More Damning Bible Contradictions: #25 Was Jesus Crazy or God?

More Damning Bible Contradictions: #25 Was Jesus Crazy or God? December 12, 2019

We’ve blown past the initial promise of 20 Bible contradictions and are now at #25 (part 1 here). Let’s continue the Christmas theme and investigate a contradiction in the details surrounding Jesus’s birth.

Jesus is crazy

Too little is made of a surprising passage from Mark. Jesus was preaching in Galilee, and then:

When [Jesus’s] family heard about [Jesus being nearby], they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

The point of the story contrasts his actual family, who think he’s crazy, with his disciples, who have abandoned their professions to follow him.

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” (Mark 3:33–4).

Contradiction #25: Was Jesus crazy, or was he God?

The interesting thing here is his family calling him crazy. How was that possible, when it was clear from other gospels that Jesus was divine? First, consider the evidence in Matthew.

  • Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant. He planed to divorce her quietly, but an angel appeared and told him, “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20–24).
  • The magi followed a magical star that (somehow) pointed them to Bethlehem. (More on the Star of Bethlehem here and here.) An expensive and time-consuming trip to worship the king of the Jews required expensive gifts: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11). Gifts worthy of a king would have dramatically improved this peasant family’s quality of life, though that is never evident.

And consider the clues in Luke’s very different nativity story.

  • Now it’s Mary who gets the celestial visitation, and this time it’s before the conception. The angel Gabriel said, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:28–38).
  • Shepherds are told by angels that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem and “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:8–18).
  • Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for “purification rites.” There they met Simeon, a devout man who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah. As he held Jesus, he praised God and said that the promise had been fulfilled (Luke 2:25–38).
  • At age 12, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem after the Passover celebration to converse with the Jewish teachers. “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:46–51).
  • Luke makes clear that these events aren’t lost on Mary. It says that “Mary treasured up all these things” after hearing the shepherds and the angels (Luke 2:19) and after seeing Jesus with the teachers (2:51). After hearing Simeon identify Jesus as the Messiah, “The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him” (2:33).

Not only are Mary and Joseph assured that their son is divine, but this isn’t a family secret. Word has spread far. The magi informed Herod’s court, and Herod killed infant boys for fear of a rival to the throne; the shepherds tell everyone they can about the angels’ message; Simeon publicly states in the Temple that Jesus is the Messiah; and the Temple teachers see his wisdom for themselves.

Making sense of the contradiction

Let’s return to Mark, where Jesus’s mother and brothers want to take charge of him because he’s crazy. Jesus can’t be both crazy and divine. But drop the requirement that these stories must harmonize, and the resolution is easy.

Matthew and Luke copy (sometimes verbatim) from Mark. In fact, 97 percent of Mark is copied by either Matthew or Luke or both. However, the nativity stories appear only in Matthew and Luke, and the “Jesus is crazy” story appears only in Mark. Mark threw the holy family under the bus to make the point that following Jesus is a higher calling than familial loyalty, but Matthew and Luke didn’t copy that story, perhaps because, as we’ve seen here, it conflicts with the clear evidence in the nativity stories that Jesus is different because he’s divine.

Mark and the other two synoptic gospels had different agendas. Remember that each of these gospels was written decades after the death of Jesus. During this time, dynastic succession was typical. David’s son succeeded him as king, and Herod’s son succeeded him as king, so who would succeed Jesus? (Let’s ignore that the End® was to have happened within months or a few years after Jesus’s death and assume that the movement needed a new leader.) Jesus had no children, so a brother would be an obvious choice.

This created a doctrinal conflict between Paul, who hadn’t even met Jesus in real life, and the James/Peter faction, who installed James, the brother of Jesus, as a leader in the Jerusalem church. The gospel of Mark takes Paul’s viewpoint, so it’s motivated to undercut James by saying that James and the rest of Jesus’s family didn’t believe him. Matthew takes a more Jewish, pro-James view.

In this case, you must set two New Testament books against each other to find the contradiction. Another example of this is how spices were applied to the body after the crucifixion. The gospels of Mark and Luke say that women failed to apply spices on Sunday morning, while John tells us that two men were successful on Friday evening.

But then you have cases where the contradiction is in a single book. For example, John the Baptist wondered if Jesus was The One despite having seen the dove of the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus during baptism, and these stories are both in Matthew.

As usual, the puzzle neatly resolves itself with a natural explanation.

It’s important to understand that history and theology
are interwoven in biblical history,
and nothing about the life of Jesus
can be theologically true that is historically false.
— Christian scholar Ben Witherington

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Image from Ben White, CC license
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  • Excellent! I remember, as a Christian, being curious as to how Mary could have been worried about Jesus, since she knew who he was. But, of course, I never bothered to pursue it.

    I hadn’t thought about it since I deconverted, so my reaction to this post is “oh! Of course!” Thanks for bringing it up.

    • Jim Jones

      > I never bothered to pursue it.

      That’s how religion works. And our approach of pointing this stuff out works about as well as their efforts to convince us.

    • Michael Murray

      Kind of like how everybody cries at a Catholic funeral yet the deceased is in heaven.

  • Jim Jones

    Fan fiction, fan fiction, fan fiction, fan fiction, fan fiction, fan fiction, fan fiction!

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Jesus wasn’t cray cray. But people who believe in him might just be.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Oh sure, when John the Baptist baptized Jesus a dove came down along with a voice from heaven, but you know, the bible never talks about all the OTHER guys for whom it also happened when they were baptized.

    It’s pretty clear when you read the bible that what we consider to be miracles were routine, every day occurrences back then. I mean, Jesus heals a cripple woman who had been coming to the temple for years and years, and what is the response? Hey, don’t you bring your healing the sick around here on the sabbath! Save that crap for another day!

    The bible talks about how he was going around expelling demons and healing the sick. You’d think that was pretty notable. Nah….

    • Michael Neville

      If word spread that Jesus had cured a leper or two then lepers would have been making a bee-line to Jesus. There’s no mention of that in the Bible.

      • Lord Backwater

        Maybe bees hadn’t been invented yet.

      • Greg G.

        If word spread that Jesus had cured a leper or two then lepers would have been making a bee-line to Jesus. There’s no mention of that in the Bible.

        Mark 1:32-34 follows a few healings and says that by sunset, they brought all the sick people and those possessed by demons.

        When he returned to Capernaum in Mark 2, word got around and there were so many people around the house, they had to cut a hole in the roof to lower a paralytic down to Jesus. (Apparently the Force was not with Jesus so that he could levitate the paralytic over the heads of the people in the crowd.)

        If you read the text apologetically, he may have cured all the lepers then except for the few mentioned later.

      • Pofarmer

        That’s because he told them not to tell anyone. Duh.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Hey, don’t you bring your healing the sick around here on the sabbath! Save that crap for another day!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U74s8nFE7No

    • It’s pretty clear when you read the bible that what we consider to be miracles were routine, every day occurrences back then. I mean, Jesus heals a cripple woman who had been coming to the temple for years and years, and what is the response? Hey, don’t you bring your healing the sick around here on the sabbath! Save that crap for another day!

      You can heal the sick? Take a number.

      • Greg G.

        You can heal a blind man with spit? Vespasian can do that.

        You can heal a person by putting your hand on him? Vespasian can do that with his foot.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Done on stages in marquee’s the length and breadth of the country on a daily basis by who are essentially nobodies with the power of the Lord. Go figure.

  • Polytropos

    It seems like there were two separate Jesus traditions: one where he was acknowledged as a god from the beginning, and one where he was an ordinary guy who most people wrote off as a nutter, but who turned out to be the son of god. Those are two quite different theological perspectives, so it’s no wonder different factions in the early church were fighting each other.

    • Lord Backwater

      Maybe it’s like Star Trek or Spiderman or Batman. Someone writes a good story, and it sells. So there has to be a sequel. Then they start with the spinoffs, and the reboots. Multiple writers, multiple storytellers. Eventually you end up with a large set of inconsistent mush that doesn’t hang together as a historical narrative.

      • Greg G.

        The NT Apocrypha is like the fan fic.

        • Lark62

          The NT Apochrypha is like the fan fic.

      • Michael Murray

        Presumably when the first bits of the gospels came out there were people on reddit say it was complete bullshit and they had been there themselves and none of it was canon.

      • Polytropos

        I bet it’s exactly like that.

  • RichardSRussell

    The headline on this piece gives us ⅔ of C. S. Lewis’s famous trilemma: Jesus claimed (or at least strongly hinted) that he was God. Does this makes him either (a) a liar, (b) a lunatic, or (c) the Lord? Lewis apparently thot it was just bad manners to go with either of the 2 obvious choices, but civilized politeness is about the only possible reason he could come up with for favoring the crazy one.

  • Joe_Buddha

    Couldn’t he be both? Looking at the Bible, this God feller doesn’t look that well hinged…

  • Don Camp

    Bob. As usual, the puzzle neatly resolves itself with a natural explanation.

    Yes. It does,though perhaps not as you suggest.

    Bob. The interesting thing here is his family calling him crazy. How was that
    possible, when it was clear from other gospels that Jesus was divine

    I don’t know why this is so “interesting.” Though his mother knew he was special – how much she really understood we don’t know – it had been thirty plus years. Thirty plus years during which we are led to believe there was not all that much special about Jesus. Now, suddenly Jesus is out traveling the country and doing miraculous things and drawing crowds, big crowds. None of this Mary expected, and it seemed a little crazy.

    Wouldn’t that be how you or I would read the situation? Sure. That’s the natural explanation. In fact, it is so natural that it provides a confirmation that this is real. This isn’t a fairy tale. It is exactly how real people would react.

    BTW Jesus’ brothers had not had the kind of experience Mary had. They knew Jesus as a normal brother. They had no hint that he was special. And this behavior must have seemed pretty crazy to them. But then that is what the text says, doen’t it?

    • Otto

      Just because that part of story was written in a way that you find easily plausible does not lead to the conclusion the larger narrative isn’t a fairy tale at all.

      That would be like saying King Arthur got naturally peeved when he found out Guinevere was screwing Lancelot and therefore Arthur’s magic sword was historically accurate.

    • Lord Backwater

      Thirty plus years during which we are led to believe there was not all that much special about Jesus.

      Luke 2:41-52

      In fact, it is so natural that it provides a confirmation that this is real.

      The Kool-Aid. You have drunk it.

      • Don Camp

        If we were reading purely a propaganda piece for Jesus the Messiah and the Son of God, this little part about his mother and brother surely would have not made the cut. Those little vignettes tell us that the author is telling us about real people, real people who had as much difficulty coming to grips with who Jesus was as any of us.

        Yes, I know about Luke 2. I suppose you read verse 50. It fits the same category of real life reactions that would be left out of a propaganda piece. See also Luke 2:19. Luke leaves us with the impression that Mary didn’t quite understand what all this meant. And that seems quite natural. It was strange. But remember she didn’t have the whole story that we have in the Gospels. The story was still unfolding.

        • Lord Backwater

          And yet you have rejected some of the story. Do you believe the Infancy Gospel of Thomas? It’s got lots of info on young Jesus, and yet I bet you reject it. I have no interest in how you twist your standards to believe what you want to believe, so don’t bother.

        • Don Camp

          It is no wonder you guys find all of this confusing. Though there is no reason why there might not be additional facts about the infancy of Jesus, there were standards of selection that excluded the Infancy Gospel of Thomas from serious consideration.

          One was that anything that disagreed with the theology of the already accepted literature was not considered. The IGT fails at that point. Another was the books accepted into the canon of the New Testament needed to be written by an Apostle or one who knew the Apostles. The IGT fails at that point.

          I don’t think I am twisting any standards. See Bruce Metzger on this topic. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development and Significance.

        • Lord Backwater

          … there were standards of selection that excluded the Infancy Gospel of Thomas from serious consideration.

          Wocka! Wocka! And yet the Gospel of Matthew made it in despite the earthquake and zombie invasion of chapter 27.

          One was that anything that disagreed with the theology of the already accepted literature was not considered.

          Right. We’ll just discard anything we don’t want to hear.

          Another was the books accepted into the canon of the New Testament needed to be written by an Apostle or one who knew the Apostles.

          Yet somehow the four canonical gospels made it in, despite being anonymous manuscripts.

          This is exactly the sort of BS I already told you I don’t need to hear. Although: go ahead and show the world just how silly Christianity is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My favorite is the “cross gospel” of Peter.

          The author explicitly claims to be the apostle Peter and some scholars (John Dominic Crossan) believe it predates the synoptics.

          “And I with my companions was grieved; and being wounded in mind we hid ourselves:” — GoP, 7.

          “But I Simon Peter and Andrew my brother took our nets and went to the sea;” — GoP, 14.

          But it has that crazy talking cross and two giant angels escorting an even gianter Jesus, so who’d believe that shite? Well, except for the Christian community that believed that shite of course.

          Then there is the Apocalypse of Peter. It was widely accepted reading in the early Christian cults.

          The Muratorian fragment, the earliest existing list of canonical sacred writings of the New Testament, which is assigned on internal evidence to the last quarter of the 2nd century (c. 175–200), gives a list of works read in the Christian churches that is similar to the modern accepted canon; however, it also includes the Apocalypse of Peter.

          The list goes on and on.

          Don is a badly infected God virused moonbeam, pure and simple.

        • Greg G.

          Another was the books accepted into the canon of the New Testament needed to be written by an Apostle or one who knew the Apostles.

          The authorship of the gospels are guesses. They didn’t all start out with the same naming convention. Three of them copied from one who is not even thought to be an apostle.

          Then there is the reason there are four gospels, rather than just the three Synoptics and not five.

          The Gospels could not possibly be either more or less in number than they are. Since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is spread over all the earth, and the pillar and foundation of the Church is the gospel, and the Spirit of life, it fittingly has four pillars, everywhere breathing out incorruption and revivifying men. From this it is clear that the Word, the artificer of all things, being manifested to men gave us the gospel, fourfold in form but held together by one Spirit. As David said, when asking for his coming, ‘O sitter upon the cherubim, show yourself ‘. For the cherubim have four faces, and their faces are images of the activity of the Son of God. For the first living creature, it says, was like a lion, signifying his active and princely and royal character; the second was like an ox, showing his sacrificial and priestly order; the third had the face of a man, indicating very clearly his coming in human guise; and the fourth was like a flying eagle, making plain the giving of the Spirit who broods over the Church. Now the Gospels, in which Christ is enthroned, are like these.    Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.11

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve kinda been watching this convo from the sidelines. Ole Don here seems to kind of be in his own little universe.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          He chose the blue pill.

        • Doubting Thomas

          The most delusional part is that Don actually thinks he might be putting on a convincing defense of his faith for the lurkers here. His lack of self awareness is astounding.

        • Michael Neville

          Heretic, you’re ignoring my argument why there should only be three gospels based on Three Persons in the Trinity, three leaves on a shamrock, three goals in a hat trick, and Three Stooges!

        • Greg G.

          Wait! I thought the Three Stooges were Peter, James, and John. Peter was bald on top with curly hair on the sides, James had black hair with a bowl cut, and John was completely bald with curly hair.

        • Don Camp

          Greg. The authorship of the gospels are guesses.

          Not to the people of the first century. That is why they were able to put names to the Gospels.

          Think about Mark. Who was he? Not an Apostle. Not one who actually saw Jesus as far as we know. Wouldn’t it have been more impressive to make Peter the author? How about Matthew? He was an Apostle but is not mentioned anywhere but in the list of disciples in the Gospels. (Why even think he was an Apostle if the books were fiction?) Why name a book after him? Or Luke? Only John has some standing in the early church.

          If you were going to attribute the Gospels to someone whose name had some authority, you would not choose Mark, Matthew or Luke. Yet, there they are with their names on the books.

          Why would that be if no one knew who wrote them and were just casting about for some name to put on the title page?

        • Greg G.

          Think about Mark. Who was he? Not an Apostle. Not one who actually saw Jesus as far as we know. Wouldn’t it have been more impressive to make Peter the author? How about Matthew? He was an Apostle but is not mentioned anywhere but in the list of disciples in the Gospels. (Why even think he was an Apostle if the books were fiction?) Why name a book after him? Or Luke? Only John has some standing in the early church.

          They apparently got the names Matthew and Mark from Papias. They thought Matthew was the first to be written. Mark 2:14 is where Levi the tax collector was called. The parallel is Matthew 9:9 is where Matthew the tax collector is called. So they needed a gospel from Matthew and he appears to know his own name in this one. Luke is found to be a traveling companion of Paul in the pseudo-Pauline epistles (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, and Philemon 1:24). It was apparent to them that Luke and Acts were from the same author and some of the “we” passages have Luke traveling with Paul, ergo that is who wrote Luke. John 21:22-24 says a disciple would not die and this is his testimony., so they assumed it was John. That leaves one gospel that needs a name and a name needing a gospel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don is being disingenuous again. He has to know this stuff already, so he’s being a dishonest weasel again. Sealioning.

          https://66.media.tumblr.com/73ab9b15d4f484fe4d3bef9edcf90a1b/tumblr_olbgqgqYWx1vt13iho1_400.png

          I thought John got named so because of the reference to the “beloved” disciple?

          Don’t scholars now think gJohn has more than one author?

          Am just sealioning.

        • Greg G.

          I thought John got named so because of the reference to the “beloved” disciple?

          Yes, that is pointed out in John 21:21 so I probably cited John 21:20-24.

          Don’t scholars now think gJohn has more than one author?

          John 20:30-31 seems to be a natural ending so John 21 appears to be an appendage from another author. I think that happened before Luke got it as Luke 5:1-11 appears to be based on it.

          Then there is the Woman Taken in Adultery interpolation. It looks like some of the middle chapters got shuffled, where the action is in Jerusalem, then the other side of the Jordan, then back to Jerusalem. What else?

        • Otto

          From one of your earlier posts…

          Another was the books accepted into the canon of the New Testament needed to be written by an Apostle or one who knew the Apostles. The IGT fails at that point.

