Dr. Ehrman Is in Error about Mythicists (One of his blog members (not me) shows the error.)

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    Jun 28, 2015 10:59 PM GMT
    Dr. Ehrman

    I periodically get asked to have a public debate with a mythicist on the question of their real concern: Did Jesus Exist? I have regularly declined these offers, for a variety of reasons:

    The question is not really a matter of dispute among experts, even though mythicists as a rule would like it to be and sometimes even insist it is. But the reality is this: if you were to look at the program of the annual meeting of (the many thousands of English-speaking) professors of Biblical Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature meeting (this year in Atlanta), you will not find a session (out of thousands) devoted to arguing both sides of this issue. That’s because there is no debate.

    There is debate generated by the mythicists themselves, of course, and in recent years there have been two bona fide scholars in relevant fields (out of the tens of thousands of scholars in relevant fields) who have become outspoken in support of a mythicist view. But like it or not (most mythicists don’t) (quite vociferously don’t!) no one except their own followers is much paying attention.

    I often liken this to another question, whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. This is not debated at the Shakespeare Association of America meetings. I am told it is a completely non-issue, even though it is the one thing non-scholars are most interested in and want to know about. But most Shakespeare scholars just roll their eyes. The *difference* between this and the mythicists is that the question of whether Jesus existed is NOT really a burning question among most non-scholars, whereas the Shakespeare question appears to be.

    Still, the mythicists have become loud, and thanks to the Internet they’ve attracted more attention, even if the vast majority of scholars look on the matter with some amusement (apologies to mythicists out there who don’t think it’s amusing. I’m not saying scholars *should* view it with amusement; I’m simply saying that they *do*)

    Relatedly, since I don’t think this is an issue of debate among scholars, I’m really not all that eager to *make* it an issue of debate. And holding a public debate on the matter, it seems to me, would provide air time for a view and lend it a kind of credibility that it otherwise doesn’t have. (That’s probably an argument against my writing a book about the question, but so it goes….)

    On a more personal level, there are some mythicists (I won’t name names) that I simply don’t want to share a stage with, because they are mean-spirited, antagonistic, vitriolic, spiteful, and, well, generally lacking in generosity. Some of them need to learn that mockery is not a legitimate form of intellectual engagement.

    Moreover, a number of mythicists (again not naming names) simply don’t know what they’re talking about half the time.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, there are some mythicists who really are good people and nice human beings: generous, well-meaning, smart, and interesting. And there are a couple who actually are scholars (even if they are nowhere near the mainstream) who know a lot about antiquity, or about the New Testament.

    All of this is a preface to say that I have been asked to debate Robert Price on whether Jesus existed. Bob is someone I would not mind sharing a stage with. He has a PhD in New Testament and has written scholarly books and articles. He is the only mythicist that I know of with those qualifications. And he’s a good guy, generous and interesting.

    My stipulation for doing the debate is that the sponsors pay a substantial speaking fee. It is no mystery what that fee is. It is $5000. The reason I would do the debate, and receive the fee, is not to line my own pockets. I would give the entire amount to charity (one or more of the charities that the blog supports). And so even though I am generally disinclined to do this kind of debate, I would do it in this instance as a way of raising money for a good cause.

    The person trying to organize the debate is working to raise money for it (it’s expensive: my fee, Bob’s fee, travelling expenses, renting a place to hold it), and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to make it happen. If you are interested in it happening and would like to contribute to it, here is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1202932161/did-jesus-exist-bart-ehrman-and-robert-price-debat

    Check it out. If the funds can be raised, we’ll do it.

