Old 01-14-2001, 07:41 PM   #151
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:
I also just want to say that I certainly understand that Nomad's scholarship is far superior to mine. He knows 1,000 times more about the bible and about the minutia of historical investigation than I ever will.
...

That's just not a scientific point of view. It may be a faithful point of view, but it's not scientific. The scientific POV is that unless there's an explanation which can survive even a trivial refutation, we really don't know.

Frankly, I have no idea who wrote the "Gospel of Matthew". I have no idea if the version in today's bible has the same words that some scribe penned milennia ago. And really, it doesn't matter to your faith or my atheism. Barring a miracle here and now, I'm not going to start believing in a supernatural god, and you're not going to abaondon your own belief.
...

It's entirely unobjectionable to believe in a god not from scientific evidence but from faith. But you just can't do good science from a position of faith -- the metaphysics are incompatible.
</font>
I find this very interesting. You admit that you have not looked at the evidence as much as Nomad, then you say that he is unscientific. Then you go on about how neither of you will change your minds'. Who has the bias in this response?
 
Old 01-14-2001, 08:42 PM   #152
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You admit that you have not looked at the evidence as much as Nomad, then you say that he is unscientific.</font>
I'm not saying he's unscientific because he comes to a particular conclusion, I'm saying it because he's talked about his process. His process is not scientific. Which means I can't trust the fruits of his scholarship.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Then you go on about how neither of you will change your minds'. Who has the bias in this response?</font>
Nomad and I are not going to change our minds about our religion based on scientific conclusions regarding details of historical analysis. I most certainly will and would change my mind about the matter in question (actually make my mind; I'd never considered the question of the origin of Matthew before).
 
Old 01-15-2001, 08:22 AM   #153
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Penatis, I have enjoyed debating with you. It has pushed me even more into my studies.

At one point you stated that I should go back and study the NT MSS... That felt like an ad hominem for the benefit of others. However, I'm sure my posts were sprinkled with a little of that too. The "~90" was an error of haste. I assure you that I am also quite well versed...

It does "miff" me almost to the point of name-calling however, when you insist on labeling yourself as "unbiased" and "neutral". I think any true scholar would admit his biases.

One other thing, you constantly sprinkle your posts with statements about the 300,000 errors, corrections, etc. in the NT MSS. I just want to add the most of those "errors" are changes in the structure of a word or a shift of a word to another of a similar nature. Even with the "major" lack of evidence for the longer ending of Mark, the text still leaves the tomb empty. That has to be accounted for, not to mention the numbers MSSs that mention "a resurrection".

Most of the word or phrase changing errors, I don't see as a major problem. If you will, for my research as well as others, would you mind presenting some of the errors that you find particularly damaging?

I have to say that I disagree with many of your views and especially your conclusions, penatis. I definitely do think they come with their own set of biased pressuppositions. Regardless, I want to thank you for a true scholarly debate which I don't get very often here.

Anyway, I want so bad to go back over your posts because I believe I have many more valid points. However, time just does not permit it.

How do you guys have the time for this anyway??

Ish
 
Old 01-15-2001, 08:34 AM   #154
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P.S.- Penatis, I am familiar with other scholars than those on the Jesus Seminar such as Brown and Koester(sp?). However, your views seem closest to those of the Jesus Seminar so I was pointing out their clear biases. I also believe these other scholars come with their own sets of presuppositions. That was more my point.

Again, for research purposes, I wouldn't mind a list of the scholar's you've read. I'm sure I've missed someone.

Man, I think I'm addicted to this posting...

Thanks, (maybe, hopefully, final post)
Ish
 
Old 01-15-2001, 09:06 AM   #155
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

