No fabrication in Gospels

by Shining One 103 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Forscher

    Now that we've done a little sword crossing.

    First I'd like to apologise for the "ha'am ha'arets" comment. I don't know where that one came from and you are right in pointing out that it is beneath us and has no place in civilised discourse. All I can say in my defense is that sometimes my blood sugar goes a little funny and I am likely to write in a tone which I normally wouldn't use. when I reread my post, it was a bit more polemic in tone than I'd rather use. It certainly made me look a bit fanatical, though I do stand by some of my criticisms.

    Since the reply page does not go far enough back to keep your post in front of me as I type, I'll try to do the best I can to answer.

    I will go back to my coment on the Consensus opinion. You hold a certain segment of the scholarly community to represent the consensus opinion. I respectfully disagree with that assessment of the situation. The scholarly community as a whole is rather divided along lines of philisophy and not as united as you assume. On the one hand, there is the portion of the community which proceeds from the perspective and assumptions of the German school of Biblical criticism. That part of the community, as I pointed out earlier, have their roots in Marxist an Hegelian (even their approach was originally called the dialetical approach to Biblical Studies in frank acknowledgement of their origins) Philosophy. Their goal was from, the begining, to undermine any thought of the Bible as what it claims to be, inspired by God. "Q Document", "Yahwist and Elohist", and similiar theories are products of that school of thinking. That school of Scholarship now have control of the theology departments of Secular and secularised prestigious Universities and their journals. Because they have such presitigious bully pulpits, their thinking is presented as mainstream, the consensus opinion.

    In contrast with that is the other School of thought. what you might call the conservative camp of scholars. They are largely associated with private religious institutions, Including universities, seminaries, and other institutions. Not all of them are by any means fanatical as they are often portayed by the popular media; many of them are folks who did an examination of the "consensus" and found it wanting. These folks are the majority of biblical scholars, just the same as the majority of biblical archealogists are not in the, so called, consensus camp in that profession. But since they they are not associated with the more prestigious institutions, they and their research are generally ignored by the prestigious secularised journals and the elite media.

    Now Leo, what I am trying to do is to point out that the "consensus view" doesn't really represent the majority opinion, rather, it only represents the opinion of the camp which controls the elite universities. They are actually in the minority. However, since they hold the prestigious positions, it is their view which is held out as the consensus, not the scholarly community as a whole.

    I noticed you didn't attack what I said about the internal evidence arguments of the German school not squaring with the data beyond a vague reference to the Dead sea Scrolls. I mentioned that the critiques which still form the weight of the consensus opinion on the debate about the age of the book of Daniel and other biblical texts were proven without ground a long time ago by a scholar by the name of Robert wilson and others. There is good reason why his arguements still stand and are accepted by the majority of scholars despite all the years that have passed since his life and death.

    For those who don't know of him, Dr. Wilson was a formidable critic of the "Higher critics" during the first half of the twentieth century. Dr. Wilson decided to become the most formidable scholar of his time and succeeded in a manner which no one has surpassed. During his years of study and research, he mastered Ugharitic, Aramaic, Coptic, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, and more than thirty other ancient languages associated with the middle east. He was thorough in his studies and researches to the point that his findings were pretty much the last word during his lifetime. He rose to a prominent position at Princeton University where he held the Prestigious William Henry Green Professor chair of Semitic Languages and Old Testament Criticism. He appears to have been pushed out of that university when the it was secularised and the German school of scholars brought on board through the efforts of the scientific departments in the late 1920s. He helped to found the Westminster Theological Seminary after he left Princeton. At the time of his death, in 1930, the only discoveries left to be made in the field are the Dead Sea Srcoll and the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. So Dr. wilson had access to just about everything else to research and use as a basis for his conclusions.

    Since Dr. wilson was primarily a linguist and textual critic, he was in a solid position to examine the internal evidence of the texts and decide the validity of the higher critics position and theories. Remember, most of the theories, Q document, Yawist and Elohist, were around in his day, they are not all that new. Also remember that he was more than competent to decide the probable date of writing for the various books of the Bible based on the internal language and comparisons with known documents of contemporary antiquity.

    What Dr. Wilson found was that the internal evidence in the biblical texts was far more consistent with the traditional dates of authorship than with the dates proposed by higher critics. He came to this conclusion through an examination of the historical linguistics involved as well as a comparison of lists of kings in the ancient documents of their own lands and similiar methodologies. In his opinion, the texts were just as they should be for documents of their traditional periods. Dr. Wilson's attention to detail was legendary as many a critic learned to their dismay when they tried to refute him. He set a standard which is yet to be surpassed by anybody in either scholastic camp. Many of the arguments he used are still used by modern scholars in the traditionalist camp.

