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Old 05-23-2001, 10:04 PM   #71
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:

Gospel of Philip: criticizes virgin birth and bodily resurrection as naïve misunderstandings. No major differences here!

Gospel of the Egyptians: no mention of death, resurrection, virgin birth…..Jesus is mentioned but three times, the last with the simple title of savior and son of god. Certainly no major differences![/b][/QUOT]

Meta =&gt; There's no alternate story and that's the point.

Secret Book of James: The text betrays no knowledge of the details of the passion accounts, even claiming Jesus to have been buried "in the sand" following his crucifixion.

Meta =&gt; Is that the Apochraphon of James? It also is about Jesus going to hell to preach to the captives while he is dead, which agrees with Peter, and it does assume the crucifiction, resurrection the whole basic story.

There is more, but I don't have time to re-read 50 non-canonical documents this morning to find out how they differ too. It would nice, MC, if you had actually read the stuff before you went and made outrageous comments like the above, or claimed I was ill-informed. Perhaps it is you who needs a stint in a seminary.

Meta =&gt;None of those sources offer other versions of the story. The only major difference is the sand thing, and I doubt that. When I read it it did metion the tomb, it assumes the crucifiction that's why he's in hell. And the Gospel of Peter, Bartholemew and in fact everyone I've read, HEbrews, they are all based upon the canonical Gosples and even laced with quotes form them. G. of Mary, also speaks of the crucifiction and resurrection. And not a one that you have mentioned offers an alternate story, one in which he is stoned or hung or run thorugh with spear, or placed the story in another location,or given different principles to the story. It's always of the 12, MM is always in there, always Jerusalem, always crucifiction under Pilate, resurrection form empty tomb.

Second, that's a non-point. All of the Robin Hood sources agree that he was an outlaw, but unfortunately he seems a composite figure.</font>
Meta -=&gt;And it is not unlikley that there was an original guy upon which it was based. But you already defeated your own evidence on this point becasue you admitted that there are versions which are not set in Nottingham.But that is just beging the question. To be a true test you need an exampe tha we know is totally ficticious.

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All Japanese sources agree that the Emperor descended from the sun god, so it must be true. All the sources written on Sai Baba by his followers agree that he does healing miracles, so it must be true (there is even video and photos!)</font>

Meta =&gt; Again beging the question. And economist Postone thinks that Mark's Grunde Risse is far more important for his views on Class struggle than Marxists are willing to admit.

You know I wonder if you even know what Mthology is? Becasue there are no mytholoigcal elements in there. And what criteria do you use for determining what myth is? Elliade? Karanye? Bullfinch? Why does being divided into seven parts make it artifical? Why would it be fiction if it is mirroriing the same basic story that all the others tell? Why would you think that the glimpse into the family of Bethiny for example is merely made up, when there is nothing artificial about them. The prestent consistant characters and a concete location, no mythological ear marks at all! Do you even know the difference in folk lore, legeond, and myth? Or history?

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&lt;sigh&gt; No mythological earmarks. Cut me a break! Just seven artificial signs. Re-arrangement of the original tale. Redaction by a several others.</font>

Meta =&gt; That demonstrates that you don't have a clue about mythology. First, offering some number of signs can hardly be called mythological. So what if there are seven of them. Dividing the pericopes into seven signs is hardly indicative of non historicity. Modern preachers often lace their sermons with little anecdotes and tidbits of things that are fable, that doesn't mean they are doing mythology or they they don't beleive the content. It's just a fact of the human faculty for organziation that we make senthetic structures to load information into. Doesn't make it unreal. It has a lot to do culturally with the way they thought about things, but in no way is that some speicial sign of mythology.

Meta =&gt; Nor is redaction. See the fact that you say that just proves that you don't understand modern liberal scholarship. You think that the mere fact of redaction is proof of falsehood and that is sily.It's not true at all. Works are redacted fro many reasons, being a ficticious work is not one of them. And it is cerainly not connected to mythology. Most mythology began life as oral. So this is totally unconnected.

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A Hero who fits archetypes of other heroes.
Meta =&gt; In a very shallow and forced way, and most of those so called parallels of the dying rising savior Gods were after the time of Christ and had nothing to do with the writing of the Gospels. Even mythogrophers do not take the conscious barrowing seriously.

