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Featured Are the gospels reliable historical documents? // YES

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by leroy, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. SeekingAllTruth

    SeekingAllTruth Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. I didn't want to get into that with leroy because he'd talk my ear off defending Josephus. This is his thread so he's trying to keep it going as long as he can. But true, Josephus in 96 CE would only have heard scuttlebutt circulating the Mediterranean, all of it hearsay. Of course he jotted down the rumors and we are where we are today, with only one "authentic" mention of Jesus going into the 2nd century 70 years after the supposed facts. Mighty fine "evidence" for Jesus' existence.
     
  2. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    If the gospels got the name of James correct, why not giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the other names of the other 3 brothers are also correct?
     
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  3. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    Josephus wrote about what early Christians believed. So that is not really "getting it right'.

    And the entire "James the brother of Jesus" passage is now thought to be added after the fact by another author:

    Josephus on Jesus - Wikipedia.
     
    #363 Subduction Zone, Feb 3, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  4. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    No.
     
  5. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    Many of the prophecies were likely written to appear to be fulfilled. The author of Mark was highly educated in myth storytelling and definitely used the OT narratives so using prophecies is extremely likely. Jesus is being portrayed as the new Moses and the religion is being taken into the "modern world" where savior gods were more popular and the temple ritual can be replaced.
     
  6. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    Only fact one could be a fact. There may have been a man named Jesus teaching religion. But historians are debating this right now.
    I know of no biblical historian that believes the gospel Jesus is historical.
    As PhD Carrier says:

    "
    When the question of the historicity of Jesus comes up in an honest professional context, we are not asking whether the Gospel Jesus existed. All non-fundamentalist scholars agree that that Jesus never did exist. Christian apologetics is pseudo-history. No different than defending Atlantis. Or Moroni. Or women descending from Adam’s rib.
    No. We aren’t interested in that."

    The rest are all stories from the gospels which in the last 3 posts I gave evidence that the information was copied /sourced from Mark.
    Mark is writing fiction. He uses several literary mythic styles and transforms OT narratives from Psalms and Kings as well as a Jesus Ben Anneus story. It's also full of highly improbable events and fictional biographies using parables and religious/political messages were popular among Greek writers of that time.
    So these are demonstrably fiction and outside sources are needed to confirm any events.
    From a historical-critical perspective, whenever there are elements of myth found in a story, the rest of the story can no longer be used as reliable historical evidence (concerning any of the more plausible events found within the same story), due to the principle of contamination

    "Nowhere in the Gospels do they ever name their sources of information, nor do they read as eye witness testimonies (nor do they identify themselves as such), nor is it mentioned why any sources used would be accurate to rely upon. The authors never discuss any historical method used, nor do they acknowledge how some contents may be less accurate than others, nor do they mention alternate possibilities of the events given the limited information they had from their sources. They never express amazement or any degree of rational skepticism no matter how implausible an event within the story may be — something we would expect from any rational historian (even one living in antiquity). The authors never explain why they changed what their sources said, nor do they even acknowledge that they did such a thing in the first place — despite the fact that Matthew and Luke clearly relied on Mark as a source (as did John, though less obviously so), for example, and then they all redacted Mark’s version as needed to serve their own literary and theological purposes (which explains some of the contradictions found between one Gospel and another). Instead, the Gospels appear to be fictional historical biographies, likely written by specially interested Christians whose intent was to edify Jesus, just like many other fictional historical biographies that were made for various heroes and sages in antiquity. In fact, all students of literary Greek (the authors of the Gospels wrote their manuscripts in literary Greek), commonly used this fictional biographical technique as a popular rhetorical device — where they were taught to invent narratives about famous and legendary people, as well as to build a symbolic or moral message within it, and where they were taught to make changes to traditional stories in order to make whatever point they desired within their own stories."
    The Gospels as Allegorical Myth, Part I of 4: Mark
     
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  7. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    They do not say Jesus had a biologcal brother for sure. It's also likely he was being called a "brother in the lord". Paul later uses the Greek word for biological brother and it's not the same word. At best we cannot tell.

    "So it’s just as likely, if not more so, that Paul means he met only the apostle Peter and only one other Judean Christian, a certain ‘brother James’. By calling him a brother of the Lord instead of an apostle, Paul is thus distinguishing this James from any apostles of the same name—just as we saw he used ‘brothers of the Lord’ to distinguish regular Christians from apostles in 1 Cor. 9.5. Indeed, this would explain his rare use of the complete phrase in only those two places: he otherwise uses the truncated ‘brother’ of his fellow Christians; yet every time he specifically distinguishes apostles from non-apostolic Christians he uses the full title for a member of the Christian congregation, ‘brother of the Lord’. This would be especially necessary to distinguish in such contexts ‘brothers of the apostles’ (which would include kin who were not believers) from ‘brothers of the Lord’, which also explains why he doesn’t truncate the phrase in precisely those two places.

    The full argument is here:
    Ehrman and James the Brother of the Lord • Richard Carrier
    You may not care about that debate but the point is we cannot confirm or verify that Jesus had a brother because it's equally possible he was being called a "brother in the Lord". Carrier is making his argument based on all of Paul's original Greek writings.

    Although in his recent Jesus historicity study (the most recent done since 1926 by an actual Doctrate in NT history) Carrier still counts this in favor of historicity (Jesus was an actual religious teacher). But he still ends with 3-1 in favor of mythicism which surprised him as well. He realized that the assumptions historians have been making about Jesus didn't hold up to actually checking facts
     
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  8. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    Again you are being unrealistically too skeptic. By your logic, we can’t know when/where was Alexander the Great born because we don’t have any non-greek sources to corroborate that information.
     
