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Monday, October 6, 2008

More proof that the Bible is just a book.

BBC News has a story about the Codex Sinaiticus, which is believed to be the oldest known Bible. A digitizing and translation project is under way that will make the Codex available to anyone online, and is scheduled for completion in July of 2009.

Unfortunately for our Fundie friends, the Codex differs significantly from the modern-day Bible.

From the article, here are some of the discrepancies:

The Codex - and other early manuscripts - do not mention the ascension of Jesus into heaven, and omit key references to the Resurrection, which the Archbishop of Canterbury has said is essential for Christian belief.

Other differences concern how Jesus behaved. In one passage of the Codex, Jesus is said to be "angry" as he healed a leper, whereas the modern text records him as healing with "compassion".

Also missing is the story of the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned - until Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (a Jewish sect), inviting anyone without sin to cast the first stone.

Nor are there words of forgiveness from the cross. Jesus does not say "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".


In addition, the Codex contains two books in the New Testament - the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas - that are conspicuously absent from the modern-day Bible.

All of this raises the obvious question: how exactly can the Bible be "the inerrant Word of God", when there are such obvious differences? Which Bible is the inerrant one, and how can that choice be justified?

If there are any theists lurking, I'd appreciate hearing from you on this one.

150 comments:

  1. You bugger, I just posted this exact same story but it hasn't shown up yet!

    You were here first (and yours is better written) so I'll take mine down when it appears.

    Great minds and all that jazz, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why would it matter to you which version is inerrant? You believe the bible is full of fairy tales anyway.

    Perhaps leave it to believers to decide for themselves.

    My opinion is that you'd dispute anything said by anyone that professes to believe in Jesus as the son of God.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Er, it doesn't matter to us which one is inerrant (if any), but I'd imagine that you would be pretty interested to know what it was that your God intended you to read before man got his grubby little hands on it.

    You come off so defensive, are you scared that you might not like what you find?

    ReplyDelete
  4. @livingasonefreed

    People like Ray make a living off of the bible saying it is inerrant. People like myself have been trying to tell him that it is not inerrant and has been changed by man since it was first written.

    This new version is proof of the later.

    ReplyDelete
  5. expatmatt -

    I'm not afraid of anything. I will make the judgement and decision I need to make on my own.

    If asking a question is being 'defensive' than I guess I am. I just thought that was considered "curiousity".

    Beamstalk - I'm not a 'follower' of Ray's anymore than you are. I read his blog. I just asked a question.
    As far as 'proof of the latter', perhaps we'll have to read it in it's entirety to ascertain that - each on his own.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did I claim you were a follower? If current Bibles are different in several key areas than more ancient bibles, then how is this not proof of errors being made?

    ReplyDelete
  7. laof,
    "My opinion is that you'd dispute anything said by anyone that professes to believe in Jesus as the son of God."

    See, that's just plain wrong isn't it?

    There are a number of theists among the Raytractors for a start and it's only the "Jesus as the son of God" part that we actually dispute - not 'anything' they say.

    Not only that, but we also dispute the "Thor as the God of Thunder" and "Mars as the God of War" claims made by ancient peoples too - there's nothing special about your zombie-Jesus.

    The point that you don't appear to want to admit, is that there are older versions of the Bible - less likely to have been tampered with - that differ from contemporary versions. If you claim Biblical inerrancy it would make sense to hold the earliest version in the highest regard. Apparently the earliest version does not reference the ascension of Christ.

    But, you're right, it's up to you to decide for yourself; let the selective reading begin!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, you see, the original Christians weren't true Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  9. expatmatt said:

    "" "My opinion is that you'd dispute anything said by anyone that professes to believe in Jesus as the son of God."

    See, that's just plain wrong isn't it?"

    My opinion is wrong? Opinions aren't necessarily right or wrong... their a person's evaluation or belief about an idea or situation... isn't it? Don't want to take the time to google the exact definition... I'm guessing that someone may eventually.

    I can have an opinion that differs from yours. That doesn't make either of us wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Yaeger said...
    Well, you see, the original Christians weren't true Christians."

    I agree with you!

    The original followers of Jesus were Jews who believed that Jesus was the Christ, and that he'd just begun the next chapter in their beliefs.

    Not meaning to be didactic as much as in agreement.

    And I see this as a lively debate, so please, don't anyone take my posts in anger or frustration.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So the people you base your religion off of were wrong and not real christians? (ignoring the no true scotsman fallacy)

    ReplyDelete
  12. expatmatt -

    Sorry, I guess I should read and ponder what you wrote, more completely than I have.

    You said:

    "But, you're right, it's up to you to decide for yourself; let the selective reading begin!"

    I would hope you didn't mean 'selective reading' as a term of believing only what I want to believe.

    I try to be as objective as I hope anyone on this blog will be (or any other blog).

    ReplyDelete
  13. laof,

    It is my opinion that 2 + 2 = 5

    I can have my opinion, can't I? You can't say I'm right or wrong just because it differs from yours, it's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

    Of course, it is demonstrably wrong...but I'm not going to let a little thing like that get in my way!

    Your opinion was that: "[we'd] dispute anything said by anyone that professes to believe in Jesus as the son of God."

    It is demonstrably wrong that we dispute anything said by anyone that professes to believe in Jesus as the son of God as evidenced by the fact that we often agree with things that are said by people who profess to believe in Jesus as the son of God.

    This isn't rocket science my friend, just you trying deflect from the subject at hand. Speaking of which; which is more inerrant, the Codex Sinaiticus or the KJV?

    Yaeger,

    Spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  14. laof,

    My last post was written before I read your latest. I humbly retract my snarky comments and will just leave it at the final question of my last post, if that's ok?

    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  15. Matt -

    As for your last question:

    "Speaking of which; which is more inerrant, the Codex Sinaiticus or the KJV?"

    I haven't read the Codex Sinaiticus completely. I am not a 'theologian' in the true sense of the word.

    However, I won't make a judgement on it based on a couple news stories and the fact that it's the 'oldest known' version of the Bible.

    If that were the case, should be base all knowledge as the 'oldest' being the most accurate?

    I think not.

    Spot on? Where? must be from my coffee...

    ReplyDelete
  16. beamstalk said:

    "So the people you base your religion off of were wrong and not real christians? (ignoring the no true scotsman fallacy)"

    Rocky -

    What is my religion?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Touche, I did the same as you and made an assumption. But I thought you had claimed Christianity before in other posts on Ray's blog.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just looked at your profile.

    LivingAsOneFreed

    * Gender: Male
    * Industry: Science
    * Location: Wisconsin

    Take any criticsm you have for Christians, and substitue 'Muslim', 'Islam' or 'Allah' - would you be willing to express that criticism (and sometimes outright anger) to a Muslim or in public?
    Interests

    * People
    * the written Word and the relationship between the two.

    Favorite Music

    * Delirious
    * David Crowder Band
    * FFH
    * Five Iron Frenzy
    * O.C.Supertones
    * RelientK
    * Caedmon's Call
    * Dean Martin
    * Michael Buble

    Favorite Books

    * The Bible
    * anything Ann Coulter
    * everything by Raymond Chandler
    * most A.C. Doyle
    * Dashiell Hammett

    So that again points me to Christianity. So what is your religion?

    ReplyDelete
  19. You do knoow Christians have known about this stuff for centuries, right?Pickup any good bible and you will see footnotes about what variant reading appears in what text.There are reasons Barnabas and Hermas were excluded from the canon (mostly because they did not have the authority of Jesus' apostles behind them).The thing about Jesus being angry wasn't significant- the original reading probaly did include the prayer of forgiveness. And the only gospel in which the resurrection narrative was omitted was in Mark (the original ending of Mark was lost) they are found in Paul epistles and the other gospels.If you look at the Chicago statement on inerrancy it says that only the original manuscripts are inerrant and the modern copies are inerrant insofar as they reflect the original manusript

    ReplyDelete
  20. And yes I would make the same claims to Muslims and I have although I also try not to engage in anger with any of these. Like I have stated before I believe in the Stephen Jay Gould idea of NOMA.

    Nice show of Fatwa envy though.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Rocky -

    I'd say 'touche' as well, but if I listed my other preferences as:

    Country Music: George Strait, Garth Brooks, LeAnn Womack, Carrie Underwood, etc.

    And a question like:

    If the flying spaghetti monster was real, would he have meatballs as eyeballs?

    and 'anything Lovecraft or Anton Lavey' as my favorite books... would that define me as a redneck satan worshipper?

    ReplyDelete
  22. no because the flying spaghetti monster has nothing to do with satan.

    ReplyDelete
  23. BTW rocky, good job of cut and paste.

    I'm sure that those who couldn't figure out how to view my public profile, appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. BeamStalk - Rocky S. said...
    no because the flying spaghetti monster has nothing to do with satan.


    Prove it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am a lurking theist...a Catholic actually. So I'll give a stab at answering your question. Unlike Ray, Catholics don't believe in Sola Scriptura. The Bible is not the sole rule of our Faith. Many Bible Christians claim the Holy Spirit teaches them directly while they interperet the Word (they usually use the KJV). While Catholics believe the Holy Spirit can and does guide us, we don't deny the fact that sometimes we may not listen, or our own thoughts or deceptions of others can be mistaken for the Holy Spirit. Thus why Catholics believe Jesus not only left us with His Word (the Bible) but also an authoritative physical church. And in this church the Early Church Fathers (Jesus' apostles and their successors) also taught us about God and Jesus (not included in the Bible) as well as various Traditions.

    So back to your questions, I guess it would not matter much about this new finding/translation because as a Catholic Christian the Bible is not the sole rule of our Faith. I still must take into account the overwhelming quotes from Early Church Fathers and the Traditions of my 2000 year old church to have faith in my Faith. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. laof,

    What the fuck are you on about? You haven't answered my question of what religion you are. I looked at the evidence available and guessed that you are Christian. If you have something to say then say it.

    Yes I made an assumption and then I looked at the available evidence. If I assumed wrong then I was wrong, so what religion are you?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Rocky -

    You don't get it, do you?

    Why do I HAVE to answer your question? Because you're angry? Because you 'say so'?

    Why do I need to do anything that you request?

    What's messed you up so much in life that you expect people to ask 'how high' when you say 'jump'?


    It's about freedom of choice.

    ReplyDelete
  28. To my fellow atheists, answer me this question:

    If the Bible is so errant, why does it make so many accurate predictions of events occurring hundreds and thousands of years after it was written?