I have never indicated, implicitly or explicitly, that the writers of the NT have "offended my sensibilities."</font>
Of course you have penatis. By labelling the NT authors as mere propagandists, you deny them any respect or legitimacy, placing your personal faith in your beliefs above theirs. Such is your right, but I do wish you would recognize your own biases, and how they colour your view.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I have merely pointed out certain facts:
1. The NT is a collection of writings authored by religious propagandists. Every single writer wrote for a select community of believers and not writer ever considered the possibility that his writing would become part of a collection. To ME, this is neither good nor bad.</font>
Since the word "propagandist" carries a very specific conotation, you are simply being disengenuous, at best, in your denials.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. There are no originals, so we cannot be certain what the authors wrote. It is an unfortunate fact that the writers wrote on fragile papyrus material, and no one preserved the originals. To ME, this is neither good nor bad, just curious.</font>
Dealt with by me, Bede and Ish, and the horse is now quite sufficiently dead.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3. The oldest extant attestation of any NT book is P52, a papyrus fragment dating to about 130 CE. I do not find arguments for earlier attestation (7Q5, for example) to be convincing. To me, this is neither good nor bad.</font>
I'll cover this off when I get back next week. Tomorrow I am off for a business trip, and won't be back until late Sunday, so I don't want to start something then just bugger off.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">4. There is no complete codex of the NT that dates earlier than the fourth century and all MSS that date earlier are fragmentary; the fragments range in size from postage stamp to virtually complete books. Every NT MSS contains errors, omissions, additions, variant readings, and obscurities. To ME, this is problematic.</font>
And to the vast majority of NT scholars it isn't problematic, but to each his own. As I have said before, translational variations and spelling mistakes just aren't that big a deal, unless you want to make them such of course.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> This conclusively demonstrates the fact that Christians had no qualms about altering the earliest texts.</font>
Once again you are taking enormous leaps in logic that have obviously left me quite breathless. To make this a important point, you still have to offer significant redactions and changes to the text, not just copyist "typos". And by significant, we mean something that actually would change Christian theology.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">5. No official canon of books was officially established until the fourth century. ALL canons are determined by the arbitrary decisions of human beings.</font>
I would love to see a working definition of arbitrary here. Once again your willingness to belittle the efforts and sincerity of the early members of the church simply betrays your biases.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">6. Except for a portion of the 108 extant papyrus fragments catalogued, ALL MS attestation of the books of the NT IS FROM AFTER THE FOURTH CENTURY, WITH MANY COMING FROM THE FIFTH TO THE EIGHTH CENTURIES. When someone speaks of the "wealth of material" available to the textual critic, he is alluding to the MSS that date from AFTER Christianity became an official state religion and Christian works were produced in much larger quantities than ever before.</font>
When we speak of the wealth of material available from NT MSS, we are comparing it against what we have on any other comparable ancient works. The writings of Homer, Livy, Tacitus, Setonius, Virgil, Cicero and countless other ancient authors don't even come close to providing us with anything close to as much material. The entire reason you can even point to so many variations in the MSS of NT books is because we DO happen to have so much material available to us. If we were to have only one or two extant copies, with a few fragments, then obviously the number of errors would be much smaller, but this would not make our knowledge of what the originals looked like. In fact, the opposite would be true. The entire science of textual criticism is built on studying the variations within available texts then trying to piece together what we can as best as we can. The fact that you do not appear to understand this most basic principle of the science is troubling, but common amongst amateurs in the business. This is why I have suggested that you take a harder look at the works of actual textual critics like Metzger and R.E. Brown and Daniel Wallace, and see why they are far less troubled by the "errors" in the text than you are.

Of course, to this point, you have seemed willing to write it off to the fact that these men tend to be Christians, but even noted sceptics like Robin Lane Fox in The Unathorised Version and Michael Grant recognize the overall reliability of the texts (as well as their resulting translations in modern times) that we do have available to us.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Nomad: But you are basing your life's decisions on strange things, and the fact that you do not even see this is quite interesting to me.

Nomad is going to have to explain himself here. How is it "strange" to be neutral with respect to religious works? Personally, I find it strange that people believe in something as absurd as dead people coming back to life.</font>
But that hasn't been the argument here. We are discussing whether or not Matthew wrote that there was a mass resurrection when Jesus died. So far as I am aware, scholarship believes that he did, and the fact that we do not have originals from Matthew hardly proves that he didn't. In addition, even if Matthew WAS making a theological as opposed to an historical point with these passages, I have yet to see why this would be important. Finally, if we go with your worst case scenario, and find out that this passage, like Mark 16:9-16, or John 8:1-11, what would be the problem here? No Christian theology is built around this part of Matthew. If we find it to be a later redaction, then the newer translations of the Bible will simply make a note of it.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: As for me, I agree with the experts. I don't see why inspiration and perfection need to go together. Only you can answer that question, and perhaps you don't have one.

