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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 2:07PM #1
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
In answer to the criteria used by another in the thread “The wedding of Jesus,” I find it lacking in rigor. These are a few reasons why… This is the short list, but it’s about all I can post in one answer:

Briefly, the bibliographical test is used to determine the accuracy of the ancient copies in the absence of the autographs. The more copies one has, the better to weed out scribal errors and insertions etc. The NT has more ancient copies than any other ancient work. It has thousands in the native Greek and nearly 30 thousand total when considering the various translations into Latan, Syriac, Coptic etc. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that we can know within reason exactly what the original NT authors wrote. This doesn’t prove what they wrote was true, but the bibliographic test shows beyond reasonable doubt, we know what the autographs contained.

Me;
1.This test merely tells one that by the third century there were copies of the book. One can use that information to infer a couple of things. First, it implies that Christianity was a religion of books. (Not all religions were, in an oral culture. The Mysteries were not religions of books.) It also implies that Christianity had literate members and that the religion was growing. It says absolutely nothing of the historicity of Jesus, just as the many copies of the Harry Potter books say nothing about the historicity of Harry.
2. “The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; tjhey either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they made additions or deletions as they please.” This is what Origen had to say about “bibliographical texts,” from “Commentary on Matthew 15:14).
3. Beginning in the fourth century, copyists became professional copyists, so the variants became fewer.
4. John Mill worked for thirty years, studying ancient copies of the Bibles extant at that time. He found more than 30,000 variants in the “New” Testament! He had around 100 manuscripts, only. Now, we have portions of 5700 manuscripts and shards of Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin Vulgate and others in other languages. Scholars attest, presently to between 200,000 and 400,000 variants! (Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman, p. 83-89). Some changes are intentional, some are accidental.


Secondly, the internal evidence test asks if the account itself is believable. Does it represent the culture accurately? Is it contradictory or does it appear accurate? Does it support known truths or is it full of fallacious statements about the time and geographical location where the events took place? In other words, does it support what can be proved to be so for the time in which the document was written? The rule here is to presume the author knows more about that period than the critic. This is knows as Aristotle’s Dictum. The benefit of the doubt should be given the author and not the critic—something the Jesus Seminar **never** does. The NT manuscripts show themselves worthy of belief as far as the internal evidence test is concerned. They claim to be eyewitness accounts and act like it. They do not contradict what we know to be true concerning geography or historical figures for that time period. They are not self-contradictory, nor do they make known false statements.

Me:  This helps us to see that the account is not believable. “Aristotle’s Dictum” was written before critical historical methodology. Especially when one is talking about propagandic material, which is what the Bible is, the discriminating reader ALWAYS questions the source. Try getting a doctorate. Note that you be questioned by the experts in the field who will not give you any benefit of the doubt.  Neither does a competent observer merely nod one’s head and accept blindly.
1. There are at least three different endings of Mark that have made it through. This leaves us with doubt as to what Mark wrote. Furthermore, there is “Secret Mark,” which is yet another version that fits the chiastic structure of Mark and fits into where several voids are found.
2. There are two different endings to John. There is also a block (7:53-8:12) unattested in the oldest and most reliable copies of John.
3. Speaking of culture, let’s look at the view of the gospels toward Pilate and contrast those with the views of Josephus and Philo. Philo was a contemporary of Pilate and Josephus was born around the time Pilate was recalled. During the tenure of Pilate, Philo wrote a piece that described Pilate in ways totally contradictory to the apologetic way he is portrayed in the gospels. Pilate was an abusive person who had people killed on whims, without trials, as the Passion fictions suggest. Around 90 ce, Josephus also wrote of the abuses of Pilate. The gospels can not be believed in their portrayal of Pilate.
4. The view of the gospels toward the Pharisees contrasts totally with what we know of the Pharisees, from the view of Josephus. Furthermore, the arguments that Jesus supposedly used when arguing with them is both Pharisaic in style and content, according to what one finds in the earliest of the rabbinical works. Generally, scholarship holds that the monolithic portrayal of the culture of “the Jews” is polemic, meant to attack the competing post-war  Judaisms. There is the phony situation of a Sanhedrin meeting at night during the Passover, turning Jesus over to Pilate for a trial, which are just jokes. There is the completely unattested “slaughter” of Herod the Great in Matthew, the corny device Luke used to get the betrothed to Bethlehem to be birthed. Looking across the gospels for consistency, there are so many inconsistencies were they actually writing about the same person? Let’s recall just a few:
5. When was Jesus born, before 4 bce (Matt) or 6 ce (Luke)?
6. Was the last supper a ritual Passover feast (synoptics) or on a different night (John)?
7. Who witnessed the empty tomb? (We again have different people in different gospels.)
8. What were the last words of Jesus? We have a list of those!
9. Did Jesus begin his ministry cleansing the temple (John) or more or less end it doing that (Matt, Mark and Luke)?
10. Which genealogy is correct? Matt and Luke have different ones.
11. Was the ministry one year (synoptics) or three (John)?
12. Were Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem during the birth of Jesus (Matt) and then, coming back from Egypt become afraid to go back home, or were they from Nazareth (Luke)?
13. Did Jesus get crucified the day after Passover (synoptics) or before (John)?
14. We find variants in scriptures that are purposefully antiadoptionist, antidocetic, anti-Jewish, apologetic, and antiseparationist alterations in the texts.


