No fabrication in Gospels

by Shining One 103 Replies latest watchtower beliefs


    There it is, when you have no logical response you begin with the ad hominem attack.

    Oh, and for your information I don't have any affiliation with Oral Roberts or his University. In fact, I am currently working on a Bachelor's at the University of Southern California, hardly a Bible College.

    But it's OK, I don't hold it against you, after all what would an arguement with a person like you be without the presumptive ad hominem.

  • Leolaia

    Forscher.....I think we had much the same conversation about the evidence back in December...

    some scholars think that Paul's letters came first, before the synoptic gospels.

    "Some scholars" is a bit of an understatement; it is the consensus view...This is different than the issue of whether there is material in the gospels contemporaneous with Paul, which is usually admitted by most...

    What Leo didn't point out, is that opinion is based mainly on the presence of Prophecies in those gospels which were fufilled so accurately, that those scholars just cannot accept the possibility that they were written before the fact.

    Internal evidence such as allusions to the events of AD 66-70 is indeed a key part of the evidence supporting a post-AD 70 date for the synoptic gospels. Such evidence is standard for assessing the date of any ancient work (i.e. quite apart from a desire to deny the possibility of foreknowledge), cf. the role of allusions to the Roman destruction of the Temple in assessing the dates of Barnabas, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, etc. But such allusions, at the same time, are not confined to "prophecies" (as implied above) but show up in parables and narratives as well. Nor are allusions to the destruction of the Temple the only kind of internal evidence, and there external factors as well that weigh on dating...such as Luke's dependence on Josephus...or the form of logia attested in Paul and other early sources.

    It is also why they dismiss those ancient sources which put the writting of those gospels earlier, such as the one mentioned by Leo, as "not reliable".

    It is not out of a desire of "dismissing" Papias that scholars have a mixed evaluation of him, but rather his traditions have a questionable reliability when assessed with other evidence. His statements on the gospels are also very difficult to interpret, e.g. was his reference to the composition by "Matthew" to our canonical Matthew or something else? But in fact Papias does not "put the writing of those gospels earlier" than is usually accepted today, as you claim. Regarding Matthew, he does not say at all when this was written, and with respect to Mark, he is quite clear that it was written from the author's own later recollections of Peter's teaching...suggestive of a date later than Peter, i.e. after AD 64, which is pretty close to the usually accepted date for Mark. In any case, he does not clearly put the writing of these gospels earlier than the accepted dates. Also, I recall when we last had this discussion, I pointed out that the Griesbach theory of Matthean Priority (and Papias makes no mention that Matthew was supposedly written first) actually contradicts what Papias says about the authorship of Mark, which leaves no room for Markan dependence on Matthew. Papias instead better supports Markan Priority (i.e. canonical Matthew written after Mark) when the interdependence of the two gospels is taken into account.

  • Forscher

    Sure Leo. We did touch on the matter back in December.

    It is a consensus that Paul wrote first among scholars who accept the materialist premises of of secular universities only. Those scholars who think that God might actually be invovled hold quite different views on the matter. Secular university theology departments were taken over by scholars of the Eichhorn school of thought starting in the 1930s at the instigation of university science departments who felt that belief in a diety had no place on major university campuses, period. Those scholars then proceeded to use the prominence of their institutions to progressively marginalize those who did not come from the materialist point of view both from mainstream campuses and from the prestigious journals they published. That is why such radical views from the scholars of doubt are now trumpeted as the "consensus view" today.

    The thing that needs to be pointed out is that the "consensus view" is not at all the result of careful investigation. It proceeds from an a priory assumption that the materialist view is the correct view. It is literally grounded in Marxist philosophy, like most social science, and starts with the assumption that there is no god and that the Bible is merely the work of men. Thus anything goes which appears to prove that assumption. That was the purpose of the German movement, and continues to be its purpose today.

    Thus, anything which in the opinion of such scholars cannot happen in the real world today must not have happened in the ancient world. I like the way you called the Prophecies of Jesus recorded in the gospels "allusions" to the events themselves. They don't believe that they could be prophecies because nobody in our time has made a genuine prophesy, therefore it could not have happened then, therefore the gospels must have been written after the fact. That is the reasoning. All the other stuff derives from similiar speculation. Don't you find it strange that the only Gospel anciently attributed to a date later than the fall of Jerusalem makes no mention of the event or those prophecies? I think that powerful evidence that the Synoptic gospels were written before the event, as those who preserved them and later canonized them believed. They were much closer to the writing of those books and in a better postion to know he facts than we are. But then, what do I know? I am an ignorant ha'am ha'arets in the opinion of folks like you.

    All the speculation on internal evidence is suggestive of possibilities at best, not proof of anything. That is a much more honest statement of fact than the "consensus" scholars engage in. I know, I've read some of the works of those scholars. The sad thing is that their speculations were proven wrong long before you or I were born by luminaries such as Dr. Robert D. Wilson and his proteges. I have yet to see his research and writings seriously challenged on their merits. Instead, higher critics repeat the same old worn out arguments which Wilson demonstrated without firm grounding decades ago as if mere repetition will make it so. It doesn't.