1. What "experts?"</font>
Scholars of course. They exist on both sides you know.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. I would like to know what criteria Nomad uses to determine what "divine inspiration" is. (Let's hope his criteria are not somehow related to personal experience, feelings, or ancient MSS.)</font>
Hmm... first, I never trust feelings. As a Christian, I do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit though, and if God does exist, then it is axiomatic that He has inspired the authors and believers. And if there is no God, then inspiration is irrelavent. In the world of the atheistic sceptic, such a thing, like wisdom and insight, is a clear impossibility.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3. I would like to know how Nomad defines "perfection."</font>
Without error.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">[b]Nomad: Again, I don't really know how you went from "the NT manuscripts are not perfect, and are written on papyrus instead of rocks" to "the Bible is therefore not inspired."

Nomad is NOT quoting me here, even though someone might think so based on the quotation marks.</font>
I was paraphrasing, but I do believe my summarization of your views as presented on this thread are accurate. I have not seen you correct me below in any event.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I have given several reasons why I believe all religious works are the products of humans minds, whether they be written on stone, clay, metal, papyrus, vellum, or any other material.</font>
Your reasoning in this question is purely circular. You believe that there is no God(s), therefore there cannot possibly be an inspiration behind any religous text. Since your belief is just that, belief, it has no more solid a foundation than does that of the theists that disagree with you. To each his own circle.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Further, I am under no obligation to prove any religious work is divinely or not divinely inspired. (Logically, it is the believer who bears the burden of demonstating the existence of divine inspiration in his/her respective sacred texts.)</font>
I do not think that religious inspiration is a a scientifically provable thing, any more than wisdom, or insight, or beauty, or love, or a host of other real things, are scientifically provable.

I do find the lack of faith of the sceptic in any of these things, simply because he cannot prove them scientifically to be rather odd. But I have come to see it as simply a function of the dominant prejudice of our age.

Nomad
 
Old 01-15-2001, 09:14 AM   #156
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:

...Remember that by definition there is no evidence whatsoever that will convince Nomad to change his mind, and since Nomad already knew the exact truth before he started his historical investigation, he's going to uncritically accept any fact that supports his view of the truth and reinterpret any fact that contradicts it.</font>
Your assumption fails here SD. I began my investigation as an agnostic (Bede began as an atheist I believe), and others have as well. The reason you, penatis and other sceptics discount our conclusions is simply because we have reached ones that differ from your own. While that is cool, it is simply a reflection of differing sets of biases. Penatis claims that it is preferable to remain sceptical ones entire life on matters such as the Bible, but clearly others differ. I certainly do. And to be candid, I do not think that scepticism equates to neutrality, and this error is perhaps the most glaring that I encounter amongst sceptics on these or any other discussion boards.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad, like any other pseudoscientist, christian or not, loves to sound like he's doing scientific investigation, but really has no clue whatsoever as to how the technique works.</font>
With all due respect SD, you do not understand that textual criticism is a genuine science. I will not claim to be an expert in it, but since you do not know how it works, I would recommend that you not use your ignorance of its methodologies as an excuse for discounting its conclusions.

Nomad
 
Old 01-15-2001, 09:41 AM   #157
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Your assumption fails here SD. I began my investigation as an agnostic (Bede began as an atheist I believe), and others have as well.</font>
Well you must be a mong then to arrive at the conclusions you have. How can anyone pass themselves off as a 'scholar' and then say they became a believer cos they read that load of old tosh. Weren't you trying to discriminate when you were studying, or just swallowing it all whole? I wish I could sell you an insurance policy mate. I have read The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, Greek myths and legends, & Snow White and the Legend of 7-Up. I didn't think for a minute any of them was true. Perhaps my fiction detecting skills are keener than yours.

It's a free world and you can believe what you want. I just don't think you should be trusted with small children that's all, or have access to sharp objects.

Boro Nut
 
Old 01-15-2001, 10:04 AM   #158
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:


Nomad: so my conclusion based on the only evidence you would give me was quite reasonable. It was wrong, but wrong and reasonable often go together, so no biggie.

