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Friday, March 02, 2007

Do Invertebrates Go To Heaven?

(I have to say at this point that I like the "sun symbol" above the door of the tomb. But that is by the by.)

Most of the blogging world has now heard about the debate concerning whether or not a tomb in Jerusalem contains the ossuary boxes of the bones of jesus and his immediate family. But if you haven't, you can get up to speed with this link. Basically, there is the claim that these bones are those of the jesus as mentioned in the christian bible. Those who want to view the videos concerning these claims and the resultant movie about the claims, can do so here and here.

This has posed some serious questions concerning not only the authenticity of such a find, but also some serious theological questions if the said find is true. So there have been a variety of reactions to this claim some of which include:

  • 1. Thank goodness they have found his bones as this validates my christian belief.
  • 2. They can't be the bones of jesus because jesus rose physically into heaven.
  • 3. They can be the bones of jesus because jesus rose spiritually into heaven, but not physically.
  • 4. The bones of jesus demonstrate that jesus was only a man.
  • 5. There is no way to validate that they are the bones of jesus, and no way to validate that they are not.
Let's look at the first reaction. Firstly, it hasn't been shown that these are the bones of jesus, though many people will basically believe whatever is NOT in contradiction with what they believe in the first place.
~*~

The second reaction is more interesting. Did jesus, (and for the sake of argument, I am assuming that a person called jesus existed), rise physically into heaven? (Ditto with the heaven concept.) Well, what does the bible say? The bible claims that jesus rose from the dead. It also claims that jesus actually rose from the dead in the same body he died in, though it was a glorified body. Jesus supposedly prophesied the resurrection of his physical body in John 2:19-21.

"Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body," (John 2:19-21).

The bible also claims that jesus showed the disciples his hands and feet after the ressurection.
"When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and *said to them, "Peace be with you." 20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord," (John 20:19-20).
The bible also claims that jesus encouraged thomas to put his hands into his side.
"Then He *said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." (John 20:27).
In the bible, jesus supposedly says that just a spirit does not have flesh and bones as he now has.
After the resurrection, Jesus said, "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have," (Luke 24:39).
The bible claims that on arrival at the tomb, that jesus's body was not there.
"They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive." Luke 24:22:23

"They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!" Luke 24: 2-6
So, the bible specifically states that there was no body in the tomb and that jesus had flesh and bones at the ressurection. According to the bible quotes I can find, jesus rose physically into heaven. So, if the bones are the bones of jesus, by all accounts, he must have resembled an invertebrate by the time he got there.
~*~

Onto the third reaction. I can't find any bible quotes which specifically state that jesus rose only in the spirit and not in the body. So, I will leave that for those who may have access to them. The fourth reaction is that this indicates that jesus was just a man. If jesus is supposed to have risen in the body, and if those bones are the bones of jesus, it does strongly suggest that jesus was human and mortal.
~*~
The last reaction I will mention is the one which states that there is no way to conclusively show that they are the bones of jesus, and no way to conclusively show that they are not. This reaction is based on the scientific concept of the empirical testing of claims. What scientific methodology would you use to attempt to test the veracity of such a claim? What supernatural methodology is there to test the veracity of such a claim? (Don't bother searching for the second one, you won't find one which can test for the existence of supernatural DNA, though I am still open to supernaturalists providing a consistent methodology which can do this.)
~*~
Waiting.. Waiting.. Waiting..

Those of you who are interested in what methodology I would suggest to test the authenticity of such a claim can view my hodge podge methodology here. Now, thank the scientific process with all your biological being and with all your biological minds and do it now.

Some Links:

Herman Munster sings - 'Dry Bones'


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Link

54 Comments:

Blogger Sadie Lou said...

The very first question I had when I first heard about all the hullabaloo was, Jesus was poor and so were most of his followers--how would the body of Jesus and the bodies of his family, get a rich man's tomb? Complete with engraved carvings and everything!?

Also, this is just a personal question for Beep, Beep: Why do you use a lower case "j" when writing the name of Jesus? Even if you think he is a myth created by man, I've seen you use a capital when you write Zeus. Myth or not, it is the character's name and it should have a capital.
Seems like a personal dig on your behalf. You should at least be consistant:
pat robertson
james dobson
etc.

2/3/07 4:45 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

No invertebrates here.

Jesus was fully man and fully God. His divine nature and human nature were fully united but not commingled in His single Person. He ascended into heaven as fully man (bones included).

Is this subject to scientific proof? No more so than the historical record of grandfather's moving his family across 100 miles of frost bitten ground in the middle of the winter in 1912. I have only the reliable (in my view) record of eyewitnesses, now all dead, to the event.

However, those who claim that these are the bones of Jesus do have a claim that they must "scientifically" support. They must "prove" that these are Jesus' bones. I can't wait for the scientific means by which they do DNA testing on this one.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

2/3/07 11:21 pm  
Blogger Whizzbang said...

hee hee hee! herman munster. . .

another point - the names found on the tombs were very common at that time. . .

and also - i could've sworn i was ushered past "the real tomb of christ" in jerusalem. i certainly saw the big gold star that marked out his birthplace in bethlehem. . .

newton said that what comes up must come down- maybe after he ascended into heaven he fell back down into my garden? right! i'm gonna get my spade. . .

3/3/07 2:23 am  
Anonymous remy said...

