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Switch to Forum Live View The BIBLE: Reliability and Historical Accuracy
2 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 8:01PM #21
Iwantamotto
Posts: 7,782

Rgurley4:  The Bible (Scripture) is the supreme authority when compared to other writings and precepts in all matters....especially "doctrine" = absolute spiritual truth!


How did the people in the bible believe before a bible existed?


The authors and their scribes recorded these words in "original manuscripts" which were without error.


Bull.  The gospels can't even get their facts straight.  The NT says Satan tempted Eve.  Chronicles has a few tweaks to the facts shown in Kings, etc.  There were issues with copyist errors, and that's not counting translation issues.


Systematic study of Scripture leads one to the conclusion that it is God's supreme way of speaking to Man.


So God texted "Let there be Light"?  How ... did ... people ... deal ... with ... God ... when ... the ... bible ... did ... NOT ... exist?


The Bible as a piece of literature is withhout peer, and it has been miraculously inspired, dictated, written, copied, preserved, translated, and distributed.


Meh.  I liked Raptor Red too.


Anyway, I find it amusing that "conservative" Christianity takes far more liberties with the scriptures than "liberals" do.


Joe68:  These facts do not prove that the Bible is historically true, but it does mean we know what the original writers wrote.


You would only know that if we had the originals, and we don't.  If everyone all over the globe writes out the alphabet as ABCDEFCOOKIEMONSTER, that doesn't make it accurate.


It has been shown to be correct in its description of geographical locations, its flora, fauna, and cultural milieu.


There are massive anachronisms.  Why do you think the bible includes phrases like "to this day", if not to suggest that it was written far after anyone knew what they were talking about?  How did "Moses" write about A&E if no one else was around?  Why are people like Philistines used as villains in scenes where archaeology suggests they weren't even there?


make direct reference to Jesus


I've seen lots of claims about Christianity as a group and what they believe, but I've never seen a quote that talks about Jesus as though they were reporting "live" or anything.  Saying "Christians believe in Jesus, whom they call the Messiah" says NOTHING about Jesus being the Messiah, only that a group was saying that.


Critics dismissed the Book of Daniel, partly because there was no evidence that a king named Belshazzar ruled in Babylon during that time period. However, later archaeological research confirmed that the reigning monarch, Nabonidus, appointed Belshazzar as his co-regent whi1e he was away from Babylon.


And we know from other historical documents that Abraham Lincoln really existed, but that doesn't make him a vampire hunter.


Proving the presence of nouns does not prove verbs.  Sorry.


Oftentimes the very cause that a historian or biographer supports requires them to write their accounts accurately, for they know that their cause will be undermined if they are charged with bias or distortion. The first Christians had the uphill battle of promoting a crucified Messiah and His bodily resurrection. Had they been known to have falsified the details of their accounts to any significant degree, their movement would have been squelched from the outset.


That's what Jews attempted, and the Romans, but they started fighting each other again and somehow Christians managed to weasel their way into society.  Christians WERE being accused of lying, which blows this entire argument all to hell.


If the Gospel writers felt free to distort what Jesus originally said or historical events in order to increase the attractiveness of Christianity, why would they preserve unmodified His difficult and easily misunderstood teachings about hating family members (Lk 14:26) or not knowing when He would return (Mk 13:32)?


Because they thought He was coming back quick.  He did, but it was a pointless cameo, nothing more.  The "Second Coming" we're all supposedly waiting for already happened.  Any return would be a Third.


Nor did they modify the text where they all denied Christ. Nor did they modify the text where Christ rebuked them on several occasions. Why keep in these embarrassing details if they could modify the texts?


To show the Way is hard to swallow, but worth it in the end.  Also, whitewashing characters is against biblical thematic usage. OT heroes, even God, have "issues".  If you want to prove your story is just as good as the ones in the OT, you have to keep with the theme.


The easiest way to settle the controversy would be to cite Jesus' teachings on the matter, but the Gospels record no such teachings.


They add stories that seem to imply where Jesus was going with His ideas.  At first, He only cares about the people of Israel.  We gentiles were dogs to Him.  If you walked up to Jesus, He'd be an ass just because you're not a Jew.  However, He starts to realize from the centurion and the gentile chick that ... GASP ... non-Jews can be faithful too!  Imagine that!  He finally forgives them for they know not what they do.  Well, Jews didn't kill Jesus.  Romans did, and technically they WOULDN'T have known what they were doing because He made it a point not to deal with them a lot.  Maybe they wouldn't have been so pissed had He incorporated gentiles in the mission.