    That's the one thing that hangs me up about the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  29. laof,

    I am not angry, I am asking you a question, you don't have to answer. I asked the first question so that if you follow christianity and dont believe the first christians were real christians, then what are you following? I am trying to get you to think about what you believe and why you believe it. That is the point. Questioning what one believes is better than just running through life with blinders on. Especially when these beliefs will effect everything you do.

    I was asking for you to clarify, and I would have apologized if I was wrong. It has nothing to do with commanding people to do anything. I admit things when I am wrong. You asked me what your religion was. I admitted that I really didn't know, then I looked at the available evidence. Then you went off on tangents. I asked because I wanted to know and actually learn more about you. You can answer if you want or not.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Like the ones Ray has been pointing out on his Blog, and the recreation of Israel. I don't know all of them, but there are entire websites of biblical prophesies that have come true.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Kaitlyn,
    You asked,
    "If the Bible is so errant, why does it make so many accurate predictions of events occurring hundreds and thousands of years after it was written?"

    The short answer is: The same way that Nostradamus makes predictions. They are so vague that they can be interpreted in any manner you choose.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Many jews in Israel don't consider Israel fully recreated without the westbank and Gaza. So I think we'll be pretty secure for the next generations...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Kaitlyn,

    I predict that there will be another Raytractor post within the next week.

    I predict that there will be bad weather in some part of the world at some point in the near (or distant) future.

    I predict that people will act like humans in numerous ways throughout the land.

    I predict that there will be religious violence in places where religious people live.

    I predict that the borders of countries will change over time.

    I predict that someone will doubt my abilities as a prophet.

    I predict that a man will reply to this post and his name shall be expatmatt and he shall spake thusly: "See, I told you so."

    It's easy to fulfill prophecy, especially when you want it to be fulfilled.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Kaitlyn here is a list of what a prophecy should be. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_proe.htm

    This is also just a good site to peruse.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This Codex Sinaiticus is not new to my pastor.

    I'm not seeing proof here that the Bible is just a book as the post title suggests.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Rocky

    1. I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and is the one anticipated by the Jews as the Christ.

    2. I believe that The Bible and other scripture are the God-inspired (or 'God-breathed') writings of men.

    3. I believe that a person's beliefs are personal.

    My experience is that if someone asks your religion, it's sometimes for the purpose of 'using it against' you at some later point. If not - then they shouldn't care and/or have a need to know.

    Please notice I did not use 'you' in the above statement.

    ReplyDelete
  37. The Israel prophecy is largely self-fulfilling. People who helped with reestablishing the nation had an interest in making the prophecy come true.

    It's like predicting that the reincarnation of Alfred Hitchcock will be born in a city by the name of Cotton Candy Forest and will be named Arnold. If enough people believe it, you'll probably see cities of that name with children called Arnold popping up all over the place.

    ReplyDelete
  38. A couple of open questions to any who know the answers:

    At what point is the true, inerrant Bible supposed to have been compiled? How do you draw that conclusion?

    Who was/were the first True Christian(s)?

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  39. expatmatt,

    Your predictions are not divinely inspired.


    kaitlynn,
    The prophecy of the rebirth of Israel was fulfilled in 1948 and the Jews returning to Israel is a prophecy being fulfilled. These are two major events on the prophetic calendar.

    ReplyDelete
  40. laof,

    "2. I believe that The Bible and other scripture are the God-inspired (or 'God-breathed') writings of men."

    This is the point of this whole thread!

    Which version of the Bible is the 'God-breathed' one? If an early version has no reference of Christ's ascension, but a later version does, how can you be sure that it wasn't just added in at a later date by non-God-inspired writers?

    This is why the oldest text is the most important, it is the closest to the original writings; I would assume that these would be the ones with God's breath all over them, no?

    Can you at least acknowledge that this is a valid point of contention for those who do not believe the Bible to be the Word of God?

    ReplyDelete
  41. expatmatt:

    "3. I believe that a person's beliefs are personal."

    ReplyDelete
  42. "3. I believe that a person's beliefs are personal."

    You may hold that to be true, but many people do not.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you, Livingasonefreed,

    I try not to ridicule belief, all that does is alienate people. If you think I do that let me know, and I will apologize.

    I know Freed and I got into a long discussion on Ray's once, I believe it was about the Bible being inerrant then too. Freed, I hope you felt I wasn't attacking you then.

    I just want people to not take what they believe for granted. I can tell by your music choices, laof, that you are ska/punk guy. So am I, I have seen Relient K, OC Supertones, and Five Iron Frenzy in concert. One thing that has taught me was to question everything. Ask for evidence. Look for the truth. I hope that explains myself a bit better.

    I am an agnostic atheist, skeptic, and secular humanist.

    ReplyDelete
  44. freed,

    Says you.

    I felt the touch of His Noodley Appendage as I typed and the proof of this divine inspiration has already been put before you.

    Did I not prophesy that one called 'expatmatt' would spake the words revealed unto me? Did he not utter the words just as I proclaimed. Oh you of little faith, just you wait until the next prophecy is fulfilled, then you will see the predictive power of the FSM acting through his humble prophet.

    How is this any more ridiculous than a prophecy that says people will fornicate in the future? Or that there will be floods and earthquakes? Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  45. freed sez:

    expatmatt,

    Your predictions are not divinely inspired.


    How do you know? Can you prove they aren't?

    Conversely, can you offer proof that Biblical predictions are "divinely inspired"?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Rocky,

    No I didn't feel you were attacking me.



    expatmatt,

    Are you also a former believer?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Propehcies are divinely inspired
    predictions aren't. :)

    expatmatt,

    you said "I predict that the borders of countries will change over time."

    If you had said you 'prophecy' that the borders of Israel will change then you might be considered a prophet. That's a big might tho.

    I'm being light hearted here folks so please take into consideration I have a smile on my face!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. freed,

    Are you asking if I'm a False Convert?

    I don't see what that has to do with the issue of prophecy validation or the concept of Biblical inerrancy, but whatever.

    I am not a former believer. I am a former seeker; I sought and I found...nothing. Nothing (supernatural) to believe in and no reason to believe that there is.

    By the way, you said;

    "Your predictions are not divinely inspired."

    shortly after this:

    "I predict that someone will doubt my abilities as a prophet."

    The evidence is stacking up now, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Ah, I see that you're arguing the semantics of prophecy vs. prediction. The only difference being that one claims divine origin (the key word being 'claims') and the other is just based off general knowledge and intuition.

    So, how do you determine the difference?

    ReplyDelete
  50. expatmatt said

    "Are you asking if I'm a False Convert?"

    No. A former believer.



    "I don't see what that has to do with the issue of prophecy validation or the concept of Biblical inerrancy, but whatever."


    You're right. Sorry I asked.

    ReplyDelete
  51. er freed,

    If you read the whole post I actually answered your question (though I note that you haven't answered many - if any - of mine) so there's no need to close off the conversation so abruptly.

    The False Convert thing, as I'm sure you know, is a reference to Ray's idea that there is no such thing as a former believer - you either 'know' God, or you don't.

    You want to be careful if you're espousing a different interpretation of Scripture to Ray, he'll blacklist you in a Kiwi minute if he finds out...
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Yaeger -

    Can you please explain your statement:

    "You may hold that to be true, but many people do not."

    just for clarity. really. just wondering. Honestly.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Just a bit about the Codex Sinaiticus.

    It's the oldest complete new testament. Not the oldest manuscripts. Not that such was implied here, but I thought it appropriate to make the point clear.

    It's been dated to about the middle of the fourth century CE. In 1930, a guy named A. Chester Beatty got his hands on over a dozen codecies, three of which contain parts of most of the books of the NT, which are about a century older than the Sinaiticus. They're chillin at the Beatty Museum in Dublin. There's another one about a half a century older than those found by a guy named Martin Bodmer, which contains most of the Gospel According to John.


    Secondly, that the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas (not the same Barnabas who traveled with Paul but a man who wrote about CE 125 from Alexandria) were circulated along with Canon in the Codex Sinaiticus doesn't mean that they are universally acknowledged as Canonical in that time. Eusebius of Caesarea in about the same time the Codex of Sinaiticus has been dated wrote Ecclesiastical History which places those two writings into a category of writings that are recognized as being non-Canonical, along with the Acts of Paul, Apocalypse of Peter, and the Didache.

    They were circulated for the same reason Christians today circulate C.S Lewis' writings; they had great and insightful things to teach. The Shepherd had some pretty popular narratives and parables and visions in it, and the Epistle of Barnabas is a letter about ways that Christians should interpret the OT. That they were popular and circulated widely doesn't make them canonical.


    As far as the differences in the texts, it's not a secret that some things don't line up in all of the early manuscripts. Although there are thousands of divergences among them, it's important to realize that the overwhelming majority of them are pretty silly things to worry over, such as alternative spellings, word order, and interchange of synonyms. In all of those cases, as well as the two you mention which involve the substance of record, scholars can apply the techniques of textual criticism in order to determine with more or less probability what the original wording was.

    In any case, neither of those two instances has much effect at all on Christianity. So what if Jesus got mad? Wasn't the first or last time. No change in his character. So what if he didn't say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?" He was dying in that very moment as a sacrifice for the sin that they were committing!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I recently finished a book titled The End of Biblical Studies by Hector Avalos. Some books to go along with it would be Lost Christianities, Lost Scriptures, and Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Erhman. There is no original text. Which version of Jeremiah is the correct one? It's a book, written by many men, over many years.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Matt,

    My head is broken today, my husband's on messenger, and I can't think...so you noticed right. I haven't answered questions and most likely wont today.

    While serious, I was just being light with you anyway.

    I'll just lurk now.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thanks Rob, that was very interesting.

    Just out of curiosity; do you know how the early scholars decided which texts were canonical and which ones were not?

    I'm sure you can understand the frequent complaint by skeptics that the early church picked and chose the texts that portrayed the faith in the way they wanted, thus leaving a large question mark over the complete veracity of the compilation of books we call the Bible (NT).

    Cheers,

    ReplyDelete
  57. Oops. Forgot a smidgeon.

    As for the omission of the Resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus into Heaven, those would also fall into the Textual Criticism field that the other two instances you mentioned fall into.

    If they're missing from this one manuscript of the 5,519 that have been found, 310 of which are Unicial scripts like the Sinaiticus is, then I doubt very highly that it is a poor reflection of the historic accuracy of those events.

    However, I'll admit that I don't know that it's just missing from this one codex. I'd have to do some more looking into that.

    ReplyDelete
  58. freed,

    fair enough; none of us are under any obligations here - but it is more fun when theists come out to play too!

