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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26015 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2008 :  18:20:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by pleco

I'm not questioning the accuracy of any historical findings presented in the Bible. The names of cities or other major events recorded are known to be accurate in some cases, and in others to be completely inaccurate. Depends on which ones you want to discuss.
Yeah, one thing that always gets to me about these "historical accuracy of the Bible" arguments is that the same things could be said of almost any Tom Clancy novel. All the historically accurate countries and cities and weapons and treaties, yet we know Clancy's work to be fiction.

How many people who have been to "The Exorcist Steps" in Georgetown think that the film is a documentary?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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bngbuck
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USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2008 :  21:22:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chaloobi.....

My sister-in-law and her husband are practicing Episcopalians, and they both proudly refer to themselves as "Enlightened Catholics". We have had many agitated conversations. I personally have known many folks who were Episcopalian and called themselves "jack Catholics". I spent part of one summer in London, got to know many who belonged to the Church of England (very common over there), and frequently discussed Anglican/Catholic differences and similarities.

A lot of them were fascinated that I called myself agnostic and wanted to know why? After explanation, I would ask why do you call yourself an Anglican? Many, not all, of these folks stated in one way or another that they were basically Catholic - "like the Irish" -but it was socially more convenient to claim the Church of England than the "Mother Church" - "like all the bloody French and Italians"

Catholic correspondents tended much more to differentiate themselves as "Roman Catholics" and saw little concordance with Anglicans.

These are merely personal experiences of mine. They in no way necessarily reflect the views of most Anglicans. I suspect, however, both from personal experience and much reading that a large percentage of today's Anglicans are of the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Church - not formally recognized by the COE Authority.

The so-called "Liberal Catholics" are apparently beginning to dominate this segment of the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Church of England. There are also the Anglo-Papists (go figure), yet another stupid splinter of the twig from the branch of the dumb-as-a-post sapling of the COE, itself a kind of bastard sprouting of the wooden-headed Roman Mother Tree of Ignorance!

Technically, you are correct, Chaloobi. But you would be amazed at how much conflation - and confusion - there is in popular perception and usage of the terms Catholic and Anglican both by Aglicans and non-Anglicans! I have chosen to call Anglicans "Neo-Catholics" (with appropiate footnoting) in several chapters of my book on Perception.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2008 :  21:46:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's a lot to say about the historicity of the Gospels, and I'll have to address some of this tomorrow when I have more time. But for now, one thing that seems likely true is when the Gospels repeat unflattering notions of Jesus. If we agree that to some extent, the Gospels do serve some agenda of furthering the message of Jesus, then the inclusion of negative information is curious. For instance, in several episodes, there is a clear tension between Jesus and the members of his family. Indeed, we are told that Jesus could perform no miracles in his home town.

Why would a pro-Jesus Gospel writer include such things? The answer is almost certainly that these events were already circulating about Jesus, and the writers simply could not ignore them. Instead, they were forced to confront them and put the best spin possible on them.

The most glaring example is Jesus' parentage. It is clear that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, and that this was a rather unflattering blight that his followers (living in the patriarchal society that of the ancient world) found difficult to address. The "virgin birth" solution is obviously quite contrived (Matthew's attempt to link this to a prophecy in Isaiah is weak, and betrays his rather poor understanding of Hebrew more than anything!), but was an attempt to do just that.
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H. Humbert
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Posted - 02/18/2008 :  22:35:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist
The most glaring example is Jesus' parentage. It is clear that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, and that this was a rather unflattering blight that his followers (living in the patriarchal society that of the ancient world) found difficult to address. The "virgin birth" solution is obviously quite contrived (Matthew's attempt to link this to a prophecy in Isaiah is weak, and betrays his rather poor understanding of Hebrew more than anything!), but was an attempt to do just that.
Hmm. I always assumed it was the other way round, with the misconception that a virgin birth was required, then simply making up the bit about Jesus' virgin birth later. After all, that's the same reason Luke fudged the bit about the census--to get Jesus from Nazareth into Bethlehem in order to fulfill certain prophecies.

In fact, I would argue that it is likely that Jesus' disciples knew nothing about his childhood history. Any stories concerning that period of their teacher's life must be pure fiction created either to emphasize his divinity by fulfilling a prophecy or showing early religious aptitude (like the story of finding Jesus preaching to the scholars in the temple).

