An Expert Explains the Beginning of Christianity with Dr Richard Carrier

by Rocketman123 48 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • john.prestor

    Your 12 claims are just "The Bible is true." That's what they come down to, they're a summary of what the Bible claims happened in texts like Matthew, Acts, etc.

    i might, might, give you 1 of 12. Might. That would be that a guy named Jesus was crucified in the 1st century CE. But even that is up for debate.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    They are not my 12 claims John. These are historical facts that skeptic scholars and historians agree upon. Did you watch the entire lecture at UC Santa Barbara I posted? Dr. Habermas seems very accommodating to the skeptic scholar and just wants to explore the commonly accepted points.

    I think it's good to at least get an understanding of an opposing argument even if it is later rejected.

  • john.prestor

    I did not. I'll listen to part of it today; it's an hour and a half to be fair, you're kind of asking a lot. I doubt it's anything I haven't heard before because, again, it comes down to what the Bible says: that Jesus died, was buried, the tomb was empty, the disciples preached about it... You can't get this information from any secular, non-Biblical source.

  • Rocketman123

    These are historical facts that skeptic scholars and historians agree upon.

    Historical facts based upon expressions of mythological story telling or hearsay.

    All the ancient civilizations of their select mythological gods were expressed stories without practical evidence of these beings ever existing.

  • john.prestor

    Says Habermas: "By normal historical methods, the tomb was empty." (~7:50)

    What methods would those be? We don't even have the tomb.

  • pistolpete
    Disillusioned JW

    If you are saying that Licona has moved towards a theologically modernist view, one more in line with agnosticism and atheism

    That’s not what I’m saying. Instead, what I assumed that everyone knew, is that Belief in the Bible being inerrant by Bible Scholars has changed considerably. It’s not a matter of a line drawn in the sand anymore. In other words, either you believe the Bible is inerrant or you don’t.

    Bible Scholarly Criticism has become a lot more complex than just 15-20 years ago. Whereas in the past, if you believed like Licona that “Some Parts” of the Bible like Matthew 27 regarding the saints was allegory,------ well that just couldn’t happen because it conflicted with Christianity’s Scholarly Belief—At that particular time. That would automatically put you on the side of either agnostic or atheist, which was not acceptable. Which is why Licona got so much heat for his dubious comment, by other evangelists.

    What was happening at that time, that we can now see-----was evolution in Bible Criticism!

    Now for the first time you could “Publicly have a man like Licona who believe that the Bible was not inerrant BUT, still believed the Bible was God’s word. Others Scholars sided with Licona in his block busting view.

    Today there are many Scholars who like Licona believe some of the thing written in the bible are not true but SOME ARE. And thus they still feel the bible is God’s word.

    Some like Bart Ehrman believe Jesus was a real person and certain locations and events might have happen, but he doesn’t believe it is God’s Inspired Word.

    So what has happen since the late 20 century, and early twenty-first century, is that biblical criticism has been influenced by a wide range of additional academic disciplines and theoretical perspectives. This has led to a transformation from either you believe the bible is God’s inspired word without any mistakes or you don’t-----To----You can believe or not believe, what you want of the bible ----and still have the choice of either accepting it as God’s inspired word or Not.

    In the past, there was no room for anything in-between---but today there is.

    On top of that, in the 90s when the internet became public, Globalization brought a broader spectrum of ideas and worldviews into the field of bible criticism as well as other academic disciplines, including Near Eastern studies, psychology, cultural anthropology and sociology, which formed new methods of biblical criticism such as social scientific criticism and psychological biblical criticism.

    At the same time post-modernism and post-critical interpretation began questioning whether biblical criticism had a role and function at all.

    With these new methods came new goals, as biblical criticism moved from the historical to the literary, and its basic premise changed from NEUTRAL JUDGMENT TO A RECOGNITION OF VARIOUS BIASES the reader would bring to the study of the texts.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    John, I know the video its lengthy, but it is important.

    Luke 1:1-4 suggests a careful, historical process of composition was used, and the overall genre of the Synoptics most closely resembles ancient biographies rather than novels or works of fiction.

