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5 years ago  ::  Feb 24, 2010 - 9:52AM #31
Community.beliefnet.comstone
Posts: 180

Feb 24, 2010 -- 5:17AM, Mufasa0222 wrote:


Feb 23, 2010 -- 5:39PM, Community.beliefnet.comstone wrote:


None of the things you reference showing Paul's "ignorance" appear in the earliest strata of the Gospels, canonical and/or noncanonical.  So in fact, I would not be surprised if those things were never written down or "known" until after the seven authentic Paulines.  The latest scholarly consensus is that the earliest textual strata for Jesus's doings are the sayings of the Gospel of Thomas, the double tradition in Matt./Luke and the sayings in 1 Corinthians.  Mark is a mixed bag, and the non-double-tradition material in Matt./Luke is generally unreliable, while John is -- forget it.  If we want to see what Paul does emphatically show of Jesus as a human being in the authentic Paulines, we see various details that match well the latest consensus on the earliest strata in the canonical and noncanonical Gospels --


Walther




Before i get to your "proof texts," let me make sure i understand what you're saying here: You (and the scholarly consensus on the earliest strata) don't believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, turned water into wine, walked on water, fed many, healed many, raised one from the dead, etc.? You believe this was all mythological material later added to the story of Jesus?


Art




That those ingredients are for the most part put aside by the academic secular scholarly community is generally true.  Modern scholars take only the earliest stratum of sayings far more seriously as genuine historic documentation.


The one (possible) exception in your list is (sometimes) taken to be the healing part, which some modern scholars have supposed may indeed constitute occasional exaggeration of aspects of Jesus's real ministry rather than downright fabrication.  He may have in fact assisted occasionally at comforting the gravely ill now and then.  He may have even helped heal a few as well, although not with that virtual snap of the fingers suggested in some Gospel narratives.


Cheers,


Walther

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 24, 2010 - 6:41PM #32
Mufasa0222
Posts: 6

Just had a thought that i wanted to share/get your take on, before we get back to the human vs. myth thread. It occurs to me that i could wax eloquently and brilliantly for the myth side, and you likewise for the human side, and neither of us would budge an inch from our present position if you have a profound need to believe in an external god/Jesus and i have a profound need not to. But there still may be hope for agreement at the experiential (as opposed to the doctrinal) level. What i mean is this: I don't know whether you're familiar with William James' Varieties of Religious Experience, but in it he makes an observation that i believe is relevant herein. He says, paraphrasing, that often people in every culture and clime experience Something they take to be "Higher," Divine. Then, depending on the culture, there is a tendency to interpret that experience in terms of the dominant religious paradigm of that culture. That was my experience. Back in my teen years i encountered Something, and for a while interpreted that Something as God/Yahweh. Subsequent years of seminary, and life, have abolished that interpretation (and i use the word "abolished" quite purposefully). But my belief in the Something stands as strong today, more than 30 years down the road, as ever. I don't know about your experience--whether you likewise experienced Something and subsequently accepted the reigning Western interpretation as God/Yahweh/Jesus or not. But if so, i submit that, whatever the outcome of our human vs. myth conversation, we can still be "Brothers in Something," if you will.


Gotta get some sleep. I work the graveyard shift.


Art


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 12:56AM #33
Community.beliefnet.comstone
Posts: 180

Feb 24, 2010 -- 6:41PM, Mufasa0222 wrote:


Just had a thought that i wanted to share/get your take on, before we get back to the human vs. myth thread. It occurs to me that i could wax eloquently and brilliantly for the myth side, and you likewise for the human side, and neither of us would budge an inch from our present position if you have a profound need to believe in an external god/Jesus and i have a profound need not to. But there still may be hope for agreement at the experiential (as opposed to the doctrinal) level. What i mean is this: I don't know whether you're familiar with William James' Varieties of Religious Experience, but in it he makes an observation that i believe is relevant herein. He says, paraphrasing, that often people in every culture and clime experience Something they take to be "Higher," Divine. Then, depending on the culture, there is a tendency to interpret that experience in terms of the dominant religious paradigm of that culture. That was my experience. Back in my teen years i encountered Something, and for a while interpreted that Something as God/Yahweh. Subsequent years of seminary, and life, have abolished that interpretation (and i use the word "abolished" quite purposefully). But my belief in the Something stands as strong today, more than 30 years down the road, as ever. I don't know about your experience--whether you likewise experienced Something and subsequently accepted the reigning Western interpretation as God/Yahweh/Jesus or not. But if so, i submit that, whatever the outcome of our human vs. myth conversation, we can still be "Brothers in Something," if you will.


Gotta get some sleep. I work the graveyard shift.


Art




Just to be fair, I'll give my perspective, which is rather amorphous. Personally, I suppose I might call myself a weak Deist, perhaps. I see a number of "adepts" throughout history actively prodding along increased community inclusiveness (Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, etc.), and they always seem to risk some counter-cultural "spin" on deity along with their pioneering work. I feel that's a bit too much of a coincidence to be overlooked.

If they all just followed the prevailing metaphysical model of their peers, that could be easily discounted as simply following their parents. But it's odd that they always introduce something different and personally risky in some new conceptualization of the metaphysical instead. Why this odd personal experience leading them to buck the prevailing brand of theism again and again?  Why this odd symbiotic relationship through the millennia between peer-bucking social consciences and peer-bucking spins on the metaphysical/deitic?

Consequently, I think they are showing some vague awareness of something fairly tangible that highly ethical "adepts" can grow acutely conscious of (sorry, dangling participle......).  It almost looks as if the same odd something-or-other/thingummybob is somehow at the back of both the peer-bucking spins on social inclusiveness and the peer-bucking spins on the metaphysical/deitic.  Of course, this is only true of the initial pioneers like Buddha/Jesus/etc., since the second these individualistic ideas get swallowed up by subsequent followers and institutions of the succeeding generations and centuries, they habitually lose all sense of social conscience entirely.

So I don't think any institutionalized creed has any inkling, let alone a monopoly, of any "true" understanding of what that "something" really is -- only the initial pioneer has a very vague sense of its essence that dies with that pioneer.

Anyway, that's my take on it.


Cheers,


Walther

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 7:54AM #34
Dennis
Posts: 1,433

On the other hand, that has little to do with The Jesus Seminar purposes. The original purpose was to glean the historical Jesus from the mythical Christ, to anchor Jesus in his humanity, so to speak. It has looked at the gospel in terms of "historical" sayings and acts. (Less than 20% were seen as possibly "historical," and even that is fairly high, when compared to earlier scholars' work.) The supernatural, of course, doesn't come into play, as historical. It also has taken a look at Acts of the Apostles, a fiction (in the mode of Homer, Vergil and others) largely created to establish the proto-orthodoxy over the Marcionites and other proto-Christianities of the second century. Yet another facet has looked at the Paulines and has a new version that will be on the market this year. Presently, it is looking at Christian origins. There are some intriguing papers coming from the scholars in the Seminar.


Dennis


(Bob, I thought it might behoove us, though members have generally left for a different Jesus Seminar forum, to at least have one actual JS associate (me) to check back here regularly and comment.) 