    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  59. expatmatt said...

    "At what point is the true, inerrant Bible supposed to have been compiled? How do you draw that conclusion?"

    To be honest you can never have that. For one simple fact, as I am guessing you know. A lot of the NT is letters from Paul. A few of these letters were written to large cities. Paul would have dictated, there is evidence he dictated and didn't write, multiple letters to these cities. Which letter is the appropriate one to use? And yes there would be differences between letters.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Rob Penn,

    I answered you question, finally, on Ray's thread about Paul Newman.

    I know you aren't a literal translation person. The main thing these multiple copies show is the inherent error by the copiers of the bible throughout history. So the point here is to show the Bible is not inerrant. It is more for the literal believers than people like yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Rufus,

    I just recently finished Misquoting Jesus and I have Lost Christianities but I haven't started it yet. Very good books on textual criticism and make it easy to understand.

    ReplyDelete
  62. It's great talking with freed & LivingAsOneFreed & mrfreethinker, Melissa Spence and others. After the trying to communicate with the borg over at Atheist Central you guys are a breath of fresh air.

    Good work everyone on keeping a lid on things, the written word often fails to portray the real mood of the poster.

    Don't forget, it's just the internet.

    I've started some great chat with a believer here in France. His blog is called Crushed Leviathan.
    http://crushedleviathan.blogspot.com/

    By Ray's standards he wouldn't qulaify as Christian as he recognises error in the bible, but he's all for Jesus & salvation by faith, you know, the important stuff.

    I recommend his blog to Raytractors and others. He's a nice, bright, articulate guy.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Stew,

    "He's a nice, bright, articulate guy."

    So, where's the fun?

    Let's face it, the main reason Raytractors exists is because Ray Comfort is a nasty, ignorant, semi-literate buffoon...and it's a lot of fun to discuss the inanity that he posts so regularly at his little crap-hole of a blog!

    I'm all for intelligent discussion of theological matters, but Ray is just pure, car-crash entertainment every day.

    Or at least, he used to be.

    Just lately it seems that Ray is only interested in where Kirk sticks his tongue and making vague, un-evidenced claims about prophecies coming true. I must admit, it's just not what it used to be.

    Jus' saying...

    ReplyDelete
  64. expattmatt - I'm with you 100% On why Ray is fascinating, on the undeniable fact that AC is crap these days, and how talking with intelligent articulate christians is no fun.
    But it does sharpen the wits, because when I throw out the tried and tested arguments they don't reply with Pascal's wager or God of the Gaps, they come up with fresh angles. Interesting angles. That need fresh take downs or a hard look to spot the fallacies.

    ReplyDelete
  65. You've made my day, Stew.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I've been reading Ehrman for years and took religion classes way back when under a Methodist minister who studied under Ehrman. None of this is news to me.

    The bible is bunk. Prophecies are bunk. Only people who can not or will not think critically would think that any biblical prophecies are anything more than warmed over ass.

    And, yeah, that really is how I feel about it.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Rufus, I tried to keep it clean, but trust me, there's more where that came from.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Kaitlyn,

    It is my understanding that the Biblical prophecies are fulfilled in the same way that 'prophecies' in Harry Potter books could be 'fulfilled' - it's easy to read the first book(Old Testament) and see the prophecies foretold within it and include a 'fulfillment' of those prophecies in your additional novels(New Testament and Gospels) to add authenticity and believability.

    ReplyDelete
  69. This Post produced some very interesting comments of which I know I shall not have time to acknowledge or try to refute, but suffice to say, I was reading down through them and I stopped dead at this one:

    Freed said...
    Rocky,
    No I didn't feel you were attacking me.
    expatmatt,
    are you also a former believer?"

    Either that is a very peculiar typo or Freed has become a "former believer?"

    ReplyDelete
  70. Nonmagic,

    You finished your comment thusly:
    "And, yeah, that really is how I feel about it."

    Coming from the cute li'l Vegas girl that instigated "PenisGate08," over at the Ray Train (Wreck) I consider your comment mild, by comparison.

    I have watched you spend countless time trying to use reason and logic (and much more diplomacy than I could ever muster,) to try to be accepted as a viable, interesting and vital individual, unencumbered by supernatural belief systems, with these fundies.

    Then I see them beat you back with fractured logic and pronouncements from their magical book, complete with their sophomoric arguments from the bible suggesting you are going to hell for being you.

    I hope you agree that I am tired of going easy on some of these fundies because I am afraid that I will annoy some of my mainstream Christian friends.

    That is not the case in my social environment. The Moderates are becoming as sick of fundy irrational belief systems as much as I am.

    Having said all that,

    I close, NM, with the phrase you ended with:

    "And, yeah, that really is how I feel about it."

    Thanks, NM!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Mrfreethinker,

    Yoo hoo! Still waiting for the evidence you claim to have for the existence of a deity.

    If you don't come across pretty soon then I'm gonna start thinking that your imaginary friend is -- well, imaginary.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Stew,

    What you said at:
    October 6, 2008 3:43 PM

    Perfect.

    That is the same way we satisfy our personal self development on other subjects as well.

    Some of these fundies think we strive to only refute their meager beliefs. They don't understand that we are also cultivating our interest in a myriad of disciplines.

    They cultivate their minds in the narrow and backward view of supernaturalism only. Sad that.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Wee!

    Any chance we could squeeze a piece of doggeral out of you this evening...Please?

    ReplyDelete
  74. Mrfreethinker,

    Further to my comment above, I've asked for evidence twice on the "Question for Theists" thread and once on the "Pathetic Ken Ham" thread.

    Would it help if I said pretty please?

    And now twice on this thread.

    That's Wee 4, Free 0.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Froggie said

    Freed said...
    Rocky,
    No I didn't feel you were attacking me.
    expatmatt,
    are you also a former believer?"

    Either that is a very peculiar typo or Freed has become a "former believer?"



    A big oops on my part. There are many former believers on here and I was meaning them...not me...but I bet you knew that.

    ReplyDelete
  76. @ Weemaryanne
    I was going to make a new post on my blog but I've been busy . You can look at my old blog post about the resurrection of Jesus here
    http://facilis.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/7/
    and tell me what you think of it.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Freed,

    "A big oops on my part. There are many former believers on here and I was meaning them...not me...but I bet you knew that."

    I am smelling Freudiand slip, honey. It's OK.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Dale,

    I'm absolutely honored, thank you. Yes, I have let my diplomacy slip. I can only carefully explain to so many people so many times that gods and ghosts do not control their lives and have my diplomacy thrown back on me after they've shit on it, so screw nice.

    It amazes me how fundies can call atheists liars, murderers, adulterers, thieves, ect. and tack on to the end of it 'And YER GOIN' TO HELL!' without ever getting to know the atheist and then hide behind the skirt tail of their deity and their holy book and say 'Oh my god told me I could say those things about you!', and yet they get so ass sore when an atheist says the slightest untoward thing to them.

    Cynthia is the only one of them that has taken the time to get to know me and is one of the precious few among the bunch that I think the world of, so if she wants to tell me I'm going to hell, then I suppose I'll let her slip it in about once a year or so, just to get it out of her system if she needs to so it doesn't build up in there, but the rest of them can kiss my pale white ass.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I was thinking about something. Craig (StrangerStrangeLand)is also a good guy in my book.

    ReplyDelete
  80. @ ExPatMatt:

    Thanks Rob, that was very interesting.

    Just out of curiosity; do you know how the early scholars decided which texts were canonical and which ones were not?

    I'm sure you can understand the frequent complaint by skeptics that the early church picked and chose the texts that portrayed the faith in the way they wanted, thus leaving a large question mark over the complete veracity of the compilation of books we call the Bible (NT).

    Cheers,


    I don't know everything, but I can give you a crash course.

    The canonization took place on purpose when the Gnostics started circulating a bunch of things that were pretty goofy. Like, so goofy some one looked at it and said "Wait, that's not right... What else in this stack is not quite right?"

    They started a council that was not to decide which texts were canonical and which weren't, but to discern which were and weren't.

    The council went off of a few criteria.


    They looked at the age of the writing, which they discerned by the styles of Greek that were used. The older the style of Greek, the older the manuscript was, and the closer to the original it was. Because it was closer to the original, it was seen as more credible for that reason.


    They looked at how widely circulated it was. If it wasn't widely circulated, then it was because most people looked at it and said "Paul never said that. Who wrote this mess?" and threw it away. They also took into consideration that, if the Spirit was in this, then it would be more widely circulated because that's what the spirit wants the church to know.


    They looked at the author. If the author was known to be one of Jesus direct disciples, or one of their disciples, that text was more credible. The more removed it was from Jesus, the less credibility it had. None of the texts in the NT (That I'm aware of) are more than twice removed from Jesus, which is pretty stinkin reliable in the Rabbinic system. One possible exception is Luke, who learned from Paul. However, Christians believe that Paul met Jesus first hand, so that would fit into that description in our opinion.


    They looked at the Content. If people knew for a fact that John the Beloved learned X from Jesus, and there was a text that stated something contradictory to that, then that was seen to be less credible.
    That on it's own would be quite sketchy, but it wasn't just that on it's own. The other criterion are the reasons why the book of James and Revelation are in the Bible; they knew the author to be genuine, they knew that the time it was written was genuine, and they knew that the guys had close contact to Jesus the Messiah himself, so what they said could be trusted and from God.


    All of the writings were placed in to three groups.

    One group was "This is Canon." The inspired word of God.

    The second group was "This is really great stuff, but it's not inspired in the same way that Canon is. We can learn a lot of good things from it, but it's not canon." We still have things like that coming up today. C.S. Lewis and Ben Witherington the Third would go into that group. The Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas are in that group.

    The Third group is basically "No way this is at all legitimate."

    It wasn't picking and choosing which ones they thought should be right. It's more like taking pages from a Peer Review Journal, from Marvel Vs. DC, from a Star Trek screen play, and from Psychology Magazine, and trying to discern which of those writings Richard Dawkins would want you to be reading. The process can be traced by looking at letters and other writings from super early church fathers, and when actually tested it works every time.

    ReplyDelete
  81. @ BeamStalk:

    Rob Penn,

    I answered you question, finally, on Ray's thread about Paul Newman.

    I know you aren't a literal translation person. The main thing these multiple copies show is the inherent error by the copiers of the bible throughout history. So the point here is to show the Bible is not inerrant. It is more for the literal believers than people like yourself.


    Thanks for that, dude.