    Let's take the age of Daniel a bit further. I can recite the litany myself. But one thing I find just a bit impressive is the presence of the book among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Copies of the book of Daniel far out number any other book to an extent that is not reliably explained by mere popularity of the book with the Essenes. It is better explained by a greater antiquity of the book than the "consensus" view holds. That isn't just my opinion, there are experts who hold that view right now.

    It is sad to see such an agenda driven view as that held by such scholars as Crossan, Funk, and their fellows as representing truth. It replaces solid scholarship with shoddy thinking. It is a consensus only among those who know no better or fear the consequences of not going along with the emperor.


  • peacefulpete

    I'm not sure just what the opening post said that requires analyzing. It doesn't say anything but "skeptics" are wrong. Anyway as Narkissos pointed said, the Jesus stories like countless competing savior narratives, were written for religious instruction and were viewed as tools. The wording and details were not nearly as important as the themes and motifs which were themselves often drawn from OT and related literature. The earliest Christian communities often made their own versions and/or harmonies from other popular versions. By some very early counts there were dozens of versions in use. Anyone familiar with the genere' would hardly insist they represent history. In fact the authors appear to be consciously telling their readers as much through their deliberate emmulation of OT stories and comon mythemes. This did not negate their perceived value. To this day many millions of church goers find Bible stories inspiring without believing them historical. Hinduism is openly presented as a collection of stories and myths and yet inspires life devotion of a billion. To suggest that the Gospels must be history is to ignore the history of religion, a history filled with stories of heros, healing sages and sacred Kings.

  • Narkissos
    To suggest that the Gospels must be history is to ignore the history of religion

    That was very well put.

    I can't help pondering on the feeling of tiredness and boredom which seems to prevail on both sides of this debate. In spite of the amazing amount of newly found material (Qumran, Nag Hammadi, etc.) on the context and inner diversity of early Christianity, we are still basically stuck, on the popular level, in the same late 19th- early 20th-century methodological arguments.

    On the scholarly level, things are a bit different I think. Nobody expects conservative scholars to propose new models of interpretation taking the additional data into account. This positive task naturally falls upon the so-called "critics". On the other hand, conservatives have been pretty good at criticising the new proposals, pointing to their (often real) flaws. Iow, I feel the so-called "critical" scholars now spend less time and efforts attacking anything than trying to reconstruct something. And most conservative scholars are increasingly "critics" of every new reconstruction. What is fading, I feel, is the notion of "consensus".

  • jgnat

    What I find tiresome is how far the debate has gone from the living.

    I have yet to see "Shining One" introduce a thought as his own. His strongest arguments go along the lines of "I think Harry Smith's arguments are sound." Where's Harry Smith? Can we introduce him to the discussion? Then we might see some valuable arguments or debate. Or, if "Shining One" were to go out on a limb and say "I believe such and such because....." we could hold him to account for his beliefs.

  • Abaddon


    The remarkable thing is that many early Christians who were inspired by the gospels were willing to face death and torture for what they believed and that implies that the gospels were something greater than a myth.

    Please, get some perspective. Just because you are a Christian does not mean you can ignore non-Christian's dying because of their beliefs in order to make it sound like religious followers dying for their beliefs is something special or clever.

    It isn't. Christian's do it, Jews do it, Muslims do it. Does that mean ALL those faiths are non-mythical?

    American's have died because of a belief in mythical weapons of mass destruction. Does that mean the WoMD are now real?


    What a hypocrite you are! You are aggresive and insulting towards Narkissos (yet he still treats you like the gentleman he is), then when someone tires of your behaviour and pays you back in your own coin you whine like a spoilt child. Seems like you can dish it out but can't take it.

    Shining One

    As before, you act like you have something certain and proven when you can no more demonstrate the accuracy of your beliefs than an architypal shaman in a loin-cloth with a bone though his nose. He might believe in Oooga-Booga, you might believe in whatever it is that allows you to act superior, but when it comes down to it, neither of you can prove jack shit.

  • gumby
    neither of you can prove jack shit.

    Gyles...Rex and his buddies can't prove jack shit, but I can


  • Sa2ne

    The point that seems to be missing (or maybe just falling on deaf ears) regarding the martyrdom of early Christians is that some of those martyrs were directly in contact with Jesus himself. Some were his apostles. We're not talking about a big organization with a somewhat ambiguous leading group like the "governing body" or even a distant individual like the "prophet." These people walked with the very man making the promises. He always gave them a clear choice. Follow me and believe in me.....or don't. What's more, he carried with him the promise that he would defeat death. Now, had he not done this and failed to follow through with this promise, why would any of those who walked with him continue to hold to this belief to the point of death? The fraud would be clear and they would simply abandon their beliefs. I've never seen any evidence (or heard of any for that matter) suggesting that Jesus employed brainwashing to keep his followers.

    By the way, the WMDs did exist, as Sadaam used them on his own people. It would be difficult to use devices of fiction in that manner. So "mythical" probably isn't the best word, nor is that the best analogy.

    C'mon Rex, does god/jesus break his own laws?
    That example is no more an example of God breaking his own laws than flying in a 747 is an example of an airplane breaking the law of gravity.
  • gumby
    That example is no more an example of God breaking his own laws than flying in a 747 is an example of an airplane breaking the law of gravity.
    So, your comparing a 747 to god? A 747 isn't deity that claims it is a "just and rightous" 747. Gumby

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