However it is not reasonable to think that we have enough data to confirm every single event.


The global flood cannot have happened.  We have more evidence of a global catastrophe around the KT boundary.  We have no evidence of a global flood.


Tpaine:  Plato's Apology of Socrates


I remember writing an essay in my Lit class in college that since the Greek classics were used to learn Greek, and the NT was in Greek, it seems likely that Jesus' trial scenes are just localized "dubs" of Socrates' trial, just making Jesus less verbose than Socrates was.  Either way, you have two characters who pissed off authorities, were charged with blasphemy, but in reality are executed for political reasons.  Both have students who are rather depressed about it but continue on and further develop their masters' teachings, despite continued irritation by the public at large.  Only by combining influence with powerful leaders (Caesar/Alexander) can they hope to spread their influence into the future.


Joe68:  The claim that the Bible has “so many contradictions, false statements, misinterpretations, and mis-attributions” has yet to be demonstrated


Usually it involves a remarkable, nay, profound lack of reading comprehension skills.


So how does this make it a “mistranslation”?


It's a mistranslation if it's not what the original author said.


Rgurley4:  MY BELIEFS:  I view the Bible as the "Scarlet Thread of Redemption"


Personally, as a Christian, I find God to be the source of my salvation and redemption.  Your mileage may vary, apparently.


I don't treat my God as Kero trapped in the Cardcaptors book for centuries.  My God is not trapped by mere ink and paper.


The bible says that they found "the Law" during the monarchy.  That's it.  No Creation Story.  No Exodus.  Basically, Deuteronomy.  That makes all the rest of it to be made up during the monarchy.  The entire OT up to that point is designed to suggest what the kings demanded in their propaganda.  Shepherds are better than farmers, because King David was a shepherd and needed street cred amongst the cities he wanted to conquer.  Patriarchs had descendants whose exploits explain why certain tribes hated or loved each other during the monarchy period.  This helps explain the common phrase "to this day".  This makes no sense if the stories were remotely "current" as to the setting of the plot.  It only makes sense if the audience is far removed from the situation, which they were.  Jacob has 12 kids, not because he really did, but because there were 12 tribes that formed an alliance as the monarchy was forming.

Moderated by world citizen on May 18, 2012 - 09:42PM
Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
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2 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 10:03PM #22
Rgurley4
Posts: 7,851

The question put: " Is the New Testament historically accurate? "
 To rephrase, " Has the COLLECTION of books and letters as piece of literature known as the NT passed acceptable TESTS to make it accurate enough to be BELIEVABLE?"


Similar to: "Are the writings of PLATO historically accurate?"...Research that one?!?


PRIMARY TESTS: Authenticity and Authority.
The first passing: all 27 books were accepted by the Council of Carthage, ~397 AD.
There are more than 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament....the best attested document of ALL ancient writings.
There are numerous fragments dating from ~135 -800 AD written on papyrus. There are hundreds of accurate parchment copies produced in the 4th-5th centuries. There are ~86,000 quotations in old Latin, Latin, Syriac, and Egyptian translations from the 3rd century. There is more scholarly work done on this piece of literature than any other in existence.(Ryrie 2084)


Conclusion: The New Testament translations in ANY version have been based on copious, reliable, accurate, authentic words from ~40 authors who were authorized and accepted spirit-led "historians".

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2 years ago  ::  May 18, 2012 - 11:18PM #23
Ken
Posts: 33,860

May 18, 2012 -- 10:03PM, Rgurley4 wrote:


The question put: " Is the New Testament historically accurate? "
 To rephrase, " Has the COLLECTION of books and letters as piece of literature known as the NT passed acceptable TESTS to make it accurate enough to be BELIEVABLE?"


No.


Similar to: "Are the writings of PLATO historically accurate?"...Research that one?!?


That's a silly question to ask. Plato wasn't writing history. He was writing philosophy.


PRIMARY TESTS: Authenticity and Authority.
The first passing: all 27 books were accepted by the Council of Carthage, ~397 AD.
There are more than 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament....the best attested document of ALL ancient writings.
There are numerous fragments dating from ~135 -800 AD written on papyrus. There are hundreds of accurate parchment copies produced in the 4th-5th centuries. There are ~86,000 quotations in old Latin, Latin, Syriac, and Egyptian translations from the 3rd century. There is more scholarly work done on this piece of literature than any other in existence.(Ryrie 2084)


None of these are tests for historical accuracy. Why do you think they are?