1. I agree. Nomad was incorrect about me.
2. I disagree with the statement that "wrong and reasonable often go together." That statement could come from only someone who does not think straight.</font>
I wanted to leave this one up. The FACT that you do not understand that an incorrect belief or position cannot be rationally defended is among the more astonishing things you have said on this or any other thread. If you truly believe this, that is a very sad thing indeed, since it means that in your mind, people cannot have reasonable differences of opinion.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: No. Nomad does not need to do any such thing. I have read through your arguments, and quite plainly you have failed to grasp Metzger's key points, and drawn erroneous conclusions based on your incomprehension.

Bullshit! Nomad makes another false assertion. If this were an evidenced assertion, he would have presented evidence.</font>
Let me make this simple for you penatis. When I asked you to produce Metzger's empiracal evidence that supported YOUR conclusions, you simply told us to read his book. This is unacceptable. You have made assertions and drawn conclusions based on how you have read Metzger's book. I am not going to try and divine what you used as "empiracal evidence". I have asked you to produce it. For several pages on this thread now, you have failed to do exactly that, and if your only response remains, "Read Metzger's book", then we are done on this topic.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I submit that, unless Nomad has read Metzger's book, he has no earthly idea what he is talking about. If he has read it, then he needs to demonstrate my "failure to grasp" anything in the book. He needs to demonstrate that I have arrived at "erroneous conclusions based on" my "incomprehension." He is only making himself look foolish.</font>
See how clouded your views are here? You think that simply by citing a book, you can claim that you have produced evidence. You have not done any such thing of course, and the fact that you do not even realize this is far more telling than you probably can imagine. I will no longer ask for you to produce the evidence you claim exists to support your beliefs, but that is not for lack of trying. I merely acknowledge that you do not wish to do so and I cannot compel you to change your mind.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">..My advice: Nomad needs to consider the possibility, however infinitesimally remote he may think it is, that someone on these boards just might be able to teach him a thing or two.</font>
This is exactly why I do come to these boards. At the same time, when someone makes the attempt to teach me something, I demand high levels of evidenciary support that I can cross verify on my own. You have thus far failed to tell me a single thing that I have not already known about Metzger's work, yet the fact that you draw exactly the opposite conclusions that he does on the overal veracity of the NT tells me that you believe Metzger and those like him have somehow misunderstood the evidence. So I have wanted to see the evidence that you believe he has misunderstood. You have failed to provide it. Those who have congratulated you on your "scholarship" have done so simply because they don't know what evidence you have used either, but your biases line up with their biases, so it sure sounds good. Thus, you play to the crowd. Whatever. Such is your right, but it hardly qualifies as "teaching" anyone anything.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If he were, by the tiniest nanno-fraction, as smart as he thinks, he would be smarter than any human being who has ever lived or ever will live.</font>
Yeah. This is probably true. Fortunately, I'm too modest to brag.

[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">

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Nomad: Just as you form your opinions about Hitler based on limited comprehension, and what you can pick up on the internet, you do the same thing with textual criticism.

My opinions about Hitler and Nazi Germany come from extensive reading.</font>
Real simple question penatis. Was Hitler a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word (IOW, besides him saying that he was in public). You have been thrashed on the other thread on this point, and I really would like to know if you cling to your faith or not.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Here is an excerpt from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich concerning one of Nomad's heroes:

{Snip quotation on Martin Luther's obvious antisemetism}
William L. Shirer, pp. 326-327.

I wonder if Nomad wants me to explain the meaning of this passage? BTW, this came from MY OWN COPY of the book.</font>
Nomad wants to know what this has to do with this thread, or with the question whether Hitler was a Christian or not. And if you really DO want to go there penatis, start the thread. When we are done, I will want to know if ANY of the sceptics here actually believe that Hitler was a Christian.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"And now Staatsprasident Bolz says that Christianity and the Catholic faith are threatened by us. And to that charge I can answer: In the first place it is the Christians and not the international atheists who now stand at the head of Germany. I do not merely talk of Christianity, no, I also profess that I will never ally myself with the parties that destroy Christianity. If many wish today to take threatened Christianity under their protection, where, I would ask, was Christianity for them in these fourteen years when they went arm in arm with atheism? No, never and at no time was greater internal damage done to Christianity than in these fourteen years when a party, theoretically Christian, sat with those who denied God in one and the same Government." Adolf Hitler, My New Order, pp. 148-149.

