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RationalOkie

Bart Ehrman - Jesus Interrupted

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Arguing that myth is fact and not myth is a lot like arguing over the right way to say tomato, disallowing for any regional differences. So what's so bad about looking at it as myth that you feel a need to argue it's not? Since when does myth have to be "credible" to be "believed"? It's really more a case of preference and relevance as a mythology. That's the real argument.

 

In any case, as a point of study in the evolution of the Christ mythology I'm going to look into what Ehrman brings up about Mark's community not seeing Jesus as the Jewish messiah. It's possible, but part of me doesn't feel confident about that for some reason at this point. It has something to do with the context of the myth within the Markan community. The Gospel of Mark was their origin myth, so would the events of the day which spawned it's creation see them imagining Jesus as himself looking for the messiah? Or does it make more sense that they, in response to the Pharisees and the event of the destruction of the temple imagine the Jesus in their community's origin myth as being the messiah?

 

You certainly see the literary vehicle being used of what is called the "messianic secret" in Mark's myth, where the demons in the first half of the story know the "secret" of Jesus' power and authority, which serves as the basis for his vindication as a martyr being rejected and dying for his truths in the second half of the story. At what point does Ehrman say early Christians began imagining Jesus as the Jewish messiah?

 

Interestingly enough, Ehrman does not argue that Jesus was a myth, nor does he argue that the miracles were a myth. So, I think you are not on solid ground in your argument as myth. The Gospels are of a completely different genre from mythology. They are written as history, there is a clear difference between the two genres.

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That's funny. Like you guy's don't start with a preconceived idea? Pleeeeeeeease.

 

The question is not whether a person has presuppositions, but whether those presuppositions are valid and can be backed up. In Ehrman's case, I don't think he does so.

Then why bring it up? If presupposition is something we all suffer from, and it's not really valid for the discussion, then why even bother pointing that out? Unless your thought at first was that in your opinion Ehrman is influenced more by presupposition than others, and hence would be "less right" than you?

 

Basically you bring it up, then someone respond with a valid remark, and you shoot it down with a counter that it shouldn't be important to discuss. Obviously you thought it was important enough when first mentioned it.

 

Because, I believe that his presuppositions are built on weak foundations, therefore, his conclusions lead to erroneous ends. I am willing for people to challenge my presuppositions as I do to theirs, if I wasn't I wouldn't be on this site where most, if not all of you do not share my presuppositions. I see nothing wrong in doing so as it keeps us all as honest as we can be.

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Second, Ehrman interprets the Gospels, and the whole NT for that matter, through a certain set of presuppositions. Although he has brought some useful and generally accepted arguments through his works, much of what he writes has been rejected even by his mentor, Bruce Metzger.

 

 

The question is not whether a person has presuppositions, but whether those presuppositions are valid and can be backed up. In Ehrman's case, I don't think he does so.

 

 

Because, I believe that his presuppositions are built on weak foundations, therefore, his conclusions lead to erroneous ends. I am willing for people to challenge my presuppositions as I do to theirs, if I wasn't I wouldn't be on this site where most, if not all of you do not share my presuppositions. I see nothing wrong in doing so as it keeps us all as honest as we can be.

 

Since we all bring preconceived notions and presuppositions to the table, then was there a need to point that out in the case of Ehrman?

 

Which is it? It's not important and not the question? Or... the presuppositions Ehrman has are important, because you want to challenge them?

 

Sounds like double messages.

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I see, so it's the number of years that decides the truthfulness. 20-60 years = true story, and 100 years = false story.

 

Earliest fragment from the Bible, around 120 CE, which is almost 100 years after. The original is estimated to be earlier, but the actual copy is later.

 

You didn't consider the rest of my statements about direct eyewitnesses, that is also a key. Earliest fragments are also interesting as they show us whether things have changed or developed over time, which is what Ehrman discusses in MJ. Actually, the dates of the fragments and manuscripts of the NT are by far earlier than any other ancient manuscript. We also have far more fragments, manuscripts, and codices than any other ancient manuscript. So, I don't see a problem here either. Most scholars, including Ehrman, believe that we can get back to the high 90 percentile of accuracy in determining what was in the originals. Yet, even though he wrote this in an earlier scholarly writing, he portrays a different story in the popular level MJ, one wonders why.

 

So most of the Gospel copies are 100 years after the story... aha! 100 years = false story.

 

You confuse the writing of the original with the earliest manuscript, it is two different issues. If a person today was to write a history of Charles Darwin (died, 1882) with no prior written record and only hearsay stories of him (and clearly no contemporary eyewitnesses), how accurate do you think the history would be? Now, let's consider writing the history of someone who died in 1982 and that history is written by a contemporary who knew the deceased and who could check with others who knew the deceased. Now, how accurate would that story be.

 

A couple of things to consider. First, any faulty history could be immediately challenged for the more recently deceased person since others who lived contemporaneously could challenge false statements and ideas, whereas, with the person who died over 100 years ago, there would be none of that since his contemporaries are also deceased, as would be a few generations of decedents after him. Clearly, we would get a much more accurate history about the more recently deceased person.