Are you saying that the arrangement of John reflects the actual order of events?

Meta =&gt;doesn't matter, that is no proof of lack of historicity. Just because they change the order of the pericopes is no proof that they didn't think they were historical. It means that they didn't have our modern sense of history as an academic discipline and they had their own way of telling a story.The ordering of events has a sermonic aspect.Now you see that "sermonic" and conclude that "they didn't bleive it happened" that is not a fair assumption at all.

Of course it doesn't. Do you regard it as history?

Meta =&gt;Jewish pesants of first century Plastestine were not historians, had no concept of history, they were not into documenting events. They did not think they were writting the official historical recordard, they were writting for the community to learn religious lessons,that in no way implies that they didn't beleive the actual events happened. It also ignores all harmonizing, which the Evangelicals are very talented in. So when you allow for some of that and minimize the differences and consider the fact that they had a different concept of what to include and why, the big assumptions of mythology are reduced to a few tiny elements which do not obscure the historicity.

Does it have knowledge of other perspectives? Commitment to telling the historical truth?

Meta =&gt; See there again you are trying to impose a modernistic criterion rather than allowing the text to speak of itself. The whole trick to understanding textual crit is to allow the text to work for itself and the first step is to understand the genre. But you are impossing the genre because you are demanding of the text that it make modern assumptions about the importance of historical nerrative.

Balance and objectivity?

Meta =&gt;Why should it be "objective"? that wasn't even a value in thier time. again impossing the desires of a modern reading upon the text.

Any kind of critique of sources or materials?

Meta =&gt;why should they critique their sources?

Any dim sort of underlying "theory" of history?

Meta =&gt;ahahaahah, that is a ludicrous, absurd requirement of the text. YOu might as well ask if it learned anything at Woodstock. that is a totally modernist way of thinking. No one had a grand scheme of history in that day. Jospehus and Tacistus did not write history with a grande scheme of history, nor did they have many of hte other requreiments you are impossing including "objectivity." In fact that is a Hegenlian notion in the first place. You might as well ask if they had a theory of wage labor and capital or if they understood their role as workers in a modern industrial society.

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None of the above. It's "myth," a complex created thing consciously put together by different writers or groups of writers, depending on which theory you subscribe to.</font>
Meta =&gt; And this just proves that you don't know what Mythology is! None of those things spell out mythological content. YOu wil not find Eliade or Campbell or Kerayne asking for a grand scheme of history or for a critique of soruces from the text. YOu have failed to even hit the mark on any understanding of mythology but right now I can tell you that the fact that it is set in concrete lacals, that it has concerte historical personages interacting in the story that it is rooted in the mythos of a pervious epoch and a larger culture all disqualifies it as mythology in any meaningful sense. You are confussing the term "myth" with the term "falsehood."

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As for your other (non)points, plenty of myths occur in concrete locations using pre-existent characters. Means nothing as far as truth is concerned.</font>
Meta =&gt; So how do I know that you aren't just misunding the term myth in refurring to those sources? Name them. Show what they are? and quote Eliade or some other recognized expert of myth saying that.

Meta =&gt; Really, you are just assuming that the characteristics of mythology are only oriented around the naturalistic elements in a sotry and the chronological ordering. That is not what makes something mythological. Mythology is related primarily to arche types. Mythology is set in mythological tiem. History is concrete, so when you can date it it not mythical time. That's why Gensis begins "In the beginnig" because it is mythologcial time. That's why Luke begins with references to the census, because that dates it in history.There are other things but you are so far out of he ball park this will do for now.

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The issue is whether we can recover enough history from the material to make confident judgements. And we can't. It is myth -- an invented story written to give order and meaning to people's lives.</font>

Meta =&gt;That is a totally inadquate understanding of what mythology is. You are using the old cirucular reasoning again. You assume that it has to be written for a puropse that you deem worthy, and that it must therefore conform to that understanding. Than you lay out criteria according to that understanding, and than look to see if it fits your criteria and than decide since it does it must be myth. The problem is you are merely using the assumptions you read into it to prove that those assumptions are justified. There is no reason to assume that the story is merely invented, and once making that asusmption everything else falls apart. Archaeology confirms much of the world of Jesus' day, many of the actual pericopes, and to assume conscious barrowing or consciously flase construction of ficticious tale causes the whole the thing to fall apart. Who would beleive it as a religion if no one had ever heard of this guy before or any of the events spoken of. You also assume that ancient world people didn't beleive their own mythology, and you discard the major criteria upon which real mythogrophers understand myth to be based. And why must we be able to dig out enough historicity from it to make some sort of confident judgment when deciding that it is written for the purposes of mythology is a foundational assumption and since you place that before the reading and fiilter all the reading through that you are merely mining the data.