Again, I wonder if Nomad wants me to explain the meaning of this passage? BTW, this is from MY OWN COPY of the book.</font>
After reading this passage, do you actually believe that this scholar, or any other serious scholar on Hitler actually came to the conclusion that Hitler was a Christian? I certainly have never encountered one yet.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I have read a great deal about Adolf Hitler and believe I understand him and his writings about as well as Nomad.</font>
Based on this statement, answer clearly:

Was Adolf Hitler a Christian when he ran Nazi Germany? If the answer is yes, then we will have to start a new thread.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> (Now, I guess Nomad can go to the internet and find a Christian propaganda website to dig up something about how Hitler supposedly teamed up with Stalin and became a materialist. Or, maybe he will say that Hitler said one thing in public, but something else in private. Whatever.)</font>
I have never been to a website that talked about Hitler or Stalin. In my threads on this topic I have typed out my quotes entirley from my own books, and I am here to tell you that if you want to debate this topic, go for it, but on a seperate thread.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I have been researching for years and pondering the absurd gospel accounts for even more. Perhaps Nomad fails to grasp the fact that people can, and often do, disagree with him based on a careful, thorough,and thoughtful analysis of as much data as possible.</font>
Of course people can reasonably disagree. My question to you has been do you accept that people can be reasonable and rational and believe in the Gospel accounts? Since you call our beliefs absurd even before we begin, the prospects do not look encouraging.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Yes, we all begin from a position of not knowing, and therefore should be neutral. As we gain knowledge, we are more able to draw conclusions. This is the pattern of all learning. My question has been, and remains, are we to remain neutral forever in order to remain credible to others?

We should remain cautiously skeptical and as objective as is humanly possible each time we approach new evidence. Should we remain like this forever? Yes.</font>
You are still not quite getting my point, nor my question. Once we have examined existing evidence, and reached a conclusion based on that evidence, must we remain sceptical in order to be considered credible on this question? In other words, if we become Christians based on the evidence (or non-believers based on the evidence), can we still be considered reliable sources or not?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Since this question requires speculation about a hypothetical scenario that may or may not come to pass, I will not answer it. I do find it curious that Nomad doesn't seem to comprehend the difference between reports of events (dead people coming to life) that DO NOT occur and events (war crimes and assassination) that DO occur.</font>
Still missing my point. Evidence fades over time. Witnesses die. As this evidence fades, and the witnesses die off, should our level of sceptism increase in equal proportions?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Do you see how you draw false conclusions by setting up an impossible standard for your definition of "acceptable evidence"?

Quite frankly, I do not see that at all.</font>
I see that now.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> All I have asked for is evidence that would convince a neutral observer.</font>
Neutral observers have been convinced. They are called converts.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> ...As I have pointed out several times, in a footnote, Metzger states, "Lest, however, the wrong impression be conveyed from the statistics given above regarding the total number of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, it should be pointed out that most of the papyri are relatively fragmentary and that only about fifty manuscripts...contain the entire New Testament." The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, P. 34.

