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Nanoose
02-26-2007, 10:45 PM
On another thread (Jesus wasn't Resurrected), brad9798 made the following comments that I thought could make for an interesting, instructional kind of discussion. But, as that thread was heading off the deep end, I thought it best to transfer the thought to a new thread.

It would be nice to have a decent DISCUSSION, without it heading into name calling, etc. Take that elsewhere, OK? Many thanks! :)

brad9798 said:
"If folks open their minds, they will notice that of the dozens (perhaps) hundreds of legitimate gospels ... only a few were selected by a few select Bible 'creators.'....The whole thing is filled with holes (the Bible, that is).....For starters, read the gospel of St. Thomas Aquinas (yes- SAINT Thomas) ... or the Gospel of Mary Magdalene ... of the Gospel of the Eqyptians ... These caused issue in the early Church (with Peter ...)

To exclude some (gospels) to promote an agenda is the fundamental flaw in the New Testament ...."

From a few other threads, there seems to be a lack of information on some basics around historical documents in general, and the NT documents in particular.

Perhaps it's time to look at the historicity of the NT documents, and while we're at it, to consider how/when the canon came to be. I think it would add considerably to the debate/discussions that occur here.

Anyone interested?

Deb

John Bell
02-26-2007, 11:02 PM
I don't want to get in to the meat of your question only because I'm not far enough along in my own studies to say anything authoritative.

In my Sunday school class this fall, we took a look at the Gospel of Thomas, one of the books that didn't make it into the canon. This book was supposedly the secret sayings of Jesus, full of curious passages such as Jesus said, "Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking." Our class tried to use Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and in some cases Paul's letters to try to decide for ourselves whether or not Jesus actually said these things. It was interesting to see how the class voted after discussion on a scale of 1 to 10 of whether or not we thought it was something Jesus actually said. Most of the time, we agreed. Other times there were big splits. And other times someone would find something hidden away in one of the Gospels that would change everyone's mind from an unanimous initial impression.

The process took weeks, and while lively, we ended it with the notion that the Gospel of Thomas was rightfully denied a place in the canon because it lacked a certain harmony with the four familiar books that open the New Testament. Going through the questioning was a good exercise, however. I would not particularly want to do it in this forum, that's all. For me these kinds of debates are better done in person.

PatCox
02-26-2007, 11:11 PM
There seems to have been an early gnostic strain among christians, and most of the gnostic works were not included in the cannon. The text, form, and historical criticism reasons that even most modern theologians reject the non-cannonical gospels are not easy to explain in less than thousands of words.
Its a very very complicated topic, if we wanted to discuss it, I think it could only be done by adopting a reading list and discussing it after we have read a bit.

PatCox
02-26-2007, 11:14 PM
One of the most fascinating things to me about the gospels is that the text, the actual words, have been very very accurately passed down from the time of their writing. By the fourth century the texts were absolutely fixed, there has been almost no change between the current text and the earliest manuscripts, such as the Oxyrhincus pappyri, dating from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and the first complete gospel texts, dating from the late 4th century.

PatCox
02-26-2007, 11:19 PM
Another fascinating fact: the book, as we know it, is a christian thing. Before christianity, and until today, all Jewish sacred scripture was written on scrolls. All christian sacred scripture has been written on books bound as we know them, known as "codices." Its as if the christians made a deliberate decision to be different.

George Ray
02-26-2007, 11:46 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Bible-Ancient-Eastern-Text/dp/0060649232

In his book, NEW TESTAMENT ORIGIN, Dr. George Lamsa states, 'Not a word of the Scriptures was originally written in Greek...the Scriptures were written in Aramaic.' I believe that he is correct and that those Christian apologists and ministers scrutinizing the nuances of Greek words for deeper understanding would be better served investigating the subtle meaning of Aramaic words and the cloaked truth behind Aramaic idioms.

The Aramaic word for 'camel' is written identically to the word for 'rope.' When the original scrolls were being transferred into Greek, an error occurred due to the translator's limitations. Matthew 19:24 is commonly translated as, 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.' This is an obvious 'non sequitur', whereas the Aramaic manuscripts read 'rope' instead of 'camel'. Rope, of course, is much more in keeping with the imagery of a needle, and is probably what Jesus said, and what was originally recorded.

Similarly, Matthew 7:3 says, 'Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?' And yet, in Lamsa's version the word 'splinter' appears in place of 'speck.' The organic relationship between a splinter and a plank (or beam) is obvious while speck is more nebulous. Again, Lamsa's translation remains true to the imagery being conveyed.

The ninth chapter of Daniel contains the amazing Old Testament prophecy concerning the surprisingly sudden death of the long-awaited Messiah and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem. A portion of verse 26 in other Biblical translations states, 'The end of it shall be with a flood.' The most well written and spiritually mature approach to 'The Tribulation' and the events of 'The Revelation' that I am aware of is David Haggith's, END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE. But even the ordinarily clear-minded Mr. Haggith had trouble correlating this passage with known history. 'Blood covered the land like a flood', he overreaches. It comes as no surprise then that the Aramaic manuscripts do not make mention of any unknown flood. Lamsa's translation accurately reads, 'And the end thereof shall be a mass exile.'

Although there is much more evidence, these three examples should be sufficient to convince most serious Bible students that Lamsa's translation from the ancient Aramaic offers us the most trustworthy rendering of Scripture.

Finally, I'd like to elaborate on the comment of brother Ram Munjal from his good 2004, Jan. 21 review: All Bibles tell us that from the Cross, Jesus (quoting Psalm 22:1) cried out, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' (See Matthew 27:46) This verse has undoubtedly disturbed people for centuries, and no wonder - it is extremely unlikely that Jesus ever felt utterly abandoned by God while He was hanging on the Cross. The Messiah had been promised His Father's abiding Presence! Nothing happened to Jesus that He was not mentally prepared for. He told His disciples in advance what to expect : He would be mocked, spat upon, beaten, and killed, but that three days later He would rise again. (Mark 10:34) He also said to them, 'you will be scattered...and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because The Father is with Me.' (John 16:32) Was Jesus mistaken? Or is the translation inaccurate?

'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' (My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?) correctly appears in the Aramaic manuscripts as, 'Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani' (My God, My God, for this I was spared [this was my destiny.]) Indeed! At different times mobs had attempted to kill Jesus, but He was always SPARED because it was His Will and His DESTINY to take mankind's sins to the Cross to be washed clean in His Blood. The Aramaic phrases are so similar that it is easy to understand how the mistake was made, but the meanings are worlds apart, and Lamsa's version is much more consistent with the Mission of The Christ. Trying to correlate the mistranslation, Christian theologians have been forced to create a flimsy dogma (Jesus being separated from God while descending into hell) in order to cover for this improbable utterance from our Lord while He was suffering on the Cross. Lamsa resolves this dilemma in a far more satisfactory manner. Furthermore, according to the Aramaic Scriptures, Psalm 22:1 doesn't read, 'Why have You forsaken Me?' in the first place, but rather, 'Why has thou let Me to live?'

There are plenty more sound arguments to support Lamsa's contention that the New Testament first appeared in the Aramaic language. You may wish to get a copy of his IDIOMS IN THE BIBLE EXPLAINED AND A KEY TO THE ORIGINAL GOSPELS and/or NEW TESTAMENT ORIGIN (Available from the Noohra Foundation - an organization I strongly disagree with on certain crucial issues.)

When in doubt, George Lamsa's translation is the one I always side with. An added bonus is that this Bible is large and heavy, and should you ever find it necessary to really whack somebody upside the head with The Word Of God, this version is sure to make quite an impression!

( STEPHEN T. McCARTHY )

PatCox
02-26-2007, 11:59 PM
It is beleived that one of the gospels was written in aramaic, but not all, I foget which was the aramaic now. The most known aramaic word is "amen," meaning "let it be so," and the last words of christ on the cross, which are related in aramaic in the gospels.

ishmael
02-27-2007, 12:23 AM
To the original question, the bottom line is the new testament isn't reliable history. It's full of internal contradiction, there aren't historical cognates of any substance, and the evidence is it was tinkered with heavily before it found its way to print. Those who in their own desire point to it as history are full of beans.

That makes it all the more interesting to me. What importance of human psyche has held onto this information for so long, so tenaciously?

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 01:54 AM
George Ray: your comment is that the NT was written in Aramaic, but then you are quoting OT scriptures as though they were originally written in Aramaic. OT was written in Hebrew, and there seems to be discussion about the Aramaic/Greek of the NT.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 01:58 AM
To the original question, the bottom line is the new testament isn't reliable history. It's full of internal contradiction, there aren't historical cognates of any substance, and the evidence is it was tinkered with heavily before it found its way to print. Those who in their own desire point to it as history are full of beans.

Hi Ish - ok. So you have said a lot there! You've thrown out a lot of grand judgements that need some support:
1. "the NT isn't reliable history." We'll need sources/more info on that thought.
2. "it is full of internal contradiction,". Again, could you give us a number of examples you have in mind when you make that statement.
3. "there aren't historical cognates of any substance"...more, please.
4. "the evidence is it was tinkered with heavily before it found its way to print". I'm not aware of this evidence. Please help me out.
5. "those who in their own desire point to it as history are full of beans". Historians specializing in ancient manuscripts state quite the opposite, actually. So again, if you have a bit more for us to consider, that would be great!