    I think the least offensive way to conclude this post is to reiterate that the Consensus scholars which our good friend Leo lays such store by are only a portion of the folks doing research in Biblical Scholarship today. They are not even in the majority camp. There are a lot more conservative universities and seminaries than the prestigious liberal and secular institutions Leo's scholars reside in. Their percieved authority derives more from the prestige of their institutions than anything else.

    Leo, I'll admit that an uncompromising inspirationist's view point is something to be suspicious of. But then, so is an uncompromising position which holds as its assumption that there is no such thing as inspiration. I also see your point about holding one set of scriptures as being above examination. I am not quite as selective as you think. I have looked at the liberal school's position and find it suspect. And Leo, I didn't just take the WTBTs' word for it.

    At this point, I am working on updating my knowledge on the subject since I am now free to pursue avenues which were verboten while I was a Dub. That is why I appear a bit ignorant in my argumentation. you may not believe it, but I do have alot of respect for you though I disagree. And I am learning from you as well, though I doubt you see it.


  • Forscher

    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. Your are following the same faulty road that Leo accused me of halleujah. You are simply dissmissing evidence because you disagree with it.


  • Forscher

    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.

    That is gratuitously insulting Halleujah. If you have a valid point to make, then please do.


  • Forscher
    And I am learning from you as well, though I doubt you see it.

    By the way Leo, I mean nothing insulting from the above statement. I just can't think of any reason from any of my other statements that you could see it.


  • Forscher
    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...

    I am not unfamiliar with the evidence from the Dead Sea Leo. I am aware that a parallel story was found among the literature which some hold to be the inspiration for at least one of the stories from Daniel, I think it may be the king going crazy story, though my books are packed away at the moment because of the move, so I can't reference it to be sure. However, that story suffers from the old chicken and egg dilemma. And some of the Daniel fragments predate it in age significately. For that matter, some of the fragments of Daniel were dated old enough to cast serious doubt on the second century authorship that is alledged for the book. As I recall, the number as well as the antiquity of copies both suggest an older authorship than what is currently taught.

    Added to that is certain internal evidence that is a bit hard to just dismiss. For instance, the correct titles of Babylonian officials for the 5th-6th centuries b.c. are recorded in Daniel. That is not something a second century b.c. Jewish scribe suffering Greek opression would know. Belshazzar is called the king in the story about him in Daniel. Documents of the period confirm that he was a co-regent and used that title. The Aramaic documents recorded in Daniel are in the correct form and Babylonian dialect for the period, another thing an oppressed priest in the 2nd century shouldn't know. Persian customs, titles, etc. are correct for the sixth century b.c.. The "Greek" words, names of musical instruments are also comfirmed as correct and in use in Babylon in the 6th century, in fact, it is not certain whether those words are loan from Greek, or later came into Greek via Persian. That debate is by no means settled. Now I know that the WTBTS presented much of this evidence in the Daniel book. However, I've confirmed it elsewhere.

    As for the relationship between Daniel and the Enoich literature at Qumran, it also suffers from the chicken and egg dilemma, it cannot be said with any certainty that the Enoich literature came first. Since Daniel is the most copied book in the Qumran library, it is likely more ancient than the other.

    The allegation that Daniel was written in the second century b.c. is by no means on certian ground Leo. Either Daniel is one of the most brilliant forgeries known to man, or it is the real thing. I think there is sufficient evidence to justify the latter conclusion.


  • osmosis

    Shazard: you are overlooking an important philosophical concept, with regards to skepticism.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to support them. If I told you that my buddy was the son of god, died and came back to life, would you believe me? What if I wrote it down? What if I had some other buddies saying the same thing?

    Not just "some" evidence, extraordinary evidence. And so far, I haven't heard of ANY actual evidence. Testimonials are anecdotal evidence, that is to say, not really evidence.

    Some people say Elvis isn't really dead (despite the pictures of him on the slab). Some people say Elvis never did any drugs! There are at least two different versions of what Elvis' favourite fried chicken recipe was.

    Elvis only died 30 years ago. Imagine trying to figure this crap out 2000 years from now.

  • Abaddon


    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.