I am really having a difficult time seeing any controversy here. It is well established that Joshua rose from the tomb as a man and as the god that he was. He is actually THE god as well, even though he was the son too. The Trinty is One.

If you can't get your mind around this, just take a moment to realize that god is outside/space time and therefore the rules which govern us down here don't apply. He could easily have left a duplicate set of bones for his earthly family, and, because he was so well loved I'm certain that they could have raised enough money for the ossuaries. Maybe his stepfather,who was a carpenter saved up. He must have made some money during his life.

I do, however have one problem which has puzzled me on other occasions: since he went aloft whole, what do you do with Heavenly poo?

3/3/07 6:28 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE gadfly

We might actually agree on a couple of points here. (Not the part about a god etc, but other points.)

Using the points of reference that I made on philaletheia, I don't see how it can be shown conclusively either way. (I may not have thought of all the variables either.)

People who believe that jesus was god and that he rose bodily into heaven will believe so regardless of whatever information can be provided to the contrary anyway.

People who believe that jesus was god and rose spiritually into heaven will believe so regardless of whatever information can be provided to the contrary anyway.

And people who seek validation that jesus actually lived, will believe that the bones found are evidence of his existence regardless of whether they believe he rose spiritually or physically.

Now, my opinion, is that IF a person called jesus existed, is that he was a human, who stirred up a lot of political troubles within jewish politics and roman occupation - and they saw him out by use of the death penalty.

But, according to my understanding of the "jesus bones claim", is that science cannot connclusively show that they are his bones and of course religion cannot conclusively show that they are not. It will require faith that they are, or faith that they are not.

Me, I just go with the "undecided" as that is what I think the science will show. If however, the catholic church breaks out all its relics, bits of saints etc, shroud of turin (which also canot be conclusively shown to be jesus' shroud), and allows DNA to be extracted from all of them so that some genetic trace study can be performed, that might provide some interesting results.

The DNA in old bones and consequesntly old relics, is usually mitochondrial, so a genetic trace can be made to see if people are related. It can also indicate ethnic origins and the possibility of certain physical characteristics associated with ethnicity.

Now, I would consider that interesting. But I think the chances of the catholic church handing over "its goodies" are about as good as george bush's chances of being able to pronounce "nuclear."

3/3/07 9:42 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To Whizzbang

RE: "another point - the names found on the tombs were very common at that time. . ."

Yes, scholars suggest that the names, jesus, mary and joseph were all common names of the time. They also say, if I remember correctly, that they have found 2 tombs with jesus on the ossuary boxe or on the tomb itself. This doesn't show that neither of those tombs belonged to the jesus of the bible, nor does it show that one or both of them do.

But, if the name was popular, it does suggest that there should be more tombs with the name of jesus on them than have already been found.

RE: "and also - i could've sworn i was ushered past "the real tomb of christ" in jerusalem. i certainly saw the big gold star that marked out his birthplace in bethlehem. . . "

What can I say? I think that business has never got in the way of a good story, and I will leave it at that. ;)

And ditto about the movie of "jesus's bones" - either way, someone is making a buck out of it.

3/3/07 9:53 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:

Is this subject to scientific proof? No more so than the historical record of grandfather's moving his family across 100 miles of frost bitten ground in the middle of the winter in 1912. I have only the reliable (in my view) record of eyewitnesses, now all dead, to the event.

Oh, come now. He bought property, did he not? Had a birth certificate? Nobody wrote it down? No 1 kept records? There's a vast gulf of difference between an account which is measurable by induction, as opposed to an account of alleged divinity.

remy:
I do, however have one problem which has puzzled me on other occasions: since he went aloft whole, what do you do with Heavenly poo?
That's a doctrine known as docetism. Did JC use the toilet? Sweat? Pick his nose?
Islam has a similar doctrine.

3/3/07 9:58 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sadie:

Frankly, I think there are so many stories about jesus, whether he was poor, or from the lineage of kings, that I don't even bother thinking about it.

Of course being poor doesn't automatically mean that someone ends up with a "poor grave." Really, there seems no way for any of this to be confirmed. So people will do what they have always done, they will believe what they want to believe and that will be that.

My personal opinion is that if jesus existed, he was a man, but I don't have anyway to conclusively confirm that either.

3/3/07 9:58 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To remy:

Supernatural poo is always invisible, just like supernatural sperm. (Glad I could sort it out for you. ;) )

3/3/07 9:59 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To gadfly

RE: "No more so than the historical record of grandfather's moving his family across 100 miles of frost bitten ground in the middle of the winter in 1912. I have only the reliable (in my view) record of eyewitnesses, now all dead, to the event."

I am with KA on this one.

Aparts from the fact that no one is being asked to worship your grandfather and therefore the details of his life, though important to you, are considerably less important to the rest of the world.

3/3/07 10:18 am  
Anonymous gadfly said...

KA & Beep
Re: Oh, come now. He bought property, did he not? Had a birth certificate? Nobody wrote it down? No 1 kept records? There's a vast gulf of difference between an account which is measurable by induction, as opposed to an account of alleged divinity.

Nope - the point was this - the "fact" of my grandfather's move, the story of it, etc. is established by eyewitness accounts. The fact that he lived and at some point shows up in some other record is irrelevant to the specific circumstance.

The "fact" of Jesus'bodily resurrection is based on similar eye witness reports which I accept as valid.

