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November 28, 2015

Comments

So you don't accept that Matthew and Luke were, in fact, derivative works of Mark, and that they also had another (now lost) source in common?

Philip A: do you 'accept' this claim? If so, why?

How do you know the Gospels had another lost source in common?

People say these things, but when you actually dig into their arguments (if they even have any...usually they're just parroting what literary critics boldly assert), they usually turn out to be pretty sad.

There are over a thousand viable synoptic theories. Some involve Q, some don't. Some involve proto-secret-Mark, some involve deutero-Mark. (I don't know whether any involve proto-secret-deutero-Mark...though I may have just given someone a killer idea.) And there's really no decisive argument to choose between them.

What this means is that I actually just lied. There aren't over 1000 viable synoptic theories. There are actually no viable synoptic theories.

As likely as not, Matthew and Mark are independent records of the ministry of Christ, and Luke is just what he claims it is. A lot of research together with a compilation and clarification of what Matthew and/or Mark had already written. John, written much latter is also an independent account provided with the aim of highlighting some of the heretofore unrecorded teachings of Jesus that are particularly germane to some early heresies.

In other words, what the earliest historians of the church say is probably true, and what unbelieving scholars struggling to publish papers in our institutions of 'higher' learning cobble together through 'clever' reading of the text is probably less true.

They can all be fiction without any conspiracy.

Ron-

So they all just happen to attest to significantly similar facts about the made up life of Christ?

First of all I'm not a fan of Dr. Dawkins but he is correct in that nobody knows who wrote the four gospels. The names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John didn't appear on these manuscripts until approximately 200 CE. Also, I'm sure everybody is also aware that the Gospel of Mark was the first of the four and it is estimated by most to have been written around 70 CE, though conservatives date it a tad earlier, which would be about 30 to 35 years after Jesus' time on earth. Also keep in mind that the average life span in this part of the world at the time of Christ was about 40 years. This means that nearly all the adults alive when Jesus was teaching and preaching were dead by the time the first gospel was written. So the hypothetical conversation is not really addressing the issues very well. From what I've read it is possible that many of the events written in the gospels were themselves parables. Just like Jesus taught with parables the gospel writers used events as parables to convey what Jesus taught. Then throw in a few decades of oral tradition and you have gospels that hopefully give us a reasonably good understanding of what Jesus taught but seems unlikely to give us a precise or exact information.

Flying Donkey,
The average age was probably low because of high infant mortality rates. People did live to be much older than 40 years. So your assertion that nearly all the adults alive when Jesus was teaching were dead isn't valid.

If you followed the history of how the 4 gospels came to be accepted, you would realize that the attribution of authors was a critical aspect of it and there was not uniform acceptance. There was much debate over a lot of factors. Dawkins assertion is actually that "we know that these are not the people who wrote it and that the events didn't happen." This means that Dawkins has positive knowledge of who wrote it and what the actual events were. So why doesn't he tell us?

Jesus did teach in parables but the writers actually call out parables as parables. There is no need to assume everything is therefore a parable. Besides, other Jewish and Roman historians corroborate the crucifixion of Jesus.

As likely as not, Matthew and Mark are independent records of the ministry of Christ...

Is it seriously your claim that Matthew and Mark are 100% textually independent?

Hi kpolo,

Thank you for your post and you make a very good point regarding the average life span. When / if time allows I'll see if I can find some stats on how old people lived in the first century in the Palestine area once they reach adulthood and then we can crunch some numbers.

I don't agree with Dawkins on most of his points so you and I will agree on some "stuff". So you know where I'm coming from I'm a liberal Christian. I was for a very long time (about 30 years) an evangelical / conservative / fundamentalist.

Regarding the parables, yes the scribes indeed note the parables as parables but the stories of Jesus' miracles are at times parables themselves, like turning water into wine, at least the liberal critics like the fellows from the Jesus Seminar believe that and to me it makes some sense.

Nearly everybody, liberal or conservative, believe Jesus was crucified so that is not really talked about so much however I'm unaware of any Jewish or Roman historians that lived during 30 to 40 CE (in other words eye witnesses) that wrote about the crucifixion story. The Josephus stuff has been tampered with but even so he wasn't born until....hmmm....actually I don't remember when he was born but I believe it was sometime around when Jesus would have been crucified so even if his writing were genuine (and they probably are not) the writings would still be second hand information as he was not an eye witness. Again, I'm not saying Jesus wasn't crucified but to the best of my knowledge there are no historians that were eye witness and wrote about it.