    If you have any questions about the Kickstarter or the debate (the logistics, the place, the time, whether it will be streamed or otherwise made available, or anything at all), please contact the organizer Ben Holman at ben.holman48@yahoo.com
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    Jun 28, 2015 11:00 PM GMT
    A Member of Dr. Ehrman's Paid Blog Shows Dr. Ehrman He Is in Error

    First let me say that I thoroughly enjoy your work, and I appreciate your charity. But I am a little perplexed by your line of reasoning for being so averse to debating Jesus “mythicists”. Two of your stated reasons are that it would “lend [mythicism] a kind of credibility that it otherwise doesn’t have, and that the historicity of Jesus is basically a non-issue among scholars in mainstream academia. Yet, you debated William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, and Craig Evans – each of whom hold the position that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed miracles, was bodily resurrected from the dead, and ascended to heaven in public view. To be sure, such a rendering of Jesus is laughable among mainstream academics, and is unquantifiably less likely to be true than the notion that this highly mythologized figure is a-historical. Nonetheless, you have debated several literalists.

    And setting aside the ad hominems from either side of the aisle, have you had the opportunity to read Dr. Carrier’s book On the Historicity of Jesus? If so, even if you are principally opposed to engaging him personally in a debate, are you at least open to engaging his scholarship and thesis? We all know that he rubbed you wrong, and if you are principally opposed to jousting with him in a public forum, then I completely understand and respect your decision. Still, his book is very thoughtful, well researched, well argued, and presents a perspective that requires some attention from someone as well qualified as yourself.

    Lastly, you seemed to suggest that having a PhD in the New Testament makes someone uniquely qualified to address the topic of historicity. I think that’s a sufficient qualification, but not the only relevant one. Carrier has a PhD in Ancient History…and after all, the issue here is whether the Jesus of the NT was historical. Seems legit.
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    Jun 28, 2015 11:01 PM GMT
    Dr. Ehrman's Reply

    Yes, he has a bona fide degree. That is why I always say that only two mythicists (Carrier and Price) have degrees in relevant fields. I do think that Carrier would do well to learn more about the academic field of biblical studies though.
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    Jun 28, 2015 11:02 PM GMT
    Stephenoabc / Steefen Replies:

    I agree, the virgin birth is a myth. I agree, Jesus was not raised from the dead past the usual time for Near Death Experiences and Lazarus Syndrome accounts. Did Jesus fall into a coma and awoke from a coma, a medical condition that would get him past the time limits of a NDE or a Lazarus Syndrome account? No, because I do not know of people who come out of a coma and then are walking between cities, cannot be recognized by people who know the person, and who disappears.

    Dr. Ehrman, you cannot see these accounts of Jesus are not historically accurate?

    Dontonj, Dr. Carrier throws tantrums when he loses points in an argument. Rather than help audiences for their edification, he chooses to stop trains of thought. So, if you want to end in a place short of your intellectual pursuits, stick with Dr. Carrier.

    (In my latest video (youtube search WBFbySteefen and see the latest upload) and my upcoming new version of that video on Josephus, the Composite Jesus, and Communion in Light of Leviticus17:10, I fault Dr. Carrier for things he has omitted in his writings and points he has lost in discussions.)
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    Jun 28, 2015 11:32 PM GMT
    Another blog member:

    Some of the mythicists arguments might help explain why the stories about Jesus evolved the way they did. But I haven’t heard one argument that suggests Jesus didn’t exist. I seriously doubt the Moses story, but there’s no way I can say it wasn’t based on a real person. It’s got me wondering, what sort of evidence would actually suggest that Jesus (or anyone else) didn’t exist?

    Bart

    It’s really what they consider to be the lack of evidence rather than the evidence.

    Steefen

    I’m the author of a book of personal essays on the historical accuracy of the Bible. That book, “Insights on the Exodus, King David, and Jesus” won an honorable mention in the North Texas Book Festival. It was later published under the title “The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy” for marketing purposes. (Publishers have to test market titles.) The Hebrew Bible section of the book does not change as I have grown in my field since 2010-2011. The New Testament section of the book does change.

    In the Hebrew Bible study in historical accuracy, I explain the non-mythologized portions of the Moses story are historically accurate.

