A Critique of a Popular Bible Passage Shows It’s Not the Powerful Evidence Christians Imagine

A Critique of a Popular Bible Passage Shows It’s Not the Powerful Evidence Christians Imagine March 7, 2016

Christians often point to chapter 15 in 1 Corinthians as important evidence for the resurrection. This book, Paul’s first epistle (letter) to the church in Corinth, was written roughly a decade before the earliest gospel of Mark (written in c. 70 CE). This makes it the earliest claim for the resurrection of Jesus.

Let’s see if the story holds up. Here’s the section that many Christians point to:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to [Peter], and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have [died]. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3–8)

Claims about the dating of this important passage are all over the map. Some argue that it actually precedes Paul’s writing. They say that it appears to be in a different style, as if it were a creedal statement (like the modern Apostle’s Creed) that would have been recited by believers. That is, though Paul wrote this epistle 25 years after the crucifixion, it had been an oral creed since as early as a few years after Jesus’ death. They cite this as evidence that belief in the resurrection was years earlier than Paul’s writing.

But if it’s a creed, it’s not evidence. A creed is a faith statement—a statement of what people believe. It even sounds like one. There is no mention of time or location, like a police report or newspaper article would have, and “Christ died for our sins” isn’t an observation, it’s a faith statement.

Others propose a very different interpretation: that the different style suggests that it was added to copies decades after Paul wrote the original. The gap from the creation of this epistle to our oldest copy of it is about 150 years. That’s a lot of opportunity for hanky-panky as scribes copied and recopied the letter, especially during the early turbulent years of the new religion of Christianity. We can’t know for certain what the original said.

Let’s sift through some particulars from this book that undercut the view that this passage is an important bit of Christian evidence.

  • Jesus was “raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” This is a reference to Jonah 1:17 (“Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights”), but how can the resurrection of Jesus be “according to” this scripture? That verse in Jonah is hardly a prophecy. And Jesus wasn’t dead for three days and three nights; he was out of action for a day and a half, from Friday evening to Sunday morning.
  • Jesus appeared “to the Twelve”? But they were the Eleven after Judas was gone, and his replacement was elected after the ascension of Jesus.
  • The gospels make clear that women were the first to see the risen Jesus. Why are they not on the list?
  • “Christ died for our sins”? Here, the sacrifice of Jesus parallels the Old Testament animal sacrifices. But later in this chapter, Paul discards this by saying, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (15:17). So he’s apparently changed his mind, and now it’s the resurrection that is the saving act.
  • Paul says, “and last of all he appeared to me also.” But the appearance to Paul as recorded in Acts 9:3–9 was a visionary sighting, and his companions at the time saw nothing. The same Greek word optanomai is used for each of the appearances: to Peter, the Twelve, the 500, James, the apostles, and then Paul. If the post-resurrection appearance to Paul was a vision, is that true of the others? If so, that contradicts the gospels.
  • Later in the epistle, Paul says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (15:22). This is nice symmetry—we didn’t do anything to get tarred with the brush of Adam’s sin, and we don’t need to do anything to get the redemption of Christ. He’s even clearer in another book: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Christians who celebrate Paul as an important and reliable source need to realize what comes along: Paul argues that all of us are going to the same afterlife.
  • Paul says, “the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all” (15:28). This subordinate position for Jesus isn’t too surprising since our concept of a Trinity of co-equal persons was developed in the fourth century, but it does show that Paul would be shocked at how Christianity has evolved.
  • Paul says, “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable … it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (15:42–4). This makes clear that the resurrected Jesus was spirit, not flesh. This sounds a lot like docetism, a heresy that was rejected in the First Council of Nicaea. It also contradicts Luke’s physical post-resurrection Jesus: “Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).
  • We’re told that Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time.” But later, after Jesus rose into heaven, the believers were “a group numbering about a hundred and twenty” (Acts. 1:15). The 500 can’t have been too impressed with what they saw if they weren’t all believers. And if Paul’s claim is such compelling evidence, why didn’t any of the gospels include it? (More on the claim of 500 eyewitnesses here.)

Though an important bit of history, this chapter may not be as compelling as believers think.

The book [of Mormon] is a curiosity to me. 
It is such a pretentious affair and yet so slow, so sleepy, 
such an insipid mess of inspiration. 
It is chloroform in print.
— Mark Twain

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 4/8/13.)

Acknowledgements: I’ve gotten some of these points from The Atheist’s Bible Companion to the New Testament by Mike Davis and Nailed by David Fitzgerald.

Photo credit: Codex Sinaiticus project

 

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  • L.Long

    The paul letter reads like so many philosophical BS. Make statements and string them together. Claim they are true. So now we have proof!! When we have actually nothing but words strung together. Show or demonstrate some evidence!!! I’m one of those that believes nothing without evidence.

    • Evidence dispenses with the need to ‘believe’. You can reasonably assert that you know.

  • The Eh’theist

    I didn’t find some of the arguments as solid as I’ve found with your other posts, but I may have misunderstood something. There were a couple of things in particular:

    They cite this as evidence that belief in the resurrection was years earlier than Paul’s writing.

    But if it’s a creed, it’s not evidence. A creed is a faith statement—a statement of what people believe.

    If they are claiming that there was a belief in the resurrection, and a creed is a statement of belief, then it is evidence of the belief, but not evidence of the resurrection (which it certainly couldn’t be for many reasons). The timing issue you mention obviously impacts on this as well, but that didn’t seem to be the argument you were making.

    As for the elements of the statement itself, it could be argued (if the dating issue is resolved) that the reference to “3rd day” and “the Scriptures” is evidence of an early Christian prophetic understanding of that passage which would argue for the historicity of Jesus’ Jonah statement. If so, it doesn’t provide any additional proof for the resurrection, but does demand that those who support the gospel narratives account for their deviation in timing from this early text.

    Likewise, if the text is early, those supporting the gospels need to explain the existence of the Judas narratives that contradict the early reference to “the twelve”. To me it seems that an early date for the text is as damaging (if not more) to the reliability of the gospel narratives as a later date.

    • I’ve heard that the Twelve motif and the Traitor motif are two ideas that have been jammed together, unsuccessfully.

      “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28) This is tough to do if one of the 12 is now gone.

      • The Eh’theist

        Agreed. That’s why the early date for the Corinthians text hurts Christian interpretation as well. If they accept it as early and accurate, then they have to give up large chunks of the Passover narrative and related narrative about Judas. If you pair that with them being wrong about the timing of the crucifixion/resurrection if Paul is referring to Jonah, then huge portions of the final chapters of the gospel must be accepted as constructions.

        If you already accept that the birth narratives are constructions (for reasons you’ve laid out well elsewhere), and then you remove the Passover, passion and large parts of the crucifixion to keep this text early and authoritative, then you’ve gutted your faith of most of the content of the Apostles’ Creed, and all you’ve gained is evidence that some early Christians thought Jesus was resurrected after he died

        I think most any atheist would grant that conclusion as a given, but if believers want to totally torch their source documents to *prove* it, then who am I to stop them?

        Of course if they go the other way, and take this as a late interpolation, they stop some of those consequences, but also give up any claim to an early evidence of belief in the resurrection, and are left with the prophecy about the Twelve as another failed prophecy of Jesus to contend with. It’s painful whichever route they take.

        • Greg G.

          If they accept it as early and accurate, then they have to give up large chunks of the Passover narrative and related narrative about Judas. If you pair that with them being wrong about the timing of the crucifixion/resurrection if Paul is referring to Jonah, then huge portions of the final chapters of the gospel must be accepted as constructions.

          I think they need to give up the gospels completely because they are literary creations. Scholars have traced the roots of Mark to the literature of the day from Greek, Hebrew, and Christian writings. New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price collects several of those studies and shows that nearly all of Mark comes from that literature and not from oral traditions.

      • SparklingMoon

        This is tough to do if one of the 12 is now gone.
        ————————————
        I have not understood the meanings of ” one of the 12 is now gone”

        • Greg G.

          He means Judas, who betrayed Jesus, according to the gospels.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and supposedly killed himself (which, thanks to gMatt’s obsessive reading/writing back into prophecies, keeps him entirely out of the running unless Purgatory) or took a fatal prat-fall (which is what, Acts‘ ‘loophole’ edit of the suicide? though i can’t recall off-hand which version appears to be earlier) or [insert Papias’ gross fantasy here] which is petty but no more afterlife-ruining than Acts…

        • Greg G.

          Matthew’s version came first as shown by a much richer relationship with the OT scripture. Acts borrows from Matthew what was borrowed from his sources.

          Matthew got the thirty pieces of silver and the throwing it into the treasury from Zechariah 11:12-13. There is some relationship between the word pottery and treasury in that passage, it may be either a homonym or the same word. That leads to Jeremiah 19:1-7 about buying a potter’s jug, elders and priests, the Potsherd Gate, profaned offerings, spilling innocent blood, a place called the Valley of the Slaughter, and a place of burial for foreigners. The buying of the field would come from Jeremiah 32:8-9. The hanging may come from 2 Samuel 17:23.

          Luke borrowed the purchase of the field with the reward of wickedness but has Judas do that himself. The name “Field of Blood” is borrowed but gives the reason being the blood and guts spilled from Judas. Verse 20 quotes Psalm 68:25 and 108:8, as promised in verse 16. Perhaps Acts was written after Papias’ fantasy and was the source for the guts. I am thinking of another story about spilled guts, I think from the OT.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and hey! evidence that Sparky isn’t here solely to copypaste for his Messiah!

  • Greg G.

    1 Corinthians 15:3a
    For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received:

    How did Paul receive this information?

    Galatians 1:11-12
    11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12 for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Where did Paul receive this information?

    Romans 16:25-27
    25 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—

    1 Corinthians 15:3b
    that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,

    Which scripture is that claim in accordance with?

    Isaiah 53:5But he was wounded for our transgressions,    crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the punishment that made us whole,    and by his bruises we are healed.

    Then comes

    1 Corinthians 15:4a
    and that he was buried,

    How is that according to the scriptures?

    Isaiah 53:9They made his grave with the wicked    and his tomb with the rich,although he had done no violence,    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

    Then comes

    1 Corinthians 15:4b
    and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,

    That sounds like it comes from:

    Hosea 6:2  After two days he will revive us;    on the third day he will raise us up,    that we may live before him.

    Further down, 1 Corinthians 15:55 quotes Hosea 13:14. Romans 9:25-26 appears to quote Hosea 2:23 and Hosea 1:10. So we have precedents of Paul using Hosea. I don’t know of any reference to Jonah in the Pauline writings. The Jonah reference seems to be from Matthew 12:38-40, rather than Paul.

    • the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings

      Is this Christianity as a mystery religion?

      • T-Paine

        Yes. What will be later known as Christianity began as mystery cults. Historicity began with the gospels. “Heresy” began with the Catholic Church in my opinion.

        • Greg G.

          I think Christianity began as a cult with the Pharisees who thought the Messiah was coming within their generation. I think they thought the Messiah would be a guy named Jesus who lived, suffered, and died before or during Isaiah’s time and then he was resurrected. The root of these ideas can be found in the Hebrew scripture.

          I think Paul came up with the crucifixion, the forgiveness of sins formula, and the global nature, rather than Jewish only, idea of the religion. Everything Paul says about these topics can be found in the OT, much in direct quotes of the OT in the authentic epistles, plus all the information about the earthly Jesus in all of the epistles can be found in the OT, except where 1 Timothy and 2 Peter got information from the gospels.

          Paul never knew Jesus and he claims that he didn’t get his knowledge from any human authority, yet claims that his knowledge is not inferior to the “super-apostles” is good evidence that he knows that the super-apostles didn’t know a first century Jesus either.

        • T-Paine

          Perhaps. But:
          1.) We know nothing about Paul or any apostles outside of these writings. Our earliest copies of New Testament books are very late (none were carbon dated, only paleographically – although the Dead Sea Scrolls were carbon dated) 3-4th centuries C.E. at the earliest.

          2.) There’s no archaeological evidence of any churches or Christianity before the 4th century C.E. (when Christianity became the official cult).

          What I’m saying is outside of these texts – there’s nothing but archaeological silence between the 1st-4th centuries C.E. when it comes to Christian histories. And these texts could have been written at any time.

        • buttle

          2.) There’s no archaeological evidence of any churches or christianity before the 4th century C.E. (when Christianity became the official cult).

          Catacombs of Rome. Second century.

        • T-Paine

          The catacombs are not evidence of churches or the christian religion (what I meant to say). I’ve already point out to you that it began as a mystery cult.

        • Greg G.

          There are lots of writings in defense of Christianity that refer to other writings about Christianity by authors who were deemed heretics later on. I have a hard time reconciling Origen and Eusebius to a sudden appearance of Christianity. There seems to be a contingent religion in there. Mark seems to rely on the early Pauline epistles. Matthew seems to rely on Mark. Luke seems to rely on Matthew and Mark. John and Luke both follow Mark 6 and suddenly jump to Mark 8 as if some Christians ripped out Mark 7 from their texts. Those sorts of things imply a developing religion over a period of time prior to Origen.

          Paul claiming that he expected to be alive when the Messiah came would be strange if it was written after the destruction of Jerusalem without be able to read the gospels back into it. So those letters make more sense to me as early to mid first century writings. Mark would have to be soon after the destruction of Jerusalem to keep the letters relevant.

        • adam

          Greg,

          What if all of these were just collections of plays about a former religion that eventually just became a new religion (well kind of) due to the lack of understanding by others not realizing these were plays?

        • Greg G.

          I think Mark has a lot of intricate allusions that would not come across in a play but maybe the visuality of the costumes might make the allusion more apparent.

          However, Mark 13:14 has an aside that says “let the reader understand”.

          I saw an argument that Mark may have been a play because it was broken up into five dialogue parts and five action parts but then I thought that would be the case with any writing. If you have a dialogue and an action scene and you add another action scene to the first action scene, you would still have one action scene but if you put it in the middle of the dialogue, you would have two dialogue parts and two action parts.

          I do think some scenes may have come from plays like The Bacchae.

        • buttle

          “However, Mark 13:14 has an aside that says “let the reader understand”.”