Of course, there are other sources for stories of Jesus' childhood than just the gospels. Probably very popular in early Christianity, too, before the books of the bible were codified. Most likely left out because it contains a tale of little Jesus killing a playmate.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 02/18/2008 22:37:39
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26015 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2008 :  23:12:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Of course, there are other sources for stories of Jesus' childhood than just the gospels. Probably very popular in early Christianity, too, before the books of the bible were codified. Most likely left out because it contains a tale of little Jesus killing a playmate.
And so much more. Here are 19:16-24 and 20:13-16:
Again on another day the Lord Jesus was with some boys by a river and they drew water out of the river by little channels, and made little fish pools. But the Lord Jesus had made twelve sparrows, and placed them about his pool on each side, three on a side. But it was the Sabbath day, and the son of Hanani a Jew came by, and saw them making these things, and said, Do ye thus make figures of clay on the Sabbath? And he ran to them, and broke down their fish pools. But when the Lord Jesus clapped his hands over the sparrows which he had made, they fled away chirping. At length the son of Hanani coming to the fish-pool of Jesus to destroy it, the water vanished away, and the Lord Jesus said to him, In like manner as this water has vanished, so shall thy life vanish; and presently the boy died.

Another time, when the Lord Jesus was coming home in the evening with Joseph, he met a boy, who ran so hard against him, that he threw him down; To whom the Lord Jesus said, As thou hast thrown me down, so shalt thou fall, nor ever rise. And that moment the boy fell down and died.

...

They brought him then to a more learned master, who, when he saw him, said, say Aleph. And when he had said Aleph, he master bade him pronounce Beth; to which the Lord Jesus replied, Tell me first the meaning of the letter Aleph, and then I will pronounce Beth. But this master, when he lift up his hand to whip him, had his hand presently withered, and he died. Then said Joseph to St. Mary, henceforth we will not allow him to go out of the house; for every one who displeases him is killed.
My bolding.

It's not just the murders. It's the wanton "miracles" like the clay birds coming to life. Joseph takes Jesus on jobs because Joseph sucks as a carpenter but Jesus makes sure all of Joseph's creations come out right. Jesus makes other clay animals trot around at his command. He's a freakin' show-off.

I wonder, though, what the Vatican says about this Gospel. Surely they'll say it's wrong (or at least apocryphal), but their scholarship tends towards honesty despite their dogma, so I'd want to know what they say about when it was written and by whom.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26015 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2008 :  23:36:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, one J. F. Gecik cites the Gospel of the Infancy as an Arabic Gospel of Catholic origin.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  07:48:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Chaloobi.....

A lot of them were fascinated that I called myself agnostic and wanted to know why? After explanation, I would ask why do you call yourself an Anglican? Many, not all, of these folks stated in one way or another that they were basically Catholic - "like the Irish" -but it was socially more convenient to claim the Church of England than the "Mother Church" - "like all the bloody French and Italians" Catholic correspondents tended much more to differentiate themselves as "Roman Catholics" and saw little concordance with Anglicans.
I'm sure the Anglican Church isn't writing checks to the Vatican on a regular basis, which is far and away more substantial than any social convenience. And Anglicans surely don't like the idea that they're all going to hell for breaking away from Jesus' church so they try to fool themselves into thinking they didn't. But the true Catholics know better.

Also it's curious to hear the "just like the Irish" comment. Popular perception has been that the fuss with the IRA was at least in part due to the religous split between protestant and catholic.

... yet another stupid splinter of the twig from the branch of the dumb-as-a-post sapling of the COE, itself a kind of bastard sprouting of the wooden-headed Roman Mother Tree of Ignorance!
Nice metaphors.

Technically, you are correct, Chaloobi. But you would be amazed at how much conflation - and confusion - there is in popular perception and usage of the terms Catholic and Anglican both by Aglicans and non-Anglicans! I have chosen to call Anglicans "Neo-Catholics" (with appropiate footnoting) in several chapters of my book on Perception.
Well there isn't much confusion among actual Catholics (i.e. Roman Catholics). I spent 11 years in catholic parochial education and never once was the Anglican church ever referred to as anything but Protestant. It almost reminds me of school kids playing in two different clubs. If you're in the cool club it's always fun to exclude other kids.

-Chaloobi

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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  07:57:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

[quote]Originally posted by H. Humbert

It's not just the murders. It's the wanton "miracles" like the clay birds coming to life. Joseph takes Jesus on jobs because Joseph sucks as a carpenter but Jesus makes sure all of Joseph's creations come out right. Jesus makes other clay animals trot around at his command. He's a freakin' show-off.

Reminds me of the hymn "Great things happen, when God mixes with man." That is friggin' hilarious.

The Wiki article on Crossan quoted him as saying the early church played down miracles because it made Jesus look too much like a magician. I didn't understand what was meant by that until reading your quote.

-Chaloobi

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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2998 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  08:09:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by chaloobi

Originally posted by Dave W.

