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Old 03-28-2001, 11:00 AM   #101
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Om:

"Evidently not, at least to the knowledgeable scholars who put together the Oxford Companion to the Biblical World. Whom I trust as being substantially more balanced in their treatment of the
material than someone like yourself, or any sources which you might depend upon."

An appeal to authority from a skeptic? Little or no supporting rationale? Are you feeling okay?

Om:

"Your logic is flawed. For the Jews, esp. in medieval Europe, their responsibility in Christ's death was serious; there was a significant amount of anti-Semitism traceable to this factor alone. And since the Church had already made its mind up on the topic, denials from the Jews served only to enrage the Church. Admitting their complicity in the act was the only acceptable thing to the Church."

Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that Jewish denials would have enraged the church? Or that admitting their *complete* complicity was the only acceptable thing to the church?

Your argument rings hollow, and I didn't see it presented in your excerpt from the Oxford Companion to the Bible (apparently your only source). Even if Jewish denial of involvement with Jesus' execution would have enraged the church--a point you have offered no evidence for--they could have at least softpedaled it and mentioned the Roman involvement. They did not.

Moreover, if they were so terrified of the Church I doubt you would have seen them refer to Jesus as a "sorcerer" who received a fair trial. Both things the church would have ALSO reacted very angrily against. You failed to comment on these points.

I repeat:

"As Dr. Van Voorst states, "This passage is extraordinary: a Jewish writing in which Jews, not Romans, execute Jesus on solely Jewish charges after a solely Jewish trial. We can safely deduce that the rabbis responsible for the baraita must not have felt pressure from Christians about responsibility for the death of Jesus, else they would never had told it." Jesus Outside the New Testament, at 119.

If they were trying to avoid persecution, the last thing the Jews would have done was openly portray Jesus as a sorcery, given a fair trial, deserving of death, and all at the hands of the Jews."

Your attempt to somehow convert this to a pro-Christian piece is amusing. A depiction of Jesus justly executed for committing sorcery is hardly pro-Christian.

Om:

"Wrong. It was for sorcery. Do not change the terms. Miracle working and sorcery are not the same. Especially when miracle working is seen as from God, and sorcery is seen as satan's mockery, or pale attempt at imitating God. By that I mean: what Moses did in the court of Pharaoh (turning Aaron's rod into a serpent) was miracle; what Pharaoh's magicians did (the same act) was sorcery."

This is ironic since most skeptics deny any difference between miracles or sorcery. Nevertheless, I am willing to concede that Jesus' Jewish opponents interpreted his acts as sorcery. The fact remains though, as you point out, that the effect is similar. Both attest to "unnatural" events.

And as I mentioned above, this is hardly pro-Christian.

And finally, I repeat this point that you overlooked: "Speaking of which, I posted a much longer and more forceful argument on Josephus which you have failed to address. Of course, given your track record on Josephus, I don't really blame you."
 
Old 03-28-2001, 07:58 PM   #102
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"Whom I trust as being substantially more balanced in their treatment of the material than someone like yourself, or any sources which you might depend upon."

An appeal to authority from a skeptic?
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Why not? You seem to use it with total abandon.

Besides, I do not require that fear of the Church be the motivator here behind the Bab. Talmud reference. You're the only one implying fear of the Church here, deLayman. If you recall, I merely said:

Jews altering their own collection of writings to satiate or satisfy christians;

This could have been a purely mercantile driven decision; admit guilt in killing Christ, and we'll let you buy and sell property. Or an attempt at harmony with their neighbors, and a way to avoid pogroms, persecution or eviction by the kings of Europe. Or, it could have been an attempt to give some kind of response to all the charges of anti-semitism. But it could have also been fear of the Church that drove this. It's an interesting idea, and I don't mind exploring it. But it was not what I said.

I also note one thing: you seem to ignore your favorite scholars when they say things that upset you. How do I know this? Because your buddy Meier agrees with the Oxford Companion about the unreliability of Sanhedrin 43a as an independent external witness.

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Little or no supporting rationale?
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Of course there was supporting rationale; you just found it personally offensive.