          I looked it up when i toyed with the idea of the gospels as plays or just as oral readings (there is at least another part in Mark 7 where the writer sort of breaks the fourth wall, “let those who have ears listen”, but its originality is dubious), and if i remember correctly the actual verb is “agignosco”, which doesn’t necessarily mean “reading”, it is more like “understanding”, so it could sound like “let the understander understand”, or something like that. But it doesn’t really make any difference.

        • SparklingMoon

          I think Paul came up with the crucifixion, the forgiveness of sins formula, and the global nature, rather than Jewish only, idea of the religion. Everything Paul says about these topics can be found in the OT,
          —————————-
          The religion which is championed as ‘Christianity’ is, in fact,the religion of Paul and not that of Christ, for the latter never taught the doctrine of the Trinity. As long as he lived, he only taught the Oneness of God and His being without partner. After he died, his James—who was his successor and a holy man— also taught the Oneness of God. But Paul unjustly opposed him and started preaching contrary to his true teachings, and went to the extent of creating a new faith. He set his followers against the Torah and taught them that there was no need for the Law after the Messiah’s Atonement, and Christians did not need to follow the Torah because the Messiah’s blood was enough to wipe away their sins.

        • Greg G.

          The concept of the Trinity came long after Paul was dead. It was an attempt to reconcile two or more versions of Christianity. One thing that led to the concept is a quote of Jesus, in the Gospel of John IIRC, “I and my father are one”.

          Remember that not all the epistles attributed to Paul by tradition were written by Paul. Some are forgeries that contradict the others. Scholars are in agreement on only seven of them as being written by the same person, based on style, content, and vocabulary. Even parts of those seven have apparent interpolations.

        • buttle

          I don’t think the “mystery” part of mystery cults is related to how their followers were finding their myths hidden in ancient scriptures: i don’t know any obvious example of that, maybe because we lost pretty much all relevant literature, or maybe because they just didn’t.
          What i think the “mystery” qualifier means is that the followers higher in rank were granted more knowledge, while low ranked followers (or new adepts if you will) are given a simplified story, maybe to lure them in. The description of the cult of Osiris given by Plutarch seems to match this model, and in modern times Scientology would qualify as a contemporary mystery cult.
          If this is the proper characterization of ancient “mystery cults” christianity did not start as a mystery cult, because as we can see Paul and others were openly telling to everybody what their faith was actually about (and i see no earthly Jesus there), and surely it wasn’t a mystery cult by the end of the second century, when the proto-orthodox apostolic fathers believed in an earthly Jesus and were openly telling what they really believed. But it might have been a proper mystery cult for a short while, more by accident than by deliberate choice, from the first time the gospel of Mark was misunderstood by the public as an history book (very late first century or very early second century) up to the death or expulsion of the last bishop in Rome who still knew what the first gospel was really about.
          Could this last bishop have been Valentinus? Why was he kicked out around 160CE, or why wasn’t he kicked out earlier?

        • T-Paine

          I don’t think the “mystery” part of mystery cults is related to how
          their followers were finding their myths hidden in ancient scriptures

          Who said they were? Not all mystery cults were the same. And I’m not sure what your point is in the rest of your comment.

        • buttle

          You were answering positively to “Is this Christianity as a mystery religion?” in the context of finding secret meanings hidden in ancient writing, now i have to wonder what is this all about… I gave my take on the matter to contribute to the general discussion, please don’t take my comment as a personal rebuttal just to your comment, i had to attach to some other relevant reply.

        • T-Paine

          Ok. Yes, Christianity began as a mystery cult because like all mystery cults – it dealt with secret knowledge about the divine made known (revelation), initiation rite (baptism) etc. Religious syncretism was the norm in the greco-roman world. And a greco-jewish mystery cult wouldn’t been out of place in the eastern empire.

        • Greg G.

          Antiquities of the Jews 17.2.4 talks about the Pharisees having divine inspiration in the first century BC:

          These are those that are called the sect of the Pharisees, who were in a capacity of greatly opposing kings. A cunning sect they were, and soon elevated to a pitch of open fighting and doing mischief. Accordingly, when all the people of the Jews gave assurance of their good-will to Caesar, and to the king’s government, these very men did not swear, being above six thousand; and when the king imposed a fine upon them, Pheroras’s wife paid their fine for them. In order to requite which kindness of hers, since they were believed to have the foreknowledge of things to come by Divine inspiration, they foretold how God had decreed that Herod’s government should cease, and his posterity should be deprived of it; but that the kingdom should come to her and Pheroras, and to their children.

          Baptism seems to have been a Jewish ritual that they got from the Babylonians.

        • buttle

          Oh, yes, there was definitely a lot of syncretism going on and christianity took on many things from the competing mystery cults, the rite of baptism is probably one of the most obvious examples as you correctly point out. What i was trying to say is that i still wouldn’t call it a proper mystery cult because at the vey beginning it was lacking the “mystery” part of mystery cults: Paul is revealing to everybody the mystery he discovered, he’s not keeping it hidden from new adepts or outsiders.

        • T-Paine

          Irrelevant. Many cults had outer mysteries and inner mysteries where intimate knowledge was revealed to initiates not to non-initiates. “Milk before Meat” as Paul said. Paul revealing his revelation to those who would hear is part of the cult.

        • Greg G.

          Anything with any level of complexity is like that. One must learn algebra before trigonometry and trigonometry before calculus and calculus before differential equations. Any religion would then be a mystery religion so the term doesn’t differentiate between the two.

          To me, a mystery religion would be like the Mithras religion, not a religion where information was sent by letters.

        • T-Paine

          I disagree with the equivocation but we’ll leave it at that.

      • Greg G.

        I interpret it as the earliest Christians were reading the Suffering Servant and other scripture as a hidden history disguised as an allegory. Since the hidden mystery was revealed to that generation, they figured the Messiah was planning to come during their generation. I think that whoever wrote Ephesians 3:3, 5, 9 may have been thinking along these lines.

  • Apologetics has a love-hate relationship with “evidence”: they are eager to show us the latter, and often pay lip service to “rationality”… as long as they see it fit.

    To be fair, I’ve found many progressive Christians admitting that the Gospels and the Epistles were believers’ first attempts at making sense of Jesus’ life, death and teachings, according to their personal, subjective experience.

  • SparklingMoon

    It is worth noting that as long as Jesus(as) lived, Paul was his sworn enemy.

    If Paul was indeed meant to appear as an Apostle after the Messiah, the latter should have foretold something about him. This was necessary because Paul had bitterly opposed Jesus(as) throughout his life, and had contrived to harm him in every way. How could such a person betrusted after Jesus’ death, unless he himself made a clear prophecy that, although Paul has been my bitter enemy and has done me great harm, he will become an Apostle and a holy man after I am gone.

    This was all the more important because Paul gave a teaching that was against the Torah, and declared eating the flesh of swine to be lawful, and even abolished the Divine commandment regarding circumcision, although it had been greatly stressed in the Torah and all Prophets—including the Messiah himself— had been circumcised. He also replaced the teachings of the Torah regarding the Oneness of God with the teaching of the Trinity, and declared it unnecessary to follow the commandments of the Torah, and turned away from the Holy Temple. It was, therefore, essential that some prophecy should have been made regarding this person who played such havoc with the Mosaic Law. But in the absence of any such prophecy in the Gospel, and in view of his hostility towards Jesus(as) and his opposition to the timeless commandments of the Torah, is there any reason at all why he should be accepted as a sage?(Ruhaninkhazain)

    • Greg G.

      It is worth noting that as long as Jesus(as) lived, Paul was his sworn enemy.

      It is worth noting that we have no indication that Paul knew anything about Christianity while Jesus lived.

    • buttle

      Paul was a madman, but at least he realized that circumcision and avoiding pigs were stupid, sectarian laws. You instead make up ridiculous conjectures to justify circumcision and avoiding pigs, while tens (but probably hundreds) of millions of your coreligionist are doing this:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/04/i-am-qadri-100000-pakistani-muslims-attend-assassins-funeral-admiring-his-butchery/
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1WL2_w-rY
      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/07/obscene-praise-for-the-pakistani-muslim-who-murdered-a-blasphemer.html
      By looking at your comment history it looks like all your efforts are spent plastering useless wall of words on atheist websites, but shouldn’t we be the least of your concerns? Or just pretending that Paul was an evil apostle because of his rejection of circumcision is sufficient to give you peace of mind? I guess that’s the gist of all religions, inventing metaphysical artifacts as a distraction from the harsh reality.

      • SparklingMoon

        One cannot deny that on many occasions some Muslims are found involved in terrorist activities either on behalf of a group or on behalf of a country with a predominately Muslim population. Are there not equally, other groups involved in terrorism and subversion throughout the world?

        President George Bush (President of USA) had claimed he was told by God to invade Iraq : ”In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation which had not attacked it and posed no threat to it….. Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children —the infants, the toddlers, the school kids— whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces,.. those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality….” (War Without End,The Reality of America’s Aggression Against Iraq)

        I think this one example would be enough to understand the difference between original teachings of a religion and misguiding activities of its some followers

        Shortly, almost every form of communal violence witnessed in the world today, wherever that is and whatever cloak it wears, is essentially political in nature. Religion is not the exploiter; it is itself exploited by internal or external political interests.

        • Greg G.

          I think this one example would be enough for you to understand the difference between original teachings of a religion and the misguiding activities of its some followers in the name of religion.

          Shortly, almost every form of communal violence witnessed in the world today, wherever that is and whatever cloak it wears, is essentially political in nature. Religion is not the exploiter; it is itself exploited by internal or external political interests.

          Religion is just one effective way to manipulate people, especially those who think religion is a good thing.

        • buttle

          “Religion is not the exploiter; it is itself exploited by internal or external political interests.”

          You now what is “essentially political in nature”? Islam. Violence used to quenche perceived opposition to an islamic theocracy is the only thing shared by the death penalty of Asia Bibi and Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, by the killing of Salman Taseer and the afghan woman Farkhunda:
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/11487220/Mob-beats-Afghan-woman-to-death-for-allegedly-burning-Koran.html , by the imprisonment and flogging of Raif Badawi and Ashraf Fayadh, for the slaugther with machete of Avijit Roy and too many others.
          “External political interests” is just a cop out, a way to avoid facing reality.

          But maybe i’m too harsh. I just checked out this Ghulam Ahmad… How could i expect you to embrace reality when you are so fond of a XIX century madman who claimed to be the reincarnated Jesus? This is beyond ridiculous… Were you indoctrinated into this madness from childhood or did you deliberately chose to convert to it? In this case why pick this particular lunatic instead of any of the others, like Bahá’u’lláh or Báb or Joseph Smith or Hong Xiuquan? The XIX century was particularly prolific.

        • SparklingMoon

          You now what is “essentially political in nature”? Islam.
          ————————————–
          No. Islam is just a religion and the purpose of a religion is to improve human condition in the way of God Almighty.The best representative of a religion and of God’s revelation, are His Prophets. A man must understand the difference between the conduct of a person and the teachings of his religion? The conduct of adherents of every religion varies from country to country, from sect to sect, from age to age, and from person to person.

          The function of the prophet hood of Prophet of Islam(saw) is mentioned by God Almighty :”We have sent to you a messenger from among you, who recites Our verses /signs to you, and purifies you, and teaches you the Book and wisdom, and teaches you that which you knew not.” (Quran2:152). The first phase of the Holy Prophet’s of Islam (sa) reformation began with that of the Arabs. The Arabian peninsula was in such a hapless state that it was hard to refer to its dwellers as humans. Name an evil which they did not exhibit; name a form of idolatry which they did not practice. To steal and rob was the order of the day, and committing pointless murder was like trampling an insignificant ant under their feet.They murdered innocent children and usurped all that belonged to them. It was not rare for them to bury their daughters alive. They took pride in fornication and boasted of it in their songs. Drinking was so common among them that there was no house without cellars of wine. They led the whole world in gambling. When Prophet of Islam (sa) stood up with a resolve to reform them and decided to cleanse their hearts with all his spiritual intent, within a matter of a short time they displayed such rapid changes as transformed them from beasts into humans and then from ordinary humans into a cultured people and from a cultured people they became Godly and became totally immersed in the love of God. For the sake of that love they suffered every torture as though their sense of pain had been paralyzed.

        • buttle

          “No. Islam is just a religion and the purpose of a religion is to improve human condition in the way of God Almighty.”

          And communism is just a way to organize labour and industrial production, to improve human condition. Nothing political in that, right? What happens if you are magically made absolute king of Saudi Arabia? Surely you will make your sect an allowed cult, but then? Alchool stays forbidden? Blasphemers are still jailed if not killed? Can we eat pork and listen to rock songs? If you are going to turn it into a secular liberal democracy how do you prevent it from becoming an arabic Nevada? Your description of the arabian peninsula before 7th century sounds a lot like Vegas…

          And I’m still curious if you were born into this sect or not.

        • SparklingMoon

          if you are magically made absolute king of Saudi Arabia? Surely you will make your sect an allowed cult, but then? Alchool stays forbidden? Blasphemers……….
          ——————————-
          Firstly, Islamic law, or any other religious law, can not be imposed perforce because it is against the spirit of religions themselves. The Holy Qur’an says: ”there is no compulsion in religion ” It says there is no coercion in faith or in matters of faith. No coercion is possible and no coercion is permitted. If one religion imposes its law on a society where people of other religions and denominations also live, how will this verse stand against the attempt to coerce ? Not only vis–vis the people from other religions, but vis–vis people from the same religion who are not willing.

          Secondly, Islam does not proposes a government which is representative of God, but proposes a system of government which is common to various denominations of religions and different people. Islam pleads for the secular type of government more than any religion and more than any political system. The very essence of secularism is that absolute justice must be practiced regardless of the differences of faith and religion and color and creed and group. This, in essence, is the true definition of secularism. And this is exactly what the Holy Quran admonishes Muslims to do in matters of state, how things should be done and how the state should be run. The Holy Quran says:[16:91] Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed.