The internal inconsistency of the gospels is appalling. The internal differences between copies in antiquity can be seen as either intentional or unnintentional.  It is, however, a lesson on what history is not! (Note that history as an objective study is only around 200 years old… And, it plays hell with non-historical books like the Bible.

Finally, the external evidence test asks: what do others who lived during that time period or shortly afterward say about what the author has written? Especially valuable would be the opinions of enemies in this regard. The church fathers in the next three centuries quote and confirm the testimony of the NT. Josephus confirms several events noted in the NT sometimes directly other times indirectly, but always within the timeframe the events took place. The Talmud records the testimony of some rabbis concerning Jesus that confirm he was tried by the Jewish leaders of the day and executed. They also confirm the NT’s claim that Jesus was a miracle worker, though they do this by saying Jesus was a sorcerer (the confirmation comes from an unfriendly source). Moreover, certain Roman historians and officials also confirm certain events recorded in the NT which include the crucifixion of Jesus under Pilate and the expulsion of Jews, including Jewish Christians, from Rome during the reign of Claudius. Furthermore, archeology has been a useful tool in the support of NT verification. We can say that nothing we know to be true about the 1st century has been used to disclaim anything written in the NT.

Me: External evidence of Jesus is totally lacking. We have absolutely no scrap of evidence that Jesus existed outside the canon until after the earliest writings of the canon. Only one, a very short block, written by Josephus after at least Mark was written is the only first century external evidence. Most scholars (according to a survey of the literature by Feldman) see that as at least a partial if not total extrapolation. But that doesn’t matter, because there is no reason to think Josephus wouldn’t have had access to Mark by the 90’s. Note, he discussed the sects of Judaism within Palestine even in the 70’s, but in that book (Wars of the Jews) he mentions nothing about a sect that would be Christianity. We have two early second century citations, from Tacitus and Seutonius. The former is probably an interpolation because though Nero is loathed by early Christian writers, they don’t mention the “fire” accusations. In the latter, Seutonius doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about. (Niether matter, since they are second century and by then, there is a Christianity.) 

Looking at the gospels through the lens provided, using external, bibliographic and internal evidence, it is easy to see that Jesus was a fictive character. That’s why the JS, the Tubingens, the Dutch and others use far more rigorous scrutiny of the scriptures.
MisterC
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 4:51PM #2
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
Let me address one other errant notion, It was said, "The NT manuscripts show themselves worthy of belief as far as the internal evidence test is concerned. They claim to be eyewitness accounts and act like it. They do not contradict what we know to be true concerning geography or historical figures for that time period. They are not self-contradictory, nor do they make known false statements."

1. They don't claim to be "eyewitness" accounts, except for the second ending of John.
2. They don't act like eyewitiness accounts. Matt and Luke have birth narratives. Eyewitness??? Eyewitness of Jesus going off by himself and praying (in the three synoptics)? Who was a "fly on the wall" in the Passion Fiction? Peter was outside in the courtyard.
3. Geography? Mark called Lake Gennesaret a sea, which leads us to believe the author was nowhere near a real sea. He knows nothing in Galilee west of the Sea of Galilee. He doesn't understand the north-south relationship of Tyre to Sidon (7:31), he links Judea and Beyond the Jordon together (10:1, he misaligns the relationship of Bethphage to Bethany and Jerusalem (11:1). He only mentions cities in Galilee that are west of the Sea of Galilee. Those errors are actually rather famous.
4. "Historical figures." I discussed the contrast of Pilate. The John the Baptist tales and preaching found in the gospels are at odds with the John the Baptist of Josephus. Herodias and Antipas are also treated differently.
5. I think I covered self-contradictory, though there is a wealth of other infor!
6. "False statements." It depends... When Luke or Mark take a basic story or aphorism from Mark and add their theology to it, is that "false?" It misrepresents the earliest.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:41PM #3
John1one
Posts: 1,476
[QUOTE=MisterC;1002930] In answer to the criteria used by another in the thread “The wedding of Jesus,” I find it lacking in rigor. These are a few reasons why… This is the short list, but it’s about all I can post in one answer:

John1one: Briefly, the bibliographical test is used to determine the accuracy of the ancient copies in the absence of the autographs. The more copies one has, the better to weed out scribal errors and insertions etc. The NT has more ancient copies than any other ancient work. It has thousands in the native Greek and nearly 30 thousand total when considering the various translations into Latin, Syriac, Coptic etc. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that we can know within reason exactly what the original NT authors wrote. This doesn’t prove what they wrote was true, but the bibliographic test shows beyond reasonable doubt, we know what the autographs contained.

Me;
1.This test merely tells one that by the third century there were copies of the book. One can use that information to infer a couple of things. First, it implies that Christianity was a religion of books. (Not all religions were, in an oral culture. The Mysteries were not religions of books.) It also implies that Christianity had literate members and that the religion was growing. It says absolutely nothing of the historicity of Jesus, just as the many copies of the Harry Potter books say nothing about the historicity of Harry.



The bibliographic test is not supposed to prove history or whether the ancient works under inspection are even true. All that is required of the bibliographic test is to show what we possesses today is substantially the same as the autographs. I thought you agreed to this, but I see here, if you had, you have taken back your agreement and choose to challenge the fact that the bible we have today and the autographs of the NT are substantially the same. Remember—with this test, we are not seeking to prove truth only that the NT in our possession is substantially what was first penned by its authors.

2. “The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; tjhey either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they made additions or deletions as they please.” This is what Origen had to say about “bibliographical texts,” from “Commentary on Matthew 15:14).



Are you saying that Origin had done a thorough study of all manuscripts available, like can be done today, or is he a bit unnerved with those in his possession or immediately available to him? You admit yourself that professional copyists were not common until the fourth century. Origin was a very talented and prolific writer. At times those who are very talented easily become frustrated with the works of others not so talented. Under the circumstances, I am inclined to believe this is the case. Did variations exits? Undoubtedly, they exist from manuscript to manuscript, because everything was done by hand. It is difficult for humans to pick out all one’s errors. Personally, I am glad for ‘spell-check’ from Microsoft. One of the most common errors (besides spelling) was for the copyist to skip one or several lines in a manuscript because the beginning word or letter on one line was the same as that which he was copying next. We are human Mr. C., Origin’s remarks notwithstanding.


3. Beginning in the fourth century, copyists became professional copyists, so the variants became fewer.



Agreed!

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:42PM #4
John1one
Posts: 1,476

4. John Mill worked for thirty years, studying ancient copies of the Bibles extant at that time. He found more than 30,000 variants in the “New” Testament! He had around 100 manuscripts, only. Now, we have portions of 5700 manuscripts and shards of Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin Vulgate and others in other languages. Scholars attest, presently to between 200,000 and 400,000 variants! (Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman, p. 83-89). Some changes are intentional, some are accidental.



First, I think we need to understand the difference between errors and variants. An error would be a misspelled word or skipping a few lines due to the lack of attention of the copyist. A misspelled word is not an alternative reading, as a variant is. A variant is when one manuscript says one thing while another says something different. For example: for the verse you mention above over which Origen troubled himself, Matthew 15:14 reads “Leave them alone they are blind guides…” in some manuscripts. In most manuscripts, however, the same verse reads: “Leave them alone they are blind guides of the blind…” This does not represent a copy error due to lack of attention, unless the scribe inadvertently skipped a phrase in the middle of the verse. More than likely it represents an addition of a copyist to balance out the rest of the verse: “…If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.” This represents a “variation” in the text.