The rationale is (as I pointed out, and as others have also done) is that your selection of scholars is narrowly defined as to serve your agenda and interests. On the other hand, I am relying on a source with impeccable credentials, of the highest scholarly integrity, and one that re-iterates the mainstream position on this topic: to wit, that there has been christian influencing of this passage.

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Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that Jewish denials would have enraged the church? Or that admitting their *complete* complicity was the only acceptable thing to the church?
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It stands to reason, deLayman. There were already a background of anti-semitism present in Europe, derived from several factors:

a. the general ignorance that drives any such phobia;
b. a belief that the Jews rejected their own Messiah, held a mock trial, then falsely brought him before Pilate;
c. some "evidence", in the form of scripture, that the Jews had already confessed to the crime of having Christ executed, and had willingly agreed to suffer whatever the consequences of that act were:

MAT 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

There was a general anti-semitism all throughout medieval Europe. The Church interpreted the Jews as responsible for Christ's execution. The Church also had "evidence" that the Jews had willingly entered into that state. Given those three factors, then what would be the most likely reaction if they tried to deny culpability for Christ's death?

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Your argument rings hollow, and I didn't see it presented in your excerpt from the Oxford Companion to the Bible (apparently your only source).
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The argument does not ring hollow; it merely annoys you. I'm not sure why you would expect to see it in Oxford; my argument was a rebuttal to your attempted save of the Bab. Talmud as a valid external witness. It is not.

The Oxford Companion is not my only source. But you might try expanding your list; try some of turtonm's works - if you have the cojones, that is.

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Even if Jewish denial of involvement with Jesus' execution would have enraged the church--a point you have offered no evidence for--they could have at least softpedaled it and mentioned the Roman involvement. They did not.
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(Assuming that fear of the Church was the reason):

That implies that they would be permitted to "softpedal" it, and blame others as accomplices. And it also implies that such an attempt would have worked, as opposed to actually making things worse.

Telling the Church "Yeah, but those Roman guys over there are also responsible" ran crosswise with the general antisemite feeling in Europe; it's easier for the Church to blame the Jews that live all around them now, rather than blame some ancient Romans that were dead for several centuries. Besides, the Romans were (indirectly) responsible for the Church's prominence; I am not sure that the Jews trying to spread blame like that would have been a good idea. Additionally, the scriptural context makes it clear that while the Romans may have done the act of crucifixion, it was the Jewish chief priests and elders that asked for it to be done, and pressured the crowds to agitate before Pilate. So your "softpedal" idea is not workable; evidently you did not think it through all the way.

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Your attempt to somehow convert this to a pro-Christian piece is amusing. A depiction of Jesus justly executed for committing sorcery is hardly pro-Christian.
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You need to learn to read. I did not say that this was a pro-christian piece. I said it had christian influencing. They are not the same.

Going with the idea that this passage was done under pressure from the Church, then what I'm suggesting here is that the influences were directed at fixating the blame squarely upon the Jews, even in their own documentation.

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This is ironic since most skeptics deny any difference between miracles or sorcery.
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Huh? Why is this ironic? Stay on topic, DeLayman. The question is not what I or some other skeptic thinks about the events; whether they were miracles or sorcery. I am merely trying to point out that the Jews would not have thought that miracles and sorcery were the same. I even chose the phraseology carefully; how did you miss it?

when miracle working is seen as from God, and sorcery is seen as satan's mockery,

Furthermore, the Jews would not have legally charged someone with "working miracles", because from their perspective, it would have been blasphemous. That would have been tantamount to criminally charging them with doing God's work. Thus demonstrating why your attempt at changing the legal accusation from "sorcery" to "miracles" would not work.


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Nevertheless, I am willing to concede that Jesus' Jewish opponents interpreted his acts as sorcery. The fact remains though, as you point out, that the effect is similar. Both attest to "unnatural" events.
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And this is relevant to your argument.........how?

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And finally, I repeat this point that you overlooked: "Speaking of which, I posted a much longer and more forceful argument on Josephus which you have failed to address. Of course, given your track record on Josephus, I don't really blame you."
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I've already told you at least twice what the bottom line on Josephus is, and in neither case did you respond. I don't blame you; there really is no response.

Here, I'll repeat: Josephus is also not an independent external witness to miracles. At most, you have evidence that Josephus was aware of certain stories about miracles. That is not an independent external witness.


