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Author Topic: I Guess I Never Learn . . .  (Read 751 times)
lester1/2jr
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2015, 02:53:44 PM »

for the record, I do not agree with this at all



there is no herbal component in any gospel, gnostic or otherwise
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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2015, 08:37:08 PM »

I certainly hope you don't mind that I am kicking this back and forth with you . . .
I'm not offended by any of your responses, this is just a discussion I enjoy.  To cite your last:

"he would have been completely insane and Jesus would have been the only male in all of Bethlehem who was his age. There's also no reason the family would have gone from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a "census" the goal of which was to collect taxes. either of these decrees would have resulted in total chaos."

Herod the Great's paranoid insanity was well documented.  He had five of his own sons and his favorite wife all put to death.  I doubt that Jesus would have been the only male of his age, but there probably would not have been too many boys under 2 in a town that  small.
I can think of one reason why Joseph might have returned to Bethlehem: if he still owned some property there. He was "of the house and lineage of David" so his family definitely came from there, and it was probably his birth place.  Therefore he might have owned, if not a house proper, at least a parcel of land.




"Peter, who the church says was the source for the gospel of Mark, was a figure in the early church even writing epistles I think he would have known those stories and recorded them in his gospel."

Except that Peter didn't bother to record the birth narrative at all; not that he didn't know it, but it wasn't central to his preaching.  According to Papias (around 120 AD or so) Mark simply wrote down the stories of Jesus as he heard Peter tell them.  Matthew, who was writing more specifically to the Jews, recorded the birth narrative from Joseph's point of view.  His source would have most likely  been James, the brother of Jesus, who lived until 62 AD according to Josephus.

"There were different traditions in early Christianity though. Paul believed strongly in the resurrection and in it's centrality to Christianity, but he admonishes people who did NOT in I can't remember which epistle. that's just to say people calling themselves Christians at the same time had heard something else. The original Mark contains no description of the resurrection. Not to open that whole can of worms just to say the basic message of Jesus' ministry is intact in all the gospels, the facts maybe are subject to human mistakes and biases a little more."

I imagine that Paul was referring to those Jewish Christians who came from the Saducees' tradition.  The Saducees did not believe in life after death in any form.  As far as Mark, no one knows what description of the Resurrection the end of his gospel contained, because the original end (after v. 8) has been lost for many years, or else his Gospel was not finished.  However, he still testifies that there WAS a resurrection, because the young men in white at the tomb told the women "He is not here; He has risen."  That verse is in every single manuscript of Mark.
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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2015, 09:19:28 PM »

Quote
"I can think of one reason why Joseph might have returned to Bethlehem

the reason is clearly given in the bible and its not that one

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Herod the Great's paranoid insanity was well documented.

and it's just a coincidence that it's the same story as Moses? Why didn't everyone who had a son flee the town. and how did the 3 Kings of the Orient know Jesus was the chosen one did they have magic powers?  and they weren't Jewish why would they think a prospective messiah was anybody of significance? The reason the brithplace of bethlehem is given was because that was the place that the messiah supposed to be coming from so they found a way to have him be born there even though he did not live there.

as for the birth line, Jesus was not related to David: he was the son of God! He didn't possess David's genes and Joseph wasn't his literal father. plot hole city

Quote
Except that Peter didn't bother to record the birth narrative at all; not that he didn't know it, but it wasn't central to his preaching.

so it was a creative choice? To leave out 30 years out of the history of his teacher's life thats something.

also, to paraphrase Bart Ehrman if Jesus made all the divine claims that he did in John why didn't the mark record them too? It's one thing to not feel like telling the story of Jesus' youth, but to ignore him saying that he and God are one and so forth makes no sense. theres no way someone would hear that and not write it down.

A more reasonable answer is that John  reflects 90 ad era Christian concerns and likewise for Mark and the earlier time frame, not Peter and Johns different ministerial focus.  

Quote
That verse is in every single manuscript of Mark.

I sort of accidentally implied that the author of Mark did not believe in the resurrection. That's not true as you point out. Its just to say that Jesus does not appear in the story itself after he is crucified.

"I imagine that Paul was referring to those Jewish Christians who came from the Saducees' tradition. "

He doesn't say that. Corinth was an international/ mixed Roman city and Paul of course is famous for preaching to gentiles. At any rate

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 10:33:49 PM by lester1/2jr » Logged

indianasmith
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2015, 11:44:39 PM »

Actually, a census tax can require people to return to their hometown if they still have to pay a tax on anything they own there.