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You didn't consider the rest of my statements about direct eyewitnesses, that is also a key.

The stories of the "direct eyewitnesses" are in those books which are not from the same time-period. So to refer to "eye-witnesses" in the same books and documents, doesn't make those books and documents more reliable. The risk of theses "eye-witnesses" to be false or wrongfully reported is a valid concern, regardless of the comparison with Apollonius. A story written 40 years after the event doesn't make it true, and just because the story say it had "eye-witnesses" doesn't make it more true. If a story was written 100 years after the events and contained claims of eye-witnesses, then would it be more true because of that? Of course not. Neither does it make it false.

 

Earliest fragments are also interesting as they show us whether things have changed or developed over time, which is what Ehrman discusses in MJ. Actually, the dates of the fragments and manuscripts of the NT are by far earlier than any other ancient manuscript. We also have far more fragments, manuscripts, and codices than any other ancient manuscript. So, I don't see a problem here either. Most scholars, including Ehrman, believe that we can get back to the high 90 percentile of accuracy in determining what was in the originals. Yet, even though he wrote this in an earlier scholarly writing, he portrays a different story in the popular level MJ, one wonders why.

Sure. The number of fragments, the age of them, all points to your Jesus. But all fragments and age of other stories, points to false stories. I get it. You're special.

 

You confuse the writing of the original with the earliest manuscript, it is two different issues. If a person today was to write a history of Charles Darwin (died, 1882) with no prior written record and only hearsay stories of him (and clearly no contemporary eyewitnesses), how accurate do you think the history would be? Now, let's consider writing the history of someone who died in 1982 and that history is written by a contemporary who knew the deceased and who could check with others who knew the deceased. Now, how accurate would that story be.

So it's not the age of the story then, but the age of the unknown original? So the truth of the story is established by the estimated time of the original. Estimates becomes truths. I don't like that kind of "science."

 

A couple of things to consider. First, any faulty history could be immediately challenged for the more recently deceased person since others who lived contemporaneously could challenge false statements and ideas, whereas, with the person who died over 100 years ago, there would be none of that since his contemporaries are also deceased, as would be a few generations of decedents after him. Clearly, we would get a much more accurate history about the more recently deceased person.

Well, it seems like the Church were really happy to oppress and burn the books that didn't fit, just like they do today, so it doesn't surprise me we don't know about the challengers.

 

And it's just as hard to challenge an idea 20, 30, or 40 years after the story supposedly take place, as challenge it 100 years after. There's no magic line in age of a story between 40 and 100 which changes it from "true" to "false" or reversed. After is after. Story is a story. I heard there are evidence that the Apolloniei existed several centuries after Apollonius death.

 

 

Consider this: Lets say Philostratus wrote down the stories from trustworthy eye-witness accounts, and the truthful stories from the oral traditions of Apollonius life, then the stories would have to be true, just as much as any other story. Or, perhaps we should apply the same level of criticism and doubt to other religious literature, like... Christian stories? Or do you have double standard?

 

Perhaps truth in a story comes from 8 or more eye-witnesses reported in 3 or more stories written at the most 47 years, 3 months, 8 days, 3 hours, 46 minutes, after the actual event. And the copies must be at least within 62 years, 6 months, 2 days... So what is the exact line where the numbers prove truth over falsehood?

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It is not the first time that I have argued with Ehrman, nor am I the only one who does. Even his own mentor, Bruce Metzger, argues with many of his conclusions. I did a review paper on his Misquoting Jesus and though I found that some of his conclusions were correct, many were very problematic. Ehrman and I also share some commonalities in our backgrounds that I found interesting. If you want a good counterpoint to MJ I recommend NT scholar, Daniel Wallace.
And St. Paul's mentors disagreed with him on his conclusions about Jesus. Does this suddenly mean St. Paul is wrong and the Pharisees were right? Ehrman himself states in Jesus Interrupted that other scholars don't agree with him on all his views but he also points out scholars in general disagree on whether or not Jesus was a social reformer or an apocalyptic prophet etc but the majority all agree that Jesus was a Jew that approved of Jewish law and the scriptures are not historically accurate, so I fail to see how you pointing out the obvious about Ehrman's views on Jesus that he's already addressed himself in his book suddenly proves him wrong.

 

The fact that there are many denominations doesn't mean that they all disagree. Sure, many may have minor disagreements, yet most agree on the core elements. However, if disagreement over

So, right here we have a problem in that the credibility of the stories of Appolonius would be questionable to any historian, while the accounts of Jesus have, in many cases, a high degree of credibility among scholars. Also, since the accounts of Applonius were written so much later there is a tendency to create legend, whereas the Gospels were written too close to allow legend to develop according to scholars.