  9. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    again if the authors of the gospels got most of the verifiable details correct, why not giving them the benefit of the doubt with the rest fo the details?
     
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  10. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    Then it becomes inexplicable why is it that you are unable to quote any of my claims + the supposed refutation.
     
  11. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    So what? Should we drop all Josephus work just because he didn’t witness any of the events that he reports in his documents?............it is another case where this rule* only applies with statements that contradict you personally don’t like.,
     
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  12. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    well focues on any specific point from this list

    Why would you say that the specific point that you selected is non-historical?
     
  13. Cooky

    Cooky Veteran Member

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    That's how some people think... I've met people who actually reject searching for patterns or likelihoods on their own, and require already-established evidence for *anything* before offering any sort of consideration.

    ...But finding patterns and connecting the dots is the fundamental building block of human abstract thinking. Without it, our thinking would resemble something more like how goats or sheep think.
     
    #373 Cooky, Feb 4, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
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  14. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    See @Valjean I can quote a specific claim that I disagree with
    and then I will provide the reasons for why I disagree. (why cant you do the same with my claims?)


    1 Given the context of multiple texts ( Galatians 1:18-19 for example) , it’s clear that the author is talking about biololical brothers. We have these type of examples both in Paul and the gospels.

    Galatians 1:18-19 for example

    The point that Paul made was to show that James had a different relation with James than with Peter, if they where “Spiritual brothers” then Paul would have not excluded Peter from that description.

    mark 6:3
    In this context its obvious that the author is talking about biologival brothers.


    2 From the point of view of the authors of the NT This has zero theological significance, James could have been a “spiritual brother” and that would not affect any doctrine of the early church …. So why would they lie?

    3 Josephus also mentions “James the brother of Jesus”

    you see @Valjean
    I am providing the exact reason for why I disagree with “ @joelr “ that way he can defend his position against these specific arguments. Why can’t you do the same with my claims? Why wouldn’t you quote a specific claim and explain why you disagree? this is the way reasonable conversations are suppose to be.
     
  15. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    I think I've posted something similar in the past, but let's just look at Chapter 1 of the earliest Gospel, Mark:

    It's already clear we're not dealing with a "historical" document, but rather a religious one.

    Obviously absurd exaggeration. Again, this is not history. It's myth.

    ...

    *blink. Blink*

    So just at the magic moment when Jesus gets baptized, the sky splits open, "the Spirit" comes down "like a dove" on him, and God's voice booms down approval from heaven a la Monty Python.

    This is not history. It is myth, folks.

    Again, if we replaced the supernatural beings here with that of any other tradition, any Christian would see this as myth, not history.

    Absurdly implausible as history. You just met a guy, he says one sentence to you, and you abandon your job and whole life for 3 years? No. Sorry. That dog don't hunt.

    More absurdly implausible gullibility. This, again, is not history. (Note also how in Mark everything happens "immediately." Another sign that, again, we'renot dealing with history, but intentionally stylized literature).

    At his first teaching appearance in a synagogue, a dramatic encounter happens with a demon-possessed guy who, of course, Jesus exorcises in equally dramatic, Hollywood-worthy fashion. Jesus becomes immediately famous throughout the whole region.

    Again: not history.

    Jesus magically heals Peter's mother-in-law. This is the stuff of fantasy, not history.

    Jesus miraculously heals many people and exorcises more demons. "The whole city" gathers at Jesus' place.

    Again - this is not history.

    Jesus magically heals a guy of leprosy, and because the guy spreads the word, Jesus gets so famous he can't even go into cities anymore.

    Ahem.

    Again, this is not history. It is magic on top of absurd implausibility and exaggeration.

    And this is no exception to the rest of the content of the Gospels. The rest is much the same.
     
    #375 Left Coast, Feb 4, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
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  16. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

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    AND how do you know that this are not historical facts?
     
  17. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    I don't "know" they aren't. I don't "know" just about anything. But in terms of probability, the point is that they are absurdly unrealistic and implausible as history. Again, if you read equivalent events in any sacred text of any other tradition, you'd write them off as obvious myth. Not history.
     
  18. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    I am sure that G-Mark is a deposition but which has been added to.

    I think that both G-Luke G-Matthew are a collection of other peoples' depositions, but very valuable.

    imo G-John is a compilation of many accounts, anecdotes and reports.

    And so, Yes, the gospels have reliable material within them.
     
  19. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Am I correct in thinking that you do not believe any part of any account written in any of the gospels?

    Is that the case for you?
     
  20. SeekingAllTruth

    SeekingAllTruth Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a scholar of course so this is just my opinion: Mark was the first to do this. I"m not sure if he was trying to convert pagans to Christianity with his gospel the way the later authors were. I read somewhere that Mark's gospel was written as a passion play, sort of like the Greek tragedies, meant to be played on stage or something. Consequently, he wasn't bringing in all the supernatural stuff found in the later gospels. It's pretty bare bones, kind of like an outline upon which later authors would pile on their own bits of supernatural fantastic wizardry and fluff the story. Jesus is just an ordinary prophet in Mark's play, not the god son we see in John.

    The OT scriptures Mark drew on were 500-1000 years old and obviously written for that time. Nobody in the OT had the slightest inkling Jesus would come along so how could they possibly be about him? That's why we have all these bizarre passages being painfully twisted and turned into something that sounds just remotely like a prophecy being fulfilled. The writers are simply trying to pound a square a peg into a round hole and not doing a very good job of it, like the "suffering servant" thing in Isaiah, which it is stated right there a chapter earlier that Israel is God's suffering servant, not Jesus. But count on a 1st century pulp fiction writer trying to get a point across to use the most wildly inaccurate, irrelevant scriptures to prop up a mythical being.
     
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