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February 24, 2010

Comments

Ummm ... doesn't the miraculous ending (the fire doesn't burn him, and in fact it creates a pleasant smell and his skin turns to gold) suggest a possible 'embellishment' and therefore cause us to question the accuracy of this account of his death?

And if members of the Christian church are willing to embellish this Polycarp's death, why could it not be the case that Jesus' death was embellished as well?

I always find it weird how folks will acknowledge the early bishops as such, but don't acknowledge any sort of episcopate or priesthood today (whether the Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic, etc.)

If Evolutionists embellished any details of the life or death of Charles Darwin would that alter the credibility of anything Darwin wrote?

JD,

Huh?

Genevieve, I'm not sure I see the connection. Why would acknowledging bishops in the early church mean that we should acknowledge priests today?

hibbert, the account doesn't say that his skin turned to gold.

Amy - point well taken; 'twas misreading on my part.

Thanks, hibbert. So regarding your point:

doesn't the miraculous ending (the fire doesn't burn him, and in fact it creates a pleasant smell and his skin turns to gold) suggest a possible 'embellishment' and therefore cause us to question the accuracy of this account of his death?...why could it not be the case that Jesus' death was embellished as well?

I think that makes a big difference. If the account had said his skin turned to gold, I'd be highly, highly suspicious of it because that just doesn't sound like the God of the Bible to me.

However, there certainly is precedence for God showing His favor over someone by preserving him physically in some way. (See the book of Daniel for another example of someone not being burned by fire.)

One need not immediately assume God did not do this for Polycarp in this instance as a display of His presence and power for the people watching. Unless, of course, you’re assuming that any miracle, including the one in the book of Daniel, ought to be rejected because it's a miracle. But if that's the case, then you've already rejected the resurrection anyway (because you've rejected the possibility of any miracle), so the point is moot.

But if you're open to the possibility of miracles, then this one described of Polycarp seems in line with other miracles described in the Bible (in terms of type, tone, and purpose), so I wouldn’t assume embellishment. In other words, this story doesn’t suggest embellishment in the resurrection account any more than any other miracle in the Bible (including the resurrection itself) would, since rejecting it out-of-hand depends on an assumption of naturalism. Rather, the conclusion that can be drawn in this situation is the reverse: If the resurrection and the Bible are true, then this account is perfectly plausible.

Hibbert nails it: This is clearly a bogus account of Polycarp's death.

David, do you find it to be more bogus than the Bible, or are they equally bogus because they both contain miracles?

(And please note hibbert's misreading, in case you didn't read all the comments.)

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