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Rickswordfish

Oral traditions reliable?

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This article brings up several pieces of evidence that the oral trqditions that lead to the gospel are accurate can someone read it and tell me wether or no theyre right https://reknew.org/2019/04/how-reliable-was-the-early-churchs-oral-traditions/

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21 hours ago, Rickswordfish said:

This article brings up several pieces of evidence that the oral traditions that lead to the gospel are accurate can someone read it and tell me wether or no theyre right https://reknew.org/2019/04/how-reliable-was-the-early-churchs-oral-traditions/ 

 

Although this link can be considered scholarly IMO, they come to conclusions that are certainly not reliable, also IMO.  Oral tradition that's old, of any religion or otherwise is certainly unreliable if not backed up by a lot of evidence, whereby the life of Jesus has no historical evidence to back it up, and little verifiable evidence for the validity of the Bible of any kind in the New or Old testament.  The article states that the most reliable oral tradition of the New Testament is backed up by the  teachings of Paul, the Pauline Epistles. The life of Paul has a historical backing, but his writings have always been in question as to their authenticity since they are known not to have been written in his own hand, penmanship. Paul was literate in several languages and wrote well in Latin and Greek, contrary to the literacy of probably Jesus or any of his 12 disciples if any other than Paul ever lived.  But a Paul who preached Christianity about the time of the Biblical Paul did exist according to history, but are any of his asserted writings authentic? probably not IMO for reasons explained in the link below but Paul's alleged writings parallel some of what is known of his life.  As far as oral traditions of the Bible are concerned most Biblical scholars agree that little credence should be given to unsupported oral traditions of Christianity hundreds of years old, contrary to the conclusions of the OP link.

 

http://www.directionjournal.org/44/1/inauthentic-letters-of-paul.html

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     I think it depends on what you mean by reliable.  I noticed that they referenced "Honko" in some relevant places so I went looking for what they had to say.  In what I could find they seemed to be saying that we should remember that history and myth were essentially interchangeable in many cultures (this is true of most ancient cultures) and that transcribing a large oral narrative is almost impossible.  They provide examples where they ask bards to sing them epic poems (normally only parts of the poems are performed as opposed to the whole thing).  They then noticed that even though they had the whole poem (agreed upon by other bards and the audience) that at other performances the same parts they had could change sometimes be twice as long.  Also, had they just listened to random performances by any number of bards they would have probably never heard the entire epic since it never seems to ever get performed.

 

     The point here is the xians are trying to say since we know bards can memorize and perform large amounts of information that this information must be real history when that doesn't have to be the case.  I have no problem with the gospels having an oral origin.  It's just in this specific case it really also needs to be real history for it to actually matter.

 

          mwc

 

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But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate

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12 minutes ago, Rickswordfish said:

But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate

     They seem to be referring to one guy who has one article in the book "Dynamics of Tradition: Perspectives on Oral Poetry and Folk Belief" but, unfortunately, I haven't yet found a bookseller that has a preview so I don't know anything about what is being said.  It just seems that the author of this article is lifting his argument from a couple jesus is really, real sort of books since they seem to be the only ones to cite this particular guy.

 

     Jawaharlal Handoo seems to have done a lot of work with folk tales in India but I can't seem to find any indication that any work has been done with any work in other areas or if this work even applies to other areas.  Other cultures may have worked entirely differently.

 

          mwc

 

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38 minutes ago, Rickswordfish said:

But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate

 

The problem with that is that oral traditions were needed before those hearing and remembering such things could read or write. I'm sure you could imagine how something that has passed though 15-30 generations could change over time if there was no other way to record it other than memory. And of course some could add to or delete some of the story to keep it logically consistent with the beliefs of the religion which might change over time.

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Bart Ehrman wrote about oral traditions and focused, somewhat scientifically, on human memory in a few chapters.  He was surprised when he had found very little written about the accuracy and fallibility of the human memory as applied to oral traditions.  The book is:

 

Jesus Before the Gospels:  How the Earliest Christian Remembered, Changed and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

 

It's a rather good read and a bit more accessible than many of his other books.

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Just a note, all scholars do not accept that Paul was a real person. The Fabricated Paul by Hermann Detering & The Colossal Apostle by Robert M Price are two examples of scholarly works that question whether the Apostle Paul was a real person. 

 

I think both noted authors present a strong case for Paul being a literary character. The alternative is that Marcion and Simon Magus wrote the Pauline Epistles and were the real creators of Christianity. Obviously the mentioned books would have to be read to become familiar with the evidence they present and then the reader will have to decide for themselves.

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A major problem in determining the historical accuracy of scripture and the Christian faith is that writings prior to the second century have been lost and or destroyed. Therefore, there are no eyewitness recordings of anything. All the “evidence” that exists is hearsay and therefore unreliable.

 

Based on the information available I lean towards the probability that it is more likely, rather than less likely, that the Gospel story is just that....a fictional story and that would make the characters in that story fictional too. I think that also applies to Paul and his Epistles. The real authors of the Epistles created Paul as their fictional author.