    However, even though I don't interpret all of the Bible literally, I have to make sure that people know I believe the Bible to be inspired by God, and to be absolutely everything it says it is, and why I believe that.

    ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  82. @ Froggie:

    I am smelling Freudiand slip, honey. It's OK.

    Where you say one thing and mean your mother?

    Yeah, yeah, bad joke.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Did the front cover say anything like this?:

    "This volume and the books therein are works of fiction. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental. No similarity to any person either living or dead is intended or should be inferred"

    ReplyDelete
  84. Mrfreethinker,

    Thanks but no thanks to your offer to "look at my old blog post about the resurrection of Jesus."

    I did not ask for a retelling of folklore, as I can get that anywhere at any time. I asked for evidence of a supernatural entity which only you can provide.

    And I'm still waiting.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Mrfreethinker,

    Too "busy" to provide evidence of the most important thing ever? Man, are your priorities messed up.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Froggie,

    Be patient -- it's not easy finding rhymes for "Codex Sinaiticus," y'know.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Did you look at my post?The purpose was to supply historical evidence for the resurrecton of Jesus ( and therefore prove his deity)

    ReplyDelete
  88. Weemaryanne,

    I suggest you don't bother with "freethinker" - he's just rehashing everything we've heard and dismissed 100 times before.

    ReplyDelete
  89. One possible exception is Luke, who learned from Paul. However, Christians believe that Paul met Jesus first hand, so that would fit into that description in our opinion.

    Rob,

    How can Christians say Paul met Jesus? Meeting someone in a vision doesn't qualify. I find it interesting that 99% of what Ray posts and Christians quote is from the Epistles, not the words from Jesus. Why do you think Paul seems more important than the Son of God?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Kaitlyn, re "prophesies"

    There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:

    Retrodiction. The "prophecy" can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.

    Vagueness. The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradomus's prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.

    Inevitability. The prophecy can predict something that is almost sure to happen, such as the collapse of a city. Since nothing lasts forever, the city is sure to fall someday. If it has not, it can be said that according to prophecy, it will.

    Denial. One can claim that the fulfilling events occurred even if they have not. Or, more commonly, one can forget that the prophecy was ever made.

    Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.

    There are no prophecies in the Bible that cannot easily fit into one or more of those categories.


    In biblical times, prophecies were not simply predictions. They were warnings of what could or would happen if things did not change. They were meant to influence people's behavior. If the people heeded the prophecy, the events would not come to pass; Jonah 3 gives an example. A fulfilled prophecy was a failed prophecy, because it meant people did not heed the warning.


    The Bible also contains failed prophecies, in the sense that things God said would happen did not

    For example:
    Joshua said that God would, without fail, drive out the Jebusites and Canaanites, among others (Josh. 3:9-10). But those tribes were not driven out (Josh. 15:63, 17:12-13).

    Ezekiel said Egypt would be made an uninhabited wasteland for forty years (29:10-14), and Nebuchadrezzar would plunder it (29:19-20). Neither happened.


    Other religions claim many fulfilled prophecies, too


    Divinity is not shown by miracles. The Bible itself says true prophecies may come elsewhere than from God (Deut. 13:1-3), as may other miracles (Exod. 7:22, Matt. 4:8). Some people say that to focus on proofs is to miss the whole point of faith (John 20:29).

    ReplyDelete
  91. @ Maragon
    So you just dismiss arguments from Christians without rationally considering them. If you are so confident the why don't you accept my challenge.
    http://facilis.wordpress.com/2008/10/05/the-counter-challenge/
    Refute any of the fats or provide a better explaination.

    ReplyDelete
  92. LivingAsOneFreed said...

    Yaeger -

    Can you please explain your statement:

    "You may hold that to be true, but many people do not."

    just for clarity. really. just wondering. Honestly.

    :-)


    "I believe that a person's beliefs are personal."

    You may believe that a person's beliefs are personal, but the fact that religion exists is evidence that the statement isn't true.

    I wouldn't have a problem with religion if everyone did keep it personal. As it is though, religion , Christianity in particular, is being forced down everyone's throat in America.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Yaeger -

    And I wouldn't have a problem with anything you said and would just say that 'it's a free country'.

    I'm sorry if you feel my statement(s) of faith, thus far, have seemed to have been forced down your throat.

    I can't speak for anyone else.

    -laof

    ReplyDelete
  94. Hey sorry if this ends up getting posted twice, think the first time didn't go through.

    Just a question -

    Wouldn't you have to accept at least one of the documents (Bible or Codex Sinaiticus) to be factual and accurate to disprove the other?

    ReplyDelete
  95. livingasonefreed sez:

    Wouldn't you have to accept at least one of the documents (Bible or Codex Sinaiticus) to be factual and accurate to disprove the other?

    That's ridiculous. The fact that they disagree means that they can't both be correct. It does not follow that at least one of them has to be correct.

    ReplyDelete
  96. I've been reading on this and it is very interesting ideed.

    The Codex shows that many verses were added later, including Luke 17:36 "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

    That is proof that the rapture mythis just..a...myth. too bad chriters.

    Also the Codex wasn't written till after 300 CE so the total amount of descrepencies from the originals can never be know, making the bible useless as evidence for any supernatural entity.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Laof,
    "Wouldn't you have to accept at least one of the documents (Bible or Codex Sinaiticus) to be factual and accurate to disprove the other?"

    NO- FAILED LOGIC.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Let's put it this way:

    Wouldn't you have to prove one as authoritative to disprove the other?

    ReplyDelete
  99. Froggie said:

    "NO- FAILED LOGIC."

    So... I can dispute something if I come up with any evidence - whether it can be proven or not?

    ReplyDelete
  100. livingasonefreed sez:

    Let's put it this way:

    Wouldn't you have to prove one as authoritative to disprove the other?


    No, you wouldn't. See my earlier post.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Tripmaster monkey:

    "That's ridiculous. The fact that they disagree means that they can't both be correct. It does not follow that at least one of them has to be correct."

    So.. WE both could be wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  102. livingasonefreed sez:

    So.. WE both could be wrong?

    Who exactly is "we"?

    ReplyDelete
  103. @Froggie
    Luke 17:36 is also found in Matt 24:40.
    So you guys haven't "disproven " anything. and it does not significantly affect any Christian doctrine. There are no differences in manuscripts that are not found elsewhere in the New testament or affect significant Christian doctrines.

    ReplyDelete
  104. trip,

    Congrats on a 100+ post!

    laof,

    Logic. You're doing it wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  105. mrfreethinker sez:

    Luke 17:36 is also found in Matt 24:40.

    That doesn't address the fact that Luke 17:36 was added in a later revision.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Thanks, EPM.

    I had no idea this topic would be so popular. It's interesting how the atheists and theists are managing to have a reasonable discussion, without us having to vet each comment before allowing it to be posted, isn't it?

    Maybe more theists will come here to discuss issues in the future...they must be almost as sick of Ray's moronic rules and 6-hour lag between submission and approval as we are.

    ReplyDelete
  107. expatmatt -

    "Logic. You're doing it wrong."

    says who? You?

    t.m.

    'we' - you and me. We could dispute/disagree, but that doesn't mean either one of us is right.

    ReplyDelete
  108. livingasonefreed sez:

    'we' - you and me. We could dispute/disagree, but that doesn't mean either one of us is right.

    That's cute, but we weren't talking about you and me...we were talking about the Codex Sinaiticus and the Bible. Why are you trying to change the subject?

    ReplyDelete
  109. @ Milo:

    Rob,

    How can Christians say Paul met Jesus? Meeting someone in a vision doesn't qualify. I find it interesting that 99% of what Ray posts and Christians quote is from the Epistles, not the words from Jesus. Why do you think Paul seems more important than the Son of God?


    We believe that there is truth in the Canonical telling of Paul's conversion, which doesn't say that it was a vision. It says that there was an audible voice that Paul and the men who were traveling with him heard.

    To answer your question, I would simply ask "how much of the Bible was written by Jesus?"

    Well, the physical answer is none of it, and the spiritual churchy sunday-school answer is all of it.

    There is so much of Paul's writings in the NT because Paul was "God's chosen instrument to bear his name before the Gentiles and Kings and sons of Israel"(Acts 9:15, not in Paul's words). He's the most dynamic figure in the NT. Not the most important, or the most influential, but literally the most dynamic figure. He went from being the greatest enemy of Christians to the one who arguably did the most work to spread the gospel. We believe his words to be inspired in the same way that John the Beloved's were inspired, or Mark's or Matthew's.

    No Christian believes that Paul was more important that Jesus. Otherwise, they wouldn't be Christians. They'd be Paul...i..an....ites.... (read as though one were trying to invent a word on the spot and failing) or something goofy like that. However, there are simply more words in the Bible that God spoke through Paul than that God spoke through Jesus.

    I've heard (or read) it implied many times that Paul hi-jacked Christianity from Christ. That's just not true. Paul was a student of Gamaliel, one of the most influential and famous rabbi's of the day. He grew up in a center of learning only surpassed by Athens and Alexandria, where he was contemporaries with the likes of Nestor, a stoic philosopher who had been the tutor of Tiberius and whose school was widely influential. And, the icing on the cake, he was a Roman citizen. from birth. It is culturally, practically, and psychologically impossible that Paul had anything to gain by converting to Christianity and there was so much for him to lose. That is, of course, unless there was some truth to what they were teaching. And if there is, then Paul didn't take Christianity over in Jesus' absence, but was taken over by Jesus and used to spread it.

    ReplyDelete
  110. @ Froggie:

    Textual Criticism of the truth or untruth of all 5,519 of the manuscripts we have based on a few statements which differ in one from the many much later ones is poor textual criticism.

    I halfway agree with your statement about the Bible being used as evidence. The Bible in and of itself doesn't really do anything at all to prove God's existence. It assumes God's existence.

    ReplyDelete
  111. @ LivingAsOneFreed:

    Dude, I'm not quite sure I can follow your line of logic.

    Maybe rather than asking rhetorical questions, you should show us where your line of thought starts, and then trace it to it's ending point for us.

    ReplyDelete
  112. @ TripMasterMonkey:

    That doesn't address the fact that Luke 17:36 was added in a later revision.

    But it does address the fact that Luke 17:36 wasn't completely fabricated after the fact. If it is in another book in much older manuscripts, then whoever put it in Luke's account didn't just make it up. They took it from another reliable source, one who was with Jesus first hand.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Dr. James White posted a response to the BBC article here.