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Using the myths alone, can you deduce that Faust was a real person? The legend is about a concrete person in concrete places, culiminating in works in the 1580s in which Faust and Luther tussle (legitimation of Faust through linkage to known influential figure). </font>
Meta =&gt; Faust is not mythology. That you cannot understand the difference speaks volumes. The basic information in the Faust legond may actually be historical, so that is just beging the question. But it's not because it's based upon historicity that I say it isn't mythological, it's because it doesn't have it's mythos and because it doesn't have any of the archetypical aspects of mythology, it is folklore. It is not mythology, and since it has an historical foundation it doens't prove anything. In fact it argues against your view.

For the ceriteria that I use you can see Toward a Science of Mythology by Carl Karanye. (sp--never can spell that, but hey why start now?)

The mythmaking dates from 1543, or within a couple of years of his death. It became wildly popular and was appearing in books, plays, etc, within 15 years. Rapid growth of myth within two decades of a persons' death. Remind you of anything?

Meta =&gt;Again begging the question sice it has an historical foundation. Moreover, there are differnt versions and the motvations for keeping the story stairhgt were not there. Jesus offered Israel Messianich redemption in the popular mind. When that failed in a political sense they had to explain why. So the motivation was to keep the story since that is what they were trying to explian. But the Faust legond (which you still haven't established as mythology) was just an exciting tale, perhaps with a moral point to it. No real conseqeunces for changing detials. Now you are reading in the same kinds of assumption with the Gospels, assuming you know their reasons for writing (did you know Mark? Did you talk to anyone who knew him?) and so forth.

You are confussing myth with narrative. What makes it myth? Why is it essentially the same story they all tell? Why is there no divergence in any of the myriad of versions of Gosples up to the 3d or fourth century?

[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Who is in confusion here? As we have seen, there is plenty of divergence, and a clear evolution of the Jesus-myth. (which may or may not be about a real person).

Meta =&gt;No there isn't. what you are calling "plenty of divergence" is merely minutia and details. I've spelled out what I condier to be the major outline of the story and so far you have not presented an single example of a source that offers one single difference in the accounts. I'm not talking about the number of women at the tomb, I mean:
2)under Pilate
3) in tomb 3 days
4)died in Jerusalem
6) same basic princples (the 12 and MM at center of he action)
7) raised.
8) left empty tomb
9)time relation to passover
10)hour of the day at time of death noon

That's enough for a basic outline. Other divergences like who spoke at his trial are minutia. number of women on the tomb, number of angles present, these things very because they are unimportant. The 10 points I outline above identify the story as an historical event because they are always kept the same. They are the basic facts that don't change. In other words, to know the number of women accurately one would have to have been there. But to know the place of crucifiction or the manner of death one need only hear the tale.

Your claims are nonsense. The gospels are myths, stories evolved over time that create order and meaning for people's lives, using recognizable archetypal figures who carry out heroic tasks.</font>
Meta =&gt; Than why are the 10 points I metion always the same in every retelling? why were there witnesses who cliamed to have known the principles and heard the stories and testify to their veracity? why does archaeology confirm some of the material? and stop calling them myths when you don't even know what the word means.

And what was [the Jesus Seminar's] means of looking? Well, they put up little colored balls to show their votes. That's about it. They have no method, they have critical faculties.

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As I said, when they don't agree with you, you claim they are not real scholars. You shout that there is a consensus, and when I pull up fourscore scholars who disagree, you claim they are not scholars.</font>
Meta =&gt;I didn't say they aren't scholars, I said they are getting an easy ride and not doing jobs well. They are lax scholars, they are media scholars. Those criticims are made by other scholars who are very familiar with their work; Luke Timothy Johnson for example.

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As Crossan pointed out, methodologically, NT studies are extremely suspect.</font>
Meta =&gt; Yea mainly because of guys like him. Name one innovation, one methological procedure,one departure form the 19th century that Crossan has instituted?