    Unfortunately, the biblical Jesus did not exist. I explain why in a 2 hr 45 min. video available on youtube–just youtube search WBFbySteefen and see the latest video. If I were a screenwriter of a biopic and composed that character by combining multiple people and then including fictional accounts, that character would not be historical, that character would be “based on a true story.” The biblical Jesus is less than 50% one historical Jesus.

    Finally, in the book, James the Brother of Jesus by Eisenmann, the author states, there is more evidence for the existence of James than for the existence of Jesus.
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    Jun 29, 2015 1:19 PM GMT
    I think Ehrman is a great scholar and I really enjoy his work. However, I have to say that when I began to look at the question of the historicity of Jesus I was shocked at how bad the evidence is. Once you strip away the influence of other traditions, the literary structure of the NT, and later additions to the text, one really has to wonder what exactly is left of the Jesus story.

    Bob Price is one of my favorite historians and I would love to see him debate Ehrman on whether or not Jesus existed. Price's debates are always informative and lively and if you ever get the chance to watch his encounter with WLC please do so. It's amusing but almost painful to listen to as Craig tries to defend his absurd set of positions.

    As for Richard Carrier, I find his work to be perceptive and illuminating. He makes a very good case that the Jesus traditions are just another example of "Euhemerization," when a God or spirit is brought down from the heavens and given a human form. Carrier also points out how the NT was clearly influenced by stories about other dying and rising gods, and finally that it's entire structure - from beginning to end - was borrowed from ancient Greek literary conventions. Thus, it's not an historical document, unless you think the Father organized the life of his Son so it would perfectly conform to the standards of classical literature.
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    Jun 29, 2015 7:17 PM GMT
    donj499 saidCarrier also points out how the NT was clearly influenced by stories about other dying and rising gods, and finally that it's entire structure - from beginning to end - was borrowed from ancient Greek literary conventions. Thus, it's not an historical document, unless you think the Father organized the life of his Son so it would perfectly conform to the standards of classical literature.


    Is there a school of thought that argues that the New Testament was somehow a live-blog, first person account of early common era history? I, and I'm sure the bulk of theological academia (as well as climate scientists, let's just throw that in there with the kitchen sink) have always been under the impression that the various versions of the New Testament were aggregated by committee. Having a classical narrative structure should be the default assumption...
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    Jun 29, 2015 8:40 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    donj499 saidCarrier also points out how the NT was clearly influenced by stories about other dying and rising gods, and finally that it's entire structure - from beginning to end - was borrowed from ancient Greek literary conventions. Thus, it's not an historical document, unless you think the Father organized the life of his Son so it would perfectly conform to the standards of classical literature.


    Is there a school of thought that argues that the New Testament was somehow a live-blog, first person account of early common era history? I, and I'm sure the bulk of theological academia (as well as climate scientists, let's just throw that in there with the kitchen sink) have always been under the impression that the various versions of the New Testament were aggregated by committee. Having a classical narrative structure should be the default assumption...


    I'm far from an expert in this area but to my knowledge the idea the NT was a liveblog of Jesus's life is not one that is widely held among non fundamentalist (mainstream) NT scholars. If you get out a copy of the NT you'll even see in the preface of each gospel it says that people other than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - probably students of theirs - wrote the accounts credited to them. Nonetheless, the gospels were thought to contain elements of truth as to the life of Jesus, and thus had some biographical value. But as Carrier points out, when you see that each gospel perfectly follows a parallel construction that was conventional in ancient Greek literature, it becomes pretty clear that what is being related is not the life of a real person named Jesus but a masterfully crafted tale that stands as an elegant example of 1st century story telling.

    According to Carrier, this story came to viewed as biographical by sects of Christianity that rose to prominence at the end of the first century. After that - when those sects controlled the power base of the early church - it was assumed that Jesus was a real person rather than a spirit that existed in another dimension who revealed himself through visions as happened very famously in the case of the apostle Paul.