[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 28, 2001).]
 
Old 03-28-2001, 08:58 PM   #103
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Om Then: "Which amounts ot the same thing. Tell me, what is the difference:

a. Jews altering their own collection of writings to satiate or satisfy christians;
vs.
b. Christians re-writing those texts themselves"

Then: Me: "The notion that this is a product of Jewish fears of Christian persecution is an unlikely scenario."

Om's Response: "Evidently not, at least to the knowledgeable scholars who put together the Oxford Companion to the Biblical World. Whom I trust as being substantially more balanced in their treatment of the material than someone like yourself, or any sources which you might depend upon."

Om Now: "You're the only one implying fear of the Church here, deLayman."

Of course you implied this. Moreover, you implied that your Oxford Companion to the Bible also supported this view. Does it or doesn't it?

Om Then: "This also shows how your claim that this is a thoroughly Jewish source is besides the point: if the Jews changed the text as a reaction to church teaching, then it could be both (a) thoroughly Jewish as well as (b) deliberately changed to have a pro-christian reading."

Om Now: "You need to learn to read. I did not say that this was a pro-christian piece. I said it had christian influencing. They are not the same."

You raised the term "pro-christian" to describe the piece. Now you are backing off. Good.

"I also note one thing: you seem to ignore your favorite scholars when they say things that upset you. How do I know this? Because your buddy Meier agrees with the Oxford Companion about the unreliability of Sanhedrin 43a as an independent external witness."

Meier is one of my favorite scholars and I did not ignore him. I just think he might be wrong. As I've admitted, the references are problematic. But, I also think that there are indications that we have preserved earlier Jewish reactions to Jesus. The Jewish Scholar Gerza Vermes places more trust in the Talmud references to Jesus, as does Joseph Klausner.

"On the other hand, I am relying on a source with impeccable credentials, of the highest scholarly integrity, and one that re-iterates the mainstream position on this topic: to wit, that there has been christian influencing of this passage."

Funny. J.P. Meier, E.P. Sanders, Graham Stanton, N.T. Wright, Ben Witherington, and Raymond Brown all have impeccable credentials, are of the highest scholarly integrity, and often voice the mainstream position (such as on the Josephus reference to miracles), but you were ever so dismissive of them. And, I might add, Robert Van Voorst also has impeccable credentials and is of the highest scholarly integrity. He also voices the mainstream position on several issues: such as Josephus' references to Jesus' miracles.

" Admitting their complicity in the act was the only acceptable thing to the Church."

Can you prove such a categorical statement using the scientific method? Regardless, as I have discussed above, there is much more at issue than just their complicity. And, as I discuss below, there were other much more attractive "acceptable" things they could have done.

"There was a general anti-semitism all throughout medieval Europe. The Church interpreted the Jews as responsible for Christ's execution. The Church also had "evidence" that the Jews had willingly entered into that state. Given those three factors, then what would be the most likely reaction if they tried to deny culpability for Christ's death?"

They could have eliminated the reference all together, or hidden it in code words as most scholars believe they did to other negative references to Jesus. They would have just provoked Christians by claiming Jesus was a sorcerer who was given a fair trial and executed justly.

As for your sorcery vs. miracles distinction. It is irrelevant if the issue is whether we are looking for attestations that Jesus performed "miracles." Certainly if an enemy of Jesus felt compelled to admit that he could do "unnatural" wonders, and chose to respond by classifying them as the works of Satan, is still an attestation of wonder working. Whether labeled as "miracles" by Christians, "amazing deeds" by Josephus, or "sorcery" by the Talmud, they all attest to the same underlying events.

If someone leads an armed revolt against the government, and the governmental source refers to it as a "rebellion" and sympathetic historian refers to it as a "revolution," while foreign historians refer to it as a "civil war," we have attestations to armed revolt. The label is irrelevant for this inquiry, although may be relevant to certain theological questions.

"Josephus is also not an independent external witness to miracles. At most, you have evidence that Josephus was aware of certain stories about miracles. That is not an independent external witness."

As I have demonstrated, and you have failed to respond to, Josephus' original reference evidences independence of Christian tradition. In fact, I rechecked Meier on this one (in response to your newfound respect for his scholarship) and he reinforced my opinion and offer further (see above post) arguments for it.