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2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 2:48AM #24
Namchuck
Posts: 10,798

May 18, 2012 -- 10:03PM, Rgurley4 wrote:


The question put: " Is the New Testament historically accurate? "
 



Honest biblical scholarship knows that there are innumerous historical inaccuracies in the New Testament, just as there are countless inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and contradictions within and between its books


And it doesn't really matter how supposedly "accurate" thousands of succeeding manuscripts of the Bible might be if those closest to the originals are full of errors and mistakes.

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2 years ago  ::  May 21, 2012 - 6:10PM #25
Iwantamotto
Posts: 7,782

Rgurley4:  The first passing: all 27 books were accepted by the Council of Carthage, ~397 AD.


So what?  Like God asks Job, "Were you THERE?"


There are more than 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament....the best attested document of ALL ancient writings.


OH, wow, that proves it ...


There are numerous fragments dating from ~135 -800 AD written on papyrus.


Again ... so?  Nearly all of the canon takes place way BEFORE that....


Show me a "Moses wuz here, yo" on some rock near Egypt and THEN we can talk.

Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
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2 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 11:25AM #26
Joe68
Posts: 289

Re: Matthew and Luke disagree on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.


Matthew provides enough data to help us reconcile the two accounts. Herod's order to kill all children two years old and under is a strong indication that the Magi did not arrive immediately after the birth of Jesus, but some time afterwards. Otherwise it would have been quite foolish for Herod to issue such a command if Jesus were only an infant. We are not told how old Jesus was at the arrival of the Magi. He may have been a one-year-old or even 18 months. Whatever the age, it seems clear, that the Magi's visitation didn't occur only days after Christ's birth.


Luke, on the other hand, states that Jesus was still an infant when Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth. So we have events that are two years apart, so it is no wonder they don’t agree.


Re: The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke are almost completely different yet both claim it is the genealogy thorough Joseph. (Matthew 1:16) (Luke 3:23)


I’ve addressed this elsewhere. See hereOn page 22, around post 218.


Re: The events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus differ between Mark and John


There are several preparations: the "preparation" for the Feast of Unleavened Bread; the "preparation" for the Passover meal; the "preparation" for the Passover-bullock; and the "preparation" for the Sabbath which coincided with the feast. Now understanding these preparations is the key to understanding the accuracy and intent of the passages. The Passover meal was taken by Jesus and his disciples in the evening, the same time all the other Jews partake of it. However, the feast or the offering of Passover-bullock at the time of Jesus coincided after his crucifixion. Therefore Jesus was crucified daytime after the Passover meal but before the feast of the Passover-Sabbath.


Re: The stories about the death of Judas differ between Matthew and Acts (Luke).


Like the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (and many other Bible events) these two verses simply supplement each other. It is not an either/or scenario. Judas, indeed, “hanged himself,” and sometime later, his body fell headfirst, causing his midsection to burst open.


When a person dies, the body begins to decompose. As a result, gases are released within the body, which in turn cause it to swell. It certainly is not difficult to imagine that a dead human body, which may have been swelling for a number of days, could have fallen a short distance (from wherever it was hanging), and easily burst open when striking the ground.


Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 cannot be accepted as legitimately contradicting each other if it is possible for both to be true—and it certainly is scientifically and logistically possible for both incidents to have occurred. Neither of the statements concerning the death of Judas is contradictory. Simply put, one does not exclude the other.


According to ancient tradition, Judas hanged himself above the Valley of Hinnom on the edge of a cliff. Eventually the rope snapped or was cut or the neck gave way, thus causing his body to fall headfirst into the field below, as Luke described. Matthew does not deny that Judas fell and had his entrails gush out, and Luke does not deny that Judas hanged himself. In short, Matthew records the method in which Judas attempted his death. Luke reports the end result.


Obviously, we have been reading different textual criticisms. We do know that scribes both added and deleted text over the centuries. Passages like the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:12) was added by a scribe at a later date as were the last 12 verses of Mark, and I Corinthians 14:33-36 because they do not exist in the oldest, most accurate, manuscripts.