As to the question "Did someone named Jesus who generally corresponds to the Jesus spoken of in the NT, actually live?"

I find the question fairly trivial. The authenticity of the NT autographs dating back, even by the most liberal scholars, to first century is pretty much established. I hold that Paul's writings go back to the 50's. ( I am not speaking of the earliest fragments or codices we possess but to the originals).

Few ancient writings are as well attested by existing fragments, etc. which date as closely to the originals at the NT.

The point is this: Given the numerous NT quotations we have of the 2nd century apologists, the clear attempt by both Jews and Romans to destroy the New Religion, the idea that Jesus did not even exist would have been readily advanced as a basis to discredit the new sect.

As far as I can tell the inductive argument would certainly tend toward the idea that he did certainly live and generally correspond with the individual about whom the NT was written. It is another question whether what the NT said about Him is true.

So, I am back to my original statement. The question, to my mind, is not whether he lived but whether He arose from the dead and ascended into heaven. For that we have, in my opinion, reliable eye witness reports. Just as I have had reliable eye witness reports about my grandfather's move.

(It's a great story by the way. They could only move as fast as the cow could walk and they had to all sleep on one mattress in the open air. They were a tough bunch.)

3/3/07 11:07 am  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Of course being poor doesn't automatically mean that someone ends up with a "poor grave."

Why doesn't it automatically mean that? I mean, who would have arranged for Jesus to be buried in a rich man's tomb?
It just doesn't make sense.

**And I didn't mean to be persnickety about the lower case "J" thing but I see that you ignored the question so I'll leave it alone--I just found it interesting and was wondering if there was a good answer for it.

3/3/07 11:58 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sadie:

Because neither poverty nor wealth guarantee the style of burial one would wish for oneself.

3/3/07 2:11 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To gadfly

The fact that no one is being asked to worship your grandfather and therefore the details of his life, though important to you, are considerably less important to the rest of the world, is also a factor to be considered.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which is why no one has claimed the million dollar challenge from the James Randi Foundation yet.

RE: "The authenticity of the NT autographs dating back, even by the most liberal scholars, to first century is pretty much established. I hold that Paul's writings go back to the 50's. ( I am not speaking of the earliest fragments or codices we possess but to the originals)."

There is evidence of old manuscripts, but the new testament itself was not arranged, edited and formatted until much later.

Not all the old manuscripts and papyrii are part of the new testament. There was a considerable amount of collecting, weeding out and final redaction of texts.

This was performed in order to arrive at a body of supposedly inspired and foundational literature to support the emerging orthodoxy of a church centered on Rome.

These are the oldest known versions of what christians call the "new testament."

The following old Greek manuscripts contain most of the Bible or the NT:

1. The Vatican manuscript 350 AD= Bible.
2. Codex Sinaiticus 350 AD= NT.
3. Codex Alexandrinus 425 AD= Bible.
4. Manuscript of Ephraem 450 AD= NT.

It is THESE documents that modern christians consider to be the foundation of their religious belief.

There is no evidence of a NT prior to this time.

3/3/07 2:17 pm  
Blogger Mojoey said...

two days to go. I can't wait.

I figure everything we know about Jesus is a lie. I hear is bone box says he was actually an accountant.

3/3/07 2:44 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE mojoey:
LOL@ accountant

I figure we will find out nothing substantial.

If the movie or documentary is supposed to go for 1 hour, it will be spread out to 2 hours, with breaks in between for advertisements from funeral directors.

They will play 10 minutes of the story, and when they come back after the advertisements, they will repeat the last 5 minutes of the movie prior to the advertising, to give the impression that they are leading up to information which is going to be astounding. It won't be. lol

I actually hope I am wrong on this issue, but as you can see, I have basically convinced myself that it will be of no intellectual merit whatsoever.

3/3/07 4:08 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
Nope - the point was this - the "fact" of my grandfather's move, the story of it, etc. is established by eyewitness accounts. The fact that he lived and at some point shows up in some other record is irrelevant to the specific circumstance.
Did he fly over on Pegasus? Did he raise a few corpses to life en route? Did he make some water into wine at a wedding along the way?
Still not the same thing.
The "fact" of Jesus'bodily resurrection is based on similar eye witness reports which I accept as valid.
I'd suggest you stop reading them in order, & actually lay them side by side, & count the discrepancies.
We ain't talking about what kind of sandals, or the color of the robes they wore. We're talking about major discrepancies between accounts. Supposed to be a watershed event, & the documentation is just awful.

3/3/07 4:23 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Beep
Re:
The following old Greek manuscripts contain most of the Bible or the NT:

1. The Vatican manuscript 350 AD= Bible.
2. Codex Sinaiticus 350 AD= NT.
3. Codex Alexandrinus 425 AD= Bible.
4. Manuscript of Ephraem 450 AD= NT.

Those are the oldest codices we possess true enough. However the unicials and other fragments number in the thousands. Further, and this is too often discounted, the 2nd century apologists quoted scripture authoritatively and in sufficient numbers that some have said you could almost reconstruct the NT just from their writings.

Even further, it is simply modern redactionism to ascribe a universal movement to a Rome centered ecclesiastical polity to the period prior to 400 AD. The Nicene Creed and particularly the Definition of Chalcedon which followed it were in some sense a repudiation of Rome's Papal primacy. The presence of the Emperor was more important.