          Allah orders you to always practice justice. And then it develops the theme by saying: ”O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do.” [5:9]

          No amount of enmity between you and any other people, should permit you to deviate from absolute justice.Be always just that is nearer to righteousness, When you dispense your responsibility as a government, you must dispense those responsibilities with absolute justice in mind. Now, when absolute justice is established as the central theme of a government, how could Islamic law be imposed upon non Muslim? Because it would be against justice. And so many contradictions would arise.

          The holy practice of the Holy Founder of Islam( sa) also confirm this system of rule. In Medina, when he moved there after Hijra, he came into contact with the Jewish and other communities who accepted him not as their religious leader, but a political leader. Islamic law had already been revealed at that time. Jews came to him for guidance or for decisions. Without fail, every time he inquired from them: ‘Would you like your dispute to be settled according to the Jewish law or according to the Islamic law or according to the arbitration?’ Without fail he never imposed Islamic law on a non‑agreeing party, which did not belong to the faith. This is what is called absolute justice. So, absolute justice has to be employed by a truly Islamic government, and this is in other terms, a secular government.

        • buttle

          I just read this:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/28/muslim-man-in-u-k-is-murdered-for-his-beliefs-but-its-not-what-you-think/

          While i reject the foundation of your religion i think i have to apologise for once thinking you were forgetting the violence spread by islamists, instead you must be particularly aware and possibly even affected by it. I hope you are somewhere safe, but apparently not even Glasgow is safe now.

        • SparklingMoon

          Thanks buttle

          Actually a wrong trend among Mulim Clergies took place at that time when, under the influence of changing socio-political environment, they preferred to adopt some politically coloured interpretations of religion and ignored the clear teachings of the Quran and the noble precedence set by the Holy Prophet (sa). Killing of apostate or blasphemer are erroneous trends and baseless convictions among some misguided Muslims. In fact, these menacing tenets are based neither on the Quran nor on the practice of the Prophet(sa) of Islam. These were merely a political ideas invented with the help of some biased Clergies , and used by passed Muslim rulers to grind their political axe. Later it took such momentum that even the unbiased Muslim Clergies and scholars were influenced by this wrong trend. Unfortunately, the later generation of Clergies and scholars, who followed the old schools of thought, adopted these un-Islamic views uncritically without further research.

          These dangerous and untenable beliefs produced very grave consequences. In this time also on minor differences followers of other sect are declared apostates by the Clergies The rulers and some politically powerful Clergies used this weapon against their opponents.

        • SparklingMoon

          Violence used to quenche perceived opposition to an islamic theocracy is the only thing shared by the death penalty of Asia Bibi and Mohamed
          —————————–
          There is no doubt that in some Muslim countries, there are laws of death punishment for apostasy, Blasphemy, adultery etc in their constitution. These laws are against the Quran. These prevailed Laws, in Muslim countries, have their foundation on those Fatwas (human made religious laws)that have been issued by some Muslims Clergies and Scholars. Mostly Muslims have no personal knowledge of the Quran and they follow these Fatwas (human made religious laws) of their Clergies and Imams of mosques as considering them the teachings of God. The main problem is that these Fatwas (human made religious laws) are not only issued by Clergies but also forced them in human societies by government law.

          The fundamental error in these Fatwas is that they thoroughly against the Quran. These Muslim Scholars and Imams have ignored the Words of the Quran (saved by God Almighty for human guidance) and have put the foundation of their Fatwas on those Hadiths that are contradictory to the Quran as no death punishment is told by God in the Quran for Apostasy or Blasphemy or Adultery etc.

          God Almighty has said with reference to the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa), that had he falsely attributed the smallest thing to God, He would have severed his jugular vein. How can a true Muslims imagine that Prophet of Islam in spite of having this warning of God had entered or practiced a punishment that was not told by God Almighty to him. Hazrat Aisha(ra) has confirmed that his (sa) whole life was according to the teachings of the Quran .

        • buttle

          “God Almighty has said with reference to the Holy Prophet of Islam, that had he falsely attributed the smallest thing to God, He would have severed his jugular vein.”

          It’s very good that there was a second witness who could confirm what god said, otherwise we might suspect it was a self-serving lie.

      • SparklingMoon

        Paul was a madman, but at least he realized that circumcision and avoiding pigs were stupid, sectarian laws.
        ——————————
        The Holy Word of God in its teachings seeks to reform the natural conditions of man and to raise him step by step to higher spiritual levels. The natural state of man has a very strong relationship with his moral and spiritual states, so much so that even a person’s manner of eating and drinking affects his moral and spiritual states. If the natural state of a person is subjected to the control of the directions of divine law it becomes his moral state and deeply affects his spirituality, as is said that whatever falls into a salt mine is converted into salt.

        Experience shows that different types of food affect the intellect and the mind in different ways. For instance, careful observation would disclose that people who refrain altogether from eating meat gradually suffer a decline of the faculty of bravery; they lose courage and thus suffer the loss of a divinely bestowed praiseworthy faculty. This is reinforced by the evidence of the divine law of nature that the herbivorous animals do not possess the same degree of courage as do carnivorous ones. The same applies to birds. Thus there is no doubt that morals are affected by food. Conversely those who are given to a diet consisting mainly of meat and eat very little of greens suffer a decline of meekness and humility. Those who adopt the middle course develop both types of moral qualities.

        It is further explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that in the very name of this animal (swine), God has indicated the reason for the prohibition of its flesh. The Arabic word for swine is Khinzir which is a compound of Khanz and Ara, which means: ”I see it very foul”. Thus the very name that God Almighty gave to this animal at the beginning points to its uncleanness. It is not necessary to enter into a detailed exposition of the foulness of this animal. Everyone knows that it eats filth and is utterly shameless. Thus the reason for the prohibition of its flesh is obvious, as by the law of nature its flesh would have a foul effect on the body and the soul of one who eats it. As food affects a person’s soul and there can be no doubt that the flesh of such a foul animal would also be foul. The eating of carrion is also prohibited in Islamic law for the same reason; that is to say, it affects the moral qualities adversely and is also harmful to physical health. The blood of an animal that is strangled or is beaten to death remains inside the body of the dead animal and they are all carrion. It is obvious that the blood of such an animal is soon corrupted and corrupts the whole flesh. It is established by recent research that the germs in such blood spread a poisonous corruption in the flesh of the dead animal. (Ruhanikhazain)

        • buttle

          Nevermind…

        • Greg G.

          If God wants to elevate man by commanding circumcision, he could just introduce a genetic mutation that causes the foreskin to not grow that way.

          The English word “Christmas” is derived from “Christ Mass” but it is just a name for a holiday that has been celebrated since before there was a concept of Christ. The word was invented by followers of Christianity to give the celebration a Christian feel to it. The Arabic word for “swine” appears to be a religious label for the animal. The religious superstition is not accurate.

          If what you say about the preparation of meat is true, then how do predatory animals survive? Alligators drown their prey. Pythons suffocate their prey. Lions will start eating its prey before it is even dead. Removing the blood only gets rid of organisms that happen to be in the blood but it doesn’t remove them all.

          You need a more realistic worldview. Your religion is feeding you superstition. Join us in the 21st century.

        • busterggi

          BTW the Eastern Orthodox church celebrates Jesus’ birth on April 6 – somehow that never gets mentioned.

        • Greg G.

          At least that date is more in line with shepherds watching their flocks by night. How do they celebrate Saturnalia if they can’t pretend it’s Jesus’ birthday?

        • Warren

          …Are you actually a medieval alchemist using forbidden magics to commune with the future?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you like that fairy story, your business, but you have no right to pass it off as reality.

  • Sophia Sadek

    Given the Gnostic denial of the crucifixion altogether, I am not surprised that anti-Gnostics depend on it.

  • Prof_M

    I am in awe of the caliber of this discussion; deep, civil, and articulate.

  • busterggi

    Paul was a heretic and he should have been disregarded except the later organizers of the church needed some semblance of history.

    • Cygnus

      To be a heretic one has to deviate from the mainstream of said religion. The real Christianity starts with Christianity becoming the totalitarian religion, about 350 C.E. when they had the power to kill the heretics.

      • TheNuszAbides

        “hijacker”, then.

        • Cygnus

          Yup, you can say that Christian hijacked other religions and philosophies and used them to create Christian totalitarian states. Later on Muslims took Christians as an example, but then started the “holy” wars to dominate each other. The “holy” wars are continuing nowadays with Christian occupying Muslim territories and Muslim asking for refuge in Christian countries (secular countries where Christians are usurping the government)

  • Warren

    Jesus appeared “to the Twelve”? But they were the Eleven after Judas was gone, and his replacement was elected after the ascension of Jesus.

    No, he appeared to the number 12. You know how on Sesame Street you see those anthropomorphic numerals?
    http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/b/b9/Count-magnificent7.jpg
    Like that, but with a 12.

  • Sheila Warner

    I love your Pauline dissections!

  • Agabu

    1 Corinthians 15 is important evidence for the resurrection of Christ. It is evidence that belief in the resurrection was years earlier than Paul’s writing. Paul appeals to early Christian tradition. This undercuts any insinuation he originated the story of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

    For Paul, Christ died for sins, was buried and then raised on the third day “according to the Scriptures.” This appendage has him citing and appealing to the authority of Scripture, and not to himself. Notice he doesn’t start with Jesus is alive because I’ve seen Him. Jesus is rather alive, that is, really alive like it is (or was) written about Him in the Scriptures. The word translated Scriptures refer to the sacred writings. He gives an orderly account of the events surrounding the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and some of the central players involved in the unfolding events.

    Contrary to your assertion, there is mention of time. Christ died at a particular time and was raised on the third day. This locates the event in time and space. If what you want is a “He died on a Friday, and was alive again on Sunday type thing,” sorry man but that is just being nitpicky for no good reason other than proving your own concocted points. 1 Corinthians isn’t a data sheet or police report or newspaper article. It is a personal letter to a specific group of people in a particular time and place. The “it is not like a police report or newspaper article” thing concerning specifically the creed like formulation of 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 is ridiculous. Of course, it’s not any of these things. Why would it be? Or why should it be? Like you said, it is a statement of what is believed. This reeks of you setting up your own haphazard criteria to determine the veracity of this formulation, which of course, it is going to fail from the get go. In other words, this is a classic straw man argument. This is a formulation that is part of a letter. How did they write police reports back then, let alone newspaper articles? Can you give an example of those sorts of things back in the first century A.D.? How we do things now doesn’t count. To impose this on an ancient culture is ludicrous. The responsible thing to do is to work with how they did things back then, how they reliably passed on information on their terms. Not yours or mine today. Obviously, we have our own way of doing things today that preserve and pass on important information according to the culture we live in. They had theirs.

    The creedal like formulation of this part of 1 Corinthians 15 insinuation that because it is a creed, and therefore not evidence is the worst case of wanting to have your cake and eat it too, and also grasping at straws. First, this is what they believe involving something that actually happened in their generation. Christ didn’t live, die, be buried and then only to rise again on the third day in their imaginations. These things happened for real. Paul’s summary list of people to whom Jesus appeared, identifying some of them by name, grounds it in reality. He appeals to the testimony of reliable written records (according to the Scriptures), and the testimony of eyewitnesses (He appeared to…) in the hundreds. Evidence for a real world occurrence of an historical event doesn’t get any better than that.

    According to you Jesus was raised on the third day according to Jonah 1:17. Where does Paul say that this is the Scripture he’s referring to? Since Paul is citing Scripture broadly. It is best to just leave it at that, and say no more than he says. Magically citing passages that Paul doesn’t specifically cite puts words into his mouth so to speak. I dont need to tell you that this is disingenous. Beyond that Jesus was actually dead for three days and three nights according to how they reckoned time back then. To you “He was out of action for a day and half, from Friday evening to Sunday morning.” Really? Did the ancients actually call the days the way we call them now? Our midnight is when their day ended too? Give me evidence that that is how they reckoned time. Otherwise this criticism is illegitimate and of no bearing on the matter, since once again you’re imposing contemporary cultural standards on ancient culture that had slightly different standards of reckoning time.

    Jesus did appear to the twelve. What again is the criteria for Judas Iscariot’s replacement in Acts 2:21-22? O yeah, a “WITNESS with us of His RESURRECTION.” Even if Judas’ s replacement was formally placed there after Jesus’s ascension, He still had Jesus appear to him before His ascension. And as one of the twelve he could also lay claim to having seen Jesus.

    So women were among the first to see Jesus, what does it matter who Paul puts on the list? It’s his list to compile according to his own concerns for writing. Not yours or mine. You want to know who else was there? Well, the Gospels independently give us theirs according to their own concerns for being written.

    According to you, Paul allegedly changed his mind about which of Christ’s actions is the saving act: His death or resurrection. For Paul, a dead Jesus can’t save anyone. Christ’s resurrection means that His death meant something. The two events are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other. This is Paul’s point. Your approach is horrendously reading into the text your own fanciful notions that only serve your purposes of proving your point, and not the point Paul is making. No discerning reader should buy it in the least. It is absolutely a terrible reading of the text.

    The appearance to Paul in Acts 9:3-9 is NOT a visionary sighting as you allege, but has the features of a real world occurrence. This incidence has a light from heaven flash around him that literally BLINDS him. A voice SPEAKS that even his companions HEAR loud and clear, albeit not seeing anyone in the form of a tangible person there. When Paul recalls the event in Acts 22:9, he says, “My companions SAW the light…” All this amounts to an actual appearance of Christ, and not a vision.

    Paul nowhere argues that all of us are going to the same afterlife irrespective of what we believe. In verse 23 following 22 you quote of chapter 15, he clarifies himself by saying that Christ will make alive “those who belong to Him.” Once again dude, your irresponsible handling of the text is breathtaking.

     

    These points will suffice to show your objects are spectacularly without merit for now. I will address the other issues you raise a little later.

    • It is evidence that belief in the resurrection was years earlier than Paul’s writing.

      Poor evidence, as the post explains.

      This undercuts any insinuation he originated the story of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

      OK. That’s not my argument.

      Notice he doesn’t start with Jesus is alive because I’ve seen Him.

      Smart move, since he hadn’t. (And you wonder who did, given that Paul used the same verb for his seeing of Jesus [a vision] and the others’.)