One of the goals of textual criticism is to determine what the original text is. So to point out that John 7:53-8:12, or the last 12 verses of Mark, or I Corinthians 14:33-36 do not exist in the oldest, most accurate manuscripts and thus most likely not original simply shows that textual critics have done their job. We have a high degree of confidence what the original texts consisted of.


The credibility of the authors depends on how they received their information. If they actually witnessed the events they wrote about it would be more accurate than if it were hearsay evidence from people who heard it from other people. 


So if Matthew (for example) was written by somebody other than Matthew then it is not an eyewitness account? It would seem that if one wanted to evaluate the historical nature of the Bible (the theme of this thread) they would do so by examining the text to see if it corresponds to known history. And if the Bible does correspond to known history, then is its historicity overturned because of authorship issues? That seems to make no sense. If one has questions concerning whether or not a text was written by an eyewitness it would seem that one would have to do that by making a case for a later date for the texts.


Simply put: While an eyewitness is better than hearsay, a known author could be historically inaccurate and an unknown author could be historically accurate. You could spend all day proving that the book of Matthew wasn’t written by Matthew and at the end of that day still not disprove its historical nature.


Re: Isaiah 7:14, almah, betulah, and virgin.


I’ve addressed this elsewhere. See here.


I'm saying that much of what Jesus preached was similar to the teaching of Hillel.


Since they both based the teachings on the Torah how could they not be similar?


Opinions on what books do or do not surpass the Bible depend on personal opinion


And thus not very relevant to whether the Bible is historically accurate.

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2 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 11:46AM #27
Ken
Posts: 33,860

May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:


Re: Matthew and Luke disagree on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.


Matthew provides enough data to help us reconcile the two accounts.


Matthew and Luke have completely different birth narratives that cannot be harmonized. They don't even agree on the date of Jesus' birth. Matthew has him born when Herod the Great was King of Judea (that is, sometime before 4 BCE) and Luke places his birth over a decade later, during the Roman census of 6/7 CE. Matthew and Luke may both be wrong, but only one of them can possibly be right.

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2 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 12:40PM #28
amcolph
Posts: 16,280

May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:


 


Matthew provides enough data to help us reconcile the two accounts...




That's clever and all, but why do you need to?

This post contains no advertisements or solicitations.
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2 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 3:53PM #29
TPaine
Posts: 9,046

May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:


Re: Matthew and Luke disagree on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.


Matthew provides enough data to help us reconcile the two accounts. Herod's order to kill all children two years old and under is a strong indication that the Magi did not arrive immediately after the birth of Jesus, but some time afterwards. Otherwise it would have been quite foolish for Herod to issue such a command if Jesus were only an infant. We are not told how old Jesus was at the arrival of the Magi. He may have been a one-year-old or even 18 months. Whatever the age, it seems clear, that the Magi's visitation didn't occur only days after Christ's birth.


Luke, on the other hand, states that Jesus was still an infant when Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth. So we have events that are two years apart, so it is no wonder they don’t agree.



If Jesus had been a year or 18 months when the family went to Egypt as the author of Matthew wrote he would have had to be born in 5 or 6 BCE which is even further away from Luke's date of 6 CE. If there had been a Massacre of the Innocents why was it not recorded anywhere but in Matthew? It's doubtful that an event that abominable would not have been recorded by any contemporaneous historians or by Josephus who does relate Herod's killing of his own sons.


May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

Re: The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke are almost completely different yet both claim it is the genealogy thorough Joseph. (Matthew 1:16) (Luke 3:23)


I’ve addressed this elsewhere. See hereOn page 22, around post 218.



Again, Jewish sources disagree with you.

In response, it is claimed that Joseph adopted Jesus, and passed on his genealogy via adoption. There are two problems with this claim:

    a) There is no biblical basis for the idea of a father passing on his tribal line by adoption. A priest who adopts a son from another tribe cannot make him a priest by adoption.

    b) Joseph could never pass on by adoption that which he doesn't have. Because Joseph descended from Jeconiah (Matthew 1:11) he fell under the curse of that king that none of his descendants could ever sit as king upon the throne of David. (Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30)

To answer this difficult problem, apologists claim that Jesus traces himself back to King David through his mother Mary, who allegedly descends from David, as shown in the third chapter of Luke. There are four basic problems with this claim:

    a) There is no evidence that Mary descends from David. The third chapter of Luke traces Joseph's genealogy, not Mary's.