Most of the 200,000 to 400,000 estimates of errors AND variants would fall into the category of misspelled words or transposed words or skipping lines through inattentiveness while copying. Moreover, the worst manuscripts, i.e. the manuscripts containing the majority of the errors are the earliest manuscripts. After the beginning of the 4th century, when professional copyists were used, the errors were not nearly as great—as you also admit above in your 3rd point. Finally, it should be obvious that such errors as misspelled words, transposed words and skipping lines through inattention, are not insurmountable corruptions of the text that hide the content or meaning of the text in question. Also, such variations as shown above also do not change the meaning of the text, and such are most of the variations referred to in among the 200,000 to 400,000 estimates of both variations AND errors. Only a few variations are significant and most, if not all, of them can be explained. However NONE of them—no matter what the outcome of debate—would change the Christian message found throughout the NT scriptures. In other words, such variations in the text do not change the Christian Gospel.

John1one: Secondly, the internal evidence test asks if the account itself is believable. Does it represent the culture accurately? Is it contradictory or does it appear accurate? Does it support known truths or is it full of fallacious statements about the time and geographical location where the events took place? In other words, does it support what can be proved to be so for the time in which the document was written? The rule here is to presume the author knows more about that period than the critic. This is knows as Aristotle’s Dictum. The benefit of the doubt should be given the author and not the critic—something the Jesus Seminar **never** does. The NT manuscripts show themselves worthy of belief as far as the internal evidence test is concerned. They claim to be eyewitness accounts and act like it. They do not contradict what we know to be true concerning geography or historical figures for that time period. They are not self-contradictory, nor do they make known false statements.

Me: This helps us to see that the account is not believable. “Aristotle’s Dictum” was written before critical historical methodology. Especially when one is talking about propagandic material, which is what the Bible is, the discriminating reader ALWAYS questions the source. Try getting a doctorate. Note that you be questioned by the experts in the field who will not give you any benefit of the doubt. Neither does a competent observer merely nod one’s head and accept blindly.



How would you know the Bible is propaganda? By what means do you come to that conclusion? Do you have a method to establish an ancient work as propaganda or is it merely an opinion you have about the text which keeps you from affording it the tool used by every historian to establish what is and what is not worthy of our reception? It would seem to me that you are unable to find enough error in the text or show the authors profess known falsehoods that would disqualify them of the use of Aristotle’s Dictum. You see, Mr. C., it really makes no difference when Aristotle’s Dictum was written. It is a very fair rule. If a text professes known falsehood (which you have in previous posts testified it did) then the dictum does not endorse it. If the authors are contradictory, the dictum does not endorse their incompetence. Either the dictum stands, or by refusing it, you imply that the texts are not contradictory and the authors do not profess falsehood.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:44PM #5
John1one
Posts: 1,476

1. There are at least three different endings of Mark that have made it through. This leaves us with doubt as to what Mark wrote. Furthermore, there is “Secret Mark,” which is yet another version that fits the chiastic structure of Mark and fits into where several voids are found.

2. There are two different endings to John. There is also a block (7:53-8:12) unattested in the oldest and most reliable copies of John.



Concerning Mark, the ending is preserved in nearly all the manuscripts. Only the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and a 12 century miniscule omit it. It is contained in all the Lectionaries. The Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Gothic manuscripts all attest to it, as does Irenaeus of the 2nd century CE.

Concerning **Secret Mark**, it is a fictitious document. Neither the gospel nor the letter purported to have mentioned it were ever produced.

Concerning John 7:53-8:12, this is a very real variation which as some merit requiring exclusion. However, after one considers both sides of the argument, it really seems more likely that it should be included in the modern Bible, as testimony to the autograph. The earliest witnesses of P 66, P 75, Aleph and B for its exclusion is not as damaging as might first be thought. For example, all four manuscripts are of Egyptian origin. By the fourth century most scholars agree that the manuscripts were copied in Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Some include Caesarea here but this is not universal. Therefore, among the early witnesses we have only one represented. Whatever occurred concerning the pericope de adultera, the addition or expulsion of the text was quite early and deliberate, much earlier than the fourth century. This can be seen from the 3rd century manuscripts which exclude it. In P 66 at the end of John 7:52 there is a **dot** which scribes used to indicate an omission. Therefore, one has to wonder why the earliest Egyptian manuscripts **excluded** the pericope. The argument at this point seems moot. Was the perecope really added or was it expunged, and why?