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After all, if NT Wright can forthrightly claim that his historical inquiries are guided by his faith, and be accepted as a scholar, the field can't be really very tough methodologically, can it?</font>
Meta =&gt; It's the fraud who tries to prtend total objectivity and is not upfront about his biases. It is the true shcolar is who is open and up front about the biases that wll blind him. The latter demonstrates honesty and the former ignorance of scholalry caustion.

Oooo amatueres!@ aAAAAA will you please go to a seminary and take a calss for God sake! try to learn something and figure out what it means? None of that i new, that's all 19thy century stuff.

Would you please learn to read? I haven't said whether it is new or even true. People keep clubbing me over the head with a presumed consensus, only there isn't one, is there?

Meta =&gt; Sorry. It's just that you keep droping these indications that you have a little knowledge, enough to be a dangerous thing. For example,you seem to think that redaction is proof in itself of falsehood. Or that different voices within the text is a guarontee of fiction.

Evidence of a healing tradition is an idication that the community was vital. IT's evidence of strong beleif system and since all testimonies of Jesus include the healing tradiiton one must conclude that Jesus had a reputation as a healer. Why would the Johonnie community have a healing tradition in the first place? That's not proof, but it may be one indication of a core of historical veracity. Why is it that all testimonies of Jeus portray him as a healer? On a lot less evidence than that scholars have decided that Hercules was based upon a real guy, and certian other figures.

As I said, learn to read. We're in agreement here. I regard, like you, the healing traditions as an indication.

Meta =&gt; I dont' know what you said there, because i see is funny squiggles these guys call "words." I have to learn to read frist.

Layman takes them for "proof." Doherty argues that this is a communal tradition, not necessarily relating to a real person. Since Folk-Daoism also produced a savior-cult, a Mary-figure (based on what was originally a male deity!), and other figures of early Christianity, it is not clear to me that an old tradition goes back to a particular source, but may have arisen out of thin air thanks to the stress of economic change under colonial rule (a very common situation in history). My position is that the gospels and other sources do not give us enough evidence to decide this with strong "proof," but only weak evidence or indications. Can you name evidence that would enable us to choose with confidence? Nope.

Meta =&gt; I don't understand why we have to prove the healing thing was really part of Jesus ministry before we prove he eixted. That seems a bit backwards. It seems to me that if we prove a basic historicity than one can assume the healing bit on faith. It's a faith thing anyway right? I mean no one is going to claim as just historical fact that someone was really healed. But again, you allow your assumptions to dictate to the text rather than letting the text tell you what it is about. Why should we worry about that in the first place? What reason do we have to doubt that Jesus was credited with miralces? Josephus says he was, no one disagrees with it. There is no counter evidence to suggest that he wasn't. And it's not a determining factor in his historicity, but must follow from his historical existence anyway.

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That's the problem when dealing with myth. Some myths are based on real people, like Wovoka, the Paiute Messiah (who died a silent movie actor), or the Zulu oral histories of Shaka the Great. Others are pure fiction, like the Hongs' mythical founder. Some appear to be composites, like Robin Hood. Others appear to have taken off so far they no longer relate to the original figure, like Faustus. Others whole religions have been built around them, and origins are completely obscure, like Hercules. Which of these is Jesus? I can't tell. Can you?</font>
Meta =&gt;But we are arguing about Dhortey's theory right? So he assumes Jesus was made up, and that the concete historical aspects of the narrative were attached to his identity latter. So that's the point of contention. It's not important in deciding on the truth or falsity of Dhortey's views which of those paradigms is true of Jesus, if we establish a basic historical validity. That in itself rules out the theory. But, yea there is no reason to supposse that he was composite. NO doubt some of it is embellished, but the basic outlines I've metioned plus his rep as miracle worker (with the previso that it is not proof but sign) are what I suggest as probable.

"From each according to his means to each according to his need."
Old 05-23-2001, 10:38 PM   #72
Posts: n/a

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

I am bushed and busy, so this won't be as long as I'd like.

Turton: The Gospel of Thomas: contains no mention of any other major miracles, the crucifixion, resurrection, virgin birth etc. I guess those must not be major differences.

MEta =&gt;Um, but that is not really a fair example, because it's not a narrative. Have you read it?