    b) Even if Mary can trace herself back to David, that doesn't help Jesus, since tribal affiliation goes only through the father, not mother. Cf. Numbers 1:18; Ezra 2:59.

    c) Even if family line could go through the mother, Mary was not from a legitimate Messianic family. According to the Bible, the Messiah must be a descendant of David through his son Solomon (II Samuel 7:14; I Chronicles 17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:4-6). The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31)

    d) Luke 3:27 lists Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in his genealogy. These two also appear in Matthew 1:12 as descendants of the cursed Jeconiah. If Mary descends from them, it would also disqualify her from being a Messianic progenitor. Link




May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

Re: The events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus differ between Mark and John


There are several preparations: the "preparation" for the Feast of Unleavened Bread; the "preparation" for the Passover meal; the "preparation" for the Passover-bullock; and the "preparation" for the Sabbath which coincided with the feast. Now understanding these preparations is the key to understanding the accuracy and intent of the passages. The Passover meal was taken by Jesus and his disciples in the evening, the same time all the other Jews partake of it. However, the feast or the offering of Passover-bullock at the time of Jesus coincided after his crucifixion. Therefore Jesus was crucified daytime after the Passover meal but before the feast of the Passover-Sabbath.



The Day of the Preparation of the Passover meal would have taken place during the day on Thursday. The Passover meal would have been eaten on Thursday after sundown with was when Friday began according to the Jewish method of time and date keeping. He therefore would have been tried on Friday morning (the day of the Passover and the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath). John 19:14 says

"14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he [Pilate] said to the Jews, 'Behold, your King!'" (NASB)


, which would have been on Thursday.


May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

Re: The stories about the death of Judas differ between Matthew and Acts (Luke).


Like the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (and many other Bible events) these two verses simply supplement each other. It is not an either/or scenario. Judas, indeed, “hanged himself,” and sometime later, his body fell headfirst, causing his midsection to burst open.


When a person dies, the body begins to decompose. As a result, gases are released within the body, which in turn cause it to swell. It certainly is not difficult to imagine that a dead human body, which may have been swelling for a number of days, could have fallen a short distance (from wherever it was hanging), and easily burst open when striking the ground.


Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 cannot be accepted as legitimately contradicting each other if it is possible for both to be true—and it certainly is scientifically and logistically possible for both incidents to have occurred. Neither of the statements concerning the death of Judas is contradictory. Simply put, one does not exclude the other.


According to ancient tradition, Judas hanged himself above the Valley of Hinnom on the edge of a cliff. Eventually the rope snapped or was cut or the neck gave way, thus causing his body to fall headfirst into the field below, as Luke described. Matthew does not deny that Judas fell and had his entrails gush out, and Luke does not deny that Judas hanged himself. In short, Matthew records the method in which Judas attempted his death. Luke reports the end result.



Interesting, but it doesn't address the contradiction as to who bought the Potter's Field, the priests (Matthew 27:5-10),

5 And he [Judas] threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (NASB)


or Judas himself (Acts 1:16-19)

16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)




May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

Obviously, we have been reading different textual criticisms. We do know that scribes both added and deleted text over the centuries. Passages like the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:12) was added by a scribe at a later date as were the last 12 verses of Mark, and I Corinthians 14:33-36 because they do not exist in the oldest, most accurate, manuscripts.


One of the goals of textual criticism is to determine what the original text is. So to point out that John 7:53-8:12, or the last 12 verses of Mark, or I Corinthians 14:33-36 do not exist in the oldest, most accurate manuscripts and thus most likely not original simply shows that textual critics have done their job. We have a high degree of confidence what the original texts consisted of.



Oldest, most reliable, does not mean original. There are also other reasons to think these verses were scribal additions. The writing style of John 7:53-8:12 is different than that which is found in the rest of the book. It also includes a number of words and phrases that are alien to to the Gospel. The last 12 verses of Mark also have reasons other than comparison to older manuscripts which don't don't contain those verses. The writing style differs from that in the rest of Mark. Verse 9 introduces Mary Magdalene as if she hadn't been mentioned previously although she had been mentioned in preceding verses. There are also a large number of world and phrases that aren't found in the rest of Mark.


May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

The credibility of the authors depends on how they received their information. If they actually witnessed the events they wrote about it would be more accurate than if it were hearsay evidence from people who heard it from other people.