 "it's just a coincidence that it's the same story as Moses? Why didn't everyone who had a son flee the town. and how did the 3 Kings of the Orient know Jesus was the chosen one did they have magic powers?  and they weren't Jewish why would they think a prospective messiah was anybody of significance? The reason the brithplace of bethlehem is given was because that was the place that the messiah supposed to be coming from so they found a way to have him be born there even though he did not live there.

as for the birth line, Jesus was not related to David: he was the son of God! He didn't possess David's genes and Joseph wasn't his literal father. plot hole city"

It's only slightly similar to the story of Moses; one involved a deliberate genocide against a race of captives, the other was an attempt to take out one individual.  As for why they didn't flee - they didn't know it was coming!  Joseph and Mary were warned, the others weren't.
As for the Magi, they studied the stars for a living, and were familiar with the Scriptures of the Hebrews, since so many Jews had lived in Babylon for hundreds of years.  Watch the documentary "The Star of Bethlehem" to get an idea of what it was that they saw that brought them from the East to greet this newborn King. 

Now, as for Jesus' ancestry - legally, he was the son of Joseph, but not biologically.  But look at Luke! He gives a completely different genealogy than Matthew - tracing Jesus' lineage from a different son of David than Matthew does.  The most obvious explanation for that is that he is providing Mary's genealogy, and she was also a descendant of David.  Jesus DEFINITELY had her DNA.

As for why John is so different - again, I am giving the ancient sources the benefit of the doubt and assuming that John wrote this because I have yet to see a single convincing piece of evidence that he did not - John was writing 30 years after the other three.  I am sure he was familiar with what they said.  He was also aware of the rising heresy of Gnosticism which denied many of the teachings of Christ that the Apostles, at that point, had been passing down for 50 years or more.  So, as the last survivor of their generation, he set out to write a Gospel, based on his memories of Jesus, but also emphasizing that Jesus was not only a divine spirit being, as the Gnostic insisted, but also a fully human being who ate, slept, wept, and grieved.  At that time Cerinthus, one of the proto-Gnostics of the Docetic persuasion, was teaching his followers that Jesus never actually had a flesh and blood body - which of course completely undermines the whole idea of an atoning blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind.  John wrote what I personally consider the most beautiful book in the world as an enduring testimony to the Jesus he knew, but also to the Jesus he had seen in his revelation from heaven - the risen King.

I will say this: the author of John had to have lived in Jerusalem before its destruction by the Romans. He was intimately familiar with the city's geography, and also with the customs and traditions of the Jewish temple service.

Each of the four Gospels adapts its message to a different audience: Mark's fast-paced, bare-bones account, with its sprinkling of Latin terms, was aimed at Roman readers.  Luke's polished Greek and attention to historic, geographic, and political details shows that he was writing for a more upper class, Greek-speaking audience, which might have been the upper crust of Roman society, or the philosophers of Athens.  Matthew, with more OT references than any of the others and his attention to the laws and customs of the Jews, was writing for his own people.  And finally, John wrote a Gospel for Christians who were being swayed by some of the early offshoots of Christianity.  Each included some things the others didn't, but John's is the most original of the bunch because he was writing in a different set of circumstances, long after the other three books had passed into general circulation among the early church.
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« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2015, 12:58:32 AM »

Quote
Insert Quote
Actually, a census tax can require people to return to their hometown if they still have to pay a tax on anything they own there.

" almost all scholars agree that people would not be required to travel in order to register for tax purposes (it would be the taxation officials who would travel, as they had to link property to its owners), and Joseph, as a resident of Galilee rather than Judaea, would not have been affected by the census in any case"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius





Quote
Each of the four Gospels adapts its message to a different audience:

again, how could Luke, Mathew and Mark not have thought that Jesus saying that he and God were one not merit a mention?