 


Feb 24, 2010 -- 6:41PM, Mufasa0222 wrote:


Just had a thought that i wanted to share/get your take on, before we get back to the human vs. myth thread. It occurs to me that i could wax eloquently and brilliantly for the myth side, and you likewise for the human side, and neither of us would budge an inch from our present position if you have a profound need to believe in an external god/Jesus and i have a profound need not to. But there still may be hope for agreement at the experiential (as opposed to the doctrinal) level. What i mean is this: I don't know whether you're familiar with William James' Varieties of Religious Experience, but in it he makes an observation that i believe is relevant herein. He says, paraphrasing, that often people in every culture and clime experience Something they take to be "Higher," Divine. Then, depending on the culture, there is a tendency to interpret that experience in terms of the dominant religious paradigm of that culture. That was my experience. Back in my teen years i encountered Something, and for a while interpreted that Something as God/Yahweh. Subsequent years of seminary, and life, have abolished that interpretation (and i use the word "abolished" quite purposefully). But my belief in the Something stands as strong today, more than 30 years down the road, as ever. I don't know about your experience--whether you likewise experienced Something and subsequently accepted the reigning Western interpretation as God/Yahweh/Jesus or not. But if so, i submit that, whatever the outcome of our human vs. myth conversation, we can still be "Brothers in Something," if you will.


Gotta get some sleep. I work the graveyard shift.


Art


 





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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 12:40PM #35
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,963

Feb 25, 2010 -- 7:54AM, Dennis wrote:


.....................(Bob, I thought it might behoove us, though members have generally left for a different Jesus Seminar forum, to at least have one actual JS associate (me) to check back here regularly and comment.) 


 




I absolutely agree. The more Historical Jesus discussion there is, the better, regardless of where it takes place. I'm even trying to get them to talk about it at Church. Surprised

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 5:09PM #36
Community.beliefnet.comstone
Posts: 180

Feb 25, 2010 -- 12:40PM, RJMcElwain wrote:


Feb 25, 2010 -- 7:54AM, Dennis wrote:


.....................(Bob, I thought it might behoove us, though members have generally left for a different Jesus Seminar forum, to at least have one actual JS associate (me) to check back here regularly and comment.) 


 




I absolutely agree. The more Historical Jesus discussion there is, the better, regardless of where it takes place. I'm even trying to get them to talk about it at Church.




The problem is, there are two historical Jesus discussions going on, and most in the offline world who are interested in this at all are more interested in the one -- assessing the relative historicity of various narrative and sayings aspects in the different chronological strata of Jesus materials, as they relate to what Jesus most likely said and did (aspects where sorely missed posters like Gene used to contribute) -- while the most vocal minority on line are most interested in the other -- not even discussing but strenuously proselytizing the faith belief that there was never a real human Jesus who taught the kind of philosophy attributed to him at all.


Another dynamic that I've noted in the past few years is that whenever there is an online discussion that threatens to become a serious scholarly discussion on the plausibility of individual narrative and sayings elements in the various strata, a small ill-educated gang of mythers always descend to derail the whole discussion by pouring ridicule on and disrupting any attempt at serious up-to-date exchanges on the newest research in the Historical Jesus question -- the HJ question as defined by thoughtful scholars like Crossan, Spong, our own Gene, and so on.  You can't expect serious JS Fellows to stick around for that!


I find it highly amusing that mythers on one or two forums are finally starting to be challenged this year in the same way that they themselves disrupted forum after forum throughout the past decade.  And they're suddenly crying "Foul" when they're just getting a taste of their own schoolyard medicine!


At bottom, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of what is entailed in the discipline of scholarly historical peer-reviewed research.  I don't pretend to be a professional historian, but I do know a little something of the profession, since my father was a published tenured history professor, whose classes I sometimes attended and who happened to be a lifelong atheist.


If anyone wants to see how the rubber hits the road once the faux history behind mythers is directly challenged once and for all, they can check out this thread at another forum --


www.freeratio.org/showthread.php?t=28367...