Yes, I have read the amazing Gospel of Thomas. You made a sweeping statement including all canonical and non-canonical documents. Then when I punch holes in your claim with a 5 minute search on the net, you respond by saying I can't count this or that. Try again next time with a more "nuanced" approach.
Meta =&gt; NO you didn't punch any holes, you reinterpreted what I said. I said that there are no alternate stories, none that dont' assume the basic story outline in the canonicals. You changed that to "there is no metion of this in that" which implies that you think I said "all Gosples tell exactly the same story in exactly the same way." I did not. You don't show that Thomas offers a different story. It doesn't mention it because it's not a narrative but it doesn't offer a different one.

I have, throughout this discussion, laid down a very thick description of myth on several occasions.

Meta =&gt; well it doesn't seem to consult any of the major theorists of myth. It merely equates the term "myth" with the term "fiction" and stops there. My criteria come from Keranye in his Toward a Science of Mythology.

The gospels are clearly myth, stories following archetypal patterns, created by communal and individual inventiveness, out of extant and imagined people and events.

Meta =&gt;You don't show tha they follow any archetypical patterns. I assume by that you mean the dying rising savior gods that Dhortey and Wells speak of? That is cruched! That is just taken out by a look at the historical evidence of the mystery cults. It's all synthetic and overblowen.

Whether they are narratives or not they remain myth, constructions of their writers and the communities they emerged from.

Meta =&gt; Being a construction of a community does not make it a myth. Science is a construction of a community.

I do not "assume" they are myth. I look at them, and see that they are myth.

Meta =&gt;Bull! where's the mythological time? Where's the mythos that is unique to their the narrative? Where is the journey of the hero? Where is Krone? Where's the madine? where's the integration point into the cosmos? Where is the initation? Where's the return of the hero? What are the archetypes?

Such history as is in them, has been extensively reworked and edited for theology, internal politics, aesthetic reasons and just plain creative orneriness.

Meta =&gt;Well that's true of the writtings of most modern day historians. YOu think Fukuyama wasn't political? You think J.D.C. Clark wasn't political? And those are not things that make something mythology.

Are you claiming that Mark et al created their gospels out of context, with no mind to the struggles between the various Christianities alive in the first century? We already know they aimed at specific audiences and communities. The ancients were not less sophisticated and self-aware than we when it came to creating.

Meta =&gt; I watched a show on the UCTV channel the other night, the Univ. of Califorina tv. They followed the exploits of certain historians of the antebellum south in the 1960s. You think that wasn't adjusted and colored and politicized and very much more about the civil rights movment than it was about the actual material it prestened? Does that mean there was no antebelllum South? Of course they must have had in mind the factions in their own communities, and other Christian communities that no more means the material is not about historical events than the other means there was no southern U.S. slave owning culture. Clark's English Socieity Was written as a clarion call to historical revisionists in the Regan era to drive the final nail in the coffin of whig history. And the whig histoirans themselves, you think the telling of the enlightenment as the rising up of the forces of reason over the evil supersitition of reigion, the rise of modern liberal democracy in which only the whigs did anything, is not political??? Does that mean there was no Whalpole? Does that mean that Pit the Elder was just fiction to improve the lives of readers. You think the Naimierites weren't politcal? All of modern scientific academic history has its politicized edge, that in no way guarontees that the content is fiction.

Further, you live in a dream world if you think Jesus is among the best-attested figures of antiquity.

Meta =&gt; Counting the Gospels, and i see no reason not to, there is more written on what he said and thought than any other figure, at least more than most. What we know about Julius Cesar's personal philsophy of life would fill about one page, double spaced.

Perhaps you are not aware, but in China the evidence is simply so much thicker there is no comparison.

Meta =&gt; So what? We know more about Rosa Luxumberg too, but that is also irrelivant. It's not a contest between china and Jesus. Knowing more about China does not make Jesus a myth.

There are tens of thousands of documents from ancient China, with more turning up at a regular rate. From a single tomb in Gansu 20,000 bamboo tablets were yanked covering local administrative matters during 1972-1976. Any of that would attest better to the individuals named than anything in the gospels to Jesus.