Quote
But look at Luke! He gives a completely different genealogy than Matthew

the point of the geneology was to prove the prophecy stated in the OT. Jesus wasn't born into royalty no one would have traced his lineage or known anything about it. as if that would even matter to someone who was leading a religion that would be seperate from Judaism entirely. If Jesus is God it certainly wouldn't be dependent on criteria from a faith that doesn't see him as such

Quote
, they studied the stars for a living,

 the stars don't tell people things. Jesus wasn't revealed in stars thats astrology



Quote
He was also aware of the rising heresy of Gnosticism

well this goes back to my original comment that the Gospel of John in particular the doubting thomas part was political motivated to try and marginalize other schools of Christian thought. These existed thruoghout early Christianity though as we see in Paul exhorting the Corinthians to unite under one basic set of beliefs. Whoever wrote Paul  (edit: John, not Paul) had an axe to grind and put words Jesus didn't say into his mouth

Quote
Luke's polished Greek and attention to historic, geographic, and political details shows that he was writing for a more upper class, Greek-speaking audience,

it shows that the writer/ compiler himself who was not Luke was of that social position and location

John is specifially said to be illiterate in the Book of Acts https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%204:13 which I would tend to believe as he was a poor peasant from Gallilee and not one of the very few and well of who could afford to be educated.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 12:31:41 PM by lester1/2jr » Logged

indianasmith
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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2015, 09:40:26 AM »

Commenting from bottom to top this time -

Acts never says John was illiterate.  You're the one making suppositions.  It says he  and Peter were "unlearned" meaning they hadn't had rabbinical training.  And, since John wrote his Gospel 50 years later, you're saying it's impossible for a grown man to learn anything, even something as basic as how to write?  That seems harsh!

Why on earth would you say the writer is not Luke?  Luke was, according to Scripture, an educated Greek physician - the perfect candidate to write the kind of Gospel that is attributed to him!  His numerous "we" passages in the Book of Acts make it clear that he was a traveling companion of Paul and was involved in Paul's ministry - at the exact points where Paul's letters mention that Luke was with him.  The case for the authorship of Luke is perhaps the strongest of ANY of the Gospels, except maybe for John's.

Paul put words in Jesus' mouth he didn't say?  PURE SUPPOSITION!! Unless you personally know every word Jesus ever said!

Actually, the ancients believed that the stars could tell them many things, and the Gospel says that God celebrated the birth of his Son with a unique stellar phenomenon.  Since the writer was 2000 years closer to the event than you are, I'll take his word for it!

Actually, according to Josephus, the genealogical records for all of Israel were kept at the Temple in Jerusalem. Young Jews learned their family tree at an early age and could cite it from memory.  It was very important to the cultural identity of the Jews to trace their lineage back to one of the Twelve Tribes.  It's not surprising that both Joseph and Mary's lineage was known.

If you read the Synoptics carefully, Jesus consistently spoke of Himself as having a unique relation to God.  John calls Him the Son of God in the very FIRST VERSE of his Gospel.  They just presented the message in different ways.

My whole point on the tax is that Joseph probably lived most of his life in Bethlehem before moving to Galilee to marry, and therefore would have been listed as a resident of Bethlehem at the time the decree was issued, so back to Bethlehem he went.


I guess my beef with a lot of modern scholars is that their motivation is to prove the Gospels wrong as often as they can.  They don't believe any of the deeds attributed to Jesus are physically possible so they ignore the fact that ALL the early evidence says, in fact, that Jesus did do these things.  For example, every reference in the NT says that Jesus was buried in a rock tomb near Jerusalem.  Many modern scholars dispute that!  Why?  Because a sealed rock tomb lends credence to the idea that Jesus might actually have risen as the Gospels say.  They dismiss the resurrection, therefore they dismiss the tomb, even though every ancient source mentions it.  That's not scholarship - that's an agenda masquerading as scholarship!
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« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2015, 12:07:26 PM »

Quote
And, since John wrote his Gospel 50 years later,


he busted out what you call the most beautiful book ever coming out of a region where almost no one could read and he himself is described as ordinary and unschooled. and he was so proud of his work he didn't even attribute it to himself

Quote
Why on earth would you say the writer is not Luke?


because it was written long after Pqauls ministry and again the author is not named

Quote
The case for the authorship of Luke is perhaps the strongest of ANY of the Gospels,


It was bart ehrman I think who said, perhaps in jest,  theres a strong case for  Mark because who would name a gospel after Mark, who everyone knows was not even a witness or an apostle to the events he describes. You know they found a copy of it from like 90 ad http://www.livescience.com/49489-oldest-known-gospel-mummy-mask.html

and Luke and Mathew are dependent on it in places



Quote
Paul put words in Jesus' mouth he didn't say?


that was John not Paul and he managed to hear Christ call himself Divine and one with God many many times when none of the other gospel writers did. and it just happened to serve the purposes of the church. almost like they wrote it

Quote
They just presented the message in different ways.


because theology in the time of John had evolved to a certain point. Jesus wouldn't have known that in 30 AD and tailored his remarks to clarify such an issue.