All the best to you and others as well.

If Matthew and Mark both quote Jesus, they are quoting a common text (the words of Christ). There is obvious textual dependence there. Also, when OT passages are quoted by each author, there is textual dependence. There may be other similar forms of common-cause textual dependence. But if you want me to say that Matthew cribbed from Mark or Mark cribbed from Matthew, then no, I don't buy that.

I'm sure everybody is also aware that the Gospel of Mark was the first of the four and it is estimated by most to have been written around 70 CE
Everybody is not aware of this, and the earliest historians, who, I'm sorry, probably know better than you do, place Matthew first.
Everybody is not aware of this, and the earliest historians, who, I'm sorry, probably know better than you do, place Matthew first.

Well, citing St. Augustine and the unnamed originators of church tradition as "early historians" is a bit of a gloss. So you believe that the authorship of the Gospels is Exactly As It Says On The Box too, then? Do you believe that Paul wrote the Pastoral Letters? That Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter?

No doubt your critics have very clever reasons to doubt the authorship. Reasons that, when examined will all collapse like the house of cards they are.

Sorry, but the emperor is naked.

I'll go with the judgment of people centuries upon centuries closer to the events.

I'll go with the judgment of people centuries upon centuries closer to the events.

Well, the "people centuries upon centuries closer to the events" also favored the inclusion of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, etc. into the Old Testament canon, and this persisted for "centuries and centuries" until the late Reformation period, when Protestant Bibles moved them to an appendix, and eventually omitted them.

And what was the Protestant justification for doing this? Critical study of the original texts in the original languages, i.e. the same method that leads nearly all scholars to conclude that the synoptic Gospels have a large chunk of text in common, and that Peter, a Galilean fisherman, could not have written letters in urbane, sophisticated Greek.

Phillip A,

Accept WL's assessment of the house of cards when referring to modern criticism's approach to NT studies.

Please note Tim McGrew's study of the first fathers' opinion of the four Gospels.

http://www.apologetics315.com/2012/02/who-wrote-gospels-audio-and-video-by.html

>> Well, the "people centuries upon centuries closer to the events" also favored the inclusion of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, etc. into the Old Testament canon, and this persisted for "centuries and centuries" until the late Reformation period, when Protestant Bibles moved them to an appendix, and eventually omitted them.

Why wait for the Reformation? This collection of books received second class status at the Council of Jamnia in the late first century. This group of OT scholars (the Sanhedrin in decline, after shorn of political influence) deemed this Apocryphal collection as unworthy of canonization. A blind acceptance of the Septuagint collection was handled well within the second century AD, with contenders as Epistle of Barnabas and Shepherd of Hermas deleted in spite of one collector's preference.

Also note that "Critical study of the original texts in the original languages" is used by the historical-grammatical school of Biblical interpretation, which outshines the historical-critical in avoidance of bizarre scenarios of Gospel development.

Well, the "people centuries upon centuries closer to the events" also favored the inclusion of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, etc. into the Old Testament canon, and this persisted for "centuries and centuries" until the late Reformation period, when Protestant Bibles moved them to an appendix, and eventually omitted them.
This is false. And in fact backward. It wasn't until after the Council of Trent that the Apocryphal books were declared to be part of Scripture by the Roman Church. The Reformers continued to not the distinction that the Apocryphal books were found only in the Greek Septuagint and not in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Early fathers, like Athanasius, recommended that they be read and studied, but denied that they were Scripture. Something that I think the Reformers would agree with.

And what was the Protestant justification for doing this? Critical study of the original texts in the original languages,
What is this? Just make up the 'facts'.

The 'critical' study of the texts involved noticing that the 37 books of the OT appear in both the original Hebrew and the Greek Septuagint. Whereas the apocryphal books appeared in Greek only. And some argued that these Greek only books did not even appear in the Septuagint before Christ.

I guess that's just exactly like inferring that Peter couldn't have written his epistles because he was too dumb.

As if years of study under the Incarnate Creator of the Universe and a lifetime of teaching and preaching His words couldn't turn a humble fisherman into someone capable of writing in 'urbane' Greek. Apparently learning hadn't been discovered yet, so Peter just couldn't have done that.