Meta =&gt; That doesn not disporve the historicity of Jesus. But say, we have Marcuse's actual diary and we know the day he joined the CP and what he thought about Karl Leibnocht. Isn't that good? doesn't that prove that you are wrong? Did you know that Marcuse was actaully distantly related to Marx? Yea, his great grandparents changed the name. And their ancestors were horse traders. Isn't that intersting?

is a database of early Chinese manuscripts. Consider that the first two listings, of oaths and pledgings engraved on stone tablets, consist of 15,000 pieces in total.

Meta =&gt;POsteone argues that class sturgle was a loclalized phenomena in Marx' thinking and that he never meant us to understand it as the motive force of political struggle or as the escahtological force of worker expectations. Now that's herasey!

Or look at this entry:

Contents: administrative documents including:
military despatches,
fragments of law,
judicial documents,
private letters, etc.
Material: wood
(tamarisk: 54.1%
spruce: 31.4%
poplar : 13.1%) strips etc.
Pieces: 1,200
Size: L 23.3
W 0.8
Graphs: 15,000
Script: Han clerical, semi- and full cursive
Reproductions (R) / Transcriptions (T): Ooba Osamu, Dai Ei toshokan zou Tonkou Kankan, 1990 (R, T);
Wu Rengxiang et al., Dunhuang Hanjian Shiwen, 1991 (R of some docs., T);
Gansu sheng wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo, Dunhuang Hanjian, 1991 (R, T);
Oosaka furitsu Chikatsu Asuka hakubutsukan, Shirukuroudo no mamori, 1994 (a few colour R, T)
Remarks: Sizes vary, those given above represent the most common. Percentages of materials are given in the excavation report
(Dunhuang Hanjian, p.67).

Considering the large number of tombs from China in which the occupant is indentified multiple times in the inventory placed in the tomb, in identification documents and sometimes with personal documents, such as a diary, any ordinary buried literate person in the Han period would be better attested than Jesus.

Meta =&gt; Marcuse argues that there must be a core force of interest within the working class to distract us form the closed realm of discourse in a one-dimensional socieity. He assumes that family loyalty and feudalism, religion, and other such cultural forces filled this role in pre-industrial times; of course he is not advocating a return to feudalism but is arguing for Marxist social evolution. IN other words, in modern socieity we need other things to fill the void, and for him art serves that function. This ties in with his freudian conception of surplus repression.

Further, Jesus is not even the best attested person from the Mediterranean area. Not even in the top 100. Automatically many of the the writers of Mediterranean antiquity -- from Xenophon to Tacitus (the historican, not the Emperor, who has his own mythical history) and Procopius -- would be better attested as to actual existence.

Meta =&gt;The point was that we don't know what they thought. There may be more metions of them or more evidence that they existed. That doesn't mean that the evidence for Jesus' existence is inadequate just because others are better attested. Everyone in the 20th century is better attested than George Washington that doens't mean he didn't exist. But the point is, we know more about Jesus as a person. We don't know what Cesar thought about things, or what his ethical theories were if he had any. We have a full body of teachings form Jesus and we have enough to see the nature of his character. And that leads to another argument which I will devleop more latter that to invent the person of jesus in the gospels the redacktor would have to be a better writer than Hemingway.

They left books, remember? For Jesus we have only after-the-fact accounts from second and third-hand writers writing decades later.

Meta =&gt; You have no answered the argument that if you apply the same baised hatchet job criteia that you use on the Gosples to those other sources we would have ot eliminate them all. How many of those chiense sources make religious assumptions? How many were politcally motivated? How many were proping up the propaganda aims of a truth regeime?

Would you consider Jesus better-attested then, say Cicero, or Wang Chung, or Ashoka?

Meta =&gt;That is irrelivant. That is not the point. But he as well "attested" as most of them given the Gospels vs your criteria for eleminating them.

Old 05-23-2001, 11:23 PM   #73
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 40,549

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
. . .
Context, context, context. That is the key to the criteria of embarassment.

