Knowing Exactly What Authors of the NT Wrote vs. Knowing What Cicero Wrote

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    Feb 08, 2018 6:30 PM GMT
    Professor:
    They point out that with all this evidence for the New Testament, if I (crazy liberal that I am) don’t think we can know exactly what the authors of the NT wrote (in places) then I’d have to say the same thing about Plato, or Homer, or Cicero, or … or any other author! … Anyone who says that scholars don’t have any questions about what Plato, Homer, Cicero, or any other author actually (which words they used) is simply ignorant.

    Steefen:
    What are the questions about Cicero? In a Great Courses DVD, The Rise of Rome, the professor says Cicero had a slave who wrote down the speeches Cicero delivered to the Senate. There is no decades-long gap as we see with the traditional dating of Jesus and the pacifist Messiah gospels that started appearing once Rome had had its fill of militant Messiah with the Jewish Civil War and Revolt against Rome. The Biblical Jesus had no slave writing down his sermons and parables, Jesus had no scribe.

    The question of the reliability of the writings and speeches of Cicero are not on par with the reliability of what the Biblical Jesus has said.

    Caesar, Brutus, Antony interacted with Cicero and Cicero appears in their biographies. Those with whom Jesus interacted who have biographical information in history, do not mention Jesus. For example, the biographical information on John the Baptist in Josephus has no interaction content with Jesus.

    Back to the original question: what questions do scholars have about Cicero?

    Thank you.
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    Feb 08, 2018 6:33 PM GMT
    Professor:
    Well, for openers, look up the manuscript tradition for Cicero’s important work De re publica.

    Steefen:
    “On the Commonwealth” (De re publica) is a dialogue on Roman politics by Cicero written in the format of a Socratic dialogue in which Scipio Aemilianus (who had died a few decades before Cicero was born takes the role of a wise old man — a typical feature of the genre.

    Large parts of the text are missing: especially from the 4th and the 5th book only minor fragments survived. All other books have at least some passages missing.

    The one corrective hand present in Vat Lat 5757; some scholars believe the corrective hand was a more skilled copyist, perhaps a supervisor, who had access to the same text as the copyist and was correcting the first work; others have concluded that the corrective hand had access to a different version of the text.

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    I’ll give you that. But it doesn’t affect the work I’m doing. For example, Cicero wrote a letter to Atticus explaining the Liberalia cannot be blamed for the riot (which killed a man with the same name of one of the assassins and which burned down houses of the assassins) after Antony delivered the eulogy for Julius Caesar. I’m on the way to Collin College, Prestonwood Campus (where you spoke a few years back) this minute to pick up a Loeb Classical Library volume which includes the letter Cic. Att. 14. 10. I promise to check the introduction to see if there are problems with the accuracy of the letters.

    The reason why the Liberalia is important to Christianity in Antiquity is the wine of Dionysus-Bacchus and the bread that comes from wheat being celebrated at Julius Caesar’s death (image on a cross with body pierced by Longinus) is a precursor to the Christian tradition of wine and bread remembrance of Jesus Christ (man on a cross with body pierced by Longinus). When we remember Julius Caesar, we have to remember the wine and wheat cakes of the Liberalia: when we remember Jesus, we have to remember the wine and bread. That way, the cannibalism of Christianity and the Old Testament verses against Holy Communion are only somewhat mitigated. Jesus asking to be remembered in terms of the Liberalia with Julius Caesar as his hero is unfortunate for those of us who bought into the tradition.
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    Feb 08, 2018 7:08 PM GMT
    Steefen:
    D. R. Shackleton Bailey, translator of Cicero, Letters to Atticus in the Introduction, on the Manuscripts and Text:

    The extant manuscripts of the letters to Atticus are late and corrupt, the earliest dating from the end of the fourteenth (14th) century. Moreover, some of them break off long before the end, so that the situation gets worse and worse as the series goes on. We have a few fragments of earlier manuscripts, and, importantly, reports from a variety of sources, one of which disappeared in the 16th century, the Tornesianus, representing a superior tradition.
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    Despite the above, with Cicero, we get month, day of month, and year of the letter, where it was written, and to a specific person it was written (as opposed to an open letter to “The Romans” or “The Galatians”.. That is far more than what we get with the sayings of Jesus, the acts of Jesus, and the authentic letters of Paul.
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    Professor, you say scholars have some questions about some of what Cicero actually said.
    Categorically, scholars do not have questions about the existence of Cicero and his non-miraculous acts.
    Scholars would not have any question that he wrote to Atticus about the riot after Caesar’s funeral.
    Scholars would not have any question about what he thought of Antony’s attempt to put a crown on Caesar’s head. Scholars do have questions about the existence of Jesus and his non-secular acts, his miracles and the miracles of his disciples.