FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


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

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-04-2001, 01:49 PM   #61
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post



penatis: There is evidence that early Christians destroyed numerous MSS, but they did not destroy the thousands that are extant in the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection or the Carlsberg Papyrus Collection.

Nomad: Present your evidence rookie. I am tired of your assertions without support.

penatis: I suggest that Nomad go to the websites I listed.

Nomad: I'm not surprised you missed this bit of irony penatis, so I will show it to you. Your first point was that there is evidence that Christians destroyed a lot of ancient texts (and this evidence is not presented by you of course, simply asserted),

Actually, there is no irony at all. Nomad simply reads into my statement more than is actually there.

POINT ONE: The early Christians did destroy numerous MSS, this fact is documented in Acts 19:18-19: “Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
In other words, thousands of MSS were destroyed by Christians. If Nomad wishes to dispute this documentation, he must dispute the veracity of the Bible. It is not an incredible event (as opposed to dead saints coming to life), therefore, I see no good reason not to believe the story.

Nomad: THEN you tell us about the THOUSANDS of manuscripts that can be found at only two libraries (not even BEGINNING to count all the other libraries and manuscripts of the world).

POINT TWO: There are thousands of extant Greek MSS in the two collections I alluded to above. Many of them date to the first century and earlier. Nomad had said, “There are virtually no surviving original ancient texts from the first century that are not Christian...” I was merely pointing out the incorrectness of his statement. See what Nomad actually said inside the brackets below.

[penatis: This is all the more amazing when we consider that literally hundreds of non-Christian MSS can be dated to the first and second century.

Check again penatis. There are virtually no surviving original ancient texts from the first century that are not Christian (the Dead Sea Scrolls being a very notable exception).]

I have never argued that the early Christians destroyed ALL, or MOST, or even A GREAT DEAL of the early Greek MSS. Nomad, for some reason, falsely concluded that I had. Maybe he has confused me and my statements with someone else and his statements.

Nomad: G.K. Chesterton called this the "Any Stick will do" syndrom, where the sceptic feels free to use two completely contradictory arguments (often the same sceptic too, and in the same breath no less) to beat up on Christianity. Like Chesterton, I find this tendancy very curious to say the least, and considering he said it in 1908, it is no less surprising to see it practiced to this very day (almost 100 years later).

I am sure G.K. Chesterton was a nice old gentleman who happened to be a Christian apologist. He certainly had every right to his opinions, right or wrong.


Nomad: So which is it? Did Christians destroy manuscripts in wide spread book burnings or not? Choose your stick penatis, then give up the other one.

I have presented evidence to support my claim that the early Christians destroyed numerous MSS (see Acts 19:18-19). I have pointed out the fact that there are thousands of extant Greek MSS at two separate locations (see above Collections). No contradiction; no problem; no stick.

 
Old 01-04-2001, 02:13 PM   #62
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

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

...The gospels were anonymously written. No one knows for sure when or where they were written. These are facts, not opinions. Nomad can gush and blubber all he wants, but he cannot change the facts.</font>
Now, penatis, this is one of the reasons I came to the (apparently erroneous) conclusion that you are a rookie in the area of Biblical interpretation and understanding, as well as a disillusioned ex-fundamentalist. The topic of who wrote the Gospels is a hot one, and by no means settled, for any of the four Gospels. However, in order for a document to be truly anonymous (as opposed to pseudonomous for example), it must have no claims in it as to who wrote it, as well as no clear testimony or clues as to who the author may be.

On this basis alone, the Gospel of John is certainly not anonymous. You may consider the claims of authorship to be later redactions, but it is not proven 100% either way, and Bede did an excellent piece on this a while back on this very Board. You may want to look it up. (In other words, don't be so quick and trusting in what you read from your scholars, and don't draw stronger conclusions than the more prudent among them would themselves). I guess you can take my advice any way you wish, and thus far you appear to be ignoring it completely, but I thought I would offer it in any event.

So who wrote John?

First, everyone (or almost everyone I suppose is more accurate) pretty much agrees that it was a disciple, and someone EXTREMELY close to Jesus, and the four that were closest to Him were Peter, John (of Zebedee), James (of Zebedee) and Lazarus. The author could not be Peter (stylistic reasons, and he died too early, approximately 64-67AD), James also died too early (circa 62 AD, see Acts), and Lazarus wasn't with Jesus until John 11, so could not have been with Jesus in the early part of his ministry. That leaves John as the most probable person to be the "beloved disciple" that is attributed with the authorship of the Gospel.