This makes no sense. Since when is there a magical time line law that forbids something from becoming legend if there's "not enough time?" There's no such thing as "not enough time" for legend to develop. How else do you explain modern religions popping up quickly like Mormonism and Scientology or cargo cults? Are those historical facts because there wasn't enough time for them to become legend by your own admission? And if you think there's such a thing as "not enough time" for legend to develop, you've obviously never been to snopes.com.

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Interestingly enough, Ehrman does not argue that Jesus was a myth, nor does he argue that the miracles were a myth. So, I think you are not on solid ground in your argument as myth. The Gospels are of a completely different genre from mythology. They are written as history, there is a clear difference between the two genres.

 

The Bible mentions both "unicorns" and "satyrs" and "talking donkeys & snakes" and on and on and on....but I'M THE ONE "NOT ON SOLID GROUND?" "The Gospels are of a completely different genre from mythology. " you say. Wow! Riiiiiiight, no myths there.

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Interestingly enough, Ehrman does not argue that Jesus was a myth, nor does he argue that the miracles were a myth. So, I think you are not on solid ground in your argument as myth. The Gospels are of a completely different genre from mythology. They are written as history, there is a clear difference between the two genres.

You think because I don't see things as Ehrman may or may not, this puts me on shaky ground? :HaHa: Then what of yourself? Are you on shaky ground for not saying what Ehrman says? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

 

You are dead wrong in saying the Gospels are a completely different genre from mythology. Steven King has written fiction in a context of history. Does this make it fact? No of course not. There are huge problems with the accuracy of the "historical setting" for the Jesus fiction that scholars wrestle with all the time. It is vastly far simpler to approach this as a work of mythmaking for reasons of supporting the various communities of "believers". Understood as this, these errors that would fly hard into the face of a God-Author, easily slide into place as literary vehicles. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John all had different stories to weave and establishing historical facts were really not in their mind. It was the message of their communities and addressing their respective audiences.

 

Honestly, I don't think anything that Ehrman would see would necessarily challenge that, even if in some particulars they may be disagreement. There are a lot of scholars who recognize the Bible as myth. You think Ehrman doesn't?

 

BTW, I don't believe Jesus was a total myth. I believe he was historical. Just not the water-walking, flying messiah of the creative Gospel fictions. Those are about the communities that created the myth. (And you find the story of walking on water to not be mythical?? Yet scoff at the myth of Mohamed leaping to heaven on a horse? But Jesus will come back from heaven on one isn't? Do you see my point here?)

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At what point does Ehrman say early Christians began imagining Jesus as the Jewish messiah?
Ehrman argues in Jesus Interrupted that in Mark's gospel, Jesus was viewed as an apocalyptic Jew and points out numerous verses where Jesus preaches about how the end times is going to happen within the lifetime of the apostles and argues that Jesus believed the kingdom of God was going to be a literal kingdom on Earth. But he points out in John's gospel, the message is changed so that Jesus' kingdom is no longer a literal one on Earth but that it's not of this world and to obtain eternal life, you have to believe in the message of Jesus. Ehrman argues that since John's gospel was the last of the four gospels, all the apostles were dead by then, so the author of John was trying to explain why the kingdom of God hadn't arrived yet by changing Jesus' message to be a spiritual kingdom rather than one that exists within this world. I'll have to re-read Jesus Interrupted for what exact point Ehrman says this change in Jesus' message happened, but it seems to definitely be by the time John was written. And of course I have to recommend reading Jesus Interrupted for anyone that hasn't yet. ^^;;

 

Honestly, I don't think anything that Ehrman would see would necessarily challenge that, even if in some particulars they may be disagreement. There are a lot of scholars who recognize the Bible as myth. You think Ehrman doesn't?

 

BTW, I don't believe Jesus was a total myth. I believe he was historical. Just not the water-walking, flying messiah of the creative Gospel fictions. Those are about the communities that created the myth. (And you find the story of walking on water to not be mythical?? Yet scoff at the myth of Mohamed leaping to heaven on a horse? But Jesus will come back from heaven on one isn't? Do you see my point here?)

This is actually the view of Ehrman as well. Ehrman does not believe the gospels are historically accurate facts, being an agnostic. He believes that a historical Jesus exists but it's not as portrayed in a literal reading of the gospels. He thinks some parts of the gospels may be based on historical events like the crucifixion of Jesus (though he doesn't believe the crucifixion accounts are historically accurate in the gospels) but other things are obviously mythological like the miracles and he sees the Gospel Of John and Acts as books of theology rather than historically reliable books.

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Well said Neon Genesis. You've stated the argument exactly as I read it. You've explained it a great deal more clearly than I did. Thank you.

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At what point does Ehrman say early Christians began imagining Jesus as the Jewish messiah?

