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 02-03-2001, 09:00 PM   #11
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Ummm.. nice straw man attack against the atheist. Why don't you let US give the rebuttals to your theories BEFORE you go and start attacking them, ok?

When I studied the Bible (i.e. when I used to go to Sunday School), I found the fact that the differences in the 4 gospel accounts gave me enough grounds for suspicion. Then when i learned that scholars believe that the first of the gospels was written at least 50 years after Jesus' death, I started to get real suspicious. You see, not only are there enough differences (if you don't believe there are, ill list some, but since its obvious there are, i won't until someone brings it up) but relying on secound hand information that was written half a century after something occured????? Come on now, who is the one being unreasonable here? It sure as hell ain't the atheists.

And for your little shallow philosophical questioning about the objectivity of history, well, yes, most of us intelligent people are skeptical of historical documents. Who knows if
1) the person writing them had correct information
2) that the person wasn't somehow (consciously or unconsiously) biasing the information
3) that someone didn't go and change the original accounts, or translate it wrong (because they were quick in their translation, or there is not a good enough word to translate some of the ideas)

I honestly believe that if someone were to say "You have to believe that Socrates really existed, and was poisoned to death or you will burn in hell" you would find that a lot of people would be skeptical as to whether socrates even existed? Why? because most intelligent people (like how i keep saying that?) know that it is not only stupid, but not honest to say that you believe with complete certainty that a historical figure really truly existed.


Oh, and the best answer to the Jesus tomb thing is "WE DO NOT KNOW!!!!!!!" I don't care if you are too weak minded to NOT have a side on an issue. So many people think that its better to take a stance than to not take one at all. Well, if you want to be one of THOSE kinds of people, far be it from me to stop you. But dno't pretend like you have the true intellectual position. Id like to close this post with a parable from Socrates that is very relevant to this topic:

YOu have two men. One admits that he knows nothing. The other man thinks he knows something, but really doesn't know anything. Which man would be the most knowledable? The first man. How can that be if he knows nothing? Well, he DOES know something; he knows that he doesn't know. The second guy DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THAT MUCH!

 
Old 02-03-2001, 10:07 PM   #12
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

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

One of the archeological problems is determining if or not the name Nazareth was given in biblical times to the site now occupied by the modern day Nazareth. There is no mention of a village/town/city by the name of Nazareth in any ancient writings, and, contrary to some writers fantasies, modern [1962] archeological digs at Caesarea Maritima did not produce ANY record of the name Nazareth being used for any site/village/town/city in biblical times.</font>
You can prove this of course. Please do Bob.

Nomad
 
Old 02-03-2001, 10:22 PM   #13
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sciteach:
To my knowledge, archaeology has yet to prove by direct exhaustive contradiction that the historicity of the bible is mistaken. To the contrary, a myriad historians and archaeologists have seen the bible proved correct again and again (read William Fox Albright's accounts). The gospel writer Luke was unerringly accurate in his description of the first century Mediterranean landscape, cities, and peoples.</font>
So there were cities here and cities there, including on the plains. Do we have proof that God nuked them and Lot's wife dessicated
herself by peeping?

Why wouldn't Luke be accurate? He lived in the first century Mediterranean landscape after all! However, this doesn't prove the Hebrew creation myth, the doctrine of original sin or the soteriological necessity of belief in Christ-as-Messiah.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I pity their poor desperation because they use all kinds of intellectual twists, turns, and semantics, to avoid the plainly obvious. Then, if Christians don't agree, they shake their heads and smile, all the while thinking what a gullible and close-minded sap you are.
Quote:
</font>
Sounds like creationists and apologists to me.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I am reminded of the bible verse: "they have so much knowledge, they have become FOOLS".
Quote:
</font>
Good propaganda slogan, that one!

 
Old 02-04-2001, 05:41 PM   #14
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Unhappy

Someone very unfamiliar with Egyptian History wrote:

But do you really think that Egypt, at the height of its power (~1600-1400 BC), would advertise that they couldn't even stop a large group of unarmed Jews from walking away??--you make me laugh.

Ho Ho Ho, Egypt was a far cry from the height of its power at this time, It made a brief 33 year comeback under Ramses II, but before this was run by foreigners, Hyksos, it was torn by civil war and fighting the Hittites. The Egyptians do however note that they drove an unpopular monotheistic tyrant & his followers out into the Sinai. Read Isaac Azimoffs 'Guide to the Bible.
 
Old 02-04-2001, 06:45 PM   #15
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Offa,

You always post such interesting theories. Where you find the basis of this one about "age" of Jesus? I am not asking this mockingly, you have genuinely piqued my interest. I would like some further info or citing of sources.

Thanks,
Spider

 
Old 02-05-2001, 11:30 AM   #16
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post


Then when i learned that scholars believe that the first of the gospels was written at least 50 years after Jesus' death, I started to get real suspicious.