So, although there are many agenda driven scholars who still maintain the old massive revisionist editing idea that late some 19th century theologians posited, I think anyone who "views the evidence" pretty much has changed their mind.

3/3/07 11:16 pm  
Anonymous gadfly said...

Beep
RE: It is THESE documents that modern christians consider to be the foundation of their religious belief.

Can't say I agree with you here. Siniaticus was not even discovered until the middle of the 19th century. Ephraem is still considered importantly only for historical interest because it had to be massively restored after having had a bunch of St.Ephraim's sermons written over the original text. Vaticanus and Alexandrinus are often used in comparison to other earlier fragments (such as the Bodmer papyrii) to determine which might be the preferred text to translate. To say that these texts are the foundations of modern Christian thought is a dramatic overstatement.

The most important influences on the history of Christianity were probably Jerome's translation and the King James. Most of modern Christian thought has be formed through the traditions that are represented but not founded in these documents. Both of these translations were primarily based on the various (over 5000) surviving fragments, uncials and miniscules, which vary from a few sentences to major sections of various books and some collections of books.

Again though, the strongest argument, in my opinion, about the general accuracy of our texts today is the witness of the early Christian authors whose quotations from the books align very closely to what we have now.

4/3/07 1:08 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
Wow, so much of this is...ridiculous.
The "fact" of Jesus'bodily resurrection is based on similar eye witness reports which I accept as valid.
This crap wouldn't even hold up in a court of law. "I heard it from a friend of a friend"/"He said, she said."
These people couldn't keep their stories straight, & they allegedly knew each other.
I find the question fairly trivial. The authenticity of the NT autographs dating back, even by the most liberal scholars, to first century is pretty much established. I hold that Paul's writings go back to the 50's. ( I am not speaking of the earliest fragments or codices we possess but to the originals).
Sure, Paul existed. He had little to say about JC's personal life.
Few ancient writings are as well attested by existing fragments, etc. which date as closely to the originals at the NT.
What? You barely have anything. You don't even have full originals. No background on any of these guys both prior & post ex facto.
The point is this: Given the numerous NT quotations we have of the 2nd century apologists, the clear attempt by both Jews and Romans to destroy the New Religion, the idea that Jesus did not even exist would have been readily advanced as a basis to discredit the new sect.
Clear attempt?!?!? Are you crazy? Saul was the only 1 who made a clear effort at eradication. The Romans were as a rule, extremely tolerant (contingent on which Emperor). Really, spend some time doing research OUTSIDE of xtian websites.
As far as I can tell the inductive argument would certainly tend toward the idea that he did certainly live and generally correspond with the individual about whom the NT was written. It is another question whether what the NT said about Him is true.
I don't know what method you're using, but it's clearly NOT the inductive 1. You lack external multiple attestation, you lack any corroborative historical mention, you leave out the culture (which was laden w/frauds, living & written), you rely heavily on an oral tradition that was hyperbolic in the extreme, let's not even mention copier errors, the mistranslation of Aramaic/Hebrew to Greek (from many words/1 meaning to 1 word, many meanings).
Talk about baroque meritocracies.
Don't even bother w/the 'multiple copies' nonsense.
You can make a million copies of Aesop's fables. They're still fables.

4/3/07 8:39 am  
Blogger Arthur_Vandelay said...

A question: How do we establish the "reliability" of these so-called eyewitness accounts that gadfly insists are "reliable."

You can't just assert their reliability: you have to demonstrate it.

4/3/07 12:27 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Don't be difficult now arthur. ;)

4/3/07 8:42 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

arthur:
You can't just assert their reliability: you have to demonstrate it.
Time for a chorus of "I heard it thru the grapevine".
Small wonder talk shows are so popular.

5/3/07 7:18 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA said: Sure, Paul existed. He had little to say about JC's personal life

Not sure why this is relevant. The point was that Paul was writing around 50AD. The facts of Jesus' life would have been known by people who existed during that time. Paul's temple experiences and debates in the book of Acts most certainly are against the background of Jesus' actual life.
The point I was making was that it is a trivial question whether Jesus actually lived.

RE: What? You barely have anything. You don't even have full originals. No background on any of these guys both prior & post ex facto.

Curious statement. We barely have anything? How many existing copies do we have of Homer's work? How many of Thucydides? For that matter how many of Cicero or Herodotus? The facts are as I have stated them. Few ancient writings are as well attested as the NT. We are pretty confident that what we have is very close to what was originally written - not something that was edited some hundreds of years later.

Note: perhaps this is what confused you. I used the term "attested" not in the sense "proved correct in what they say" but in the sense "do we know that the original writings said".

5/3/07 9:10 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA said: Are you crazy? Saul was the only 1 who made a clear effort at eradication. The Romans were as a rule, extremely tolerant (contingent on which Emperor). Really, spend some time doing research OUTSIDE of xtian websites.

I don't think I'm crazy. The difficulty is that of finding a norm by which to measure. Would you propose yourself as the standard?

I don't frequent very many web sites at all. Pretty much my own and this one (because Beep graciously invited me to join the conversation). I am a full time pastor and don't have time for much else. I enjoy a decent conversation with people who hold different views that I.

"Scoring points" is not high on my list of conversational objectives.

5/3/07 9:59 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA
OK - So far I think you have at least been open to the idea that Jesus did not even exist and now you are saying that the early Christians were not systematically persecuted by either the Jews or the Romans.