    An excerpt from his conclusion:

    Isn't it odd that we conservative, Bible-believing Christians produce hour long webcasts going in-depth into the text of א [Aleph, the designation in textual critical works for Codex Sinaiticus] but all the BBC can do is give vague references without even providing the citations of the relevant texts? And why even raise well-known textual issues like John 7:53-8:11, unless you are either writing this solely for shock value, or, you really have no idea what you are talking about?

    ReplyDelete
  114. rob penn sez:

    If it is in another book in much older manuscripts, then whoever put it in Luke's account didn't just make it up. They took it from another reliable source, one who was with Jesus first hand.

    First of all, the fact that it was in an older manuscript doesn't make it a "reliable source". Hieroglyphs depicting the Egyptian pantheon have been around for longer than the Bible...does that mean that Osiris is real, and that the carver was with him first hand?

    Second, you're missing the point. The later version of the Bible was doctored up with an account from Luke that simply wasn't in the older version. It doesn't matter if the event discussed is true or false...the account of the event is fiction, pure and simple. If I give you a first-hand account of the Twin Towers falling on 9/11, and I wasn't actually in New York on 9/11, my account would be a lie, even if what I describe actually did happen.

    The discrepancy is proof that the Bible isn't the divine Word of God...it's just a book, written (and rewritten) by mortal men.

    ReplyDelete
  115. MrFreeThinker said...

    " @ Maragon
    So you just dismiss arguments from Christians without rationally considering them. If you are so confident the why don't you accept my challenge.
    http://facilis.wordpress.com/2008/10/05/the-counter-challenge/
    Refute any of the fats or provide a better explaination."

    No, I dismiss arguments that are obviously fallacious, that have been refuted countless times or based on unproved assertions(Ie. The bible is infallible).

    As to your challenge, sure I have a better, more plausible explanation. It's a made up story. That was simple.

    ReplyDelete
  116. @ TripMaster Monkey:

    First of all, the fact that it was in an older manuscript doesn't make it a "reliable source". Hieroglyphs depicting the Egyptian pantheon have been around for longer than the Bible...does that mean that Osiris is real, and that the carver was with him first hand?

    Older, in the case of textual criticism of the Scriptures, doesn't mean more reliable because of it's age. It means more reliable because it's closer to the original.

    That is, it's closer to the literal, historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth. That makes it more reliable.

    How close are those Hieroglyphs to the literal historical person of Osiris?


    Second, you're missing the point. The later version of the Bible was doctored up with an account from Luke that simply wasn't in the older version. It doesn't matter if the event discussed is true or false...the account of the event is fiction, pure and simple. If I give you a first-hand account of the Twin Towers falling on 9/11, and I wasn't actually in New York on 9/11, my account would be a lie, even if what I describe actually did happen.

    It would only be a lie if you described the experience as your own. Luke never does that in his Gospel, nor did the scribe who copied the verse from Matthew into Luke's telling claim that it was Luke's experience.


    The discrepancy is proof that the Bible isn't the divine Word of God...it's just a book, written (and rewritten) by mortal men.

    I think something just clicked in my brain. You're applying a similar (though not identical) kind of mindset to the Bible that the Muslims apply to the Koran.

    The pages, ink, and letters are not the word of God. They are the word of God put down on paper. That's why I might react a bit differently to a person spitting on my Bible than a Muslim would react to a person spitting on the Koran.

    The Word of God is the message, the tale, the lessons, the communication from God, the spirit, that came down through man and was put to paper. Moving that communication from one page to the next in a manner that doesn't confuse that tale, lesson, or communication doesn't change the word of God. That part of the word of God wasn't fabricated, merely repeated. Changing the story is a problem, not repeating it.

    ReplyDelete
  117. rob penn sez:

    Older, in the case of textual criticism of the Scriptures, doesn't mean more reliable because of it's age. It means more reliable because it's closer to the original.

    That is, it's closer to the literal, historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth. That makes it more reliable.


    Your argument hinges upon a few unwarranted assumptions:

    1) There was a "literal, historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth".

    and

    2) The older Bible would be less a work of folklore than later versions.

    How close are those Hieroglyphs to the literal historical person of Osiris?

    I have no idea, since all we have to go on are the hieroglyphs. See the problem?

    It would only be a lie if you described the experience as your own. Luke never does that in his Gospel, nor did the scribe who copied the verse from Matthew into Luke's telling claim that it was Luke's experience.

    There nothing in that Gospel that makes the disclaimer that the experience was not his own. Which is understandable, because if there was, people would be wondering "why is Luke repeating Matthew's Gospel in his own?".

    But people don't wonder that, because they make the entirely understandable assumption that Luke is speaking from his own experience (since it's the Gospel of Luke).

    I think something just clicked in my brain.

    Uh-oh. Everyone get back.

    You're applying a similar (though not identical) kind of mindset to the Bible that the Muslims apply to the Koran.

    I'm doing nothing of the sort. I'm merely pointing out that the Bible we know today (the one that Ray and his ilk like to thump while they tell us all how evil we are) is riddled with these sorts of inaccuracies. In some cases, the inaccuracies are honest errors from mistranslation or copying. In others, the inaccuracies are deliberate, and in some cases, malicious. And the real hoot is that there is zero evidence that the original "accurate" Bible is any less a work of fiction than the later editions.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Rob,
    "I halfway agree with your statement about the Bible being used as evidence. The Bible in and of itself doesn't really do anything at all to prove God's existence. It assumes God's existence."

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  119. Froggie -

    Yes, I would be glad to outline my reasoning as you request.

    If I could, do you have an email you can give me to email to you? I know I my posts here sound fractured, primarily because I just take a look here on a break or lunch.

    If you don't mind. Otherwise, I'll see if I can get it posted sometime. I am sorta crazy-busy but do want to honor your request.

    If you want to email me, I'm '@gmail.com'.

    Thanks for your patience.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Laof,

    You sad,
    "Froggie -
    Yes, I would be glad to outline my reasoning as you request.
    If I could, do you have an email you can give me to email to you?"

    Thanks for the kind offer but I keep my personal email restricted to family and close friends, not because I don't trust people, but because I field 50 - 80 emails a day in my work and I only open my personal email but once every few days.

    Surely we can continue a dialogue here, even in short bursts!

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Froggie said:

    "...but because I field 50 - 80 emails a day in my work..."

    lightweight!

    j/k

    I'll get it (my post/reasoning) to you (here) as soon as I can. Thanx

    ReplyDelete
  122. laof,

    Why don't you just join the Raytractors team? You know you want to...

    ReplyDelete
  123. "ExPatMatt said...
    laof,

    Why don't you just join the Raytractors team? You know you want to..."


    LOL

    no, but thank you for the offer.

    ReplyDelete
  124. @ TripMaster Monkey:

    Your argument hinges upon a few unwarranted assumptions:

    1) There was a "literal, historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth".


    Which, we know, there was. We have far too many references to him as a literal figure, both in Roman records and in other non-christian writings.


    and

    2) The older Bible would be less a work of folklore than later versions.


    Not that they are less folklore than later versions, but that they are closer to the exact teaching and wording of the original because they are not as far removed.


    I have no idea, since all we have to go on are the hieroglyphs. See the problem?

    I do. Good thing there are outside sources for the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth.


    There nothing in that Gospel that makes the disclaimer that the experience was not his own. Which is understandable, because if there was, people would be wondering "why is Luke repeating Matthew's Gospel in his own?".

    But people don't wonder that, because they make the entirely understandable assumption that Luke is speaking from his own experience (since it's the Gospel of Luke).


    1 Most honorable Theophilus: Many people have written accounts about the events that took place among us. 2 They used as their source material the reports circulating among us from the early disciples and other eyewitnesses of what God has done in fulfillment of his promises. 3 Having carefully investigated all of these accounts from the beginning, I have decided to write a careful summary for you, 4 to reassure you of the truth of all you were taught.

    There's the disclaimer. "I investigated into this, and this is what I found." It is then assumed, when placed beside the sequel (AKA Acts) where he says that he joined up with Paul after Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, that he had to investigate because because he was not there.


    Uh-oh. Everyone get back.

    *pop* *ooze out the ears* Oh, that's going to stain the carpet...


    I'm doing nothing of the sort.

    That you say you're doing nothing of the sort doesn't mean you're doing nothing of the sort.

    If I tell my Grandfather that his definition of Christian is "People whose theology matches mine," and he says "No it's not," but then calls every one whose theology is different from his a fake Christian, then what's his mindset?


    I'm merely pointing out that the Bible we know today (the one that Ray and his ilk like to thump while they tell us all how evil we are) is riddled with these sorts of inaccuracies.

    Yes, I believe the Bible has some inconsistencies within it. I know of two, and this ain't one of them.

    It's like I said before, the word wasn't changed. Just repeated. The paper and ink =/= the word of God, the message and the spirit behind it = the immutable word of God. That it was repeated in another page doesn't mean it's been changed or messed up, only repeated.


    In some cases, the inaccuracies are honest errors from mistranslation or copying. In others, the inaccuracies are deliberate, and in some cases, malicious.

    The overwhelming majority of those errors are word order and spelling. Oh noes.

    The other few exceptions, like the one you mentioned, have no real threat to the doctrine of any Christian I'm aware of, and are easily handled by the scholarly work of Textual Criticism.


    And the real hoot is that there is zero evidence that the original "accurate" Bible is any less a work of fiction than the later editions.

    Well, of course not. We don't have the one original document of any of the books of the Bible, and would we know how to identify the original writing as such if we found it? But we do have some that are relatively close, and there's never been any evidence brought up (to me) that makes me worry for the historical and spiritual accuracy of the contents of my copy of the Canon.

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  125. robb penn said...

    Which, we know, there was. We have far too many references to him as a literal figure, both in Roman records and in other non-christian writings.

    What records? The records I have seen have been forged to add him in. I would like to see real evidence.

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  126. @ BeamStalk:

    Not sure where my post went. I'll try it again.

    What records? The records I have seen have been forged to add him in. I would like to see real evidence.

    There's Flavius Josephus' Antiquities of the Jewish People.

    Yes, the parts about Jesus were altered. No, the parts about Jesus were not completely interpolated.

    Examination of an Arabic version of Antiquities made by Agapius was conducted by an Israeli scholar named Schlomo Pines, and when he compared it to the Greek he found four major differences.

    1) Agapius version assumes the humanity of Jesus. (And, therefore, his literal existence)
    2) His account doesn't refer to Jesus' miracles, but rather to his good conduct and virtue.
    3) The Appearance after three days is mentioned, but only as a "report."
    4) The disclaimer "perhaps" is present before the statement that "he was the Messiah."