Mr. Bateman. Yeah, whatever, Guy....We have from Paul's letter's (read 1 Corinthians 15) pretty good evidence that the basic facts about Jesus ressurection were being memorized in the form of a creed. Now Paul wrote less than 20 years after Christs death--and its highly likely that he was given this creed when he met James and Peter in Jerusalem around AD 38. He even says that most of the early witnesses were still alive at that time to correct any false information.
Based on your criteria for knowing what is certain in history, nothing is. Exactly, you say, we cannot be sure of anything!! You don't have to have a Phd to know that scanning the amount and quality of the available evidence for any person or event can give you a good idea if one is more probable than the other. Tell me, what's your problem, Mr. Open-minded??

[This message has been edited by sciteach (edited February 05, 2001).]
 
Old 02-05-2001, 12:14 PM   #17
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

sciteach: "Yeah, whatever, Guy....We have from Paul's letter's (read 1 Corinthians 15) pretty good evidence that the basic facts about Jesus ressurection were being memorized in the form of a creed. Now Paul wrote less than 20 years after Christs death--not a long time. He even says that most of the early witnesses were still alive to correct any false information. Tell me, what's your problem, Mr. Open-minded??"

I'm assuming by "Guy" you are referring to me. This is not a response to my post, however. I agree with your dating of Paul (at least to within 10 years) and I don't rely on late dates of Mark to make my points.

My question about Paul was simply why there is so little mention about Jesus' life in his letters. It's very common today to refer to Jesus, his life, and his teachings in the Christian community to help resolve conflicts and give advice on how to live. Why didn't Paul do this? It does seem a strange coincidence that Mark, supposedly the earliest gospel, is usually dated after Paul. Could it be that Paul wasn't aware of the details of Jesus' life? Was he aware, but didn't think any of the details were important? Why do we today?

I agree that Paul and the Christians had a creed that included belief in Jesus' resurrection.

Here's a hypothesis. During Jesus' ministry, he achieved some local fame (less than John the Baptist, however) and stories were told about him as they were about any other 'sage' and 'miracle worker'. Stories grew in the telling and Jesus accumulated followers dedicated to him with complete belief and faith that what he was saying was true. (This is not evidence that what he said was in fact true. Think of David Koresh, for instance.) So even while alive, stories of miracles were passed around and he already had a strong following, the first Christians.
After some interesting events in Jerusalem, Jesus was arrested and crucified. The followers were pretty confused and upset. They tried to make sense of it all and when some followers had 'visions' of Jesus, they believed this was really him speaking to them, and was proof of his 'resurrection'. They incorporated the 'visions' and the 'wisdom' and 'power' they gained from the 'visions' and eventually worked up a kind of consensus, or creed relating to what it all meant. Stories about Jesus were still being passed around, and like all such stories, they grew in the telling. Since the group of Christians were not likely full of annoying skeptics, the ever-more interesting and wondrous stories about Jesus were willingly believed. During this time, the followers grew and eventually Paul, after having a 'vision' of Jesus, became a Christian and taught the beliefs and creed of the new faith . How much Paul knew about the stories and teaching of Jesus' life is certainly unclear. It seems he either wasn't aware of the stories or didn't think that they were important. Eventually however, someone (author of Mark) decided to write down a story of Jesus' life. Using the collections of stories and teachings about Jesus (perhaps there was already a written source of teachings, Q?) Mark wrote his gospel using the sources with perhaps a little inspiration from the Old Testament prophets, as well as the ever popular Iliad and Odyssey from Homer. Certainly Jesus was the greatest hero and could do better than the prophets and the heros of Homer. So Mark wrote his gospel and it got passed around. Luke and Matthew found it unacceptable and worked on making an improved version of the story, removing some embarrasing stuff as well as other stuff that just didn't make much sense, and added some of the ever-growing supply of teaching and parables. Sometime later, John added his own theological twist to the gospel story. Other gospels were written but these were the only four to survive the canonization process.

Today, we have the usual claims of miracles happening here and there, yet always somehow avoiding skeptical analysis. We have Christian's claims that they really are experiencing God yet the voice of God just 'seems' audible and no one can ever quite see him. They rely on their 'feelings' about God as proof he is communicating with them and they think that the joy the feel thinking about eternity in heaven and the creator of universe loving them is proof that the joy is well-founded in reality. Whatever unknowns that science hasn't tackled yet are considered proof of God's existence. Elaborate explanations abound for why God doesn't want to make his existence clear, why the world seems to look like the result of evolution, why Christians behave like everyone else, and why prayer doesn't really seem to get answered (yes, no, maybe, wait?).

I suggest that all this is consistent with a Jesus who lived and died, a mortal human, and with Christians who are currently fooling themselves, just as the many millions of others are doing in other religions.

I'd like responses from anybody on this.