JimD
02-27-2007, 02:59 AM
The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were originally attributed to John, Paul, George and Ringo. But John wasn't circumscised and there was just too much resistance to the idea that a Gospel could be written by a gentile.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 03:02 AM
Thanks, Jim! :) We can see you're right up on this topic! :) :)

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 03:03 AM
Another fascinating fact: the book, as we know it, is a christian thing. Before christianity, and until today, all Jewish sacred scripture was written on scrolls. All christian sacred scripture has been written on books bound as we know them, known as "codices." Its as if the christians made a deliberate decision to be different.

My understanding is the first NT documents were also written on scrolls - papyrus scrolls. It's what they had at the time! We have fragments of these today.

JimD
02-27-2007, 03:39 AM
Thanks, Jim! :) We can see you're right up on this topic! :) :)

The only thing you really need to know about Jesus is: He Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. :D

George Ray
02-27-2007, 07:42 AM
Nanoose,
As to the OT (Old Testament) reference by STEPHEN T. McCARTHY in his amazon review of the Lamsa bible I cannot tell you what Aramaic manuscripts do make mention of any unknown flood, but you raise a good point. I did what I most often do, look for the works of others because when I try to think not much happens. However, I think the OT reference is a small issue and is just a distraction from the main issue. To what extent can the new testament, in it's most commonly available form(s), be considered as "gospel".

My personal preference is not to rely on a single text, but rather to look for patterns in spiritual text from many times, places and traditions. It is my expectation that any single text will contain chafe/dross mixed with the unalloyed spiritual truth. I do not know up front exactly what textural spiritual truth looks so I start by assuming that it is contained in most all the various spiritual traditions (controversial assumption) and then by comparing the various works and looking for that which they have in common. Those common elements are good candidates to be truth and the other stuff is likely to be personal, cultural embellishment.

My current favorite helpful aid in this endeavor is:
http://www.amazon.com/World-Scripture-Comparative-Anthology-Sacred/dp/1557787239/sr=8-1/qid=1172578481/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-4585011-1337702?ie=UTF8&s=books

http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/1557787239.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

*****************************
Notes on:
A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts

(a)The text is available FREE online:
http://www.unification.net/ws/

(b) SYNOPSIS
World Scripture contains over 4000 scriptural passages from 268 sacred texts and 55 oral traditions. It is organized in terms of 164 different themes common to all traditions. This text is the result of a five-year project involving the collaboration of an international team of 40 recognized scholars representing all the major religions of the world. This archive contains the complete text of the original

(c) The project is lead by the Unification Church (moonies) which I found to be off putting until I looked at the list of contributors and decided that if Huston Smith and the Dali Lama's outfit were involved it might be worth a look.

ADVISORS, CONTRIBUTORS, AND EDITORIAL BOARD

EDITOR: Andrew Wilson
FOREWORD: Ninian Smart

EDITORIAL BOARD

Savas C. Agourides
Bhagchandra Jain Bhaskar
Chu-hsien Chen
Bernard Rex Davis
Fung Hu-hsiang
Emanuel S. Goldsmith
Raymond Hammer
Frederick Jelly, O.P.
Inamullah Khan
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Ahmad Kuftaro
Byong Joo Lee
H. K. Mirza
Hajime Nakamura
Kofi Asare Opoku
Yasur Nuri Ozturk
Jordan Paper
Pahalawattage Don Premasiri
K. B. Ramakrishna Rao
K. L. Seshagiri Rao
Samdhong L. Tenzin Rinpoche
Losang Norbu Shastri
Shivamurthy Shivacharya Mahaswamiji
Antonio Silvestrelli
Avtar Singh
Giani Naranjan Singh
Huston Smith


ADVISORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Savas C. Agourides
Professor of New Testament
School of Theology
University of Athens
Athens, Greece
(Christianity, Orthodox)

Bhagchandra Jain Bhaskar
Professor and Head
Department of Pali and Prakrit
Nagpur University
Nagpur, India
(Jainism)

Sister Maura Campbell
Professor of Religious Studies
Caldwell College
Caldwell, New Jersey
(Christianity, Roman Catholic)

Dr. Chu-hsien Chen
Hamburg, Germany
(Chinese Religions)

Canon Bernard Rex Davis
Subdean, Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln, United Kingdom
(Christianity, Protestant)

Dr. Homi B. Dhalla
Lecturer, B.J.P.C. Institute

Bombay, India
(Zoroastrianism)

Dr. Paul B. Fenton
University of Lyon
Lyon, France
(Judaism)

Dr. Betty J. Fisher
General Editor
Baha'i Publishing Trust
Wilmette, Illinois
(Baha'i Faith)

Fung Hu-hsiang
Professor of Philosophy and Dean
College of Liberal Arts
National Central University
Taiwan, Republic of China
(Confucianism)

Rabbi Dr. Emanuel S. Goldsmith
Associate Professor of Jewish Studies
Queens College of the City
University of New York
Flushing, New York

Rev. Canon Dr. Raymond J. Hammer
Anglican Interfaith Consultants
London, United Kingdom
Former Canon of Kobe Cathedral
Kobe, Japan
(Japanese Religions)

Institute for the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Sermons and Speeches
Sung Hwa University
Chonan, Korea
(Unification Church)

Rev. Dr. Frederick Jelly, O.P.
Dean of Studies
Mount St. Mary's Seminary
Emmitsburg, Maryland
(Christianity, Roman Catholic)

Jay E. Jensen
Director, Scriptures Coordination
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Salt Lake City, Utah
(Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Dr. Inamullah Khan
Secretary General
World Muslim Congress
Karachi, Pakistan
(Islam)

Dr. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
President, The Islamic Centre
New Dehli, India
(Islam)

Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Kuftaro
Grand Mufti of Syria
Damascus, Syria
(Islam)

Dr.Byong Joo Lee
Chairman, Chung Hyun Seo Wun
Senior Committee Member
Sung Kyun National Confucian University
Seoul, Korea
(Confucianism)

Prof. Gobind Singh Mansukhani
Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations
London, England
(Sikhism)

H. K. Mirza
High Priest of the Parsis
Professor Emeritus of Zoroastrian Studies
Bombay, India
(Zoroastrianism)

Hajime Nakamura
Professor of Religion Emeritus
Tokyo University
Founder-Director
The Eastern Institute
Tokyo, Japan
(Buddhism)

Prof. Kofi Asare Opoku
Institute of African Studies
University of Ghana
Legon, Ghana
(African Traditional Religions)

Dr. Yasur Nuri Ozturk
Faculty of Theology
Marmara University
Religion Commentator
Hurriyet Newspaper
Istanbul, Turkey
(Islam)

Dr. Ryszard Pachocinski
Head, Department of Comparative Education
Institute for Educational Research
Warsaw, Poland
(African Traditional Religions)

Jordan Paper
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
York University
North York, Ontario, Canada
(Native American Religions)

Dr. Pahalawattage Don Premasiri
Department of Philosophy
University of Peradeniya
Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
(Theravada Buddhism)

K. B. Ramakrishna Rao
Professor and Head,
Department of Philosophy
Mysore University
Mysore, University
(Hinduism)

K. L. Seshagiri Rao
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
(Hinduism)

Gene Reeves
Professor of Theology
Meadville/Lombard Theological School
Chicago, Illinois
(Japanese New Religions)

Ven. Prof. Samdhong L. Tenzin, Rinpoche
Director, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies
Sarnath, Varanasi, India
(Tibetan Buddhism)

Rev. Losang Norbu Shastri
Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies
Sarnath, Varanasi, India
(Tibetan Buddhism)

Dr. Shivamurthy Shivacharya Mahaswamiji
Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru Brihanmath
Sirigere, India
(Lingayat Hinduism)

Monsignor Antonio Silvestrelli
Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
Vatican City
(Christianity, Roman Catholic)

Dr. Avtar Singh
Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Religious Studies
Punjabi University
Patiala, India
(Sikhism)

Sant Giani Naranjan Singh
Guru Nanak Ashram
Patiala, India
(Sikhism)

Ninian Smart
J. F. Rowney Professor of Comparative Religions
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
(General Consultant)

Huston Smith
Thomas J. Watson Professor Emeritus of Religion
Syracuse University
Graduate Theological Union
Berkeley, California
(General Consultant)

Rev. Takahide Takahashi
The Eastern Institute
Tokyo, Japan
(Japanese Buddhism)

Kapil Tiwari
Professor of World Religions
Victoria University
Wellington, New Zealand
(South Pacific Traditional Religion)

Dr. David Manning White
President, Marlborough Publishing House
Richmond, Virginia
(World Spirituality)

Flying Orca
02-27-2007, 08:23 AM
Just tossing a couple thoughts out for contemplation:

1) You can't "prove" a negative. You can try to find conflicting evidence, but you can't prove a negative. In this context, that means that trying to prove the NT is not historically accurate is a fool's game.

2) That doesn't automagically make the NT historically accurate. It's like any other text cobbled together from multiple sources by people with a particular viewpoint to sell.

Which raises the question of other religious texts - are people supposed to accept all of them at face value, or just the ones they were raised to accept unconditionally? What makes the NT inherently more historical and believable than, say, the Quran, or the Lotus Sutra?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the NT certainly isn't extraordinary proof in itself of the claims it makes. I guess what I'm saying is, believe what you want, but if you expect people to believe that the NT is the truth, then the onus is on you to provide very solid evidence to back up that claim... and I for one have never seen said evidence.