Ehrman argues in Jesus Interrupted that in Mark's gospel, Jesus was viewed as an apocalyptic Jew and points out numerous verses where Jesus preaches about how the end times is going to happen within the lifetime of the apostles and argues that Jesus believed the kingdom of God was going to be a literal kingdom on Earth. But he points out in John's gospel, the message is changed so that Jesus' kingdom is no longer a literal one on Earth but that it's not of this world and to obtain eternal life, you have to believe in the message of Jesus. Ehrman argues that since John's gospel was the last of the four gospels, all the apostles were dead by then, so the author of John was trying to explain why the kingdom of God hadn't arrived yet by changing Jesus' message to be a spiritual kingdom rather than one that exists within this world. I'll have to re-read Jesus Interrupted for what exact point Ehrman says this change in Jesus' message happened, but it seems to definitely be by the time John was written. And of course I have to recommend reading Jesus Interrupted for anyone that hasn't yet. ^^;;

This sounds like what I understand as well. Except I'd say that John's gospel was motivated more by a particular worldview, than some apologetic for why the earthly kingdom hadn't happened yet. John's gospel is much more gnostic in its portrait of the Christ. It's about divine light and the path to the other world. This particular emphasis on spiritual enlightenment is different than the other Gospels by virtue of it being a different community. The Gospel of Thomas folks were the same, running parallel with the Jewish Christians.

 

My real question though is at what point did Jesus start to be imagined as the Jewish Messiah? He is imagined in many ways in the early communities. Wisdom teacher in one community, apocalyptic prophet in another, great prophet like Moses and Elijah in another, Cosmic Anointed One in another (Christ), Jewish messiah in another, Door to spiritual Light in another, etc. Mark creates a certain story arc drawing off these popular views with his particular emphasis confronting the dismay of his community in the face of the destruction of the temple. Mathew builds off Mark and Q and the miracle traditions from those communities, Luke has his version of Mark's story, then John comes out of the more gnostic schools, yet assenting to the more centrist views.

 

Honestly, I don't think anything that Ehrman would see would necessarily challenge that, even if in some particulars they may be disagreement. There are a lot of scholars who recognize the Bible as myth. You think Ehrman doesn't?

 

BTW, I don't believe Jesus was a total myth. I believe he was historical. Just not the water-walking, flying messiah of the creative Gospel fictions. Those are about the communities that created the myth. (And you find the story of walking on water to not be mythical?? Yet scoff at the myth of Mohamed leaping to heaven on a horse? But Jesus will come back from heaven on one isn't? Do you see my point here?)

This is actually the view of Ehrman as well. Ehrman does not believe the gospels are historically accurate facts, being an agnostic. He believes that a historical Jesus exists but it's not as portrayed in a literal reading of the gospels. He thinks some parts of the gospels may be based on historical events like the crucifixion of Jesus (though he doesn't believe the crucifixion accounts are historically accurate in the gospels) but other things are obviously mythological like the miracles and he sees the Gospel Of John and Acts as books of theology rather than historically reliable books.

I would see the death of Jesus probably occurred in some fashion as untimely, as it seems to be a basis the later mythologies. But the whole story of the trial and whatnot are fabrications based on a theology of martyrology, which is based on the Greek ideal of the noble death. Take Jesus' death and make it an ideal, elevate him, turn it into a sacrifice for the communities justifying them in the eyes of the Law without having to undergo full immersion into Judasim (slicing off the foreskin and whatnot), created a fictional story of some sinister plot of corrupt priests and Romans, and present it all in a story tied into to the fabric of the universe itself! Mythmaking!

 

Oh no... this is different... No mythology, but consistent, verifiable facts. :)

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The stories of the "direct eyewitnesses" are in those books which are not from the same time-period. So to refer to "eye-witnesses" in the same books and documents, doesn't make those books and documents more reliable. The risk of theses "eye-witnesses" to be false or wrongfully reported is a valid concern, regardless of the comparison with Apollonius. A story written 40 years after the event doesn't make it true, and just because the story say it had "eye-witnesses" doesn't make it more true. If a story was written 100 years after the events and contained claims of eye-witnesses, then would it be more true because of that? Of course not. Neither does it make it false.

 

I am not referring to the Bible as a whole, it is consequential that the various writings have been gathered together in one book; however, each source must be considered independently as well. I am considering the various sources based upon the reliability that even skeptical sources give them and the Gospel of Mark has widespread credibility by even skeptics. The fact that an account was written 20, 40, or 60 years later doesn't make it false either. I agree that it is a valid concern as to whether they reported accurately; however, I have seen nothing that you have presented thus far to doubt their veracity. I am saying that the closer the writing to the actual events the better chance it has of being either challenged or refuted by contemporaries of the events. We don't see those writings by contemporaries refuting the witnesses.

 

Sure. The number of fragments, the age of them, all points to your Jesus. But all fragments and age of other stories, points to false stories. I get it. You're special.

 

OK, so you don't have a meaningful response then? I will assume not.

 

So it's not the age of the story then, but the age of the unknown original? So the truth of the story is established by the estimated time of the original. Estimates becomes truths. I don't like that kind of "science."

 

I simply pointed out the fact that you are conflating issues. We can trace the approximate date of the originals by other factors (i.e. events recorded, events not recorded, etc.) Dating of the earliest fragments, manuscripts, minuscules, codices, etc. is another issue. You need to read up more about how historians date and determine the validity of ancient writings, because your questions betray your lack of understanding of the topic.