          And now from this post…

          Think about Mark. Who was he? Not an Apostle.

          So you are claiming Mark knew an apostle… any chance you can reasonably support that without using a fallacious argument?

          Why would that be if no one knew who wrote them and were just casting about for some name to put on the title page?

          HINT: This is a fallacious argument.

        • Greg G.

          So you are claiming Mark knew an apostle… any chance you can reasonably support that without using a fallacious argument?

          1 Peter 5:13 refers to “Mark, my son.” Why would anybody forge an epistle? //poe

        • richardrichard2013

          “you were going to attribute the Gospels to someone whose name had some authority, you would not choose Mark, Matthew or Luke. ”

          gospels were circulating unnamed

          none of the gospels identified as written by a witness.

          suddenly naming peter as the one responsible for mark would undermine authenticity.

          the best way to cover this problem is name the gospels with obscure names.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I really can’t believe this shite could come from a teacher of literature.

          Wouldn’t it have been more impressive to make Peter the author?

          Only to an idiot.

          Peter was supposed to be an uneducated and illiterate fisherman. Mark is his travelling buddy.

          Peter went to Antioch, then through Asia Minor (visiting the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1), and arrived in Rome in the second year of Emperor Claudius (AD 42; Eusebius, Eccl, Hist. 2.14.6). Somewhere on the way, Peter encountered Mark and took him as travel companion and interpreter. Mark the Evangelist wrote down the sermons of Peter, thus composing the Gospel according to Mark (Eccl. Hist. 15–16), before he left for Alexandria in the third year of Claudius.

          Claiming a book to be written by someone who obviously couldn’t write it would be a bit silly, no? Even the early pious fraudulent Christians weren’t that daft.

          How about Matthew? He was an Apostle but is not mentioned anywhere but in the list of disciples in the Gospels. (Why even think he was an Apostle if the books were fiction?) Why name a book after him?

          Matthew was supposed to have been a tax collector and thus literate, so associating his name with a gospel is likely not going to be seen as problematic.

          Or Luke?

          The author of Luke also wrote The Acts. The association, tenuous that it is, was to the travelling companion of Paul, who was a physician and thus educated enough to be able to write. Thus the gospel was given as the author Luke.

          Only John has some standing in the early church.

          According to who?

          The book gets John’s name because of another extremely tenuous link. A reference to being the “beloved disciple”

          Only complete balloon heads think it was written by John the Apostle.

        • Don Camp

          Call me a baloon head then.

          As for the rest, you are rambling. Isn’t it likely that SOMEONE would have know who the authors of the Gospels were? If so how is it they were attributed to others?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Call me a baloon head then.

          Oh, yer feckin’ balloon head alright. No question about it.

          As for the rest, you are rambling. Isn’t it likely that SOMEONE would have know who the authors of the Gospels were? If so how is it they were attributed to others?

          For some reason you seem to believe that there is no such a thing as an anonymous writing.

          Throughout the history of literature, since the creation of bound texts in the forms of books and codices, various works have been published and written anonymously, often due to their political or controversial nature, or merely for the purposes of the privacy of their authors, among other reasons.

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

          I don’t believe a teacher of literature could be so stupid. So you must be a liar.

          You either know the scholarship or ya don’t. Either way, you are a lying waste of space and an oxygen thief.

        • Lord Backwater

          Not to the people of the first century.

          You expect us to defer to the attributional skills of a barely literate society when standards of evidence were much lower when they are today; and yet I look around today and I see profligate misattribution going on.

          https://cdn3.geckoandfly.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/fake-news-quotes-03-830×467.jpg

        • Jim Jones

          > That is why they were able to put names to the Gospels.

          Right up there with naming your goldfish.

        • Don Camp

          Actually, the internal evidence agrees with the evidence from the late first or early second century.

          The opinion of Papias and others in the second century was that Mark wrote down the narrative as he heard it from Peter. The text reflects the kind of simplicity in story telling, grammar and vocabulary that fits Peter. The somewhat critical tone toward Peter would have been surprising if written by someone else.

          The opinion of Papias and others in the second century was that Matthew wrote the first Gospel, though in Hebrew or Aramaic. The text reflects an orientation toward a Jewish audience. It reveals a better than ordinary knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures. It is written in very good Greek. All of that fits Matthew as the author. Matthew is also named Levi, remember. That implies that he was of the tribe of Levi and an educated man, especially educate din the Hebrew scripturess.

          Luke declares his sources in the prologue to the Gospel. He was not an Apostle nor was he one who knew Jesus. He is described in the epistles of Paul as a companion of Paul. He was probably a Gentile. Eusebius and Jerome attribute the Gospel to Luke. The text reflects an orientation toward a Greek audience. The text reflects the kind of attention to details we’d expect of someone described as a physician. The text is in very good Greek expected of an educated Greek. The follow-up book of Acts contains “we” passages in the location of the narrative we would expect them if Luke was the author.

          John has an internal indication that John the Apostle is the source though there might have been someone else who wrote down his memories and perhaps wrote the prologue and the last chapter. Papias and Polycarp imply or state that they knew John the Apostle – and did not correct the generally accepted opinion that John is the author. Internal evidence points to a rather simple man or a man with limited ability in Greek. That fits a Galilean fisherman. The absence of a reference to John in the book, though passages that describe someone as “the disciple Jesus loved” just where the name of John would fit suggests John as the source.

          Finally there is the absence of any other name being applied to the Gospels.

          In the end, “who” wrote the Gospels is far less important than what they wrote.

        • In the end, “who” wrote the Gospels is far less important than what they wrote.

          The reliability of the gospels is very much dependent on who wrote them. You argue that we might know who wrote them. That’s a lot of fanciful stuff built on “well, we kinda know who wrote them.”

        • Jim Jones

          Wishful thinking is the basis of all religion.

          > In the end, “who” wrote the Gospels is far less important than what they wrote.

          Indeed. They wrote bad pious fiction. E. L. James wrote bad but less pious fiction.

        • Otto

          In the end, “who” wrote the Gospels is far less important than what they wrote.

          That’s funny, because earlier you were arguing it was terribly important only gospels that were written by apostles (or someone who knew one) were to be taken seriously.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He can’t tell us how we’d go about knowing who’d know an apostle with anonymous texts. Or why texts with accredited esteemed authors names got rejected. He seems to think the burbling of Papias is reliable. That’s the guy who believed…

          Judas did not die by hanging but lived on, having been cut down before he choked to death. Indeed, the Acts of the Apostles makes this clear: “Falling headlong he burst open in the middle and his intestines spilled out.” Papias, the disciple of John, recounts this more clearly in the fourth book of the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord, as follows:

          “Judas was a terrible, walking example of ungodliness in this world, his flesh so bloated that he was not able to pass through a place where a wagon passes easily, not even his bloated head by itself. For his eyelids, they say, were so swollen that he could not see the light at all, and his eyes could not be seen, even by a doctor using an optical instrument, so far had they sunk below the outer surface. His genitals appeared more loathsome and larger than anyone else’s, and when he relieved himself there passed through it pus and worms from every part of his body, much to his shame. After much agony and punishment, they say, he finally died in his own place, and because of the stench the area is deserted and uninhabitable even now; in fact, to this day one cannot pass that place without holding one’s nose, so great was the discharge from his body, and so far did it spread over the ground.”

          The same guy Eusebius thought was untrustworthy, there’s irony for ya.

        • Otto

          The level of importance of his position changes from post to post.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think Don is demonstrating a level of dotage here. He seems to be all over the parish, like a mad woman’s shite.

        • Don Camp

          eYes. I did argue that being written by an Apostle or someone who knew an an Apostle was important. But it was not the only criterion. I recommend Bruce Metzger and his book The Canon of the New Testament if you wish to explore the process by which the books of the New Testament became recognized by the church as scripture.

          It was not a formal process, even though there was a moment later when the canon of the New Testament was settled officially. It was not even a particularly rational process. It was a spiritual process by which believers came to recognize God speaking through the books. As a consensus formed, the thinkers (bishops and theologians in various councils ) began to identify “reasons” or criteria that set these books apart from others.

          However, in the case of the Gospels, there was consensus early, probably by early in the second century. That was based on the fact that an Apostle would have automatically been recognized as an authority and his writing inspired. That is probably why Mark and Matthew and John were early recognized as inspired. Luke’s recommendation is that he received his information from those who had known Jesus (Apostles?).

          The New Biblical Scholars want to revisit the conviction of the early church. I think that is foolish. Do they somehow think they have a better handle on which books exhibit the spark of inspiration than the early Christians? Do they have a better handle on who the authors were? I seriously doubt it.

        • Otto

          Yes. I did argue that being written by an Apostle or someone who knew an an Apostle was important.

          There is no indication that the people who wrote the gospels were in fact apostles or knew apostles beyond wishful thinking. The gospels are anonymous. Full Stop.

          It was a spiritual process…

          It was much more of a political process. Claiming it was “spiritual process” is garbage. You have no idea of the actual mindset of the writers, and even if you could show it was spiritual in nature (which you can’t)…spiritual processes will take people in all sorts of directions, none of which are any more accurate than blindly throwing darts.

          My point was showing how you switch what you consider ‘important’ depending on what argument you are pushing in any given moment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t half talk some ballix.

          It is no wonder you guys find all of this confusing.

          You are the one that is showing all the confusion, ignorance, stupidity, or all three, here.

          Though there is no reason why there might not be additional facts about the infancy of Jesus, there were standards of selection that excluded the Infancy Gospel of Thomas from serious consideration.

          When did this vetting process begin, and by whom?

          One was that anything that disagreed with the theology of the already accepted literature was not considered.

          Accepted literature by whom? You really should learn about this stuff, or at least stop talking to the rest of us that know you are talking ballix, like we are the stupid ones.

          Here…you could make a start by learning that much of the Apocrypha started out as respected Christian scriptures.

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01601a.htm

          The IGT fails at that point.

          You miss the point. For the Christians that considered the IGT their holy scripture, what you say doesn’t count. It being heretical is subjective. The Gnostics whose holy scripture it was, didn’t think so. The NT canon wasn’t ratified until the Council of Trent in the 16th century. There was all sorts of nonsense being bandied about, it’s just that you accept the books that make the cut, we here don’t. They are just as much nonsense as the texts that were selected by the cretins that won the day.

          Another was the books accepted into the canon of the New Testament needed to be written by an Apostle or one who knew the Apostles.

          Pure fuckwittery of the highest degree.

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06655b.htm

          The IGT fails at that point.

          There is as much justification for the IGT having apostolic connections as the canonical books. That’s none.

          I don’t think I am twisting any standards.

          Yeah, you are. And your bias is all over it.

          Lord Backwater’s point stands, you are willing to accept cherry-picked scriptures and ignore others that are inconvenient.

          See Bruce Metzger on this topic. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development and Significance.

          Fuck that. It is irrelevant to the issue. We get it. The NT was cobbled together over a long period of time by a committee. Some books that were accepted scriptures, eventually got stiffed. If you think Metzger makes an argument that in some way supports your bullshit, make it, otherwise stfu.

        • “If you take a charitable look at it, the contradictions can be resolved” doesn’t work. The Jesus story is insanely unlikely. The naturalistic explanation is obviously the correct one. If you want to show otherwise, you need more than just a charitable outlook.

          Unless you have an agenda, of course. You are actually following the evidence, aren’t you?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I don’t think I am twisting any standards.

          THAT, right there, is the problem.

        • Jim Jones

          > Do you believe the Infancy Gospel of Thomas?

          It’s better than the gospels and yet most so called experts reject it.

        • Greg G.

          The Luke 2:41-52 vignette is another piece of evidence that Luke was embellishing the Jesus story with vignettes from Josephus’ autobiography, which means that Luke did not have real stories about a real family.

          Life of Josephus 2
          Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the high priests and principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law.

          Luke 2:42
          When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast,

          Luke 2:46-47
          46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the middle of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

          The “twelve years” and “three days” are foreshadowing.

        • epicurus

          Man, I have been putting off reading Josephus for years. Time to get on it!

        • Jim Jones

          > Those little vignettes tell us that the author is telling us about real people, real people who had as much difficulty coming to grips with who Jesus was as any of us.

          Even crappy authors like the gospel authors know to add a bit of color, and if not then, those who repeated the myths would have.

          According to you, Harry Potter is a real wizard.

        • Ficino

          If we were reading purely a propaganda piece for Jesus the Messiah and the Son of God, this little part about his mother and brother surely would have not made the cut.

          1. you do not know this.
          2. you ignore what looks like the agenda of the writer of gMark.
          3. you ignore the fact that the pericope did NOT make the cut in any other gospel. So on your own reasoning it’s open to say that the other three canonical gospels are propaganda pieces. In fact, gJohn explicitly identifies itself as propaganda.
          4. your “purely” smuggles in way too much wiggle room. Even speeches of Joseph Goebbels were not PURELY propaganda, since they contained some true assertions.

        • Don Camp

          All the Gospel writers had an agenda. That does not mean they were unhistorical.

          I read Winston Churchill’s The Grand Alliance last year. He was writing history from his memory and the correspondence between himself and political leader and commanders. I am going to assume that he was accurate. But he also had an agenda or agendas. Among them was the idea that Hitler’s Third Reich was a doomed idea fro the start.

          Each of the Gospels has a particular agenda and each is slightly different. But upon the facts they agree. Jesus was a real person who did and said what they reported.

        • Ficino

          All the Gospel writers had an agenda.

          So you concede that the gospels are in some measure, propaganda. And how could they not be such? After all, gJohn says that “these things are written, so that ye might believe.”

          If you are conversant with contemporary biblical scholarship you will know that serious academic specialists acknowledge that the gospels are wholly propaganda. A consequence is that whatever references to historical fact appear in the gospels, appear for the purpose of furthering the propaganda goal – instilling belief. So there is no “nugget” of ideologically neutral historical fact that is free from an overlay of propaganda. Read Rafael Rodriguez on this.

          Your comparison to the works of Winston Churchill at most serves to underscore how the gospels are like other writings. To the extent that you rest an argument on their LIKENESS to other writings, to that extent you problematize any claim to “inerrancy” that might be made for the gospels. Churchill’s memoirs are neither divinely inspired nor inerrant. Neither are, say, Plutarch’s biographies. If you want to make hay from the similarity of the gospels to other writings, so as to assimilate their non-historical utterances to non-historical utterances of other writings, to that extent you undermine the credibility of any claim that the gospels are inerrant.

          Why not just say, the gospels are human documents, like Churchill’s memoirs and Plutarch’s biographies, and leave it at that?

        • Don Camp

          If you are conversant with contemporary biblical scholarship [the New Biblical Scholars] you will know that serious academic specialists acknowledge that the gospels are wholly propaganda.

          I’ll certainly agree that this describes the New Biblical Scholars. Fortunately it does describe all biblical scholars. I am just now rereading a great book by Dr. Paul W. Barnett, Jesus and the Logic of History. I don’t think he would agree. I have regularly read N.T. Wright on the subject. I don’t think he would agree.

          But you have created a caveat for yourself in the word “wholly.” If you mean by that they all have an agenda, I agree. If you mean they are without basis in historical fact, I would not.

          whatever references to historical fact appear in the gospels, appear for the purpose of furthering the propaganda goal – instilling belief

          Yes, for the most part I agree. The exception might be the Mark 2:20,21 pericope. This is the very passage Bob points to as being contradictory to the expectations – which he lists.

          A word about Mark: Of all the Gospels Mark is the most raw of any of the Gospels. I remember reading Mark when I first began to study the New Testament years ago. I had a difficult time identifying Mark’s thesis. What was he trying to say about Jesus?

          That is not hard to figure out for John. He says right out what his purpose is – 20:31. It is not hard to determine what Matthew’s purpose is – to present Jesus as Messiah to a largely Jewish audience. Even Luke is fairly easy – to present Jesus as the divine man with all the virtues Greeks would find attractive for a largely gentile/Greek audience. But what is Mark all about.

          My teachers suggested that the thesis was “Jesus is a man of action” – making him appealing to a Roman audience. Okay, maybe. But the text doesn’t easily fit that thesis. It doesn’t easily fit any particular thesis. And that suggests that Mark is the most candid of all the Gospels and the least driven by an agenda, except that of setting forth Jesus as a man who walked the roads of Galilee, did miracles, taught about the kingdom of God, and died on a cross.

          That makes the little note about Jesus Mother and brothers thinking him crazy one of those pieces that feel unnecessary, and perhaps an embarrassing contradiction, as Bob described it. But it also makes it a tell of historical authenticity.

          To the extent that you rest an argument on their LIKENESS to other writings, to that extent you problematize any claim to “inerrancy” that might be made for the gospels.

          A comparison does not mean the same in all characteristics. In this case I was simply saying that when writing history a thesis or an agenda does not disqualify it from being historically accurate.

          I don’t understand how that would “problematize” inerrancy. It would be potentially more of a problem for inspiration.

        • Ficino

          If you mean they are without basis in historical fact, I would not.

          I have already acknowledged that the gospels contain references to historical facts. You quote my very words to that effect. So why do you propose the above as though it may be my thesis?

          In this case I was simply saying that when writing history a thesis or an agenda does not disqualify it from being historically accurate.

          The above is so vague as to be useless. The questions are, HOW historically accurate are the narrative sentences in the gospels, and ON WHAT GROUNDS should we think that a given sentence conveys historical fact? You seem unaware of the problem of the Criteria of Authenticity.

          I don’t understand how that would “problematize” inerrancy. It would be potentially more of a problem for inspiration.

          You don’t take the claims for scripture’s inerrancy and for its divine inspiration to be interentailing? Good to know.

        • Don Camp

          Just to make sure you know what I mean.

        • Don Camp

          You seem unaware of the problem of the Criteria of Authenticity.