    As for where the gospels actually came from , Carrier thinks they were written by people who were in opposition to Paul as a way to get control over the doctrines of the early church. The claim would have been that our teachings about Jesus are correct because our traditions arose from people who ACTUALLY knew him. Hence, we have authority over his message because you (Paul) never encountered him in the flesh and you have no direct connection to his earthly ministry.

    Interestingly, Carrier points out that Paul's letters predate by at least 20 to 30 years the earliest versions of Mark, which seems to have been written a few years after the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. Thus, the chronology clearly lends support to the theory that Jesus was viewed as a spirit well before he was assumed to be a man who lived in 1st century Palestine during the reign of Caesar Tiberius.
  • NealJohn

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    Jun 29, 2015 10:13 PM GMT
    The whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.
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    Jun 29, 2015 10:30 PM GMT
    NealJohn saidThe whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.


    I have to fundamentally disagree with just about everything you say here. Scholarship matters. And in my view the scientific and historical evidence severely undermines any concept of God.

    Additionally, it doesn't work to say that while there is no evidence for a position neither is there evidence against it, so therefore it's reasonable to believe it. So am I therefore justified in believing a green ghost lives behind the moon? After all, there is no evidence against it. No, the null hypothesis must always be one of skepticism. The burden of proof rests with the believer - or the one making an assertion.
  • NealJohn

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    Jun 29, 2015 11:15 PM GMT
    donj499 said
    NealJohn saidThe whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.


    I have to fundamentally disagree with just about everything you say here. Scholarship matters. And in my view the scientific and historical evidence severely undermines any concept of God.

    Additionally, it doesn't work to say that while there is no evidence for a position neither is there evidence against it, so therefore it's reasonable to believe it. So am I therefore justified in believing a green ghost lives behind the moon? After all, there is no evidence against it. No, the null hypothesis must always be one of skepticism. The burden of proof rests with the believer - or the one making an assertion.


    The problem is, people like you tend to be bitter and angry over the issue of God - for whatever reason. And that bitterness blinds you. Everything around us if evidence of a God. After all, if you were to stumble upon a complex system of plumbing or a house, would you say that these things just appeared? No. Logically, you would assume someone built them. So why is life on Earth any different? If you truly understood just how complicated life on this planet is, creating and maintaining it , you couldn't refute the notion of a creator. And if you did, it would be utter foolishness
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    Jun 29, 2015 11:50 PM GMT
    NealJohn said
    donj499 said
    NealJohn saidThe whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.


    I have to fundamentally disagree with just about everything you say here. Scholarship matters. And in my view the scientific and historical evidence severely undermines any concept of God.

    Additionally, it doesn't work to say that while there is no evidence for a position neither is there evidence against it, so therefore it's reasonable to believe it. So am I therefore justified in believing a green ghost lives behind the moon? After all, there is no evidence against it. No, the null hypothesis must always be one of skepticism. The burden of proof rests with the believer - or the one making an assertion.


    The problem is, people like you tend to be bitter and angry over the issue of God - for whatever reason. And that bitterness blinds you. Everything around us if evidence of a God. After all, if you were to stumble upon a complex system of plumbing or a house, would you say that these things just appeared? No. Logically, you would assume someone built them. So why is life on Earth any different? If you truly understood just how complicated life on this planet is, creating and maintaining it , you couldn't refute the notion of a creator. And if you did, it would be utter foolishness


    So you don't reply to any of my points because you don't have an answer and then launch into this thing about how life cannot be explained without a Creator. I'm an amateur paleontologist so I really don't need any lectures from you when it comes to life on earth. Look, you're either a troll or just really uneducated when it comes to this stuff. I'm not interested in what you have to say either way. Later.
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    Jun 30, 2015 1:51 AM GMT
    donj499

    When I began to look at the question of the historicity of Jesus I was shocked at how bad the evidence is. Once you strip away the influence of other traditions, the literary structure of the NT, and later additions to the text, one really has to wonder what exactly is left of the Jesus story.

    stephenoabc

    If you haven't read books about the works of Josephus or the works themselves, you do not have enough input to make a judgment.