    Oh purleeese. Mythical WoMD in 2003 were used as a pretext. The analogy fits. They may not have been mythical in the 80's or 90's, but that's not the point is it?

  • Abaddon


    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.

    14 years as a JW and 3 years at an unnamed "Evangelical" college does not impress me much.

    That's insulting.

    ... you obviously think there is no need to challenge it. This is intellectual laziness

    That's rude too.

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

    And that is hypocritical considering you started them.

    So when you're rude and insulting you're tounge in cheek, but other people are bullies? How convenient for you. Let's face it, there's no point in talking to you as you'll just evade taking personal responsibility for your behaviour.

    What would board life be without the customary board bullies putting the newbie back in his place?

    I have no need of putting anyone in their place when they do it so well themselves with their own words, LOL. You look so ridiculous trying to be aggressive and intimidatory and then acting all innocent. Keep it up, saves me typing...

  • hallelujah

    By the way, the WMDs did exist, as Sadaam used them on his own people.


    The WMD "existed" only because Donnie Rumsfeld went over to Baghdad for his boss Ronnie, and sold them to Saadam, to use on the Kurds - who are NOT "his own people" and the Iranians, who most certainly were not "his own people.

    Since Don was well aware that the WMD had already been used, why go to war in Iraq?

    P.S. The real WMD in Iraq is depleted uranium, 1000 tonnes of atomised dirty bombs viciously spread through Iraq, (as well as in Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, Afghanistan) by Donnie the murderer.


    OK Abbadon, it appears that with quite a bit of judicious cutting you have made me try to sound like something I am not. Why? Well again, to keep the newbie in his place. So here is what I have written in context.

    2st post on this thread:
    14 years as a JW and 3 years at an unnamed "Evangelical" college does not impress me much. Insulting? Since when is it insulting to question someone's credentials? As for your last statement: it only appears that you have found a way to affirm your presupposition, and you obviously think there is no need to challenge it. This is intellectual laziness.

    Since when is it "insulting" to question credentials? 14 years as a JW? This only means to me that the poster understands JW doctrine & theology. As an aside I have that particular poster beat by 8 years.

    Years of slavery has caused to me be very wary of people that claim education or expertise on a matter. I'm sure if I claimed to have graduated from Bob Jones University, Biola University, Master's College or any conservative Christian university my credentials & credibility would be called into question. Yet I am supposed to accept that 3 years at an unnamed "Evangelical" college is indicative of expertise? I know, I know. I am newbie, I may not call credibility of the "old guard" into question.

    I found it interesting that you omitted this:

    As for your last statement: it only appears that you have found a way to affirm your presupposition, and you obviously think there is no need to challenge it.

    from your post, and labeled my conclusion "rude". Affirming a presupposition is intellectual laziness. Whether or not it is "rude" is simple a red herring. Challenging presuppositions is something that the critical thinker does. Even if it means that his own presuppositions may fall under the weight of evidence. I did this when I left the WT$, and I continue to do this.

    4th post on this thread:
    Fascinating? No, I would call you boring. Edited to add: Not that you are boring, but your arguements are. They are the same tired arguements that get rehashed and then refuted time and time again.

    This appears to be the post that has garnered the most criticism. Perhaps the posters that have attempted to chastise me have failed to read the part where I edited the post. Perhaps you failed to note how the poster I was reponding to wrote his. My crime was that I failed to put the appropriate smiley on my post. For that I beg forgiveness. Being somewhat new to this forum I failed to note where the smileys were to make my intent clear. I have now explained this twice if you or other posters do not get it, then so be it.

    5th post on this thread:
    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.

    So again, an established poster issues a number of ad hominem attacks, why because he has no logical point. When this gets pointed out, by a newbie of all posters, the good older posters must not allow a newbie to point this out. We had better slap him back in line. So the poster I responded to makes disparaging comments about the education of posters that feel opposite of him, yet this is not ad hominem?

    Abbadon talks about "evad[ing] personal responsibility" for my behavior, yet I do not see where I am out of line. I don't see where I attacked the person other than questioning his credentials. That is not ad hominem. After all he placed them out there as a reason we should respect his opinion. My response was, no not until I know more.

    Abbadon says that I am "rude" because I called out the intellectual laziness of a poster. Yes, Abbadon, I'll remember from now on to run scared and never challenge a member of the "old guard" ever again.

    I don't believe that anything I wrote in response to or questioning posters was ad hominem. If you do show me proof, not opinion, or emotional buzz words such as "insulting" or "rude" then I wil reconsider my view.

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