          Do you mean the Jesus Seminar criteria? I have read off and on books by various Jesus Seminar scholar since the 1980s. I think that Marcus Borg was my point of initial interest. He was teaching at Oregon State University which was very close to where I was living at the time.

          One of the criteria is, interestingly, that of how difficult it is to understand, particularly in the context where it is found. Mark 3:21 might fit the criterion of Divergent Traditions or even Coherence. (Actually the Jesus Seminar folk were interested in the words of Jesus, not so much the matrix material, which Mark 3:21 is. )

          You don’t take the claim for scripture’s inspiration to entail its inerrancy?

          I don’t understand inspiration to require inerrancy. In any event inerrancy does not help the student of the Bible. It only applies to the original manuscripts, and we do not have any of these. It was a knee jerk reaction to the liberalism of the 1800s. Inspiration, on the other hand, is something that the scriptures affirm.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That makes the little note about Jesus Mother and brothers thinking him crazy one of those pieces that feel unnecessary, and perhaps an embarrassing contradiction, as Bob described it. But it also makes it a tell of historical authenticity.

          No it doesn’t. Try reading for comprehension.

          Let’s return to Mark, where Jesus’s mother and brothers want to take charge of him because he’s crazy. Jesus can’t be both crazy and divine. But drop the requirement that these stories must harmonize, and the resolution is easy.

          The criterion of embarrassment is pure methodological nonsense btw.

          But how is the author of gMark’s account of Mary and the bro’s belief that he was crazy, even an embarrassing story? What was the author’s purpose for inventing the story of “crazy Jesus” is the question. Something dealt with, but which you conveniently ignored.

          It is only an embarrassing story when placed in comparison with the other contradictory texts claims of Mary knowing Jesus’s divinity through the nativity narratives. Because the author of gMark appears ignorant of the “virgin birth” yarn, that the “crazy Jesus” yarn is relevant.

        • Don Camp

          The criterion of embarrassment is pure methodological nonsense

          It is very much like the argument Bob was making in the blog. Talk to him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No it isn’t. That you think it is, just demonstrates how stupid you actually are, Dime Bar.

        • Churchill has a good reputation for accuracy, so I will also tend to assume he’s accurate. When he starts relating supernatural stories, however, guess what?

        • NSAlito

          If we were reading purely a propaganda piece for Jesus the Messiah and
          the Son of God, this little part about his mother and brother surely
          would have not made the cut.

          I have often wondered how Luke 21:32 survived the cut to become Church canon after more than a generation had passed since Jesus left.

        • Greg G.

          It’s in Mark 13:30 and Matthew 24:34, too. And in red letters.

        • NSAlito

          I haz lernd today.

        • Don Camp

          This sentence (Luke 21:32) is included in all three of the synoprics. I suppose there are several possible reasons.

          1) “This generation” had not yet passed away, so there was still anticipation of the fulfillment of this prophecy.

          2) Luke – and others – understood that “this generation” did not necessarily refer to the present generation that included the Apostles.

          I lean toward the second.

        • Otto

          3) They were wrong…

        • Don Camp

          Yes, that would be what I expect here.

          So, if these documents were late in the first century, which seems to be the typical position here, or were copied many times before, why were they left in? Why wasn’t this puzzling piece simply removed. But it wasn’t.

          My United Bible Society Greek New Testament with critical apparatus reveals no alternate text for any of the three inclusions. That would imply they were there from the beginning.

          Often copyists wrote little pieces illuminating difficult passages. That is one way alternate reading got included in the text. Now, for someone copying these three texts from a distance of 200 years, these would be difficult texts. Jesus hadn’t actually returned in that time. So it would be simple to leave them out. (Leaving one sentence out of all three Gospels has its own difficulties.)

          So, in light of the difficulties and the evidence from the several texts, #3 doesn’t appear to be a viable solution to the problem.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So, if these documents were late in the first century, which seems to be the typical position here, or were copied many times before, why were they left in? Why wasn’t this puzzling piece simply removed. But it wasn’t.

          You can’t think of a single reason why?

          When was it noticed?

          Who at the time, cared?

          Why aren’t all the problematic texts redacted out?

          You do know that texts were fucked about with, right? And textual criticism is a recent thing, historically speaking.

          My United Bible Society Greek New Testament with critical apparatus reveals no alternate text for any of the three inclusions. That would imply they were there from the beginning.

          You do know the NT canon didn’t exist from the beginning, right?

          Often copyists wrote little pieces illuminating difficult passages. That is one way alternate reading got included in the text. Now, for someone copying these three texts from a distance of 200 years, these would be difficult texts. Jesus hadn’t actually returned in that time. So it would be simple to leave them out. (Leaving one sentence out of all three Gospels has its own difficulties.)

          There is more than one sentence that would need to be left out…or added. Which of course, did happen by redactors trying to square problematic circles.

          Ya see, when one fucks about with the message like that, one effects the credibility of the texts. Better to try and invent excuses. That’s how apologetics was invented.

          So, in light of the difficulties and the evidence from the several texts, #3 doesn’t appear to be a viable solution to the problem.

          Oh #3 is the most pragmatic. The apocalyptic story begins in the Pauline corpus.

          You know what the “Second Coming” is, right?

          He [Jesus] makes similar predictions in five other places in the Gospels; Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Matt 24:34, Luke 9:27, Luke 21:32.

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

          It was central to early Christianity. Then the tact had to change when it didn’t happen how the gospels said. But the idea was already out there.

        • Don Camp

          He [Jesus] makes similar predictions in five other places in the Gospels; Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Matt 24:34, Luke 9:27, Luke 21:32.

          Yes. And I have referenced several.

          It was central to early Christianity. Then the tact had to change when it didn’t happen how the gospels said.

          That is a problem for you, I think. If the Gospels were written late, as the New Biblical Scholars say, maybe after the Jesus generation has already passed away and after the destruction of Jerusalem, what sense would it make to include that sentence or to make up the sentence? It would be self-defeating if it was understood as you do.

          The early church, however, did not find it to be so. Early on, there was an anticipation that Jesus might return soon, even in the lifetime of those who were reading Paul’s letters. But that came to be understood as “be ready” for you do not know the day or hour. Which is actually what Jesus said.

          42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

          And that is where Christians are today. We stand ready for the apocalypse and busy doing what Jesus told us to do. The when of his coming is in God’s hands. Being ready is in ours.

          If you’re interested seehttps://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2017/02/jesus-got-it-wrong.html?view=timeslide

        • Ignorant Amos

          That is a problem for you, I think.

          Nope.

          If the Gospels were written late, as the New Biblical Scholars say, maybe after the Jesus generation has already passed away and after the destruction of Jerusalem, what sense would it make to include that sentence or to make up the sentence?

          Nobody is suggesting the concept began with the first gospel writer. You need to think about it a wee bit deeper.

          It would be self-defeating if it was understood as you do.

          Nope.

          The early church, however, did not find it to be so. Early on, there was an anticipation that Jesus might return soon, even in the lifetime of those who were reading Paul’s letters.

          The problem there is the term “return”. There is only a “return” if there was a first visit. Where in Paul is there a claim that Jesus had been on Earth already? That’s reading the gospels back into Paul.

          Let’s say early on in the first century, there was a discontent Jew, or group of Jews, that were fed up with waiting on the messiah and trolling through scriptures, came up with the concept of a heavenly messiah who was on his way to get things sorted. These Jews were apocalyptic Jews proposing that the messiah, or even God himself was coming to rescue the day.

          The mainstream Jews at the time, being always vigilant and wanting to keep their nice little earner as it was, hearing about this, sent one of their own to get the skinny on what was happening. Saul as he was known, spies this small group and gets the idea that this has potential, with a wee bit of tweaking this could actually be something. So taking this apocalyptic coming of the divine, he runs with it. Claims that this devine being has come to him in dreams and imparted all sorts of stuff that can be revealed in the Hebrew scriptures. Now, to make this attractive, this state of affairs has to be accessible to those living. So the coming has to be impending. That is, within the generation that Paul got his revelation. That’s the apocalyptic Christology set in motion. But how long was a generation to be?

          Well, it’s 40, 100, and sometimes 70 years according to scriptures. And scriptures was what Paul was using.

          To summarize: A generation in the bible is primarily the age of a man when his first male child is born; but secondarily, the age of a man at his death. The bible then rounds the exact span of years in a “generation” to be 40 and 100 years as the primary usage, but on occasion, “70 years”. And 70 is the average of 40 and 100, which allow the three time frames to work in numeric harmony to produce the numeric symmetry found throughout the bible. The usage of the 100-year generation predominates in the bible prior to the time of Moses when men lived longer, but 40 years after Moses.

          So, if the authors of the gospels are following Pauline Christology, where’s the problem?

          But that came to be understood as “be ready” for you do not know the day or hour.

          I know.

          But according to the book, Jesus said it would be before this generation ended. I can say I’ll be going on holiday before this time next year, the exact time and date is unknown to me. And get this, not being precise allows wiggle room for when it hasn’t happened. That’s what Christians have done ever since. Those trying to be precise have had egg on their face.

          Even in the gospel yarns, the Jesus character knew how long a generation could be.

          Jesus told that generation, His generation, that all the destruction spoken by the prophets would come upon them. That specific generation would suffer cruelly, as no other had, because of the blood of the prophets that had been shed by previous generations and also because they rejected Him. There can be no dispute about this meaning. It was all to come on that generation which He was part of. At that time Jesus was approximately 33 years old. The fulfillment of the word took place 40 years later, in 70 A.D. Therefore, I believe a generation, Biblically and prophetically speaking, is 70 years. The Bible is very specific about times, dates and numbers. Every number has a meaning. Had Jesus not died on the cross, He would have been 73 in the year 70 A.D. Therefore, His generation would have been in their sixties and seventies, perhaps even eighties. This does not make a generation approximate, but 70 years is the Biblical number and people live to different ages. This is substantiated by the following verse from Psalm 90:

          “The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength.” Ps 90:10

          The Number for Jerusalem

          Seventy is the number related to Israel and Jerusalem. When the people went into exile in Babylon it was for 70 years. The angel told Daniel that 70 periods of 7 years had been decreed for the people and the city. The city was destroyed in 70 A.D., which was a Biblical generation after the birth of Messiah. Recently, I read that Jerusalem has had 69 battles.

          So their is no conflict in their use of the verses.

          See, it would’ve been a bit tricky to promise believers pie in the sky when you die when Jesus comes to sort things out, if there was no anticipation for those you were trying to convert to be a part of it. That’s why later Christology shifted it’s emphasis.

          Which is actually what Jesus said.

          Nah, it’s what someone says he said. But you left out the important qualifier.

          Truly I tell you, THIS generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

          And

          …there are some standing here, which shall NOT taste death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom “

          Let the pretzelmania apologetics commence.

        • Otto

          The “you can’t explain X, therefore my conclusions stand” argument is again fallacious.

          We know very well that since the beginning of Christianity the “End is Nigh!” mindset has been continually promoted. Christians have a long history of rationalizing away their errors of predicting the end. I just see this as the beginning of a long line blunders that Christians like yourself find ways to overlook. If you can do it now so easily, so could they.

        • Don Camp

          I just see this as the beginning of a long line blunders that Christians like yourself find ways to overlook.

          There have been plenty of mistakes made predicting the time of Jesus’ return. That is a problem with being over eager. Jesus himself said that he did not know the day or the hour.

          That did not mean for Jesus that the fact of his return was uncertain, just the timing.

        • Otto

          But he did give some clues as to the timing and those have failed, hence the need for rationalizations by his followers.

          They are doing the same thing here.

          http://heavensgate.com/

        • Don Camp

          Yes, there are some clues. Primary is the clue that the gospel would be preached in all the world before Jesus would return. So it is closer than yesterday.

        • Otto

          Always a loophole to be found, just like the Heaven’s gate people who still maintain that website.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Handy one though, ain’t. As long as the Christer apologists like Don can maintain that their gospel isn’t being preached in some part of the world, the epic failure can be supported. Almost 2000 years and counting. A suppose that’s nothing in eternity terms.

        • Otto

          I hear there is an island close to India that is receptive to god botherers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, as long as they think they’ve got God on their side, who are we to get in their way. Nice folk the North Sentinelese…as long as they are left ta fucl alone.

        • Greg G.

          Primary is the clue that the gospel would be preached in all the world before Jesus would return.

          It’s too late for that, unless the gospel is just preached to dirt.There are now over 18 centuries of dead people who were not preached to.

        • NSAlito

          The Wandering Jew is my favorite theological gimmick.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Because there’s nothing crazy about a virgin becoming pregnant without getting fucked first…and an angel having to explain the reason why?

      That shite is well plausible. //s

    • LastManOnEarth

      So an angel visits to tell her he would be son of god and she is magically impregnated, but after 30 years of slacking off she figures it was some kind of prank.

      Sounds legit.

      • Don Camp

        She isn’t “slacking off.” She simply did not understand what it all meant. DShe didn’t know how it was going to play out. And in the case under consideration, she felt it was out of control. Probably something any mther would feel.

        • And lo, when his brethren did decree that Jesus was out of his mind, Mary his mother did jump up and saith out loud, ”leave off, you bullies. I know from the way the Almighty impregnated me, the appearance of the angel, my own spontaneous hymn of praise and everything that went on at his birth – oh, and that episode at the temple when he was 12 – that my boy is the Messiah, maybe even the Son of God, possibly God himself.”

          And his brethren were amazed at this, because they’d never heard any of it, on account of it not being written for another fifty years.

          Why isn’t something like this in Mark’s gospel, Don?

        • Michael Neville

          Doctors of the Church like St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus firmly believed that Mary was impregnated through her ear, thereby keeping her virginity intact. If that wasn’t miraculous then nothing in Christianity makes sense (albeit little in Christianity does make sense).

        • Greg G.

          Doctors of the Church like St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus firmly believed that Mary was impregnated through her ear

          The Holy Ghost must have told her it was a telephone.

        • Ignorant Amos

          National “Take it in the Ear Day” was last Sunday.

        • She simply did not understand what it all meant.

          The angel of God had a hard time conveying a simple message? Yeah, that makes sense.

          The natural explanation is looking all the better than the supernatural one.

        • LastManOnEarth

          It was Jesus who was slacking off for 30 years.

      • Well, yeah. One’s memory plays tricks sometimes.

        • Greg G.

          Getting pregnant through the ear might cause some brain damage.

      • The Jack of Sandwich

        Joseph must have died by that point, so she didn’t have to keep up the story about the angel visiting her.

        Gabriel was really just the milkman.

    • Michael Murray

      So any writing where people behave like real people is true ? Do you read much fiction ?

      • Don Camp

        I read a lot of fiction. I was a literature teacher. For fun I like Lee Child.

        In ancient literature, fiction was far less sophisticated than modern fiction. It read a little like a juvenile novel. The little vignettes that seem unnecessary to the narrative or that seem to contradict the character of the character, so to speak, are so rare I know of none.

        It would be far more difficult to tell some modern fiction from reality; you are right there.

        • Michael Neville

          In ancient literature, fiction was far less sophisticated than modern fiction.

          Are you saying that Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides were less sophisticated than Barbara Cartwright or, dare I say it, Lee Child? Were Homer and Virgil unsophisticated writers? I grant you the hacks who wrote the gospels were unsophisticated but Sturgeon’s Law* comes into effect there.

          *Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crappe.

        • Don Camp

          The issue was the inclusion of details in a fiction narrative that are there only for the purpose of verisimilitude. Was that a feature of Sophocles et al.? Or Homer? My impression is that it was not. But I have not read everything? Perhaps you could quote an example and explain.

          However, since the issue pertains to Hebrew or early Christian literature, let’s take something you would consider fiction from the Bible or of that time, maybe Esther or Ruth or Daniel or the Shepherd of Hermes. What are the details included simply for the purpose of verisimilitude?

          The detail in question in Mark 3:21 is the statement that Jesus’ family thought he was out of his mind. Bob thought this was incongruent with the fact that his family knew he was divine and thus nothing he did could be crazy. (Bob actually said that it was used as a contrast with the disciples, so his observation is more complex than I am making it out to be.)

          My observation was that the detail is an accurate picture of how the family felt at the time and was in the narrative because it actually happened. It was not made up. It fit the style of a piece of literature that was historical rather than fictitious.

          Fiction in this period was not stylistically realistic, and it did not include details only for the purpose of verisimilitude. Modern literature might do that, but ancient literature probably not.

          Now, I might be wrong about that, but you’ll have to show me from the literature.

          .

        • Greg G.

          The detail in question in Mark 3:21 is the statement that Jesus’ family thought he was out of his mind.

          Or Mark was getting plot points from other sources. The OT was a favorite source for all of the gospel authors. Perhaps Mark used Zechariah.

          Zechariah 13:3 (NRSV)
          3 And if any prophets appear again, their fathers and mothers who bore them will say to them, “You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord”; and their fathers and their mothers who bore them shall pierce them through when they prophesy.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You don’t get to excuse schitteeee writing by using that very trashiness as a perverse indicator of veracity.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The detail in question in Mark 3:21 is the statement that Jesus’ family thought he was out of his mind.

          And in your world, people never LIE to attempt to prevent a loved one from suffering punishment from a law they consider unjust?

        • Ficino

          only for the purpose of verisimilitude… details included simply for the purpose of verisimilitude

          There you go again, setting up another false dichotomy.

        • Don Camp

          What would be the in between possibilities?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fiction in this period was not stylistically realistic, and it did not include details only for the purpose of verisimilitude. Modern literature might do that, but ancient literature probably not.

          Talking more crap Mr. Faux Literature Teacher?

          So it’s probably not?

          Verisimilitude has its roots in both the Platonic and Aristotelian dramatic theory of mimesis, the imitation or representation of nature. For a piece of art to hold significance or persuasion for an audience, according to Plato and Aristotle, it must have grounding in reality.