 

Well, it seems like the Church were really happy to oppress and burn the books that didn't fit, just like they do today, so it doesn't surprise me we don't know about the challengers.

 

And it's just as hard to challenge an idea 20, 30, or 40 years after the story supposedly take place, as challenge it 100 years after. There's no magic line in age of a story between 40 and 100 which changes it from "true" to "false" or reversed. After is after. Story is a story. I heard there are evidence that the Apolloniei existed several centuries after Apollonius death.

 

Consider this: Lets say Philostratus wrote down the stories from trustworthy eye-witness accounts, and the truthful stories from the oral traditions of Apollonius life, then the stories would have to be true, just as much as any other story. Or, perhaps we should apply the same level of criticism and doubt to other religious literature, like... Christian stories? Or do you have double standard?

 

Perhaps truth in a story comes from 8 or more eye-witnesses reported in 3 or more stories written at the most 47 years, 3 months, 8 days, 3 hours, 46 minutes, after the actual event. And the copies must be at least within 62 years, 6 months, 2 days... So what is the exact line where the numbers prove truth over falsehood?

 

Can you cite references for the burning of books by the early church that "didn't fit" their worldview? How were they able to find all the copies and burn them? How is it that we still have writings from Gnostic and other variant sources?

 

Regarding challenging ideas 20-40 years after the event, I find your reply simply untenable. So, if someone wrote a book today about Nixon's or Kennedy's presidency, you are saying it would be hard to challenge the statements contained within? We have contemporaries of both still alive and if something erroneous was written they would surely come out and challenge the ideas both in writing in public events. The "magic line" as you call it is when all the contemporaries and eyewitnesses die off.

 

Regarding Philostratus, I don't know that we have any direct eyewitnesses referenced only a recording of the legends, so it is reasonable to consider these less trustworthy than the direct eyewitness accounts, it it not? So, there is no double standard on my part, but apparently you want to equate the two accounts as somehow equal, which is a clear double standard.

 

Historians seem to be able to decipher these questions, so again, I would suggest that you study the issue a little more so you can understand the criteria used.

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And St. Paul's mentors disagreed with him on his conclusions about Jesus. Does this suddenly mean St. Paul is wrong and the Pharisees were right? Ehrman himself states in Jesus Interrupted that other scholars don't agree with him on all his views but he also points out scholars in general disagree on whether or not Jesus was a social reformer or an apocalyptic prophet etc but the majority all agree that Jesus was a Jew that approved of Jewish law and the scriptures are not historically accurate, so I fail to see how you pointing out the obvious about Ehrman's views on Jesus that he's already addressed himself in his book suddenly proves him wrong.

 

Are you sure about that? Paul's mentor was a Jewish Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel (Acts 22), and according to Acts 5 he was still undecided about what the Apostles were teaching, ever arguing that the lives of the Apostles should be spared from the angry crowd. So, I wouldn't be so quick to conclude that Paul's mentor's disagreed with him. Where does Ehrman get the idea that Jesus considered the Jewish scriptures inaccurate? Yes, Jesus approved of the Law as he was responsible for establishing the Law; however, he also brought the proper perspective of the Law, clarifying the Jews ideas about the Law in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere.

 

This makes no sense. Since when is there a magical time line law that forbids something from becoming legend if there's "not enough time?" There's no such thing as "not enough time" for legend to develop. How else do you explain modern religions popping up quickly like Mormonism and Scientology or cargo cults? Are those historical facts because there wasn't enough time for them to become legend by your own admission? And if you think there's such a thing as "not enough time" for legend to develop, you've obviously never been to snopes.com.

 

When there are contemporaries who can debunk any legend, then it is too soon for legend to develop. We can and do debunk religions like Mormonism, Scientology, cargo cults and others. Immediately when the Raelians came out in the 90s they were immediately debunked. We can investigate the history of the Mormons, the JWs, L. Ron Hubbard and others to check their facts and debunk what is false. If the eyewitnesses of Jesus were spreading falsehood it would have been recorded by contemporaries. All they had to do was produce the body of Jesus and the movement was have quickly dissipated.

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The Bible mentions both "unicorns" and "satyrs" and "talking donkeys & snakes" and on and on and on....but I'M THE ONE "NOT ON SOLID GROUND?" "The Gospels are of a completely different genre from mythology. " you say. Wow! Riiiiiiight, no myths there.

 

Really? Please tell me where. I have read the entire Bible many times and have not seen one reference to a unicorn or satyr. Let me know that you are really on solid ground by giving me the verse references.

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You think because I don't see things as Ehrman may or may not, this puts me on shaky ground? Then what of yourself? Are you on shaky ground for not saying what Ehrman says? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

 

You are dead wrong in saying the Gospels are a completely different genre from mythology. Steven King has written fiction in a context of history. Does this make it fact? No of course not. There are huge problems with the accuracy of the "historical setting" for the Jesus fiction that scholars wrestle with all the time. It is vastly far simpler to approach this as a work of mythmaking for reasons of supporting the various communities of "believers". Understood as this, these errors that would fly hard into the face of a God-Author, easily slide into place as literary vehicles. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John all had different stories to weave and establishing historical facts were really not in their mind. It was the message of their communities and addressing their respective audiences.