 

The surviving evidence suggest that Marcion and Simon Magus created the Christian religion using the fictional Gospel story as their inspiration. Marcion’s Churches were originally the most popular Christian Church until the Catholic Church excommunicated him. And when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire the Catholic Church ruled unopposed for centuries building up tremendous wealth and power. 

 

I think the probabilities indicate Christianity is based on a mythical story, with a mythical God/man hero, that came to save the world, and thanks to the Roman Empire it remains the most popular religion in the world today. 

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2 hours ago, Geezer said:

, and thanks to the Roman Empire it remains the most popular religion in the world today. 

...and Constantine.

 

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21 hours ago, sdelsolray said:

Bart Ehrman wrote about oral traditions and focused, somewhat scientifically, on human memory in a few chapters.  He was surprised when he had found very little written about the accuracy and fallibility of the human memory as applied to oral traditions.  The book is:

 

Jesus Before the Gospels:  How the Earliest Christian Remembered, Changed and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

 

It's a rather good read and a bit more accessible than many of his other books.

I'll be honest sometimes it feels like ehrman really stretches the truth

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1 hour ago, Rickswordfish said:

I'll be honest sometimes it feels like ehrman really stretches the truth

 

Well, much of what biblical historians deal with is not truth, but probabilities, possibilities and uncertainties, and for Biblical scholars such as Ehrman, who uses textual criticism methodology coupled with internal bias mitigation, the result is certainly interesting as well as refreshing.

 

Have you read his book I referenced, Jesus Before the Gospels:  How the Earliest Christian Remembered, Changed and Invented Their Stories of the Savior?

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12 hours ago, Rickswordfish said:

But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate....

 

I'll be honest sometimes it feels like ehrman really stretches the truth

 

Who are you? 

 

And why does this strike me as a troll thread when I read your responses to members answering your questions? You sound like an apologist trolling people with baited questions. And no intention of listening to what they are trying to tell you. If this is NOT the case, then please explain yourself further. 

 

Thanks.  

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     I am also not a huge fan of Ehrman.  I liked his papers quite a bit when I read those many years ago but I haven't much cared for his books all that much (the first was good...it seemed a layman version of his papers but after that he didn't seem to have anything new to say) especially "Did Jesus Exist?" which I thought was just lackluster effort all around.

 

          mwc

 

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17 hours ago, mwc said:

     I am also not a huge fan of Ehrman.  I liked his papers quite a bit when I read those many years ago but I haven't much cared for his books all that much (the first was good...it seemed a layman version of his papers but after that he didn't seem to have anything new to say) especially "Did Jesus Exist?" which I thought was just lackluster effort all around.

 

          mwc

 

 

DJE was certainty a problem. And obviously because Ehrman didn't do the research and pretty much hacked the thing. But I don't think that issue conflates with Ehrman's scholarly opinion on oral traditions.

 

What has me suspicious of this new poster is the ask a question and then go right to hand wave dismissing everything people respond with. Doesn't seem like a genuine concern to me.....

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27 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

DJE was certainty a problem. And obviously because Ehrman didn't do the research and pretty much hacked the thing. But I don't think that issue conflates with Ehrman's scholarly opinion on oral traditions.

     I didn't say that it did.  I just said I wasn't really fan.  I feel his work has gone downhill and his first one or two books are the only ones really worth reading.  It's kind of a problem in this field as a whole though.  It's not like new things come along every day when it comes to old jesus so everyone kind of kicks the same dead horse after their first ideas come out.

 

27 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

What has me suspicious of this new poster is the ask a question and then go right to hand wave dismissing everything people respond with. Doesn't seem like a genuine concern to me.....

     I don't know.  I think different people might come here with different mindsets.  Questioning the old school is tough and it's easier to believe those old answers.  They make a lot of sense when that's the answer you've gotten your whole life and pretty much everyone believes.  It's like being told the simple story of Christopher Columbus believed the world was round when people thought it was flat.  But then you're told that wasn't really the case.  So you go to look for answers and now you have to mull those over and while you do you kind of dismiss the new ones and fall back to the familiar answer.  It's not much of a stretch to understand people all thought the world was round but just argued over the size but that's not the story so you need to work it out.  You also need to sort out a few more details but it all takes time.  And just accepting some new answer or just telling people that you will might be dishonest so it's best to do what works for you.  If they're messing with us then so be it but who cares?  I can learn something about oral traditions.

 

          mwc

 

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Anyone ever play the game of Telephone? That might shed some light on how accurate oral tradition might be. Now add decades, even centuries, of transmitting these stories orally? It’s likely any resemblance to the original story would be an accident. 

 

Even written copies are subject to changes, edits, and redactions over time as well as being lost or destroyed. 

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On 4/21/2019 at 8:05 PM, Joshpantera said:

 

Who are you? 