BRUCE METZGER IS ADMITTING THAT HE MAY HAVE GIVEN THE WRONG IMPRESSION WHEN HE USED THE PHRASE "WEALTH OF HIS MATERIAL."</font>
No he hasn't. He is giving a standard disclaimer that any honest scholar in his field would offer. The evidence available in the science of textual criticism is rarely as conclusive as it is in physics or biology, for example, but that does not make the evidence we do have useless, or so weak that we cannot draw reasonable conclusions as to the reliability of the texts available to us. You have made that leap, and that is your right. But we can also reach an opposite conclusion, and even non-Christian textual critics agree on that.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Metzger is a Christian, writing to a Christian readership. THAT IS WHY HE RELEGATED THE DISCLAIMER TO A FOOTNOTE.</font>
First. Lots of his readers are non-Christians (like you for example). Second, are you implying that Metzger was being somehow disengenous by "relegating" the disclaimer to the notes. I certainly hope not.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Can a textual critic use the relatively few fragments in an attempt to find out what MIGHT be in an autograph? YES.</font>
Thank you. Finally.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> There is a major problem, though: ALL extant NT MSS, whether they be fragments or codices, contain numerous errors, omissions, additions, variant readings, and obscurities. Does any textual critic think he knows precisely what any NT writer wrote in his autograph? NO. Will we ever find out? Probably not.</font>
Does "precisely" as used above equate to "perfectly"? If so, why should this be required? If not, then why is this important?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Actually, I am starting to enjoy presenting these facts. Plus, every time they are posted, it just reinforces it in the brain of the reader.</font>
Umm... your "facts" have lead you and others to grave errors because you lack the skill or background to comprehend the science with which you are dealing. Our choice is to either accept that we have a pretty good idea what the original texts look like or we don't, and in the view of the great majority of scholars, we do believe the autographs look pretty much like what we have today. Believing what the authors said is another question of course, but we can pretty much agree that the texts we have are not seriously corrupted.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Finally, fragments of papyrus are not film and they are not pictures. There are ONLY 108 of them. The thousands of MSS that Nomad likes to bring up date from after the fourth century, hundreds date to the middle ages and later. NONE of these attest to the ORIGINALS.</font>
And when we look at the works of Virgil, Homer, Cicero, Plato, Aristotle and the like, the amount of extant MSS is even skimpier. Yet we believe we have good copies of all these works. The Bible is singled out as being unknowable, largely because of an a priori bias against it.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> They only attest to the fourth century (or later) codices.</font>
And the closest we can get to Plato, Homer, Aristotle, Virgil and other ancient authors is even later.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Nomad doesn't comprehend that there are different levels of evidence. For him, it is all or nothing, evidence or no evidence. Perhaps I could explain it to him by using examples: There is an overwhelming body of evidence suggesting that the earth is spherically shaped. To say that the earth is a sphere is not speculation, but an observable fact.</font>
This is among the most curious tangents you have charged off on Ron. Are you feeling alright? Perhaps the debate has gotten to you emotionally, and you require a break.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> There is not an overwhelming body of evidence to suggest who wrote the fourth gospel. Actually, there is very little hard evidence; therefore, scholars are in disagreement about this issue. That is why some SPECULATE as to who the writer might be. NO ONE KNOWS WHO WROTE THE BOOK. Anyone who says he KNOWS who wrote the book is blowing smoke.</font>
And this means that serious inquiry into the subject is pointless? If so, why?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: The really cool thing is that this evidence has convinced neutral people. Where do you think converts come from?

Oh, I believe most converts come from their parents. </font>
These are not converts. A convert by definition comes from another religious background, or from a sceptical one. People raised in the faith are not converts unless they fall away for a time first (kind of like the prodigal son).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Let's see. Do I believe in anything absurd? Well, to be totally honest, I looked the word up in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition. The word "absurd" is defined this way:
1. ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous 2. having no rational or orderly relationship to human life: meaningless. 3. just about anything and everything Nomad has to say.

I will go with definition no. 2. and say that I do not believe in the absurd.</font>
On that basis, I think we can all say we do not believe in the absurd. The fact that you want to pick out the beliefs of the theist and try to lump them under such a definition is pretty biased on your part.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Not really, we have evidence for the resurrection that manages to convince determined sceptics.

Surely Nomad doesn't think people convert to Christianity because of the hearsay testimoney of a handful of people about a claimed resurrection.</font>
People convert for a good number of reasons. The one you list above is certainly not one of them, but I doubt after this many days and pages of discussion you are not really interested in what our evidence and reasons would be.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited January 15, 2001).]
 
Old 01-15-2001, 03:09 PM   #159
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

Nomad: Tell us anything in the Bible that contradicts any of the theological documents I have listed above. (My apologies, I thought that you knew what these things were already).