      Contrary to your assertion, there is mention of time. Christ died at a particular time and was raised on the third day. This locates the event in time and space. If what you want is a “He died on a Friday, and was alive again on Sunday type thing,” sorry man but that is just being nitpicky for no good reason other than proving your own concocted points.

      That’s not nitpicky. Even my demand is not nitpicky: I want Paul to place Jesus in time. Give us a date for when he lived and died.

      1 Corinthians isn’t a data sheet or police report or newspaper article.

      I wouldn’t be admitting that quite so loudly. You’re simply saying, “Hey—my evidence is paltry. Get off my back—it’s all I’ve got.” Yes, on both counts.

      Of course, it’s not any of these things. Why would it be? Or why should it be?

      Fair enough. Again, you’re only agreeing with me that your evidence is scanty.

      This reeks of you setting up your own haphazard criteria to determine the veracity of this formulation

      If you’d rather jump in here with your criteria, go ahead. Give us simple criteria by which we can decide whether any ancient document is likely history or myth. And then use it to evaluate the New Testament and other religions’ documents of that time.

      How we do things now doesn’t count. To impose this on an ancient culture is ludicrous.

      We use modern standards to evaluate ancient documents—deal with it. If you say, “Look—I don’t have CCTV footage, OK? The documentation for events back then just sucks,” then I’ll agree with you (and wonder why you find this sucky evidence convincing).

      Christ didn’t live, die, be buried and then only to rise again on the third day in their imaginations. These things happened for real.

      I’m going to need a heckuva lot more information than just your say so.

      Paul’s summary list of people to whom Jesus appeared, identifying some of them by name, grounds it in reality.

      I’ve slapped silly the “500 eyewitnesses” argument here.

      Evidence for a real world occurrence of an historical event doesn’t get any better than that.

      C’mon. Be serious.

      Compare “Men landed on the moon” with “Jesus rose from the dead.” Evidence?

      Beyond that Jesus was actually dead for three days and three nights according to how they reckoned time back then.

      You’ll have to explain this to me. Friday night + Saturday night = 2 nights.

      To you “He was out of action for a day and half, from Friday evening to Sun day morning.” Really? Did the ancients actually call the days the way we call them now? Our midnight is when their day ended too? Give me evidence that that is how they reckoned time.

      I’m mocking the fact that the gospels make clear that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecy in Jonah.

      Jesus did appear to the twelve. What again is the criteria for Judas Iscariot’s replacement in Acts 2:21-22? O yeah, a “WITNESS with us of His RESURRECTION.”

      There was no 12 … but there would again be, so that counts? You’re saying this with a straight face? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way.

      There was no Twelve at the resurrection. Sorry.

      So women were among the first to see Jesus, what does it matter who Paul puts on the list?

      The gospel writers make a big deal about the women witnesses. So are the women important to the story or not? I think we have a disagreement here.

      The appearance to Paul in Acts 9:3-9 is NOT a visionary sighting as you allege, but has the features of a real world occurrence.

      Paul’s own writings tell us that it was a vision.

      All this amounts to an actual appearance of Christ, and not a vision.

      “I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12)

      Paul nowhere argues that all of us are going to the same afterlife irrespective of what we believe. In verse 23 following 22 you quote of chapter 15, he clarifies himself by saying that Christ will make alive “those who belong to Him.” Once again dude, your irresponsible handling of the text is breathtaking.

      “ For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19)

      Breathtakingly irresponsible? Sounds to me like we’re all going to the same place.

      • Agabu

        “Poor evidence, as the post explains.”
        The only thing your post above shows is how poorly you handle the evidence. You read into the text, things that aren’t there and misconstrue that as some kind of predictive prophecy. It’s not. (e.g. Jonah 1:17). Jesus simply draws a parallel between himself and Jonah. In other words, he employs a simile to highlight how long he’d stay dead. Your mockery here falls flat as a result because of your interpretative shortcomings.

        “That’s not nitpicky. Even my demand is not nitpicky: I want Paul to place Jesus in time. Give us a date for when he lived and died.”
        Sorry, but it is nitpicky. Like I said, Paul says Jesus died, was buried and on the third day rose again. Where do you think this happened? In some kind of nether world limbo? Being dead and buried is what happens in time and space. You want to know when exactly? That’s what the Gospel accounts are for. They are part of the evidence package. It’s clear that you accept this since you flimsily try to undermine the three days and three nights hypothesis.

        “I wouldn’t be admitting that quite so loudly. You’re simply saying, “Hey—my evidence is paltry. Get off my back—it’s all I’ve got.” Yes, on both counts.”
        Nope! I’m not saying anything of the sort. You’re saying the evidence is paltry. Putting words into my mouth, like you did to Paul again? Typical Bob. How disingenuous.

        “Fair enough. Again, you’re only agreeing with me that your evidence is scanty.”
        You wish.

        “If you’d rather jump in here with your criteria, go ahead. Give us simple criteria by which we can decide whether any ancient document is likely history or myth. And then use it to evaluate the New Testament and other religions’ documents of that time.”
        The following questions are used by historians in modern work.

        When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)?
        Where was it produced (localization)?
        By whom was it produced (authorship)?
        From what pre-existing material was it produced (analysis)?
        In what original form was it produced (integrity)?
        What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)?
        Virtually every book in the Bible lends itself to most or all of these criteria. Even your post above, no matter my disagreement with it, is in some measure engaged in an analysis of a portion of the Bible.

        “I’m going to need a heckuva lot more information than just your say so.”
        I didn’t just say so dude. We do have a a heckuva a lot of information. 27 independently written accounts compiled in what is known as the New Testament. Four biographical sketches known as Gospels. 23 letters written at various junctures by at least 6 different authors of which one is apocalyptic in nature. Seems like a heckuva of lot. Quit your complaining, and deal with it.

        “I’ve slapped silly the “500 eyewitnesses” argument here.”
        So you think. I read that piece. It’s nothing but bare conjecture, speculation and imaginative nonsense that has little bearing on the matter.

        “You’ll have to explain this to me. Friday night + Saturday night = 2 nights.”
        Explain this to you? Gladly. In first century culture, it was typical to count one day as a whole even though something happened only on a part of it. Furthermore, in that era, a day ended at sundown and another day started. This would make the evening/night part the first part of the new day, and the morning /day part the latter half of the day. Jesus being buried on Friday counts as one day, Saturday day two, and Sunday day three. Jesus rose on early morning Sunday. Having been in the grave for all of the first part of that day i.e. evening/night part, for the ancients, it counts as day three. Everywhere the New Testament is unanimous. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. Quit thinking about how you measure time, and work with how they did.

        “There was no 12 … but there would again be, so that counts? You’re saying this with a straight face? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way.”
        Here’s what I’m saying with a straight face, and why this works buddy. Matthias, Judas’ s replacement was a WITNESS to the resurrection before the ascension. He is specifically chosen to replace Judas Iscariot because he met the qualifications of having been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry and having seen Him after being raised from the dead. This matters. Why? Because Jesus appeared to him. The fact that he wasn’t an apostle then isn’t the issue. The issue is certain things qualified him for the role, chief is that he had seen the resurrected Christ just like the others. So it’s perfectly sensible for Paul to say he appeared to the twelve. Show me evidence in the text that he didn’t and I’ll concede this as a legitimate contradiction.

        “The gospel writers make a big deal about the women witnesses. So are the women important to the story or not? I think we have a disagreement here.”
        No. You make a big deal of it. What we have here is corroboration. Not disagreement. Show me that Paul says there were no women there, and I’ll agree with you. The fact that he doesn’t mention them isn’t a dismissal that they weren’t there. He doesn’t mention the Roman guards either. He gives us highlights not an exhaustive list, which he is entitled to do since he is writing an epistle. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much for no good reason.

        “I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12)
        That’s it? And you think quoting Galatians makes your point of it being a vision? Sorry to burst that bubble dude, it doesn’t. Revelation here doesn’t equate vision. The word translated revelation (Greek: apokalypsis) simply means disclosure. In any case, Jesus “revealed” Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus, Just like someone once hidden or unknown makes oneself known.

        “Breathtakingly irresponsible? Sounds to me like we’re all going to the same place.”
        Absolutely breathtakingly irresponsible. It’s not about what it sounds like to you, but what it actually says. Trying to take refuge in Romans ain’t gonna help you either. Your misinterpretations follow you there too. Since you disregard the context of the entire letter of Romans, of course you’re gonna say “sounds like it to me.” Throughout in Romans Paul distinguishes between the righteous and the unrighteous, making it very clear that they are not all going to the same place or be given the same reward (Romans 2:7-8).

        • You read into the text, things that aren’t there and misconstrue that as some kind of predictive prophecy.

          The last thing I’ll be doing is imagining predictions within the Bible.

          Jesus simply draws a parallel between himself and Jonah. In other words, he employs a simile to highlight how long he’d stay dead.

          3 days and 3 nights? Fail.

          Sorry, but it is nitpicky.

          To demand solid evidence that the supernatural exists? I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          Like I said, Paul says Jesus died, was buried and on the third day rose again. Where do you think this happened?

          I think it didn’t happen.

          You want to know when exactly? That’s what the Gospel accounts are for.

          There’s the problem. Paul’s biography of Jesus is very, very sparse. Jesus is not placed in time and space.

          “Yeah, but some other authors have the answers” doesn’t do it.

          It’s clear that you accept this since you flimsily try to undermine the three days and three nights hypothesis.

          I delight in finding places where the New Testament contradicts itself. That’s why I draw on the gospels.

          I’m not saying anything of the sort. You’re saying the evidence is paltry. Putting words into my mouth, like you did to Paul again? Typical Bob. How disingenuous.

          Less whining and more justification of your position, please. You say the evidence for the supernatural is solid? Then bring it.

          The following questions are used by historians in modern work.

          List criteria, then apply them to both the New Testament and several ancient mythologies to show that the consistently applied criteria passes the New Testament and not the others.

          We do have a a heckuva a lot of information. 27 independently written accounts compiled in what is known as the New Testament. Four biographical sketches known as Gospels. 23 letters written at various junctures by at least 6 different authors of which one is apocalyptic in nature. Seems like a heckuva of lot.

          Here again, just your say-so. Show me that you understand the concerns raised about the not-eyewitness accounts in the gospels, the pseudepigrapha in the New Testament, and so on.

          If your point is that we have a lot of words, OK, I can accept that. What I want is reliable history. You haven’t shown that.

          Just because it flies in seminary or comes out of Strobel or Craig or Lewis doesn’t mean that it’s convincing to historians.

          I read that piece. It’s nothing but bare conjecture, speculation and imaginative nonsense that has little bearing on the matter.

          Which is just bravado. Are there problems? Then show me. Explicitly lay them out, identify the problems, and give me the correct information.

          This is the problem dealing with you. We are barely speaking the same language. What you apparently find convincing is not convincing to an outsider.

          In first century culture, it was typical to count one day as a whole even though something happened only on a part of it. Furthermore, in that era, a day ended at sundown and another day started. This would make the evening/night part the first part of the new day, and the morning /day part the latter half of the day. Jesus being buried on Friday counts as one day, Saturday day two, and Sunday day three.

          I wish you weren’t so evasive.

          Matthew says, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Sorry for the boring repetition, but two nights is not the same as three nights. Matthew was wrong, either with this prediction or with his chronology after the crucifixion.

          Quit thinking about how you measure time, and work with how they did.

          Quit trying to justify your predefined conclusion and address the issue head on.

          Matthias, Judas’ s replacement was a WITNESS to the resurrection before the ascension. He is specifically chosen to replace Judas Iscariot because he met the qualifications of having been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry and having seen Him after being raised from the dead.

          Yeah, I got it the first time. Now convince me that on resurrection Sunday (or shortly afterwards), the concept of “Jesus appearing to the Twelve” had any meaning. The fact that there were just 11 chosen disciples left would be a very big issue that everyone would’ve been aware of.

          Standing on your head to imagine a resolution of these problems doesn’t help your credibility.

          Show me that Paul says there were no women there, and I’ll agree with you. The fact that he doesn’t mention them isn’t a dismissal that they weren’t there. He doesn’t mention the Roman guards either.

          Why would he mention guards who aren’t Christian??

          Paul might’ve just omitted for literary reasons the first witnesses to the risen Christ … or Paul and the gospels are just different all-natural accounts of all-natural religious beliefs. I think I’ll go with the latter. I’ll side with the natural—it’s been the right answer in every other question to date.

          And you think quoting Galatians makes your point of it being a vision?

          And what are you saying? That Paul saw Jesus in the flesh, just like the disciples?

          Paul’s experience was a vision.

          Trying to take refuge in Romans ain’t gonna help you either. Your misinterpretations follow you there too.

          Dang. I could’ve gotten the benefit of your correction, but you’re just going to withhold it from me. It’s almost like you don’t have a correction at all.

          I don’t care what the rest of Romans says. If this one verse says that we’re all beneficiaries of the grace of Jesus, then nothing in the Bible will refute that. At best, you can go for the Bible being contradictory.

        • Agabu

          “The last thing I’ll be doing is imagining predictions within the Bible.”
          It would seem you’re trying to evasive here by being a smart ass. Deal with the fact that you did misconstrue the Jonah parallelism into some kind of predictive prophecy. It’s not. What’s predictive prophecy here is Jesus drawing on that parallelism and predicting his death and how long he’d stay dead.

        • Greg G.

          He could have left off the three nights part if he knew the parallel would break down.

        • Agabu

          And where did it break down now Greg?

        • Greg G.

          Because he says three days an three nights but the gospels say it was no more than three days and two nights no matter how much slack you give for the meaning of three days.

          The gospels say he was buried in the late afternoon and his body was discovered missing around sunrise on the third day which means it could have been less than 25 hours.

        • Agabu

          Your math is so way off. In any case, the issue isn’t how many hours he was buried, but how many days. Nobody was walking around with Rolexes in those days, let alone go around splitting hairs about how Jesus wasn’t dead long enough to pass the messiah test. That twenty first century mentality of telling time is pretty hard to let go of hey?

        • Greg G.

          The issue is not the number of days, it is the numbers of nights that Jesus said he would be in the ground and the number of nights the gospels say he was in the ground.