 

And why does this strike me as a troll thread when I read your responses to members answering your questions? You sound like an apologist trolling people with baited questions. And no intention of listening to what they are trying to tell you. If this is NOT the case, then please explain yourself further. 

 

Thanks.  

 

I was a bit suspecious from the git go.

 

@Rickswordfish pasted a link to an article that seems to try to make a case that scripture is legit because people KNEW how important it was before it was every written down - therefore they were very very careful to regurgitate the doctrine and stories accurately. Poster really just wanted us to read the article.

 

Soooooooo smart.

Smarter than us, he is. 

 

There are NO egocentric xtians. Nope. No sir. 

 

ANYWAY, was it one of Bart Ehrman's books were in he gave an example of storytelling that was "accurate" for scores of years. Come to find out the tellers were adept at "improvising" the actual spoken words, order, etc. but always got the story somewhat correct. Always entertaining, though.

 

I do this when I improvise on my guitar. I solo through an entire song, for numerous songs, and people are amazed at how I can remember all those notes. I don't as Mrs. MOHO will attest - having to listen to me practice. I know what riffs go with what chord progressions, and how to make them work in different keys, and how to make it sound country, or rock,  or jazz,  or????

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5 hours ago, Rickswordfish said:

Im not a troll i just want rebuttals that hold up to scrutiny

 

Ok, but are you an authentic christian flying in under the radar so far in your earlier career here at ex-C? This is relevant because you will need to wear your proper credentials and to be honest a lot of your posts will be welcome only in the lions den. There are moderation reasons for my inquiries. If so, we'll make the appropriate revisions as that comes out.

 

If you are not, then ok. I'll take you seriously and engage the topic for now.

 

On 4/23/2019 at 5:08 PM, Geezer said:

Anyone ever play the game of Telephone? That might shed some light on how accurate oral tradition might be. Now add decades, even centuries, of transmitting these stories orally? It’s likely any resemblance to the original story would be an accident. 

 

Even written copies are subject to changes, edits, and redactions over time as well as being lost or destroyed. 

 

Setting Ehrman's opinion aside, what credibility do you think a pre-gospel oral tradition might have? And why? 

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On 4/23/2019 at 5:19 PM, MOHO said:

🤐

I was a bit suspecious from the git go.

 

@Rickswordfish pasted a link to an article that seems to try to make a case that scripture is legit because people KNEW how important it was before it was every written down - therefore they were very very careful to regurgitate the doctrine and stories accurately. Poster really just wanted us to read the article.

 

Soooooooo smart.

Smarter than us, he is. 

 

There are NO egocentric xtians. Nope. No sir. 

 

 

 

Yeah, that's what it looked like to me. I'll have to beg everyone's pardon for being so abrupt. Watch dogs have to watch.....

 

 

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9 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Ok, but are you an authentic christian flying in under the radar so far in your earlier career here at ex-C? This is relevant because you will need to wear your proper credentials and to be honest a lot of your posts will be welcome only in the lions den. There are moderation reasons for my inquiries. If so, we'll make the appropriate revisions as that comes out.

 

If you are not, then ok. I'll take you seriously and engage the topic for now.

 

 

Setting Ehrman's opinion aside, what credibility do you think a pre-gospel oral tradition might have? And why? 

 

In Dr. John Dominic Crossan’s book, The Birth of Christianity, he concluded oral tradition could not possibly have been accurate for a long list of obvious human characteristics and flaws. Even though great effort was made in ancient times to memorize stories they become flawed and inaccurate over time due to normal human frailties.

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11 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Ok, but are you an authentic christian flying in under the radar so far in your earlier career here at ex-C? This is relevant because you will need to wear your proper credentials and to be honest a lot of your posts will be welcome only in the lions den. There are moderation reasons for my inquiries. If so, we'll make the appropriate revisions as that comes out.

 

If you are not, then ok. I'll take you seriously and engage the topic for now.

 

 

Setting Ehrman's opinion aside, what credibility do you think a pre-gospel oral tradition might have? And why? 

No I am not a christian i am a man seeking truth

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2 minutes ago, Rickswordfish said:

No I am not a christian i am a man seeking truth

 

Fair enough.

 

I apologize for my outburst. 

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2 hours ago, Rickswordfish said:

No I am not a christian i am a man seeking truth

 

Thanks for clarifying. In this case the truth seems pretty straight forward. Oral tradition (despite very biased special pleading) has a lot of problems associated with it. Geezer mentioned some of them, twice now. And the deeper issue here is that trying to tie oral traditions back to pre-gospel times in order validate or bolster the gospel myths in some ways is beyond a speculative venture at best. It's not a truth based situation. Not in terms of solving or settling anything on account of speculative oral traditions, or even a speculative source (Q) gospel for that matter. It's a speculative based situation that has little outlook of firming up into anything solid enough to be intellectually honestly branded as, "The TRVTH!" 

 

It's all guess work - maybe's, might be's, and so on. Not absolute truth of any sort. 

 

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