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  #41  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
Freud and Von Daniken are actually in the same category. Both used the standard technique of pseudo-science: first decide your "conclusion", then select and manipulate the data so that you can present it in a way that appears to lead to your "conclusion".
Show me, please, where Freud does this. I have read his works in quite some detail, and I can assure you that your accusation, here, is incorrect.

Freud may very well have been wrong, but he was an honest man, attempting to uncover the truth as best he could.

Silas
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  #42  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:45 AM
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Maybe theologians have already come up with a definitive answer as to whether Jesus ever took the wrong road, stubbed his toe etc. If not, maybe they will in the future. But I suspect they have more important things to do.
Yes, they certainly should have. Such as confirming any small part of their story other than the fact that some guy named Pontius Pilate used to work in Jerusalem.
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  #43  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:48 AM
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Really? I'd be interested to see a near-contemporary history of Odin's birth, life, teachings, trial, death (and resurrection), including numerous precise and verifiable/rebuttable details of dates, times, people, places and circumstances. Let alone four independent ones. Sorry if you're an Odin-worshipper, but vague references to a distant mythical past of undetermined date just doesn't cut it as historical evidence.
The Gospels do not meet your own criteria. They are not verifiable, just to begin with. You put forward one standard that satisfies you, then demand another one of me. We call this "moving the goalposts."

I really have to wonder how you can dismiss "vague references to a distant mythical past," and then hold up the Bible as inerrant. The books of Genesis and Exodus are chock-full of exactly that.

Silas
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  #44  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
I really have to wonder how you can dismiss "vague references to a distant mythical past," and then hold up the Bible as inerrant. The books of Genesis and Exodus are chock-full of exactly that.
But they are inerrantly so.

Insofar as anything in the Bible could be confirmed, nothing of any importance that I'm aware of has been and, if you include the earlier myths, plenty has been rebutted. Any miracles, therefore, that could never possibly be confirmed or rebutted are held to be true miracles, whereas those that have clearly been rebutted are held to have some mystical, yet "inerrant" meaning. It's maddening trying to talk rationally about this illogical world.
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  #45  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:03 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
This isn't a scholastic forum, but just a conversational one.
So that makes it OK to say that the evangelists claimed that the Roman military guards fell asleep (extremely unlikely, since the penalty would be death), and claim that this proves the evangelists made stuff up, when it was actually you who made it up? I don't claim to be any great shakes as a scholar, but I expect a higher standard of truth in conversation, especially on a site supposedly dedicated to debunking urban legends.
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The Essenes and other sects like them, including John's sect, were isolated. John was holding his services along riversides, not in temples.
No comparison really. JtB invited anyone and everyone to come and be baptised and then return home, and many did. They didn't form a community around him, he lived on his own. Like the other prophets, his job wasn't to form a community, but to deliver a message of repentance to the whole of Israel.
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When they don't actually fit the prophecies, and when they are self-contradictory, such as the distinct and non-matching lineages connecting Jesus to Solomon (via distinct intermediaries) then they are flaws. They were strained, and Jewish scholars of the time recognized them as fallacious pointers to Isaiah et al.

Silas
Circular reasoning. Obviously any Jewish scholar (such as Paul, Joseph of Arimathea, the Emmaus two etc) who recognised the fulfilment of the prophecies became a Christian. By definition those who refused to recognise the fulfilment of the prophecies remained Jews.