[COLOR="Blue"]A much more likely hypothesis is that the surviving documents offer evidence for the pr-A.D. 200 state of affairs. That is to say, it seems probable that the great mass of manuscripts which contain the pericope represent the product of a long chain of transmission which reaches back into the remotest periods of copying…

What may be concluded from this data? Chiefly what can be said is that the really important evidence comes from the Latin, Coptic, and Syriac traditions. The pericope was much used in the first of these and little used in the other two. But if, as the editors of UBSGNT indicate, the Old Latin is to be assigned to the period between the second and fourth centuries, the Coptic to the third and fourth centuries, and the Syriac to the fourth century and later, it would appear that the pericope’s appearance in the Latin tradition is fully consistent with the high view of its antiquity.[/COLOR] (Zane C. Hodges; Biblica Sacra (1979)



This means that the old Latin copies supporting its inclusion predate the earliest Greek copies which seem to support its exclusion, but have a **dot** within the text indicating the exclusion precisely where John 1:53 to John 8:11 should be inserted.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:53PM #6
John1one
Posts: 1,476

3. Speaking of culture, let’s look at the view of the gospels toward Pilate and contrast those with the views of Josephus and Philo. Philo was a contemporary of Pilate and Josephus was born around the time Pilate was recalled. During the tenure of Pilate, Philo wrote a piece that described Pilate in ways totally contradictory to the apologetic way he is portrayed in the gospels. Pilate was an abusive person who had people killed on whims, without trials, as the Passion fictions suggest. Around 90 ce, Josephus also wrote of the abuses of Pilate. The gospels can not be believed in their portrayal of Pilate.



The NT paints no such picture of Pilate. Luke 13:1, which seems to be supported by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews; Book 13; Chapter 3; Sections 1-2), shows that Pilate could be a very fierce governor. The fact that he sought to release Jesus shows two things. First and foremost, the Romans prided themselves as civilized men of law. Wherever they governed they bought their culture with them and imposed it upon the people they ruled. They wanted to be seen as a fair and lawful race. Secondly, Pilate seems to have despised the Jewish leaders, and disliked having to kowtow to their religious idiosyncrasies. It is perfectly logical, if he thought the Jewish leadership was not being fair with Jesus, that he would wish to show how fair Rome could be—a kind of “in your face” approach to the self-righteous Jewish leadership which seemed to despise the Roman religious activity.

4. The view of the gospels toward the Pharisees contrasts totally with what we know of the Pharisees, from the view of Josephus. Furthermore, the arguments that Jesus supposedly used when arguing with them is both Pharisaic in style and content, according to what one finds in the earliest of the rabbinical works. Generally, scholarship holds that the monolithic portrayal of the culture of “the Jews” is polemic, meant to attack the competing post-war Judaisms. There is the phony situation of a Sanhedrin meeting at night during the Passover, turning Jesus over to Pilate for a trial, which are just jokes. There is the completely unattested “slaughter” of Herod the Great in Matthew, the corny device Luke used to get the betrothed to Bethlehem to be birthed. Looking across the gospels for consistency, there are so many inconsistencies were they actually writing about the same person? Let’s recall just a few:



Which early rabbinical works do you have in mind? The earliest are found in the Qumran, but you may be referring to the Talmud which you reject above, so I’d like for you to be clear on this point if you don’t mind.

Concerning the Pharisees, the culture of the Jews has always been quite passionate. Consider the disputes between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Both vied for leadership in the Sanhedrin. Disagreements between the two schools of Pharisaical theology had led to bloodshed at one point. The birth of the Pharisaical sect comes from the beginning of the Hasmonean period when Jews not only rebelled against Antioch, but fought the Hellenists among themselves whom they accused of bringing such a terrible curse upon them and their Temple. Anyone who presumes the Jews are not passionate toward their laws and against foreign interference in their culture probably is not familiar with or has misunderstood Jewish history.

Concerning the Sanhedrin meeting at night during the Passover season, you are correct that it was illegal for them to do that, but the text does not say the whole body met. It was select members of their party. Luke records the legal trial which occurred in the morning before the whole body. There were no false witnesses there as there was at the rehearsal. These were Jesus’ enemies, remember, and they had desired to kill him from the very beginning of his ministry, but he had eluded them every time. They were determined this would not occur again.