John 21:23-24: Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?" This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

Remember, in the world of textual criticism, unsigned does not equal anonymous, nor are we unable to use our powers of reasoning to investigate and determine a probability of other books of the Bible. Don't be afraid to inquire into these things penatis. No one will ask you to draw hard and fast conclusions, and we certainly won't tell you what you must believe, but it never hurts to try and learn more than we already do about a subject. And I certainly think we should approach such things with an open mind and curiosity at least.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I was a believer (but not a church-goer and with certain doubts) until I was about 25 years old. At 22 or 23, I began to read the Christian Bible. Shortly after that, I came to the conclusion that the Bible was written and inspired by human beings. Within a year or so, I began to see that there is no evidence for any god, nor is there any evidence that prayer works.

At no point did I ever become angry or upset with the Church or Christians. At no point was I ever a "fundamentalist." </font>
Fair enough. You write very much like many angry former fundamentalists that I have encountered. I apologize for my error.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Virtually all of my acquaintances, friends, and relatives are believers. I can love and respect those who disagree with me; however, I cannot respect anyone who resorts to name-calling and condescension.</font>
Then perhaps we can stop doing that here. At the same time, I prefer not to have discussions with individuals that are not interested in talking with me rather than past me to an audience. If that is your preference, however, be well. It is just not my cup of tea.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In my view, people should have the right to believe whatever they wish, as long as they don't go around telling others what they MUST believe.</font>
I agree 100%, and I believe if you read any of the threads I participate on, I take this position as well. I would never impose my beliefs on anyone, even if I could.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It is presumptuous and condescending for Nomad to tell me what I "can learn." Just who the hell does he think he is?</font>
I come to these kinds of forums to learn, and sometimes even to change my mind about some things (but the counter arguments to my own need to be very very good). Apparently, your purposes are different. I understand that you simply wish to present your opinions and to debunk my own with no wish or desire to change anyone's mind at all. That's cool. I misunderstood you, and again, I am sorry.

I wish you well.

Peace,

Nomad

 
Old 01-04-2001, 02:18 PM   #63
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post




penatis: Nomad pretends to have superior knowledge and sources, when in fact he has neither. As I have stated earlier, I am not having a “conversation” with Nomad. I am merely pointing out some of his false assertions. I am not a “rookie” by any stretch of the imagination, but if it makes Nomad feel better, then he can think and say whatever he wishes. This is an open forum. (Many times, it is the insecure who grow impatient and resort to name-calling.)

Much of my irritation has been the result of your refusal to address me directly.

I address those whom I respect. I do not address those who resort to name-calling and condescension.

I find it rude and irritating, but recognize that it is your style, especially considering your agenda (i.e. playing to the crowd rather than carrying on a dialogue with me), so I just have to get used to is.

Every posting on these boards is available to the Secular Web Forum readers. In that sense, everyone is "playing to the crowd." My only "agenda" (on this thread) is refuting Nomad's false assertions and mistakes.

I go through this with a couple of other regulars on these boards, but you are easily the worst of the bunch for this.

What does Nomad mean by "easily the worst of the bunch"? When he has asked for sources, I have provided them. When he has asked for evidence, I have provided it (even if he does not acknowledge this fact). When he has asked for clarification, I have provided it. Furthermore, I have attempted to use common sense and reason in all my postings. When he has insulted me, I have tried to ignore it,and, with the exception of my "No one takes Nomad seriously" comment, I have not insulted him.

I believe anyone who has read my commentary in its entirety will agree with me.



 
Old 01-04-2001, 03:00 PM   #64
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Smile


Nomad: I come to these kinds of forums to learn, and sometimes even to change my mind about some things (but the counter arguments to my own need to be very very good). Apparently, your purposes are different. I understand that you simply wish to present your opinions and to debunk my own with no wish or desire to change anyone's mind at all.

Nomad, I appreciate what you are saying, but let me be perfectly clear about this: I am not here to "debunk" your opinions. Many times you give an opinion, giving the impression it is a fact. All of us do it, but you seem to do it frequently. (This is my opinion, it is not necessarily a fact.)

I created this thread to refute a statement you made to Pompous Bastard. Look at what it has turned into!

Actually, I have gained some knowledge as a result of this excursion into madness. The "irritation" level sometimes ran high, but certainly, it has been a fun-filled intellectual endeavor. Regardless of appearances, I never was angry. I don't believe you were either.