          However, since the issue pertains to Hebrew or early Christian literature, let’s take something you would consider fiction from the Bible or of that time, maybe Esther or Ruth or Daniel or the Shepherd of Hermes. What are the details included simply for the purpose of verisimilitude?

          Bwaaaahahaha!

          And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia? ~ Esther 10:2

          Oh deary me!

          I’m not awfully sure you know what the term “verisimilitude” means.

          https://www.britannica.com/art/verisimilitude

          The Book of Esther and Ancient Storytelling, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 120, No. 1 (Spring, 2001), pp. 3-14

          On what grounds is a story to be judged fictional? Because it is easier to accept a patently unrealistic story, fictionality was sometimes determined by whether or not the events of the story could have happened or by whether the story seemed realistic. But to judge a story’s historicity by its degree of realism is to mistake verisimilitude for historicity. Verisimilitude is the literary term for the illusion of reality. Just because a story sounds real does not mean that it is. Realistic fiction is just as fictional as nonrealistic fiction. Among the leading arguments for Esther’s historicity are that its setting is authentic and that its knowledge of Persian custom is detailed and accurate. But this realistic background proves nothing about the historicity of the story, as our aforementioned commentators were well aware.

          https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/presidentialaddresses/JBL120_1_1Berlin2000.pdf

          Now, I might be wrong about that, but you’ll have to show me from the literature.

          Craig Evans, in his debate with Bart Ehrman, points to “verisimilitude” in the NT as evidence they are reliable sources…

          Second, New Testament scholars, historians, and archaeologists view the gospels as essentially reliable, because they exhibit verisimilitude, a Latin word that means “they resemble the way things really were.” That is, the contents of these writings match with what we know of the place, people, and period described in the document.

          Their contents cohere with what is known through other written sources and through archaeological finds. Their contents give evidence of acquaintance with the topography and geography of the region that forms the backdrop to the story. The authors of these documents exhibit knowledge of the culture and customs of the people they describe. Ancient narratives that possess these characteristics are used by historians and archaeologists.

          The New Testament Gospels and Acts exhibit a great deal of ver-ee-similitude. They speak of real people — Pontius Pilate, Herod Antipas, Annas, Caiaphas, Herod Agrippa I, Herod Agrippa II, Felix, Festus — and they speak of real events — the death of John the Baptist, the death of Agrippa I. They speak of real places — villages, cities, roads, lakes, mountains — which are clarified and corroborated by other historical sources and by archaeology.

          In contrast to the verisimilitude of the New Testament Gospels and the Book of Acts, . . . stand the gospels and gospel-like writings of the second century, such as the gnostic gospels and Syria’s Gospel of Thomas. These writings do not exhibit verisimilitude, at least not verisimilitude with early first-century Jewish Palestine.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueRIdrlZsvs

          Of course Evans is also an example of a Christer scholar who is also a balloon head talking out his arse. The fool obviously doesn’t understand the terms he wishes to use in defence of his position either, and in that, hoists himself by his own petard too.

          The buybull is chock full of fictional yarns using verisimilitude.

        • Don Camp

          From your wiki wesbite:

          The novel had to facilitate the reader’s willingness to suspend his/her disbelief, a phrase used originally by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

          The Mark 3 passage might have helped the reader suspend disbelief. But It would have created the problem that Bob identified. So if it was not historical, why include it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Mark 3 passage might have helped the reader suspend disbelief.

          Whaaaa?

          You need to know the reason behind the author of gMark for including the passage. What was it?

          But It would have created the problem that Bob identified.

          Why is this so difficult for you?

          The author of gMark wrote a story. It contained nothing about Jesus being seen as divine. No nativity narrative about Jesus’s miracle birth, clearly the author didn’t know about it. It’s not the sort of thing that is of no importance had it happened. A few decades later, two authors reading gMarks yarn, decide to write their own embellished version of the story for full effect…and a different agenda. They saw no distance in the Mark yarn about “crazy Jesus”, so left that bit out. They were toting a different agenda. Their Jesus was supernaturally conceived. Divinely. Mary in their story knew that. So the “crazy Jesus” bit won’t gel.

          It only becomes problematic when trying to harmonise the three stories. That is the same problem that occurs when trying to harmonise all the other contradictions between the four gospels. This isn’t an isolated incident.

          So if it was not historical, why include it?

          It’s a fucking literary device. You know what one of those is Mr. Faux Literature Teacher, right?

          I really don’t know the reason why the author of gMark included it, or what he had in his mind, no one does. But that hasn’t stopped theologians musing the reasons. And get this, they don’t necessarily point to it being historical…

          3:20–35 are likely to have moved Mark’s readers deeply when they remembered how their own family thought they were mad to become a Christian. But those readers were also led to look at the alternative that they had left behind. To stay with their natural family meant allying themselves with the forces of Satan that lay behind the Roman Empire in its persecution of Christians. Mark bluntly puts the disciple’s family in the same league as the Roman authorities here; they both do Satan’s work. Any thought of going back ’outside’ the Christian circle is negated here. It was a choice between good and evil, and those who remained in the new family of Jesus were on the ‘inside,’ gathered around Jesus, and doing the will of God (3:35).

          These scenes, then, were not meant to describe the historical behaviour of Jesus’ natural family. The actions of Jesus’ family in this text were a literary means of moving the original readers, just as 1:10–11 would have reminded those readers of their own baptism, that led to their own time of testing (“coming up out of the water”; hearing God call them a beloved child; having the Spirit force them into the wilderness to face Satan).

          https://www.ccr.org.au/item/56-did-jesus-family-think-him-mad

        • Don Camp

          You need to know the reason behind the author of gMark for including the passage. What was it?

          Maybe that it was something that actually happened??? But I don’t think that is going to satisfy you. So why not take a stab at explaining.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Holy fuck!

          Can you not even read a combox now ya cretin?

          Nobody knows, but here’s the explanation I already gave that you didn’t read…

          3:20–35 are likely to have moved Mark’s readers deeply when they remembered how their own family thought they were mad to become a Christian. But those readers were also led to look at the alternative that they had left behind. To stay with their natural family meant allying themselves with the forces of Satan that lay behind the Roman Empire in its persecution of Christians. Mark bluntly puts the disciple’s family in the same league as the Roman authorities here; they both do Satan’s work. Any thought of going back ’outside’ the Christian circle is negated here. It was a choice between good and evil, and those who remained in the new family of Jesus were on the ‘inside,’ gathered around Jesus, and doing the will of God (3:35).

          These scenes, then, were not meant to describe the historical behaviour of Jesus’ natural family. The actions of Jesus’ family in this text were a literary means of moving the original readers, just as 1:10–11 would have reminded those readers of their own baptism, that led to their own time of testing (“coming up out of the water”; hearing God call them a beloved child; having the Spirit force them into the wilderness to face Satan).

          That’s what a Christian thinks it means.

          I gave a different Christian commentary on what it meant the other day. And my own interpretation too. Try to keep up and stay focused ya doting auld goatskin.

        • Don Camp

          I think the Catholic explanation reads back into the passage something that does not naturally arise from the passage.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course ya do, but that’s irrelevant. I don’t suppose those Catholic theologians interpret the passage that way, give much of a toss what you think. The point is, there are alternative hermeneutics that differ vastly and don’t require the passage to be an actual historical event.

        • Don Camp

          there are alternative hermeneutics that differ vastly and don’t require the passage to be an actual historical event.

          Of course there are. Protestants and Catholics have differed on a varied of issues since the 1500s. Then the theology of orthodoxy was shattered again by the liberalism of the 1800s. And then there is your hermeneutic.

          But why would this event in Mark 3:21,22 not be an actual historical event, the Catholic view notwithstanding? What point is it making if it is a metaphor? Why on earth include it in the narrative if it is a fiction? What theological point is it making?

          Note that the episode of Jesus’ mother and brothers brackets the similar accusation by the teachers of the law that Jesus was using Satan’s power to do the miracles he was doing. Is Mark equating the family with these men? For what purpose?

          Someone suggested that Mark was prepping his readers for opposition, even from your family. Okay. Possibly. But I think that is attributing to Mark a literary sophistication that I don’t see elsewhere in Mark.( Jesus does warn his followers of opposition directly in 13:12.) Mark seems to me to be a straight forward unembellished telling of the Jesus story. He is not preaching, even in the matrix (the words of Mark or Mark’s source, Peter, rather than those of Jesus). He is presenting Jesus as the Son of God and Savior (12:35-37 and 14:62) and allowing Jesus to declare that in his own words.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But why would this event in Mark 3:21,22 not be an actual historical event, the Catholic view notwithstanding?

          Why would it need to be? Folk write stories all the time. The stuff in the stories are literary devices that form part of the story.

          What point is it making if it is a metaphor?

          I’m not asserting it is necessarily a metaphor. It could easily be part of the plot. I already outlined a reason. The insanity defence.

          Pick one…. https://www.studylight.org/commentary/mark/3-21.html

          Why on earth include it in the narrative if it is a fiction? What theological point is it making?

          Jesus was being over exuberant in his preaching. Surely you’ve witnessed similar. His enemies accused him of being bedeviled. His family heard this and came along and claimed he was delirious through lack of food and sleep. The disciples said nothing.

          The inference for me is that the scribes thought he was a blasphemer. The family were trying to save the moment. The true believers said fuck all, because they were privy to the secret.

          This is why it is being pointed out as problematic text. If, as you believe, Jesus was born of virgin Mary in the Jesus nativity narrative as described in gMatt and gLuke, then she’d have known the truth too. And there’s the contradiction. The story stands okay alone if ya don’t try and insist the nativity story in gMarks authors mind Mary and the bro’s in gMark are not Christ followers as such.

          Note that the episode of Jesus’ mother and brothers brackets the similar accusation by the teachers of the law that Jesus was using Satan’s power to do the miracles he was doing. Is Mark equating the family with these men? For what purpose?

          Nope. See above. They are trying to defend their kin from getting arrested by claiming the insanity defence. The message is, they don’t know he’s special. He isn’t born special in Mark. He gets the special status at the baptism by John. The only ones that know he is special are his new group of 12 buddies and John the Baptist.

          The structure of Mark’s Gospel provides the key to the author’s purpose. The first half of the Gospel concerns the identity of Jesus as the mighty Messiah and Son of God ~(Mark 1:1–8:30 Mark … https://thebibleproject.com/blog/mark-gospel-servant-messiah/#ref-mark_1:1-8:30 )

          Someone suggested that Mark was prepping his readers for opposition, even from your family. Okay. Possibly. But I think that is attributing to Mark a literary sophistication that I don’t see elsewhere in Mark.( Jesus does warn his followers of opposition directly in 13:12.) Mark seems to me to be a straight forward unembellished telling of the Jesus story. He is not preaching, even in the matrix (the words of Mark or Mark’s source, Peter, rather than those of Jesus). He is presenting Jesus as the Son of God and Savior (12:35-37 and 14:62) and allowing Jesus to declare that in his own words.

          Hmmmmm!

          https://thebibleproject.com/blog/mark-gospel-servant-messiah/

        • Greg G.

          I think you are missing what Mark is doing in that gospel. Mark uses Aramaic words and Latin words. He nearly always translates the Aramaic but never the Latin, so he was writing for people who knew Greek and Latin. He teaches what the name Bartimaeus means. He has Jesus open his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father”. When Barabbas is introduced, there are two people called “Son of the Father”. Then one is released into the wilderness while the other is killed for the sins of the people, which is the Atonement Day (Yom Kippur) ritual where a goat is released into the wilderness and the other is killed for the sins of the people in Leviticus 16:5-22.

          Many scenes are built with elements from the Odyssey plus two or three OT allusions.

          Odysseus met Circe who turned his men into pigs. Later, he and his men meet Polyphemus, the Cyclops who captures Odysseus and his men in a cave. The name means “famous” as it roots are “poly” for “many” as in “polygon” and “phem” is for “speak” as in “blasphemy” so “many speak of”.

          The name Legion comes from the Latin word, “Legio“, for a group of many soldiers, with “many” being emphasized by the end of the sentence with “for we are many” and the Greek word used for “many” is “polys“, which is giving half of the name of Polyphemus. The root of the Greek word, “lego“, means “to speak” and immediately precedes Legio in some Greek texts of Mark, as if the author was emphasizing the similarity between the two words. It’s a bilingual pun.

          Mark 4:36-39; Mark 5:1-21a
          Odyssey 9.101-565 and various OT passages

          4:36 Jesus and his disciples sailed with other boats.
          Odysseus and his crew sailed with a convoy.

          4:37 Jesus awoke during a storm at sea.
          Odysseus awoke during a storm at sea.
          [Odyssey 10.1-55]

          4:38-39 Jesus calmed the wind and sea.
          Psalm 107:28-29
          28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
          and he brought them out from their distress;
          29 he made the storm be still,
          and the waves of the sea were hushed.

          5:1 Jesus and his followers arrived at the land of the Gerasenes.
          Odysseus and his crew arrived at the land of the Cyclopes.

          5:2a Jesus and his disciples disembarked.
          Odysseus and crew disembarked.

          5:2b-5 They encountered a savage, lawless demonaic who lived in the tombs.
          They encountered a savage, lawless giant who lived in a cave.

          5:3a The demonaic lived in the tombs.
          Isaiah 65:4a
          who sit inside tombs,
          and spend the night in secret places;
          Psalm 107:10a
          Some sat in darkness and in gloom,

          5:3b-4 The demonaic could not be bound with fetters and chains, which he broke and tore apart.
          Psalm 107:10b (see Mark 5:3a above)
          prisoners in misery and in irons,

          5:6-8 He asked Jesus not to torment him.
          He asked if Odysseus came to harm him.

          5:7b He called Jesus “son of the Most High God.”
          Genesis 14:18b
          he was priest of God Most High.

          5:9a Jesus asked the demonaic his name.
          The giant asked Odysseus his name.

          5:9b The demonaic answered, “Legion.”
          Odysseus answered, “Nobody.”

          5:10-13a Jesus subdued the demons with divine power.
          Odysseus subdued the giant with violence and trickery.

          5:11 On the mountains “about two thousand swine” grazed.
          On the mountains “innumerable goats” grazed.
          [mentioned earlier in the Cyclops tale]
          Isaiah 65:4b (see Mark 5:3a above)
          who eat swine’s flesh,
          with broth of abominable things in their vessels;

          5:13b Jesus sent the demons into the swine.
          Circe had turned Odysseus’ soldiers into swine.
          [Odyssey 10.198-250]

          5:13c Jesus sent the swine into the sea.
          The soldiers escaped to the sea by clinging to the bottom of Polyphemus’ sheep.

          5:13d The swine were drowned. T
          he soldiers were drowned for eating Helios’ cattle.
          [Odyssey 12.374-453]

          5:14a The swineherds called on their neighbors,
          Legion, the shepherd, called out to his neighbors.

          5:14b The Gerasenes came to the site to find out about their swine.
          The Cyclopes came to the site asking about Polyphemus’ sheep and goats.

          5:15 The demonaic, once naked, was now clothed.
          Polyphemus usually depicted nude. [in Greek art]

          5:18a Jesus and his disciples reembarked.
          Odysseus and crew reembarked.

          5:18b The demonaic asked Jesus, now aboard ship, if he could be with him.
          The giant asked Odysseus, who was now aboard ship, to come back.

          5:19a Jesus refused the request.
          Odysseus refused the request.

          5:19b Jesus told the healed demoniac to proclaim that he had healed him.
          Odysseus told the giant to proclaim that he had blinded him.
          [earlier in this conversation]

          5:21 Jesus and disciples sailed away.
          Odysseus and crew sailed away.

          The parallels above are Dennis R. MacDonald, Yale University, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, 2000.

          Why are there two mass feedings? Telemauchus, Odysseus’ son, attends two feasts. They are pretty much based on 2 Kings 4:42-44,

          The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, Mark 12:1-12 parallels the scene where Odysseus returns to his home and kills all of the suitors, who had planned to kill Telemauchus. The first 9 verses are allusions to Isaiah 5:1-2, 5-7 and 2 Chronicles 36:15-16. Mark 12:10-11 quotes Psalm 118:22-23 LXX.

          There are sea crossing parallels, too. The Passion narrative parallels the Iliad.

          MacDonald lays out the parallels in detailed tables.

          Mark 12:18-27 has the discussion about the woman with seven husbands. Mark 12:18 says that the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, which apparently comes from Jewish Wars 2.8.14, “[The Sadducees] also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades.” Mark 12:19 has the Sadducees citing Deuteronomy 25:5, 7 with a possible allusion to Genesis 38:8. The rest is based on Tobit 3:7-8 from the Apochrypha.

          Mark is not relating events that actually happened. He is creating a completely fictional narrative.

        • Don Camp

          [Mark] was writing for people who knew Greek and Latin.

          I agree. But that is as far as I’ll go. You and MacDonald are mistakenly mixing the Iliad and the Odyssey with Mark – and of course with the other Gospels that recount the same events.

          To my knowledge having read only a small part of MacDonald’s book The Gospels and Homer, MacDonald does not make an attempt to place Mark in history. Who is he? Is he a Greek or a Jew? Is he the Mark associated with Barnabas in Acts and mentioned by Paul? Is he the Mark to whom Papias attributes the Gospel? Did he write, as is usually assumed, some time around the Jewish Roman war or later some time in the early 2nd century?

          Those questions need to have some answer and rationale and support in history if MacDonald wishes to show Mark’s dependence on Homer. Why? Because the three criteria for this or other “crime” committed are means, motive, and opportunity. (I know MacDonald does not see Mark’s plagiarism as a crime, but it is easiest to regard it as such in critiquing this assertion.)

          Here are the problems:

          1) If Mark is a Jew, which Papias implies when he connects him with Peter and Paul connects him with Barnabas, his use of Homer’s works seems problematic and unnecessary; there is a lot of already existing information about Jesus. No motive

          2) Attributing Mark’s narrative to Homer contradicts the one clear and early description of Mark’s Gospel in Papias. Papias (earlier than 117 A.D.) clearly says Mark got his narrative from Peter. Contradicts the most important historical data.