          How is my math wrong? The gospels say he was buried before sunset of Day 1 which could have been 5 minutes before sunset. They say the women came to the tomb at sunrise of the third day and Jesus had already split. When did that happen? If we are counting any part of a day as a day, it could have been 5 minutes after sunset. It’s those 10 minutes plus 24 hours of the second day is less than 25 hours minimum. Since it was just after the Spring equinox, Jesus couldn’t have been in the ground much more than 36 hours.

          No matter how you do the math, the three nights don’t add up.

        • Agabu seems to be at the stomping-feet stage on this “3 nights” issue.

        • Greg G.

          He is arguing that Jesus used an idiom but is cherry-picking from half of it.

        • I understand that “3 days” isn’t always 24 x 3 hours. It’s when the prophecy is 3 days and 3 nights that the problem is clear.

        • Agabu

          Nothing becomes clear in the manner you put it, it just becomes fuzzy. Only a problem when one fixates on parts of days when ancients took days in whole and not in part, no matter when an event started on a day.

        • And you’d be home free except for the pesky fact that they don’t have any fraction of that third night. Darn. Friday night + Saturday night = 2 nights.

        • Agabu

          I am home free. You seem to be forgetting that the day after Sabbath began at sundown, with the evening /night part being the first part of the day. Your blinders seem to be keeping you from seeing that. The early morning was the halfway point of the day. Your twenty first century cuckoo clock mentality is really a pesky thing hey?

        • adam

          Greg G.

          Agabu

          12 hours ago

          The issue is not the number of days, it is the numbers of nights that Jesus said he would be in the ground and the number of nights the gospels say he was in the ground.

        • Agabu

          Refer to the response above to Bob for how Jesus was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights according to Jewish ways of reckoning time.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that is what he called Saturday night. There were two nights in the gospel stories, not three nights.

        • Agabu

          They are “3 nights” in the gospel accounts from the Jewish way of reckoning time. Refer to the response to Bob above for how that is.

        • Greg G.

          My response is HERE.

          Again shows what religion can do to a brain. It isn’t pretty.

        • It is! In fact, my blinders are preventing me from seeing the wisdom in your position at all. What’s worse, they’re telling me that you’re an idiot. Damn my blinders!

          Let’s walk through this. Jesus died. Within an hour or two began the Sabbath day (what we call Friday night). That’s night #1. 24 hours later began Saturday night, night #2. And at the end of that, the women found the empty tomb. That makes two nights.

          Just to tie this back in with the point, Matthew says, “For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights …” Jonah might’ve been in there for 3 nights, but Jesus wasn’t.

          Fail.

        • Agabu

          Boo-hoo, I’m such an idiot. I don’t know how to count. I’ve been given a twenty first century schooling in addition. Not!

          Take it easy big man. Hand waving and feet stomping isn’t helping you here. Your math is still off because of your blinders that got you name calling now.

          Let’s walk through this, properly. Jesus died and was buried that same day (which is our Friday afternoon). Ancient reckoning of time counts that day in whole and not in part. So that’s 1day and 1night. Remember, it doesn’t matter that there was only a couple or so hours of it left. Within two or so hours began the Sabbath day at sundown (what we call Friday evening/night, which for them was Sabbath evening/night and following that, Sabbath morning /day until the next sunset). Now that’s night #2 and day #2. At the next sunset began their first day of the week evening/night part (which would be our Saturday evening/night). Early in the morning at the start of the second half of the first day of the week (which is now our Sunday morning/day also) the women found the empty tomb. That makes 3days and 3nights. Once again, if you’ve been keeping track, day three is counted in whole and not in part according to ancient reckoning of time. You got that man with twenty first century cuckoo clock blinders.

          Prophecy, success!

        • Pofarmer

          “day three is counted in whole and not in part according to ancient reckoning of time.”

          Citation?

        • Agabu

          Refer to the response above to Bob

        • Greg G.

          His response to Bob is a reset of what he was arguing two months ago. HERE I show that the Old Testament reckoning shows Jesus should not have alluded to Jonah and should have said “two days and two nights”.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not a citation.

        • Agabu

          What’s not a citation now?

        • Pofarmer

          Referring someone to what you wrote isn’t a citation attesting to the validity of what you wrote.

        • MNb

          Your previous comment: “Refer to the response above to Bob”.
          A self-reference (to a comment of yours that doesn’t contain a citation) is not a citation.
          What Pofarmer wants to know is where you got this from:

          “day three is counted in whole and not in part according to ancient reckoning of time.”
          Thus far you haven’t told us.

        • Jesus died and was buried that same day (which is our Friday afternoon). Ancient reckoning of time counts that day in whole and not in part. So that’s 1day and 1night.

          Citation needed.

        • MR
        • Agabu

          Jesus is recorded as saying, “The Son of Man will rise again after three days,” and “He will be
          raised again on the third day”(12:40)– expressions that are used interchangeably. This can be seen
          from the fact that most references to the resurrection state that it occurred on the third day.

          Also, Jesus spoke of the resurrection in John (2:19-22), stating that He would be raised up in
          three days (not the fourth day). Matthew (27:63) gives weight to this idiomatic usage. After the
          Pharisees tell Pilate of the prediction of Jesus, “After three days I will rise again,” they ask for a
          guard to secure the tomb until the third day. If the phrase “after three days,” had not been
          interchangeable with “the third day,” the Pharisees would have asked for a guard for the fourth
          day.”

          That the expression “one day and one night” was an idiom employed by the Jews for indicating a
          day, even when only part of a day was indicated, can be seen also in the Old Testament.

          For example, 1 Samuel says “For he had not eaten bread or dunk water for three days and three
          nights,” and in the next verse, “My master left me behind… three days ago.” (30:12,13)

          Just as clearly, Genesis (42:17) shows this idiomatic usage. Joseph imprisoned his brothers for
          three days; in verse 18, he speaks to them and releases them, all on the third day.

          The phrase “after three days” and “on the third day,” are not contradictory, either to each other or
          with Matthew (12:40), but simply idiomatic, interchangeable terms, clearly a common mode of
          Jewish expression.

          Jewish writers have recorded in their commentaries on the
          Scriptures the principle governing the reckoning of time. Any part of a period was considered a
          full period. Any part of a day was reckoned as a complete day. The Babylonian Talmud (Jewish
          commentaries) relates that “The portion of a day is as the whole of it.” The Jerusalem Talmud
          (so designated because it was written in Jerusalem) says, “We have a teaching, ‘A day and a night
          are an Onah and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it.'” An Onah simply means, “a
          period of time.”

          To repeat the point again, the “three days and three nights” in reference to Christ’s time in the tomb could be calculated as
          follows: Christ was crucified on Friday. Any time before 6:00 p.m. Friday would be considered
          “one day and one night.” Any time after 6:00 p.m. Friday to Saturday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday
          when Christ was resurrected would be “one day and one night.” From the Jewish point of view, it
          would make “three days and three nights” from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.

        • Greg G.

          Stop letting your religion lie to you.

          For example, 1 Samuel says “For he had not eaten bread or dunk water for three days and three
          nights,” and in the next verse, “My master left me behind… three days ago.” (30:12,13)

          If something happened yesterday, then yesterday was the first day and today is the second day. If it happened the day before yesterday, it happened two days ago, this is the third day. This correlates to the time frame of the resurrection in the NT. But according to your example, “three days and three nights” happened three days ago which means the guy was found on the fourth day. So the expression as used in the OT means three whole nights, two whole days, and two partial days. That does not correspond to the gospels say that Jesus spent in the tomb.

          You have a contradiction. If your religion tells you there are no contradictions, you need to stop believing it. You can go to a religion with a different set of lies and unfounded claims or be honest with yourself and leave religion altogether.

        • Agabu

          Hey Greg, long time man. How are you doing?

          Anywho, oh Greg my man. Still making it up as you go along I see. You need to stop letting your preconceived notions mangle you up in knots of self-deception and read the Bible on its terms and not yours. Your “if something happened yesterday” example is still trapped in 21st century cuckoo clock mentality. There’s no contradiction my friend. Just your lack of understanding of a Jewish idiom, which is typical of critics like yourself who often fail to grasp the cultural context and historical milieu many books of the Bible are set in.

          Contradiction here is a figment of your imagination. Yes, technically the night part has already passed on the Friday Jesus is buried, which is day one. But since he was buried then, the Jews recall the day as a whole thus the night part is assumed along with the latter “day part” of the day. Saturday is day two, and Sunday is the third day. Therefore, Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights. especially if one as a discerning reader pays attention to the culture and historical setting of the gospel accounts.

          When it comes to the Genesis quotation, what are you talking about Greg? you’re twisting Genesis instead of letting it speak for itself. Genesis 42:17 says Joseph’s brothers were in custody for three days yet in verse 18 and the rest following he released them on the third day. It is clear from a simple reading of the text that this is a standard Jewish idiom at work here that equivocates the two, which is my point. Being in custody for three days and being released on the third day are interchangeable not contradictory.

          You haven’t really addressed anything, let alone provide a counter example from antiquity that undermines the explanation I have offered using even a non Christian source, save to say it doesn’t jive with how YOU tell time. Sorry Greg, that won’t cut it. Give me something better than that if you have it.

        • Greg G.

          Contradiction here is a figment of your imagination. Yes, technically the night part has already passed on the Friday Jesus is buried, which is day one. But since he was buried then, the Jews recall the day as a whole thus the night part is assumed along with the latter “day part” of the day. Saturday is day two, and Sunday is the third day. Therefore, Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights. especially if one as a discerning reader pays attention to the culture and historical setting of the gospel accounts.

          On Sunday, Saturday was one day ago and Friday was two days ago. Friday was the first day, Saturday was the second day, and Sunday was the third day.

          Your example from 1 Samuel (I used that example two months in a discussion of every “X days and X nights” use in the Old Testament) says the man’s master left him three days ago. I just showed you that meant he was found on the fourth day. He says he was without food for “three days and three nights.” That shows that the Jewish way of counting days does not fix Jesus’ prophecy and the resurrection stories of the gospels. According to the way the phrase was actually used in the Bible, Jesus was either in the tomb for two days and two nights OR he was raised on the fourth day. That OR is an “exclusive or”.

          When it comes to the Genesis quotation, what are you talking about Greg? you’re twisting Genesis instead of letting it speak for itself. Genesis 42:17 says Joseph’s brothers were in custody for three days yet in verse 18 and the rest following he released them on the third day. It is clear from a simple reading of the text that this is a standard Jewish idiom at work here that equivocates the two, which is my point. Being in custody for three days and being released on the third day are interchangeable not contradictory.

          I didn’t twist anything. I agree that it correlates to the time frame of the gospels for the resurrection story. I simply pointed out that it doesn’t apply because it doesn’t use the “X days and X nights” formula. It doesn’t tell us anything.

          You haven’t really addressed anything, let alone provide a counter example from antiquity that undermines the explanation I have offered using even a non Christian source, save to say it doesn’t jive with how YOU tell time. Sorry Greg, that won’t cut it. Give me something better than that if you have it.

          ou never addressed my point. The 1 Samuel passage says He was left “three days ago.” In your understanding of Jewish time-keeping and Jewish idioms, work it our for me.

          1. If it is a Sunday and a first century Jew said something happened one day ago, would that be the same day, Saturday, Friday, or some other day or the week?

          2. If he then mentioned that something else happened two days ago, would that be earlier the same day, Saturday, Friday, Thursday or some other day of the week?

          3. If he then mentioned that another something else happened three days ago, would that be earlier the same day, Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday or some other day of the week?

          Number 2 corresponds to the gospels resurrection story. Number 3 corresponds to the 1 Samuel story. You are trying to apply “three days and three nights” to two very different situations.

        • Agabu

          You’re tied up in knots again Greg. Friday from Sunday is two days ago, not counting Sunday itself of course. When we say that such and such a day was 2 or 3 days ago etc. we’re not counting the day we’re saying it on. However, if any event falls on or happens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it’s for all intents and purposes a three day event. On Sunday when you attend it’s final happening, you may well say that it began two days ago, if someone asks. But that doesn’t at all mean it is a two day event. it is still a three day event counting Sunday itself. The same goes for Jesus being in the grave on Friday, Saturday and then rising again on early Sunday morning. Jesus may have been killed two days ago from Sunday excluding Sunday itself, but he came back from the dead to life again on it as the third day. Anybody living at that time on Sunday could have legitimately said Jesus was killed and buried 2 days ago on or from Sunday, but still be right in saying He was in the grave three days, particularly if he was still in the grave for any portion of that day Sunday.

          My Genesis and 1 Samuel quotations are meant to show that the Gospel accounts utilize a longstanding Jewish idiom around for age up to point in time, which shows consistency in that regard. Your attempt to undermine the Jewish idiom is a failure through and through because it disregards it for the Gospel accounts simply because it fits your contradiction insinuation. There’s no way around your flawed reading of the biblical text or lack of understanding of Jewish culture and history reflected in the Gospel accounts. The contradiction myth is a bust. Sure, you can stick to your wrongheaded opinion that it isn’t 3 nights because Jesus died 2 days earlier from Sunday and wasn’t in the grave for all of Friday and all of Sunday, and imagine that as a contradiction in the Bible because earlier prophecy emphasized 3 days and 3 nights, but the accounts don’t support you, and neither does Jewish culture and history.

        • Still making it up as you go along I see.

          You certainly seem familiar with that.

          There’s no contradiction my friend. Just your lack of understanding of a Jewish idiom, which is typical of critics like yourself who often fail to grasp the cultural context and historical milieu many books of the Bible are set in.

          Whew! We were about to be overrun by illogic when the cavalry arrived. How lucky for us.

          Yes, technically the night part has already passed on the Friday Jesus is buried, which is day one. But since he was buried then, the Jews recall the day as a whole thus the night part is assumed along with the latter “day part” of the day.

          Since anyone with a modicum of scholarship knows this, how about throwing us a bone and giving this to us from a credible source? In other words: not you.