The truth is, I enjoy reading, thinking, and to a lesser extent, writing about what I think. I presume you do as well.

Nomad: That's cool. I misunderstood you, and again, I am sorry.

I apologize for saying that no one takes your seriously. Obviously, Pompous Bastard and others do.


I wish you well.

Peace,

Nomad



Pax tecum,

penatis

 
Old 01-04-2001, 03:47 PM   #65
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

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

Nomad, just a quick clarifying queston: when you say "apostles" you are refering to.... who? Paul, and the 12(11). Anyone else?</font>
These were the first, but the ability to create new apostles dates back to our earliest traditions, and there is no question that their authority carried over into succeeding generations (the pastoral letters, 1&2 Timothy and Titus, go into this in detail). Thus, for example, as new Bishops were created and the Church spread, each was able to trace his lineage back all the way to at least one of the original 13 Apostles.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> What in your esitmation is the role and significance of the early church-fathers? Origen, Augustine, Jerome, etc, etc - do you consider them apostles or not? </font>
The Early Fathers were invaluable in creating Church doctrine (for example, all of the current orthodox Churches more or less accept the doctrinal statments of the first 7 Ecumenical Councils, albeit with varying interpretations. Go figure, theology does appear to be a messy business n'est pas?).

There is an actual definition of who could qualify as an "Early Father", but my books are at home, and I am too lazy to type it all out in any event. If anyone wants a quick intro into who they were, see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Early Fathers

Most, but not all were Bishops, about half came from the East (what is now the Orthodox Church), and the rest coming from the Western Roman Catholic Church. Very few were Popes, and more than one ended up outside the Church (like Origen), or even in heresy (the great Tertullian for example, and a person I find a great deal of empathy for. Unfortunately he and I were never good at the patience and charity thing). Together however, their impact on the faith, teachings, doctrines and understandings of Christianity are unequalled outside of Paul, Peter and John. My own personal hero amongst this group is, of course St. Augustine.

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 01-04-2001, 04:04 PM   #66
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

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

First, I’m not sure if you were referring to my use of urban legends as illustration, but if you were, you missed my intent in doing so. I use the urban legend phenomenon not as an illustration of the mutability of information (in fact, most UL’s are fairly reliably transmitted from one person to the next), but as an illustration of the average person’s willingness to believe a good story without bothering to check facts.</font>
Actually, I got all of that the first time around. The problem in equating Christianity and its founding stories with urban legends is that the former has held up for 2000 years now, while the later rarely make it beyond a generation or two. If there is a comparison, it is more with the many false messiahs running around in 200BC to 100AD that lived and died, and their movements quickly died with them. Similarily with the likes of David Karesh, Jim Jones and such.

Basically I think it is too easy to just dismiss the Gospels as legendary, but I understand the appeal in doing this. Sadly, I believe that the end result is that an individual that takes such a position ends up limiting his or her inquiry into the matter, and ends up not looking deeply enough into a very serious subject.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Second, I think you and the Church have played a subtle definition game to enable you to say that the Church has held the same belief set since the beginning. A reading of history, or even a reading of the Bible itself, reveals quite bit of doctrinal dispute early on, as Bloodloss notes. How do you still manage to claim that the Church has always held the same belief set?</font>
This is known as ongoing revelation. God has not revealed Himself to us all at once, but through a process, and this is true both of how He has revealed Himself to us corporately and individually. As we study God, we see that He is a Being that likes to uses processes, and so when doctrine is created through a process, this seems entirely consistant with His nature. Mankind has been learning about God for a very long time (by our standards), and really it won't be completed until the world itself ends. But I think that is cool. I don't fully understand why it had to be like this. Ambrose and Augustine (among others) have noted that God could just as easily have done everything in an instant (and by His standards maybe He has), but there is something of value He sees in us going through this period, and growing, and learning. In fact, as I came to realize that this is HOW He works, I grew to like it. It is like uncovering a mystery rather than just having it dropped into my lap. It makes me work, and think, and question, and listen better. And who knows, it might even teach me patience some day (but don't hold your breath).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> You define the holders of different belief sets out of the Church and re-label them as heretics.</font>
Yes. Once a doctrine is set and accepted, one must submit and believe, or stand outside of the faith. This happened not just to Marcion and Arius and Pelagius of course, but even to Origen and Tertullian, and for a long time, even to Augustine.