Concerning Matthew and Luke, on the contrary, Josephus records a very similar account showing Herod was afraid of an uprising against him that had to do with a miraculous birth that foretold his losing his governorship. Notice:

[COLOR="Blue"]041 There was also a Jewish party called Pharisees, who claimed to set a high value on detailed knowledge of the ancestral laws which are pleasing to God, by whose guidance this circle of women was ruled. This party could have greatly helped the king but were set on opposing and harming him. 042 When all the rest of the Jews swore allegiance to Caesar and the rule of the king, more than six thousand of these men did not swear, and when the king imposed a financial penalty on them, Pheroras's wife paid the fine on their behalf. 043 To repay her goodwill, since they were believed to have the foreknowledge of the future under divine inspiration, they foretold how God had decreed that Herod's rule would end and the royalty be taken from his descendants and come to her and Pheroras and their children. 044 This prediction, of which Salome was also aware, was reported to the king, and how they had perverted some people around the court, so the king had the most seriously accused of the Pharisees killed as well as [COLOR="DarkRed"]the eunuch Bagoas[/COLOR] and the king's playmate, a man named Carus, whose beauty surpassed all others at that time. He also killed all in his own household who had agreed with what[/COLOR] [COLOR="DarkRed"]the Pharisee had said. 045 Bagoas was misled by them to think he would be named the father and benefactor of the one who was to be set up as king, who would have power to do everything and could enable him to marry and beget children of his own. [/COLOR](Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; Book XVII; Chapter 2; Section 4)



The above quote also testifies of why Luke shows Joseph registering in Judea. This was not a tax, but a census. It was in honor of Augustus’ jubilee year as ruler of the Empire. The whole empire was to swear allegiance to him and the ceremonial document showing such was to be presented to him at the jubilee ceremony. That Josephus records a census is shown in his numbering the Pharisees. Joseph was singled out as a son of David (and potential rival for authority) to register and swear allegiance to both Herod (the local authority and puppet of Rome) and Caesar.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:55PM #7
John1one
Posts: 1,476

5. When was Jesus born, before 4 bce (Matt) or 6 ce (Luke)?



Actually, he was born in 3 BCE according to both Matthew and Luke.

6. Was the last supper a ritual Passover feast (synoptics) or on a different night (John)?



Actually, Jesus was crucified upon the evening (close) of Passover Day—the 14th of Ab, the first month on the Jewish calendar, and the Last Supper occurred on the same day but in the evening (beginning) of Passover Day. The days for the Jews are from sundown to sundown, not midnight to midnight like it is for us.

This is in accordance of all four Gospels. By the time of the 1st century The Festival of Passover included both Passover Day and the Days of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23). Together they were an 8 day festival. Passover Day was not a Sabbath, but the 1st day of Unleavened Bread—the 2nd day of the Passover Festival—was a Sabbath, a high Holy Day. When the NT refers to the Passover Feast Day, it is referring to the 15th day of the 1st month or the Holy Day Sabbath—the first day of the Days of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23). John 13 refers to the Sabbath Holy Day, not the Passover Day which was not a Sabbath.

7. Who witnessed the empty tomb? (We again have different people in different gospels.)



Several people and groups, which occurrence or occurrences do you have in mind?

8. What were the last words of Jesus? We have a list of those!



Jesus spoke a total of 7 times from the cross. Do you want their order or do you want to know the final saying Jesus spoke?

9. Did Jesus begin his ministry cleansing the temple (John) or more or less end it doing that (Matt, Mark and Luke)?



Actually, all four Gospels speak of the cleansing of the Temple and each record testifies of a different occurrence upon a different day. The Synoptics speak of three occurrences in four days during the final week prior to Jesus’ death and John’s record is where it should be—near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

10. Which genealogy is correct? Matt and Luke have different ones.



Both are correct. Don’t you have two genealogies beginning with both your parents? Matthew records Joseph’s genealogy, while Luke record’s Mary’s.

11. Was the ministry one year (synoptics) or three (John)?



Actually, it was 3 ½ years, and this can be seen by comparing all four Gospel accounts.

12. Were Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem during the birth of Jesus (Matt) and then, coming back from Egypt become afraid to go back home, or were they from Nazareth (Luke)?



Actually, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth before going to Bethlehem. Joseph may, indeed, have been planning to change his residence to Bethlehem in light of Mary’s pregnancy and how it would be viewed in his hometown, but he reconsidered when he saw Archelaus was having so much trouble in Judea. Since he was David’s descendent, it might be construed that both he and the babe were threats to his governorship.

13. Did Jesus get crucified the day after Passover (synoptics) or before (John)?



See above in point #6. What is confused here is the Passover Day (not a Sabbath) and the Feast of Passover, the high Holy Day.