Regarding the Jews - Saul did not stone Stephen - he guarded the coats of those that did. He was on his way to Damascus to root out Christians on the authority of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem when he encountered the Christ. He had others in company with him at the time. Saul was not the only one who did the persecuting. Saul like other Pharisees considered the new sect ("the Way") as heretical and the punishment for heresy was death.

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians of Hebrew descent to strengthen them in the trials they were undergoing by Jewish authorities as well as the proscriptions of family members. The 19th benediction (if I remember correctly) in the Rabbinical synagogue service was directed against all Christians and followers of Peter (that is based on memory, I will have to verify the actual wording). After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD the Christian community was even more reviled because they had "deserted" the city when they saw the Roman legions surrounding it.

Acts 8:1 - "and there arose a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem" Paul was chased out of virtually every city he visited by the Jews of that city.

etc. etc. etc.

5/3/07 10:00 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Regarding the Romans. The Romans were indeed tolerant of religions which were consistent with the state religions. In their provinces they were brutal toward those that they considered threats to the peace and stability of the empire.

The Jews were given a special dispensation which was uneasily observed and often breached. The Christians were at first considered a sect of the Jews and generally were treated with about the same respect the Jews got, which wasn't all that much.

The basic complaint lodged by the Romans against Christians was that they were "antisocial". The Roman Empire was permeated with superstitious religious activities. All the games, public celebrations, political events, etc. were initiated by various religous rites including sacrifice. Emperor worship came late in the empire but was pretty well a fixture by the time Christianity became prevalent. Christians refused to participate in these events and were distrusted and reviled for working against the cultural fabric which was integral to the Roman politic. The persecution under Nero was local and not very effective but it started a process that got much worse.

Just because the Romans did not successfully exterminate Christians doesn't mean they didn't try. The problem for them was the rapid spread of the religion. It spread faster than the logistics of mass persecution could keep up. After a while the problem was just too big. ( A difficulty that it took 20th century technology to "solve".)

There was a reason why the Christians met in the catacombs in Rome. There was a reason why John was on the Isle of Patmos when he wrote the book of Revelation - it was a work colony for Roman prisoners. Tradition holds that all the other apostles and Paul were martyred at some point or another.

Whatever you think of Pliny the Younger's letter exchange with Trajan it still is clear that unrepentant Christians were to be punished. I don't think there is any serious debate over whether or not Polycarp and Clement were actually killed. Persecution reached its zenith under Diocletian but by then it simply could not achieve the desired effect at all. It is said that at the council of Nicea that many if not most of the assembled bishops wore the marks of torture.

That should be enough

5/3/07 10:01 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To gadfly

RE: "Curious statement. We barely have anything? How many existing copies do we have of Homer's work? How many of Thucydides? For that matter how many of Cicero or Herodotus?"

The difference should be apparent. No one is asking me to worship Homer as the one true god. Secondly, no one is demanding, or insisting that the works of Homer like 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' are a literal, completely factual account.

5/3/07 10:16 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA quotes me
As far as I can tell the inductive argument would certainly tend toward the idea that he did certainly live and generally correspond with the individual about whom the NT was written. It is another question whether what the NT said about Him is true.

and then KA says:
I don't know what method you're using, but it's clearly NOT the inductive 1. You lack external multiple attestation, you lack any corroborative historical mention, you leave out the culture (which was laden w/frauds, living & written), you rely heavily on an oral tradition that was hyperbolic in the extreme, let's not even mention copier errors, the mistranslation of Aramaic/Hebrew to Greek (from many words/1 meaning to 1 word, many meanings).


Since I specifically stated that I was not asserting that what the NT said about Jesus was true but only that we have every reason to believe, based on early written statements that we possess, that there did exist a person about whom the NT was written.

The evidence of the early apologists and authors (back to early 2nd century) plus the evidence that the writings of the NT do date back to the first century, means that people who were alive at that time would have either been alive at the time that Jesus was alive or were only one generation removed. The inductive argument is that the evidence is more in favor that He actually lived than that He was a fable.

"Baroque meritocracies"???????

5/3/07 10:17 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
The facts of Jesus' life would have been known by people who existed during that time. Paul's temple experiences and debates in the book of Acts most certainly are against the background of Jesus' actual life.
Then name these people. That's just an argument from numbers, & a poor 1 at that.
If memory serves, there were numerous forgeries as well as 'false prophets'. The entire region was a testament to an appeal to wonder.

I don't think I'm crazy. The difficulty is that of finding a norm by which to measure. Would you propose yourself as the standard?