Is there anything clearly wrong with my scenario besides that it is inconsistent with your beliefs?



[This message has been edited by PhysicsGuy (edited February 05, 2001).]
 
Old 02-05-2001, 12:19 PM   #18
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

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

The question many scholars are dealing with is where did Mark get his 'facts' and why didn't Paul say anything about these 'facts'?

Paul talks as if Jesus was mainly a 'theological' being who "died and was raised" but that's about it. Why not more? Why did Paul rely on 'visions' for information?
</font>
PhysicsGuy, I believe the fact that Paul does not repeat the gospels is evidence that Mark (and then) Matthew were written before Paul's letters, as it was well known by all in the vicinity that Mark was accurate. Also, Paul did not know jesus or witness the events described, so he knew that his apostolic authority could not supercede that of Matthew the Apostle, and Mark, Peters confidant. Luke was the first to investigate Jesus's early life, it wasn't done earlier because who could prove or witness the virgin birth as a sign of Christs deity? Only his death and ressurection mattered. What do you think?

 
Old 02-05-2001, 12:53 PM   #19
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Dear PhysicsGuy
"Whatever guy" was not directed to you, but to Mr. Bateman. Your scenario does have the ring of truth, and could be probable except for one thing: (I'm not bright enough to think of anything else right now) It has been said that no one willingly dies for what he knows to be untrue, and yes, followers of fanatical, fringe groups like Koresh, Jones et al, do martyr themselves. The trouble is, they almost invariably become reclusive, which minimizes their impact on society, and any brainwashing-induced martyrdom usually kills 'em off fast. Do you think that life under the Romans was so unbearable that people reached out to these loony Christians who taught the masses to endure hardships for rewards in the hereafter? Considering what Paul says about the duties of a slave to his master, one would have thought that Rome would have encouraged Christianity!! It wasn't just some fringe sect that Rome tried so hard to snuff out--how did it endure to thrive , prosper and improve society??

 
Old 02-05-2001, 12:58 PM   #20
Ulrich
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St Louis Metro East
Posts: 1,046
Post

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

Based on your criteria for knowing what is certain in history, nothing is. Exactly, you say, we cannot be sure of anything!! You don't have to have a Phd to know that scanning the amount and quality of the available evidence for any person or event can give you a good idea if one is more probable than the other.
</font>
That is entirely true, though another criteria used for judging the reliability of evidence is closeness to source, but we will stick with the criteria of quality for this post.

What is meant by quality? Penmanship, grammar, the writing materials used? No, in this sense it is the credibility of the writer, and the event he is relating. If the writer has a high degree of credibility, then he lends his credibility to the event he portrays. Are the NT writers credible? Not really, they are all professed Christians with a vested interested in propogating their religion, and none of them are known to have written any history of secular nature.

Fortunately, however, the event can be credible when the writer himself is not. So are the events related in the NT credible? Well that depends on how you judge the credibility of an event. We have noted that a writer can lend credibility to an event by being credible himself, but we can see that this is not the case with the NT. You can also judge the credibility of an event by whether it is corroborated by seperate sources.

Are the NT writers corroborated by other sources? The apologist would say that they are because there are four seperate Gospel writers, as well as Paul, and others in the Epistles. This is not necessarily true, as Paul and the other writers do not concern themselves with providing historical information, so they are not helpful in providing credibility. So, the apologist might say, we still have four seperate sources in the Gospels themselves. That is not true, however, as most biblical scholars agree that the later Gospels all drew upon Mark as their primary source. The only other first century historian that seems to even mention Jesus then is Flavius Josephus. Entire threads have been devoted to arguing the veracity of the Josephus text, so I would rather not get into that here. It should be sufficient to say that at its best the Josephus passage provides us with one paragraph (and a later sentence), that a miraculous person named Jesus lived at about the same time the Gospels claim their Jesus lived. At worst Josephus tells us that a criminal named James had a brother named Jesus. Even if we take the best case scenario with Josephus, however, he doesn't offer any details about the life of Jesus, or any particular events he was involved in. To the point, we do not have any seperate sources confirming the NT.

This means that the only way left to judge quality is in the event itself. How do we judge if an event itself is credible then? Well if the event is a perfectly normal one that is known to occur, or is similar to other events known to occur than we can say it has some amount of crediblility. One example would be an account of a certain person being executed. People are known to be executed quite frequently, so when a historical text tells us that Jesus was executed we have no reason to say that the text is false, as it is and event that is known to occur. When that text goes on to tell us that the executed person came back to life a certain amount of time later, then we must look elsewhere for credibility, as it is an event that has never been known to happen.

So if by quality you mean credibility, then we can see that the NT fails on that criteria. If, however, you meant something more esoteric, such as penmanship, I really can't comment ont he quality of the NT.
Ulrich is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:36 PM.

Top

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