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March 29, 2009

Comments

I was hoping you were going to expand on your reply, great!

Thanks Greg.

I would also suggest to those looking to answer other so called errors or contradictions the book "When Critics Ask" by Geisler and Lowe. It has been a great help to me.

"It is unreasonable, then, to charge Jesus with an inaccuracy for misquoting something, when he never intended to quote a specific verse in the first place."

Wow. From literally a handful of words, you are able to determine intent. Impressive.

This is the beauty of words. You can usually twist them to mean whatever you'd like them to mean.

Joe,

You have impressively (yet inaccurately) determined Greg's intent from a handful of words.

Reading the post in its entirety makes it clear that Greg's argument is that it is more reasonable to infer Jesus' intent was one of summation and not of literal quotation. Thus Greg's conclusion,
"Clearly Jesus is not intending to cite one verse, but is rather characterizing the teaching of the Old Testament summed up in the phrase, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"

Which then led to his next thought: "It is unreasonable, then, to charge Jesus with an inaccuracy for misquoting something, when he never intended to quote a specific verse in the first place."

Greg was merely stating that it is more reasonable to believe Jesus' intent was of summation and not quotation. Yet you beautifully twisted Greg's words to mean what you would like them to mean.

Joe
"This is the beauty of words. You can usually twist them to mean whatever you'd like them to mean. "

You illustrate this beautifully with your own words. Thanks!

The post, in its entirety, is an exercise in speculation.

Here's the sum total of words available for determining intent:

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’"

That's it. Those are all the words that we have.

There is no more reason to think that Jesus is "summing up" than there is to conclude that Jesus is misquoting. Both conclusions are "reasonable", given the paucity of words describing the event. One can conclude whatever one wishes.

(As a side note, most of the verses cited by Greg seem to strongly support the conclusion that the Messiah was to be sent to the Jews only, for the Jews only. Of course, there are other verses that contradict this.)

Daniel,

Yes, I can twist words, too. Yes, that's exactly the point. Thanks for the thanks.

Joe, if Jesus intended to quote, then misquoted, and nailed the summary right on, wouldn't that be a bizarre coincidence?

Why bizarre? I could misquote the Constitution and still get the basic ideas correct. Humans do this all of the time.

Joe,

"The post, in its entirety, is an exercise in speculation."

I couldn't disagree more. This is where you and I take different paths.

Speculation is the pondering of events with an implicit understanding that we base our conclusion upon insufficient evidence.

I think Greg provided sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion he drew. I am persuaded by this evidence yet you are not. That is why you are a skeptic and I am not.

I also think limiting the discussion to the verses you quoted would be a huge mistake. To restate a point made by Greg, how would you know Jesus was misquoting the old testament if you do not know the exact verses of the old testament? If you do not even know the old testament scripture how would you conclude Jesus was misquoting it?

Also, I think important to the discussion would be the verses directly before and directly after Jesus' statement. From that we gather Jesus was at the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles and was engaged in discussion with Pharisees (teachers of the old testament). He then utters his statement now at issue. The response to Jesus' statement was, "this guy is a prophet or the Christ"

I think the audience to whom the statement is made and the response from the audience supports the inference that Greg argues.

I don't have time to explain why but I think you probably could understand what I am saying.

Peace

David

...This is only an issue if you *expect* perfection. If Jesus is just an ordinary human teacher of religion, no one would think twice about this, and no one would care. So he's off a bit in his quoting of scripture. No big deal.

However, if you elevate Jesus to god status, then the misquote must be "massaged", because you've defined Jesus as "perfect". It's the response to the dilemma that I find interesting to observe. But as I said, I don't think you can accurately determine intent from a handful of words, so read it as you like.

David,

How do I know that there is a possibility of misquoting?

Is "from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water" in the Old Testament?


"The response to Jesus' statement was, "this guy is a prophet or the Christ"".

Yes, well, according to the account recorded many years after the fact by an obviously biased observer, "some" said he was a prophet. No reason to doubt that account, right?

"However, if you elevate Jesus to god status, then the misquote must be "massaged", because you've defined Jesus as "perfect". It's the response to the dilemma that I find interesting to observe. But as I said, I don't think you can accurately determine intent from a handful of words, so read it as you like.