Josephus demonstrates accurate and independent knowledge regarding Jesus' life, but demonstrates great ignorance when discussing Christianity itself. "Strange to say, the Testimonium is much vaguer about the Christians than it is about Jesus. If my reconstruction is correct, while the Testimonium gives a fairly objective, brief account of Jesus' career, nothing is said about the Christians' belief that Jesus rose from the dead--and that, after all, was the central affirmation of faith that held the various Christian groups together during the first century (cf. 1 Cor. 15:11). That Josephus drew directly on oral statements of Christians and yet failed to mention the one belief that differentiated them markedly from the wide range of Jewish beliefs at the time seems difficult to accept. My sense is that, paradoxically, Josephus seems to have known more about Jesus than he did about the Christians who came after him." Meier, A Marginal Jew, at 67.

Because all the evidence points away from a Christian source for Josephus' reference to Jesus' miracle working, that leaves us with nonChristian Jewish or Roman references. Either way, the sources are independent of all of the other Christian references I articulated in the Jesus, the Miracle Worker thread.



[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 28, 2001).]
 
Old 03-28-2001, 10:04 PM   #104
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Om's Response: "Evidently not, at least to the knowledgeable scholars who put together the Oxford Companion to the Biblical World. Whom I trust as being substantially more balanced in their treatment of the material than someone like yourself, or any sources which you might depend upon."


Om Now: "You're the only one implying fear of the Church here, deLayman."

Of course you implied this.
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No, I did not. I realized it was a option, but not the only one.


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Moreover, you implied that your Oxford Companion to the Bible also supported this view. Does it or doesn't it?
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They leave the possibility open. The phraseology is suggestive as below:

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which is from the time of Christian ascendancy and attendant persecution of the Jews, suggest that this is less an independent witness than a product of Jewish reflection on church teaching.
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You raised the term "pro-christian" to describe the piece. Now you are backing off. Good.
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I did use the term. My bad.


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"On the other hand, I am relying on a source with impeccable credentials, of the highest scholarly integrity, and one that re-iterates the mainstream position on this topic: to wit, that there has been christian influencing of this passage."

Funny. J.P. Meier, E.P. Sanders, Graham Stanton, N.T. Wright, Ben Witherington, and Raymond Brown all have impeccable credentials, are of the highest scholarly integrity, and often voice the mainstream position (such as on the Josephus reference to miracles), but you were ever so dismissive of them. And, I might add, Robert Van Voorst also has impeccable credentials and is of the highest scholarly integrity. He also voices the mainstream position on several issues: such as Josephus' references to Jesus' miracles.
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That is a reflection of watching you twist my arguments. I figured that if you would do that with someone's viewpoint on a public bulletin board, then you were not above misrepresenting your sources, when the need was dire enough.

And, if you recall, I was much more suspicious of you misrepresenting their positions, or quoting them out of context, than I was dismissive of them in particular. A suspicion which, fortunately, I wisely still carry.


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" Admitting their complicity in the act was the only acceptable thing to the Church."

Can you prove such a categorical statement using the scientific method?
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Prove? Why should that be necessary? I told you above that this was an idea I was willing to explore. That means it is all speculation as to why they might have made this change.


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"Josephus is also not an independent external witness to miracles. At most, you have evidence that Josephus was aware of certain stories about miracles. That is not an independent external witness."

As I have demonstrated, and you have failed to respond to, Josephus' original reference evidences independence of Christian tradition.
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No, it does not. At most, it only gives evidence that Josephus was aware of Christian stories and tales circulating in the area at the time.


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In fact, I rechecked Meier on this one (in response to your newfound respect for his scholarship) and he reinforced my opinion and offer further (see above post) arguments for it.

Josephus demonstrates accurate and independent knowledge regarding Jesus' life, but demonstrates great ignorance when discussing Christianity itself. "Strange to say, the Testimonium is much vaguer about the Christians than it is about Jesus. If my reconstruction is correct, while the Testimonium gives a fairly objective, brief account of Jesus' career, nothing is said about the Christians' belief that Jesus rose from the dead--and that, after all, was the central affirmation of faith that held the various Christian groups together during the first century (cf. 1 Cor. 15:11). That Josephus drew directly on oral statements of Christians and yet failed to mention the one belief that differentiated them markedly from the wide range of Jewish beliefs at the time seems difficult to accept. My sense is that, paradoxically, Josephus seems to have known more about Jesus than he did about the Christians who came after him." Meier, A Marginal Jew, at 67.