14. We find variants in scriptures that are purposefully antiadoptionist, antidocetic, anti-Jewish, apologetic, and antiseparationist alterations in the texts.



Am I supposed to guess what variants you have in mind or do you intend to offer examples?

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:56PM #8
John1one
Posts: 1,476

The internal inconsistency of the gospels is appalling. The internal differences between copies in antiquity can be seen as either intentional or unnintentional. It is, however, a lesson on what history is not! (Note that history as an objective study is only around 200 years old… And, it plays hell with non-historical books like the Bible.



Really? What I find appalling is the gross ineptitude of scholars who should know better. However, when one considers they have an agenda to accomplish rather than the truth to reveal, it becomes understandable that their ineptness is really bias in disguise. :-)

You are correct in that the internal differences between the copies in antiquity can be seen as either intentional or unintentional, nevertheless, they are not insurmountable. The autographs are visible when comparison of manuscripts are made and logical conclusions drawn. Your presumption that they are not history is premature to say the least. History as an objective study may indeed be only 200 years old, but you have not shown just cause that this **objective study** should reject the Gospel narratives.

John1one: Finally, the external evidence test asks: what do others who lived during that time period or shortly afterward say about what the author has written? Especially valuable would be the opinions of enemies in this regard. The church fathers in the next three centuries quote and confirm the testimony of the NT. Josephus confirms several events noted in the NT sometimes directly other times indirectly, but always within the timeframe the events took place. The Talmud records the testimony of some rabbis concerning Jesus that confirm he was tried by the Jewish leaders of the day and executed. They also confirm the NT’s claim that Jesus was a miracle worker, though they do this by saying Jesus was a sorcerer (the confirmation comes from an unfriendly source). Moreover, certain Roman historians and officials also confirm certain events recorded in the NT which include the crucifixion of Jesus under Pilate and the expulsion of Jews, including Jewish Christians, from Rome during the reign of Claudius. Furthermore, archeology has been a useful tool in the support of NT verification. We can say that nothing we know to be true about the 1st century has been used to disclaim anything written in the NT.

Me: External evidence of Jesus is totally lacking. We have absolutely no scrap of evidence that Jesus existed outside the canon until after the earliest writings of the canon. Only one, a very short block, written by Josephus after at least Mark was written is the only first century external evidence. Most scholars (according to a survey of the literature by Feldman) see that as at least a partial if not total extrapolation. But that doesn’t matter, because there is no reason to think Josephus wouldn’t have had access to Mark by the 90’s. Note, he discussed the sects of Judaism within Palestine even in the 70’s, but in that book (Wars of the Jews) he mentions nothing about a sect that would be Christianity. We have two early second century citations, from Tacitus and Seutonius. The former is probably an interpolation because though Nero is loathed by early Christian writers, they don’t mention the “fire” accusations. In the latter, Seutonius doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about. (Niether matter, since they are second century and by then, there is a Christianity.)

Looking at the gospels through the lens provided, using external, bibliographic and internal evidence, it is easy to see that Jesus was a fictive character. That’s why the JS, the Tubingens, the Dutch and others use far more rigorous scrutiny of the scriptures.
MisterC



If not a single gentile historian named Jesus or referred to him or his immediate followers in any of the said historians’ works, why should this be surprising? Do any of them mention John the Baptist? How many of them record Herod’s war with his neighboring communities which got him in trouble with Augustus? Do any of them record the minor uprisings of the Jews that were handled by the Roman governors of the day like when Pilate had a number of Jews murdered who didn’t like him raiding the Temple treasury to finance the new aqueduct? If Pilate didn’t see Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, a threat to Rome, why would any of the Roman historians record even a line about Jesus? If any did, that would certainly be in our favor, but if none did, how could it be to our hurt?

Concerning Josephus, as I said earlier, Josephus had two references to Jesus, only the first is controversial among most scholars. The second only mentions Jesus as the brother of James, who was murdered by the high priest.

Concerning Josephus not mentioning Christians as a sect in Palestine, Josephus is writing near the end of the 1st century and after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. When he listed the sects of the Jews, he listed them near the beginning of the current era, during Archelaus’ reign (Antiquities; Book 18; chapter 1; section 2-6)—there were no Christians at that time. To list them there would have been inappropriate. He does list them in “The Testimonium Flavianum,” and most scholars don’t have a problem with that portion of the citation. He does not number them—how could he? He was writing after the Jews were dispersed into all countries.