As a side note, I don't think you'll find consensus on Peter's Greek being 'urbane'...I think a lot of translators are more likely to call it passable.

Its possible that Jesus disciples learned to read and write after Acts 4 but did they? A person interested in truth needs to consider all the options with an open mind. Some Bible scholars such as Bart Ehrman say John and Peter could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate. Also as Philip mentions above writing styles are distinctive and can give clues as to who likely or unlikely wrote particular manuscripts.

Per Dr. Ehrman:

“According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,'"...

of course the NT translators tend to use other words such as "unschooled".

Staying with the line of thought it brings one back to the bigger question as to why Jesus chose not to write / record his teaching himself. It seems odd that Almighty God visited the earth in human form but chose to not write anything but then "inspire" people after he was long gone.

WL,

No. They can all be fiction without any conspiracy.

As a side note, I don't think you'll find consensus on Peter's Greek being 'urbane'...I think a lot of translators are more likely to call it passable.

You call this passable? (2 Peter 2:10-11)

Τολμηταί, αὐθάδεις, δόξας οὐ τρέμουσιν βλασφημοῦντες, ὅπου ἄγγελοι ἰσχύϊ καὶ δυνάμει μείζονες ὄντες οὐ φέρουσιν κατ' αὐτῶν παρὰ κυρίου βλάσφημον κρίσιν. (Bold, willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones, whereas angels, in strength and power being greater, do not bear against them before the Lord a slanderous judgement.)

...and I'm going to have to give you a pass on your Satanic Tridentine Apostasy theory of the Apocrypha, just because I don't have the energy to go down that particular rabbit hole.

and I'm going to have to give you a pass on your Satanic Tridentine Apostasy theory of the Apocrypha, just because I don't have the energy to go down that particular rabbit hole.
Nice try. Not biting.
They can all be fiction without any conspiracy.
Indeed they can.
A person interested in truth needs to consider all the options with an open mind. Some Bible scholars such as Bart Ehrman say John and Peter could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.
I agree with the first bit. I for example come to the question of whether John and Peter were illiterate with an open mind. Then I notice that the one has written two books and the other five.

That tends to make me reject the thesis that they were illiterate based on the evidence of their writings.

"But you are just begging the question, your premises already contain your conclusion" you lament.

This lament turns on a misunderstanding of what begging the question is.

If this argument (Called Argument-1 below)...

  1. John is illiterate.
    THEREFORE
  2. John did not write five books.
...is valid, then this argument (Called Argument-2 below)...
  1. John wrote five books
    THEREFORE
  2. John is not illiterate
...is also valid.

As a general rule of logic the validity of "A therefore B" and "not-B therefore not-A" comes as a package.

As another general rule of logic. The fact that an argument's premises already conceptually contain its conclusion is what makes an argument VALID. The fact that an argument's premises conceptually contain its conclusion does NOT make it question-begging. If it did, then every valid argument would be question-begging.

Now, it is one thing to say that an argument is valid. and another to say that it is good. There are all sorts of valid arguments that are bad. One really obvious way an argument can go bad is that there might not be any evidence for its premises.

What evidence is there for the premise of Argument-1? Well John is illiterate because...reasons?

Or is it because if he were literate, then he could have written those five books?

(As a hint, if that were the only reason you had for accepting that first premise, then your argument would beg the question.)

"OK," you might say, "well what evidence is there for the premise of Argument-2? Why think that John wrote five books?"

My evidence for the claim that John wrote five books is that at least four of the five books are known to have been attributed to him by people who lived close to the events. People who were alive while John was alive and while students of John were alive.

Later authorities, though still quite early, attributed the last of those five books, III John, to John.

Those later, though still quite early, authorities are liable to have had access to evidence not available to me. For example, they would have had access to Papias' Interpretations of the Sayings of the Lord. In light of this, I am still inclined to defer to them on III John.

If it were to turn out that III John were not written by John, I think the general claim that John is not illiterate would still follow from the weaker, though almost certain, thesis that John wrote four books.

Oh, and btw, Acts 4 refers to what skeptics of the apostles had thought of them before they heard them speak and quote OT Scripture with facility.