A norm? I'm going cross-eyed now. The 'norm' would be an avid effort at eradication. It's plain that the Romans were nonplussed about how the xtians went around trying to martyr themselves after Justin's demise.
"Scoring points" is not high on my list of conversational objectives.
Mine neither. It may seem that way, but I'm a fairly blunt & vocal yank: I say what's on my mind.
The Romans were indeed tolerant of religions which were consistent with the state religions. In their provinces they were brutal toward those that they considered threats to the peace and stability of the empire.
No, that's wrong. They were tolerant of just about everyone: they had to be. The Empire was composed of a huge cross-section of different cultures.
Whatever you think of Pliny the Younger's letter exchange with Trajan it still is clear that unrepentant Christians were to be punished.
I suggest you go re-read the letter as well as Trajan's response.
The problem for them was the rapid spread of the religion.
Actually, no. It was almost dead until Constantine 'converted'.
I don't frequent very many web sites at all.
That's terribly obvious. Perhaps you should lend a more critical eye to the 'history' you've been told.
Curious statement. We barely have anything? How many existing copies do we have of Homer's work? How many of Thucydides? For that matter how many of Cicero or Herodotus? The facts are as I have stated them. Few ancient writings are as well attested as the NT. We are pretty confident that what we have is very close to what was originally written - not something that was edited some hundreds of years later.
Oh please. You seem to forget the Catholic church's penchant for burning documents (& people) that disagreed w/them.
"History is written by the victors" - Churchill.
Yes, xtians were persecuted. But not as 'systemically' as you've been led to believe.

5/3/07 10:19 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Beep: The difference should be apparent. No one is asking me to worship Homer as the one true god. Secondly, no one is demanding, or insisting that the works of Homer like 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' are a literal, completely factual account.

The question of whether or not what was said is factual in every detail was not being discussed. The question was whether or not we have an accurate representation of what the original authors wrote. I maintain that we can have high confidence that we do. That we have a much greater confidence in that than we do with virtually any other ancient documents.

If Jesus did exist and these documents do speak of Him then what they say about Him must be considered as saying some true things at least. No one doubts that some of the things Thucydides said about the history of the Peloponesian (sp?) was true even when he is our only source - with no outside attestation. That the explicit words he says were uttered is a matter of some skepticism but that the conversations did happen is generally agreed.

5/3/07 10:29 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Trajan's response:
You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those who had been denounced to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it--that is, by worshiping our gods--even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance. But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.


"If they are denounced and found guilty they are to be punished.."

That is pretty much what I said... unrepentant Christians were to be punished.

Trajan was an interesting character. The range of attitudes he displayed over his life and the mercurial nature of his mood swings makes it hard to pin down how consistently he applied a general policy.

5/3/07 10:36 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

BTW - KA said:
That's terribly obvious. Perhaps you should lend a more critical eye to the 'history' you've been told.

"terribly obvious" - do you mean that I am lacking something in my education because I don't frequent a bunch of web sites????? I wonder what it might be?

5/3/07 10:42 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To gadfly

RE: "The question was whether or not we have an accurate representation of what the original authors wrote. I maintain that we can have high confidence that we do. That we have a much greater confidence in that than we do with virtually any other ancient documents."

This depends on what authors you are talking about. The gospels are attributed to Matthew, mark, Luke and John. There is no evidence that they wrote any of it outside of the catholic churches initial insistence that they did.

None of the gospels come with authorship.

5/3/07 11:46 am  
Blogger BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Gadfly, give up the charade. There is absolutely no proof Jesus existed.
Paul made it up, and lots was added on afterwards.

Herman was intelligently designed. I wonder why Behe didn't argue using this example at Dover.

5/3/07 12:01 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
Okay. I'll give you some of that.
I could split hairs here (Trajan said they shouldn't be sought out, for 1). For the other, there was some Jewish persecution. But it was by no means systematic:
"Some early Christians sought out and welcomed their persecutions:

Roman authorities tried hard to avoid Christians because they "goaded, chided, belittled and insulted the crowds until they demanded their death.";193; One man shouted to the Roman officials: "I want to die! I am a Christian," leading the officials to respond: "If they wanted to kill themselves, there was plenty of cliffs they could jump off.";194; Such seeking after death is found in Tertullian's Scorpiace but was certainly not the only view of martyrdom in the Christian church. Both Polycarp and Cyprian, bishops in Smyrna and Carthage respectively, attempted to avoid martyrdom."
http://www.answers.com/topic/persecution-of-christians
"terribly obvious" - do you mean that I am lacking something in my education because I don't frequent a bunch of web sites????? I wonder what it might be?
That might be actually viewing the history w/a far more critical eye.
Here's 1 for ya:
http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/xtianpersecute.html
Oh, & I'm pretty sure Stephen was a literary device only. Unless of course, you can provide external attestation of his 'existence'.
But we're getting off track here (my bad).
I'm talking about 1st person corollary from the timeline of the alleged Palistinean ministry. All of the accounts simply attest that the cult was around. Very little credence as to the founder.
We have very little on Thucydides - but we've got plenty on Cicero.
Personally, I think it's a sad argument to try to divert the debate away by questioning the historicity of others - that's not the bone of contention.
That's a red herring.
The historicity of many people has come into doubt lately - Robin Hood was a myth, King Arthur, even Buddha & possibly Lao Tzu.
Most of your bible is pseudipigrapha, anyways.
I still suggest you lay the Synoptics & John next to 1 another, & actually LOOK for the discrepancies in said accounts.

5/3/07 1:02 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Beep: RE: There is no evidence that they wrote any of it outside of the catholic churches initial insistence that they did. None of the gospels come with authorship.

When you speak of the "catholic" church are you referring to the Roman church?

The Orthodox church, as far as I know the Coptic Church use and revere the same gospels.

There was certainly no love lost between the Bishops of the various major cities (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch & Alexandria) who all were vying for "first among equals" status in the early centuries. The idea that there was sufficient internal control to regulate and manufacture the gospels is pretty far beyond the pale of possibility.