          3) If Mark wrote using Q as his source (MacDonald likes the term Q+) the core of his Gospel would have been found in a Jewish source rather than a Homeric source AND everyone who knew the pre-Markan Q Gospel would have recognized the un-Q portions and would have not received Mark’s Gospel as legit.

          4) Mark’s simplicity in language and grammar imply a minimally educated author. The depth of Mark’s knowledge of Homer according to MacDonald seems uncharacteristic of the author of Mark, for even if Mark had gotten his knowledge of Homer from oral retelling it is unlikely that he would have the kind of knowledge MacDonald implies and his thesis requires. No means

          The most serious flaw in MacDonald’s theory is that the connections he makes between Mark’s Gospel and Homer are trivial and insignificant.

          Here’s one example:

          5:9a Jesus asked the demonaic his name.

          The giant asked Odysseus his name.

          5:9b The demonaic answered, “Legion.”

          Odysseus answered, “Nobody.”

          5:10-13a Jesus subdued the demons with divine power.

          Odysseus subdued the giant with violence and trickery.

          What is the only common element? Both Jesus and the giant ask about the name. Every other detail MacDonald lists is not a parallel at all.

          Nick Peters in a review on Amazon says the same:

          It’s a wonder to me that people like Carrier and others place so much stock in this. Where there are parallels, they are not really remarkable but are commonplace and don’t require borrowing from Homer. Where there aren’t, MacDonald will strain and strain at anything to get this to work. Overall, it’s entirely unconvincing because of this.

          The small piece I quoted from your post illustrates all the weaknesses of MacDonald’ thesis.

          I wonder at the lengths people go to avoid God.

          It is with great sadness that I read that MacDonald writes as John Wesley Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the Claremont School of Theology. Wesley must be turning over in his grave. How is it that a school of theology would hire a man who is a unbeliever and uses his position to undermine the Bible that Wesley revered?

          It is no wonder that the United Methodist Church – not well known as fundamental – considers Claremont to be denying their heritage. https://www.dailynews.com/2010/04/18/methodists-not-happy-with-claremont-school-of-theology/ Maybe MacDonald would fit better at Berkley.

        • Greg G.

          To my knowledge having read only a small part of MacDonald’s book The Gospels and Homer, MacDonald does not make an attempt to place Mark in history.

          MacDonald noticed similarities between the Homeric epics and the Gospel of Mark. He only needs to show that Mark had access to Homer, and the more literate in Greek someone was back then, the more likely they knew Homer’s writings.

          Because the three criteria for this or other “crime” committed are means, motive, and opportunity.

          He states his criteria as Accessibility, Analogy, Density, Order, Distinctiveness, and Interpretability. Those criteria include means and opportunity but motive is irrelevant.

          Here are the problems:

          The author of Mark was not writing history, he was writing fiction. We don’t know that the Matthew and Mark that Papias referred to are the writings we know by those names, and we have reason to reject the notion. Matthew and Mark were both written in Greek but Papias says they had trouble reading Matthew because it was in Hebrew, or maybe Aramaic, as only someone who was fairly fluent in one of those languages could make the distinction.

          3) If Mark wrote using Q as his source (MacDonald likes the term Q+) the core of his Gospel would have been found in a Jewish source rather than a Homeric source AND everyone who knew the pre-Markan Q Gospel would have recognized the un-Q portions and would have not received Mark’s Gospel as legit.

          Show me the pre-Markan Q so we can evaluate it. Show me that it had more to do with Jesus than Homer does. It is unlikely that all of Mark’s sources would survive but the author appears to have relied on classic material. He relied heavily on Homer for plot elements, Josephus’ Jewish Wars for places, some characters, the politics and the religion of Judea. Jesus was based on some of Paul’s epistles, primarily Galatians, Romans, and 1 Corinthians but those only have theoretical references based on the OT. The author of Mark used the Septuagint, too, and seems to blend parts of that into the Homer material. I suspect some miracles, like the spit miracle, were modeled on Vespasian propaganda. About 75% of Mark can be accounted for with these sources. Take that out, and it’s about somebody traveling around Palestine for no particular reason and not doing much.

          The most serious flaw in MacDonald’s theory is that the connections he makes between Mark’s Gospel and Homer are trivial and insignificant.

          I can’t find the exact quote I am looking for where MacDonald says that he is including a lot of weak parallels for completeness. I did find this:

          Some parallels between Homer and Mark inevitably will be weaker than others, but the same is true, for example, of parallels between Mark and Luke. Even though few scholars today doubt that Luke rewrote Mark, many parallels between the two works are so weak that interpreters have doubted any genetic, literary relationship between them at all. Even a large number of such weak associations, however, cannot jeopardize the general thesis that Luke rewrote Mark. Rather, the opposite is true: the clearer examples lend plausibility to the fainter.
            –Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, page 9

          The small piece I quoted from your post illustrates all the weaknesses of MacDonald’ thesis.

          The fact that you had to strain out the rest to make your point shows how hard you are trying to avoid facing the relationship. It is what you left out that provides the probability that the weaker similarities were intentionally included.

          Wesley must be turning over in his grave.

          Or it may be the case that if Wesley is doing anything in his grave, he is regretting wasting so much life on religion.

        • Don Camp

          MacDonald noticed similarities between the Homeric epics and the Gospel of Mark. He only needs to show that Mark had access to Homer, and the more literate in Greek someone was back then, the more likely they knew Homer’s writings.

          But MacDonld doesn’t show that Mark had access to Homer.He assumes it without evidence. He doesn’t show that Mark is actually literate to the level that we might expect to know Homer. My assumption that Mark did not know Homer or at least not on the deeper level that MacDonald assumes is just as valid as his.

          I am going to assume that you have read a little of the Iliad and the Odyssey; most students get a taste in high school, but usually in a textbook that has a few significant pages. In the high school where I taught English and literature, we had some copies of the Iliad, but they were virtually unread. No teacher really thinks that reading the whole poem is essential for a high school student. So it would take much more than a high school level acquaintance for anyone to find much less pick up the tiny pierces of the narrative that MacDonald says we find in Mark’ Gospel. It would take a student of Homer.

          In addition, there is no reason to think that the average literate person had access to a written copy of Homer. We have no written copies from that far back, and the current thinking is that Homer was passed on orally for the most part. That would make it exceedingly unlikely that Mark could pick up the pieces that MacDonald finds in the Gospel.

          I would say that means there was no opportunity.

          The author of Mark was not writing history, he was writing fiction.

          That may be what you think. I think differently. To use MacDonald as your support for a fictional Mark amounts to circular reasoning.Why don’t you support your belief on other bases?

          I can’t find the exact quote I am looking for where MacDonald says that he is including a lot of weak parallels for completeness.

          I found a disclaimer on the first random page I read. At least it is honest of him to note the tenuousnesss of his analysis.

          Show me the pre-Markan Q so we can evaluate it.

          I think if you read MacDonald on that subject you will find that he believes Mark is essentially Q. To Mark’s Q, MacDonald believes that Matthew and Luke add pieces of Q that are not in Mark. That is why he prefers Q+. I happen to agree with MacDonald here. I think that Mark is essentially the orally transmitted Q written down.

          It is unlikely that all of Mark’s sources would survive but the author appears to have relied on classic material. He relied heavily on Homer for plot elements, Josephus’ Jewish Wars for places, some characters, the politics and the religion of Judea.

          I know you’ve mentioned Josephus before. But the more involved the imagined sources for Mark become, the more unlikely that they are actual sources. How likely is it that the average person at the end of the first century would even know Josephus? Remember, both Josephus and Homer would have been hand copied documents of rather large size. You could not go to the neighborhood library and check them out. So how can Mark reasonably be expected to know both Homer and Josephus to the level that finding tiny pieces for the Gospel he is writing would be likely? I would say vanishingly small.

          Take that out, and it’s about somebody traveling around Palestine for no particular reason and not doing much.

          Yes. Exactly. But Jesus did a lot. And he did a lot that changed history. For one, he taught the truths that Paul re-affirmed in his letters. For another, he gathered disciples who became the messengers of the gospel to most of the Roman world before there were written Gospels. (You can find Roman references to the Christians in the first century.) Some of those are documented in Paul’s letters – Cephas, James, John – and others are documented in history by the effect they had on the people to whom they went with the gospel. Several are documented by the documents they wrote – John’s Gospel,. and James and 1 Peter, and Jude, for example.

          Now about Mark. When and where does MacDonald place him in the history and timeline of the 1st or early second century? That will make a big difference as to whether his thesis is believable. If Matthew and Luke are rewrites of Mark, Mark had to have been earlier. But by the quotes of those Gospels in the post-Apostlic fathers’ writings we know that Matthew and Luke had to have been written and out there for people in a wide variety of places to read at least decades before the end of the first century.

          We know that Papias mentions both Matthew and Mark in at the latest 117 A.D. That means Mark and Matthew AND the gospel had to have been written down by that time. (Your question about whether Papias refers to the same Mark and Mathew as the authors of the Gospels is clutching at straws. Of course he did; he would have been corrected by others who wrote following him – Irenaeus, for example. .But there is not a hint of correction anywhere and no other names put forth for the authors.)

          MacDonald is scamming you, Greg. He is building his whole thesis on unsupported assumptions and very skimpy”parallels” form the biblical texts – which he doesn’t actually think are reliable in any way. His thesis is bizarre to say the least. His methodology is strange. Maybe that is why no historian I have been able to find, agrees with him.

        • Greg G.

          Your post is from three days ago and the email notification also showed up in the wee hours this morning.

          But MacDonld doesn’t show that Mark had access to Homer.He assumes it without evidence. He doesn’t show that Mark is actually literate to the level that we might expect to know Homer. My assumption that Mark did not know Homer or at least not on the deeper level that MacDonald assumes is just as valid as his.

          MacDonald shows that it was normal for people to learn to read using Homer’s epics. They learned to write by modeling Homer. Using Homer is something a child writing Greek would do. The way Mark blends in Bible references with the Homer is the sign of a more complex mind. He may have been making his Greek look rough on purpose.

          In addition, there is no reason to think that the average literate person had access to a written copy of Homer. We have no written copies from that far back, and the current thinking is that Homer was passed on orally for the most part. That would make it exceedingly unlikely that Mark could pick up the pieces that MacDonald finds in the Gospel.

          I would say that means there was no opportunity.

          From http://palpatinesway.blogspot.ca/2018/03/examining-easter-peering-behind-veil-of.html

          In “Mythologizing Jesus (2015, pg. 3),” Dr. Dennis MacDonald writes:

          “The importance of the Homeric epics in antiquity is undisputed. A contemporary of Mark and Luke praised them as follows: ‘From the earliest age, children beginning their studies are nursed on Homer’s teaching. One might say that while we were still in swathing bands we sucked from his epics as from fresh milk. He assists the beginner and later the adult in his prime. In no stage of life, from boyhood to old age, do we ever cease to drink from him (Ps.~Heraclitus, Homeric Questions 1.5-6, cited in MacDonald, Mythologizing Jesus, pg. 3).” Since the Gospel writers and Paul wrote in Greek, one would assume they would be they would be familiar with this.

          Continuing on, Dr Dennis R MacDonald argues:

          Greek education largely involved imitation of the epics, what Greeks called mimesis; Romans called it imitatio. Homeric influence thus appears in many genres of ancient composition: poetry, of course, but also histories, biographies and novels. One must not confuse such imitations with plagiarism, willful misrepresentation, or pitiful gullibility. Rather, by evoking literary antecedents, authors sought to impress the reader with the superiority of the imitation in literary style, philosophical insights, or ethical values. Literary mimesis often promoted a sophisticated rivalry between the esteemed models and their innovating successors (MacDonald, Mythologizing Jesus, pg. 3).

          I know you’ve mentioned Josephus before. But the more involved the imagined sources for Mark become, the more unlikely that they are actual sources. How likely is it that the average person at the end of the first century would even know Josephus? Remember, both Josephus and Homer would have been hand copied documents of rather large size. You could not go to the neighborhood library and check them out. So how can Mark reasonably be expected to know both Homer and Josephus to the level that finding tiny pieces for the Gospel he is writing would be likely? I would say vanishingly small.

          We are not talking about average people in ancient times. We are talking about literate people who spoke multiple languages. For example:

          One catalog of manuscripts from Greco-Roman Egypt lists 604 of Homer, not including scholia, anthologies, or commentaries. In a distant second place is Demosthenes with 83, Euripides, with 77,Hesiod with 72, and Plato with 42.

          The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (page 4), Dennis R. MacDonald.
          footnote: Roger A. Pack, The Greek and Latin Literary Texts from Greco-Roman Egypt, 2d edition (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 1965)

          Why would they need 600 copies of Homer if they weren’t lending out copies?

          Yes. Exactly. But Jesus did a lot. And he did a lot that changed history. For one, he taught the truths that Paul re-affirmed in his letters. For another, he gathered disciples who became the messengers of the gospel to most of the Roman world before there were written Gospels. (You can find Roman references to the Christians in the first century.) Some of those are documented in Paul’s letters – Cephas, James, John – and others are documented in history by the effect they had on the people to whom they went with the gospel. Several are documented by the documents they wrote – John’s Gospel,. and James and 1 Peter, and Jude, for example.

          That is just Gospel Jesus who did that stuff. Epistle Jesus didn’t do any of it. But when the things Gospel Jesus did that was already in the ancient literature elsewhere credited to someone else doing it, Gospel Jesus didn’t do that much.

          There are Roman references to second century Christians but that does not show that they had accurate beliefs about their religion. There were many different types of Christians, including Gnostics. With many types of Christians, there is no more than one correct one but most are definitely wrong. A century later, there is no way to determine if any are right. The one that won out was just one emperor’s mother’s religion.

          We know that Papias mentions both Matthew and Mark in at the latest 117 A.D. That means Mark and Matthew AND the gospel had to have been written down by that time. (Your question about whether Papias refers to the same Mark and Mathew as the authors of the Gospels is clutching at straws. Of course he did; he would have been corrected by others who wrote following him – Irenaeus, for example. .But there is not a hint of correction anywhere and no other names put forth for the authors.)

          Papias said Matthew was written in Hebrew. gMatthew was written in Greek. It was not the same gospel. It is straw clutching to maintain the claim that they are the same. We know of many gospels besides the four canonized gospels. It is likely that we do not know all that existed then.

          If they had anonymous gospels, they would need names for them. If Papias’ note supplied some names, why not use them?

          MacDonald is scamming you, Greg. He is building his whole thesis on unsupported assumptions and very skimpy”parallels” form the biblical texts – which he doesn’t actually think are reliable in any way. His thesis is bizarre to say the least. His methodology is strange. Maybe that is why no historian I have been able to find, agrees with him.

          I have answered your objections with quotes directly from one of MacDonald’s books and with quotes from others, so it is not just me making the claims. You haven’t read his material yet you are saying he doesn’t support his claims.

          From The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (page 4), Dennis R. MacDonald.

          Because of Homer’s unrivaled hegemony in ancient education, such imitations were common. Youngsters learned their ΑΒΓs by identifying them in epic poetry, and only after demonstrating facility with the Iliad and the Odyssey were they promoted to other books. Although it would be hyperbolic to call the epics a Bible for the Greeks, they did function as encyclopedias of religion, history, and culture. Even Plato, no friend of Homer, had to admit that “this poet educated Greece.”

          Footnotes for this passage:
          Stanley S. Bonner, describing ancient elementary education, wrote: “The first step is certain. Whether their master taught both languages or only Greek, the poet whom boys began to study first and foremost was Homer. . . Petronius, Quintilian and Pliny are all unequvocal about Homer’s priority” (Education in Ancient Rome, From the Elder Cato to the Younger Pliny [Berkely: University of California Press, 1977], 212-13). See also H.-I. Marrou, A History of Education in Antiquity. trans. George Lamb (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1956). I discuss the poet’s role in Greek education in Christianzing Homer, 17-22.
          Plato, Republic 10.606e

        • Don Camp

          The way Mark blends in Bible references with the Homer is the sign of a

          more complex mind. He may have been making his Greek look rough on

          purpose.MacDonald shows that it was normal for people to learn to read using Homer’s epics.

          That would depend on where he learned it, wouldn’t it? Does MacDomald have any reasonable suggestions where that might have been or when or who Mark was?

          I am going on the evidence we have in the Bible itself and the reference to Mark in Papias. That would place Mark in Judea in the early part of the 1st century. Knowing Greek would not be uncommon. He ha a Greek name. But being schooled in Greek would be. Mark’s command of Greek suggests that he had a basic working knowledge but far more limited than Matthew or Luke.

          The way Mark blends in Bible references with the Homer is the sign of a
          more complex mind. He may have been making his Greek look rough on purpose.

          Your quotes from MacDonald don’t convince me that Mark blended anything from Homer in his Gospel. And why on earth would Mark want to look uneducated? What would be gained by that?

          Papias said Matthew was written in Hebrew. gMatthew was written in Greek. It was not the same gospel.

          It was not the same text. But the Greek text clearly reveals an author with a command of several languages and a deep knowledge of the Old Testament. It is obvious by the internal evidence that the Gospel of Matthew was intended for Jews. I know of no scholar who disagrees. There is no reason that Matthew could not have rewritten his Hebrew Gospel in Greek. A bilingual educated person would be fully capable of doing so.

          The first century and early second century post-apostolic fathers quote from the Greek Gospel more often than any other book. The Greek Gospel of Matthew was always the primary Gospel used in the church. The Didache,a guide to church liturgy , is witness to that. The quotes in the book are virtually all from the Gospel of Matthew. The bottom line is that the Gospel was also universally attributed to the Apostle Matthew.

          You haven’t read his material yet you are saying he doesn’t support his claims.