Quote
census


my point is there was no decree and the story exists to put Jesus back in Behtlehem to support the Old testament prophecy which no Christian wold even care about once it eventually became  a seperate faith.

Quote
 It was very important to the cultural identity of the Jews to trace their lineage back to one of the Twelve Tribes.


I'll give you that one because again, it doesn't even matter. Jesus doesn't need to meet the criteria of prophecies from another faith


Quote
For example, every reference in the NT says that Jesus was buried in a rock tomb near Jerusalem...


the reason critics doubt it is because people who were crucified were usully left on the cross to rot or buried quickly by the soldiers. Roman soldiers didn't care about Old Testament ways of burying people. and yet somehow Jesus is buried in a brand new grave by a rather imporbable person who is both on the council of people condemning him and a follower. This after many of his followers abandon him and even God abandons him on the cross, at least in Mark.

Quote
Actually, the ancients believed that the stars could tell them many things,


was the Easter Bunny there too? The stars don't tell anyone anything

Quote
that's an agenda masquerading as scholarship!


so is so called conservative scholarship much of which I like and respect btw. I've heard fascinating lectures that begin with prayers. some are not so fascinating but that goes for both sides
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 03:55:11 PM by lester1/2jr » Logged

indianasmith
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« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2015, 07:35:51 PM »

Actually, I think there is a VERY strong case to be made that both Luke and Acts were written while Paul was still alive.
It's not that far a stretch, really - Paul was martyred around 68 by Nero, and  most scholars want to date Luke around 70 or so.
But why does Acts end with Paul under house arrest in Rome?  Why not record his heroic martyrdom, and that of Peter, the other main player in the book, if they had already happened while Luke (or whoever, although I think Lucan authorship is an absolute no-brainer!) was writing his books?

As for the whole "Synoptic Problem,"  (i.e., Matthew and Luke's alleged dependency on Mark), there are two ways to look at it, neither of which erases their reliability: One, that Mark wrote first, summarizing and organizing Peter's stories about Jesus into a short, punchy narrative.  Then Matthew took Mark's notes and added his own memories in, and created his longer and more detailed account, while Luke in the meantime interviewed all of the disciples and family members of Jesus still living during his travels with Paul and produced his Gospel and the Book of Acts during Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea and later on in Rome itself.  Or, quite possibly, Luke and Matthew didn't use Mark's written gospel at all, but did use Peter's recollections, which form the core of Mark's narrative, as one of their primary sources.

Your constant derision of Judea as a "region where almost no one could read" is derisive and contemptuous of a culture that, in fact, treasured the written word.  Of course, John wrote in his old age at Ephesus, which was a major trade center and crossroads for many religions and cultures.  John ended his life as the bishop of Ephesus, according to numerous ancient sources.

Again, you're just assuming Matthew and Peter never heard the remarks that John records.  They simply chose to record other sayings, many of which are equally powerful.  John knew what was in their Gospels and set out to record other things that Jesus had said and done, which they didn't mention.  Even he attested that if all the things Jesus said and did were written down, the world itself wouldn't be able to contain all the books that were written.

This is the thing that always gets me:  No other work of antiquity has its authorship challenged and derided the way the Gospels do.  No one disputes that Caesar did, in fact, write the Gallic Wars, nor that Cicero wrote the letters attributed to him, or that Plutarch wrote his "Lives of the Noble Romans."  Yet none of those, with the possible exception of Caesar, have their authorship attested as often or as early as our Gospels do.  We have copies of them dating within less than a century after their composition, yet scholars all over the world join shoulders in ridiculing the very idea that any of them were authored by men who knew Jesus.  The oldest copy of Caesar's Gallic Wars dates almost nine hundred years after the original was written, but nobody picks it apart line by line, saying what Caesar did and did not actually write!

One other thing - all the Gospel writers agreed that Jesus came to be the Messiah of the Jews, so he wasn't exactly "fulfilling the prophecies of another religion."