[quote]Originally posted by H. Humbert

It's not just the murders. It's the wanton "miracles" like the clay birds coming to life. Joseph takes Jesus on jobs because Joseph sucks as a carpenter but Jesus makes sure all of Joseph's creations come out right. Jesus makes other clay animals trot around at his command. He's a freakin' show-off.

Reminds me of the hymn "Great things happen, when God mixes with man." That is friggin' hilarious.

The Wiki article on Crossan quoted him as saying the early church played down miracles because it made Jesus look too much like a magician. I didn't understand what was meant by that until reading your quote.



Yeah and turning water into wine doesn't. I would have thought the clay birds would have stayed since it references back to God creating Adam from clay (dirt), and since Jesus is God... QED.

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The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  08:52:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by pleco

Originally posted by chaloobi

Originally posted by Dave W.

[quote]Originally posted by H. Humbert

It's not just the murders. It's the wanton "miracles" like the clay birds coming to life. Joseph takes Jesus on jobs because Joseph sucks as a carpenter but Jesus makes sure all of Joseph's creations come out right. Jesus makes other clay animals trot around at his command. He's a freakin' show-off.

Reminds me of the hymn "Great things happen, when God mixes with man." That is friggin' hilarious.

The Wiki article on Crossan quoted him as saying the early church played down miracles because it made Jesus look too much like a magician. I didn't understand what was meant by that until reading your quote.



Yeah and turning water into wine doesn't. I would have thought the clay birds would have stayed since it references back to God creating Adam from clay (dirt), and since Jesus is God... QED.
Water into wine is no frivolous thing. There was a wedding at stake, man! In all seriousness, wine at the time was much safer to drink than water. You wouldn't want the guests going home sober AND with giardia, now would you?

-Chaloobi

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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2998 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  09:07:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by chaloobi

Originally posted by pleco

Originally posted by chaloobi

Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by H. Humbert

It's not just the murders. It's the wanton "miracles" like the clay birds coming to life. Joseph takes Jesus on jobs because Joseph sucks as a carpenter but Jesus makes sure all of Joseph's creations come out right. Jesus makes other clay animals trot around at his command. He's a freakin' show-off.

Reminds me of the hymn "Great things happen, when God mixes with man." That is friggin' hilarious.

The Wiki article on Crossan quoted him as saying the early church played down miracles because it made Jesus look too much like a magician. I didn't understand what was meant by that until reading your quote.



Yeah and turning water into wine doesn't. I would have thought the clay birds would have stayed since it references back to God creating Adam from clay (dirt), and since Jesus is God... QED.
Water into wine is no frivolous thing. There was a wedding at stake, man! In all seriousness, wine at the time was much safer to drink than water. You wouldn't want the guests going home sober AND with giardia, now would you?



I have to blame South Park:

(Stan asking Jesus for help with defeating Blaine)
Jesus: The miracle I'm most famous for is turning water into wine.
Kyle: Can you do it again?
Jesus: Very well. I shall perform the miracle. Behold, here you can see ordinary water, clear, clean. Okay now turn around.
(Stan surprised)
Turn around.
(Stan turns around and Jesus replaces the jug of water on the table with a jug of wine)
It is now wine!
Stan: That's it? That's how you did that trick?

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
Edited by - pleco on 02/19/2008 09:08:44
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  09:41:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I found this on Straight Dope:
The homicidal-Jesus stories come from something known as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. (This is to be distinguished from the better-known but equally apocryphal Gospel According to Thomas, about which more below.) Several versions of the Infancy Gospel have come to light, dating back to about the sixth century AD; all are copies of earlier texts.

As near as scholars can make out, the Thomas story originated in the mid-second century AD, subsequent to the four canonical gospels (that is, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Some say it was based in part on Luke; the two books share the story of Jesus scourging the money lenders at the Temple. It is one of the few portrayals, spurious or not, of Jesus's early life, which no doubt accounts for its continued circulation after eighteen hundred years.

The Infancy Gospel has never been proposed for inclusion in the official Bible. Many of the early Christian writers who were influential in deciding what books belonged in the canon regarded it as heretical. In it the young Jesus is fully aware that he is a god and performs miracles for sport, which is at odds with the usual Christian emphasis on Jesus's humanity.