So if Matthew (for example) was written by somebody other than Matthew then it is not an eyewitness account? It would seem that if one wanted to evaluate the historical nature of the Bible (the theme of this thread) they would do so by examining the text to see if it corresponds to known history. And if the Bible does correspond to known history, then is its historicity overturned because of authorship issues? That seems to make no sense. If one has questions concerning whether or not a text was written by an eyewitness


it would seem that one would have to do that by making a case for a later date for the texts.


Simply put: While an eyewitness is better than hearsay, a known author could be historically inaccurate and an unknown author could be historically accurate. You could spend all day proving that the book of Matthew wasn’t written by Matthew and at the end of that day still not disprove its historical nature.



Other than the New Testament itself what evidence do we have that it is historically correct? There are events mentioned in the various gospels that are not substantiated by any contemporaneous historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Elder, Plutarch, or Suetonius.


May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

Re: Isaiah 7:14, almah, betulah, and virgin.


I’ve addressed this elsewhere. See here.



Did you check the link I provided? I'll accept the Jewish position about what their scripture says over that of the Christians. After all, it is their holy book.


May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

I'm saying that much of what Jesus preached was similar to the teaching of Hillel.


Since they both based the teachings on the Torah how could they not be similar?



The Jewish religion is based on both the Tanakh and the Talmud. During the first century CE there was hundreds of disputed between the followers of Hillel and the followers of Shammai over both Halakha (Jewish law) and Jewish philosophy.


May 22, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Joe68 wrote:

Opinions on what books do or do not surpass the Bible depend on personal opinion


And thus not very relevant to whether the Bible is historically accurate.



True, but I was responding to what what was written in the post I first responded to.

"When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, then may the country boast its constitution and its government." -- Thomas Paine: The Rights Of Man (1791)
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2 years ago  ::  May 30, 2012 - 12:07PM #30
Joe68
Posts: 289

Sorry for the delay in responding but I had to deal with Beryl.


Re: Matthew and Luke disagree on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.


Jesus was born near the end of the reign of Herod the Great. Matthew’s Gospel is very specific about this. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying...” (RSV Matthew 2:1).


Matthew includes the notice of the death of Herod: “But whenHerod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Rise,take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's lifeare dead.’” (Matthew 2:19-20) Luke’s Gospel also places the birth story in the historical contextof Herod the Great. “In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, ofthe division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” (RSV Luke 1:5)


Herod died in late March of 4 B.C. Therefore, Jesus was born before late March of 4 B.C. We are able to date the death of Herod because the historian Josephus’ account of the last days of Herod’s life mentions an eclipse. Modern astronomy can date that event. The eclipse mentioned by Josephus occurred on March 13, 4 B.C. Herod died a week or so later.1 So then, Jesus was born sometime before the death of Herod.


I’m not sure where you get your dates from for MT & LK.


Tpaine writes: Again, Jewish sources disagree with you.


Actually they don’t. Talk to the 70 Jewish scholars who translated the OT into Greek (the LXX)  


a) There is no biblical basis for the idea of a father passing on his tribal line by adoption. A priest who adopts a son from another tribe cannot make him a priest by adoption.


Actually there is.

b) Joseph could never pass on by adoption that which he doesn't have. Because Joseph descended from Jeconiah (Matthew 1:11) he fell under the curse of that king that none of his descendants could ever sit as king upon the throne of David. (Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30)


Actually he could.

a) There is no evidence that Mary descends from David. The third chapter of Luke traces Joseph's genealogy, not Mary's.


Actually there is.

b) Even if Mary can trace herself back to David, that doesn't help Jesus, since tribal affiliation goes only through the father, not mother. Cf. Numbers 1:18; Ezra 2:59.


This is untrue.

c) Even if family line could go through the mother, Mary was not from a legitimate Messianic family. According to the Bible, the Messiah must be a descendant of David through his son Solomon (II Samuel 7:14; I Chronicles 17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:4-6). The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31)


This is untrue.

d) Luke 3:27 lists Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in his genealogy. These two also appear in Matthew 1:12 as descendants of the cursed Jeconiah. If Mary descends from them, it would also disqualify her from being a Messianic progenitor


Actually it doesn’t.


All of your objections have been addressed in the other thread I linked to in my last post. Do I need to C&P it here?