Walther

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 6:46PM #37
Dennis
Posts: 1,433

On the other hand, two of the most prominent scholars out there, Thomas L. Thompson and Robert Price (who is a Jesus Seminar scholar) will argue, with totally different reasons/arguments, that there is no good evidence that the Jesus of the gospels existed, and, in Thompson's case, a very strong one, that the purpose of the gospels was an amalgamation of ancient Near East themes that were not even intended historically. Even the Acts Seminar (Jesus Seminar Acts scholars) has concluded that Acts of the Apostles has very little, if any, historicity, but was a reaction to the threat of Marcionism, written with Homer and Vergil as two of its literature models. Just a few months ago, a JS scholar in a discussion agreed with me that, in light of this and the new dating of Acts (to the second century, 120-150, depending on the scholar), the gospel of Luke needs to be looked at... If they were written by, as most agree, the same author, could the gospel of Luke have been a reaction to the gospel Marcion used? It seems evident that (and this research was done a hundred years ago) "Luke" is a reworking of the gospel used by Marcion.


Any study of the "historical Jesus" has to take these claim seriously and realize that they have as much merit as any other studies.


Dennis

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 7:34PM #38
Mufasa0222
Posts: 6

Feb 25, 2010 -- 5:09PM, Community.beliefnet.comstone wrote:


 


. . . the most vocal minority on line are most interested in the other -- not even discussing but strenuously proselytizing the faith belief that there was never a real human Jesus who taught the kind of philosophy attributed to him at all.


. . . a small ill-educated gang of mythers always descend to derail the whole discussion by pouring ridicule on and disrupting any attempt at serious up-to-date exchanges on the newest research in the Historical Jesus question . . .


I find it highly amusing that mythers on one or two forums are finally starting to be challenged this year in the same way that they themselves disrupted forum after forum throughout the past decade.  And they're suddenly crying "Foul" when they're just getting a taste of their own schoolyard medicine!


At bottom, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of what is entailed in the discipline of scholarly historical peer-reviewed research.  


Walther




As you can see, you can practically count on one hand the number of times i've posted . . . was kind of worried in asking you about some derogatory comments you'd previously made about the mythicist position that i'd be violating some sort of posting protocol . . . by your comments above i see that i have . . . i'll bow out now . . . maybe catch you later in a thread specifically dedicated to HJ vs. MJ . . . thanks for the lead to the other thread . . . i'd only read some Doherty . . . didn't even know there were other "mythers" out there . . . take care.


Art


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 9:28PM #39
Community.beliefnet.comstone
Posts: 180

Feb 25, 2010 -- 6:46PM, Dennis wrote:


Even the Acts Seminar (Jesus Seminar Acts scholars) has concluded that Acts of the Apostles has very little, if any, historicity




 


That's hardly new.  Acts was generally judged highly ........ flavorful ........ from the point when serious work was first started on Q, when the seven authentic Paulines were already viewed as more trustworthy than Acts.


 


Walther

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 26, 2010 - 7:52AM #40
Dennis
Posts: 1,433

There is very little narrative found in the Paulines. The largest block of narrative is found in Galatians, which is unattested before the last half of the second century, when it was seen as being discovered by Marcion (See Tertullian and Irenaeus) and had to be explained ("defended") on the terms of Marcion.


The same basic group (the Tubingens) responsible for the notion of 'seven authentic Paulines' had whittled that to four by the mid-19th century. This was pared to none authentic by the end of the nineteenth century... The only rational reason they are still considered "authentic" has nothing to do with their authenticity and everything to do with the fact that the theology of Christianity can not withstand this knowledge. (That is not, however, the stance of the JS, probably... We will know more about that when the book is published. The notion that they are essential to Christian theology and that this plays a part in the bias of "authenticity" is from two "Forum" articles that came out when the study started, from the late Winsome Munro and from Darryl Doughty, two JS scholars.)


Dennis


Feb 25, 2010 -- 9:28PM, Community.beliefnet.comstone wrote:


Feb 25, 2010 -- 6:46PM, Dennis wrote:


Even the Acts Seminar (Jesus Seminar Acts scholars) has concluded that Acts of the Apostles has very little, if any, historicity




 


That's hardly new.  Acts was generally judged highly ........ flavorful ........ from the point when serious work was first started on Q, when the seven authentic Paulines were already viewed as more trustworthy than Acts.


 


Walther





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