The book is not a literal account of Jesus's early life. All of the gospels, including the canonical ones, were based on oral traditions collected after Jesus's death and to a greater or lesser extent were intended to support a doctrinal point of view. The Infancy Gospel in antiquity was linked to sects that held that Jesus was God disguised as a man, rather than God become a man. Many of the stories have parallels in tales of the Buddha and other religious figures.
The portion I bolded is important to remember in this discussion. While the Infancy gospel may not be cannon, its formation wasn't fundamentally different that those that were included in the bible. Both are based on oral tradition, include accurate historical names, and weren't written down until long after Jesus' death. If there is reason to assume the infancy account is inaccurate, these concerns must also apply to to the books included in the New Testament, which claim some pretty fantastical things themselves.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 02/19/2008 09:42:43
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  11:17:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert
The portion I bolded is important to remember in this discussion. While the Infancy gospel may not be cannon, its formation wasn't fundamentally different that those that were included in the bible. Both are based on oral tradition, include accurate historical names, and weren't written down until long after Jesus' death. If there is reason to assume the infancy account is inaccurate, these concerns must also apply to to the books included in the New Testament, which claim some pretty fantastical things themselves.
Simple to explain. When the time came for the early church to knit together the bible, God inspired the knitters to choose the accounts that were true and to reject those that were false.

Note, I find the Gospel of Judas to be particularly fascinating. I haven't read it but what I've heard seems to suggest there was a power struggle in early christianity and the followers of Judas lost. The victors then did something akin to salting the earth and transformed Judas into one of Christianity's greatest villains, second only to Satan Himself.

Based more on what we know was left out than on what was included I think it's clear the original story of Jesus is hopelessly muddled. The early christians apparently tried to eradicate the gospel of Judas entirely, what did they succeed in irradicating? What was lost forever? How can the NT be trusted knowing that flawed, power-minded humans struggled over what would be a part of it and made every effort to destroy all record of what was left out? More Faith? Come on.

-Chaloobi

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26015 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  12:55:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey, check out THE SUPPRESSED GOSPELS AND EPISTLES OF THE ORIGINAL NEW TESTAMENT OF JESUS THE CHRIST, which includes this bit on how the Canonical books were chosen:
And now intelligent Catholics, especially Protestants who are content to read only the books of the Testament authorized by the Council of Nice, and agreed to ever since by your own bishops, although they and you profess to dissent from the Papacy, hear what Pappus in his Synodican to that Council says of their crafty contrivance when they separated the books of the original New Testament:—He tells us, that having "promiscuously put all the books that were referred to the Council for deliberation under the communion-table in a church, they besought the Lord that the inspired writings might get on the table, while the spurious ones remained underneath; and that it happened accordingly!" (See Com. Mace's N. T. p. 875.) Therefore, good reader, every Christian sect from the fourth century to the present period, have been blessed with the books that climbed upon the communion-table, and in consequence were deemed inspired and canonical; at the same time have been forbidden to read the Gospels and Epistles herein published, because they could not perform the same feat, but remained under the table, and were condemned accordingly, as uninspired and apocryphal writings.
While this "Popish legend" is, I'm sure, itself apocryphal, it does bring to mind the question: why do so many Protestants insist that a book compiled by the Holy Roman Church is the true Word of God? Shouldn't knowledge of Jesus' younger years be required to have a personal relationship with him?

(Heck, why do so many Protestants insist on the King James Version, with its emphasis on retaining the Catholics' ordained clergy?)

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2008 :  13:11:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Paul Tobin over at his website The Rejection of Pascal's Wager has written about the problem of authorship in the past.
Most books in the New Testament had their authorship attributed to the disciples of Jesus, or at least their immediate followers. For examples the two letters of Peter were supposed to have been written by the apostle himself, while the gospel of Mark was presumed to have been written by one of Peter's followers.

These attribution of authorship were accepted, almost without question, by Christians for close to two millennia. In the 19th century, with the use of the methods critical historical research to the books of the Bible, these traditional beliefs were slowly but relentlessly eroded. The research has reached a point where almost all the books in the Bible are no longer held to be written by the people tradition thought them to be. This valid discovery, however, is very rarely communicated to the lay public. When it is conveyed at all, it is normally preceded with attempt on behalf of the scholars to cushion the "blow" on the reader. As a result, to this day most lay Christians and (of course) all fundamentalists hold firm to these traditional attribution of authorship.

He continues:
Many Christians have a very vague idea about how this collection was achieved. Even then it is probably filled with belief that the method of collection was miraculously inspired. When Christians speak of the "canon of the Bible" they mean the list of books that are to be considered as sacred writings or the word of God to the exclusion of all other books. There is no middle ground, no gray area. Either a book is inspired by God or it is not. There is no book that is "partially" inspired. The uninitiated would naturally and common sensically expect these "inspired" books to be somehow so different from those rejected that it would be an easy matter to separate them. Surely a work written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would be clearly distinct from the works of mere mortals. The truth of the matter, as history shows, is very different.
As he says, when confronted with the arbitrary nature of this hodgepodge of mis-cited ancient texts, most Christians fall back on the "miraculously inspired" position, which is to say they choose to shut off their brains on the subject.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 02/19/2008 13:12:48
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