    At least a dozen extra-biblical references in non-Christian (Jewish, Greek, and Roman) sources in the earliest centuries of the Christian era (Josephus, Thallus, Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny, Mara ben Serapion, Lucian, and several Talmudic tractates) confirm the main contours of the Synoptics: Jesus’ birth out of wedlock, his intersection with the ministry of John the Baptist, the existence of his brother James, his gathering of disciples, including five who are named, his running afoul of the Jewish leaders in interpretations of the law, his working “wondrous feats,” and his being deemed “a sorcerer who led Israel astray.” We learn that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate (and thus between A.D. 26-36), that his followers believed he was the Messiah and believed that he had been resurrected, and that his death did not put an end to those beliefs. Instead, his followers rather quickly began meeting together and “singing hymns to him as if he were a god.”

    What would temp orthodox Jews to worship a man beat beyond recognition and crucified as a cursed person?

    What would cause them to abandon their precious Sabbath and view Sunday as their new day of worship?

    How could this new belief (about Jesus Resurrection) take hold right in the city where everyone saw Jesus die? It was to Pilates' and the Pharisee's' advantage to produce a body to stamp out this hysteria surrounding Jesus. But none was ever found.

    What would cause a zealot Jew like Paul who hunted Christians to convert?

    What would cause tens of thousands of the early followers who were timid and scared to bodly declare their new faith even though it meant they would essentially be disfellowshipped from their families?

  • john.prestor

    You've made a lot of points, but they all come back to, But the Bible says... Keep that in mind as I respond to them individually.

    -Luke 1:1-4 suggests that historical methods of some kind were used, yet the narrative of Luke is hardly different than Matthew or Mark, suggesting the author is just repeating what he or she learned. I would point you to Alfred Loisy's Origins of the New Testament for a detailed look at these prologues and how they've been tampered with (

    -Josephus did not write about Jesus, a later Christian copying his work added in a section about Jesus. The section about Jesus breaks the context and sounds like a Christian and not a Jew. The other sources you've mentioned are 2nd century sources who may only be responding to or repeating Christian claims. They are not necessarily independent sources, and even if they were, they're too late to have witnessed the supposed crucifixion.

    -Your following questions ("What would...") are just you repeating or paraphrasing what the Bible says. I'll show you what I mean:
    How could this new belief (about Jesus Resurrection) take hold right in the city where everyone saw Jesus die? It was to Pilates' and the Pharisee's' advantage to produce a body to stamp out this hysteria surrounding Jesus. But none was ever found.

    What you mean is this: But The Gospel of Matthew says Jesus' body was not in the tomb, and says everyone watched him die, and says...

    Yeah I know it does, I don't believe The Gospel of Matthew. There's no good evidence for the tomb itself in the 1st century CE, much less that tomb having something to do with Jesus' claims. Prove to me that a body was deposited in a specific tomb in Jerusalem in 33CE and then was found missing, and don't use the Bible. Good luck.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze


    "The Bible" is a collection of writings from different sources.

    Even the most skeptic scholars will accept Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thess. and Philemon as authentically from Paul and that he was at the right place at the right time. Paul knew the other eye-witnesses, and they knew him.... that's important.

    Saying the bible can't be used as history is not how scholarship works. Scholars with different belief systems, including atheists, will quote "the bible" as history at times.

    Beginning at 8:30 in the lecture, Dr. Habermas addresses how his academic board (made up of atheists, agnostics, and a non-believing Jew) that would consider his doctoral thesis told him not to do a thesis on: the resurrection happened because "the bible told me so". He tells how he got around that and received his Phd on this topic.

    Using just the books skeptics allow as genuine, Dr. Habermas develops several points favorable to a literal reading of the events surrounding Jesus.

    Bottom line is that scholarship has moved from a D or an F to a C+ or B- in favor of at least the 12 points I listed earlier.

    This is significant and makes people curious as to why this is so. Habermas explains in the lecture. The nuts and bolts of the research starts at minute 13:00.

  • john.prestor

    Do not try to equate history with silly, fantastical stories about a guy raising from the dead. That's not history.

    Did you want to respond to any of the other points I made?

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