One more point to add to WL's extensive reply to the use of Acts 4:13 to question Peter and John's ability to write. The entire phrase written by Luke is ανθρωποι αγραμματοι εισιν και ιδιωται . (men unlearned they were and laymen). The emphasis of this whole phrase is that these fishermen were untrained in the rabbinical studies that marked a member of the Sanhedrin. Pure illiteracy cannot be argued for in this context; after all, Jesus, the carpenter's son, was capable of reading Scriptures. Little is considered in the role of education at the synagogue to give the rudiments of reading and writing.

Moreover, αγραμματοι holds the sense of uneducated, a meaning that could be traced in Plato, but developed more along these lines in the Koine Greek used by Philo and the late Classical Greek of Epicurus. The thing about the Koine version of Greek is that the Hellenistic language adjusted to fit the culture of the people. So, in the case of Acts 4, the context shows that the matter at hand is Peter and John's ability to speak on theological matters and does not treat on personal literacy.

This is the force of the participle καταλαβομενοι; this is what the Sanhedrin comprehended. Seeing that these fishermen did not fit the Pharisaic and Sadducee bias of what made a properly trained theologian, they were perceived as "unlettered." Without this distinction, one makes too much of Peter and John's apparent lack of learning.

And yes, Phillip A, noting the fluidity of Koine Greek and its lack of strictures to the highly structured Classical Greek, 2 Peter 2: 10 and 11 are passable Hellenistic expressions.

You call this passable?
I'm not sure whether the Greek is passable or not. I'm not a Bible translator (not that they are infallible as a group).

I am a passable speaker of the English language. And I will say that this:

Bold, willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones, whereas angels, in strength and power being greater, do not bear against them before the Lord a slanderous judgement.
Strikes me as barely passable English.

καταλαβομενοι

This is an aorist middle participle. That suggests a "having been" construction.

So the scribes "having been understanding" that Peter and John were unlettered, marveled.

You see how this works. Peter and John give an eloquent defense of their teaching cogently citing passages from the Old Testament.

Then the scribes marvel.

Why?

Ehrman would have us think it is because they now perceive that the two were illiterate. What in the eloquent dissertation they'd just heard would make them think that now, after having heard it, is unclear.

But what the text is saying is that the scribes had been under the impression that the two were illiterate. Something that stands in stark contrast with the words they just heard.

Thus they marvel.

Ehrman's account, like so much of his thought, makes little sense.

The straight reading of the passage, in contrast makes plenty of sense.

1) You believe Peter and John wrote the books because you believe.
2) They marveled because they were illiterate.
3) The definition of the word illiterate is that you can't write (read or write to be more exact)
4) Nobody is able to give a sound, succinct and cogent reason as to why God would visit earth in the form of Jesus and yet record or write nothing and then allegedly inspire people decades later to record what he did and said and then call it the word of God. Nobody from the evangelical community that is. Others have indeed explained it logical and succinctly.

You believe Peter and John wrote the books because you believe

No, I believe because credible contemporaneous witnesses attribute the books to Peter and John.

They marveled because they were illiterate.

I'm glad you think you know this. It's always nice when people share. It doesn't make a lick of sense, but that should not stop you from contributing. Somehow the Scribes perceived from the eloquence and confidence of Peter's answer that he was illiterate. You go with that.

The definition of the word illiterate is that you can't write.

OK. What's the definition of the word "Agrammatos"? Turns out that there are two.

  1. You can't read or write.
  2. You are unlearned.
As is turns out both of these were false of Peter and John, as the eloquence of their replies showed.

They key question is when did the scribes believe that Peter and John were agrammatos. Before they gave an eloquent and learned answer, or after?

What makes sense? And what doesn't?

Nobody is able to give a sound, succinct and cogent reason as to why God would visit earth in the form of Jesus and yet record or write nothing and then allegedly inspire people decades later to record what he did and said and then call it the word of God.

Why do you think you need a sound, cogent and succinct reason for that?

If you don't understand God's motivations (which is highly likely, given that you don't understand my motivations) does it follow that God did not do what He did? Does it follow that God does not exist? That Jesus does not have the words of eternal life?

With that said, here is a sound, cogent and succinct reason that Jesus didn't write anything down.

He wanted to work through human authors.
I think that pretty much explains why there is no book of Jesus. I think it's a pretty succinct answer too.

Notice that this is nothing new. The only thing God ever wrote directly was the tablets of the Law. Otherwise, He has always used human authors. Why do you think it should be different during the life of Jesus?

That is apparently the way He wants to do things.