I agree with you on this point: If Jesus is God we would expect him to be accurate in his own restatement of scripture, either by summary or direct quote.


By your own admission, though, we cannot know Jesus' intent but you then try to sneak in the back door that Jesus' intent was to quote scripture. But you cannot believe this if you are to be honest with yourself or with me. Your skepticism has limited you to a position of ignorance and to claim more is violating your own reasoning.

Joe,

There is only a misquoting if it was Jesus' intent to quote. But by your own admission we cannot know Jesus' intent by the handful of words at issue.

Your skepticism has limited you to a position of ignorance and are thus precluded from arguing Jesus intended to quote scripture. You cannot go further because to do so would be to argue from a position of knowledge about Jesus' intent.

Please do not tell me I cannot know Jesus' intent but you have such ability.

John was an eyewitness to Jesus' life and testimony. He was murdered for maintaining the truth of what he witnessed. Would you die for a lie?

There is a lot more that could be said about this but you should look the articles up on STR's resource link. They can articulate arguments much more clearly than I can.

David,

Did you read what I wrote? I'm not sneaking in anything, I'm just pointing out that there are two reasonable possibilities.

I said:

"There is no more reason to think that Jesus is "summing up" than there is to conclude that Jesus is misquoting. Both conclusions are "reasonable", given the paucity of words describing the event. One can conclude whatever one wishes."

"I don't think you can accurately determine intent from a handful of words, so read it as you like."

Could I be any clearer? Did I say that I know that Jesus intended to quote scripture? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to establish "intent"? Consider how difficult it is to win a conviction at a perjury trial, even when the prosecutor has orders of magnitude more evidence than is available here.

But since you know that Jesus is perfect, you know his intent. Got it. I think I prefer my "ignorance".

History of filled with people who died for lies.

Joe, if as you say its no more reasonable to believe one than to believe the other, whats the problem with siding with Greg's explanation? Especially if it lines up with what we here allready believe? You are free to disagree, of course. I only say it because of what you were saying earlier. If its a coinflip, we dont really need to have a discussion. Pick a side ;)

I was responding to your post where you assumed Jesus was quoting the old testament: "However, if you elevate Jesus to god status, then the misquote must be "massaged", because you've defined Jesus as 'perfect'."

At least in that post, you assumed Jesus to be quoting. You are assuming a quote in order for it to need "massaging." If it were a summary no massaging necessary. Enter Greg's original post.

Except for a few exceptions, INTENT MUST ALWAYS BE PROVEN IN A COURT OF LAW FOR CRIMINAL CASES! Intent is not impossible to prove nor is it unknowable. We make these types of decisions all the time and they are not limited to the court system.

I have considered the evidence and have made a decision. I am persuaded we can trust what the Bible claims and as such that Christ was perfect. It was not the other way around, which you seem to think.

You have also made a decision and that is that the Bible is untrustworthy.

Collie,

It's not really a question of whether or not it is difficult to side with Greg's position. I just thought it interesting that it was apparently essential that this incident be interpreted as Jesus paraphrasing the OT and not misquoting it. Why should it matter so much?

And since it was essential that Jesus be seen as paraphrasing and not misquoting, Greg really didn't need to produce any evidence or explaination. There could be only one conclusion. He knew the answer before he began. Jesus is perfect, therefore, no misquote. There was no doubt about the outcome from the start. The curve has already been drawn, so all that was left was to plot the data. Why bother?


David,

I assumed that both conclusions (paraphrase or misquote) were about equally likely. You are the one whose assumed a particular conclusion. How do you know that it could not possibly be a case of misquoting?

Intent does not have to be proven for all criminal cases (see involuntary manslaughter, for example). In any event, the fact that many, many cases are never tried or end in acquital due to lack of evidence suggests that intent is not easy to prove. In this case, all we have here are a handful of words by which to try the case.

By the way, do you trust the whole Bible?

"There was no doubt about the outcome from the start. The curve has already been drawn, so all that was left was to plot the data. Why bother?"