    Take a look at this:



    (I am hoping to record this 3 hr talk again this weekend. You may want to wait for the improved version.)


    donj499

    It's not an historical document, unless you think the Father organized the life of his Son so it would perfectly conform to the standards of classical literature.

    stephenoabc

    It is more complicated than that; and, it is more historical than you currently know. Mark, Matthew, and Luke give accounts of Jesus speaking about the Tribulation. When testing the historical accuracy of Jesus' "prophecy" we have to read Wars of the Jews by Josephus.

    I also suggest that you read Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schafer.

    Again, Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud are important for reaching a credible conclusion about the historicity of Jesus. Carrier, Price, and Ehrman are not enough.
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    Jun 30, 2015 1:52 AM GMT
    I'll read the next post tomorrow, God willing.
    I'll respond to the next post tomorrow, God willing.
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    Jun 30, 2015 1:55 AM GMT
    StephenOABC saidStephenoabc / Steefen Replies:

    I agree, the virgin birth is a myth. I agree, Jesus was not raised from the dead past the usual time for Near Death Experiences and Lazarus Syndrome accounts. Did Jesus fall into a coma and awoke from a coma, a medical condition that would get him past the time limits of a NDE or a Lazarus Syndrome account? No, because I do not know of people who come out of a coma and then are walking between cities, cannot be recognized by people who know the person, and who disappears.

    Dr. Ehrman, you cannot see these accounts of Jesus are not historically accurate?

    Dontonj, Dr. Carrier throws tantrums when he loses points in an argument. Rather than help audiences for their edification, he chooses to stop trains of thought. So, if you want to end in a place short of your intellectual pursuits, stick with Dr. Carrier.

    (In my latest video (youtube search WBFbySteefen and see the latest upload) and my upcoming new version of that video on Josephus, the Composite Jesus, and Communion in Light of Leviticus17:10, I fault Dr. Carrier for things he has omitted in his writings and points he has lost in discussions.)


    Bart Ehrman

    Why would you think that I believe these accounts are historically accurate???

    Steefen

    You and your community of scholars poo-poo the subject of myth as it relate to Jesus, it seems you all threw the baby out with the bath water. I couldn’t wait to get back and mention my satisfaction with The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. 100% mythicists would be smart to include information from the reputable scholar Joseph Campbell.

    (This morning, I wished I could add that not only was Jesus not raised from the dead (with qualifications given), Lazarus was not raised from the dead either (same qualifications).

    Second, by your saying they are not historically accurate, are you calling them anything other than myth? Sure, we can say literary devices within the repertoire of Jewish writing, but to deny them as mythologizing agents does not seem correct.

    Sure, Joseph Campbell was not out to prove Jesus did not exist.

    You gave us the impression or you may be explicitly stating that no one at SBL is continuing the work of Joseph Campbell or the author, Dennis R. MacDonald, who found parallels between the Gospel of Mark and the Homeric Epics.

    Given that you agree that some of the items I cited as historically inaccurate and given what you have written as being historically inaccurate (Jesus and the woman caught in adultery–and you probably still are of the opinion that dogs and birds got to Jesus’ body), the unweighted percent of verses that are inaccurate vs. accurate is more than 5%, minimum. Yes, all of the inaccuracies do not fall under the header of mythologizing. But weighting for significance, we’re over 50% because the weight of Jesus’ resurrection for some Christians is the main reason for belief.
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    Jun 30, 2015 2:22 AM GMT
    StephenOABC saiddonj499

    When I began to look at the question of the historicity of Jesus I was shocked at how bad the evidence is. Once you strip away the influence of other traditions, the literary structure of the NT, and later additions to the text, one really has to wonder what exactly is left of the Jesus story.

    stephenoabc

    If you haven't read books about the works of Josephus or the works themselves, you do not have enough input to make a judgment.