As a single example, Clement, (c. 30-100 ad) in his letter to the Corinthians speaks of Jesus Christ and applies many OT passages to Him using the same terminology that we see in the book of Hebrews. (Ref. AnteNicene Fathers vol. I - just the first one I had at hand). He speaks of the apostles as "speaking to us." Now granted that can be read as speaking to him personally or as speaking to "us" generally through intermediaries, but his life overlapped the apostles and there is no reason why he might not have heard them.

5/3/07 2:24 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

N. B.
re my previous comment - I know that Clement was a pope of Rome. The point is the time frame of his life and the work he wrote.

5/3/07 2:33 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

To gadfly

We were discussing the authorship of the gospels. "Attributed" doesn't mean that those people definitely wrote them, nor does it mean that they witnessed anything, nor does it mean that the people to whom the works were attributed, actually existed.

In other words, the gospels are "attributed" to people who were decided by religious decree to be "apostolic".

For now we'll just say that Iraneus, the bishop of Lyons in 180 AD, decided that the validity of any work had to be judged by whether it was "apostolic."

That is, it SHOULD have been written by or for one of the twelve apostles. But, as Pagels goes on to say, regardless of whether the names given to the Gospels are those of the actual authors or merely reflect a claim to apostolic authority, "we know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the Gospels."

5/3/07 4:29 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
There was certainly no love lost between the Bishops of the various major cities (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch & Alexandria) who all were vying for "first among equals" status in the early centuries. The idea that there was sufficient internal control to regulate and manufacture the gospels is pretty far beyond the pale of possibility.
That's odd - I didn't hear anyone even mention the phrase 'conspiracy'. I doubt anyone here even adheres to something that ridiculous.
'Regulate'? Are you kidding me? The fact that it was huge hodgepodge is the basic reason most of us are 'jesus-mythers'.
Were I the head deity, & here's this supposed doctrine that's supposed to 'save' millions upon billions of people, I'd would've made a helluva a lot more effort to ensure the 'documentation' was a lot less slipshod, that's for sure.

BBIM:
We were discussing the authorship of the gospels.
Yeah, red herrings all around. Gadfly wants to bring up 2nd CE internal politics, rather than cut straight to the chase.
It takes about a million builders to hold the house up, since the foundation's built on sand.

5/3/07 5:59 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA said: That's odd - I didn't hear anyone even mention the phrase 'conspiracy'. I doubt anyone here even adheres to something that ridiculous.

Beep Said: Not all the old manuscripts and papyrii are part of the new testament. There was a considerable amount of collecting, weeding out and final redaction of texts. This was performed in order to arrive at a body of supposedly inspired and foundational literature to support the emerging orthodoxy of a church centered on Rome.

My comments:
Redaction... performed ... support the emerging orthodoxy of a church centered on Rome....

Sounds like a Rome based conspiracy to rewrite the original documents to support a later theological and political ecclesiology to me.

My arguments were to advance the idea that we can confidently reconstruct what the original authors said in the NT documents. I made no claim about who wrote them. I dispute that what we have is the product of some massive, late rewriting so as to support a theology based upon some fabricated notion of a man called Jesus.

5/3/07 11:23 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
Sounds like a Rome based conspiracy to rewrite the original documents to support a later theological and political ecclesiology to me.
Ooohhh-kay. It's too bad there's no such thing as Allegories Anonymous, or I'd suggest you join it.
What, did you just watch the Da Vinci code recently? Really.
It's blaringly obvious that the whole venture was a disorganized mess that desperately needed structure.

6/3/07 4:06 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

KA - I am not certain I follow you here. You said that you didn't hear anyone mention the phrase conspiracy. And then I quote what Beep had written about how there was an intentional redaction of texts to support a church centered on Rome.

I was only stating that such a "conspiracy" had been mentioned and in fact advanced as a reason why our copies of the NT are not representative of what the original authors actually wrote.

Exactly why should I be referred to Allegories Anonymous????????

6/3/07 9:31 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
And then I quote what Beep had written about how there was an intentional redaction of texts to support a church centered on Rome.
Of course there was. Do I need to draw a map? Every new system needs consolidation.
I was only stating that such a "conspiracy" had been mentioned and in fact advanced as a reason why our copies of the NT are not representative of what the original authors actually wrote.
Well, I'll let BBIM address that: I shan't speak for her.
The whole point here is that we really have no clue what the 'original' authors wrote. It's especially messy, since all the xtians of that era thought that JC was a-comin' back toot sweet, so no 1 bothered jotting it down. 'no 1 here will taste of death', etc.
You've also contradicted yourself, as follows:
"I was only stating that such a "conspiracy" had been mentioned and in fact advanced as a reason why our copies of the NT are not representative of what the original authors actually wrote."
Exactly why should I be referred to Allegories Anonymous????????
You're reading WAY TOO MUCH into what's being said.
Do stay on topic, please.

6/3/07 11:15 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

So, the NT and the gospels, (which were attributed to Matthew, Mark, luke and John), were cherry picked in order to present the case for a new religion centred on Rome.

Not only this, but the gospels themselves have no authorship, they are merely attributed to people who were supposedly jesus's disciples. There is no evidence of the existence of these disciples outside of the writings which are attributed to them as THEIR writings in the gospels.

The gospels, the supposed testimony to jesus' life and works, seem to appear out of thin air.