Because all the evidence points away from a Christian source for Josephus' reference to Jesus' miracle working, that leaves us with nonChristian Jewish or Roman references.
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Two points:

1. This is not what Meier said. The very next sentence on page 67 (which you deliberately omitted) is: "hence I remain doubtful about any direct oral Christian source for the Testimonium.

Meier leaves open the possibility of indirect Christian sources. Which leads to what I have said: at most, Josephus only knows of christian stories circulating. He then reports those stories. I did not say he received those stories directly from the mouths of Christians themselves. He might have; but even those christians may have only a smattering of information that was passed to them in pieces. Or perhaps his information came from the verbal reports of people he spoke to, who themselves interacted with Christians. Again; not independent evidence. I can also imagine Josephus overhearing people discussing these new christians and their strange messiah in the marketplace, and eavesdropping on their conversation. In any event, nothing Josephus said can be taken as independent evidence of miracles.

2. I do not, in fact, have any respect for Meier. But it is interesting to see you leave out a sentence like that. And interesting to see that you have no problem voting him off the island whenever he does anything less than support the Apostle's Creed.


[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 28, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 28, 2001).]
 
Old 03-29-2001, 10:48 AM   #105
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I see you failed to respond to my points on the Talmud. Specifically why they would not have eliminated the passage altogether, or why they would not have used code phrases to hide it and disparage Jesus (as they did in other passages), why they would not have attributed some blame to the pagans, why if they feared Christian persecution so much would they have gone further and accused Jesus of working with satan, and insist that he was given a fair trial. Moreover, you failed to respond to my discussion of sorcery & miracles attesting to the same underlying events.

And although I hate forensic posting, I'll dive in on your flat denial that you ever implied that the Talmud section was a result of the Jews fear of the church.

Om Statement in Dispute: "You're the only one implying fear of the Church here, deLayman."

Om Earlier: "Which amounts ot the same thing. Tell me, what is the difference:

a. Jews altering their own collection of writings to satiate or satisfy christians;
vs.
b. Christians re-writing those texts themselves"

Me: "Of course you implied this."

Om Now: "No, I did not. I realized it was a option, but not the only one."

How can you claim not to have implied it when you admit realizing it was on option and then proceeded to argue for it as a certainty? I didn't bring it up, YOU did. I was responding to your arguments. Now you say it was "not the only" option. Fine. But it is the only one you chose to articulate at any length, so it is the one I responded to.

"That is a reflection of watching you twist my arguments. I figured that if you would do that with someone's viewpoint on a public bulletin board, then you were not above misrepresenting your sources, when the need was dire enough.

And, if you recall, I was much more suspicious of you misrepresenting their positions, or quoting them out of context, than I was dismissive of them in particular. A suspicion which, fortunately, I wisely still carry."

Ah, when your own knowledge of history fails, attempt character assassination?

Yes, I recall that in fact you accused me of lying about my sources. And I ALSO recall that you *withdrew* your accusation when I provided quote after quote supporting my characterization of their opinions. Are you now claiming, again, that I was lying about them? Are you retracting your retraction? Or are you trying to make it appear that this is some sort of cumulative problem when you already admitted earlier that I wasn't misrepresenting my sources regarding your only other exmaple?

And please remember that I'm not the one who gave the wrong editors to my only source of information (Oxford Companion), or completely misstated the proposition that it stood for (as you admitted), or quoted from an online encyclopedia that didn't support the assertion offered (never responded to my points on that one), or offered a link to a site supposed to support your contention that the Arab version of the Josephus passages was more accepted by scholars than the version I offered regarding miracles when that link didn't even comment on that (again failing to clarify how the link supported your position). Of course, I didn't call you a liar about these things. In the give and take of debate online I realize mistakes are probable and questions are often overlooked. You, however, attempt to disparage my character by relying on accusations that you have previously withdrawn and on the fact that I, although fully quoting my source, allegedly didn't quote ENOUGH of my source to fit your wishes.