    Pines concluded that the Arabic version may preserve a form of text that is close to the original, untampered text of Josephus. Besides that, other Jewish scholars (Paul Winter, L. H. Feldman, and Geza Vermes are listed among them) have pointed out that the literary style of the Greek account is like that of Josephus, and that the most that needs to be assumed is that an original, shorter account of Jesus was somewhat embroidered by a Christian scribe.
    Right now, scholars mostly believe that the shorter passage in Antiquities, where the reference to Jesus in a casual and almost offhand way and where he is called the "so-called Christ," is undoubtedly genuine, and that the longer passage has probably been expanded upon by some overzealous scribe. Not that it was totally fabricated and placed there.


    There's the Babylonian Talmud, which contains material that goes all the way back to the first century. There's half a dozen references to Jesus in that one.
    1) They call him Ben Pandera (son of Pandera), and say that he was born out of wedlock when his mother was seduced by a paramour named Pandera.
    2) It says that he learned magic in Egypt.
    3) He called himself God.
    4) He was tried by the Sanhedrin as a deceiver and a teacher of apostacy.
    5) He was executed on the eve of Passover, either by crucifixion or (in an alternative tradition) that he was stoned and then hanged.
    6) He had five disciples named Matthai, Nequai, Netzer, Buni, and Thodah.

    Both Jewish and Christian Scholars agree that these Talmudic Traditions add nothing new to the story of Jesus in the Gospels. Actually, they confirm early Christian tradition by giving independent testimony that he really existed.
    Take note that they mentioned his ability to do miracles and his claims of being the Divine Son of God. It is also possible that this reflects the tradition that Jesus was born of a virgin, the Greek word for virgin, parthenos being distorted into the name Pandera.


    There's Pliny the Younger. In his letter to the Trajan that he wrote in about A.D. 112, Pliny states that the Christians meet regularly on a certain day and "sing responsively a hymn to Christ as if to a god" (carmen Christo quasi deo dicere secum invicem)
    True, this doesn't speak of Jesus specifically, but it does show that the Christians of the early church certainly didn't believe Jesus to be a mythical or symbolic person so much as an actual deity.


    There's Tacitus' Annals from about A.D. 115. He is talking about Nero, and the things he's doing to the Christians and says "Their name comes from Christus, who in the reign of Tiberius as emperor was condemned to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate."
    Tacitus, who is well widely known as one of the most reliable of Roman historians, fixes in history the date of Jesus' death.


    There's Suetonius, who wrote The Lives of the Twelve Caesars in about A.D.120. In it, he shows that the Jews were expelled from Rome because they had been "continually stirring up trouble under the influence of Chrestus." The misspelling of "Christ" is hardly a surprise to any one who realizes that the author was a pagan, and not really very sympathetic to this new sect any how.

    Really, no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus.

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  127. @Maragon.
    So I take the facts universally agreed upon by the consensus of scholars and historians and you just dismiss them and say it was a made up story. Imagine a creationist debating that way
    "Well Maragon, I don't care about those "facts" presented that are universally agreed upon by the consensus of biologists And I won't give an explaination for ERV's , the fossil record......etc but I still think Evolution is a made up story."
    That response was made of fail

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  128. MrFreeThinker said...

    " @Maragon.
    So I take the facts universally agreed upon by the consensus of scholars and historians and you just dismiss them and say it was a made up story."

    Unsubstantiated claim. All of my research and reading has me and the history PhD's I've learned from coming to quite the opposite conclusion.

    " Imagine a creationist debating that way
    "Well Maragon, I don't care about those "facts" presented that are universally agreed upon by the consensus of biologists And I won't give an explaination for ERV's , the fossil record......etc but I still think Evolution is a made up story."
    That response was made of fail."

    Strawman. There is a demonstrable consensus amongst biologists(which I'll bet you dismiss) but not amongst historians.
    Many historians think that a Jesus existed - they also acknowledge how common that name was - they do not agree that his life unfolded the way the bible claims that it did. Nor do most scholars agree that the bible itself is largely historically accurate, although it does reference some actual places and events(but then again so does Harry Potter, and we don't debate whether or not its fiction).

    Try harder.

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  129. @ Maragon
    //I've learned from coming to quite the opposite conclusion.

    //
    Historian Gary Habermas did a survey of all the scholarly historical publications in 3 languages over the past 30 years (over 1400).
    He found that all scholars nearly unanimously agreed on facts 1, 3,4 and 5 and 75% agreed on fact 2.
    I've done the research Maragon

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  130. I've done the research too. At a University level - for my minor in Ancient History(second teachable).

    And I'm sorry to say that my sources don't agree with your obviously biased Christian apologist who works for the laughable diploma mill "Liberty University".

    You can go ahead and provide links to this supposed survey, though, so I can provide evidence that he quote-mined or fabricated a large majority of his 'support' for his 'facts'.

    History isn't like science or math. You can't prove it to be true in the same way that you can prove a math solution is true. History isn't testable or repeatable and is therefore far more subject to the fallibility of the human mind. History is open to interpretation, math/science largely is not.

    There's still not a real consensus amongst historians as to what the HOLOCAUST entailed - and you expect me to believe that there's a consensus about something that pre-dates the Holocaust by thousands of years and has the tiniest fraction of supporting documentation or evidence? Riiiight.

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  131. @Maragon
    Man are you arrogant. Calling a fourth-tier institution a "diploma mill".
    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college/items/
    Must be some good education you got.
    Calling Habermas biased just because he's a Christian. (What about naturalist or atheist historians ? Are they biased too?) and accusing Habermas of dishonesty when you have no reason to do so.
    Here's one of his articles on the trends he found in his survey
    http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005.htm
    And what are your sources that disagree with Habermas on these facts (I'm talking about historians with aPhd or equivalent in relevant fields like Habermas has).

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  132. Arrogant?

    I certainly don't attend a fourth tier school. lolsauce.
    And everyone who's not ridiculous and biased knows that Liberty is a diploma mill - they teach CREATIONISM as opposed to actual science. Your country terrifies me.

    I'm not calling him biased because he's a christian. I school and work with many theists of all stripes who but aside their irrational beliefs in order to peruse careers in the sciences, engineering, medicine, law, etc. I call him biased because he's obviously become a very rich man conflating the 'facts' and selling books to desperate believers. He's like Ray with a PhD.

    If this man were at all as prolific as you attempt to make him sound, he's be working at a real university - perhaps even an Ivy league one.

    Still waiting for you to cite this supposed survey so I can so you how and where he quote mined and lied.

    As for historians with PhD's who agree with me - you can look up my professors at the 3 Universities at which I've taken history courses. The University of Ottawa, The University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University.

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  133. //they teach CREATIONISM as opposed to actual science//
    I believe they teach both sides.
    I'm not a creationist but any time some college teaches something opposed to your worldview it is a diploma mill?..please..
    //I call him biased because he's obviously become a very rich man conflating the 'facts' and selling books to desperate believers. He's like Ray with a PhD.//
    I could say the same about Dawkins and many atheist writers.
    And I don't see any reason to doubt the man's honesty and you haven't given me any.
    those professors that taught you. which facts do they disagree with? and on what grounds?
    Check the link in my last post for material from Habermas' survey.
    (And to my knowledge even the most liberal scholars concede facts 1 and 3-5. I 'd be glad for you to provide evidence to the contrary)

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  134. So now you've changed which facts the scholars agree with - all while still refusing to actually provide a link to this supposed survey.
    Convenient.

    "I believe they teach both sides."

    You believe wrong. And there are no 'sides'. Creationism isn't science and doesn't belong in a science classroom.

    "ny time some college teaches something opposed to your worldview it is a diploma mill?..please.."

    Because that's EXACTLY what I said...
    If you're just going to take everything I say our of context and twist it for your own ends, I won't bother trying to discuss anything with you at all.

    I gave one example among many for why Liberty University is a piss poor school and the laughingstock of anyone with a scientific background. Once again, if your professor was anywhere near as important as you make him out to be, he'd be tenured at a real University. Not a 4th string college.

    "I could say the same about Dawkins and many atheist writers."

    Yes, you could. And I wouldn't disagree. I disliked 'The God Delusion' and I dislike many other popular atheist works.

    "And I don't see any reason to doubt the man's honesty and you haven't given me any."

    And you've given me no reason to believe that he is honest and that his work in genuine. You tried to appeal to authority - but you picked a very poor one.

    "those professors that taught you. which facts do they disagree with? and on what grounds?"

    I already explained what it is that mainstream scholars accept in regards to the historicity of christ in an earlier comment. Go back and read it.


    And now I'm done bickering with you for the night. Some of us have masters level classes in the morning.

    Tootles.

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  135. I did provide a link Maragon (3 posts back).Here's it again in case you missed it
    http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005.htm
    Do you assume everyone is dishonest until proven otherwise ?(What do you do with your textbooks?)
    Again you never said anything about the facts . All you said was (and I quote),
    "Many historians think that a Jesus existed - they also acknowledge how common that name was - they do not agree that his life unfolded the way the bible claims that it did. Nor do most scholars agree that the bible itself is largely historically accurate, although it does reference some actual places and events"
    But you never addressed these specific facts.
    I was not claiming the bible was wholly accurate. I was just asking about these 5 minimal facts .You made some vague appeal to the professors who taught you but never told me which of the facts they agree/disagree with. The only real thing I've seen so far is you doubting Habermas' honesty.
    Toodles and good night

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  136. Robb,

    I am taking a look at those, Tacitus and Josephus I knew about. It sounds like most of these have the same problem, they are not contemporary. They are written, up to 90 years after the events. Josephus was 60 years after and has definitely been tampered with.

    "Really, no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus."

    No competent paleontologist denied that T-Rex was a vicious hunter either. Recently, Jack Horner has gone back and looked at T-Rex and shown that it was nothing more than a scavenger, like a vulture or hyena. With all the evidence Jack presents some still insist T-Rex is a hunter or both a scavenger and hunter.

    The reason for this misconception, is that the T-Rex was declared a hunter because of his large teeth. More as a part of showbiz than anything else. Yet no one questioned it for years. So it came to be assumed that he was a hunter.

    I am suggesting that the same can be said for a historical Jesus. The church has insisted for years, even more than the T-Rex example, that Jesus was real. It is a statement that has been stated so many times that it is assumed to be true.

    I will look at each one of these though.

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  137. The Arabic version Pines studied was written in the 10th century. The title was wrong even.