"But, but, but why did He want to do it that way?"

What is this? Toddler theology? Must God answer all your "why's"? Must He justify His every choice to you?

What if God wanted humanity to be part of His revelation to them for the same kind of reasons that Socrates asked questions instead of giving the answers that he already knew. The revelation is for us. He wanted us to own it. That might be it.

>> 2) They marveled because they were illiterate.

Actually, the content of Acts 4 indicates that the Sanhedrin deemed that Peter and John were illiterate (an incorrect assessment, based on appearance and discounted in the Apostle's discussion with the Council.

This is the force of the Greek participle καταλαβομενοι. The point of fact is that the Apostles proved to be quite intelligent and victims of the Sanhedrin's bias against Galileans.

As to the case of illiteracy ...

John's authorship of his Gospel involves the simplest version of Koine Greek. Beginners in New Testament Greek begin their lessons in John's Gospel. Peter as an author could have easily been transmitted through amanuenses. Papias, Irenaeus, and Tertullian view Mark as Peter's Gospel dictated through Mark.

Even if you hold to the strict Classical rendering of αγραμματοι (which is not factual through the development of Greek from Classical to Koine) as "illiterate," those holding a message would have the means to communicate that message through ingenuity.

Illiterate does not mean stupid.

Was about to write something along the lines of DGF's latest.

You gain nothing by supposing that Peter and John were illiterate. Especially not from Acts 4. Even if you suppose, contrary to common sense and the grammar of the passage, that the scribes somehow decided after Peter's eloquent answer that he was illiterate, it doesn't make much difference.

Peter was shown, by that very passage, to be an eloquent and forceful speaker. He was, as such, well able to dictate his 'urbane and sophisticated' letters to an amanuensis.

Sir, it all boils down to some pretty simple stuff, you choose to believe your references because they align with your beliefs. There are scores maybe hundreds of scholars with Ph.D's in Biblical Studies that do not believe that Peter and John wrote the manuscripts attributed to them in the Bible headings, its not just one rogue named Bart Ehrman. Given Peter was a fisherman (don't recall what John did) and given that only a tiny percent of the regions population at the time of Christ could write it is highly unlikely either of them could and yet the Bible attributes authorship to both of them is another possible, even likely, example of hundreds, even thousands of Bible contradictions.

Your answer as to why God was here on this rock and decided not to record his teachings and then have someone else record his teachings decades later was succinct but honestly, it is nonsense. With eternal life in the balance God decides not to write out his prescription for salvation but rely on people that didn't even hear Jesus teach and then I am told that who am I to question God. So why question anything? Its all God's will and it all his choice. But how do we know its was God's will and his choice unless me inquiry with reason.

Opps, please pardon the typos.

it all boils down to some pretty simple stuff, you choose to believe your references because they align with your beliefs. There are scores maybe hundreds of scholars with Ph.D's in Biblical Studies that do not believe that Peter and John wrote the manuscripts attributed to them in the Bible headings, its not just one rogue named Bart Ehrman.
No. It all boils down to the fact that the references I mention are contemporaneous with the authors. That authorities who identified the authors of 5 of the 7 disputed writings and John or Peter is not in dispute.

I'm well aware that it's not just one rogue named Bart Ehrman. You brought up Ehrman's argument, I responded.

But as for the Biblical Studies scholars, I've seen their arguments, and I'm not sold. You cannot establish authorship facts by writing style, word usage, sentence form or any of the other tea leaves that the scholars use to get published.

Except in really egregious cases, it's hard enough to correctly identify flat out plagiarism. There's no point in pretending that you can tell that proto-secret-Mark wrote one bit and deutero-Mark another bit and deutero-Luke something else. You can't establish those connections. The information needed just isn't there.

What is there are accounts close to the time of writing that attribute authorship. I'm sorry, but I believe those accounts in preference to the Biblical Studies scholars.

That authorities who identified the authors of 5 of the 7 disputed writings and John or Peter is not in dispute.
What?

This is neither an urbane nor a sophisticated piece of writing. Proto-Secret-WL wrote it.

Here's what should have been written:

It is not in dispute that authorities who knew John or Peter, or who knew the students of John or Peter, identified 5 of the 7 disputed books as having been written by John or Peter.

"This is neither an urbane nor a sophisticated piece of writing. Proto-Secret-WL wrote it." - I am glad I was not drinking when I read this. :)

Flying Donkey,

I am fully aware of the real many problems the Bible presents.