So, since I completely supported my characterization of Josephus that you accused me of lying about, and since you retracted your accusation that I was lying about them, I can only suppose that your new accusation of lying is based on your misrepresentation of my use of the Meier source. I discuss this below.

"Two points:

1. This is not what Meier said. The very next sentence on page 67 (which you deliberately omitted) is: "hence I remain doubtful about any direct oral Christian source for the Testimonium."

Nice try. But if you read the section you are responding to, I didn't say Meier said what I stated in summary . I was clear that "all of the evidence points away" from your allegation that Josephus relied on a Christian source. BEFORE I summarized my opinion, I quoted from Meier a discussion that I believe supported my argument. I never pretended that my conclusion was Meier's, but rather that his discussion supported by argument. Which it does.

Regardless, I did not even "omit" the information you are whining about, but rather expressly included it. If you reread what I quoted (and what you requoted) I specifically left IN his statement that he was ruling out *direct* dependence on oral tradition. Specifically, I quoted: "That Josephus drew DIRECTLY on oral statements of Christians and yet failed to mention the one belief that differentiated them markedly from the wide range of Jewish beliefs at the time seems difficult to accept."

That being said, I'm glad that I have caused you to actually do some historical research and branch out from the Oxford Companion to the Bible. May it lay the groundwork for future historical discussions.

"Meier leaves open the possibility of indirect Christian sources."

He does? Where? He certainly never mentions it with any degree on likelihood.

He mentions three possibilities: 1) Josephus had access to Roman records from Palestine; 2) he learned of the accounts from educated Jews of the partially Romanized world that he inhabited; and 3) he learned of the accounts while living in Palestine. He certainly never offers the silly notion that Josephus based his histories on overheard conversations in the market place.

"Which leads to what I have said: at most, Josephus only knows of christian stories circulating."

No. At most, he had access to Roman records about Jesus' trial. At the very least he shows no dependence on Christian writings or "direct" Christian oral traditions. There is a whole lot of room in between, with the totality of the evidence pointing away from an even indirect Christian source.

"I did not say he received those stories directly from the mouths of Christians themselves. He might have; but even those christians may have only a smattering of information that was passed to them in pieces. Or perhaps his information came from the verbal reports of people he spoke to, who themselves interacted with Christians. Again; not independent evidence. I can also imagine
Josephus overhearing people discussing these new christians and their strange messiah in the marketplace, and eavesdropping on their conversation. In any event, nothing Josephus said can be taken as independent evidence of miracles."

What you can "imagine" is irrelevant. As I have discussed, the evidence points away from Christian sources. However, if you have any evidence that Josephus was prone to recording events solely on the basis of overheard discussions in the marketplace, please provide it. Is that where he got his information about John the Baptist? James the Brother of Jesus? On the contrary, "[t]he level of accuracy in Josephus's report does not usually derive from second-hand information from outsiders." Van Voorst, at 103. Are we to suppose that he heard Christians speak ONLY when they were discussing the execution of Jesus and NEVER when they mentioned the resurrection? Of course, since all of our Christian traditions solidly link the two together, this is just unreasonable and unsupported speculation desperately offered to combat the strong evidence that Josephus' account is independent of Christian sources. Moreover, if he was receiving reports from other Jews based SOLELY on Christian sources, it is just as unlikely that those Jews would fail to mention the one thing that set Christians apart from them: the resurrection of Jesus.

We are certain that Josephus DID have access to Roman records and Jewish sources of information. Despite the fact that Josephus loved to write about his own experiences, there is no direct or indirect evidence of access to Christians or Christian sources. The language used to describe Jesus and his miracles does not exist in any Christian tradition. Josephus is ignorant of the Christian account that John the Baptist was closely linked with Jesus. Josephus is ignorant of the Christian account of Jesus' resurrection.

"2. I do not, in fact, have any respect for Meier. But it is interesting to see you leave out a sentence like that. And interesting to see that you have no problem voting him off the island whenever he does anything less than support the Apostle's Creed."