    Pines' theory has not been widely accepted. The fact that even the title of Josephus's work is inaccurate suggests that Agapius is paraphrasing his source, which may explain the discrepancies with the Greek version. In addition, the claim that Pilate condemned Jesus to be crucified and to die has been interpreted as a reaction to the Muslim belief that Jesus did not really die on the cross.

    Agapius was also a Christian Bishop and would have a vested interest in making certain points.

    It is also the fact that early Christians do not quote the passage of Jesus in Josephus. If it was there it would be a great boon to them.

    His other reference to James the brother of Jesus, is not as contested. Just the part of "the one they called Christ". It is more likely he was talking about Jesus, the son of Damneus. Considering Yeshua was a common name then, and still today, Joshua.

    The Babylonian Talmud contains several references that have been traditionally identified with Jesus of Nazareth. However, these same passages have been used to show that the biblical Jesus is based upon an earlier figure who lived about 100 BCE. Furthermore, tradition has the Babylonian Talmud being compiled in the late third to early fourth century limiting its value to determining events of the 1st century CE.

    Pliny statement just confirms there were Christians in the 2nd century, which is known. "To Christ as if to a god", Pliny was not a believer so he didn't believe in Christ as god. So why should he acknowledge Christ being god?

    Tacitus (circa 117) in the context of the Great Fire of Rome refers to "some people, known as Christians, whose disgraceful activities were notorious". The originator of that name, Christus, had been executed when Tiberius was emperor by the order of Pontius Pilate. But this deadly cult, though checked for a time, was now breaking out again." It has been pointed out by experts on both sides there is no way to tell where Tacitus got the information for this passage and state there are hints in the passage that suggest that the information did not come from Roman records.

    Tacitus probably purposefully perverted his "histories" when he found that Rome had become an empire. Many historians are skeptical that the events in his writings occurred as they were written or occurred at all.

    Suetonius, who wrote in the second century, made reference to unrest among the Jews of Rome under Claudius caused by "instigator Chrestus". This has sometimes been identified with Jesus Christ, though in this case it must refer to indirect posthumous effects and gives no biographical information. Critics argue that "Chrestus" was in fact very common Greek name and may have been a person of that name living under Claudius rather than a misspelling of Christ. Also it is pointed out that Suetonius refers to Jews not Christians in this passage even though in his Life of Nero he shows some knowledge of the sect's existence indicating that "Chrestus" was not "Christus".

    Again all of these are much later than the life of Jesus anyway. I am not saying that without a doubt Jesus never existed. It is possible. I just think one should examine everything they believe. Again it would be me out to prove a negative which is impossible.

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  138. @ BeamStalk:

    I am taking a look at those, Tacitus and Josephus I knew about. It sounds like most of these have the same problem, they are not contemporary. They are written, up to 90 years after the events. Josephus was 60 years after and has definitely been tampered with.

    The Babylonian Talmud was compiled at a later date. The materials and traditions therein, like those about Ben Pandera (A.K.A. Jesus) go back to the first Christian century.

    Ye, Josephus was tampered with, but there isn't any reason to believe that the existence of Jesus was completely inserted rather than pre-existent and expounded upon, as those other Jewish scholars like Paul Winter, L. H. Feldman, and Geza Vermes have concluded.


    I was actually familiar with the T-Rex thing. I read it in a book some time after Jurassic Park came out. Yea, I was a nerd way back then.

    When you look at the structure of the legs, there's also some study that shows (or did then) that he was more a long-distance walker than a runner. Though, I'm sure if he wanted to, he could pick up a bit of speed.

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  139. @ BeamStalk:

    Some of that is, admitedly, new information. That bit about paraphrasing and the Islamic influence.


    It is also the fact that early Christians do not quote the passage of Jesus in Josephus. If it was there it would be a great boon to them.

    Of course not. At what point in history did people begin to question the historicity of Jesus? Not in their time. Why would they need to quote Josephus for historicity when it wasn't even a question?


    His other reference to James the brother of Jesus, is not as contested. Just the part of "the one they called Christ". It is more likely he was talking about Jesus, the son of Damneus. Considering Yeshua was a common name then, and still today, Joshua.

    So, then "The one they called Christ" was referring to Jesus the son of Damneus?
    How does one get to this conclusion?


    The Babylonian Talmud contains several references that have been traditionally identified with Jesus of Nazareth. However, these same passages have been used to show that the biblical Jesus is based upon an earlier figure who lived about 100 BCE. Furthermore, tradition has the Babylonian Talmud being compiled in the late third to early fourth century limiting its value to determining events of the 1st century CE.

    The Babylonian Talmud doesn't have any material that goes back into 100 BCE, it's contents go back into the first century CE. How does one use them as justification for the belief that Jesus was based on another character from 100 BCE?

    Also, the rabbinic tradition is a pretty reliable one. It's strictness in transmission is more than enough to preserve such material.


    Pliny statement just confirms there were Christians in the 2nd century, which is known. "To Christ as if to a god", Pliny was not a believer so he didn't believe in Christ as god. So why should he acknowledge Christ being god?

    He didn't, acknowledge Christ as being God, and I said that. I said that it shows that the Early Church certainly believed that he was a literal deity rather than a mythic story character.


    It has been pointed out by experts on both sides there is no way to tell where Tacitus got the information for this passage and state there are hints in the passage that suggest that the information did not come from Roman records.

    Which ones? And why should I trust their scholarship over Ben Witherington the Third, Bruce Metzger (one of my heroes), and the like?


    Many historians are skeptical that the events in his writings occurred as they were written or occurred at all.

    That surely wasn't the case in 2003, when Metzger's 3rd revision of The New Testament: It's Background, Growth, and Content was published. Even Bart Ehrman love's Metzger's work, and he's an atheist!



    Suetonius, who wrote in the second century, made reference to unrest among the Jews of Rome under Claudius caused by "instigator Chrestus". This has sometimes been identified with Jesus Christ, though in this case it must refer to indirect posthumous effects and gives no biographical information. Critics argue that "Chrestus" was in fact very common Greek name and may have been a person of that name living under Claudius rather than a misspelling of Christ. Also it is pointed out that Suetonius refers to Jews not Christians in this passage even though in his Life of Nero he shows some knowledge of the sect's existence indicating that "Chrestus" was not "Christus"


    He says that they were causing trouble "Under the influence of Chrestus." Which from a secular point of view, of course, supposes some posthumous effects, but therefore presupposes a life which ended.

    Yes, it may have been a popular title, as it means something to the effect of "Kind one," but how many "Kind Ones" do we have record of inspiring trouble (even if not causing it) amongst the Jews, which the Romans would surely have in the official archives at his disposal?

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  140. I am currently working my way through Ehrman's the lost christianities, which covers a lot of this. I will find what you asked about. I find it all very interesting.


    On to T-rex, I almost went to school for paleontology and still just a little bit regret I didn't. The evidence is not just the leg dimensions. Horner has shown that most of the brain of the t-rex was olfactory. The percentage of olfactory to the rest of the brain was almost identical to that of a vulture. T-rex also had very poor eyesight. You cannot be much of hunter when you can't see what you are hunting. The teeth are not serrated like on cats and velociraptors. Instead the teeth are rounded and more akin to teeth on bone crushing animals like hyenas. Meaning a T-rex would have to get it's protein from crushing bone. That in turn would imply that it was not eating the choice meat on an animal or getting there after the meat was gone. The best evidence though is the fact they found bite marks that fit a T-rex in the bone of another animal. Plus the forearms on hunting animals are used to hold the kill down as they tear the meat away. You can see this with cats and it is highly suspected Velociraptors used their forearms in a similar manner. As everyone knows the forearms on a T-rex are practically worthless. If one is inclined you can actually go back and look at the ancestors of a T-rex and see the legs changing to more of long distance walker and the arms becoming smaller.

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  141. Of course not. At what point in history did people begin to question the historicity of Jesus? Not in their time. Why would they need to quote Josephus for historicity when it wasn't even a question?

    It would be a great boon because here is a jewish man confirming him as Christ, even though he does not follow him.

    So, then "The one they called Christ" was referring to Jesus the son of Damneus?
    How does one get to this conclusion?


    That part of the text is being refuted. It was more likely added later, based on that Josephus talks of Jesus, son of Damneus shortly after that.

    The Babylonian Talmud doesn't have any material that goes back into 100 BCE, it's contents go back into the first century CE. How does one use them as justification for the belief that Jesus was based on another character from 100 BCE?

    Also, the rabbinic tradition is a pretty reliable one. It's strictness in transmission is more than enough to preserve such material.


    Passage 1 - Ben Stada

    The claim is Ben Stada, also known as Ben Pandira, was Jesus. His mother's name was Miriam which is similar to Mary. Additionally, Miriam was called a women's hairdresser, "megadla nashaia" [for this translation, see R. Meir Halevi Abulafia, Yad Rama, Sanhedrin ad. loc.]. The phrase "Miriam megadla nashaia" sounds similar to Mary Magdalene, a well-known New Testament figure.

    1. Mary Magdalene was not Jesus' mother. Neither was Mary a hairdresser.
    2. Jesus' step-father was Joseph. Ben Stada's step-father was Pappos Ben Yehudah.
    3. Pappos Ben Yehudah is a known figure from other places in talmudic literature. The Mechilta Beshalach (Vayehi ch. 6) has him discussing Torah with Rabbi Akiva and Talmud Berachot 61b has Pappos Ben Yehudah being captured and killed by Romans along with Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva lived during the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. He died in the year 134. If Pappos Ben Yehudah was a contemporary of Rabbi Akiva's, he must have been born well after Jesus' death and certainly could not be his father.

    Passage 2 - Yeshu

    It is passage 2 about Yeshu that is attributed to 100 BCE. Because of the mention of King John Hyrcanus who lived around 100 BCE.

    There are some similarities here between Yeshu and Jesus. Most notably, in one manuscript of the Talmud he is called Yeshu the Notzri which could be rendered (with only a little difficulty) Jesus the Nazarene.

    1. Yeshu lived about a century before Jesus.
    2. Only one of the approximately four distinct manuscripts available have the title HaNotzri (possibly, the Nazarene). None of the other manuscripts contain that title which make it suspect as a later interpolation, as medieval commentators suggest [cf. Menachem HaMeiri, Beit Habechirah, Sotah ad. loc.].
    3. Notzri does not necessarily mean Nazarene. It is actually a biblical term (Jeremiah 4:16). While centuries later it was undoubtedly used to refer to Christians in the form of Notzrim or Netzarim, it could have been a term used to refer to many strong communities. The name "Ben Netzar" was used by the Talmud to refer to the famous chief of robbers Odenathus of Palmyra [see Marcus Jastrow's Dictionary p. 930]
    4. The name Yeshu alone could have been common. We know that the name Jesus was common [see Collossians 4:11 and above].
    5. Other than the name, nothing in the story fits anything we know about Jesus.