 

Honestly, I don't think anything that Ehrman would see would necessarily challenge that, even if in some particulars they may be disagreement. There are a lot of scholars who recognize the Bible as myth. You think Ehrman doesn't?

 

BTW, I don't believe Jesus was a total myth. I believe he was historical. Just not the water-walking, flying messiah of the creative Gospel fictions. Those are about the communities that created the myth. (And you find the story of walking on water to not be mythical?? Yet scoff at the myth of Mohamed leaping to heaven on a horse? But Jesus will come back from heaven on one isn't? Do you see my point here?)

 

You misinterpreted what I said. I am saying that Ehrman is a skeptic of the Bible and a Bible scholar and he does not consider the Bible in the genre of mythology.

 

If Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were writing myth as you say, why include so many falsifiable factual claims? Why do their stories coincide with the others? If facts were really not in their mind, as you say, why include so many factual details (people, places and events) that could be checked out, even centuries later? I think you are grasping at straws here.

 

Whether scholars see the Bible as myth is a testable claim and the vast majority of scholars would say that they are wrong in their understanding of literary genre. The Bible is clearly written in a different genre than myth.

 

Let me ask you, why do you discount the miracles of the Bible? Is that simply an anti-supernatural presupposition that leads you to that conclusion? If so, on what do you base this bias?

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The Bible mentions both "unicorns" and "satyrs" and "talking donkeys & snakes" and on and on and on....but I'M THE ONE "NOT ON SOLID GROUND?" "The Gospels are of a completely different genre from mythology. " you say. Wow! Riiiiiiight, no myths there.

 

Really? Please tell me where. I have read the entire Bible many times and have not seen one reference to a unicorn or satyr. Let me know that you are really on solid ground by giving me the verse references.

 

Numbers 23:22 (King James Version)

22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

 

Isaiah 13:21 (King James Version)

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

 

Didst' thou not readest these? I noticed also that you avoided the talking donkeys, snakes, and talking burning bushes. No comment there? Keep talking your jibber jabber LNC. You will write 50 lines of jibberish and avoid the obvious 1 line question. Do you not see talking donkeys, snakes, and talking burning bushes as 'Mythical'? Yes or no, we don't need 50 freaking paragraphs.

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OK, so you don't have a meaningful response then? I will assume not.

That's right. There's not much value in debating with you.

 

I simply pointed out the fact that you are conflating issues. We can trace the approximate date of the originals by other factors (i.e. events recorded, events not recorded, etc.) Dating of the earliest fragments, manuscripts, minuscules, codices, etc. is another issue. You need to read up more about how historians date and determine the validity of ancient writings, because your questions betray your lack of understanding of the topic.

Of course you're right again. The validity of the historical dating of the Gospels are based on certain sciences that makes it true, while using the same sciences for other debatable characters in history, they're more likely wrong. I got it. Jesus-ism is true, while other-isms are false. Always.

 

Can you cite references for the burning of books by the early church that "didn't fit" their worldview? How were they able to find all the copies and burn them? How is it that we still have writings from Gnostic and other variant sources?

You mean from some untrustworthy source like the Bible? "A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas." (Acts 19:19, NIV)

 

Well, it's from the Bible, so perhaps it wasn't true?

 

Regarding challenging ideas 20-40 years after the event, I find your reply simply untenable. So, if someone wrote a book today about Nixon's or Kennedy's presidency, you are saying it would be hard to challenge the statements contained within? We have contemporaries of both still alive and if something erroneous was written they would surely come out and challenge the ideas both in writing in public events. The "magic line" as you call it is when all the contemporaries and eyewitnesses die off.

We don't know if the Gospel writers did get it from survivors of contemporaries or not. The chain of evidence is not there. It's just assumed.

 

Regarding Philostratus, I don't know that we have any direct eyewitnesses referenced only a recording of the legends, so it is reasonable to consider these less trustworthy than the direct eyewitness accounts, it it not? So, there is no double standard on my part, but apparently you want to equate the two accounts as somehow equal, which is a clear double standard.

We don't know if the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, or even written down in second hand from eyewitnesses. So the comparison is valid.

 

Historians seem to be able to decipher these questions, so again, I would suggest that you study the issue a little more so you can understand the criteria used.

Yes, you're right again, because everything I say is wrong, and everything you say is right.

 

--edit--

 

Oh, I forgot, The lying, deceiving historians who use science, claims that the Christian emperor Jovian ordered the entire Library of Antioch to be burn in 364. That can't be true, can it?

 

Wait, there's one more: in 448, Theodosius II ordered all non-Christian books to be burned. But I'm not sure if it is true, since it's not in the Bible.