(Nomad has taken up the habit of speaking as if he were more than one person,e.g., "us." Does he presume to speak for ALL Christians, SOME Christians, A FEW Christians, the people in his neighborhood, or whom?)</font>
Why the people on these boards reading this thread of course. After all, I have assumed that you did not think you have been talking just to me, no matter how flattering that might be to me personally.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Here is an example of a popular (this is just one of many) Christian creed:
1. Jesus was born of a virgin.
2. Jesus died on the cross as a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world.
3. Jesus physically rose from the tomb (after being dead about 35 hours.)
4. Jesus appeared to his disciples after coming back to life.
5. Jesus ascended to the sky.
6. Jesus will return to judge ALL humanity.</font>
All doctrinal beliefs, so fair enough.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Since the book attributed to "Mark" is considered to be the earliest written narrative depicting the life of Jesus, I will compare/contrast it with the creed above. (For anyone who claims that the whole NT should be used, I will say only that whoever wrote "Mark" considered it to be the whole NT at the time of its writing. That is good enough for me.)</font>
Time to stop. You have no evidence at all that Mark considered his gospel to be the only story of Jesus' life. Don't read into the motivations of an author unless you get to ask him. So as you already know, I am going to slap you for advancing several arguments from silence, then address anything else you may have added to your idiosyncratic understanding of the concept of a contradiction.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">1. The writer mentions nothing of a virgin birth. (In my view, the writer knew nothing of this myth.) As a matter of fact, in "Mark," Jesus has a mother, brothers, and sisters. No mention is made of a father.</font>
Point one of course is that this is a big old argument from silence. You have no idea why Mark didn't include a birth narrative, and offer pure 100% speculation on your part. Second, you clearly do not know how to read Greek, since it is not established that Jesus had any brothers at all. The Greek for brothers is identical to the Greek for brethren and cousins (that's why the Catholic and Orthodox Churches teach that Mary was a virgin her entire life you know).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. Jesus dies on the cross in "Mark" as a troublemaker. The writer includes the following in his narrative: Jesus and his disciples are eating their last meal together; he broke bread and gave it to them, saying, "Take; this is my body." Next, Jesus took a glass and shared the contents with those at the meal. He said to each of them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."</font>
Yes, you are describing the Last Supper that formed the basis of the Eucharist. We first learn of this in Paul's letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11), and scholars agree that the tradition that Paul is talking about is much older than this letter, dating back to the beginnings of the Church.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Does this mean that Jesus died on the cross as a blood sacrifice for the sins of humanity? In my view, no.</font>
Of course it does. While your views are interesting, they are hardly accurate (well perhaps to you, but I already expected that much).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Do the words of Jesus indicate the group were involved in a ritual that smacks of ancient magical practices? Yes.</font>
Poor penatis. Please tell us what you are talking about here. I love to listen to the pagan parallels theories as much as I enjoy a good conspiracy theory. Let's see what you've got.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3. "Mark" ends at 16:8. There are no appearances of Jesus after his execution. The last scene in the narrative is of three women, two Marys and Salome, who go to the tomb and find a young man dressed in white. This strange man tells the women that Jesus has "risen" and that they, Peter, and his disciples will see him in Galilee. They run away "astonished" and "afraid." End of story. No resurrection, just a stranger and an empty tomb.</font>
Most likely true, up to the "no resurrection" part. Again, we have Paul covering this off in 1 Corinthians 15, and again we know that this tradition predates Paul to probably no later than 2 or 3 years after Jesus' death. Even the Jesus Seminar concedes this much. Please try not to treat Mark as if he existed or wrote in some kind of a vacuum. Real contradictions must actually contradict other parts of the Bible, not just be silent on a point.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">4. Jesus DOES NOT appear to anyone after his execution.</font>
True, but hardly consequential. Again we have had Paul and the other apostles talking about this to other Christians since the resurrection itself. No one I am aware of disputes this fact (well, except the Jesus myth crowd. I do hope you are not one of those, but if you are, this should prove interesting).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">5. Jesus DOES NOT ascend to the sky.</font>
Same as 4 above.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">6. There is no indication that Jesus is going to return from death and judge humanity. Earlier in the narrative, Jesus does say that the high priest will "see the Son of man seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven," an apparent allusion to the imminent End Jesus expected. Unfortunately for early believers, Jesus was mistaken.</font>
I would be interested in your dating of Mark on this question. Were any of Jesus' followers still alive when Mark wrote this Gospel?

