McDowell’s Trilemma – Part 1

Here are the basic premises of McDowell's Trilemma Argument (hereafter: MTA), from The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (hereafter: NETDV by Josh McDowell:=================...Jesus definitely claimed to be God (see below and in Chapter 6).  So every person must answer the question: Is His claim to deity true or false?  This question deserves a most serious consideration.[...]Jesus' claim to be God must be either true or false.  If Jesus' claims are true, then He is the Lord, an … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 5A: Various Points

Some of Hinman's discussions about his five principles of historical investigation provide needed clarification of a principle, and some of his discussions fail to provide clarification of the relevant principle.  But even when Hinman fails to clarify one of his general principles of historical investigation, he often makes some significant or interesting points.  I will examine many of those specific points in this post.Hinman's discussion about (P1) fails to clarify what that principle m … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 5A: Five Principles

Joe Hinman's fifth argument for the existence of Jesus is presented in three sections:5A. Historical Methods5B. Big Web of Historicity5C. Jesus Myth Theory Cannot Account for the WebI will comment on, and raise objections to, points in each of these three sections, but this post will only cover part of the section on "Historical Methods".  Specifically, I will cover the five high-level principles of historical investigation proposed by Hinman in his discussion of "Historical … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 4

QUESTION 1: What is Hinman's Central Claim about Josephus?There are two famous passages in a book by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus that appear to refer to Jesus.  Joe Hinman wants to focus on the "brother passage", the passage in Antiquities that mentions a person named "James" and refers to him as "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ". (Antiquities 20,200).After a brief introductory paragraph, Hinman quotes the "brother passage"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, re … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 3

Question 1: What are Hinman's Central Claims about Polycarp?As with his discussion about the external evidence of Papias,  Hinman begins his discussion of Polycarp with some strong claims:III. Polycarp: Knew the Apostle John and studied with him. He speaks of where the apostle sat when they studied together.The first sentence is lacking a subject.  But the heading just above the sentence implies that the subject of the sentence is Polycarp.  The first sentence uses the pronoun "him" … [Read more...]

Debate: The External Evidence for Jesus – Part 1

Joe Hinman's first argument for the existence of Jesus is based on references to Jesus in the Talmud: We know Jesus was in the Talmud and that is a fact admitted by Rabbis.  Some references use his name (Yeshua) some use code words such as "such a one" or "Panthera".  The reason codes are used, is that the commentators censored the works and removed overt reverences [sic] to Jesus (although they missed some) to prevent Christians from inflicting persecution.  We have many of the out takes in va … [Read more...]

What is Christianity? Part 16

In his book Naming the Elephant (hereafter: NTE), the Christian apologist James Sire raises various objections against his previous analysis of the concept of a “worldview” that he had presented in his earlier book The Universe Next Door (hereafter: TUND).I have reviewed three of Sire’s objections to his earlier cognitivist analysis of the concept of a “worldview” and argued that those objections were unsuccessful (see previous posts 10, 11, 12, and 13).In post 15, I argued that Sire's be … [Read more...]

Half of a Debate about the Existence of Jesus

Joe Hinman has requested that I debate him about the existence of Jesus, and I have agreed to do so.We will not, however, attempt to answer the BIG question: Did Jesus exist?  But we will be arguing about a significant issue closely related to that question:Does the external evidence warrant the belief that Jesus existed?The phrase "external evidence" means evidence other than evidence from the Bible.  So, we are excluding the internal evidence from the four canonical Gospels, from Ac … [Read more...]