No originals
Translation disagreements
Apparent contradictions

Etc. etc.

However, this business of unknown sources, copying from previous authors, conjecture about who was literate or not in ancient society....

This is all speculation. Pure speculation. Now if very early authors were arguing about this stuff, I might give it some credence.

Reality: We have absolutely no idea if Peter was illiterate. I am very skeptical about that notion. It is probable that he spoke three languages, since at least three were common in his area. You can't judge a person's intelligence by his family business. I've met absolutely stupid lawyers and brilliant tradesmen.

People get this ridiculous idea that the ancient Roman world was like the dark ages in Europe, where even the nobles were often illiterate.

Make that "the many real problems"....

And Proto Goat Head Q was the source of that early Goatian transposition. Obviously corrected by a later redactor.

Goat Head 5,

Thank you for your input and great handle :) Your comments are as always astute however being illiterate is not a question of intelligence it is just simply not having the opportunity to learn to read and write. The opportunity to learn multiple languages is always present when one or more languages are used in said geographical area.

The reality is that percentage wise few people knew how to read and write in the Palestine area during the time of Christ. Again, its not related to intelligence. Chances that a Galilean fisherman living during this time period could write is slim but of course it is possible.

I would beg to differ in that it is not mere speculation; modern bible scholarship is pretty darn good but I don't have the time to expound on that as I have very import job that needs my attention. Perhaps another day and another blog.

My final comment on this issue is that modern scholarship loves references to events and specifically to manuscripts that are as close as possible to dates of those events and manuscripts so if a scholar discounts a reference they do so with care.

Perhaps at another time and another blog we can discuss the apparent contradictions, I don't feel like ruffling any more feathers today as I don't have the time.

As usual these postings tend to drift away from the original posting subject, in this case the hypothetical conversations with the gospel writers. So finally thank you for your input but I do need to attend to my job. Oh, I respect everybody's opinion and I like Christianity very much but I do resent, to say the least, Christian apologetics because of its dismissive attitude toward people who have legitimate reasons to doubt the Bible is "the word of God".

I do resent, to say the least, Christian apologetics because of its dismissive attitude toward people who have legitimate reasons to doubt the Bible is "the word of God".
If the Bible is the Word of God, can there be legitimate reasons for doubting that it is? There can be tempting reasons, yes. But legitimate? probably not.

Hi WisdomLover, I think the Flying Donkey stated earlier a foundational principle to his worldview....namely that we all choose to believe according to our preferences. How this would be or could be construed as implying legitimate reasoning to ones conclusions is quite an irrational one on the face of it.....I think your post points this error out and corrects it. By the way, the Bible also makes known the propensity for there to be an abundance of this human behavior.

Regenerate ones have the benefit of having been on both sides of experiencing life from 2 different paradigms. Even after regeneration as sanctification works we battle unbelief...until we actually challenge our old habit preferences and actually weigh evidence on its own merits and the scales are tilted all one way when one has eyes to see and ears that hear.

WL and Brad B,

The key word in your sentence is "if". You presume it is. Millions believe it is not. Some think it contains some words of God while others are trying to make a decision. An unbiased weighing of all evidence from science, history, archeology, geology, anthropology, genetics, biblical studies, languages on and on will provide the unbiased individual who by the way, Brad B, is the real person who has eyes to see and ears to hear, legitimate, sound and beyond a reasonable doubt reasons to conclude the bible is man made without divine inspiration. Brad B's reference to the regenerate ones is an obvious indicator of his biases and thus his beliefs are indeed based upon his preferences and not on reason or logic. Also Brad B, you strung together two different posts and since I write these in a hurry I didn't express myself as technically correct as I should have as I don't have the time to blog except for a few breaks in my very busy work schedule.

An unbiased weighing of all evidence from science, history, archeology, geology, anthropology, genetics, biblical studies, languages on and on will provide the unbiased individual who by the way, Brad B, is the real person who has eyes to see and ears to hear, legitimate, sound and beyond a reasonable doubt reasons to conclude the bible is man made without divine inspiration.
So in other words, what you actually resent is people who don't agree with you that your arguments are overwhelming and very sciencey.

And sorry, but they're not.