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Are you sure about that? Paul's mentor was a Jewish Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel (Acts 22), and according to Acts 5 he was still undecided about what the Apostles were teaching, ever arguing that the lives of the Apostles should be spared from the angry crowd. So, I wouldn't be so quick to conclude that Paul's mentor's disagreed with him. Where does Ehrman get the idea that Jesus considered the Jewish scriptures inaccurate? Yes, Jesus approved of the Law as he was responsible for establishing the Law; however, he also brought the proper perspective of the Law, clarifying the Jews ideas about the Law in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere.
Nice job of putting words in my mouth that I or Ehrman never said. I never said Ehrman thinks Jesus considered the Jewish law to be inaccurate. When I referred to scriptures, I was obviously referring to that Ehrman thinks the gospels are historically inaccurate. Have you even bothered to read Ehrman's book? You seem to know nothing about him and what he thinks if you did.

 

When there are contemporaries who can debunk any legend, then it is too soon for legend to develop. We can and do debunk religions like Mormonism, Scientology, cargo cults and others. Immediately when the Raelians came out in the 90s they were immediately debunked. We can investigate the history of the Mormons, the JWs, L. Ron Hubbard and others to check their facts and debunk what is false. If the eyewitnesses of Jesus were spreading falsehood it would have been recorded by contemporaries. All they had to do was produce the body of Jesus and the movement was have quickly dissipated.
You're making an anti-common sense thinking presumption here that 1)the gospels are historically accurate about the aftermath of Jesus' death, 2)the apostles didn't burn Jesus' body and that a body would still have been around to disprove the resurrection, and 3)that even if people had exposed the body of Jesus to disprove the resurrection, that people would have believed them. You yourself say Raelians were disproved in the 90s yet there are still Raelians today that believe in Rael. We've spent elsewhere about half of a 20 page thread showing you how Noah's Ark is fairytale yet you just ignored my posts and are still convinced that a ship that was smaller than the Titanic can fit two of every animal species on Earth. If people can still self-delude themselves in the face of direct counter-evidence today, what makes you think it would be any different in the first century where people were even more ignorant of science and rational thinking even if the body was exposed in the first century? On the other hand, if the gospels are historically accurate and Jesus really did raise from the dead, why is there no contemporary evidence of all those dead people who were raised when Jesus died?

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Numbers 23:22 (King James Version)

22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

 

Isaiah 13:21 (King James Version)

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

 

Didst' thou not readest these? I noticed also that you avoided the talking donkeys, snakes, and talking burning bushes. No comment there? Keep talking your jibber jabber LNC. You will write 50 lines of jibberish and avoid the obvious 1 line question. Do you not see talking donkeys, snakes, and talking burning bushes as 'Mythical'? Yes or no, we don't need 50 freaking paragraphs.

 

OK, here is the problem, I don't read the KJV since I don't think that it is the best translation; however, I do find it to be the favorite translation for skeptics for just that reason. Maybe you could try to read other translations that more accurately reflect what is in the Hebrew.

 

22 God brings them out of Egypt

and is for them like the horns of the wild ox. Numbers 23:22

 

21But wild animals will lie down there,

and their houses will be full of howling creatures;

there ostriches will dwell,

and there wild goats will dance. Isaiah 13:21

 

Regarding the talking donkey and talking serpent (to be more accurate) and burning bushes that don't burn up (however, it wasn't the bush that spoke, but God who spoke), yes, I do believe that a God who could create the universe and raise the dead could perform miracles like these as well. Your problem is that you have the kangaroo mentality (from Horton Hears a Who), "If you can't see it, feel it, or see it, it doesn't exist." Unfortunately, you cannot see your mind, or your thoughts, so do they exist? Hmm, I wonder...maybe you can try to prove that they do for me.

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Regarding the talking donkey and talking serpent (to be more accurate) and burning bushes that don't burn up (however, it wasn't the bush that spoke, but God who spoke), yes, I do believe that a God who could create the universe and raise the dead could perform miracles like these as well. Your problem is that you have the kangaroo mentality (from Horton Hears a Who), "If you can't see it, feel it, or see it, it doesn't exist." Unfortunately, you cannot see your mind, or your thoughts, so do they exist? Hmm, I wonder...maybe you can try to prove that they do for me.
I'm sorry, maybe I misunderstood you. But are you comparing actual science to talking snakes? I hope you know this is real life, not Harry Potter. :funny:

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I hope you know this is real life, not Harry Potter.

Harry Potter spoiler:

Harry Potter died and came back to life too, in the last book. Harry Potter is Jesus. :grin:

 

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Numbers 23:22 (King James Version)

22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

 

Isaiah 13:21 (King James Version)

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

 

Didst' thou not readest these? I noticed also that you avoided the talking donkeys, snakes, and talking burning bushes. No comment there? Keep talking your jibber jabber LNC. You will write 50 lines of jibberish and avoid the obvious 1 line question. Do you not see talking donkeys, snakes, and talking burning bushes as 'Mythical'? Yes or no, we don't need 50 freaking paragraphs.