As to your first sentence, too bad, it is your loss. As to your second, I dealt with your attempted character assassination above. And as to your third, it is a mischaracterization of my actions and opinions of Meier. Meier believes that Josephus' unfamiliarity with the resurrection eliminates "direct" dependence on oral Christian sources, which I completely agree with. I also am willing to go further and say that the complete lack of knowledge about the resurrection is strong evidence that Josephus was not indirectly relying on a Christian sources as well. Moreoever, Meier does not anyway state that he disagrees with my conclusion. But he does make it clear that he is taking an absolute minimalist approach in his work, and is cautious throughout (overly cautious in my opinion). However, I admire him for that and understand his reasons and believe it is one reason that his work has had such an impact on New Testament studies.

I am certainly not "voting him off the island." I admire his work, even though I disagree with a lot of it. Usually the disagreements are on conclusions, rather on the supporting evidence. Heck, I admire E.P. Sanders work and he doesn't even believe miracles are possible. I have never represented at any time that I agree 100% with every scholar I have cited. Moreover, this has nothing to do with the Apostle's Creed. Whether Meier is willing to rule out an indirect oral Christian source or not has nothing to do with the Apostle's Creed. Even if Meier believed Josephus to be a complete forgery, that would have nothing to do with the Apostolic Creed.


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 29, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited March 29, 2001).]
 
Old 03-29-2001, 09:37 PM   #106
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Moreover, you failed to respond to my discussion of sorcery & miracles attesting to the same underlying events.
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Oh, please. You gave no such discussion. You claimed that they were the same underlying events. Then I asked you what you thought that proved to your argument. You failed to respond.


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And although I hate forensic posting, I'll dive in on your flat denial that you ever implied that the Talmud section was a result of the Jews fear of the church.

Om Statement in Dispute: "You're the only one implying fear of the Church here, deLayman."

Om Earlier: "Which amounts ot the same thing. Tell me, what is the difference:

a. Jews altering their own collection of writings to satiate or satisfy christians;
vs.
b. Christians re-writing those texts themselves"

Me: "Of course you implied this."

Om Now: "No, I did not. I realized it was a option, but not the only one."

How can you claim not to have implied it when you admit realizing it was on option and then proceeded to argue for it as a certainty? I didn't bring it up, YOU did. I was responding to your arguments.
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No, you were responding to the wrong argument.

The quote you excerpted above refers to the question of the christian influencing, and your claim that the Talmud was a "wholly Jewish source".

My response was intended to say, "So what? What do you think being 100% Jewish source would get you, proof of independence from christian influence? Wrong. It can be 100% Jewish and still be subject to christian influencing. And in the end, it doesn't matter whether the Jews changed their text themselves, or some radical christians (hypothetically) edited it. The final result would still the same. So your special claim of "wholly Jewish" is thus shown to be pointless and non-indicative of anything.


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Ah, when your own knowledge of history fails, attempt character assassination?
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No assassination necessary. You have repeatedly twisted my arguments and made armies of strawmen in the process.


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Yes, I recall that in fact you accused me of lying about my sources. And I ALSO recall that you *withdrew* your accusation when I provided quote after quote supporting my characterization of their opinions.
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You flatter yourself. My apology to you had nothing to do with your so-called supporting quotes. Instead, my apology was an attempt to turn down the volume and actually have a conversation. I was prepared to go out on a limb and give you benefit of the doubt---but not because of anything you posted in your defense.


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Nice try. But if you read the section you are responding to, I didn't say Meier said what I stated in summary . I was clear that "all of the evidence points away" from your allegation that Josephus relied on a Christian source.
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You're a five-star idiot, deLayman. I have NEVER claimed that Josephus relied upon a christian source. This is why you get branded as a liar and twister of people's positions.

I indicated that Meier left open the possibility, by his choice of words, that he might have had indirect christian sources. And that you should have included that in your quote of him.

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"Meier leaves open the possibility of indirect Christian sources."

He does? Where?
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By the specific qualification in the language he chose: "direct Christian sources". He may not place much weight on it. But it is unlikely that he inserted the word "direct" for no reason.


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He mentions three possibilities: 1) Josephus had access to Roman records from Palestine; 2) he learned of the accounts from educated Jews of the partially Romanized world that he inhabited; and 3) he learned of the accounts while living in Palestine. He certainly never offers the silly notion that Josephus based his histories on overheard conversations in the market place.
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Excuse me, but your third point (he learned of the accounts while living in Palestine) is exactly what I mean by "overhearing conversations in the market place". I was hypothesizing that Josephus was party, at some point, to third, fourth, or fifth-hand news traveling from mouth to mouth in a popular setting. The "marketplace" example was merely a specific illustration of the general set that I was alluding to.