I don't resent people who don't agree with me, you are talking on my behalf and putting words in my mouth, do not do that to others. I work with and have friends that are Christians and we get along quite happily. I work with people who belong to other religions as well and we too work side by side in harmony.

>> So in other words, what you actually resent is people who don't agree with you that your arguments are overwhelming and very sciencey.

Flying donkey,

"An unbiased weighing of all evidence from science, history, archeology, geology, anthropology, genetics, biblical studies, languages on and on will provide the unbiased individual who by the way, Brad B, is the real person who has eyes to see and ears to hear, legitimate, sound and beyond a reasonable doubt reasons to conclude the bible is man made without divine inspiration."

This "unbiased" person does not exist. We all have our biases.

I'm someone who has made a lifelong effort to weigh all the evidence, and my conclusion is that the Bible is NOT "man made without divine inspiration".

Also, I'm not one who holds that special Divine choosing is needed to evaluate the evidence. In other words, in most cases, every individual human has the mental tools to make an informed decision. It isn't just those special few God has "chosen".

>> I would beg to differ in that it is not mere speculation; modern bible scholarship is pretty darn good ...

Seriously?

Confidence in the assured findings of modern scholarship (honestly, I think I've heard this mantra back in the late 60's) is not as stable as one would believe, on the points that GH5 and WL stated.

Consider the roots of modern scholarship. When I do textual study I used a good range of commentaries. Some conservative (Keil-Delitzsch, Pusey) some liberal (Smith, Cheyne, Wade, Haupt). Makes for good balance. They all are sound in Hebrew analysis, historical background. But I find that most of the theories the more liberal commentators make are grounded on conjecture and speculation, and were dismissed in the lexical and archaeological findings of their time. Particularly Haupt. Too many "Maccabean" documents. Too many presuppositions. Too much circumstantials. Too great a weighting of presumed loan words, hapax legomenon (words used in single occasions), elements of style, critiquing ancient historical accounts using modern historical standards, ...

In dealing with "modern" scholarship, understand there could well be an "Omega-3 fish oil" factor to recent findings. Spectacular at first, but disproved quickly in a short passage of time. Modern only means "recent." It has no connection with "infallible."

Thank you Goat Head, I highly regard your responses because you do not criminalize contra-thinking and you leave the door open for other opinions and yes you are correct, nobody is completely unbiased but in these posts I avoid the excruciating laborious details for brevity sake, unfortunately it will occasionally lead to some misunderstanding. Like DGFischer I too read from multiple sources, both conservative and liberal however my time is very limited as I have work weeks that typically exceed 50 and sometimes 60 hours so I listen to CDs as much as possible.

I do not desire to de-convert anybody and I wish everyone a fulfilling life in whatever philosophy / religion you land on. My qualm with evangelicals is the black or white mentality and the condemnation of those with contra opinions. There are many, many intelligent, bright, honest, caring and thoughtful people who believe the bible is man made, as does everybody, but they don’t take the next step as most of you have and attribute the writings to God. Those who don’t take the same step you have are not then punished by eternal damnation. What a small god that would be who is unable to tolerate various opinions and beliefs.

FD-

You resent Christian apologists who dismiss the idea that there are legitimate doubts that the Bible is the Word of God. Your words not mine.

Well, OK, you did say that you were resentful to those who were dismissive of people who have legitimate doubts...

I assumed that the comment was responsive to something/someone in this thread though. But no one has yet been dismissive of any person. Some views have been dismissed. That is why I assumed the statement as at the beginning of this post.

If I'm wrong, if you were just saying that you resent people who are dismissive of others, and you didn't have anyone in particular in mind, fine, let's call it pax.

Continuing from the assumption that I'm not wrong...

If the Bible is the Word of God, then there are no legitimate doubts about that. (Though there may be tempting doubts.)

As such, anyone who believes that the Bible is the Word of God, who also reflects on that, will dismiss the idea that there are legitimate doubts that the Bible is the Word of God.

So you don't resent Christians, you just resent those who disagree with you about the status of the Bible and take the time to think about what that means.

What is more, you actually don't think there are any legitimate reasons to believe the Bible is the Word of God.

So people who disagree with you, people who believe the Bible is the Word of God, have no legitimate reason for their views, and you resent them for holding those views.

I suggest an alternate course.

Don't resent people for the views they hold.

Don't assume that because people dismiss your views that they are dismissive of you.

(You might not have been making this assumption...see above)

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