Just my 2˘.

ishmael
02-27-2007, 08:54 AM
Thank you for that book reference, George. One I'll look for.

I converted a couple decades ago, from seeker to mythologist. As such I find the need to get at the historicity of any of these texts, ala the Jesus seminars, to be interesting, if a bit flaky. Taken as mythology(ie stories we tell ourselves so we feel less bereft and alone) the NT is fantastic. Taken literally it steers in odd directions, is a bit of madness. Letting go of literalism and embracing the mythic perspective is freeing.

Occasionally on a Sunday I'll tune through one of the Protestant preachers on the toob. Gawd, do people still believe this way? They are typically awful pontificating gas bags. Don't get me wrong, I like a good sermon, but lord almighty it's no wonder Christianity is losing ground.

Nanoose. I don't need any other evidence than the contradictory nature of the gospels to conclude they aren't history. They undoubtedly have history in them, but an honest read turns over their hole card, shows they are polemics. Beautiful and true polemics, I'll testify that on my death bed, but not history.

Vince Brennan
02-27-2007, 09:21 AM
Y'know what, people? Live your lives the best you can and one day (and a lot sooner than any of us hope) we're gonna find out if the whole thing is just another trip around the wheel, sitting at the feet of God with a harp, just a big blank space, re-integration with the Cosmic All, shivering for all eternity under The Lidless Eye or just a bad dream.

Be nice to each other and ya can't really go too wrong. All the rest (to me, mind you) is "look-see pidgin". For me, it just don't signify.

Interesting discussion points, though.

Oh, and as to that list of authorities who are shown as advisors. contributors and editorial persons, a long time ago I was the secretary for the Philadelphia Folk Song Society and we got an advance copy of Vance Randolph's "Pissing In The Snow", which was a collection of Ozark folk-tales. I read it and found it charming and sent them a letter telling them so. When the book got published, there was my little note used as a "scholarly review" on the blurb page. Ya can't always believe what's printed, d'ye ken?
(I still get flack over that, thirty-plus years later!)

Anyway, back to your games.... I got some knots to tie.

PatCox
02-27-2007, 09:32 AM
Nanoose, the citations required would be in the thousands, but the general conclusion from historic jesus research is that the sayings of jesus and the story of his ministry are basically accurate, whereas the birth and resurrection stories are more in the way of nice stories, but not what you'd call "history."

As far as the sayings, I would disagree with Ish's characterization, the accuracy is remarkable, at least as far as what sayings we have, the sermon on the mount is probably very much what Jesus said. There are even some personal quirks of Jesus' speach that survive (which are not common phrases in aramaic) for example, the way he would preface things with "I tell you this," or as it has been translated, "Verily I say unto you."

paladin
02-27-2007, 09:39 AM
Gentlemen....I ain't gonna get into this discussion...my brother is a minister.......and I have been in the middle of some really heavy "arguments".....enough to say without a doubt that many of the radio/tv "evangelists" were/are nothing more than very good snake oil salesmen......'cause I know them.....but I do have some interesting books on middle east history and biblical information from the Arab side of the farm.....free...if anyone is interested....whomsoever sends a private e-mail asking for them......

George Ray
02-27-2007, 10:17 AM
Blessed are the cheese makers!
Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth!
That's nice... I'm glad there getting something because they've had a hell of a time.

***************
Life of Brian- Sermon on the Mount Scene:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiDmMBIyfsU&mode=related&search=
http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/6305388458.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg
****************
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Life_of_Brian

Ex-leper: Spare a talent for an old ex-leper?
Brian: Did you say... "ex-leper"?
Ex-leper: That's right, sir. Sixteen years behind the bell, and proud of it, sir.
Brian: Well, what happened?
Ex-leper: Oh cured, sir.
Brian: Cured?
Ex-leper: Yes, sir. A bloody miracle, sir. God bless you.
Brian: Who cured you?
Ex-leper: Jesus did, sir. I was hopping along, minding my own business. All of a sudden, up he comes. Cures me. One minute I'm a leper with a trade, next minute my livelihood's gone. Not so much as a by-your-leave! "You're cured, mate." Bloody do-gooder.
Brian: Well, why don't you go and tell him you want to be a leper again?
Ex-leper: Ah, yeah. I could do that, sir. Yeah. Yeah, I could do that, I suppose. What I was thinking was, I was going to ask him if he could make me a bit lame in one leg during the middle of the week. You know, something beggable, but not leprosy, which is a pain in the arse, to be blunt. Excuse my French, sir.
Mandy: Brian! Come in 'ere and clean your room!
Brian: Alright [drops a coin in ex-leper's cup]]
Ex-Leper: Thank you, sir, thank y - half a denarii?! For me bloody life story?
Brian: [drops another coin in ex-leper's cup]] There's no pleasing some people.
Ex-Leper: That's just what Jesus said, sir!
**********************
How about that Jefferson bible?

Osborne Russell
02-27-2007, 11:38 AM
the Gospel of Thomas was rightfully denied a place in the canon because it lacked a certain harmony with the four familiar books that open the New Testament.

What right would that be, and whose? In whose interest was this "denial of a place"? Why should there be a canon to have a place in? What would Jesus say?

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 11:40 AM
Nanoose, the citations required would be in the thousands, but the general conclusion from historic jesus research is that the sayings of jesus and the story of his ministry are basically accurate, whereas the birth and resurrection stories are more in the way of nice stories, but not what you'd call "history."

"The general conclusion"....who's? It's a conclusion I am unaware of - news to me! Can you enlighten me. Thanks.

Why would part of the writing be historically accurate and two parts not be? Again...eyewitnesses were around, so if the writers were wrong, they'd have heard about it. Heck! It is likely Mary was still living when Mark (first one written) was written, and if not, Jesus' brothers/sisters would have been...and probably extended family as far as varifying the birth account. And, if the resurrection was made up, why? For what purpose? If someone was to make it up, there's parts of it they surely wouldn't have written that way so as to make it more believable! But what would have been gained?


As far as the sayings, I would disagree with Ish's characterization, the accuracy is remarkable, at least as far as what sayings we have, the sermon on the mount is probably very much what Jesus said. There are even some personal quirks of Jesus' speach that survive (which are not common phrases in aramaic) for example, the way he would preface things with "I tell you this," or as it has been translated, "Verily I say unto you."

But if we're going to pick and choose that some of the record is accurate/believeable and not others, on what basis do we decide that "As far as the sayings....the accuracy is remarkable...the sermon on the mount is probably very much what Jesus said." I don't disagree!, but we can't have it both ways.

TomF
02-27-2007, 11:46 AM
http://www.westarinstitute.org/Jesus_Seminar/jesus_seminar.html

One place where the authenticity of the sayings and parables is discussed is in the Jesus Seminar. A group of liberal scholars who've been interested in historical Jesus research ...

... While I tend to agree with much of their perspective, I'd be hard pressed to say there's a broad consensus. And, as in many academic disciplines, the perspectives of scholars are a long distance from the perspectives of folks in the field.

t

ishmael
02-27-2007, 12:02 PM
When you take two steps back, maybe three,there's no need anymore to have the Bible make literal sense. I think some of it is a record of actual people, words and events, and some of it is dreams of writers who genuinely tried to enter the mind of this avatar.

Not NEEDING it to be literal is freeing. Trust me on this.

"Love god with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself." That is the distillation of Jesus' life. Trying to do it well is the reason we were born. Getting a bit metaphysical we are the the star's hunger, and the hands of god. Loving God is not some plastic image easily bought with the latest toys. This world yearns for redemption for this idiocy of materialism. Loving your neighbor is a piece of work, too. I'm not fully on board with either, but I think they are worthy.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 12:12 PM
What right would that be, and whose? In whose interest was this "denial of a place"? Why should there be a canon to have a place in? What would Jesus say?

Soon after the last gospel (John) was written, the 4 gospels were united in one collection and early in the 2nd century were known as 'The Gospel' (without the s). For various reasons (establishing doctrine, which writings to appeal to in disputes with heretics e.g. Gnosticism, which writings to use in church services) it was necessary for the church to know which books were divinely authoritative. The gospels recording "all that Jesus began to do and to teach" and the teaching of the apostles in Acts and the Epistles were regarded as authoritative - i.e. vested with his authority.

The NT books didn't BECOME authoritative for the church because they were informally put onto some canonical list. Rather, they were included in the canon because they were already regarded as divinely inspired and apostolically authoritative. A quick comparison of the NT with various other early documents demonstrates the NT documents are on a totally different plain.

The Gospel of Thomas is part of the gnostic library found near Nag Hammadi about 1945, several of which titles proclaim their 'secret' character. Thomas begins with, "these are the secret words which Jesus the Living One spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down". There is nothing particularly secret about the 114 real or alleged sayings of Jesus which follow, but the whole concept of Gnosticism was in direct contradiction of what Jesus was about as recorded in the 4 gospels - God for ALL (Jesus) versus God for only the few enlightened intellectually elite who posses "the secret" (Gnosticism). Gnostic writings are not Christian in essence of message, in fact are quite 'anti-Christ' and are not regarded by Christians as authoritative.

John Bell
02-27-2007, 12:21 PM
Not NEEDING it to be literal is freeing. Trust me on this.


One reason I'm in the church I'm in is because we don't believe the Bible literally. Reading the words, trying to understand the lessons of Jesus and Paul's letters without also trying to frame them in the proper context and culture (this is particularly important with Paul's epistles) will lead one to a vastly different kind of practice of faith than the one I enjoy.