 

OK, here is the problem, I don't read the KJV since I don't think that it is the best translation; however, I do find it to be the favorite translation for skeptics for just that reason. Maybe you could try to read other translations that more accurately reflect what is in the Hebrew.

 

22 God brings them out of Egypt

and is for them like the horns of the wild ox. Numbers 23:22

 

21But wild animals will lie down there,

and their houses will be full of howling creatures;

there ostriches will dwell,

and there wild goats will dance. Isaiah 13:21

 

Regarding the talking donkey and talking serpent (to be more accurate) and burning bushes that don't burn up (however, it wasn't the bush that spoke, but God who spoke), yes, I do believe that a God who could create the universe and raise the dead could perform miracles like these as well. Your problem is that you have the kangaroo mentality (from Horton Hears a Who), "If you can't see it, feel it, or see it, it doesn't exist." Unfortunately, you cannot see your mind, or your thoughts, so do they exist? Hmm, I wonder...maybe you can try to prove that they do for me.

 

Ah...So it's "YES" then. You state that you do indeed believe in talking donkey's and the like and yet they don't qualify as mythical in your mind. If you can rationalize that man....good luck to you. In my opinion, you're completely delusional and desperate to make the bible look real to people. I gave you a chance to explain that you were rational and worthy of listening to and you blew it. You’re just a 'God said and I believe it guy'. That has no credibility here. I'm done with you. Good day sir.

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Unfortunately, you cannot see your mind, or your thoughts, so do they exist? Hmm, I wonder...maybe you can try to prove that they do for me.

 

Ever heard of neuroimaging?

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Unfortunately, you cannot see your mind, or your thoughts, so do they exist? Hmm, I wonder...maybe you can try to prove that they do for me.

 

Ever heard of neuroimaging?

 

You guy's can continue to argue with LNC, that's your prerogative, but once someone identifies themselves as a nutcase (believes in mythical creatures) I'm done. You can argue logic until you are blue in the face and get nowhere. He's either a nut that thinks he's rational or just dumb. Either way, I have better things to do than argue with crazy people.

 

As my grandpa used to say, "Ignorance you can fix but stupid is permanent".

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My real question though is at what point did Jesus start to be imagined as the Jewish Messiah? He is imagined in many ways in the early communities. Wisdom teacher in one community, apocalyptic prophet in another, great prophet like Moses and Elijah in another, Cosmic Anointed One in another (Christ), Jewish messiah in another, Door to spiritual Light in another, etc. Mark creates a certain story arc drawing off these popular views with his particular emphasis confronting the dismay of his community in the face of the destruction of the temple. Mathew builds off Mark and Q and the miracle traditions from those communities, Luke has his version of Mark's story, then John comes out of the more gnostic schools, yet assenting to the more centrist views.
Here's what Ehrman says about the belief of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah on pages 170-171.
I do not think that Jesus publicly declared himself a king during his ministry. Doing so would be an extremely dangerous and criminal act. And he did not think of himself as a king in the present age. But it is well attested that he taught the twelve disciples at greater length in private. And one of the things he taught them was that they would be rulers in the future kingdom. All the pieces fall into place if Jesus taught his disciples in private that he would be their masters not only now but in the age to come. When the kingdom arrived, he would be the king. In ancient Israel one of the designations of the future king was the term "Messiah," meaning anointed one of God. Jesus did not call himself the Messiah in public, although others may have thought of him in this way. But when Jesus spoke of himself as the Messiah in private with his disciples, he did not mean that he would drive out the Romans and set up Israel as a sovereign state in the land. He meant that God was going to overthrow the forces of evil and appoint him king. That is why after his death his followers continued to call him the Messiah. Jews at the time did not believe that the Messiah was supposed to die and then be raised from the dead. So, even if Jesus' followers came to believe in the resurrection, this would not be reason for them to call Jesus the Messiah. They therefore must have thought of him as the Messiah before he died. Why? Because that's what he taught them.

 

Why did the Romans execute Jesus for calling himself the king of the Jews if he never called himself that in public? Because they learned that he actually did think of himself in this way. He meant it in a futuristic apocalyptic sense, but they interpreted it in a present political sense, and so ordered his execution. And how could they have learned about Jesus, if it wasn't public knowledge? Someone must have told them, someone who was privy to his private instructions. It was one of the twelve. Judas did not simply tell the authorities where to find Jesus. He told them that Jesus had been calling himself the (future) king of the Jews. That is all the authorities needed to hear. From then on it was a done deal. The Jewish leaders, whom Jesus had aggravated by his apocalyptic preaching against them and their authority, questioned Jesus and turned him over to Pilate for trial. He asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews, and Jesus could not very well deny it. Pilate ordered him crucified, and the sentence was carried out immediately.

 

Harry Potter died and came back to life too, in the last book. Harry Potter is Jesus. FrogsToadBigGrin.gif

Does this mean that (another Harry Potter spoiler)

Dumbledore is God and since Dumbledore is gay, God is gay, too?

 

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