    Take a look at this:



    (I am hoping to record this 3 hr talk again this weekend. You may want to wait for the improved version.)


    donj499

    It's not an historical document, unless you think the Father organized the life of his Son so it would perfectly conform to the standards of classical literature.

    stephenoabc

    It is more complicated than that; and, it is more historical than you currently know. Mark, Matthew, and Luke give accounts of Jesus speaking about the Tribulation. When testing the historical accuracy of Jesus' "prophecy" we have to read Wars of the Jews by Josephus.

    I also suggest that you read Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schafer.

    Again, Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud are important for reaching a credible conclusion about the historicity of Jesus. Carrier, Price, and Ehrman are not enough.


    You do realize the Josephus material was probably added sometime in the Middle Ages?

    As far as Matthew, Mark and Luke are concerned, I don't see how the authors (whoever they were) saying Jesus spoke about the Tribulation does anything at all to establish the historicity of Jesus.
  • NealJohn

    Posts: 187

    Jun 30, 2015 5:01 PM GMT
    donj499 said
    NealJohn said
    donj499 said
    NealJohn saidThe whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.


    I have to fundamentally disagree with just about everything you say here. Scholarship matters. And in my view the scientific and historical evidence severely undermines any concept of God.

    Additionally, it doesn't work to say that while there is no evidence for a position neither is there evidence against it, so therefore it's reasonable to believe it. So am I therefore justified in believing a green ghost lives behind the moon? After all, there is no evidence against it. No, the null hypothesis must always be one of skepticism. The burden of proof rests with the believer - or the one making an assertion.


    The problem is, people like you tend to be bitter and angry over the issue of God - for whatever reason. And that bitterness blinds you. Everything around us if evidence of a God. After all, if you were to stumble upon a complex system of plumbing or a house, would you say that these things just appeared? No. Logically, you would assume someone built them. So why is life on Earth any different? If you truly understood just how complicated life on this planet is, creating and maintaining it , you couldn't refute the notion of a creator. And if you did, it would be utter foolishness


    So you don't reply to any of my points because you don't have an answer and then launch into this thing about how life cannot be explained without a Creator. I'm an amateur paleontologist so I really don't need any lectures from you when it comes to life on earth. Look, you're either a troll or just really uneducated when it comes to this stuff. I'm not interested in what you have to say either way. Later.



    Because you didn't make any points worth addressing. And I wouldn't be too proud of your profession. You study bones that you have no real way of knowing their origin, other than your covetous carbon testing. Most of the fossils we see are educated, replicated guesses of what creatures of old looked like. Might as well be an astrologist.
    And calling me a troll only proves that you are a bitter human being incapable of having a rational conversation. Oh and before you go calling me a troll, maybe you should compare your pics to mine.
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    Jul 01, 2015 2:39 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio

    Is there a school of thought that argues that the New Testament was somehow a live-blog, first person account of early common era history?

    stephenoabc / steefen, youtube video public speaker, author and playwright (6-hr play, Water Bearing Fish, Part I, not yet produced--it's my Coast of Utopia)

    See the video I shared above and you'll see that to a certain extent Josephus actually did write a first person account.

    mickeytopogigio

    the various versions of the New Testament were aggregated by committee.

    stephenoabc

    My video gives an interesting possibility of what the name of that committee was for the committee that oversaw the gospels of Luke and Matthew.

    I would have to say Yavne and Rabbi Johannan ben Zakkai was involved because although he was a Jew, he defended the Christian claim of the virgin birth for a Jewish Messiah.


    donj499

    But as Carrier points out, when you see that each gospel perfectly follows a parallel construction that was conventional in ancient Greek literature, it becomes pretty clear that what is being related is not the life of a real person named Jesus but a masterfully crafted tale that stands as an elegant example of 1st century story telling.

    stephenoabc

    The gospels were written in Greek, therefore, Greek literary constructions are to be expected, even in flattering biography.

    donj499

    According to Carrier...

    stephenoabc

    Basta (enough) with the Carrier, he is not giving full information about this case.