Disagreements abound, as evidenced by the vast number of denominational splits even well before the reformation. Paul was writing about these things in his time, so nothing is really new, is it?

ishmael
02-27-2007, 12:35 PM
The notion of secret information bestowed on a few isn't only from Nag Hamadi texts. In the gospels, I can't remember where, Jesus says to his apostles that he teaches the masses in parables, but they, the apostles, hear it in plain language. In Thomas, again it has as much claim to authenticity as any, he takes Thomas aside and tells him something that when Thomas comes back into the circle he refuses to repeat. Too much for you boogers is the implication.

Marvelous stuff, and nothing we should be fighting about. Let's try to look at the whole canon, and learn. Jesus, from what I can gather of the man, would hate the baliwicks that have grown up around a marvelous life.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 01:11 PM
Hi Flying Orca: May I call you FO?...Oh! My! maybe not!! :eek: :o


Just tossing a couple thoughts out for contemplation:

1) You can't "prove" a negative. You can try to find conflicting evidence, but you can't prove a negative. In this context, that means that trying to prove the NT is not historically accurate is a fool's game.

2) That doesn't automagically make the NT historically accurate. It's like any other text cobbled together from multiple sources by people with a particular viewpoint to sell.

Right. Onus is on examining any existing proofs FOR something. What proofs contribute to my consideration that the NT is historically accurate?

1. date of writing: Christ was crucified AD30, and the NT as we know it was completed by approx. AD95. The first gospel written, Mark, is dated around 64-65 and is a short enough time span from the events that witnesses could have come forward to discredit his account had he been inaccurate (same for the other gospels).

2. while on the gospels, I don't think any of the writers had anything to 'gain' by doing this - in fact, they had a lot to lose. Persecution of Christians had begun, and perversions to Christ's message were infiltrating their churches, and as they were getting older they realized it was time to write some things down. Almost every author of a NT document was martyred.....again, why make this up?!?

3. years gap between the original writing and our oldest copy: the earliest existing fragments are dated to around AD130 and are of the Gospel of John written in Ephesus around AD95.

4. the sheer number of NT documents (over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the NT in whole or in part) and the short gap of years means there is much greater evidence for this historical document than the writings of many classical authors of which we'd never dream of questioning the authenticity. If the NT were a collection of secular writings their authenticity would be considered beyond doubt, but people put 'sacred books' under suspicion and demand much more evidence than they would for a secular ancient manuscript. But for a historian, the same standards must be applied to both.

5. it is also evident from the recently discovered writings of the Gnostic school of Valentinus that before the middle of the 2nd century most of the NT books were we well known and fully venerated in that heretical circle as they were in the church.

6. "The interval between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the NT may be regarded as finally established". Sir Frederic Kenyon (authority on ancient manuscripts).

7. Jesus is also mentioned in non NT documents (written by antagonists), which add support to their viability. Rabbis note him as a transgressor in Israel, who practised magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray....and was hanged on Passover Eve for heresy and misleading the people. His disciples, of whom five are mentioned, healed the sick in his name. And the Jewish historian Josephus wrote, among other things, of Palestinian history in NT times. A number of characters well known in the NT are also documented in his writings (family of the Herods, Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, Quirinius, Pilate, Felix, Festus, Annas, Caiaphas, Ananias, Pharisees, Saducees, John the Baptist, James "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ"...), adding to the credibility of the NT record. Josephus also mentions Jesus, bearing witness to his date, reputation as a wonder-worker, brother of James, crucifixion under Pilate at the information of Jewish rulers, messianic claim, founder of 'the tribe of Christians' and the belief in his rising from the dead.


Which raises the question of other religious texts - are people supposed to accept all of them at face value, or just the ones they were raised to accept unconditionally? What makes the NT inherently more historical and believable than, say, the Quran, or the Lotus Sutra?

I think we are to look at what they claim to be and go from there. Other religious texts tend to be collections of wise sayings of their founder and/or other 'founding fathers'. Christianity claims to have happened in history, so it needs to be considered in that light. For me, the fact that its 66 books were written over a period of over 1400 years by over 40 different authors from every walk of life (from peasants to statesmen), in different places and times, in a variety of literary genres and on 3 different continents and yet is of one, cohesive message is significant. Also its uniqueness among religious texts in its predictive prophecy is extremely significant to me. And it is unique in its message of grace.

It is a book that has drawn more attention than any other for over 2000 years, and it would seem logical to consider it in a search for truth.

The Gospel of John is a good place to start.

TomF
02-27-2007, 01:33 PM
...The Gospel of John is a good place to start.... for what may have been Jesus' theology. The parables in the other gospels are more likely to have been Jesus' own words.

PatCox
02-27-2007, 01:41 PM
Nanoose, most of what you say has been argued by at least one scholar, but you are doing a dramatically rosy best case scenario. The earliest identified fragment of any gospel dates from around 200. The earliest bound collection from around 390. There is no consensus suggesting they were all written by 90 AD. Not at all.

As to the judgment as to parts being reliable and other parts not reliable, this is based on many different techniques, including form criticism, text criticism, and numerous recognized methods regarded as helpful and valid in making such judgments.

There is no valid reason at all to think that the gospels must be all true or all false.

And again, you must always keep in mind that there was a different conception of historical truth when the gospels were written, and that a "gospel" is not intended to be a factually accurate history.

Are aesop's fables true? Is there truth in them?

PatCox
02-27-2007, 01:49 PM
Here is one interesting reason the resurrection stories are considered less reliable, this from the Wiki for Mark:

Starting in the 19th century, textual critics have commonly asserted that Mark 16:9–20, describing some disciples' encounters with the resurrected Jesus, was added after the original autograph. Mark 16:8 stops at the empty tomb without further explanation. The last twelve verses are missing from the oldest manuscripts of Mark's Gospel.[27] The style of these verses differs from the rest of Mark, suggesting they were a later addition. In a handful of manuscripts, a "short ending" is included after 16:7, but before the "long ending", and exists by itself in one of the earliest Old Latin codices, Codex Bobiensis. By the 5th century, at least four different endings have been attested. (See Mark 16 for a more comprehensive treatment of this topic.)


By the way, the Wikipedia articles on the Gospels are great and fairly represent the guarded middle of scholarly thought, though it also presents the outliers.

Flying Orca
02-27-2007, 01:54 PM
1. date of writing: Christ was crucified AD30, and the NT as we know it was completed by approx. AD95. The first gospel written, Mark, is dated around 64-65 and is a short enough time span from the events that witnesses could have come forward to discredit his account had he been inaccurate (same for the other gospels).

I could similarly argue for the factual basis of Catch-22 by saying that Heller wrote it not long after WWII and no witnesses came forward to discredit his account. Not a conclusive argument to me.

Also left out is the possibility that the gospels are intended as the allegorical, exoteric teachings of (just another) "dying god" mystery cult - that time and place were rife with 'em, and the parallels between the Jesus story and the Osiris myth (among others) are pretty hard to ignore.

We don't have the same world-view as the people who originally and produced these books; we don't know how they viewed the contents of these books; I'm not even sure we can argue that they were capable of making the same distinctions we make between fact and fiction.


2. while on the gospels, I don't think any of the writers had anything to 'gain' by doing this - in fact, they had a lot to lose. Persecution of Christians had begun, and perversions to Christ's message were infiltrating their churches, and as they were getting older they realized it was time to write some things down. Almost every author of a NT document was martyred.....again, why make this up?!?

Just because this particular mystery cult was in direct conflict with the "approved" religious establishments of the day doesn't mean that people didn't derive value from belonging to, or leading, the cult. Clearly, they did... and so did the members and leaders of all the other mystery cults of the time. Among other motivators, one can assume that it felt pretty good to be in on the esoteric knowledge of the cult... and for all we know, the esoteric teachings may have been useful ones.


3. years gap between the original writing and our oldest copy: the earliest existing fragments are dated to around AD130 and are of the Gospel of John written in Ephesus around AD95.

I'm not sure of the relevance of this to the factuality of the writing; please elucidate.


4. the sheer number of NT documents (over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the NT in whole or in part) and the short gap of years means there is much greater evidence for this historical document than the writings of many classical authors of which we'd never dream of questioning the authenticity. If the NT were a collection of secular writings their authenticity would be considered beyond doubt, but people put 'sacred books' under suspicion and demand much more evidence than they would for a secular ancient manuscript. But for a historian, the same standards must be applied to both.

The question isn't whether the documents exist, it's whether they are factual. I don't think anyone is going around arguing for the factuality of Plato's Physics. ;)


5. it is also evident from the recently discovered writings of the Gnostic school of Valentinus that before the middle of the 2nd century most of the NT books were we well known and fully venerated in that heretical circle as they were in the church.

Again, I'm not sure we know enough about how the contents of the documents were used and perceived by the users to assume that they used and perceived them the same way we do.


6. "The interval between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the NT may be regarded as finally established". Sir Frederic Kenyon (authority on ancient manuscripts).

The authority I accept is physical evidence. Conflicting "scholarly" opinions abound. The question is not whether the gospels are "authentic", but rather whether they are factual. There doesn't appear to be a wealth of physical evidence for that interpretation.