        • Agabu

          Throw you a bone? Hmmm….let me think. Ah, no. I already gave you a dinner of sumptuous fixings. But if you want to be a puppy dog, that’s your business. Methinks the dinner I served you with is good enough, even from “an allegedly not credible source” like me. If what you really want is dessert served by someone else. Then go get it yourself. That’s your prerogative after all.

        • MR

          Like we didn’t see this cop out coming.

        • MNb

          Once I went to a restaurant where they served your kind of dinner.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nouvelle_cuisine

          Afterwards I bought this.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_fries#/media/File:Patat_speciaal_Leidschendam.JPG

        • To repeat the point again, the “three days and three nights” in reference to Christ’s time in the tomb could be calculated as
          follows: Christ was crucified on Friday. Any time before 6:00 p.m. Friday would be considered
          “one day and one night.” Any time after 6:00 p.m. Friday to Saturday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday
          when Christ was resurrected would be “one day and one night.” From the Jewish point of view, it
          would make “three days and three nights” from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.

          Despite the fact that there were actually only two nights? You’re saying that “three days and three nights” in a Jewish context is identical to “three days.” Why then put in the extra words? Why is it referred to as 3 days in some places and 3 days and 3 nights in another?

        • Agabu

          O how I wish that I were. But I’m sitting pretty enjoying a delicious smoothie. You should go out and get yourself one. It may help clear your head about the 3nights issue.

        • Greg G.

          Is that a psilocybin mushroom smoothie? I’m taking life one coffee at a time.

          There was the night after the first day which is the beginning of the second day and the night after the second day which is the beginning of the third day. There is no third night.

        • Agabu

          No, it’s a carribean tropical blast smoothie with a mix of yoghurt, French vanilla sundae, frozen pieces of mango, strawberries, peaches and bananas topped with whipped cream.
          Anyway, Jesus was buried on the day before Sabbath, that day according to ancient time reckoning counts in whole not in part, then the Sabbath and then the day after, which began at sundown at the end of Sabbath. Throughout its night Jesus remained dead until early morning in the beginning of the latter part of the day. As usual the day counts in whole and not in part. Therefore, Christ being in the grave three days and three nights is a compound calculation characteristic of the way they often used whole numbers rather than fractions, especially when measuring time from day to day.

        • Greg G.

          No, it’s a carribean tropical blast smoothie with a mix of yoghurt, French vanilla sundae, frozen pieces of mango, strawberries, peaches and bananas topped with whipped cream.

          OK, you win. Now I’m like Pavlov’s dog when the doorbell rings.

          Therefore, Christ being in the grave three days and three nights is a compound calculation characteristic of the way they often used whole numbers rather than fractions, especially when measuring time from day to day.

          Prove it. In Jonah 1:17, the phrase is used but it does not give enough information to draw a conclusion from what it means exactly.

          Besides, Jonah seems to exaggerate. Jonah 3:3 says that Nineveh was a three days’ walk for one end to the other, which must have been a fisherman’s tale. It doesn’t say “three days and three nights” either.

          1 Samuel 30:12 uses the phrase “three days and three nights” about how long a boy was without food and water. In the next verse, the Egyptian boy says he was abandoned by his master three days ago because he got sick. One day ago involves one night. Two days ago involves two nights, three days ago involves three nights. According to your calculations, it should have said he hadn’t eaten for four days and nights if he had been abandoned three days ago.

          Job 2:13 mentions Job’s friend’s sitting with him for seven days and seven nights but doesn’t give any other information about the time.

          There are several verses that say forty days and forty nights but forty tends to be used non-specifically meaning “many” or “a few dozen”. Why doesn’t anybody use the number thirty nine?

        • Agabu

          Your math is wrong because you’re counting hrs. The ancients count part of the day as a whole day. It doesn’t matter what time of day it was, that day as it is wholly counts. Your fixation with it’s only 36 hrs and such, wouldn’t have been theirs. To them, the man Jesus was dead and buried on the day he died before Sabbath and then on the third day after Sabbath in the early morning he was alive again.

        • Greg G.

          You brought up the Jonah parallel.

          Jesus simply draws a parallel between himself and Jonah. In other words, he employs a simile to highlight how long he’d stay dead. Your mockery here falls flat as a result because of your interpretative shortcomings.

          It says “three days and three nights”. The idiom means three whole days to distinguish it from meaning three days meaning one day plus parts of two other days.

          We understand what you are trying to say about the parts of days meaning the third day and my math supports what you are saying. I don’t know why you object to my math. You could just admit that the “three nights” inclusion is wrong. That is what we are saying.

        • It would seem you’re trying to evasive here by being a smart ass.

          It would seem you’re trying to be evasive by ignoring 90% of what I wrote.

          Deal with the fact that you did misconstrue the Jonah parallelism into some kind of predictive prophecy. It’s not.

          Deal with the fact that 3 days and 3 nights is very clearly rejected by the gospels. Ouch.

          What’s predictive prophecy here is Jesus drawing on that parallelism and predicting his death and how long he’d stay dead.

          “I predict that I’ll see a unicorn today. I’ll close my eyes and … there it is! Bingo!”

          Let’s be a little skeptical of books that have both the prophecy and the fulfillment in them. I prefer independent corroboration.

        • Agabu

          Dealt with what you wrote. The 3days 3nights thing isn’t as you say, “clearly rejected” in the Gospels. That’s all in your mind. All four Gospels agree that Jesus died before Sabbath being buried before then too, and then rose again early morning on the first day of the week after Sabbath on the next day.

          You already have independent corroboration. We already know what is known as the Old Testament was already fully formed for 400 years before Christ. I’m little skeptical of critics who ignore such little details because it suits their biases. All 66 books of the Bible were written independently, and as such pass the independent corroboration test so to speak. If they were written around the same time in the same city or town, then you’d have a point. But you don’t. All you have is mere doubts built on terrible readings of the text.

        • Agabu

          “3 days and 3 nights? Fail.”
          Drawing on the the day ends at sunset and evening is the first part of a day method of telling time, and the fact that the ancients couunted a part of the day as a whole day is a failure how now?

        • You just enjoy hearing it again? Well, I’ll admit, I do myself. So here goes: Friday night + Saturday night = 2 nights.

          Prophecy fail! 2 isn’t 3.

        • adam

          Oh Bob:

          You need to use biblical ‘math’

        • Agabu

          All I’m hearing here is your ignorance of that culture making a buzzing noise.

        • So then I guess you’re out of arguments? OK.

        • Agabu

          “To demand solid evidence that the supernatural exists? I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”
          Funny, how you’re now whining about wanting solid evidence when the issue is you splitting hairs about who Paul doesn’t include on his list of eyewitnesses. You make a big deal about the women being in the Gospel accounts and complain about Paul not putting them on his list. So what? There’s no real disagreement here just you, I’ll say it again, being nitpicky for no reason at all except that it serves your imaginings of contradictions.

        • Loads of apologists make a big deal about the women at the tomb. And yet Paul doesn’t. Seems to me that those apologists aren’t honest to the evidence. They need to give me some justification for why the women are vitally important and yet not.

        • Agabu

          No one needs to give you justification for why the women are vitally important and yet not. This is your straw man. Paul not including the women has nothing to do with them not being important. It’s his prerogative to compile a list that serves HIS (not yours or mine) purposes for writing.

        • Agabu

          “I think it didn’t happen.”
          So you think Jesus dying, being buried and rising again on the third day didn’t happen. What’s your evidence that it didn’t happen? You’re article above doesn’t provide anything in that regard. You just speculate a great deal about about what Paul says and doesn’t say or what and who he should have included on his list of eyewitnesses according to you, and things such as time, dates and such nonsense.

        • What’s your evidence that it didn’t happen?

          And what’s your evidence that George Washington didn’t fly around with a jet pack.

          What’s that? Sounds like crickets …

          Oh, so now you’re saying that that’s ridiculous because there’s no good reason to accept such a hypothesis. Well, I must admit, you’re starting to make some sense now.

        • Agabu

          More evasive maneuvers by trying to bring up something irrelevant to the issue. George Washington flying around with a jet pack is your claim not mine. I’ve no reason to address it. I guess those crickets got so loud that you needed ear plugs or a mental distraction to snuff them out. I guess George Washington’s jet pack was good for that.

        • ??

        • Agabu

          “There’s the problem. Paul’s biography of Jesus is very, very sparse. Jesus is not placed in time and space.”
          Hahaha! This is hilarious. O wait, are you serious? Paul’s biography of Jesus? Jesus not placed in time and space? This is a joke right? I mean Paul only ever wrote epistles to specific Churches or individual Christians, why in the world would he go into great details about the life of Jesus Christ to Christian people who were already largely familiar with the story of Christ’s life? Seriously man, Paul’s biography of Jesus is sparse? Is that supposed to insinuate that therefore the Jesus story is made up or like you’re more predisposed to say, “It is legend” because like you pointed out “I think it didn’t happen?” Please explain where he places Him then. You have to explain this one. You got 13 pauline letters to plumb through. Jesus died in what realm exactly? He was buried on what other planet or whatever nether region? He rose on the third of the moon’s, Jupiter’s or whatever else’s day and not earth?

        • Greg G.

          Paul loved to talk about Jesus. In the 7 authentic Pauline epistles, he mentions “Jesus”, “Christ”, or either combination over 300 times in about 1500 verses. Most of that is adulation about the heavenly Jesus but when he says something specific, it can be traced to an Old Testament source.

          Paul never met Jesus, he claims he didn’t get his information from a human source, yet all his information seems to have been revealed through the Old Testament scripture. He claims his knowledge is not inferior to the knowledge of the superapostles, which means he knew the other apostles got their information the same way he got his.

          In 1 Corinthians 15, he tells you that he got his information “according to the scriptures”. He uses the same word for “appeared to” for all the others that he uses for himself, which shows that he knows they got their information the same way.

          The only place where Paul places Jesus in time is

          1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (NRSV)
          14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.

          where Jesus is listed as being killed before the prophets were killed, not in recent times to Paul’s era.

          The only reference that dates the time Paul lived is a reference to a king who ruled for about 40 years so it is not all that specific.

          It looks like Paul thought Jesus died and was buried on earth in accordance with the scriptures (Isaiah 53:5, 9) and rose on the third day (Hosea 6:2).

        • Agabu

          Based on your last paragraph, you’re essentially disagreeing with Bob who seems to think Paul DIDN’T place Jesus in time and space. It also seems to run counter to how you started your piece where Jesus is just in the Scriptures but then He is now on earth?

        • Greg G.

          I am saying Paul believed that Jesus was on earth from his reading of Old Testament allegory as a hidden mystery. I am saying that is the 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 would provide the terminus post quem for when Paul thought Jesus existed.

          I do not think Jesus existed. The epistles don’t say much about Jesus and the Gospel of Mark appears to have been written as an allegory and was based on the literature of the day, drawn from Greek, Jewish and Christian sources. The other gospels are based on Mark with more fictional elements, many with other identifiable sources.

        • Greg has little interest in and no obligation to agree with me. When we disagree, he’s usually right.

        • Greg G.

          Many think 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is an interpolation because the end of chapter one speaks of God’s wrath as yet to come and verse 2:16 says God’s wrath is already here, and other reasons, so it may be true that Paul did not place Jesus in time and space.

        • why in the world would he go into great details about the life of Jesus Christ to Christian people who were already largely familiar with the story of Christ’s life?

          Pro tip: think before you click “Post.”

          Paul gives very few details of the life of Jesus, and yet he mentions the resurrection 14 times, if I recall. Seems to me that the resurrection is the bit that they would know the best. Why hit it over and over?

          And let’s turn this around. Why do the gospels have his healing miracles? Why the parables? Seems like you’re saying that they don’t much matter. Everyone would’ve known them.

          Is that supposed to insinuate that therefore the Jesus story is made up

          No one suggests it’s invented. Except you.

          or like you’re more predisposed to say, “It is legend”

          Yes, it’s a legend.

          You got 13 pauline letters to plumb through.

          More like 7.

          Jesus died in what realm exactly?

          No idea what you’re asking. But while we’re talking about strange places, fill me in on where the 3rd heaven is.

        • Agabu

          The death and resurrection of Christ is the apex of the story. But of course, Jesus public ministry of miracles matters. Again Paul wrote epistles whose chief interest was to deal with pertinent issues related to doctrine and practice. Giving detailed biographical sketches of the life of Jesus Christ isn’t in the purview of any of his epistles. Complaining about what he leaves out is a mere argument from silence.

          In regards to the third heaven, I don’t know why you want to talk about that. I see no relevance of it to the issues at hand.

        • Agabu

          “I delight in finding places where the New Testament contradicts itself. That’s why I draw on the gospels.”
          Now we’re getting somewhere. This right here is an example of why your interpretative methodology is so terrible and skewed. ‘I delight in finding places where Bob S contradicts himself. That’s why I draw on his writings.’ I do this. You’re screwed. There’s no way you’re ever going to be treated fairly. By the way, this isn’t why I read your pieces. This approach to the Bible is why you handle it so irresponsibly. And again, breathtakingly so.

        • This right here is an example of why your interpretative methodology is so terrible and skewed.

          You’re saying I’m biased? Show me the error.

          This approach to the Bible is why you handle it so irresponsibly. And again, breathtakingly so.

          One wonders why you never raise any interesting challenges.

        • Agabu

          This is just bravado, and again evasive maneuvers.

        • MNb

          No, an accurate observation.

        • Agabu

          “Less whining and more justification of your position, please. You say the evidence for the supernatural is solid? Then bring it.”
          Is that what you think I was doing? Whining? You’re guilty of reading INTO the text, and then had me apparently admit that my evidence is paltry. I admitted nothing of the sort. There’s nothing ingenious about this on your part. It is simply disingenuous. You may call it whining all you want, but that is you just being evasive. We’re not generally talking about the supernatural but specifically about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

        • I pray to the God that isn’t there that you’ll move on to giving me substantial objections instead of, y’know, whining.

        • Agabu

          Oy vey! More evasive maneuvers. Whining about me allegedly whining.

        • Nice! Whining about my complaint about your whining.

          Suggestion: give me something substantial.

        • Agabu

          Did that. You seem to be hard of hearing, and pretend that you’ve made a compelling case. Ah, not so much.