    Dismiss Richard Carrier because he is not giving full information about this case.

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    Jul 01, 2015 2:46 AM GMT
    donj499 said
    NealJohn saidThe whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.


    I have to fundamentally disagree with just about everything you say here. Scholarship matters. And in my view the scientific and historical evidence severely undermines any concept of God.


    Newtonian and Classical Physics may do so but not Quantum Theory. Join the 21st Century.

    Second, read the book Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives and visit the institute:
    http://newtoninstitute.org/
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    Jul 01, 2015 2:50 AM GMT
    donj499 said
    NealJohn said
    donj499 said
    NealJohn saidThe whole business of faith has nothing to do with scholarly degrees or scientific facts. You can have a PhD in the New Testament but that doesn't mean you will understand a word of it the way God has meant for it to be understood. The Bible itself says that in corinthians.
    The bottom line is there is no proof of a virgin birth or miracles, but neither is there proof to refute it. It is all a matter of faith, and what people fail to realize is that faith is a gift from God. As human beings we can't believe in God to such a degree that means anything to him- he gives us that faith. All we can do is humbly beseech him.


    I have to fundamentally disagree with just about everything you say here. Scholarship matters. And in my view the scientific and historical evidence severely undermines any concept of God.

    Additionally, it doesn't work to say that while there is no evidence for a position neither is there evidence against it, so therefore it's reasonable to believe it. So am I therefore justified in believing a green ghost lives behind the moon? After all, there is no evidence against it. No, the null hypothesis must always be one of skepticism. The burden of proof rests with the believer - or the one making an assertion.


    The problem is, people like you tend to be bitter and angry over the issue of God - for whatever reason. And that bitterness blinds you. Everything around us if evidence of a God. After all, if you were to stumble upon a complex system of plumbing or a house, would you say that these things just appeared? No. Logically, you would assume someone built them. So why is life on Earth any different? If you truly understood just how complicated life on this planet is, creating and maintaining it , you couldn't refute the notion of a creator. And if you did, it would be utter foolishness


    So you don't reply to any of my points because you don't have an answer and then launch into this thing about how life cannot be explained without a Creator. I'm an amateur paleontologist so I really don't need any lectures from you when it comes to life on earth. Look, you're either a troll or just really uneducated when it comes to this stuff. I'm not interested in what you have to say either way. Later.


    You may be an amateur paleontologist but the human body is only the vehicle of a consciousness that has a life before and after incarnation. Some of us are spirits on a human journey.
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    Jul 01, 2015 2:58 AM GMT
    donj499

    You do realize the Josephus material was probably added sometime in the Middle Ages?

    Stephenoabc

    Tell us more about your assertion.

    Josephus was a first century historian who sold his histories in his lifetime and enjoyed the patronage of the Roman Empire from about the year 68 until his death.

    Josephus' material was "probably added" to what during the Middle Ages?

    donj499

    As far as Matthew, Mark and Luke are concerned, I don't see how the authors (whoever they were) saying Jesus spoke about the Tribulation does anything at all to establish the historicity of Jesus.

    Stephenoabc

    The biblical Jesus is a historical composite of people and ideas. Some of the historical people lived during the Tribulation that was the First Jewish-Roman War and part of the Tribulation was the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
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    Jul 01, 2015 12:49 PM GMT
    donj499

    But as Carrier points out, when you see that each gospel perfectly follows a parallel construction that was conventional in ancient Greek literature, it becomes pretty clear that what is being related is not the life of a real person named Jesus but a masterfully crafted tale that stands as an elegant example of 1st century story telling.

    stephenoabc

    The gospels were written in Greek, therefore, Greek literary constructions are to be expected, even in flattering biography.

    # # #

    And another thing, Jewish literary elements also appear in the New Testament, the New Testament is far from just being Greek literature.