7. Jesus is also mentioned in non NT documents (written by antagonists), which add support to their viability. Rabbis note him as a transgressor in Israel, who practised magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray....and was hanged on Passover Eve for heresy and misleading the people. His disciples, of whom five are mentioned, healed the sick in his name. And the Jewish historian Josephus wrote, among other things, of Palestinian history in NT times. A number of characters well known in the NT are also documented in his writings (family of the Herods, Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, Quirinius, Pilate, Felix, Festus, Annas, Caiaphas, Ananias, Pharisees, Saducees, John the Baptist, James "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ"...), adding to the credibility of the NT record. Josephus also mentions Jesus, bearing witness to his date, reputation as a wonder-worker, brother of James, crucifixion under Pilate at the information of Jewish rulers, messianic claim, founder of 'the tribe of Christians' and the belief in his rising from the dead.

I am aware of Josephus' writing, but I am not aware of unambiguous references from other Roman or Jewish sources (Josephus was both)... and both peoples were known for keeping good records. Do you have cites on any references other than Josephus?

Furthermore, scholarly opinion of the factual value of Josephus' writing on Jesus is contentious. What is known is that surviving copies of Josephus' works are all from later Christian sources, allowing for the possibility of creative editing; textual analysis is alleged by some scholars to support the view that some text alterations and insertions were made (by others) after Josephus wrote the originals.

Again, not what I'd call extraordinary proof of extraordinary claims.


I think we are to look at what they claim to be and go from there. Other religious texts tend to be collections of wise sayings of their founder and/or other 'founding fathers'. Christianity claims to have happened in history, so it needs to be considered in that light.

Most of the religious texts I've read present stories in an historical context - certainly the Quran and Buddhist discussions of the historical Buddha do. Religious documents in general seem to follow the pattern of {so-and-do}{did these (amazing) things} and {said these other things}. No more or less historical than the NT, as near as I can tell.


For me, the fact that its 66 books were written over a period of over 1400 years by over 40 different authors from every walk of life (from peasants to statesmen), in different places and times, in a variety of literary genres and on 3 different continents and yet is of one, cohesive message is significant.

Yes, but a non-supernatural interpretation would suggest that it is significant only of editing, not factuality. ;)


Also its uniqueness among religious texts in its predictive prophecy is extremely significant to me. And it is unique in its message of grace.

I think you'll find that many religions make claims of prophecy fulfilled, with about equal verifiability. I am not able to speak to the "message of grace", being unsure of what this means.


It is a book that has drawn more attention than any other for over 2000 years, and it would seem logical to consider it in a search for truth.

Yes, mythology in general is a great place to search for truth. Not so good for factuality, though. Cheers!

Keith Wilson
02-27-2007, 01:56 PM
For me, the fact that its 66 books were written over a period of over 1400 years by over 40 different authors from every walk of life (from peasants to statesmen), in different places and times, in a variety of literary genres and on 3 different continents and yet is of one, cohesive message is significant.Eh?? Well, aside from the fact that the authors of the later books had often read a lot of the earlier ones, the idea of "one cohesive message" is IMHO almost entirely illusory, and requires the most amazing mental gymnastics to even make it plausible The God of Leviticus bears only the vaguest resemblance to the God of Ecclesiastes, the God of Matthew, or the ravings in Revelations. If the books were not connected by tradition and generally bound together in one volume, no one would say that they formed a coherent whole.

ishmael
02-27-2007, 02:10 PM
John said,

"One reason I'm in the church I'm in is because we don't believe the Bible literally."

The last church I was really affillated with was pretty loose. Congregationalists in MA. Hell, I went to Sunday school with a Jungian analyst, and listened to sermons by his wife. Both very worthy, BTW.

The only way Jesus becomes real to me is to set aside all the metaphysical crap. I don't mean there isn't something untoward and mysterious about the man, I come around to thinking there is, but the sermon the mount trumps all that stuff. This man was awake. I don't worship him, I don't worship anyone, but I understand how others do.

TomF
02-27-2007, 02:13 PM
Eh?? Well, aside from the fact that the authors of the later books had often read a lot of the earlier ones, the idea of "one cohesive message" is IMHO almost entirely illusory, and requires the most amazing mental gymnastics to even make it plausible The God of Leviticus bears only the vaguest resemblance to the God of Ecclesiastes, the God of Matthew, or the ravings in Revelations. If the books were not connected by tradition and generally bound together in one volume, no one would say that they formed a coherent whole.Keith, both the OT and the NT show the growth in, unfolding of understanding within a relationship. The way God was understood in the earliest writings is at substantial variance with how God was understood, for instance, in the Parables. I find it helpful to see the various books of the bible as a series of letters between lovers.

I remember reading John Gardner's chapter about the migration of the Hampton boat into Maine, and beyond. He argued hard against Chapelle's view that the early double-enders and the late transom sterned boats were entirely separate. IIRC, Gardner said sure, looking at one from the beginning of the progression and one from the end, they're very different boats ... but we can see over time how one became the other.

t.

Keith Wilson
02-27-2007, 03:07 PM
both the OT and the NT show the growth in, unfolding of understanding within a relationship. True. I was objecting to Nanoose's contention that the Bible "is of one, cohesive message" , which tells us something about its truth or falsehood, or about whether or not it was divinely inspired. Yes, one can definitely see the different stages in the evolution of an idea and a religious tradition. The idea is, however, very different at different stages. The God described in much of the Old Testament is a cruel vindictive tyrant, very unlike the God described in the Gospels. We probably descended from something resembling a lemur, but we are not lemurs.

PatCox
02-27-2007, 03:28 PM
Did the early church fathers have anything to gain? Paul sure did, it sometimes seems that he is talking about money half the time. Its striking when you start to recognize when he is demanding money, and when he is castigating people for not giving enough, or when, as in Acts, he settles a dispute with James and the apostles by promising to give them money.

PatCox
02-27-2007, 03:29 PM
New Testament passages which refer to the old testament and then shape the story to make it fit prophecy are the least reliable and most likely to have been "fudged" of all. But they sure made it seemless, didn't they?

Osborne Russell
02-27-2007, 03:33 PM
Soon after the last gospel (John) was written, the 4 gospels were united in one collection

By whom, by what authority, and according to what selection criteria? Who says John was the last?




and early in the 2nd century were known as 'The Gospel' (without the s).

By whom, and so what?


For various reasons (establishing doctrine, which writings to appeal to in disputes with heretics e.g. Gnosticism

Heretics according to whom?



which writings to use in church services)

Whose church? What services?



it was necessary for the church to know which books were divinely authoritative.

Why? Who says any of them were? Which of them did Jesus write? Which ones did Jesus say were divinely authoritative? What services were necessary in his church?


The gospels recording "all that Jesus began to do and to teach" and the teaching of the apostles in Acts and the Epistles were regarded as authoritative - i.e. vested with his authority.

By whom?

If there is such a thing as "mainstream Christianity", it is a product of politics. And it's a big if.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 03:36 PM
Did the early church fathers have anything to gain? Paul sure did, it sometimes seems that he is talking about money half the time. Its striking when you start to recognize when he is demanding money, and when he is castigating people for not giving enough, or when, as in Acts, he settles a dispute with James and the apostles by promising to give them money.

Paul took no financial support from the churches he helped and worked at as he didn't want to be beholded to any of them (issue of sponsorship common in that time). He was actually working to pull together a collection for the church in Jerusalem that had hit difficult times. He was working to unite Jews and Gentiles in the early church, which was tending to disintegrate along those lines - reminding them of the unity of all men in Christ, and their need to be united. He was maybe talking about money ('the collection'), but it was never for him.

If you look at his life after his conversion, I think he actually 'lost' more than he 'gained' from an earthly, materialistic perspective - he lost power, prestige, influence to gain struggle, torture, abuse, imprisonment, and ship wreck to name a few.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 03:40 PM
New Testament passages which refer to the old testament and then shape the story to make it fit prophecy are the least reliable and most likely to have been "fudged" of all. But they sure made it seemless, didn't they?

Some things are hard to 'shape' though, Pat - like your birth, the people and circumstances surrounding your death, the destruction of a major city to name just a few.

ishmael
02-27-2007, 03:55 PM
I can imagine Jesus saying this.

His disciples said to him: "When will the Kingdom come?" Jesus said: "It will not be a matter of saying, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is.' Rather the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."

PatCox
02-27-2007, 04:05 PM
Nanoose, did you ever study memory? Did you know that a memory changes every time you recall it? That its very easy for people in good faith to be susceptible to suggestion, to what they wished and hoped had happened, and not what did happen? Mark, the earliest gospel, was supposedly writen by St Peter's translator, a man who was not there to see what he was writing about. Saint Peter was then old, it was about 70 AD, 35 years or so after the events.

The story comes from Papias, quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea:

This, too, the presbyter used to say. ‘Mark, who had been Peter's interpreter, wrote down carefully, but not in order, all that he remembered of the Lord’s sayings and doings. For he had not heard the Lord or been one of his followers, but later, as I said, one of Peter’s. Peter used to adapt his teachings to the occasion, without making a systematic arrangement of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark was quite justified in writing down some of the things as he remembered them. For he had one purpose only – to leave out nothing that he had heard, and to make no misstatement about it.[4]

Nothing in that seems to guarantee accuracy, except that he tried. But as I mentioned above, there is text evidence that originally, Mark ended with an empty tomb, the rest being added later. These are real questions.

