No fabrication in Gospels

by Shining One 103 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Sa2ne
    So, your comparing a 747 to god? A 747 isn't deity that claims it is a "just and rightous" 747.

    That really has nothing to do with whether or not God/Jesus breaks his own physical laws (which was the point I was refuting).

  • Leolaia

    Forscher....First of all, I described the general assessment of the gospels (i.e. as post-dating the Pauline epistles) as a "consensus" not to use as a crutch but to call attention to the inadequacy of your characterization of the assessment as "some scholars". Naturally, consensuses change when new evidence or arguments come to light, such as what is happening now with respect to Goodacre's dispensing of the synoptic sayings source (Q), or the Groningen hypothesis of Qumran origins. Oftentimes, however, a consensus survives because it remains the best explanation despite the introduction of new evidence which corroborates it.

    Second, you state that "all the speculation on internal evidence is suggestive of possibilities at best, not proof of anything". Probabilistic thinking (i.e. assessing which hypothesis is more likely or less likely to be true) is exactly what is appropriate in historical and literary research when the data is incomplete and the data could be interpreted in various ways. This approach, of course, is derivative of scientific methodology which provisionally posits theories to best account for empirical evidence. Accepting positions which (in one's evaluation) best explain the given facts is not the same thing as positing these positions as definitive "proof" of anything. What is "shoddy thinking" imho is to confuse the two and insist on an a priori position as "proved" until a contrary theory is itself fully "proven". My position on the dating of the gospels is that the accepted dating is at this point the best explanation; I notice that you claim that the views of Robert D. Wilson have been definitely "proven"....while I doubt even Crossan or the late Funk believed their views were the "last word" on the matter, but rather proposed their theories as what they believed to be the best explanations of the data. It is up to other scholars to critique them, as indeed they have in the literature.

    Also you object to the "materialist" premises of such approaches, that biblical texts should be exempted from the same analytic approaches that any other ancient text may be subjected to, and thus you fault critics for not adopting an a priori premise that these texts are inherently different (i.e. divinely inspired). I find this to be a case of special pleading; if biblical texts are indeed different in such an extraordinary way, this should become evident when the evidence is considered but it should not be assumed before the examination is undertaken. Instead there seems to be a shifting of the burden of proof, that it is up to the critics to prove that a text is not supernatural rather than believers to demonstrate that their premise is valid. The situation is similar to faulting scientists for not assuming a priori that "God makes it rain" or "God makes things fall downward when dropped" when they embark on a "materialist", "rationalist" research agenda of trying to discover the natural processes responsible for the phenomena. Or it would be similar to a Muslim objecting to any "materialist" study of the Quran that does not presume that this book was revealed directly to Muhammad, or someone objecting to any study of the Book of Mormon that does not presume a priori the role of angels in Joseph Smith's recovery of the book. The "rationalist" approach is in itself a dependable methodology for assessing factual claims. Or am I obliged to accept the Quran as of supernatural origin because it claims to be so? Is it okay to approach this book in a materialist way, but not the Bible?

    I find it arbitrary that some Jewish and Christian texts should be treated in a completely different manner than other contemporaneous Jewish and Christian texts on the basis of canonicity judgments made some time after the books were written and circulated, i.e. retrojecting these decisions back into the texts themselves as inherent properties used as a basis for selectively applying a double standard. I have seen "apologists" make use of critical methodologies to verify that non-canonical texts like the Book of Mormon are "spurious" (see Gordon Fraser's What Does the Book of Mormon Teach?), while refusing to use the same critical tools on biblical texts. For example, the second-first century BC dating of 1 Enoch is generally accepted, even by Bible apologists, who certainly do not seriously accept this work as scripture and as a genuine work by an antediluvian patriarch. So when a text like the Animal Apocalypse (in the "Book of Dreams" section of 1 Enoch) is considered, I have no doubt most apologists would agree that this is an ex eventu prophecy and not really a prophecy written before the Flood describing Israelite history and Jewish history right down to the time of Judas Maccabeus (where the history suddenly ends). In fact, this is pretty good evidence that the "prophecy" was in fact written in the early second century BC as many other internal and external facts suggest as well. But is applying the same methodology to the very similar survey of history in Daniel 11 unthinkable, or a case of "shoddy thinking," because it does not allow the possibility that it is in fact a "genuine prophecy"? So why not accept 1 Enoch as genuine prophecy as well (especially considering the fact that one early Christian text, Barnabas, cited the Animal Apocalypse as "scripture," and Jude, a canonical text, cited another part of 1 Enoch as genuine "prophecy"), and extend the same double standard to any other early Jewish or Christian text that claims to be "inspired"? The special pleading is instead based on later canonicity judgments in order to define the "Bible" as a completely separate class of writing exempt from such methodologies, and I find that arbitrary and unjustified.