You don't seem to realise that genealogies connecting two people many generations apart can, and very frequently do, connect along two or more different lineages. (When all persons concerned are members of a relatively small population living in a small country for the whole period, it would actually be amazing if there were ONLY one line of descent.) The genealogies in both Matthew and Luke are entirely congruent with the Old Testament; there is nothing "contradictory" about them.
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  #46  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
In the last 2000 years, which "precise details" have been verified or rebutted? In principle, I suppose they could be but I'm not going to hold my breath. For example, you could say a particular e-mailed urban legend is verifiable because it names places and dates. Sometimes that kind of verification can be done quickly and easily, as in the case of the recent story of the armed 12-year-old who shot the intruders. (It turned out to be untrue.) After 2000 years with no confirmation, however, I think we can safely say these details are nothing more than interesting details. It doesn't lend the story any more credibility than the story of the girl defending her home had before it was discredited.
You can't act as if the gospels have suddenly been discovered 2000 years after they were written. As the gospels contain numerous such details, they could be easily verified or rebutted by people who were in those places at the times stated. Christians had no shortage of enemies in the first century. If any of them wanted to claim that Jesus never raised Lazarus, fed the 5000, etc. etc. there were plenty of eyewinesses who could deny they ever happened if they were untrue, and they could have been disproved just as easily as the modern story of the girl defending her home. But instead the Christians' enemies said that Jesus must have been possessed by some evil spirit who gave him the power to perform such miracles. They knew it was ludicrous to try to claim that nothing really happened. They would have been even more of a laughing-stock if they had claimed that Jesus never even existed. Such nonsense didn't appear for another 1800+ years.
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  #47  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:23 AM
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Genuine question: Where, in the first hundred years or so of Christianity, do we have the objections to Christianity preserved by anyone other than Christian writers?

I ask because one ought to be properly skeptical of early Christian writers' willingness to incorporate the very best arguments against their beliefs in their own tracts.

--Logoboros
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  #48  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:23 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Show me, please, where Freud does this. I have read his works in quite some detail, and I can assure you that your accusation, here, is incorrect.

Freud may very well have been wrong, but he was an honest man, attempting to uncover the truth as best he could.

Silas
He wasn't stupid enough to spell out in his works that he had started with the conclusion and then selected and manipulated the data. You seem unaware that the pseudo-scientist always presents his data in a way that makes it appear to lead logically and inevitably to his conclusion.
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  #49  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Yes, they certainly should have. Such as confirming any small part of their story other than the fact that some guy named Pontius Pilate used to work in Jerusalem.
You seem to be confusing theologians with historians.
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  #50  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:34 AM
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So that makes it OK to say that the evangelists claimed that the Roman military guards fell asleep (extremely unlikely, since the penalty would be death), and claim that this proves the evangelists made stuff up, when it was actually you who made it up?
No, I didn't "make it up." I may have misremembered it; I was under the impression that at least one of the Gospels spoke of the Roman Guard falling into a deep sleep.

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I don't claim to be any great shakes as a scholar, but I expect a higher standard of truth in conversation, especially on a site supposedly dedicated to debunking urban legends.
Sorry; I am doing the best I can. I, at least, am spared the shame of claiming to be inerrant.

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. . . Circular reasoning. Obviously any Jewish scholar (such as Paul, Joseph of Arimathea, the Emmaus two etc) who recognised the fulfilment of the prophecies became a Christian. By definition those who refused to recognise the fulfilment of the prophecies remained Jews. . . .
Circular reasoning on your part; you're playing the "definition" game.

The Flight to Egypt is one more example: it appears, in the Gospel of Matthew (I just looked it up) that this was to fulfill the prophecy, "Out of Egypt I have called my son." But that was a reference to Moses, and was not intended to apply to the Messiah. This was grafted on to shoe-horn one man's qualities onto another.

It isn't only Jews who realize the inappropriateness of this...and there are Christians who understand that it is, in fact, an inappropriate appropriation (to essay a pun) of the prophecy.

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You don't seem to realise that genealogies connecting two people many generations apart can, and very frequently do, connect along two or more different lineages. (When all persons concerned are members of a relatively small population living in a small country for the whole period, it would actually be amazing if there were ONLY one line of descent.) The genealogies in both Matthew and Luke are entirely congruent with the Old Testament; there is nothing "contradictory" about them.
Any geneology that sloppy cannot be cited as "evidence." It's self-contradictory on the face of it. You can't say, "Well, they kept crappy records, and different people would trace the lineage differently," and then say, "This is proof of his lineage." You have given a reason why the lineages, as given, are wrong; you cannot, then, immediately turn around and say, "Thus, they have to be right, as there are no errors in scripture."