PatCox
02-27-2007, 04:09 PM
What then is the kingdom, Ish? The early christians believed so fervently that Jesus was returning in their lifetime that Paul had to reassure them that those who 'went to sleep" before he returned would be included in the kingdom. The biggest change, to me, between the gospels and the letters of Paul is the evident expectation of his imminent return throughout the letters. His advice on marriage, for example, I don't think he was saying its best never to marry, I think he was saying don't do it now, when he is returning any minute. Same with sex, lots of things become superfluous and distracting when the world is ending any day.

And its pretty clear Paul and the early believers got that all wrong, and the church had to do a major adjustment in its expectations.

Nanoose
02-27-2007, 04:14 PM
But as I mentioned above, there is text evidence that originally, Mark ended with an empty tomb, the rest being added later. These are real questions.

Pat - I'll respond to most of this later (I'm in the middle of a class, but the kids are writing a test :)). But for now, I'm not clear on what this comment is about. Can you give me a bit more? Thanks.

Deb

PatCox
02-27-2007, 05:23 PM
Nanoose, the nativity stories are the most obviously fake stories in the NT. A census where you were required to return to your hometown? Preposterous. An obvious ruse to allow the claim that Jesus was from Bethlehem, so he could be an heir of David, instead of a bumpkin from Nazareth.

Tom Montgomery
02-27-2007, 07:00 PM
It is beleived that one of the gospels was written in aramaic, but not all, I foget which was the aramaic now.That would be the Gospel of Matthew. Early church fathers asserted that Matthew originally wrote in "Hebrew letters," which is thought to refer to Aramaic. They also believed that Matthew was the first Gospel composed and was addressed to a Hebrew audience.

The lost Gospel of the Hebrews and Gospel of the Nazoraeans, from which early church fathers quote, appear to have some relationship to Matthew, but are not identical to it. The Gospel of the Ebionites also has a close relationship to the Gospel of the Hebrews and Gospel of the Nazoraeans, and hence some connection to Matthew. All were evidently written in Aramaic.

Nanoose
02-28-2007, 06:25 PM
Nanoose, did you ever study memory?

No, I never have.


Did you know that a memory changes every time you recall it? That its very easy for people in good faith to be susceptible to suggestion, to what they wished and hoped had happened, and not what did happen?

Memory changes I can see, I guess depending on the importance/depth/impact of the memory. For instance, I have very strong/clear memories around the births of my 2 children, and foggier memories around the closing of our first house. And I agree we're all susceptible to suggestion/wishes/hopes, but again, I would say the degree of susceptibility would depend on the importance of the event. I don't think there was a "mass wish" around the resurrection - that's just illogical and wishful thinking. Too huge an event - too complicated - nothing to gain - all those reasons again, and eye witness testimony.


Mark, the earliest gospel, was supposedly writen by St Peter's translator, a man who was not there to see what he was writing about. Saint Peter was then old, it was about 70 AD, 35 years or so after the events. .

Written by John Mark, and around AD64-65 (according to a majority of modern scholars in this country), so yes, about 35 years after the events.



The story comes from Papias, quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea:

This, too, the presbyter used to say. ‘Mark, who had been Peter's interpreter, wrote down carefully, but not in order, all that he remembered of the Lord’s sayings and doings. For he had not heard the Lord or been one of his followers, but later, as I said, one of Peter’s. Peter used to adapt his teachings to the occasion, without making a systematic arrangement of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark was quite justified in writing down some of the things as he remembered them. For he had one purpose only – to leave out nothing that he had heard, and to make no misstatement about it.[4]

Nothing in that seems to guarantee accuracy, except that he tried. But as I mentioned above, there is text evidence that originally, Mark ended with an empty tomb, the rest being added later. These are real questions.

My source of your quoted passage is slightly different, but the essence of the message is the same (that's a good principle to remember, don't you think?! :)). From this passage we can conclude that the gospel of Mark is, generally speaking, a statement of the gospel story as it was related in the earliest days of the church, and in view of Papias' description of Marks as Peter's interpreter, it is noteworthy that Peter, an eyewitness who knows of what he speaks, is the chief preacher of the gospel in the first days of the church (early Acts). Marks account, for all intents and purposes, could be Peter's.

There is much more in Mark's account than just Peter's words about Jesus' ministry. He probably includes some reminiscences of his own. He was in all probability the young man who had a narrow escape when Jesus was arrested (Mk.14:51-52), and there is a tradition that his parents' house (Acts 12:12) was the one in which the last supper was held. So, there are aspects of Mark that are probably actual eye witness accounts.

I think had he been inaccurate in his scribing, Peter would have rapped him severly about the ears and told him to fix it! :)

Yes, Mark ends at 16:8, with the remaining verses of ch.16 being absent from early manuscripts. They also display certain peculiarities of vocab, style and content that are unlike the rest of Mark. So, he probably ended at 16:8, or his original ending has been lost. So, even if we 'ignore' 16:9 to the end, the gospel story is not changed.

Nanoose
02-28-2007, 06:30 PM
Nanoose, the nativity stories are the most obviously fake stories in the NT. A census where you were required to return to your hometown? Preposterous. An obvious ruse to allow the claim that Jesus was from Bethlehem, so he could be an heir of David, instead of a bumpkin from Nazareth.

"An obvious ruse"....hmm....

So the foreign, ruling power (Rome) calls for a census (and we know this happened from nonbiblical sources), creating the circumstance at the exact time some Jewish woman is about to give birth...somehow connecting to them knowing when exactly she in particular got pregnant, and decided to call a census at the perfect time of her delivery!?!... and knowing she'd have to go to Bethlehem and not some other town for the census, and ...and...and....!!! Doesn't work, Pat.

And even if this WAS true, why would Rome be in cahoots with the Jews on this....the Jews that in the end wouldn't accept him anyway? Doesn't make sense.

Tom Montgomery
02-28-2007, 07:58 PM
Mark, the earliest gospel, was supposedly writen by St Peter's translator, a man who was not there to see what he was writing about. Saint Peter was then old, it was about 70 AD, 35 years or so after the events.
Written by John Mark, and around AD64-65 (according to a majority of modern scholars in this country), so yes, about 35 years after the events.I just don't see how any of the Synoptic Gospels can be dated prior to the fall of Jerusalem (September 2, 70) and the final destruction of the Temple.

Unless... tradition is correct and Matthew was the first Gospel written and in Aramaic. If that is so... then there is no telling how that version and the version we have now from the Greek may differ. That Aramaic Matthew may yet turn up!

Nanoose
02-28-2007, 08:36 PM
I just don't see how any of the Synoptic Gospels can be dated prior to the fall of Jerusalem (September 2, 70) and the final destruction of the Temple.


I believe Mark was written in that 64-65 area, Luke shortly before 70, and Matthew shortly after. One criterion which has special weight with me is the relation which these writings appear to bear to the destruction of Jerusalem/the temple in AD70. My view is that Mark and Luke were written before this event, and Matthew after.

Some make the case for Luke/Acts, originally written as one document, to be a bit earlier, but still before AD70 particularly because of it's lack of reference to the events of AD70.

Tom Montgomery
02-28-2007, 09:04 PM
I believe that, with the exception of Paul's letters, the books of the New Testament were all written with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple as their raison d' etre. The motif that holds the New Testament together as a unity is the knowledge of each of the authors that a vast catastrophe has happened and that a new religion is a-borning. The problem of somehow replacing the Temple-oriented Yahweh faith was a problem facing all Judahisms (including Christianity) after the destruction.

The Synoptic Gospel authors acknowledge the destruction of the Temple using the same grammar of biblical invention that one observes in the Old Testament. Mostly this is in the form of a "prediction" that is made after an event, a technique found elsewhere in the scriptures and is most successfully employed in the Book of Daniel.

Here are examples of what I consider to be acknowledgement of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple:

Mark 13:1-2
Mark 14:58
Mark 15:29-30
Matthew 22:6-7
Matthew 24:1-2
Matthew 26:61
Luke 19:43-44
Luke 21: 5-6
Luke 21:20-21
John 2:19-21

JimD
02-28-2007, 09:30 PM
I know it's against the rules to use the forum for buy and sell but if any of you want some truly reliable New Testament documents please PM me.

glenallen
02-28-2007, 09:37 PM
I know it's against the rules to use the forum for buy and sell but if any of you want some truly reliable New Testament documents please PM me.

Got pictures? Top dollar for pictures!

JimD
02-28-2007, 10:10 PM
Got pictures? Top dollar for pictures!

I don't know how to post pictures. Sorry. But I have some pencil drawings of Jesus that Luke made. I assure you they're genuine. He even signed them. You can see the word 'Luke' in the bottom right hand corner of each of them.

Nanoose
02-28-2007, 10:17 PM
Here are examples of what I consider to be acknowledgement of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple:

Tom - I'll make some notes in here to keep my thinking straight...er...HOPE to keep my thinking straight! :)

Mark 13:1-2 (Jesus predicting the AD70 destruction; spoken between AD27-30)

Mark 14:58 (false testimony at his trial referencing the above)

Mark 15:29-30 (crucifixion: recalling his predictive words once again)

Mark 26:61 (no such passage exists! :eek:)

Matthew 22:6-7 (Jesus words; a parable - parables weren't prophetic writings, they were "moral" stories making one point; "burned their city" MAY be a possible allusion to the coming destruction of Jerusalem, but again, as they are his words, they were spoken between AD27-30)

Matthew 24:1-2 (same as the Mark 13 passage noted above)

Luke 19:43-44 (Jesus words, again, spoken sometime between AD27-30 predicting the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. And, as we've agreed, his prophecy did come true.)