          I have read some of MacDonald’s works. They are available on Amazon, and anyone can search through the text that is provided in the preview. I have not found any claim that he supports adequately, though I have not read them all. And, yes, I know that these opinions are MacDonald’s and not yours.

          To give you an example, MacDonald asserts that Aeneas in Acts 9 is lifted from Homer and that the association of Aeneas and healing proves that the author borrowed the little vignette. He offers several parallels, but the only one that is interesting at all is that Aeneas was an uncommon Greek/Latin name and out of place among Jews but past of Homer’s work.

          That argument is really vacuous. Many Jewish people at this time had Greek names as well as Hebrew names. Notice the passage just below the Aeneas passage. Tabitha has a Greek name as well, Dorcas. Aeneas is unusual, but not impossible, and MacDonald’s building his entire argument on the name is crazy. (To be honest he is quoting another author, but the argument is his.)

          But the puzzle is why would the author of Acts want or need to build his narrative of Peter’s healing of Aeneas on a fiction? There were plenty of healings to choose from. And there are even more names, if the author is just picking names out of the air. I think MacDonald is desperate to make his point.

          I am sorry to say that about a man who is a scholar with a lot of books under his belt, but except for the scholarly care he takes in writing, the thesis he is trying to support is more like that of a doctoral thesis that got dumped by the committee.

        • Greg G.

          I am going on the evidence we have in the Bible itself and the reference to Mark in Papias. That would place Mark in Judea in the early part of the 1st century. Knowing Greek would not be uncommon. He ha a Greek name. But being schooled in Greek would be. Mark’s command of Greek suggests that he had a basic working knowledge but far more limited than Matthew or Luke.

          Knowing Greek and being able to write Greek in the form of chiasm using mimesis are two different things. Mark had more than a basic working knowledge in Greek. His errors in the geography of the region and misunderstandings of the Hebrew religion indicates that he had less than a working knowledge of those subjects but it does not rule out that he was trying to imitate the way he thought a Hebrew speaker would write Greek.

          There is no reason that Matthew could not have rewritten his Hebrew Gospel in Greek. A bilingual educated person would be fully capable of doing so.

          The evidence is that gMatthew was written in Greek using the Septuagint for OT references. It used Mark as a source and copied verbatim from it. I do not dispute that Matthew was written for Jews but it was written in Greek, not Hebrew. The Papias reference makes no connection to what we call “Matthew”. Papias doesn’t get the language right.

          The first century and early second century post-apostolic fathers quote from the Greek Gospel more often than any other book. The Greek Gospel of Matthew was always the primary Gospel used in the church.

          Not in the first century.

          That argument is really vacuous. Many Jewish people at this time had Greek names as well as Hebrew names. Notice the passage just below the Aeneas passage. Tabitha has a Greek name as well, Dorcas.

          Jewish Wars 4.3.5 excerpt
          …Nay, they thought the very people would perhaps be so moved at these unjust proceedings, as to rise in a body against them; it was therefore resolved to have them slain accordingly, they sent one John, who was the most bloody-minded of them all, to do that execution: this man was also called “the son of Dorcas,” in the language of our country. …

          But the puzzle is why would the author of Acts want or need to build his narrative of Peter’s healing of Aeneas on a fiction? There were plenty of healings to choose from. And there are even more names, if the author is just picking names out of the air. I think MacDonald is desperate to make his point.

          In case you missed this a couple of posts ago:

          Some parallels between Homer and Mark inevitably will be weaker than others, but the same is true, for example, of parallels between Mark and Luke. Even though few scholars today doubt that Luke rewrote Mark, many parallels between the two works are so weak that interpreters have doubted any genetic, literary relationship between them at all. Even a large number of such weak associations, however, cannot jeopardize the general thesis that Luke rewrote Mark. Rather, the opposite is true: the clearer examples lend plausibility to the fainter.
          –Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, page 9

          I haven’t come across where MacDonald explained that he includes weak associations just to be thorough. Let me know if you do.

          I think Luke was more into plucking names and events out of Josephus’ writings than Homer’s.

          Antiquities of the Jews 16.9.4 §293-299 excerpt
          … Now it came to pass that Obodas was dead; and Aeneas, whose name was afterward changed to Aretas, took the government, for Sylleus endeavored by calumnies to get him turned out of his principality, that he might himself take it; with which design he gave much money to the courtiers, and promised much money to Caesar, who indeed was angry that Aretas had not sent to him first before he took the kingdom; yet did Aeneas send an epistle and presents to Caesar, and a golden crown, of the weight of many talents. …

        • Don Camp

          th
          it does not rule out that he was trying to imitate the way he thought a Hebrew speaker would write Greek.

          When skepticism goes this far without some evidence for the assertion there is no limit. That eliminates any rational ground for rational conversation.

        • Greg G.

          without some evidence for the assertion

          I have pointed out evidence that the author of gMark uses chiasmus and mimesis both commonly used in Greek literature, rather than writing in prose.This shows that aMark has had training in Greek composition.

          I have pointes out that aMark blends Hebrew literature with Greek literature. That appears to be an advanced technique.

          I am not asserting that aMark is doing it intentionally, only that is cannot be ruled out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don is like that new puppy that shites all over the place, until his nose is rubbed in it enough times and he’s fired outside, that he eventually learns his shite stinks and stains the carpet.

        • Don Camp

          Both chiasmus and mimesis are common in biblical literature. I think MacDonald acknowledges this. They do make Mark more than a work of a second grader. But they do not make Mark a scholar of Homer.

        • Greg G.

          Both chiasmus and mimesis are common in biblical literature.

          But they do not make Mark a scholar of Homer.

          No, it shows that the authors were educated in Greek writing techniques.

          It is the fact that there are so many parallels between Homer and gMark that you can only say it is overkill that shows that Mark used Homer’s epics.

        • Don Camp

          Another case in point coming from The Gospels and Homer page 50. MacDonald parallels Hector who refuses the wine urged on him by his mother and Jesus who refused the wine and myrrh offer him by the solders at the crucifixion.

          Really? All I see that is the same is the wine. Everything else is different. Honestly, no one but MacDonald is going to see any parallel here. MacDonald has a great command of the Homeric epics. I’ll give him that. But his resoning in putting those together with Acts or the Gospels fails in every case I’ve looked at.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But his resoning in putting those together with Acts or the Gospels fails in every case I’ve looked at.

          We know all about your bias. And that’s why I laugh every time you mention that you are a scholar of literature.

          http://vridar.info/xorigins/homermark/mkhmrfiles/index.htm

        • Ignorant Amos

          The point of MacDonald’s book was to see how many parallels there were between the Homeric Epics and the gospel. Critics of the book inevtiably zoom in on the weaker parallels and invariably ignore the stronger ones. The same situation exists with the gospel and the Old Testament: there are weak parallels (Hosea 6:2 and the resurrection, for example) but there are also parallels that are undeniably strong (like the slaughter of the innocents in both Moses’ and Jesus’ life) and the former don’t negate the latter. In fact, MacDonald makes the same point I’d say one of MacDonald’s strongest examples is James and John as the Dioscuri, but you’ll never hear a critic of MacDonald offer a reasonable alternative explanation for the supporting facts that that’s built on.

          https://www.skepticink.com/humesapprentice/2018/01/04/homer-gospels-gullotta-mythicism/

        • Don Camp

          As I have indicated, I have only scanned one book and read only a few randomly chosen examples of parallel passages. My impression is that MacDonald’s strategy is to flood the reader with examples which on their own would not be impressive at all hoping that the number will be impressive.

          All of the similarities in the several examples I read were trivial. Most of them required a broad reading of the Iliad. I mean by that the details MacDonald chose in Homer were not in close proximity to one another. The average reader – Mark and Luke and myself – would not have even picked up on the details to put them together in the Gospels and Acts. I emphasize “reader” because simply hearing the poem, which was by far the most common way it was passed on, would not be enough acquaintance with the poem. .

          But MacDonald does not make a case that either Mark or Luke were readers of Homer, Luke more possible than Mark. You have followed my argument, I assume, so I will not repeat it. Suffice to say the opportunity and possibility for Mark to make use of Homer in the way MacDonald believes would be zero to none.

          MacDonald falls into the trap of overkill. The shear number of similarities argue against the probability that Mark intentionally searched Homer and created a narrative about Jesus that included surreptitious parallels.That would have required a huge amount of careful reading and composition. Then he would also have had to have had a framework of the gospel story to hang his similarities on. It would have been far easier for Mark to have simply made it ALL up. And much easier than that for him to simply have recounted the narrative he heard from Peter.

          So even if I did not have already a much more plausible way for Mark to have picked up the Gospel narrative, I would be truly skeptical of MacDonald’s thesis. My friend, it just did not happen the way MacDonald would have you believe.

          Merry Christmas.

        • Greg G.

          My impression is that MacDonald’s strategy is to flood the reader with examples which on their own would not be impressive at all hoping that the number will be impressive.

          It seems that you are complaining that MacDonald has too many examples and not all of them are blatant.

          Here is a brief one. Mark 14:3-9 is The Woman with the Ointment who recognized Jesus. It was Odysseus’ old wet nurse who recognized him from a scar on his leg while she was washing his feet. Her name was Eurycleia (broad fame). Odysseus’ mother’s name was Anticleia (anti-fame).

          The theme of the Odyssey is the difference between honor and glory. When Odysseus acted anonymously and saved his men by blinding Polyphemus under the pseudonym “Nobody” it was noble honor. When he told Polyphemus his real name and told him to spread the news, it cost him dearly, as Polyphemus’ father, Poseidon, put lots of obstacles in his path for his journey home.

          Here is an article on Eurycleia and Anticleia from a society at Harvard:
          https://kosmossociety.chs.harvard.edu/?p=5410

          Mark 14:9 (NRSV)9 Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

          It is like Mark is saying, “Look! Look! See what I did there? I am describing this anonymous woman in terms of the name of Odysseus’ wet nurse!”

          MacDonald falls into the trap of overkill. The shear number of similarities argue against the probability that Mark intentionally searched Homer and created a narrative about Jesus that included surreptitious parallels.

          But the elements follow the same order, which indicates they are not random similarities.

          It would have been far easier for Mark to have simply made it ALL up.

          The Greeks used mimesis. The Romans called it imitatio. The Hebrews called it midrash.

          And much easier than that for him to simply have recounted the narrative he heard from Peter.

          The massive number of similarities you keep complaining about shows that he didn’t recount a narrative from Peter, as if he didn’t know Peter.

          So even if I did not have already a much more plausible way for Mark to have picked up the Gospel narrative, I would be truly skeptical of MacDonald’s thesis. My friend, it just did not happen the way MacDonald would have you believe.

          You haven’t even read his whole argument. You only complain about there being too much evidence. It sounds like you are in denial about that and in denial about being in denial about it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You haven’t even read his whole argument. You only complain about there being too much evidence. It sounds like you are in denial about that and in denial about being in denial about it.

          But, but, but, Don is a teacher of literature ya know?

          Makes me wonder if he even knows that plagiarism is actually a thing.

        • Don Camp

          Actually I am “complaining” that none of his many “examples” don’t pass the test of being parallels to Homeric literature. A lot of poor examples do make a good argument.

          Your example from Mark 14:3-9 is an example of one that doesn’t meet pass the test. The only similarity that you have noted is the fact that both the unnamed women in Mark and Eurycleia are women wash the feet of Jesus and Odysseus. And based on that we are supposed to see the woman with the ointment a nemesis? You are kidding?

          MacDonald does say more than you have in your summary, but I read trough that part of the book (pages 306-306 available in the preview) that has his chart of comparisons and find nothing any more impressive. For example he makes much of the similar words ἔργον. But that word is one of the most common word in Greek for “work” or “do.” Finding it used in both Homer and Mark is no surprise and has no significance in any nemesis.

          But the elements follow the same order, which indicates they are not random similarities.

          What order? That both women wash feet after having come to Jesus or Odysseus? That they are then praised? Or are they? MacDonald builds that idea on the “pun” of Eurycleia, the nurse’s name. Is she really praised? Or is it just the pun in the nbame?

          Now, I agree that a Greek speaker would recognize the origins of Eurycleia. But connecting that with Jesus’ praise of the woman with the ointment is sketchy.

          The whole thing is sketchy. I find myself pleading for MacDonald to make a better case. Otherwise it seems like he is making much of nothing and wasting his life on the pursuit.

          No I haven’t read the whole argument. But I have read enough to think that the endeavor would be a waste of time.

          Anyone with a computer can do a word search in Homer for words that might be similar to words in Mark. The Iliad and Odyssey are massive. There are many opportunities to find similar words and even situations that might have some tenuous similarity. But coincidence does not prove borrowing.

          As I’ve written before, the opportunity for Mark to borrow from Homer is very small. The motive is nonexistent. The means would seem beyond the author of Mark given what we see in his writing.

          The overkill becomes more evident when MacDonald finds what he thinks are similarities in Acts and Luke. He begins to sound like Dan Brown, though not nearly as entertaining. He finds conspiracies everywhere.

        • Greg G.

          Your example from Mark 14:3-9 is an example of one that doesn’t meet pass the test. The only similarity that you have noted is the fact that both the unnamed women in Mark and Eurycleia are women wash the feet of Jesus and Odysseus. And based on that we are supposed to see the woman with the ointment a nemesis? You are kidding?

          You haven’t even delved into the passage. In Mark, the woman anoints his head. The woman is not a nemesis in either Mark or Homer. The woman is an ally in both. It is not uncommon in mimesis for a description to be turned into a name or a name becomes the description.

          For example he makes much of the similar words ἔργον. But that word is one of the most common word in Greek for “work” or “do.” Finding it used in both Homer and Mark is no surprise and has no significance in any nemesis.

          My stats show that “εργον” is the 379th most common word in the New Testament. It is used 36 times. In the Synoptics, it is used in Matthew 26:10, Mark 13:34, and Mark 14:6 and not used in Luke. Matthew 26:10 is the parallel of Mark 14:6. So two of the three times that word is used in all of the Synoptics are verses MacDonald identifies as a parallel to the Odyssey. Maybe you should curb your incredulity.

          No I haven’t read the whole argument. But I have read enough to think that the endeavor would be a waste of time.

          You obviously have not read enough then. You haven’t been able to get through your cognitive dissonance.

          But coincidence does not prove borrowing.

          That is not his only criterion. I gave you his criteria. His criteria coincides with that of other scholars who identify parallels.

          As I’ve written before, the opportunity for Mark to borrow from Homer is very small. The motive is nonexistent. The means would seem beyond the author of Mark given what we see in his writing.

          The Acts of Andrew, the Aeneid by Virgil, The Republic by Plato, On Delays in Divine Punishment by Plutarch, The Golden Ass by Apuleius, and lyrical poems by Sappho are all works based on Homer. Let’s add O Brother! Where Art Thou? to the list.

          One catalog of manuscripts from Greco-Roman Egypt lists 604 of Homer, not including scholia, anthologies, or commentaries. In a distant second place is Demosthenes with 83, Euripides, with 77,Hesiod with 72, and Plato with 42.

          The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (page 4), Dennis R. MacDonald.
          footnote: Roger A. Pack, The Greek and Latin Literary Texts from Greco-Roman Egypt, 2d edition (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 1965)

          Why would a library have 600 writings on Homer, over twice the number for the next four most popular authors?

          It would be unlikely that any literate person in Greek would not know Homer’s epics.

          The overkill becomes more evident when MacDonald finds what he thinks are similarities in Acts and Luke. He begins to sound like Dan Brown, though not nearly as entertaining. He finds conspiracies everywhere.

          Do you have to be reminded everyday that MacDonald admits that it is unlikely that every single one he lists is mimesis? He included all possible hits to be thorough. Please let that get through your cognitive dissonance.

          Edited to fix HTML.

        • Don Camp

          ἔργα — 60 Occ.
          ἔργῳ — 10 Occ.
          ἔργων — 43 Occ.
          ἔργοις — 13 Occ.
          ἔργον — 40 Occ.
          ἔργου — 8 Occ.

          Those are the number times ἔργον in one form or another is used in the NT. If we were to add the times when it is combined with a preposition as with κατεργάζομαι. There are 22 places that word is used.

          κατειργάσατο — 3 Occ.
          κατειργάσθαι — 1 Occ.
          κατειργάσθη — 1 Occ.
          κατεργασάμενοι — 1 Occ.
          κατεργασάμενον — 1 Occ.
          κατεργασάμενος — 1 Occ.
          κατεργάζεσθαι — 1 Occ.
          κατεργάζεσθε — 1 Occ.
          κατεργάζεται — 6 Occ.
          κατεργάζομαι — 3 Occ.
          κατεργαζομένη — 1 Occ.
          κατεργαζόμενοι — 1 Occ.
          κατεργαζομένου — 1 Occ.

          συνεργέω five times, and so on.
          Nope. I’ll stick with my statement. I’ll be that MacDonald would find that the word is used just as often in Homeric literature.

          Let’s add O Brother! Where Art Thou? to the list.

          I doubt if Mark borrowed from the latter. But maybe,

          Do you have to be reminded everyday that MacDonald admits that it is unlikely that every single one he lists is mimesis?

          Which means he is not sure of any one of them. Of course, how could he be? It also means he is guessing. But that is what I’ve been saying all along: MacDonald hopes that by the shear number of guesses he can make a case. It doesn’t work that way.

        • Greg G.

          Nope. I’ll stick with my statement. I’ll be that MacDonald would find that the word is used just as often in Homeric literature.

          I did a New Testament search for words that begin with “ἔργ”. In Mark, there are only the two verses I showed, so you haven’t laid a glove on MacDonald on this point. However, since you insist on allowing any form of a word, then you must allow that for any other word parallels, synonyms, and word play with names as evidence for Mark using Homer.

          I doubt if Mark borrowed from the latter. But maybe,

          It is based on Homer.

          Which means he is not sure of any one of them.

          This is at least the third time I have posted the following quote to you. Please read it for comprehension.