My point on this was that the criteria of embarassment appears to be confined to the field of New Testament criticism, and its only use is to justify the Bible. I have never seen it used as a historical tool in any other area. Of course, no other branch of history has to prove that any particular narrative is true to justify its existence. But I will keep my eyes peeled.
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Old 05-24-2001, 12:06 AM   #74
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
This is from the last section of his book. Perhaps if you could be more specific? </font>
After discounting a long list of credibility standards by which to judge the Gospels authenticity, Grant states:

"One way of atttempting this task [judging historical authenticity] is to look out for surprises. For anything really surprising in the Gospels is quite likely to be authentic - anything, that is to say, which clashes with what we should expect to find in something written after the time of Jesus. It has been objected that whenever we think we detect such a clash our impression cannot fail to be wrong, since nothing unacceptable to the Church of that epoch could possibly have been allowed to find its way in the Gospels. But this objection is not convincing because the evangelists manifestly do include some unpalatable or even incomprehensible doings and sayings of Jesus, and incidents in his life. They include them because they were so indisolubly incorporated in the tradition that their elimination was impracticable; in other words, because they were genuine..." pp202/203

Actually, Grant is all over the place in this last section which he calls, Attitudes to the Evidence. But one thing's for sure, he doesn't like mythicists!

[This message has been edited by joedad (edited May 24, 2001).]
Old 05-24-2001, 08:18 AM   #75
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> But the historicity of Jesus is the very point under discussion! Here, the criterion of embarrassment is worthless, as several on this board have already demonstrated with examples. A fiction writer could have any number of reasons for including the baptism in his story (symbolic, passing the torch, emphasizing the importance of the ritual). </font>
We are not talking about a "fiction writer" we are talking about evangalists writing with a clear agenda and in a certain context.
Old 05-24-2001, 08:49 AM   #76
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

My point on this was that the criteria of embarassment appears to be confined to the field of New Testament criticism, and its only use is to justify the Bible. I have never seen it used as a historical tool in any other area. Of course, no other branch of history has to prove that any particular narrative is true to justify its existence. But I will keep my eyes peeled.
So I guess I should not be expecting a response to my substantive points?

It is not used to "justify" the Bible, it is used to establish the likely historicity of certain events portrayed in the Bible. Michael Grant and Will Durant, both nonChristians, have no set agenda to "justify" the Bible. They were not trained as New Testament specialists, and, in fact, spent most of their careers studying history other than the New Testament. Ditto Ankerson.

As for N.T. Wright. I haven't found the precise quote I was thinking about (I have several of his books), but here are some of his statements that are related:

This first one is regarding the work of the Jesus Seminar.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Funk's opening remarks to the Seminar suggested, inter alia, that the group could 'undertake to advice our president [Reagan] about the perils of apocalyoptic foreign policy' ... So too, in an interested recapitulation of Bultmann's anti-herioc stance, we are told that 'Jesus, updated or not, is not what American society needs. The Jesus Tradition, on the ohter hand, may be a bit more helpful, because it chronicles a dramatic ... accomplishment of social formation within cultural chaos' .... The extent to which the shadow of Reaganism falls across the page is remarkable, and makes some parts of the agenda look quite dated from the perspective of 1996. </font>
N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, at 31 n.8.

Another one:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The reason for the popularity of the Jesus Seminar, at least for a short time, was not because it was brilliant, cutting-edge, top-notch scholarship. Rather, its popularity lay in that it was saying something many Americans wanted to hear. The Jesus Seminar sounded scientific, while appealing to the popular imagination. These scholars were saying there is a different way of construing Christianity, which is neither the right-wing Protestantism nor the right-wing Catholicism with which we grew up—and it is certainly quite unlike televangelism. </font>

And this one.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Sometimes, it's senior scholars who look back with a certain embarrassment to a time when they were quite conservative themselves. This is so particularly in America where so many of your biblical professors are biblical professors because the stuff grabbed them by the throat when they were 19 or 22. Then they went off to college, and at the same time that they discovered that someone other than Mother could cook, they discovered about jedp [the hypothetical non-Mosaic sources for the Pentateuch]. Probably they learned to disbelieve in the miracles of Jesus at the same time they first had sex. For them this stuff is part of liberation. To say maybe the conservative position is right is really to undermine their lives. </font>

Another one:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Instead of Mark's expectation that those who cling to his mythic Jesus will be vindicated, we have, at least by implication, Mack's expectation that the true, Cynic Jesus will vindicate those who reject the whole Markan "Christian" tradition, not least as it has appeared in modern American politics. And it appears that the Jesus Seminar has been quick to take the hint.... The markan sayings were, quite literally, black-balled. Mack's influence, appealing as it did to an alternative American myth, came in on the tide of anti-Reaganism. The Seminar announced to its public that the real Jesus was innoccent of the wicked apocalyupticism with which so many Christians, not least in the conservative American churches against which American academics react so strongly, had for so long associated him. </font>
Wright, JAVG, at 39.