 
Old 03-29-2001, 10:00 PM   #107
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Specifically, I quoted: "That Josephus drew DIRECTLY on oral statements of Christians and yet failed to mention the one belief that differentiated them markedly from the wide range of Jewish beliefs at the time seems difficult to accept."
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Oh, really?

What do you think of the Q (Quelle) text, deLayman?

 
Old 03-29-2001, 10:15 PM   #108
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I am certainly not "voting him off the island." I admire his work, even though I disagree with a lot of it.
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Yeah, sure. You just disagree with the parts that obstruct you from your essential faith points. Same with your other sources.


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Usually the disagreements are on conclusions, rather on the supporting evidence. Heck, I admire E.P. Sanders work and he doesn't even believe miracles are possible.
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Yep, and you disagree with him, because his disbelief in miracles is unacceptable to your faith system.

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I have never represented at any time that I agree 100% with every scholar I have cited. Moreover, this has nothing to do with the Apostle's Creed. Whether Meier is willing to rule out an indirect oral Christian source or not has nothing to do with the Apostle's Creed. Even if Meier believed Josephus to be a complete forgery, that would have nothing to do with the Apostolic Creed.
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My point about the "Apostolic Creed" was the same thing I said about your faith system. You have a bare minimum set of things you absolutely must believe in (faith system, Apostolic creed, whatever you want to call it). And you aren't willing to brook ANY scholar that gets in the way of that.

 
Old 03-30-2001, 08:54 AM   #109
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Om Now:

"You're a five-star idiot, deLayman. I have NEVER claimed that Josephus relied upon a christian source. This is why you get branded as a liar and twister of people's positions."

Om Then:

"3. Additionally, there is evidence that the core Josephus material (which excludes the later Christian interpolation) was copying from an earlier Judeo-christian gospel, which is now lost. That being the case, Josephus was copying the text of someone else and not necessarily endorsing any of the words themselves. His concern in that situation would have been to faithfully reproduce the text he was working from. This is documented in The Journal for the Study of Pseudepigrapha, 13 (1995), pages 59-77."

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f.../000311-2.html
 
Old 03-30-2001, 09:38 AM   #110
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Oh, really?

What do you think of the Q (Quelle) text, deLayman?
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I think it is a hypothetical document that likely existed because of similarities in Matthew and Luke. It was likely a written document.

Why? Do you "imagine" that it comes from a sort of proto-Christian community with no knowledge of the death and reserrection of Jesus? If so, then I'd like to see what evidence you have that the community Q came from did not hold those beliefs.

The mere fact that Q doesn't contain a passion narrative is no evidence that the community it originated in did not believe, or was somehow ignorant of, the passion. The Passion Narrative of Jesus was circulated in Christian communities as an independent unit. The teachings and miracles of Jesus, therefore, MUST have been circulated in their own independent units.

The fact that our two users of the Q, Matthew and Luke, used Q and much of Mark's Passion Narrative demonstrates that Q was circulating in communities which were familiar with the Passion Narratives. Additionally, those communities, as represented by M and L sources, already had their own traditions related to the Passion Narratives.

Which brings me to my final point. Q presumes familiarity with the Passion Narrative. Werner G. Kummel, Introduction to the New Testament, at 74. We have Jesus' command to his disciples, "Take up your cross and follow me." Luke 14:27. He have Jesus' say, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to to gather your chidren together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Luke 13:34-35. He also have the parable of the mustard seed which speaks of being put into ground so that the tree (the kingdom of God) could grow from it. Luke 13:18-21.

When the above statements are conjoined with the Son of Man sayings (about the Son of Man returning in power), Q presumes an eschatological figure who will be persecuted and rejected, but then return in power. In other words, it presumes the Passion Narrative.

"The view that Q reflects an early form of the Jesus movement that did not care about the cross and resurrection is not sustainable. The eschatology of Q presumes Jesus' death and resurrection." R. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside of the New Testament, at 174.
 
 

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