    As for the Qumran evidence of Daniel, I have a very different opinion on the matter on the basis of recent research, particularly arising from the parabiblical Danielic literature at Qumran, the evidence of the Old Greek, and the close relationship between Daniel and the sectarian Qumran literature and especially Enochic literature. For a discussion of this, see Gabriele Boccaccini's Enoch and Qumran Origins (2005) and Collins & Flint's The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception (2001). I could probably recite a litany myself. As is the case in such matters, it is the cumulative weight of the evidence that is decisive on dating...

    Finally, I must mention the polemical tone of your response and such remarks as

    But then, what do I know? I am an ignorant ha'am ha'arets in the opinion of folks like you.

    are entirely unnecessary. I certainly do not have such an opinion of you and I hope you don't think I do.

  • Leolaia

    Narkissos....I agree to some extent, but I think you underestimate the fact that new students question older views all the time, and the easiest way for a student to get an article published is to propose a new analysis or raise some new question about older accepted views...

  • Terry
    I am not even bother to quote from your diatribe. The apostles all went down to their deaths in proclamation of the gospel, as did thousands of others who witnessed the events. People who claim to witness an event that has been fabricated are usually very quick about coming clean when their necks are involved. I recommend that you read Chuck Colson's "Born Again" for a good analysis and analogy of this angle. Paul stood before the courts and proclaimed this message and it was not refuted by the judges. Secular history is in agreement with this as well. There are personal writings (unispired) as well. The gospels are true to the archaeology in their description of places. Release yourself from the bondage of cynicism. Just because Mother Watchtower is fake doesn't mean she was right about true Christianity!

    Your intellectual mechanism has parts missing!

    All sorts of people live their lives as though the untrue were, in fact; true. It is what believing misinformation brings about.

    There is no equivalency between the strength of a person's personal belief and the veracity of what is believed. Otherwise, what is stubborness?

    Chuck Colson represents a peculiar sort of animal. He knows how to put himself safely inside a power base politically. When he was with the Nixon White House he demonstrated no scruples. His ethical alignments and behavior demonstrated a man who would "go with the flow". The fact that Colson represents himself as "Born Again" only assures us that there are folks in Christendom who will rally to his feckless defense willy nilly. Colson's writings demonstrate again and again he hasn't left the far right in any shape or fashion. He finds strength in numbers as his books sales and public appearances assure.

    Secular history and archaeology are not bastions of reassurance that the names and places of the Bible actually mean people performed miracles or that a demi-god was born to a virgin! Once again, you are profoundly confused as to what means what.

    The events depicted in Indiana Jones movies would then be proved as real events by the fact there are places and objects in history which actually existed.


    There are no end of people who "witness" things and report what they saw in great detail. Perhaps you've heard of the UFO's, fairies, Sasquatch, Lock Ness Monster, Elvis, etc. Do some research on what experts who study "eyewitness testimony" have to say about the worthlessness of the information obtained.

    The Bible stands or falls by the fact that there is no information contained in scripture which is not so elastic, vague, without specificity and general so as to be interpreted (repeatedly through history) as being absolute proof that events demonstrated END TIMES were upon mankind; only to be proved entirely wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    There is nothing in the Bible that is useful or divine. Period.

    It is bald assertion to exhort otherwise.


  • tetrapod.sapien

    ***A very good article that dispells the popular myth that somehow the gospels were a fabrication.***

    whatever it takes to get you through the night. rex.


  • SickofLies
    whatever it takes to get you through the night. rex.


    Lets not forget 1*1*1 = 1 !!! I don't know if anyone had ever tried this but, 1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1 also = 1. Here's some other ways to get one:

    (1+2+3+4+5) - (2+3+4+5) = 1 OR

    (4/4) + (8/8) - (666/666) = 1



    Abbadon says: "XJW4EVR 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." Ah the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. Where have I been insulting? I have simply asked questions. I did respond that I thought his answers were boring, but I meant that tongue in cheek. I should have attempted to make that plainer. Its a good thing that people like you police this board though. What would board life be without the customary board bullies putting the newbie back in his place?

  • Pole

    Hi XJW4EVR,

    I just want to draw your attention to the fact that you've made 8 posts on this thread of which 0 contained any argument that would be remotely relevant to the issue of "fabrication in the Gospels" (if we disregard the one where you make an unsubstantiated appeal to taking a middle-ground view on things). Instead of dealing with Narkissos' original points you chose to criticize his 'secular views' (without giving a specific reason) and then called him 'boring'.

    So, could you please try to post something on topic instead of meta-arguing with every second poster and whining about getting attacked ad hominem? Show us your guns baby, or stop pretending you have them or people will get bored with you much faster than you have with Nark.


  • hallelujah
    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.

    Hi Greendawn

    This argument is given throughout Christianity as "proof" of the truth of Jesus resurrection. I do not consider it to be "proof" of what they saw, rather to be proof of their faith.

  • hallelujah

    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.

    In the days of the inquisition the "materialists" would simply have been burned at the stake and then the inquisitors could claim the new consensus, the dissenters having been dematerialised.

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