As you said to me, "Circular reasoning."

Silas
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  #51  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:35 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
The Gospels do not meet your own criteria. They are not verifiable, just to begin with. You put forward one standard that satisfies you, then demand another one of me. We call this "moving the goalposts."
Not at all. See post 46.
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I really have to wonder how you can dismiss "vague references to a distant mythical past," and then hold up the Bible as inerrant. The books of Genesis and Exodus are chock-full of exactly that.

Silas
Genesis' details of times and places, especially the first 11 chapters, are vague, it's true. Exodus is dated to the reign of Pharaoh Rameses II. And the Gospels and Acts are chock-full of times, dates, places, persons and other corroborative tangible detail. If Genesis was the ONLY book of the Bible, you might plausibly claim that belief in Jesus is no more rational than belief in Odin. But it's not. And we now know, as Augustine put it, that "the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New."
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  #52  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:36 AM
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You seem to be confusing theologians with historians.
Um...that's the meat and potatoes of this debate: you are claiming that the Evangelists were historians, and I am saying no, they were apologists. They had a brand of soap they wanted to sell.

Silas
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  #53  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:40 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Insofar as anything in the Bible could be confirmed, nothing of any importance that I'm aware of has been
You really need to get out more.
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and, if you include the earlier myths, plenty has been rebutted. Any miracles, therefore, that could never possibly be confirmed or rebutted are held to be true miracles, whereas those that have clearly been rebutted are held to have some mystical, yet "inerrant" meaning.
What are these miracles which you consider "have clearly been rebutted"?
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It's maddening trying to talk rationally about this illogical world.
Keep trying and you'll find it's eminently logical.
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  #54  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
He wasn't stupid enough to spell out in his works that he had started with the conclusion and then selected and manipulated the data. You seem unaware that the pseudo-scientist always presents his data in a way that makes it appear to lead logically and inevitably to his conclusion.
Well, at least Silas was honest about his Gospel story mistake. Silas asked you to only to explain your accusation. Now you're saying that Silas seems to be "unaware" that such examples are so well-hidden that you cannot even mention one specific example. I call bull.
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  #55  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:41 AM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
You can't act as if the gospels have suddenly been discovered 2000 years after they were written. As the gospels contain numerous such details, they could be easily verified or rebutted by people who were in those places at the times stated. Christians had no shortage of enemies in the first century. If any of them wanted to claim that Jesus never raised Lazarus, fed the 5000, etc. etc. there were plenty of eyewinesses who could deny they ever happened if they were untrue . . .
Could have, perhaps. Didn't.

As far as I am concerned, Jesus' body is still somewhere in Judea, his bones preserved in some sand pit. And I could prove this: all I have to do is go and dig 'em up. I doubt, however, that this subjunctive form of proof would be in any way satisfactory to you. Until you actually provide some of this independent testimony which you say "could" corroborate the claims of the Gospels, then that evidence is hypothetical and suppositional in exactly the same way.

Silas
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  #56  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:44 AM
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You really need to get out more. What are these miracles which you consider "have clearly been rebutted"? Keep trying and you'll find it's eminently logical.
Well, in the beginning there was the "miracle" of creation. We now know that it is entirely false, and no better describes what really happened than any other myth.
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  #57  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post
And we now know, as Augustine put it, that "the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New."
I would love to hear by what firm, logical principle this conclusion was reached -- a principle which, I would presume (based on your Freud comments), you wouldn't stand behind if it could be argued that it was derived in order to fit the predetemined conclusion that the NT is the fulfillment of the OT.