Continued below…

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 7:57PM #9
John1one
Posts: 1,476
[QUOTE=MisterC;1003310] John1one "The NT manuscripts show themselves worthy of belief as far as the internal evidence test is concerned. They claim to be eyewitness accounts and act like it. They do not contradict what we know to be true concerning geography or historical figures for that time period. They are not self-contradictory, nor do they make known false statements."

1. They don't claim to be "eyewitness" accounts, except for the second ending of John.

2. They don't act like eyewitiness accounts. Matt and Luke have birth narratives. Eyewitness??? Eyewitness of Jesus going off by himself and praying (in the three synoptics)? Who was a "fly on the wall" in the Passion Fiction? Peter was outside in the courtyard.



As you mention, John claims to be an eyewitness account, but his first chapter could not be construed to be wholly the product of eyewitness testimony. Showing Jesus to be God in flesh and the Word of God reveals John’s theology. So too, the birth narratives, though not the “eyewitness” material are, nevertheless, necessary to support the conclusion of the eyewitnesses. Moreover, they present themselves as eyewitnesses when they quote Jesus and what others said to him. Whenever things like this were done, the narratives show someone was always with or in hearing distance of Jesus. In his second letter, Peter claims his testimony (found in Mark) is eyewitness testimony. Luke is the exception, but he doesn’t make himself out to be the eyewitness, only the recorder of such, as he tells us in Luke 1:1-4.

3. Geography? Mark called Lake Gennesaret a sea, which leads us to believe the author was nowhere near a real sea. He knows nothing in Galilee west of the Sea of Galilee. He doesn't understand the north-south relationship of Tyre to Sidon (7:31), he links Judea and Beyond the Jordon together (10:1, he misaligns the relationship of Bethphage to Bethany and Jerusalem (11:1). He only mentions cities in Galilee that are west of the Sea of Galilee. Those errors are actually rather famous.



I believe you are speaking of Luke. He referred to the Sea of Galilee/Gennesaret as a lake. “Lake” Gennesaret is the same as the Sea of Galilee, which was also called the Sea of Tiberius. The word used by Luke for lake describes a body of water—large or small. Since we refer to the Great Lakes as lakes, I really don’t see your argument. Any one of the Great Lakes is larger than the Sea of Galilee.

Concerning Sidon, nothing is mentioned of direction, so why should you presume such. Jesus went north to Sidon for a reason before he went south to the Sea of Galilee. The narrative has sequence of events in mind, not direction of travel as you presume. 

4. "Historical figures." I discussed the contrast of Pilate. The John the Baptist tales and preaching found in the gospels are at odds with the John the Baptist of Josephus. Herodias and Antipas are also treated differently.



Concerning John the Baptist and Josephus [Antiquities; Book 18; chapter 5; section 2] you will have to be more specific, because I don’t see any contradiction in Josephus’ account and the Gospels. They are slightly different in content, but not contradictory.

5. I think I covered self-contradictory, though there is a wealth of other infor!



Well, you can either respond to my replies or delve into the “wealth” of other info.

6. "False statements." It depends... When Luke or Mark take a basic story or aphorism from Mark and add their theology to it, is that "false?" It misrepresents the earliest.



First of all, I believe you mean Luke and Matthew v/s Mark, not Luke and Mark v/s Mark. Secondly, you presume a priority of Mark. I do not. I believe Matthew and Luke preceded Mark, and Mark’s Gospel represents a transcript of Peter’s oratory efforts at Rome, probably reading from Matthew and Luke and adding his own commentary. Finally, I am unaware of what you mean by a misrepresentation. There were no such thing as quotation marks in the 1st century, the implication being, a reasonable facsimile of what was said or done would have been in good order. They had no idea at the time of their writing how much emphasis we would have placed upon an **exact** saying of Jesus. Speaking in context and offering a good summary or gist of what he said was and is perfectly acceptable.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2009 - 8:01PM #10
John1one
Posts: 1,476
Mr. C.,

I need to take a break to attend to some personal business. I don't see how I will be able to respond to anything you reply before Sunday evening. That is to say, I will have the time to begin to formulate my response by then. So, feel free to take your time or not  as you wish. I am merely saying, for the next few days, I will be unable to respond to anything you post. Until then, have a good weekend.
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