As to your allusion to the Transfiguration, that did take place, and Mark talks about it in quite clear detail (as did Matthew and Luke BTW).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The high priest died and no "Son of man" has appeared to this day.</font>
Well, Jesus had to die to atone for our sins, but Christians already knew this. Also, no one except the Father knows the date of the Second Coming, so we should be pretty thankful that it hasn't happened yet I would say.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Christian apologists cannot (or will not) see these contradictions. I believe the neutral observer can.</font>
Well, we already know that you are no more neutral here than I am, and since you think an argument from silence is actually important, I have noticed that you have not mentioned that you have a father or a mother anywhere on these boards. I can only conclude that you do not actually have either, since this silence on this question is clearly quite astonishing and incredible.

I do hope you do not require an actual definition of the word contradiction penatis. Just try to keep in mind that arguments from silence don't produce them (unless you know the mind and motives of the author of course). Did you know Mark per chance?

Nomad
 
Old 01-15-2001, 07:29 PM   #160
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ish:
Penatis, I have enjoyed debating with you. It has pushed me even more into my studies.

Ish, I have enjoyed our discussion, as well.

Ish:At one point you stated that I should go back and study the NT MSS... That felt like an ad hominem for the benefit of others.

I wasn't sure what you had studied. But, you implied that I didn't necessarily know what the 108 NT papyrus fragments contained. (You had asked me where I had gotten my information. I told you; so once you had a chance to see the 108 fragments described, it should have been obvious that I knew what each one contained.) I apologize for the way I came across.


Ish: However, I'm sure my posts were sprinkled with a little of that too. The "~90" was an error of haste. I assure you that I am also quite well versed...

Great. It was the "~90" that made me think you had not checked my source carefully. I guess it was just a misunderstanding.

Ish: It does "miff" me almost to the point of name-calling however, when you insist on labeling yourself as "unbiased" and "neutral". I think any true scholar would admit his biases.

Thanks for including me within the same paragraph as "true scholars." I am just kidding!!!!
You and I are well aware of my modest qualifications. All of us have our prejudices, but that should not keep us from attempting to be neutral. I think there is a degree of neutrality in the way I approach all literature.

Ish: One other thing, you constantly sprinkle your posts with statements about the 300,000 errors, corrections, etc. in the NT MSS. I just want to add the most of those "errors" are changes in the structure of a word or a shift of a word to another of a similar nature.

Granted. I am just making the point that the NT is precisely like every other collection of books that was inspired, written, collected, and canonized by human beings. Also, it should be noted that there are significant variant readings and obscurities that make it impossible for textual critics to agree which reconstructed text best represents a hypothetical original.

Ish: Even with the "major" lack of evidence for the longer ending of Mark, the text still leaves the tomb empty. That has to be accounted for, not to mention the numbers MSSs that mention "a resurrection".

Precisely what is an empty tomb supposed to confirm? Also, how can readers be certain that the story is historically accurate?

Ish: Most of the word or phrase changing errors, I don't see as a major problem. If you will, for my research as well as others, would you mind presenting some of the errors that you find particularly damaging?

I have presented examples of major problems with the text and transmission of the NT. I honestly think you would not find ANYTHING a major problem, but that is just my opinion.

Ish: I have to say that I disagree with many of your views and especially your conclusions, penatis.

I am not at all surprised that you and I disagree. You are a Christian and I am not.

Ish: I definitely do think they come with their own set of biased pressuppositions.

Please tell me one thing: If I approach all religious works in precisely the same way, how is that bias? I think you will have to admit that you do not approach the Qu'ran or the Book of Mormon the same way you approach the NT. So, who is more biased, you or me?

Ish: Regardless, I want to thank you for a true scholarly debate which I don't get very often here.

And, I thank you. I would be willing to discuss any aspect of the NT, especially those issues that could be addressed by using the NT text itself.

Ish: Anyway, I want so bad to go back over your posts because I believe I have many more valid points. However, time just does not permit it.

I will discuss ANY NT issue ANYTIME. That is how I learn new things.

Ish: How do you guys have the time for this anyway??

That is a problem for all of us. I work full time, and I presume all posters do the same.

Ron
 
 

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