And about European scholars not sharing the liberal reconstruction of Jesus:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The relegation of eschatological, prophetic and apocalypytic material to a secondary stage, leaving the early ground free for a non-apocalyptic, and indeed a largely non-Jewish, 'sapiential' early Christianity and Jesus, is not shared by most Continental and British scholars, nor indeed by all North Americans. </font>
I also ran across this one while I was reading last night. The author was discussing the Jesus Seminar's use of Q and the Gospel of Thomas.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> The resistence to reconstruction efforts is particularly strong among European scholars for whom fascination with Q is something dismissed as a North American fad. </font>
Philip Jenkins, Hidden Gospels, at 57.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited May 24, 2001).]
Old 05-24-2001, 09:35 AM   #77
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
Layman: Jesus existed. It's not that threatening of a concept. Unless, of course, it is.

You have gone beyond the boundaries set by historians here. The existence of Jesus, an ancient human being, is a matter of probability, not absolute fact. Literary evidence, in the form of religious propaganda, dating from almost two thousand years ago, CANNOT demonstrate the absolute historical existence of any particular person. ALL non-Christian sources COULD derive from the religious literature.

I'm not sure what you mean by "absolute fact," but I'm more interested in your assertion that I've gone beyond the bounds set by historians.

Just what are those bounds and which historians claim asserting that Jesus existed exceeds those bounds?

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited May 24, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited May 24, 2001).]
Old 05-24-2001, 10:33 AM   #78
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Originally posted by rodahi:
Layman: Jesus existed. It's not that threatening of a concept. Unless, of course, it is.
You have gone beyond the boundaries set by historians here. The existence of Jesus, an ancient human being, is a matter of probability, not absolute fact. Literary evidence, in the form of religious propaganda, dating from almost two thousand years ago, CANNOT demonstrate the absolute historical existence of any particular person. ALL non-Christian sources COULD derive from the religious literature.


Layman: I'm not sure what you mean by "absolute fact," but I'm more interested in your assertion that I've gone beyond the bounds set by historians.

Just what are those bounds and which historians claim asserting that Jesus existed exceeds those bounds?

I think my remarks should be clear enough. You made the assertion that "Jesus existed." It is you, not I, who bears the burden of proof. I think he may or may not have existed. There is not sufficient evidence to demonstrate Jesus' existence as absolute fact.


[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited May 24, 2001).]
Old 05-24-2001, 11:01 AM   #79
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How can you pretend that you made no assertions? You specifically made the following postive assertion:

"You have gone beyond the boundaries set by historians here."

Yet when asked what boundaries and which historians, you refuse to answer.

What boundaries? Expressed by which historians?
Old 05-24-2001, 11:06 AM   #80
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Sometime back Kosh chided me for asserting that there was a conflict between Brian's position on Jesus' historicity and his (Brian's) religious beliefs.

I detect in EarlD's recent post on another thread Earl's acceptance of this inconsistency in Brian's position, and a hint that he is taking it with a degree of amusement. If I were Earl, I would do the same thing and proceed on with the discussion, because one never really knows where the next new insight will be born.

I do not think Brian's belief in god would be of any issue were he a non-Christian believer. But when the issue of discussion between two people is the historicity of a Hebrew demigod, which one person believes is the creator incarnate, I think Earl realizes this conflict of interest, is perhaps smiling a bit, and just taking things in stride, hoping for the best. Perhaps Brian is doing the same thing.

On Michael Grant:
I do not perceive Grant as a neutral Historian by any means. In his An Historian's review of the Gospels", the chapters read:

Nothing Matters but the Kingdom of God
The Dawning Kingdom of God
What Were the Miracles?
Change of Heart
Who Do You Say I Am?
The Galilean
Prophet and Teacher
Messiah:Son of Man: Son of God
Disaster and Triumph
Failure in Galilee
Fatal Challenge in jerusalem
The End
From Disaster to Triumph

This is not neutral and unbiased IMHO, although later he does essentially refer to Jesus as the greatest humanist ever.

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