Some of them learned from their error and were humbled, and others did not, including some of the greatest minds the Church has ever produced.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Third, and slightly tongue in cheek, you state that if anyone had been trying to change doctrine we would surely see some written evidence of it. Funny…I said that if dead people had been strolling around Jerusalem we would surely have seen some written evidence and you responded that we have very few written records from that time and place... :P</font>
Ya know, I was wondering if you were going to beat me about the head and shoulders for this one. But the fact remains that one of the great things about the Early Fathers and their opponents, these guys wrote a TON of stuff, and we still have a lot of it. So, for example, if one of the break away or heretical groups would have had something from Paul or James or Peter or John and the like to back them up, we would have heard about it. The fact that we have such uniform agreement amonst these men is quite astonishing.

BTW, many of the Fathers, and even apostles WERE in error at various times about many things. The thing that separated the true from the heretic was when they learned about their error, they submitted. The proud did not. There is a great lesson in this I think.

Peace,

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited January 04, 2001).]
 
Old 01-04-2001, 05:02 PM   #67
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Smile

Nomad quote:

I know all the arguments about urban legends and telephone games and the like, but this is a modern prejudice that fails to recognize the unique circumstances and capabilities of a society that was forced to rely upon oral transmissions of its traditions and beliefs).

This is actually a very good point that I had not considered, though I should have after reading about the oral tradition of the Zulu, for centuries they passed down their stories, the equivalent of hundreds of pages of text, unchanged, it was someone's job. they would go over & over again word for word, just like the booklovers in Fahrenheit 451 each person would remember a complete book. Indaba my Children- Zulu
 
Old 01-05-2001, 02:50 PM   #68
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Most, but not all were Bishops, about half came from the East (what is now the Orthodox Church), and the rest coming from the Western Roman Catholic Church. Very few were Popes, and more than one ended up outside the Church (like Origen), or even in heresy (the great Tertullian for example, and a person I find a great deal of empathy for. Unfortunately he and I were never good at the patience and charity thing). Together however, their impact on the faith, teachings, doctrines and understandings of Christianity are unequalled outside of Paul, Peter and John. My own personal hero amongst this group is, of course St. Augustine.
</font>
Yeah... this got me to thinking, I think I'm going to post a "name your favorite heretic" topic in the open forum. I'll save my pick to open that thread....

Andrew
 
Old 01-07-2001, 12:49 AM   #69
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Regarding Matthew's earthquake and appearance of the known dead, at least we ought to be able to agree that there is a contradiction among the four gospels on this matter: only Matthew says it happened, and all the others do not refer to it.

What is a contradiction? When there are two or more accounts of the same people/things/events in the same timepoints, if there are differences of details wherein details are not present in some [contradiction of omission/exclusion] but are present in others [contradiction of inclusion], then there are contradictions between/among the accounts.

So, an Matthew we have an inclusion that contradicts the exclusions of it in Mark, Luke, and John.

So, the raw fact that only Matthew includes the earthquake and the appearance of the known dead is proof of a contradiction among the gospels.

The earthquake and the risings of the dead would have had to have been so spectacular we ought to be encouraged to believe that most of the people witnessing it would have said something to someone else that would have been passed on in family oral traditions and would have surface eventually in a manuscript.

The fact that it was not, and even among the gospels it is found in only one place has to suggest very strongly that it did not happen in reality.

Regards,
Bob K.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (edited January 07, 2001).]
 
Old 01-07-2001, 05:04 AM   #70
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

[Bob K:] Regarding Matthew's earthquake and appearance of the known dead, at least we ought to be able to agree that there is a contradiction among the four gospels on this matter: only Matthew says it happened, and all the others do not refer to it.

[Me:] I agree with that point; the same can be said of other features of Matthew, such as the Star of Bethlehem and Herod's ordering the mass murder of baby boys. The rest of the New Testament is a total blank on these "events". Not to mention Josephus.

Furthermore, Nomad's faith in oral histories seems to me to be misplaced; that could "prove" the historicity of Homer's account of the Trojan War, including the existence of certain divine inhabitants of Mt. Olympus. However, I'm sure that Nomad believs that Zeus and Hera and all the rest are pure fiction.

Furthermore, Homer's works have been in continuous circulation for nearly 3000 years; does that also demonstrate their historicity? And Homer's works did not have some aggressive cult behind it that was determined to stamp out all competition.

 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:37 PM.

Top

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