        • Agabu

          “Here again, just your say-so. Show me that you understand the concerns raised about the not-eyewitness accounts in the gospels, the pseudepigrapha in the New Testament, and so on.

          If your point is that we have a lot of words, OK, I can accept that. What I want is reliable history. You haven’t shown that.

          Just because it flies in seminary or comes out of Strobel or Craig or Lewis doesn’t mean that it’s convincing to historians.”

          My say so? Open your Bible, and look at the table of contents of the New Testament, how many books are listed there? The silliness of its just a lot of words is just another one of your evasive maneuvers. Each book is a work of literature that contributes to helping elucidate the Christian worldview.

          Secondly, the concerns raised about the alleged “not-eyewitness accounts” aren’t really concerns but rather arguments you pretend dismiss the Jesus story. If one is not sure the biblical record is reliable, then I understand about concerns. But again, what we have with you isn’t this but sweeping unfounded arguments about the as you put it, “not-eyewitness accounts.” You are sure the Bible has unreliable history not as matter of concern but as a matter of dismissive argument. This is just your say so here with no real merit.

        • adam

          “Open your Bible, and look at the table of contents of the New Testament, how many books are listed there? “

        • adam

          “You are sure the Bible has unreliable history not as matter of concern but as a matter of dismissive argument. This is just your say so here with no real merit.”

        • Greg G.

          My say so? Open your Bible, and look at the table of contents of the New Testament, how many books are listed there? The silliness of its just a lot of words is just another one of your evasive maneuvers.

          Many of the New Testament books are anonymous. Many of the sets of epistiles are claimed to have been written by specific persons but the differing styles and theologies show that they are not written by the same person.

          Each book is a work of literature that contributes to helping elucidate the Christian worldview.

          So you are saying that the Christian worldview is elucidated by anonymous fiction and forgeries. That’s what we are saying, too.

          None of the books claim to be from eyewitnesses even if some authors assumed they came from eyewitnesses.

        • You overlooked this challenge from my comment: List criteria, then apply them to both the New Testament and several ancient mythologies to show that the consistently applied criteria passes the New Testament and not the others.

          I’ve discussed the claim that the gospels are eyewitnesses elsewhere in this blog.

        • Agabu

          “Which is just bravado. Are there problems? Then show me. Explicitly lay them out, identify the problems, and give me the correct information.

          This is the problem dealing with you. We are barely speaking the same language. What you apparently find convincing is not convincing to an outsider.”

          Those were my summary thoughts of your article not on this thread. There’s no pretense of indifference here to your 500 eyewitnesses speculations.

          If we’re barely speaking the same language on the grounds that what I find convincing as evidence isn’t convincing to you (and not as you put it “an outsider.”), that is hardly my problem. It’s rather yours. You’re the one who calls the evidence “paltry,” “sparse” and “unreliable. ” You’ve written a whole article above claiming that is the case. I’m challenging that assertion initially with respect to how horrible your method of interpretation is, and by extension how that butchers the historical character and context of these events.

        • Greg G.

          I’m challenging that assertion initially with respect to how horrible your method of interpretation is, and by extension how that butchers the historical character and context of these events.

          Then show the specifics where he is wrong. Don’t just say open a bible, cite chapter and verse.

        • Agabu

          “I wish you weren’t so evasive.

          Matthew says, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Sorry for the boring repetition, but two nights is not the same as three nights. Matthew was wrong, either with this prediction or with his chronology after the crucifixion.”

          This is curious. I didn’t evade anything. I offered an explanation drawn from the historical context in which the Gospel accounts were written. Let me state the obvious, the Gospel accounts weren’t written in the 21st century but in the first century. This means the social, cultural, religious and/or political predilections and idiosyncrasies of that time are going to be reflected in them in some measure. The only one who is being evasive here is you. You’re ignoring or dismissing this fact, and are just content to interpret first century documents through a twenty first century ideological prism. Any historian will tell you, you shouldn’t do this sort of thing to literary works with historical features.

          You are right that two nights isn’t equal to three nights. But once again Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights on the first century way of reckoning time. Find out for yourself from a reliable historian that knows that era, and how they reckoned time. Don’t just insinuate Matthew is wrong. You’re the one who is wrong on this one.

        • Greg G.

          Night began at sunset and ended at sunrise. There were two sunsets and one or two sunrises, according to the gospels. When they used night and day together, it implied a full day, sunset to sunset.

        • No! You’re bringing your biased imperialist Western view of days and nights, imposing it on a foreign culture! For Western nights, sure, but that’s not the subject! Any historian worth his salt would laugh at your impudence!

        • But once again Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights on the first century way of reckoning time.

          Show me how Friday night + Saturday night = 3 nights.

        • Agabu

          It would seem you’re hard of hearing. Buried on Friday, the ancients always counted even part of the day as a whole day, which even to this day we also do. You rarely hear people say such and such happened 2, 3, 4 and so on half days ago. We often use whole numbers. So Friday is day 1 because Jesus was buried on it, Saturday day 2 & Sunday day 3 because Jesus rose on it early in the morning. Repudiating it on the grounds that it doesn’t meet your predefined criteria is the problem because it’s not drawn from the text and its historical context. It’s more a figment of your colourful imagination masquerading as legitimate criticism.

        • Agabu

          “Quit trying to justify your predefined conclusion and address the issue head on.”
          My conclusion isn’t predefined. You’re conclusion is. You come with a ready made 3days 3nights hypothesis imbued with twenty first century leanings and super impose it on the text, and then pat yourself on the back for showing that it doesn’t meet it. I know how we tell time today. If we use our way with an eye on being exact, of course the thing would seem to fail. But then is not now. The Jonah and Jesus parallelism is a simile. As the old saying goes “like father, like son” can’t be accused of being a fail if you split hairs about how the son is taller than his father or how this father is more a morning person while the son is a night person.

        • Agabu

          “Yeah, I got it the first time. Now convince me that on resurrection Sunday (or shortly afterwards), the concept of “Jesus appearing to the Twelve” had any meaning. The fact that there were just 11 chosen disciples left would be a very big issue that everyone would’ve been aware of.

          Standing on your head to imagine a resolution of these problems doesn’t help your credibility.”

          If you actually got it the first time, then we wouldn’t be talking about it. You’re splitting hairs again about how Matthias wasn’t one of the twelve officially before Jesus ascended to heaven. This wretched interpretative de sac has you rigidly clinging to he wasn’t one of the twelve. Once again, note why he was picked to replace Judas Iscariot. Because like them, he’d seen Jesus after he was raised from the dead. If he was among them when Jesus appeared to them as eleven, Paul then retroactively places him there as one of the twelve. He may not officially had been an apostle but he officially did see Jesus with them, and that, my Bible misinterpreting friend, is why it still works just as well. Being nitpicky or splitting hairs for no reason seems to be real habit of yours.

        • Greg G.

          Paul doesn’t include Cephas and James as being part of the twelve, nor does he say the twelve were apostles. You are reading the fictional gospels back into the epistle.

        • Pofarmer

          You’d think they could be bothered to read their own damn book.

        • Agabu

          The designation “the Twelve” is always a reference to the disciples who were called apostles. Cephas, also called Peter is an apostle as Paul in his letter to the Galatians acknowledges. The fiction of calling the Gospels fiction has you trapped in not interpreting Scripture consistently.

        • Greg G.

          The twelve is used that way in the gospels for the disciples. Paul never uses the word “disciples”.

          There are 45,000 denominations of Christianity who interpret scripture differently. Which one is right and how do you know? Paul and the superapostles disagreed. There hasn’t been a correct religious interpretation since before the first Christians started trying to explain their own understandings to one another.

        • Agabu

          Paul doesn’t have to use disciples. The reference to the Twelve in 1 Corinthians 15, can only refer to those whom Jesus designated apostles.

          The fact that there are tens of thousands of church denominations is irrelevant. There may be many ways people interpret all sorts of things in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean there’s no correct interpretation. There always is one. The sheer number of denominations is no excuse to not get to the right interpretation. The fact that people haggle over interpretations suggests that getting to the real truth matters.

        • Greg G.

          Twelve is a religiously significant number in Judaism. It does not have to be a Christian number. Paul’s Cephas is Caiphas – Author of 1Peter and Hebrews by A.A.M. van der Hoeven argues that it may refer to the Council of the Temple.

          There may be many ways people interpret all sorts of things in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean there’s no correct interpretation. There always is one.

          But the correct interpretation may have nothing to do with a gospel interpretation.

        • Agabu

          No one knows for sure who wrote Hebrews. His audience sure knew who it was, but whoever that was has been lost to us. The best any biblical scholar can do is make an educated guess through an analysis of the books contents. As such that book is the only genuinely anonymous work in the New Testament.

        • Greg G.

          What do you mean by “genuinely anonymous”? It is the contents of the Pastorals that identify them as “genuinely forged in Paul’s name”.

          I saw an article a few days ago, rather just the heading Google shows, that someone thought the author of Hebrews was Apollos.

        • Agabu

          Yes, Apollos has been put forward. But once again, Just an educated guess. It’s lack of the typical Pauline introduction at the beginning casts doubt on Paul being the author among other features in the epistle.

        • Greg G.

          Hebrews doesn’t claim to be written by Paul. But neither 1 Thessalonians nor 2 Thessalonians has a typical Pauline introduction. But a typical introduction can be imitated.

        • Agabu

          There are no epistles forged in Paul’s name. Just because some fringe scholars cast doubt on 6 of the 13 epistles attributed to Paul due to distinct style isn’t a good argument. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are written in different styles almost like two different people wrote them. But we all know Tolkien was a professor of language and literature and was able to show a range in his writing style that was very broad. The same goes for Paul. He was a highly educated Jew who exhibits a wide understanding of Jewish culture, religious tradition and even Greek culture.

        • adam

          //////////

        • Greg G.

          By “fringe scholars”, do you mean the majority?

          Authorship of the Pauline epistles

          There is wide consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Several additional letters bearing Paul’s name lack academic consensus, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether Ephesians and Colossians are the letters of Paul; however, the remaining four–2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles–have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars.

        • Pofarmer

          And that’s the only time in the Pauline Corpus that he mentions the Twelve, and also the 500, which all begins to look a little funky.

        • Paul then retroactively places him there as one of the twelve.

          Let me propose an alternate explanation. The gospels have two somewhat-competing ideas, the ideas of the Twelve (one per tribe), and the idea of the Traitor. They don’t really fit together–you can’t faithfully represent the tribes if the number of representatives can change.

          But the gospels aren’t the issue. Back to Paul: I’m suggesting that he knew of the Twelve idea, not the Traitor one. And that’s reflected in his epistles. He’s fine on his own; it’s only when you push the epistles up against the gospels and demand that they work together that you have problems.

          It’s like Paul’s 500 eyewitnesses–is that good evidence or poor? The gospels tell us that it’s poor. Either they hadn’t heard of it or didn’t think much of it, since we don’t see that data point in the gospels.

        • Agabu

          “Why would he mention guards who aren’t Christian??

          Paul might’ve just omitted for literary reasons the first witnesses to the risen Christ … or Paul and the gospels are just different all-natural accounts of all-natural religious beliefs. I think I’ll go with the latter. I’ll side with the natural—it’s been the right answer in every other question to date.”

          He’s not likely to mention guards who are not Christian. But the point is your hang ups about who Paul doesn’t include on his list.

          Everyone Paul includes on his list are found in the Gospels and Acts. Of course, you may want to split hairs about the 500 witnesses not being specifically mentioned in the Gospels and Acts, but that’s not relevant. What’s relevant is none of Gospels deny it. in any case, Jesus appears to many people over the course of fourty days after His resurrection and before His ascension. It is plausible the 500 witnesses are the group at the mountain on the day Jesus ascends to heaven a number that includes the apostles. After Jesus goes away many return to their own homes while a sizable chunk of them go into Jerusalem and thus the 120 on the day of Pentecost, which is the group Luke stays with for his narrative purposes. I’m not saying this is exactly what happened but it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. Considering crowds often followed Jesus.

        • the point is your hang ups about who Paul doesn’t include on his list.

          The point is that Paul’s list has some problems if we try to line it up against the gospels.

          you may want to split hairs about the 500 witnesses not being specifically mentioned in the Gospels and Acts

          Yeah, “splitting hairs” is what I’m doing. I’m pointing to the 500 eyewitnesses, cited by many conservative apologists as very important evidence, and poking holes in it. But, sure, if you see this incompatibility as splitting hairs, fine.

        • Agabu

          Sure. Poking holes. The only holes here are in your horrible method of interpretation. If you treated the biblical text responsibly, then I’d be bothered by the issues you raise. But I’m not, because your interpretative approach sucks.

        • adam

          “If you treated the biblical text responsibly, then I’d be bothered by the issues you raise.”

        • Greg G.

          The gospel authors knew Paul’s writings. Mark tried to incorporate much of them into the gospel. His traveling Jesus is modeled on Paul and Odysseus where Jesus travels around the “Sea of Galilee” instead of the Mediterranean. Miracle Jesus is modeled on Moses, Elijah, and Elisha.

        • Agabu

          “And what are you saying? That Paul saw Jesus in the flesh, just like the disciples?

          Paul’s experience was a vision.”

          What I’m saying, and actually did say in my initial response to your article is that Jesus ACTUALLY appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. I said this was a real world occurrence. Sorry but you’re wrong here. It wasn’t a vision. Paul experienced a FLASH OF LIGHT from heaven that ACTUALLY BLINDED him. This was Jesus REVEALING Himself to Paul wherein when Jesus spoke Paul heard Him loud and clear just like his travelling companions did also. They may not have seen anyone in person but the sight and sounds display was palpable.
          Visions in the Bible typically happen in the minds eye so to speak with stylized (i.e. apocalyptic) imagery that often lends itself to some sort of interpretation. Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus doesn’t have anything of the sort. There’s nothing to interpret save what the voice from heaven says. Once again this is Jesus appearing to Paul in the realm of the real world within the context of hostility towards all things associated with Jesus.

        • adam

          Paul experienced a FLASH OF LIGHT from heaven that ACTUALLY BLINDED him.

          You mean JUST LIKE epilepsy?