--Logoboros
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  #58  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:58 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
No, I didn't "make it up." I may have misremembered it; I was under the impression that at least one of the Gospels spoke of the Roman Guard falling into a deep sleep.



Sorry; I am doing the best I can. I, at least, am spared the shame of claiming to be inerrant.
And I claimed to be inerrant?

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Circular reasoning on your part; you're playing the "definition" game.

The Flight to Egypt is one more example: it appears, in the Gospel of Matthew (I just looked it up) that this was to fulfill the prophecy, "Out of Egypt I have called my son." But that was a reference to Moses, and was not intended to apply to the Messiah. This was grafted on to shoe-horn one man's qualities onto another.

It isn't only Jews who realize the inappropriateness of this...and there are Christians who understand that it is, in fact, an inappropriate appropriation (to essay a pun) of the prophecy.
Look closer, using Augustine's maxim I quoted, and you will see numerous parallels between Moses and Jesus. The literal meaning of the passage refers to Moses, the allegorical one to Jesus. Christians did not invent this; pre-Christian Jews also frequently used such allegorical meanings of Scripture. It is perfectly appropriate. What is the basis for your authoritative declaration that God did not intend it to be applied to the Messiah?
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Any geneology that sloppy cannot be cited as "evidence." It's self-contradictory on the face of it. You can't say, "Well, they kept crappy records, and different people would trace the lineage differently," and then say, "This is proof of his lineage." You have given a reason why the lineages, as given, are wrong; you cannot, then, immediately turn around and say, "Thus, they have to be right, as there are no errors in scripture."

As you said to me, "Circular reasoning."

Silas
You seem to have totally misunderstood me. Neither lineage is wrong. They are both correct. Just as you could show numerous perfectly correct, and quite different, single-strand genealogies from Queen Elizabeth II back to William the Conqueror.

There are probably also several other correct lineages Matthew and Luke could have shown, but they each chose the ones they did for their own reasons. The Jews were probably the most literate people in the world at that time, and they were far more aware of the details of their ancestry than most people are today. The tax collector Matthew and the physician Luke were probably particularly fastidious about getting the details exactly right.
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  #59  
Old 15 May 2007, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
But that was a reference to Moses, and was not intended to apply to the Messiah. This was grafted on to shoe-horn one man's qualities onto another.
It isn't only Jews who realize the inappropriateness of this...and there are Christians who understand that it is, in fact, an inappropriate appropriation (to essay a pun) of the prophecy.
Silas, It is an interesting form of textual appropriation to be sure. You'll want to be wary of anachronism in your analysis of it though. May I suggest richard longenecker's Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period for a good introduction to methods of textual interpretation en vogue during the new testament's period of composition. If you get really fiesty, check out Richard hays Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. Bottom line, these methods of appropriation seem wierd to us, but were perfectly legitimate (and common) at the time.

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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Um...that's the meat and potatoes of this debate: you are claiming that the Evangelists were historians, and I am saying no, they were apologists. They had a brand of soap they wanted to sell.

Silas
Oh, I agree, they were definitely selling their soap. In fact, the entire subfield of redaction criticism is based on that single fact; analysing the minute differences between the gospel accounts to discern the character of each's soap. At the same time, we can't pretend that history is always neutral.

In other words, there's no reason that the evangelists can be both soap sellers and historians, to some degree.
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  #60  
Old 15 May 2007, 04:26 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Logoboros View Post
Genuine question: Where, in the first hundred years or so of Christianity, do we have the objections to Christianity preserved by anyone other than Christian writers?
In the writings kept by the Jews. In the first 100 years pagans rarely considered Christians as separate from Jews.
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I ask because one ought to be properly skeptical of early Christian writers' willingness to incorporate the very best arguments against their beliefs in their own tracts.

--Logoboros
They would be very poor apologists if they answered only the weak arguments and let the strong arguments stand unanswered, and apparently unanswerable. But in fact the early apologists were effective, as shown by the continual growth of Christianity.
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