          Some parallels between Homer and Mark inevitably will be weaker than others, but the same is true, for example, of parallels between Mark and Luke. Even though few scholars today doubt that Luke rewrote Mark, many parallels between the two works are so weak that interpreters have doubted any genetic, literary relationship between them at all. Even a large number of such weak associations, however, cannot jeopardize the general thesis that Luke rewrote Mark. Rather, the opposite is true: the clearer examples lend plausibility to the fainter.
          –Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, page 9

        • Don Camp

          I think I did comment on the gist of MacDonald’s statement.

          Luke may have been aware of Mark. Mark may have been part of what Luke calls the many who have undertaken to draw up an account. But the many differences and the material that Luke includes that Mark does not suggests to me that it is more likely that Luke is using accounts written or spoken by others.

        • Greg G.

          Luke may have been aware of Mark. Mark may have been part of what Luke calls the many who have undertaken to draw up an account.

          I agree but I think he mean gMatthew and gJohn, too.

          But the many differences and the material that Luke includes that Mark does not suggests to me that it is more likely that Luke is using accounts written or spoken by others.

          Yes, it is in those parts that do not correspond with Mark or Matthew where we find the bits that correspond to Josephus’ later writings, plus a correspondence with Deuteronomy from Luke 10:1 to Luke 18:14.

        • Don Camp

          In Mark, the woman anoints his head.

          Exactly. And that is why I consider MacDonald’s thesis based on flimsy evidence.

        • Greg G.

          In Mark, the woman anoints his head.

          Exactly. And that is why I consider MacDonald’s thesis based on flimsy evidence.

          I am looking at http://vridar.info/xorigins/homermark/mkhmrfiles/mkhmrpt2.htm#top2

          Anointing of Jesus (Mark 14:3-11)
          She anointed Jesus’ head

          Washing of Odysseus (Odyssey 19)
          She washed O’s feet, later anointed him with oil

          That is just one of seven common elements in a pair of subplots in two writings.

          Jesus doesn’t proclaim that anyone else he encounters, in Mark or elsewhere, will be famous or memorialized? The English word “fame” is not common in the New Testament. It is usually translated from the word for “hearing”, sometimes translated as “news”. In the Gospels it only is used for Jesus. The few times it is used in the Epistles, it is never about Jesus. The English word “memory” is seldom used in the New Testament, mostly for Mark 14:9 about the woman with the ointment and in the parallel, Matthew 26:13. The Greek word used, “μνημόσυνον” is also used in Acts 10:4, where it is a memorial.

          I do not have the full Greek text of Homer’s epics but I was able to find one place where “μνημόσυνον” is used.

          We have one of the major topics of the Odyssey that is almost never discussed in the New Testament outside of the Woman with the Ointment pericope, many other parallels between the two women, and one is mentioned with a play on the other character’s name.

          Some parallels between Homer and Mark inevitably will be weaker than others, but the same is true, for example, of parallels between Mark and Luke. Even though few scholars today doubt that Luke rewrote Mark, many parallels between the two works are so weak that interpreters have doubted any genetic, literary relationship between them at all. Even a large number of such weak associations, however, cannot jeopardize the general thesis that Luke rewrote Mark. Rather, the opposite is true: the clearer examples lend plausibility to the fainter.
          –Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, page 9

        • Don Camp

          I question the generally held “truth” that Matthew and Luke rewrote Mark. The only reason for believing that is the shared pericopae. But what I think is a better explanation is that each of the three used a similar source. That source is sometimes called Q. It was the teaching of the Apostles which we have referenced in Acts 2:42. In Greek 42 ἦσαν δὲ προσκαρτεροῦντες τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων. “Teaching ” is a noun not a participle, a verb turned into a noun in usage. It means that there was a body of teaching rather than many retellings.

          The teaching of the Apostles was oral, and oral was the method of passing on the good news about Jesus (gospel) for as many as 30 years. Of course, in time pieces were written down. Luke alludes to that in Luke 1:1 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us.”

          It was this body of oral/written teaching that Mark and Luke used to compose their Gospels. It is not surprising that there are close similarities, even word for word at times. It is also not surprising that there are differences; the various orally transmitted pericopae could not have been absolutely the same. Since they were the teaching of multiple Apostles, it is unlikely that the teaching was the same in detail.

          When we come to Mark, the tradition from Papias was that he received the gospel from Peter. Luke tells us that he got his material from many different sources. Matthew ,if he was one of the Apostles as I believe he was, had his own version of the teaching.

          So there is no good reason to imagine that Mark was the source for the other two.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But you’ve demonstrated yourself to know fuck all about what it is you are talking about. Here. and elsewhere. Even making an arse of yerself engaging with a bona fide biblical scholar.

          Your nonsense flies in the face of the current scholarship being taught in secular universities and relies in antiquated theses that have been roundly decimated. Even Christian scholars will think the stuff you are spewing is untenable gibberish.

          So with that parcel of incredulous shite in your comment above, you’ve demonstrated that you are not here to engage honestly with your interlocutors, so aren’t worth any effort one is likely to put in with ya. Do us all a favor.

        • Don Camp

          Rather like Dennis MacDonald whose wonky theory has been ignored by Bible scholars both from secular universities and those who are Christians in Christian universities and seminaries ?

          In my case, however, I am not really introducing anything particularly unique. It doesn’t take much poking around in the papers written by Christian Bible scholars or in the commentaries to find that the idea that Matthew and Luke are largely independent of Mark a topic of discussion.

          Dr. John Oakes:

          the evidence is that all four gospel authors wrote essentially independent

          accounts of the life and sayings of Jesus. There are an almost innumerable

          number of examples in which Matthew, Mark and Luke describe the same event

          in radically different ways. That is not to say that their accounts

          contradict. Their accounts appear to be truly independent eye-witness or

          second hand reports of the same events.https://evidenceforchristianity.org/did-the-gospel-writers-borrow-material-from-one-anotherr/

          Dennis Bratcher in a well reasoned essay covers the topic of the “synoptic problem:” rather well. http://www.crivoice.org/synoptic.html

          [Dennis R. Bratcher – A retired professor of Old Testament; he has earned the PhD in Biblical
          studies from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, and has served as
          a educator in the church for more than 30 years. He is an ordained
          minister in the Church of the Nazarene, has served on staff at a
          United Methodist church, and has ministered in a variety of church
          traditions.]

          One of the possibilities Dr. Bratcher lists is that the Gospel writers relied on a previous source or sources. That would allow for independence while at the same time acknowledging connection.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Rather like Dennis MacDonald whose wonky theory has been ignored by Bible scholars both from secular universities and those who are Christians in Christian universities and seminaries ?

          Well at least you admit it.

          Who gives a fuck about the Christians in Christian universities, they will be bias, that’s obvious. Though you do know who MacDonald is, right? John Wesley Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the Claremont School of Theology.

          Now to the former. No one took Thompson thesis seriously, until they did. Now it is mainstream scholarship. Perhap mimesis criticism will be the same, perhaps not, it isn’t ignored by secular scholars. His book is recommended reading by Robert M Price among others.

          As a critical method, mimesis criticism has been pioneered by Dennis MacDonald, especially in relation to New Testament and other early Christian narratives imitating the “canonical” works of Classical Greek literature.

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

          https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/homerandmark.html

          Even critics of MacDonald don’t agree with your summation. There is evidence of Homer in the NT, and Greek writers used the Homer as a learning tool.

          https://www.jstor.org/stable/30041066?read-now=1&seq=18#page_scan_tab_contents

          In my case, however, I am not really introducing anything particularly unique.

          Nor was MacDonald. It is to the extent he implies influence is what is being challenged. You’d know that if ya knew anything about what it is you were talking about.

          It doesn’t take much poking around in the papers written by Christian Bible scholars or in the commentaries to find that the idea that Matthew and Luke are largely independent of Mark a topic of discussion.

          Oh, I’ve no doubt there are a number of models concocted.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q%2B/Papias_hypothesis

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-source_hypothesis

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-document_hypothesis

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

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

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-gospel_hypothesis

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Gospels#The_synoptic_problem

          Strangely enough, you’ve an allie in McDonald and the Papias nonsense.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q%2B/Papias_hypothesis#The_significance_of_Papias

          So finding shite isn’t the problem, it’s what is the most rational. You’ve demonstrated more than once, that the nonsense mast that you tie your flag onto, is the least rational. Sp pah!

        • Greg G.

          Dr. John Oakes

          His doctorate is not in Bible studies. When he puts on his apologist hat, it looks like he needs to take off a shoe to count to a dozen: “almost innumerable number of examples.”

          Instead of quoting people with “Dr.” in front of their names, show me their evidence, not hyperbole and speculation.

        • Don Camp

          Some of the most logical thinking people I know are science people.

        • Greg G.

          Then show their logical thinking and their evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t know what compartmentalization is, do ya? Even though you are riddled with it when it comes to literature vis a vis the holey buybull and other works of fiction…including other holey texts.

          Compartmentalization is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.

          Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self-states.

        • Don Camp

          I suppose we all can engage in compartmentalization. I have tried to avoid it as much as I can by intentionally considering the arguments that would debunk faith. It has been something of a life quest beginning in college when my faith was challenged by a professor.

          In the process I have changed my stance on evolution, the young earth interpretation of Genesis, and some of the doctrines I learned earlier such as inerrancy and verbal plenary inspiration. The up side was that some fundamental doctrines were confirmed by logic and history and became the foundational truths others have been built. I am thankful to my professor, though it was not his purpose, for the challenge that resulted in a much more firm faith.

          So yes, I probably compartmentalize. But I have a strategy for reducing that error. I wonder if you have anything similar to avoid compartmentalization?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I wonder if you have anything similar to avoid compartmentalization?

          Yep. It’s called skepticism and rational, critical thinking.

          You use it when addressing other fantastical tales, you just switch off when considering the nonsense you’ve bought into. It has been on display here for weeks now.

          You don’t accept the fantastical supernatural woo-woo of other religions. When you can figure out the reason why, then you’ll understand why I’ve ditched the Christer woo-woo I was indoctrinated into as a child.

        • Don Camp

          You don’t accept the fantastical supernatural woo-woo of other religions.

          No, I don’t. Primarily because the logical and historical base of Judaism and Christianity is strong and others are weak. Other religions are seldom founded on history. If you have ever read the Quran or looked into Hinduism or Buddhism, you have probably noticed that they are mostly prescriptions for religious ritual or moral living. Buddhism is really not a religion but a philosophy of life. Hinduism makes few historical claims at all, to my knowledge. Islam is based on the foundation of Judaism and the history of Abraham and Jesus,among others, but that is shared with Christianity.

          None have a God who became flesh and lived among real people in real history, who spoke profoundly the message of God, and who died and was resurrected in real history as a demonstration of the trustworthiness of his message. Buddha is dead. Mohamed is dead. Jesus lives.

        • Greg G.

          No, I don’t. Primarily because the logical and historical base of Judaism and Christianity is strong and others are weak.

          But that historical base is confounded by archaeology. Gospel Jesus appears to be based on Epistle Jesus plus the literature of the day, while Epistle Jesus appears to be based on nothing but Old Testament prophecy and metaphors thought to be prophecy.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus lives.

          Jesus is imaginary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, I don’t. Primarily because the logical and historical base of Judaism and Christianity is strong and others are weak.

          And there’s the problem I’m talking about right there. Other religious believers can make the same claims.

          Other religions are seldom founded on history.

          Nonsense.

          The Quran assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in the Biblical scriptures. It summarizes some, dwells at length on others and, in some cases, presents alternative accounts and interpretations of events. The Quran describes itself as a book of guidance for mankind 2:185. It sometimes offers detailed accounts of specific historical events, and it often emphasizes the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence.

          You are special pleading now. There isn’t anything in the NT that can be supported as an historical event and much that is demonstrable made up nonsense.

          If you have ever read the Quran or looked into Hinduism or Buddhism, you have probably noticed that they are mostly prescriptions for religious ritual or moral living.

          And the NT isn’t? Anyway, so what?

          Buddhism is really not a religion but a philosophy of life.

          Depends on the version. But again, so what? Apart for being a loada ballix, religious texts are not supposed be historical in purpose. That said…

          Scattered passages in early Buddhist texts focus on key events in his life. These were later woven together, embellished and added to in more sustained allegorical biographies, in the early centuries CE, such as the Nidānakathā of the Theravādins and the Mahāvastu, Lalitavistara, Abhiniṣkramaṇa Sūtra, and Buddhacarita of various other early schools.

          https://www.bl.uk/sacred-texts/articles/the-buddha-and-buddhist-sacred-texts

          Hinduism makes few historical claims at all, to my knowledge.

          Well, we all know how far that extends, don’t we?

          Islam is based on the foundation of Judaism and the history of Abraham and Jesus,among others, but that is shared with Christianity.

          Indeed. So the earlier comment is just more of your tosh. Mormonism makes similar claims. But none of this is even relevant.

          None have a God who became flesh and lived among real people in real history, who spoke profoundly the message of God, and who died and was resurrected in real history as a demonstration of the trustworthiness of his message.

          Nor did Christianity. That’s just the religions narrative. It’s a story. Or the version of the story that got accepted, should a say. Other versions are available on request. So pah!

          Buddha is dead. Mohamed is dead. Jesus lives.

          Oh fer feck sake, wise ta fuck up will ye. Yer far too old to believe in fairytales.

        • Greg G.

          In the process I have changed my stance on evolution, the young earth interpretation of Genesis, and some of the doctrines I learned earlier such as inerrancy and verbal plenary inspiration.

          I did that, too. I had read a few books on evolution looking for quotemines I could use. But I found some quotemines that creationist authors had brought out and saw that, in context, they absolutely were not saying what the creationist authors said they said. After that, I heard my favorite preacher, speaking with much gravitas, saying what evolutionist scientists say but I knew that was not what they say. Then, with the same gravitas, he started talking about heaven, which I knew that he couldn’t know. I began to listen to what my “spiritual leaders” were saying and realized that I couldn’t trust them.

          We also had a weekly meeting with a session of testimony about how God was working in our lives, usually answered prayers. When I started to listening to people’s answered prayers, I began to realize how gullible they were. Someone said they had trouble finding a parking spot, they prayed, then they found one. Another guy said he couldn’t find his keys, he prayed, then he found them.

          I recall one prayer story that impressed me. Two guys went fishing in a boat on a lake in the evening. The mosquitoes were bothering them. After a while, they decided to pray away the bugs. A short time later, they were no longer being bothered by the mosquitoes. A few years later, I happened to read something about how mosquitoes feed. They come out at dawn and dusk when it is too dark for birds to hunt them but not dark enough for bats to come out.

          Don’t get me started on all the praise for Jesus healings right after the doctor treated them.

          But it is not just Christians who do that. People from other religions are sure their religion is right because… well how else can you explain the thing their god does for them or how karma treats them? They cannot all be right but they can all be wrong.

        • Greg G.

          It was the teaching of the Apostles which we have referenced in Acts 2:42.

          Don’t forget:

          Acts 1:13-14 (NKJV)13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

          That sounds like they satisfied Jesus’ greatest prayer failure of all time from

          John 17:20-23 (NKJV)20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

          They were all as one according to Acts 1:14 but the world did not come to believe in Jesus as was supposed to happen. So you can either discount Acts or discount the whole supernatural charade and go back to trying to read the Bible as the product of fallible humans.

          If the teachings were oral, they would be in Aramaic. If Mark, Matthew, and Luke have verbatim passages, it means they had a Greek source. Too much of the gospels are Greek from the ground up, not translated from a Semitic language.

          About 75% of Mark has parallels with identifiable sources and most have nothing to do with Jesus. Luke follows Mark’s story line but abandons it for the trip to Jerusalem. It does not come from your theoretical common source. Luke’s journey for Jesus parallels incidents in Deuteronomy in near perfect order for actions, teachings, and conversations. he invented a story that borrows from many sources.

          Then there is the Great Omission. In Mark and Matthew, after the Feeding of the 5000, they decide to go to Bethsaida by boat but they end up somewhere else, have a few other stops including the Feeding of the 4000, before arriving at Bethsaida. Luke must not have liked the idea of Jesus getting lost going to Bethsaida so he puts the Feeding of the 5000 near Bethsaida. and jumps in mid-verse to the question asked right after they arrived in Bethsaida in Mark and Matthew. What happened to his copy?

          Where did Matthew and Luke but different genealogies and nativity stories? Matthew’s version definitely has more in common with Jewish Antiquities than with the Exodus story.

          What happened to John’s copy? Why can’t they agree on whether Jesus was crucified before or after the Passover meal? Your apology for that failed.

          Then there is editorial fatigue where each author must have been copying from a source, except for Mark. If Mark was using a common source, he must not have made any changes or was very good at maintaining his alterations to the story, which would mean he was more skilled than Matthew and Luke. There are places where Matthew makes a change to what Mark’s account says, but then Matthew slips back into using the same language as Mark. For example, in the Beheading of John story, Mark incorrectly calls Herod a king but Matthew corrects that at the beginning by calling Herod a tetrarch, but by the end of the story, Herod is a king again. Luke does similar things with Matthew and with Mark. This is more easily accounted for if Matthew copied Mark, and Luke copied Mark and Matthew, and there was no Q at all.

          Q is just an imaginary document to explain the similarities between Matthew and Luke without having to explain the differences. Luke rejected parts of Mark so why not reject parts of Matthew, too?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bless ya…ya have the patience of a saint.

        • Don Camp

          If the teachings were oral, they would be in Aramaic.

          The words of Jesus reflect the Hebraisms of an original Hebrew/Aramaic. But the universal language among Jews was Greek. So if the story were to be understood across the Jewish population, it would require Greek.

          About 75% of Mark has parallels with identifiable sources and most have nothing to do with Jesus.

          I don’t know about the percentage,nor do I know exactly what you mean, but yes the passion story was not copied by Luke or Matthew. There evidently were multiple sources for the passion.