          “Sensory symptoms include the following:

          Seeing flashes of lights or colors, illusions and hallucinations

          Memory distortion: flashback, deja vu (feeling that one has seen something before), deja entendu (feeling that one has heard something before), jamais vu (feeling that one has never seen something that is familiar), jamais entendu (feeling that one has never heard something
          that is familiar), panoramic vision (rapid recall of past events)

          Time distortion

          Unprovoked emotion: fear, pleasure, displeasure, depression, anger, elation, eroticism”

          Or as you claim MAGIC?

        • Agabu

          Your argument would work if Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus had him only seeing the flash of light and hearing the voice from heaven. But because his travelling companions did also see the light surround him and hear the voice, your epilepsy line is just your grasping at straws to explain it away. Try again.

        • adam

          All part of Paul’s delusional hallucinations.

          Just more MYTH

        • Agabu

          Still doesn’t account for his travelling companions seeing the flash of light surrounding Paul and hearing the voice as well. Your explanation is a fail. Try again.

        • adam

          They didnt see the flash of light, or hear voices, all Paul, all Paul’s “story”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/717619ef246c8703ed61cd2fb8772b8a4a691793baf3da03160f13084889675a.jpg

        • Agabu

          “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

          “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions SAW THE LIGHT, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

          Acts 22 :8,9

          Try again.

        • adam

          Yep, Paul’s STORY

          And Spiderman defeated Doc Oct.

        • Greg G.

          Act2 9:7
          And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

          Act2 22:9
          And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

          There are a variety of translations: http://biblehub.com/acts/22-9.htm

        • Greg G.

          Paul doesn’t describe that. Luke has three contradictory accounts of it in Acts, though. In Acts 9:3-8, his companions did not see the light but did hear the sound. In Acts 22:6-11, his companions saw the light but did not hear the sound. In Acts 26:13-18, his entourage saw the light but it is not specified whether they heard anything, but this time they all fell down.

          Paul says, in Galatians 1:12-24, that he had a revelation, but all he ever relates in his writings are things he could have read in the scriptures. He says he went to Arabia, then to Damascus. He never mentions an entourage, lights or sounds.

        • Agabu

          “Dang. I could’ve gotten the benefit of your correction, but you’re just going to withhold it from me. It’s almost like you don’t have a correction at all.

          I don’t care what the rest of Romans says. If this one verse says that we’re all beneficiaries of the grace of Jesus, then nothing in the Bible will refute that. At best, you can go for the Bible being contradictory.”

          I didn’t withhold anything. You seem so bound to your interpretative manglings that you don’t want to leave them behind. The fact that you don’t care about what the rest of Romans says is one more reason why your interpretative methodology is terrible. Reading anything within its particular context is a necessary rule for understanding any work of literature.

          The one passage you seem so hell bent on interpreting that it says we’re all beneficiaries of Jesus is a lamentably flawed interpretation. Its flaw is in equivocating the way grace and death are passed along when Paul around this verse tells us that the gift isn’t like the trespass in its administration and in how its recipients procure it. The “all” of the first group is everyone. But the “all” of the second group is anyone. Why? Because Adam’s sin passed death along to everyone without exception, but the gift of life through Christ is passed along to anyone who particularly places there trust in Christ.

          Paul not only draws a parallel between the two, Adam and Christ, but also contrasts them as they stand as representative heads of each respective group. Paralleling Adam and Christ calls attention to SIMILARITIES not sameness. Your interpretation hijacks the verse for your own peculiar purposes simply because it lends your “the-Bible-is-full-of-contradictions interpretative cul de sac”

          Paul has already told us that people who trust in Christ will have life but those who don’t will not. Therefore, when he says all will be made alive, who he has in mind is those who trust Christ for their salvation. What I’m refuting then here isn’t what the verse says but what you think the verse is saying. Your disregard for context here betrays you. It may fly in your mind as a legitimate criticism, but it won’t fly to the responsible reader who is genuinely interested in what is actually being stated in order to understand it on its own terms rather than one who just reads because “I delight in finding places where the New Testament contradicts itself. “

        • Greg G.

          Like I said, Paul says Jesus died, was buried and on the third day rose again. Where do you think this happened?

          Everything Paul knew about Jesus is “according to the scriptures”.

          1 Corinthians 15:3b (NRSV)that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures

          comes from

          Isaiah 53:5 (NRSV)But he was wounded for our transgressions,    crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the punishment that made us whole,    and by his bruises we are healed.

          1 Corinthians 15:4a (NRSV)and that he was buried

          comes from

          Isaiah 53:9 (NRSV)They made his grave with the wicked    and his tomb with the rich,although he had done no violence,    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

          and

          1 Corinthians 15:4b (NRSV)and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,

          comes from

          Hosea 6:2 (NRSV)  After two days he will revive us;    on the third day he will raise us up,    that we may live before him.

          Paul loves to talk about Jesus but when he talks about something Jesus did or will do, it comes from the Hebrew scripture. He tells us he didn’t learn anything about Jesus from the apostles. He says that his knowledge is not inferior to the knowledge of the super-apostles. In 1 Corinthians 15, he uses the same word for “appeared to” for himself as he does for all the others, meaning he didn’t think Jesus appeared to him any different than to himself, which is from the ancient scriptures.

          The epistles never talk about Jesus as a teacher or a preacher. That is just fiction written into the gospels. The Jesus character in the gospels is modeled on Paul and borrows many of his ideas.

        • Agabu

          You seem to think Paul didn’t come across people who hadn’t seen Jesus and seen Him teach and do the sort of things He did during His earthly ministry. Immediately after Paul had been converted, the person who prayed for him to receive his sight, Ananias, was a Christian. The Jesus story was already well known among these early Christians at this point as the first nine chapters of Acts show.

        • Greg G.

          You seem to think Paul didn’t come across people who hadn’t seen Jesus and seen Him teach and do the sort of things He did during His earthly ministry.

          Yes, that is what I think and I think he knew that they didn’t meet Jesus as they thought he was a hidden mystery in the scriptures. Mark wrote an allegory as if Jesus had lived in the first century. The other gospels copied and expanded Mark.

          His earthly ministry. Immediately after Paul had been converted, the person who prayed for him to receive his sight, Ananias, was a Christian.

          You don’t find that from the epistles written by Paul.

          The Jesus story was already well known among these early Christians at this point as the first nine chapters of Acts show.

          Acts was written to smooth over the differences between Paul and the other apostles that he described in his letters. He made Peter and Paul lead parallel ministries, each performing similar miracles. Luke used Josephus as an encyclopedia and as a muse to create stories. Paul mentioned shipwrecks in an epistle, so Luke based a shipwreck on the account of Josephus’ shipwreck, for example.

        • Agabu

          Here you go again making up stuff as you go along. You think Paul knew that they didn’t meet Jesus how exactly? What you think is pure speculation. So I have no interest in that. Please explain that using Paul’s own writings, and where he says they didn’t. Jesus being a hidden mystery in Old Testament Scripture says nothing about them not meeting Jesus, only that things became much clearer for them after witnessing the events of the life of Christ.

        • Greg G.

          In Galatians 1, Paul says he spent two weeks with Cephas and met Paul. He also claims he didn’t get any knowledge from humans. This is confirmed by noting that every claim he makes about Jesus can be derived from the Old Testament.

          Twice in 2 Corinthians, he claims that his knowledge is not inferior to the knowledge of the superapostles. If Paul spent a couple of weeks with Paul, it would have come up that Cephas spent time following Jesus around. Does Paul think Jesus was such a lousy teacher that Cephas and James didn’t learn anything from him that they couldn’t have got from the OT? Do you think Paul knew his knowledge was inferior but is a big, fat liar? Or do you have a fanciful interpretation you can share?

        • Greg G.

          Throughout in Romans Paul distinguishes between the righteous and the unrighteous, making it very clear that they are not all going to the same place or be given the same reward (Romans 2:7-8).

          But Paul is warning about people judging other people in that passage where the judgemental people get the punishment and you are the one being judgemental.

          But you should read Romans more carefully as Paul seems to be making it up as he goes, even misquoting scripture as necessary.

          PAUL: IT LOOKS LIKE HE’S SORT OF WINGING IT is written by a Christian scholar. But Enns is guilty of the same with his rationalizations to believe anyway, like, “I like watching Paul deal with paradox and mystery and get tied up a bit trying to explain it. That tells us something about the nature of scripture that models that process and the nature of Christian faith.” If Paul couldn’t work it out, you can forget about divine inspiration.

        • Agabu

          Not at all. Paul isn’t warning about people judging other people. He’s warning that if you do evil, God in His justice will judge you. If you tell others not to do these things and yet do them yourself, God will not spare you either. This is not about being judgmental, but about God’s right to judge everyone according to what their actions deserve.

          You seem to be making up fanciful interpretations that aren’t warranted by the text. The only one making it up as you go along here is you. You don’t seem to know how to read Paul very well. Figures, you sure know how to ignore the context. Often wrenching texts out of context and using them as pretexts to bolster your peculiar interpretations.

        • Greg G.

          Paul isn’t warning about people judging other people.

          Here are the verses that immediately precede the passage you quoted.

          Romans 2:1-6
          Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2 You say,[a] “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” 3 Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 

          You are doing what Paul warned the Roman Christians to not do in the context of the passage.

          You seem to be making up fanciful interpretations that aren’t warranted by the text. The only one making it up as you go along here is you. You don’t seem to know how to read Paul very well. Figures, you sure know how to ignore the context. Often wrenching texts out of context and using them as pretexts to bolster your peculiar interpretations.

          Did you read the article I linked? Peter Enns is a Christian Bible scholar and he points out that Paul wrote Romans doing with the Old Testament scripture what you are accusing me of.

        • Agabu

          First, I’m not judging anyone, let alone also doing what I’m claiming to be evil in someone else. You quote the preceding verses in Romans 2, and yet those verses don’t prove your point at all. Verse 1, no excuse at all for those who judge others when they do the very same things. Paul here is dealing with hypocrisy. Verse 2, God’s judgment on those who do evil is based on truth. Truth is the measure God uses to judge. Verse 3, speaking against others won’t get you a pass before God if you’re also doing the same things. There’s no getting away with it on merely on the pretext that you are speaking out against bad things. One must also not do these things. Verse 4, God’s patience and kindness are meant to lead to repentance. That is, there must be a turn around in your life from doing the things God deems evil. Because if there isn’t, verse 5, you’re laying up judgment against yourself for being impenitent, that is, unrepentant of the evil you do. God’s grace shouldn’t misused as a license to sin. It’s an opportunity to turn away from evil. Verse 6, God will repay according to what your deeds deserve.

          No I didn’t read Peter Enns. But the idea that Paul is making it up as he goes along is ludicrous. I’m wary of any so called bible scholar that does this sort of thing simply because he despises what he deems conservative Christianity. It’s like shooting one’s self in the foot.

        • Greg G.

          Verse 1, no excuse at all for those who judge others when they do the very same things. Paul here is dealing with hypocrisy.

          Yes, hypocrisy in the form of judging others. If they are doing things that are wrong, they would be judged for doing those things so Paul is pointing out that the judging is also wrong. Paul then builds on that from there through the verses you cited.

          No I didn’t read Peter Enns. But the idea that Paul is making it up as he goes along is ludicrous. I’m wary of any so called bible scholar that does this sort of thing simply because he despises what he deems conservative Christianity. It’s like shooting one’s self in the foot.

          Enns shows that Paul is misquoting the verses and writing theology on the misquotations. You should read it and deal with the implications before you judge Enns and dismiss the article.

      • wtfwjtd

        This is nice commentary Bob, good to see you’ve been brushing up on Paul’s writing. I would like to add, in addition to Romans 5:19, Paul says in I Cor 15:22 that …”as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be alive.” This is a symmetrical argument, which wouldn’t work very well if it was “…as in Adam all die, so in Christ (with a bunch of strings attached) all will be made alive”.

        Is Paul referring to a resurrection of the physical body? Apparently not; in I Cor 15:29 he discusses people being baptized for the dead. If the dead had been physically resurrected, why wouldn’t they just be baptized for themselves? Clearly, Paul is referring to resurrection in some kind of spiritual realm, and he confirms this also with his ramblings in I Cor 15:35-54. And with his specific declaration in v 50 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” he don’t seem too keen on the idea of a physically resurrected Jesus either.

        • Greg G.

          I think Paul was “winging it”. Here is an article by Edward Babinski that discusses an article which Christian New Testament scholar Peter Enns titles PAUL: IT LOOKS LIKE HE’S SORT OF WINGING IT. It is about Romans but I see the same “riffing” in 1 Corinthians 15 and Galatians 3.

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s interesting Greg, thanks for the link. When you read Paul without reading the gospels back into his writing, a quite different picture emerges. You’ve been saying all along that Paul just made shit up about Jesus based on his “revelations” from the OT, that stuff from Romans certainly fits the bill.

        • Thanks for the additional Pauline reference to the Adam/Jesus symmetry. It’s a nice literary touch (like John paralleling the death of Jesus with the death of the perfect Passover lambs), but it does add to the multiple-choice aspect of the NT.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, as your post “When a Contradictory Bible is a Good Thing” accurately points out.
          Wait, did you just say “multiple-choice aspect of the NT?” You mean like this:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk

        • Yup!

    • MNb

      “1 Corinthians 15 is important evidence for the resurrection of Christ. It is evidence that belief in the resurrection was years earlier than Paul’s writing.”
      These two sentences do not mean nearly the same.
      Compare:

      “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is important evidence that the jews are wicked. It is evidence that belief in the wickedness of jews was years earlier than Hitler’s Mein Kampf.”
      Still you make exactly the same jump – and basically continue to argue for the second, not for the first.

      • Agabu

        I do? Sorry dude. I don’t. The portion of the post you quote sets the tone for the rest of it. Whenever someone writes an account about something, it’s clear that what they are writing about precedes their writing of it. This is just how it is. We just have to find out how far back it goes from when its actually written about. This ain’t no jump. It’s how history is done.

        • MNb

          You wrote nothing against the point I addressed, so shrug. The fact that you feel the urge to call me “dude” indicates that you have nothing substantial to write against it. So shrug.