Thats exactly what im getting at. If you reject even considing this explanation based off of the fact that the conclusion is allready drawn, or at the minimum this explanation isisnt even remotely feasable for the same reason, then why even bother mentioning anything to anyone? Is it possible that Greg wasnt just 'twisting words' to fit his presuppositions, and infact a very plausable explanation also happens to fit the presuppoisition? I get where your coming from, i really do. I just dont think it was very helpful to make the assertion of 'word twisting', just because it fits snugly into Greg's agenda.

Again I say, "except for a few exceptions, INTENT MUST ALWAYS BE PROVEN IN A COURT OF LAW FOR CRIMINAL CASES!"

Intent is proven all the time in the trial court and over 97% of defendant's plead guilty. It is reasonable that they plead guilty because they are guilty and they are guilty because they intended the outcome that was achieved.

See Greg's original post for good reasons Jesus' statement was summary and not quoting. Also, for the significance between quoting and summarizing see Greg's original post.

Yes, I trust the Bible entirely.

Ok, I'll withdraw "twisting" as it has negative connotations, and stick with "the curve has already been drawn, so all that was left was to plot the data".

David,

The percengage of crimal acts that go unpunished is far, far greater than 3%. Why?

So the Earth was covered by a global flood within the last several thousand years?

...and it's not quite right to compare criminal cases, in general, to perjury cases, in particular. Most criminal cases involve physical acts, but perjury focuses on the intent of spoken words. It's perjury that is the relevant crime here.

I consulted several commentaries and they all pretty much agreed with Mr. Koukl. Thank you for the opportunity to engage in a very interesting and spiritually nourishing Bible study.

No doubt the commentaries agree.

Joe,

It helps to understand that, given the use of conveniences like pronouns or foundation-setting (where you convey one piece of information at a time, to avoid having to repeat it, later), what you're saying about Jesus' intent can be said about a great many people's writings.

Because once you see the value of these conveniences, you stop writing people off at the outset, and you look for possible uses of these conveniences. This is why it is said that you give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

So I would say: Can Jesus' intent be drawn from the text? Not technically. But, given that he was talking to people who knew the Old Testament, he couldn't possibly intend anything else by what he said.

What would be the point in misquoting the Old Testament?

The point is that intent must be shown in a court of law for a criminal act, including perjury.

And yes, I believe there was a flood.

And by the way, I loved your response to the lady who consulted commentaries regarding the issue. You completely pushed away what she said because "no doubt the commentaries agree."

It is evident you don't really trust anything supporting what you do not believe.

Agilius,

My point is we cannot know exactly what Jesus' intent was but we can make reasonable inferences. Using the arguments given by Greg in his OP, your use of "conveniences," and other tools we have the ability to make a reasonable inference what Jesus' intent was. I am persuaded it was to summarize the Old Testament.

Would you agree with that?

Of course the commentaries agree. Maybe it's possible the commentaries agree because there's a consensus among those who have studied the problem in depth. Maybe this is because there's a reasonable answer. But in a true skeptic's eyes, it seems to me, it's actually impossible a Christian could have a reasonable answer to an objection.

I had assumed that this thread died on March 30, but since it continued, if anyone is still checking...

What I meant by "of course the commentaries agree" was this. Since it's possible to interpret Jesus's words as a paraphrase, and since concluding that Jesus misquoted is unacceptable, there was no doubt from the beginning that the Christian commentaries would favor the paraphrase option. Does anyone think that a Christian commentary would conclude that Jesus was misquoting scripture when the option of concluding paraphrase was available?

It's not a matter of thinking that it's impossible that a Christian could have a reasonble answer to an objection; concluding paraphrase is one reasonable conclusion. The point was that there was no chance that the commentaries would chose a different reasonable conclusion.

And if anyone wants to talk flood, I'd be glad to do so, but I think I need Amy's permission first.

Regarding John 7:37, 38, the following references come to my mind:

Jerimiah 2:13, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, . . ."

Jerimiah 17:13, ". . . they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters."

Zechariah 14:8, "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; . . ." (Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1.)

(Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.")

Isaiah 12:3, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."

Proverbs 10:11, "The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: . . ."

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