Last of all:  there were over a dozen Gospels written in the second century AD, and twice that many in the next 200 years.  The church rejected them all, even though many of them had the names of one of the Apostles attached to them in an attempt to lend them credibility.  They were denounced as "spurious" and "forgeries" by the leaders of the Church.  Yet not one of the Biblical gospels was rejected or questioned until modern times.  In fact, Origen, writing less than a century after the four canonical Gospels were written, not only considered the authoritative and apostolic in origin, he said that they were as certain as the four corners of the earth!*


*Not an indication he thought the earth was square, just a reference to the four points of the compass.
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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2015, 08:50:26 PM »

Quote
Your constant derision of Judea as a "region where almost no one could read" is derisive and contemptuous of a culture that


It's not being contemptuous to point out it was rigidly class based system, which is a big reason why Jesus came along. The upper classes were the ones who could afford an education while the Religious leaders read services much like in the Middle Ages and so forth. It was not a economically integrated culture like we have today it was a brutal ancient culture

more to the point no one doubts the importance of oral tradition in early Christianity and its what many feel are the source for the gospels. Paul learned Christianity from these people there was no gospel for him to read and he didn't just bump into the apostles immediately.

this is a pro Christian site talking about literacy levels in Jesus time and place

http://evidenceforchristianity.org/were-people-literate-in-the-time-of-jesus-r/

"Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the
total literacy rate in the Land of Israel at that time (of Jews only, of
course), was probably less than 3%. "

and those were mostly in urbanized and heavily urbanized areas. there is even in the first paragraph there descriptions of how to do services if a town only has one person who can read.


Quote
They simply chose to record other sayings,


that's just beyond belief, no pun intended. We'll just have to agree to disagree that the Apostle Peter simply didnt feel it was relevent to mention the fact that Jesus referred to himself as equal to God. In all likelihood he did NOT say it, nor did Thomas likely stick his fingers in the risen Jesus' wounds. These were interpolations of the original story that had changed as issues surrounding Christianity changed.

If you look at the gospels simply as the work of writers of their time in another part of the world they make more sense and John being less accurate than the others and more geared to the issues of its day does too

Quote
No other work of antiquity has its authorship challenged and derided the way the Gospels do.


I'm not challenging anything the gospels don't claim to be written by the people whose names are attached to them. I take them at their word that they're anonymous. and they say throughout that such and such proved the prophecy that stated yadda yadda yadda. That he would come into town on a donkey or if you believe Mathew on two donkeys


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2012/03/jesus-subversive-donkey-ride-a-progressive-christian-lectionary-commentary-for-palm-sunday/

in fact it was a misreading by Mathew of the Hebrew which repeated the word donkey for effect

Quote
"fulfilling the prophecies of another religion."


he was the messiah of all of mankind including the Jews. If Hindus said the messiah had to be wearing a pink hat that would mean as much. trying to match events to prophecy is another one of the spurious rituals Jesus undid.

Quote
Yet not one of the Biblical gospels was rejected or questioned until modern times.


because the other gospels appeared after many had become Christians while the early ones appeared before

Quote
Origen


He was a devout Christian and as you note he lived nearly a hundred years after they were written. Those were canonical inasmuch as they could be and he probably would have been called a heretic if he criticized them
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 09:17:43 PM by lester1/2jr » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2015, 11:11:26 PM »

You obviously enjoy reading on this subject.  I highly recommend Donald Guthrie's NEW TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION for a strong and very scholarly defense of the apostolic origins of the Gospels.  Also, much shorter but covering some of the same ground, F.F. Bruce wrote THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS: ARE THEY RELIABLE?  There are some other excellent defenses of the accuracy of the Gospels out there, but those are two of the best.

I'd go back and forth a bit more, but it's late and I have a movie review to post before I go to bed . . . IF I can sleep.

After the film I just watched, I'm not sure!
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« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2015, 11:00:47 AM »

sounds interesting. and if you haven't checked it out I'd recommend the epistle to Diognetus

Small | Large


it's the one epistle I know of that wasn't sent to members of the church. instead, it's a sales pitch of sorts one that lays out what Christianity was about IN PRACTICE, rather than as series of beliefs regarding arcane philosophical and historical issues.

The fact that they don't make animal sacrifices because God made animals and doesn't need them given back to him
that they don't worship things they made out of elements that God created
and the general way that Christians relate to the society around them being in it but not of it.

the references to Jesus are brief and in line with the mainstream Roman church but they aren't labored and extensive.

That's the aspect of Christianity I'm interested in, how it changed peoples relationships with each other and society. The story has too many questions for me. so much of early Christianity was about expecting Jesus to return and then he didn't so what are you left with? the lifestyle and so forth

« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 11:17:16 AM by lester1/2jr » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2015, 11:12:25 AM »

Congratulations on your latest literary undertaking, indy!!
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