Luke 21: 5-6 (repeat of Mark 13 and Luke 19 noted above)

Luke 21:20-21 (as noted above)

John 2:19-21 (Jesus' words; prophecying his resurrection)

No cases of predictions made "after" the events occured. I suppose you can make that case if you believe the NT is a total fabrication - all written after everything happened. As I believe the gospels to be records of what happened regarding the life of Jesus of Nazareth, in particular his years of active ministry known to be from AD27-30, these are all records of his correct prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem in AD70.

I don't think it was a problem of somehow replacing the temple oriented faith. A new faith, originally called "The Way" and later called Christianity, resulted because of his life and resurrection. The temple was gone because Jesus had come! The temple was no longer needed.

Nanoose
02-28-2007, 10:17 PM
I know it's against the rules to use the forum for buy and sell but if any of you want some truly reliable New Testament documents please PM me.

I'll take em, Jim! What cha got? :)

glenallen
02-28-2007, 10:45 PM
I don't know how to post pictures. Sorry. But I have some pencil drawings of Jesus that Luke made. I assure you they're genuine. He even signed them. You can see the word 'Luke' in the bottom right hand corner of each of them.

I'll trade you a small piece of wood from the cross (authenticated by a real priest) for one of those signed drawings by Luke, plus $3.00.

PatCox
02-28-2007, 11:47 PM
Tom Montgomery, you raise issues which fascinate me and which I have not found good books to read about, that is, the impact of the destruction of the temple and apparently the destruction of the Jerusalem Christian community. I have noticed the dramatic difference in tone between Pauls letters and the Gospels, and always put it down to Paul's evident strong personality, his inferiority complex vis a vis Jesus' disciples then stil living, and his dramatic break from them, essentially recreating christianity as a gentile, rather than a jewish, religion.

But you hit me with your observation that the gospels may have been a reaction to the destruction of the temple and of the family and original disciples of jesus, maybe a desperate attempt to preserve what the scattered surviving apostles had passed down, suddenly become urgent because of events in Jerusalem.

Wow.

And to think at exactly the same time the early church was probably dealing with the failure of the hopes for an imminent second coming, which is so poignantly obvious in Paul's letters.

Whats amazing is the faith survived at all, thats the strongest evidence there's something real in it.

Nanoose
03-01-2007, 12:11 AM
Also, by that time, there were a lot of 'churches' outside of Jerusalem. Paul had been church 'planting' for awhile by that time, and because of bouts of persecution before Rome came in and mowed everything down in AD70, large numbers of believers had been leaving before then anyway. There was also a prophetic warning a couple of years earlier telling them to get out, and again, a lot of them did.

chrisk
03-01-2007, 01:04 AM
'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.'

I don't know about the translations, but I had this explained to me as an idiom of the time. I can't swear this is actually correct, but here is how it was explained to me.

It was common practice that the gates of a city would be closed after dark. On the sides of the gates were typically towers that had a small, people sized door that would be used to enter the city after dark. The door in the towers was referred to as an "Eye of the needle". So, getting a camel to fit through the "eye of needle" would make sense and the idiom of " getting a camel to go through the eye of a needle" would be used to indicate a difficult, yet not necessarily impossible task.

Again, I can't swear about this, but I just wanted to pass it on. In fact I like this interpretation for a couple of reasons.

One, passing a camel, or rope, through the eye of a sewing needle I'd consider to be an impossible task. I don't think Jesus is implying that it's impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, just that it's a difficult task.

Secondly, the man's riches were probably on the camel and to get the camel through the small door would probably involve taking the riches off the camel while coaxing the camel through a people sized door. The visual here is that he would have to be willing to separate himself from his riches to enter through the small door. This is the challenge to the rich man who wants to enter the Kingdom of God, It has to be more important for him to want to enter the Kingdom of God then hold onto his riches.

Again, I just thought I'd pass it along.

Nanoose
03-01-2007, 01:07 AM
My understanding as well, chrisk

Tom Montgomery
03-01-2007, 05:49 AM
Mark 26:61 (no such passage exists!)My mistake. I meant Matthew 26:61. I've corrected the original post.

Tom Montgomery
03-01-2007, 05:53 AM
...you hit me with your observation that the gospels may have been a reaction to the destruction of the temple and of the family and original disciples of jesus, maybe a desperate attempt to preserve what the scattered surviving apostles had passed down, suddenly become urgent because of events in Jerusalem.

Wow.

And to think at exactly the same time the early church was probably dealing with the failure of the hopes for an imminent second coming, which is so poignantly obvious in Paul's letters.

Whats amazing is the faith survived at all, thats the strongest evidence there's something real in it.This is my feeling exactly.


I don't think it was a problem of somehow replacing the temple oriented faith. A new faith, originally called "The Way" and later called Christianity, resulted because of his life and resurrection. The temple was gone because Jesus had come! The temple was no longer needed.The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple was the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off. Judaism also had to re-invent itself.

When I speak of a "new religion a-borning" I mean a Christianity distinct from Judaism. That was the issue in Paul's lifetime: is it a sect of Judaism or a faith distinct from it? The deal Paul reached with James and the Jerusalem church was a compromise. Who knows if it would have held in the long run had the Jewish war never occured? Read Paul's letters. Even after the Jerusalem compromise he had to deal with Christian/Judaizers who wanted his fledgling churches to strictly adhere to the Mosaic Law. He had a run in with Peter on this.

With the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple it was a whole new ballgame.

TomF
03-01-2007, 08:45 AM
I don't know how to post pictures. Sorry. But I have some pencil drawings of Jesus that Luke made. I assure you they're genuine. He even signed them. You can see the word 'Luke' in the bottom right hand corner of each of them.I guarantee that they're not on acid free paper. On the contrary ... lots of acid must be involved.

John Bell
03-01-2007, 08:51 AM
Tom, thanks for the food for thought. I'm looking forward sharing these ideas with my regular Friday morning Men's bible study (and sausage feed). We're in the midst of going through Luke at the moment, but I don't think they'll mind going off on yet another tanget.

Tom Montgomery
03-01-2007, 09:13 PM
The first gospel written, Mark, is dated around 64-65...Given that you accept the traditional attribution of the Gospels (to Mark, a companion of Peter; Matthew, formerly a tax collector; Luke, a physician and traveling companion and disciple of Paul; and the Apostle John), I am curious.

What leads you to believe that the Gospel of Mark was written first? On what evidence?

Why do you not accept tradition that says the Gospel of Matthew was written first?


I believe Mark was written in that 64-65 area, Luke shortly before 70, and Matthew shortly after. One criterion which has special weight with me is the relation which these writings appear to bear to the destruction of Jerusalem/the temple in AD70. My view is that Mark and Luke were written before this event, and Matthew after.What do you see in the Gospel of Matthew that refers to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70?

Nanoose
03-02-2007, 08:09 PM
There's a wide range of opinions on all this; that's just where I land having considered to date what I have. Doesn't mean it's not changable should I be convinced otherwise! :)

Some believe that on the basis of it's Jewishness (Matthew's main purpose is to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus in their Messiah), Matthew was written in the early church period (early AD50's) when the church was largely Jewish and the gospel was preached to Jews only (Acts.11:19). Some believe that Matthew and Luke drew extensively from Mark and date it later - in the 70's, or even later. If dated later, it could have been written for the same purpose, but in light of the fall of Jerusalem with an urgency to establish a record to send out to the Jews scattered by the invasion. But there is insufficient evidence to be dogmatic about either view.

A recap....
ASSUMPTION A: Matthew and Luke use Mark as a major source
View #1 Mark written in the 50's or early 60's
(1) Matthew written late 50's or early 60's
(2) Luke written 59-63
View #2 Mark written 65-70
(1) Matthew written in the 70's or later
(2) Luke written in the 70's or later

ASSUMPTION B: Matthew and Luke did not use Mark as a source
View #1 Mark written anytime between 50 and 70
View #2 Mark written 65-70
(1) Matthew written in the 50's (notes above)
(2) Luke written 59-63

I feel pretty confident (at least at this point! :)) that Mark was written first. And even though there are some things we can't know for sure, we do know Matthew was written in Greek and is an outstanding piece of work. I believe Luke/Acts were completed before Paul's death around AD68 (Luke is written in some of the best Greek in the NT, in a Hellenistic historical style to appeal to a different audience than Matthew and Mark. But now I am drifting! :) )

Tom Montgomery
03-02-2007, 08:57 PM
Here is what I suspect: The early church fathers were correct and Matthew was written first in Aramaic. Perhaps it was a product of the Jerusalem church. Like the Aramaic Gospel of the Ebionites, Gospel of the Hebrews, and Gospel of the Nazoreans, Aramaic Matthew is lost to us. The Gospel of Matthew that we have is not a translation of Aramaic Matthew but a derivation of it. Aramaic Matthew may very well have, like Mark, lacked a nativity account and ended much like the short ending of Mark. I imagine this Gospel as being written 45-50.

The Gospel of Mark was next and was written shortly after 70. Mark likely knew Aramaic Matthew. Next was the Greek version of Matthew that we have today. This author based his version on Aramaic Matthew, but he was not a mere translator. His Greek Matthew is a work expanded and distinct from that on which it is derived. Next was Luke who had Mark and Greek Matthew. And then came John.

So -- Five authors, five Gospels, only four of which survive. Only one written prior to 70.