6/3/07 11:29 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Re: So, the NT and the gospels, (which were attributed to Matthew, Mark, luke and John), were cherry picked in order to present the case for a new religion centred on Rome.


I did not say this - you did in an earlier comment - see my quote above.

My arguments were counter to this position. Clement's writings and others date back to the early 80-90's. Why is this not evidence of the existence of "these disciples"? They are writings of men who lived during the same time .

6/3/07 11:29 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

PSEUDO-CLEMENTINE WRITINGS

Many writings have been falsely attributed to Pope St. Clement I:
1.The "Second Clementine Epistle to the Corinthians", discussed under III.

2.Two "Epistles to Virgins", extant in Syriac in an Amsterdam MS. of 1470. The Greek originals are lost. Many critics have believed them genuine, for they were known in the fourth century to St. Epiphanius (who speaks of their being read in the Churches) and to St. Jerome. But it is now admitted on all hands that they cannot be by the same author as the genuine Epistle to the Corinthians. Some writers, as Hefele and Westcott, have attributed them to the second half Or the second century, but the third is more probable (Harnack, Lightfoot). Harnack thinks the two letters were originally one. They were first edited by Wetstein, 1470, with Latin translation, reprinted by Gallandi, "Bibl. vett. Patr.", I, and Migne, P. G., I. They are found in Latin only in Mansi, "Concilia", I, and Funk "Patres Apost.", II. See Lightfoot, "Clement of Rome" (London, 1890), I Bardenhewer, "Gesch. der altkirchl. Litt." (Freiburg im Br., 1902), I; Harnack in "Sitzungsber. der k. preuss. Akad. der Wiss." (Berlin, 1891), 361 and "Chronol." (1904), II, 133.

3.At the head of the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals stand five letters attributed to St. Clement. The first is the letter of Clement to James translated by Rufinus (see III); the second is another letter to James, found in many MSS. of the "Recognitions". The other three are the work of Pseudo-Isidore (See FALSE DECRETALS.)

4.Ascribed to Clement are the "Apostolical Constitutions", "Apostolic Canons", and the "Testament of Our Lord", also a Jacobite Anaphora (Renaudot, Liturg. Oriental. Coll., Paris, 1716, II; Migne, P.G., II). For other attributions see Harnack, "Gesch. der altchr. Lit." I, 777-80. The "Clementines' or Pseudo-Clementines. (q.v.)

He has left one genuine writing, a letter to the Church of Corinth. I see no mention of either Matthew, Mark, Luke or John within The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.

7/3/07 10:23 am  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

The Epistle to the Corinthians is the only one I have in my possession. I used the term "writings" generically.

Though he does not refer to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, neither does Paul in his writings, nor the author of Hebrews. If this letter is written during the same time as those letters, as some scholars say or even as late as 100 ad, the point is that it says many of the same things that the NT says.

At least it answers your previous call for some external evidence corroborating the NT about whether a man called Jesus actually existed (assuming that was a serious argument).

7/3/07 12:23 pm  
Anonymous gadfly said...

In Clement's epistle note the similar argumentation from OT passages that we find in Matthew and the book of Hebrews and of course in Paul.

Note how he specifically states that Jesus raised from the dead in chapter xxiv.

This is an early writing by a man who may very well have been a disciple of Paul and acquainted with the other disciples. He would have been around when the gospels of Matt-John were being distributed and his writings correlate very well with the content in them.

7/3/07 12:27 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

If you remember correctly, this was a discussion on the gospels and their origin.

The gospels are considered the definitive account of jesus, his life and work. So far, you have been unable to show me their origin.

7/3/07 12:28 pm  
Anonymous Gadfly said...

Actually I don't remember that. The argument that was advanced was that the NT writings including the Gospels that we have are a late redaction intended to support a Rome based ecclesiastical polity.

The other argument was that we don't have any early corroboration that Jesus even existed other than the writings of the NT, including the gospels.

I have been confining myself to those two... I'll address authorship in the other thread that has started.

7/3/07 12:51 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
He would have been around when the gospels of Matt-John were being distributed and his writings correlate very well with the content in them.
Or he cribbed from them.
You don't have any secular (read: non-xtian) sources.
Enough of these 'men of mystery'.

7/3/07 12:51 pm  
Anonymous gadfly said...

KA - if he cribbed from them that means they were around during his life time. That would establish my point that the NT writings are not the result of a late massive editing by a later Roman church.

The request was for evidence external to the NT that Jesus existed and that has been supplied. The additional requirement for it to be non-Christian seems a bit puzzling. When Paul spoke in the Aeropagus about Jesus, some believed him and most did not. I doubt seriously that the Pagan culture would have been writing about him during these early centuries. It was the Christians who were bearing witness. Of course you will find them to be the sources.

7/3/07 1:10 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

gadfly:
if he cribbed from them that means they were around during his life time. That would establish my point that the NT writings are not the result of a late massive editing by a later Roman church.
Or he heard it on the grapevine.
& there's evidence of major interpolations all thru the centuries.
The additional requirement for it to be non-Christian seems a bit puzzling.
I don't trust vested interests. I trust facts. Lots of them.
I doubt seriously that the Pagan culture would have been writing about him during these early centuries.
Who was that exactly? Celsus went after the xtians, that's not attestation to JC's existence. Suetonius cribbed off of Tacitus.
You really have got very, very little. It's not enough.

7/3/07 5:39 pm  

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