The Day of the Preparation of the Passover meal would have taken place during the day on Thursday. The Passover meal would have been eaten on Thursday after sundown with was when Friday began according to the Jewish method of time and date keeping. He therefore would have been tried on Friday morning (the day of the Passover and the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath). John 19:14 says "14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he [Pilate] said to the Jews, 'Behold, your King!, which would have been on Thursday.


As I said before there are several "preparations" mentioned here: the "preparation" for the Feast of Unleavened Bread; the "preparation" for the Passover meal; the "preparation" for the Passover-bullock; and the "preparation" for the Sabbath which coincided with the feast. Now understanding these preparations is the key to understanding the accuracy and intent of the text. The Passover meal was taken by Jesus and his disciples in the evening, the same time all the other Jews partake of it. However, the feast or the offering of Passover-bullock at the time of Jesus coincided after his crucifixion. Therefore Jesus was crucified after the Passover meal but before the feast of the Passover-Sabbath.


…who bought the Potter's Field…


The word used by Matthew for "bought" is agorazo -- a general term meaning, "to go to market." It means to purchase, but also to redeem. It is a verb that refers to the transaction of business. Note how Luke uses it in opposition to another word:


Luke 22:36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell (poleo) his garment, and buy (agorazo) one.


Poleo can mean "sell" but it's primary meaning has to do with trading and bartering. Therefore the translation of "buy" (and "sell") is made according to context.


How does this mean anything with regard to Judas?


First, note the word Luke uses. It is ktaomai, which means to "get, acquire, obtain, possess, provide, purchase." This word has the connotations of ownership that agorazo does not. Matthew says that the priests transacted business for the obtaining of the field, but they did not thereby have possession of the field. The money they used was Judas' and the field was bought in his name; the field was technically and legally his.


Why would the priests buy the exact same field that Judas died in?


Once Judas died in the field, the land became defiled by his corpse. Hence it would become perfectly suited to become a full-time cemetery. In this ancient collectivist society, the gossip would readily get around as to where and how Judas died and it would not be a burden for the decision to be made to purchase the field in Judas' name to turn it into a cemetery. This is where our social factor comes into play. Judas’ money cannot be put in the treasury -- it cannot be made to belong to the temple again -- because it is blood money. The money was profaned and tainted by the way it was used. By ancient thinking, it was ritually unclean -- even today a charity may refuse money if it is gained by ill-gotten means.


Now it follows that when they transacted the business of the field for the temple, to avoid association with ritual uncleanness, the priests most likely would have to have bought it in the name of Judas Iscariot, the one whose money it was. The property and transaction records should have been publicly available and probably consulted by Luke and would reflect that “Judas” bought the field -- or else Luke is indeed aware of what transpired and is using just the right verb to make the point.


Oldest, most reliable, does not mean original. There are also other reasons to think these verses were scribal additions. The writing style of John 7:53-8:12 is different than that which is found in the rest of the book. It also includes a number of words and phrases that are alien to to the Gospel. The last 12 verses of Mark also have reasons other than comparison to older manuscripts which don't don't contain those verses. The writing style differs from that in the rest of Mark. Verse 9 introduces Mary Magdalene as if she hadn't been mentioned previously although she had been mentioned in preceding verses. There are also a large number of world and phrases that aren't found in the rest of Mark.


Since the manuscripts were distributed early, far and wide there is no way an addition or deletion wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. JN 7:53-8:12 is not found in most early manuscripts.  Same with the last 12 verses of Mark. You are simply pointing out that textual critics have done their job to help us ascertain what the original wording was of the NT. If your argument is that since this passage and that passage is not original then we cannot be sure of any of the NT text, then it is fallacious.


One has to look at the reverse of this situation as well. If all of the early manuscripts have the same text, and they are from different regions far apart, then it is reasonable to conclude that this is the original text of the NT since there is no way all of these independent scribes could come up with the same text by chance or collusion.  


Other than the New Testament itself what evidence do we have that it is historically correct? There are events mentioned in the various gospels that are not substantiated by any contemporaneous historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Elder, Plutarch, or Suetonius.


Do you think they recorded every event? Do you think everything they wrote has survived to this day? As I said before there is a difference between not confirming a historical event and controverting a historical event. The latter would be a problem the former is not. And since the NT was not written by any one person then at least some of the events you allude to may be supported by another NT authors.


I'll accept the Jewish position about what their scripture says over that of the Christians. After all, it is their holy book.


Seems like a bit of fallacious reasoning here since it is a Christian holy book as well.

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