    Passage 3 - Trial

    This is about Ben Stada. Above we were told that he performed witchcraft and we are now told that he was an idolater as well. The connection to Jesus is that Ben Stada is connected to Jesus in the passage above and that he was executed on the eve of Passover. The Gospel of John (19:14) has Jesus being executed on the eve of Passover.

    1. The same problems above connecting Ben Stada to Jesus apply here as well, including his living almost a century after Jesus.
    2. Ben Stada was stoned by a Jewish court and not crucified by the Roman government like Jesus.
    3. The Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus was executed on Passover itself (Matthew 26:18-20; Mark 14:16-18; Luke 22:13-15) and not the eve of Passover.
    4. Jesus was not crucified in Lud.

    Passage 4 - Execution

    This is about Yeshu. All of the proofs from above connecting Yeshu to Jesus apply here as well. Additionally, the execution on the eve of Passover is another connection to Jesus as above with Ben Stada.

    1. As mentioned above with Ben Stada, the Synoptic Gospels have Jesus being executed on Passover itself and not the eve of Passover.
    2. As above, Yeshu lived a century before Jesus.
    3. Yeshu was executed by a Jewish court and not by the Romans. During Yeshu's time, the reign of Alexander Janneus, the Jewish courts had the power to execute but had to be careful because the courts were ruled by the Pharisees while the king was a Sadducee. It seems clear why the courts would not want to unneccesarily upset the monarch by executing a friend of his. During the Roman occupation of Jesus' time, there is no indication that the Jewish courts had the right to execute criminals.
    3. There is no indication from the New Testament that Jesus had friends in the government.

    Passage 5 - Disciples

    Five of Yeshu's disciples were brought before a court, tried for the crime against god and society of idolatry, and executed according to biblical law. This passages presents each disciple cleverly bringing a biblical verse in an attempt to exonerate himself and the court responding likewise.

    The name Yeshu is used as above. The additional proof this passage provides is that Matai is the Hebrew equivalent of Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples.

    1. The same problems above connecting Yeshu to Jesus apply here.
    2. Of the five disciples, only one is recognized. What of the other four?
    3. The name Matai seems like a nickname or Aramaic equivalent of Matityahu, which was a known Jewish name in that time period. It was probably a common name, considering the high esteem in which the patriarch of the Hasmonean dynasty, Matityahu, was held by the common people. Some manuscripts have the name of R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah's famous colleague as Matai from Arbel [cf. R. Shimon Ben Tzemach Duran, Magen Avot, ed. Zeini (Jerusalem:2000) p. 31].

    Passage 6 - The Student

    Here we see the only place in which the names Yeshu and Ben Pandira are connected.

    That is all from this website - http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/jesusnarr.html

    He didn't, acknowledge Christ as being God, and I said that. I said that it shows that the Early Church certainly believed that he was a literal deity rather than a mythic story character.

    I agree he is not acknowledging Christ as god. That is my point. What would think of the statement, "Muslims worship Allah as if he is God."? I do think though this is one of your strongest arguments.

    Which ones? And why should I trust their scholarship over Ben Witherington the Third, Bruce Metzger (one of my heroes), and the like?

    That surely wasn't the case in 2003, when Metzger's 3rd revision of The New Testament: It's Background, Growth, and Content was published. Even Bart Ehrman love's Metzger's work, and he's an atheist!


    Professor R. T. France, in 2002, is the latest article I can find. R. T. France, writes "The brief notice in Tacitus Annals xv.44 mentions only his title, Christus, and his execution in Judea by order of Pontius Pilatus. Nor is there any reason to believe that Tacitus bases this on independent information-it is what Christians would be saying in Rome in the early second century ... No other clear pagan references to Jesus can be dated before AD 150, by which time the source of any information is more likely to be Christian propaganda than an independent record." The Gospels As Historical Sources For Jesus, The Founder Of Christianity, Truth Journal.

    I am fairly positive Ehrman gives some more examples in Lost Christianities but I need to dig through the book for that.

    He says that they were causing trouble "Under the influence of Chrestus." Which from a secular point of view, of course, supposes some posthumous effects, but therefore presupposes a life which ended.

    Good point there. This with Pliny the younger statement is the strongest evidence. The only problem is equating Chrestus to Jesus. The fact that Suetonius mentions Christians in later works, "Life of Nero", shows that he would know the difference between Jews and Christians.

    Yes, it may have been a popular title, as it means something to the effect of "Kind one," but how many "Kind Ones" do we have record of inspiring trouble (even if not causing it) amongst the Jews, which the Romans would surely have in the official archives at his disposal?

    I am not saying a title but an actual name. Names can have meaning, like Peter meaning the rock, which in greek is a pun. There is also the fact if this was Christ, they would have been Christians not Jews. As I said before Suetonius knew the difference between Christians and Jews. He also wrote this at a later date so there is no need to still call them Jews but instead Christians, if that is what they truly were.

    Prophets and Messiahs were very common in that day. Even the idea of a three day resurrection was not new. You can look at the tablet known as Gabriel's Revelation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel%27s_Revelation

    So to say there was an uprising to me is not that surprising.

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  142. oh forgot to mention, the fact Origen quotes other parts of Josephus but not that passage. Yes exclusion is not proof, but begs the question why not quote that too?

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  143. @ BeamStalk:

    It would be a great boon because here is a jewish man confirming him as Christ, even though he does not follow him.

    But did his original writings confirm Jesus as Christ? Or did they just confirm him as a man who literally existed?

    Like the stuff I cited said, his writings couldn't have possibly originally said "He is the Messiah." But, it is highly probable that they did say "Jesus existed."


    That part of the text is being refuted. It was more likely added later, based on that Josephus talks of Jesus, son of Damneus shortly after that.

    How could Josephus have thought that the Jesus, son of Damneus was "The so-called Christ" if he says that that so-called Christ he was writing about was crucified under Pilate?
    (XVIII.iii.3, as cited in Metzger's intro to the New Testament)


    That's a lot of info about the Talmudic references to Jesus that I didn't have.

    I may have to do some study.
    ^_^


    I agree he is not acknowledging Christ as god. That is my point. What would think of the statement, "Muslims worship Allah as if he is God."? I do think though this is one of your strongest arguments.

    Muslim people don't believe that Allah is a mythical figure; they believe he's literal.

    It's historic reference to worship of Jesus as a literal being rather than a mythical one, even if not by the author himself.


    Professor R. T. France, in 2002, is the latest article I can find. R. T. France, writes "The brief notice in Tacitus Annals xv.44 mentions only his title, Christus, and his execution in Judea by order of Pontius Pilatus. Nor is there any reason to believe that Tacitus bases this on independent information-it is what Christians would be saying in Rome in the early second century ... No other clear pagan references to Jesus can be dated before AD 150, by which time the source of any information is more likely to be Christian propaganda than an independent record." The Gospels As Historical Sources For Jesus, The Founder Of Christianity, Truth Journal.

    How does that not support my side?

    The idea that Jesus was a mythical figure means that the early church must have known he wasn't real, and then some one made him out to be real later. However, the early church doesn't seem to know that.


    I am fairly positive Ehrman gives some more examples in Lost Christianities but I need to dig through the book for that.

    Ehrman's a smart dude. Clearly, I don't agree with everything he says (I am, in fact, a Christian), but he's still a quality historian. I think that, if Metzger weren't a Christian, he would have been Ehrman.

    If I wanted to make a Bible class with good scholarship and a balance in Bias, I would put his intro to the new testament beside Metzger's intro and teach from them both.


    Good point there. This with Pliny the younger statement is the strongest evidence. The only problem is equating Chrestus to Jesus. The fact that Suetonius mentions Christians in later works, "Life of Nero", shows that he would know the difference between Jews and Christians.

    True. And my logic behind that is this;

    It's not hard to make that misspelling, especially when the two names sound so much the same. Brains being only human and all...

    Aside from that, how many Chrestuses (Kind ones) have there been throughout history which have been the basis for fightings among the Jews?

    And then there's my really sketchy, I-would-never-put-this-in-a-paper reasoning; people have linked that name to Jesus for so long for a reason, and there's no historical evidence that it was a mistake.

    The question is, when the edict was made that the Jews were to be kicked out, was it only people of Jewish faith or Jewish Descent?

    That would make the difference. And there's a precedent that it would be people of Jewish descent rather than just faith in about 49 AD. when Claudius gave them the boot.


    I am not saying a title but an actual name. Names can have meaning, like Peter meaning the rock, which in greek is a pun. There is also the fact if this was Christ, they would have been Christians not Jews. As I said before Suetonius knew the difference between Christians and Jews. He also wrote this at a later date so there is no need to still call them Jews but instead Christians, if that is what they truly were.

    Fair enough. It may have been a name more than a Title, and a name with meaning at that. But does that change the way it was used?

    Was the Edict for Christians, or was it for people of Jewish descent? If it was for people of Jewish descent, then he wouldn't have any need of pointing out the difference between the two faiths.


    Prophets and Messiahs were very common in that day. Even the idea of a three day resurrection was not new. You can look at the tablet known as Gabriel's Revelation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel%27s_Revelation

    So to say there was an uprising to me is not that surprising.


    True. I agree with the statement that there were many people who declared themselves the Messiah.

    The Romans, especially Suetonius, really wasn't fond of the Jews or Christians because of all the trouble they seemed to be causing. It's not surprising to me, either, that the Jews would be in an uproar.

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  144. @ BeamStalk:

    oh forgot to mention, the fact Origen quotes other parts of Josephus but not that passage. Yes exclusion is not proof, but begs the question why not quote that too?

    Well, was there a need to?
    I'm not familiar with anything of Origen, except that he specifically said that Josephus didn't believe Jesus to be the Christ and remained a Jew.

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  145. Just out of curiosity...why spend so much time "fundie" bashing? If you are an atheist (or whatever) why would you care who does or does not believe the authenticity of the Bible. Or for that matter whether or not the Christians will be raptured? Will time not tell if the Christians are right or wrong in this matter? Do you sit around and criticize the wiccans for believing in their books? Seems like you'd have better things to do.

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