And I wouldn't be surprised if Aramaic Matthew turned up one day.

Isn't this fun?

ishmael
03-02-2007, 09:20 PM
While textual analysis is interesting, and important, why does it matter? From what I understand Mark and Matthew are closest to some Q document, and both were written down well after Jesus dies. Paul knows James and Peter, both in the Jerusalem movement that was still a part of temple Judaism called "The Way." but doesn't get along with them well. Paul is a completely different, a Greek Jew who was a flier from the original theology. Just my reading and I'm willing to be wrong.

But what does it matter? I suppose because many call it Truth.

Nanoose
03-02-2007, 10:54 PM
...Paul knows James and Peter, both in the Jerusalem movement that was still a part of temple Judaism called "The Way." Paul is a completely different, a Greek Jew who was a flier from the original theology. Just my reading and I'm willing to be wrong.

"The Way" was the name given the first Christian believers before they were first called Christians in Antioch. It was not a movement that was a part of temple Judaism.

"...a Greek Jew...".....not sure what this means? Paul was a Jew, from a Jewish family from the city of Tarsus. Raised as a Jew - not allowed to do alot of the Greek stuff with his peers growing up because he was Jewish - quite the bright boy, studied under Gamaliel (IF my memory is serving me right!?!...I should go look it up...) and a Pharisee, pegged as one of the "up and comers" so dedicated to preserving Judaism during a difficult time in their history that he actively persecuted fellow Jews now following "The Way".

Not sure what "...a flier from the original theology" means?.....his original Jewish theology?, or early Christian theology?

Tom Montgomery
03-03-2007, 11:46 AM
"The Way" was the name given the first Christian believers before they were first called Christians in Antioch. It was not a movement that was a part of temple Judaism.No? Then please explain the meaning of Acts 2:46 and Acts 21:20-27.

Rick Starr
03-03-2007, 12:08 PM
My eyes are too tired to read this at the moment, but I thought I'd offer this:

These are two books which have been incredibly useful and to which I refer often: The Other Bible (http://www.amazon.com/Other-Bible-Willis-Barnstone/dp/0062500309) and Gospel Parallels (http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Parallels-NRSV-Bible-Students/dp/0840774842) also available online from several sources-just google gospel parallels.

Christianity seen in context is a fascinating thing and vastly different from what it has evolved into. Perhaps more later.

George.
03-03-2007, 12:14 PM
Paul took no financial support from the churches he helped ...

True. He brought them financial support.

One can assume that he took a commission for his troubles. A man has to eat, and travel was expensive, even in the 1st century.

ishmael
03-03-2007, 02:10 PM
First off, thanks for keeping this civil. There seems a new spirit in the bilge and I'm all for it.

Nanoose,

I'm no scholar, and its been awhile since I've read the relevant texts, but as Tom points out James(who's singled out as Jesus' brother in several places) is the leader of "The Way" within the Jerusalem temple.

Paul represents the real schism, and James a sect of Judaism. They did not get along - if we can believe the historicity of Acts - ostensibly over issues of whether gentiles could be a part of this nascent religion. Considering what happened with the destruction of temple Judaism by the Romans, well after Jesus was crucified, I think we can credit Paul as the founder of the religion. He broke it out of its shell and spread it across much of the Levantine world, albeit in an altered form.

It's always been peculiar to me how the brother of Jesus remained within temple Judaism if Jesus was somehow the man, the singular being, some of the NT proclaims. Not to mention that the NT blames the temple elite with his murder. What we have here is puzzling evidence. LOL.

It's really good no one is stepping on toes in this discussion. From what I can gather, Jesus would like that. When I get my time machine perfected, first century Palestine is going to be at the top of the dial. Current design parameters only allow one passenger. I may have to fix that so I've got reliable fellow witnesses.

Be well.

Nanoose
03-03-2007, 04:20 PM
True. He brought them financial support.

One can assume that he took a commission for his troubles. A man has to eat, and travel was expensive, even in the 1st century.

We know that Paul didn't do this - didn't want to be 'beholden' to any man (ancient practice of sponsorship) and he states, when stating he took nothing, that he supported himself (he was a tentmaker). So, we cannot, in fact, make that assumption.

Nanoose
03-03-2007, 04:21 PM
No? Then please explain the meaning of Acts 2:46 and Acts 21:20-27.

What about em? They seem pretty self explanatory.

Nanoose
03-05-2007, 10:58 AM
I'd like to offer a little book on this topic, for those interested - less than $10 at Amazon.com, and a bit over 100 pages:

"The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?" by F.F.Bruce

Nanoose
03-05-2007, 11:25 AM
Huh!:) Thanks, Norm. I'll check it out.

Deb

Tom Montgomery
03-06-2007, 10:38 AM
Well, this discussion has inspired me to take two books from my shelf and finally read them: The Works of Josephus and James the Brother of Jesus by Robert Eisenman.

And I just returned from the bookstore with Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Here is a link to Terry Gross' interview of Ehrman in December of 2005: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5052156


Scholar Bart Ehrman's new book explores how scribes -- through both omission and intention -- changed the Bible. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is the result of years of reading the texts in their original languages.

Ehrman says the modern Bible was shaped by mistakes and intentional alterations that were made by early scribes who copied the texts. In the introduction to Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman writes that when he came to understand this process 30 years ago, it shifted his way of thinking about the Bible. He had been raised as an Evangelical Christian.

Ehrman is also the author of Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, which chronicles the period before Christianity as we know it, when conflicting ideas about the religion were fighting for prominence in the second and third centuries.

Keith Wilson
03-06-2007, 11:06 AM
I have read some interesting arguments about how Augustine's ideas about original sin were affected by a mistranslation of Paul from Greek into Latin. Apparently the Greek original said something like, "Like Adam, all have sinned" which is, if anything, a truism like "nobody's perfect". The Latin translation that Augustine was using said "In Adam all have sinned" (in quo omnes peccaverunt, Quo referring to Adam). Augustine picked it up and ran with it, and we've been stuck with the silly idea ever since. OTOH, I don't read Greek at all, nor enough Latin to tell if the argument's correct, but it's an example of how a mistake may give rise to a very old and firm tradition.

Nanoose
03-06-2007, 10:30 PM
Hey, Tom - thanks for the link. The book looks interesting. I listened to the NPR interview, and it wasn't anything I wasn't already aware of. Interesting to note all the 'problem' texts he referred to are clearly indicated as such in the my bible.

I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say as you read the book. I MAY have to get a copy....but I may wait for some thoughts from you first (my current reading stack is HUGE!!).

Deb

peb
03-07-2007, 08:58 AM
I have read some interesting arguments about how Augustine's ideas about original sin were affected by a mistranslation of Paul from Greek into Latin. Apparently the Greek original said something like, "Like Adam, all have sinned" which is, if anything, a truism like "nobody's perfect". The Latin translation that Augustine was using said "In Adam all have sinned" (in quo omnes peccaverunt, Quo referring to Adam). Augustine picked it up and ran with it, and we've been stuck with the silly idea ever since. OTOH, I don't read Greek at all, nor enough Latin to tell if the argument's correct, but it's an example of how a mistake may give rise to a very old and firm tradition.

I don't buy this at all. I can't comment about the translations, but give Augustine a little credit. I doubt he based all of his ideas on one little passage.

Keith Wilson
03-07-2007, 10:06 AM
Again, I don't know much Latin or any Greek, so I can't judge the validity of the argument. It does seem clear that that particular passage was mistranslated. I'm sure that Augustine didn't base all his ideas on that one verse, but as I understand it, it was very important. He didn't know Greek. I personally don't much care either way; I'm not a Christian, I don't think that Paul is particularly authoritative on anything, and I think original sin is an absurd and harmful idea. It's an interesting historical note, anyway. Good translations are important.

Nanoose
03-07-2007, 03:13 PM
And I just returned from the bookstore with Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

Hi, Tom - I dropped by the bookstore today and had a thorough ponder. Again, there really were no surprises, so I didn't invest.

Let me know your thoughts, though, as you read it.

Deb

Vince Brennan
03-07-2007, 03:26 PM
Been following this along and find it very interesting and well-reasoned, not to mention CIVIL! Gee, wotta concept!

One thing's for sure in all this.... all of us, and a lot sooner than we expect to, are going to find out if we're right or wrong in our beliefs. Best I can wish for all is that you're not disappointed when it happens.

Nanoose
03-07-2007, 03:29 PM
Thanks, Vince! We're working hard to be respectful of each other, and so far, we're doin ok!! :) :)

Good job, everyone! :) Keep up the good work!

Rick Starr
03-07-2007, 03:31 PM
Good translations are critical.

And even the best ones migrate in a whole legion of sociological artifacts, irrespective of the document. Languages, like religions, emerge from and are reflective of the societies they serve. Our current bible having weathered at least three wholesale translations and containing artifacts from a half-dozen more, it is critical to a complete understanding of christianity that one begin a careful and dispassionate contextual study of the entire region, including language, social structure, history, economics, ethnography and so on.

Otherwise there is precious little meaningful difference between Jesus and David Copperfield.

TomF
03-07-2007, 03:35 PM
absolutely agree, Rick.

My favourite example is the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" bit. In Moses' time, this wasn't prmooting a vicious retaliation ... it was expressly forbidding indulging in blood-feuds for a small injury. As was the common practice in semitic tribes of the time.

Read it without understanding the context, and it says blow the other guy away. Read it with an understanding of the context, and it preaches mercy.