          Why can’t they agree on whether Jesus was crucified before or after the Passover meal? Your apology for that failed.

          What!?? I rather liked my explanation.

          However, I did it in something of a stream of consciousness style as I was thinking through the differences. So the short answer is that there were two days on which the Passover was celebrated. The first, which Jesus and disciples celebrate was the traditional 14th of Nissan day. The second was the official Passover celebrated by the religious leaders and nation. It was on the 15th of Nissan, as it is now celebrated by Jews today.

          Why the Passover was changed is unknown, but what it does is merge the Passover with the Festival of Unleavened Bread. As it is today.

          So according to the traditional day, Jesus was crucified after Passover, as is obvious in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.. According to the official day mentioned only in John 18:28, Jesus was crucified before the Passover.

          Just as an aside, this would indicate Jesus was crucified on Thursday, not Friday. That allows for his being in the grave for three days and nights. That was always a bit awkward for the crucified -on-Friday interpretation.

          Where did Matthew and Luke but different genealogies and nativity stories?

          I don’t think the nativity stories are different. I think they are selected parts of one story. If you put the two together the result is an cohesive whole. See https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-myth-of-jesus-myth.html?view=timeslide

          The genealogies have always been a puzzle. I thinker genealogies are different because Jesus actually had two ancestries. One was through Joseph and the other through Mary. Both intersect at Zerubbabel and David. But because the line of kings ran through Solomon, Joseph’s was used and was Jesus’ official genealogy, which always goes through the father.

        • Greg G.

          The words of Jesus reflect the Hebraisms of an original Hebrew/Aramaic.

          I have checked out some of these Hebraisms. For example, they will quote Matthew’s version and give an example from the Old Testament to show the similarity. But when I compare the Greek version of the New Testament verse (or of the Markan parallel) with the Septuagint version, it is nearly verbatim. The Hebraism comes from the translation of the Hebrew to the Greek Septuagint.

          For example, Matthew 8:29 has “What have we to do with thee…?” as a Hebraism. The Hebrew example is found in Judges 11:12 “What hast thou to do with me…?” Mark 5:7 has “What have I to do with thee…?” Now compare the Greek versions.

          Ju 11:12 τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί
          Mk  5:7  τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί
          Mt  8:29 τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί

          This is also a piece of evidence that favors Markan priority.

          I don’t know about the percentage,nor do I know exactly what you mean, but yes the passion story was not copied by Luke or Matthew. There evidently were multiple sources for the passion.

          Matthew and Luke embellished Mark’s version from other sources.

          What I mean is that most of the miracles in Mark are based on the OT miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. The spit miracles are like the miracles of Vespasian propaganda that would have been familiar to Romans around 80 AD. The Mocking of Jesus is taken from the Mocking of Carabbas in Philo’s Flaccus. The name “Barabbas” might have been inspired by “Carabbas” as the difference in spelling in English or Greek is the first letter and the Mocking of Jesus immediately follows the Barabbas account. There are verse quotations from the Septuagint and some stories that appear to be based on passages from it.

          Why the Passover was changed is unknown, but what it does is merge the Passover with the Festival of Unleavened Bread. As it is today.

          It is not unknown and I explained it to you. Perhaps we can blame Disqus for not notifying you. The Passover was determined by the priests in Jerusalem when they saw the new moon, then they counted the days. The Diaspora Jews could not know when the new moon was seen there, but they could determine it within two days so they celebrated it on both days so they would not fail to celebrate it on the correct day.

          But this practice was never done in Jerusalem because there was no need to do it that way.

          I don’t think the nativity stories are different. I think they are selected parts of one story. If you put the two together the result is an cohesive whole.

          The link to your site does not explain anything about the nativity stories. Matthew’s version shows similarities to the nativity story of Moses but his version has a greater affinity to the Josephus account of Moses nativity. That puts Matthew no earlier than the end of the first century.

          The genealogies have always been a puzzle. I think the genealogies are different because Jesus actually had two ancestries (as we all do, btw). One was through Joseph and the other through Mary. Both intersect at Zerubbabel and David. But because the line of kings ran through Solomon, Joseph’s was used and was Jesus’ official genealogy, which always goes through the father.

          Matthew’s version is screwy. He makes a big deal about there being three sets of 14 generations, possibly because David’s name in Hebrew gematria is 14.

          D + V + D = 4 + 6 + 4 = 14

          But Matthew omitted four names from the OT genealogy to get 14 for the second group, three of which may have been a trick of the eye jumping between two similar names. The third set only has 13 names. It is no wonder Luke had to trash it and make up a new one. His genealogy follows the OT genealogy from the Septuagint, not the Hebrew text. Where it runs out, he inserted several names that are similar to the names in Josephus’ genealogy.

          Luke’s account has 42 generations from David. Matthew’s has 27, or 31, if we generously include those he skipped. According to the internet, Solomon is estimated to have been born in 990 BC. The average age per generation for Luke’s line is a reasonable 23.6 years. Matthew’s line would have to average 32 to 36.7 years per generation. That is a high average age to maintain for a thousand years. But even that is a sudden dropoff from the previous set of generations. The internet thinks Isaac was born around 1933 BC which would make the average of a generation to be over 72 years down to Solomon. If we include Abraham, the average age goes up.

          Or maybe the Old Testament doesn’t have a strong connection with history and neither do the genealogies.

          Also saying that Luke’s genealogy goes through Mary is a cheat since it clearly says “Joseph”.

        • Don Camp

          The Hebraism comes from the translation of the Hebrew to the Greek Septuagint.

          It5 is hardly a surprise that the LXX retains the Hebraisms of the Hebrew.

          A Hebraism is either an idiom that would not be common to Greek but common in Hebrew, word order that is not be common to Greek but common to Hebrew, or schemes that would not be common in Greek but common in Hebrew.

          A common Hebraism found in the Old Testament and in selected New testament passages is the use of parallelisms. Another is the common Hebrew idioms “Amen, amen” usually translated “Truly, truly”and “behold.”

          I have in my hand the book Hebraisms in the Greek New Testament by William Henry Guillemard. He points to many Hebraisms in the Gospels but I will point to just a few in Mark to illustrate Hebrew word order.

          Typically Greek word order is subject verb. In Hebrew the word order is typically verb subject.

          In verbal sentences (that is, sentences with a verb), the structure of the sentence in Biblical Hebrew is: (1) the Verb, in first position; (2) the subject, in second position; (3) the object, in third position. Other grammatical elements such as Adverb, prepositional phrases, discourse Particle, etc.
          https://uhg.readthedocs.io/en/latest/word_order.html

          But Greek is different.

          Word Order and Emphasis in Greek …it has been show that when a subject of the verb is explicitly stated, it oftentimes comes first in the sentence. Thus a more accurate order may instead be “subject – verb – object/complement”
          https://www.ntgreek.org/pdf/Word%20Order%20and%20Emphasis%20in%20Greek.pdf

          In Greek the subject is often built into the verb, as it is in Spanish if you are familiar with that language. But where the subject is not explicit enough as part of the verb that subject usually comes before the verb. That is different from Hebrew.

          So let’s look at a couple of examples. First Mark 1:14. If I translate that literally keeping the word order it is “has been fulfilled (verb) the time (subject) and has drawn near (verb) the kingdom (subject) of God. (preposition and object)’ That is typical Hebrew.

          Now a Greek sentence, Mark 1:12. “And immediately the Spirit (subject) him thrusts forth (verb) into the desert…” The subject is first followed by the verb.

          Another example from Mark 2:17: “no need have(verb) the ones(subject) who are sick, but those ill having.” And verse 28: “so as Lord (predicate object) is .(verb) the son of man (subject)…”

          Even if you don’t read Greek the word order of a literal translation sounds odd. That is because English follows the word order of Greek and not Hebrew.

          Almost everything Jesus says is in Hebrew word order and thus a Hebraism. but the interesting thing is that much of the matrix of the text, the words Mark wrote, is also in the Hebrew style. Here’s an example: Mark 3:6. “And went forth (verb) the Pharisee (subject) immediately …”

          On the other hand, in Luke the matrix of the narrative is normal Greek, as we would expect of a Greek speaker. Randomly here is an example from 10:40: “Martha (subject) who also sitting beside at the feet of the Lord heard (verb) the word of him.”

          The expression “behold” is used as an idiomatic expression seven times in Mark. by Jesus. The idiomatic expression “amen,,” which is actually a Hebrew expression (see Numbers 5:22) , is used by Jesus thirteen times in Mark.

          Parallelism are found regularly in Jesus’ speech.

          Parallelism is a central feature of Hebrew poetry. It permeates the
          words of biblical poet and prophet. The frequency with which parallelism
          occurs in the utterances of Jesus is surprising, and leads inevitably
          to the conclusion that the Greek source (or, sources) used by the
          authors of Matthew, Mark and Luke derive(s) from a Greek translation
          (or, translations) of Hebrew documents.
          https://www.jerusalemperspective.com/6628/

          One example from Mark is in 10:42-45. There are two parallel statement. One is “rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. The second is “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all.” If there is a familiar sound to these words it is because Jesus used parallels often.

          The flavor of the Hebrew language is everywhere in the Gospel of Mark. It is in Jesus’ speeches and in much of what Mark wrote that connects the various episodes. There is every reason to think that Mark was translating fairly literally Jesus’ words from Aramaic and Peter’s words – or his own – as commentary. Both Jesus and Peter were native Hebrew/Aramaic speakers. Mark as Barnabas’s n

        • Greg G.

          Thank you. This is interesting.

          The expression “behold” is used as an idiomatic expression seven times in Mark. by Jesus.

          I checked several translations for gMark for “behold”, looked up the Greek word, then looked up the Greek words, then searched more translations for each word to expand the list. Here’s what I got:

          Mark 1:2 – “ἰδοὺ”, Narrator quoting Malachi 3:1 LXX
          Mark 2:24 – “ἴδε”, Pharisees speaking
          Mark 3:32 – “ἰδοὺ”, the multitude
          Mark 3:34 – “ἴδε”, Jesus, in conversation
          Mark 4:3 – “ἰδοὺ”, Jesus, in parable
          Mark 5:22 – “ἴδε” (Textus Receptus only), Narrator
          Mark 10:28 – “ἰδοὺ”, Peter, to Jesus
          Mark 10:33 – “ἰδοὺ”, Jesus, in conversation
          Mark 11:21 – “ἴδε”, Peter, to Jesus
          Mark 13:1 – “ἴδε”, disciples, to Jesus
          Mark 13:21 – “ἰδοὺ” (Textus Receptus); “ἴδε” (MGNT); two times each, Jesus in teaching
          Mark 13:23 – “ἰδοὺ” (Textus Receptus only), Jesus, in teaching
          Mark 14:41 – “ἰδοὺ”, Jesus, before getting busted
          Mark 14:42 – “ἰδοὺ”, Jesus, before getting busted
          Mark 15:4 – “ἴδε”, Pilate, at trial
          Mark 15:35 – “ἴδε”, bystanders, at crucifixion
          Mark 16:6 – “ἴδε”, boy, at tomb

          I suspect Mark borrowed it from Malachi, which is used in the second verse.

          The idiomatic expression “amen,,” which is actually a Hebrew expression (see Numbers 5:22) , is used by Jesus thirteen times in Mark.

          The Septuagint translation of Numbers 5:22 is “γένοιτο” which is used in the NT 14 times by Paul and Luke, thirteen of those uses are “μὴ γένοιτο” meaning “by no means”. 1 Chronicles 16:36 and Nehemiah 5:13 & 8:6 use “αμην” for “amen”, including the double usage in Nehemiah 8:6.

          As near as I can make out, “amen” seems to be a transliteration of “אָמֵן”. The Hebrew verses often have “said ‘amen'” while the Hebrew words in the Latin alphabet say “amar amen” and the Hebrew versions look similar so I think the “γένοιτο” must be the translation.

          The Epistles use “ἀμήν” a lot which be a likely place for Mark to get it. The doublet, “ἀμήν ἀμήν” is only used in gJohn.

        • Don Camp

          The Passover was determined by the priests in Jerusalem when they saw the new moon, then they counted the days. The Diaspora Jews could not know when the new moon was seen there, but they could determine it within two days so they celebrated it on both days so they would not fail to celebrate it on the correct day.

          I’ve heard that explanation before, but it doesn’t work. The new moon is seen on the same day everywhere the Jews would have been in the first century or earlier in Mesopotamia.. And Passover was always on the full moon. More importantly Jesus and his disciples were not of the diaspora. They lived in Galilee which would have had the same phases of the moon on the same days as Jerusalem.

          The better guess, because we don’t really know, is that the priests in Jerusalem .consolidated the Passover meal with the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Here’s the Jewish explanation:

          First of all, it’s helpful to know and understand the Hebrew and to know
          that in ancient days there were two sacrifices i.e. two holidays that
          were conjoined into one in later days. There was the Pascal
          sacrifice/Pascal holiday which was known as the “Pesach” or “passover.”
          https://www.hebcal.com/home/1247/pesach-on-15th-of-nissan-vs-the-14th

        • Greg G.

          The new moon is seen on the same day everywhere the Jews would have been in the first century or earlier in Mesopotamia..

          Sometimes there are clouds.

          More importantly Jesus and his disciples were not of the diaspora. They lived in Galilee which would have had the same phases of the moon on the same days as Jerusalem.

          Irrelevant.

          You omitted this part:

          This was an agricultural holiday celebrating springtime and the new lambs of the flock and it apparently preceded the Exodus from Egypt by many, many years.

          and

          To add just a little, I quote from the Jewish Publication Society’s commentary on the Book of Numbers on page 243:

          “The day of the paschal offering and the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread are discrete holidays. Yet the fact that the paschal offering is mentioned even though it is a private sacrifice (see Exodus 12:1-11) –– and hence no description is given –– indicates that the two festivals are already fused.”
          [My emphasis]

          So what you are talking about ended about a thousand years before the time of the gospel stories.

        • Don Camp

          So what you are talking about ended about a thousand years before the time of the gospel stories.

          Jesus was intent on restoring Israel spiritually. Among the many corrections he made – to the law, for example – was the restoration of the traditional Passover. He restored the private sacrifice/celebration as he celebrated Passover with his disciples while the official Passover/Festival of Unleavened Bread was celebrated a day later. And that is exactly what we see in the Gospels as we consider the synoptics and John together. So there is no contradiction or disagreement in the Gospels regarding the day of the Passover/Lord’s supper and the day the nation celebrated Passover/Unleavened Bread on the 15th of Nissan.

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps you forgot to put “/s” at the end of that post so people will know you are joking.

          But if you are not, you need to include some citations.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don thinks there was two last suppers. The one in John, that the other three writers didn’t think important enough to mention. Then the one in the three synoptics, that John was oblivious of, probably because he has Jaysus nailed up already.

          It’s astonishing the lengths the apologist will go to in order to square the circle. The dishonesty is hanging right out of them.

        • Greg G.

          I think what Don is trying to say is that Jesus was crucified after both Passover meals.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anno, am just extracting the urine.

          Didn’t he say in a comment that Jesus was nailed up on the Thursday night?

          So according to the traditional day, Jesus was crucified after Passover, as is obvious in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.. According to the official day mentioned only in John 18:28, Jesus was crucified before the Passover.

          Just as an aside, this would indicate Jesus was crucified on Thursday, not Friday. That allows for his being in the grave for three days and nights. That was always a bit awkward for the crucified -on-Friday interpretation.

          So he is saying that the 3 synoptics were talking about Thursday night too. But of the synoptics, only Mark gives a time indication.

          Scholars can’t agree on the year, let alone the day of the week. But Don here is trying to rationalise a contradiction. While ignoring the other contradictions.

          Pure nonsense.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_of_Jesus#Chronology

        • Greg G.

          Mark 14:12, Matthew 26:19, and Luke 22:8 all say the Passover was prepared. then they have a meal. That was the Passover meal. Then Jesus got arrested.

          In John 13:1, they have a meal but was it the Passover? John 13:2 says it was an evening meal. John 13:29 tells us they had not begun to prepare for the Passover. The Passover is prepared before sunset. That meal was not the Passover. There is a continuous narrative from John 13 to John 18 where Jesus was arrested, then tried, convicted, crucified, and dead, all before sundown which would be the next possible time for the Passover meal.

          The Synoptics clearly say Jesus died after the Passover meal. The Gospel of John clearly says Jesus died before the Passover meal.

          So the contradiction remains. Even if the Passover/Festival of Unleavened Bread distinction was valid 2000 years ago, the contradiction stands.

          If your religion requires you to believe that there is no contradiction between the Synoptics and John on this matter, you need a new religion.

        • Don Camp

          RE: Matthew’s grnealogy.

          The third set only has 13 names

          The third set of fourteen ends with Jesus as number 14. If you look at the first two sets, they each have fourteen names but each leads to the next set. The third set ends with Jesus and numerically signals for Jews the completion of the sequence of 3 X 14. To end the last set with someone other than Jesus would make the sequence complete at that point. And that would, of course, undermine Matthew’s purpose of showing Jesus as the completion of God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12).

          Yes, Matthew leaves some names out of the genealogy in order to make the sets equal at 14. But that is not something that is unusual. There are genealogies in the Old Testament that do the same.

          The problem all of us have with Jewish history is that we do not fully understand their culture. We think that counting is counting, so if there is a discrepancy it is a mistake. They are more interested in the numerology, special numbers like 3 and 7 etc. From the Old Testament text, it appears that they did not think it “cheating” to make the numbers work even if they are not exactly correct by our reckoning.

        • Greg G.

          The third set of fourteen ends with Jesus as number 14.

          Jeconiah was born before the Exile. If you put him in the last set, then the second set is short. If you are going to count him twice, then you should count everybody twice. It makes no sense to count him as post-Exile since he didn’t return from Babylon (2 Kings 25:27-30).

          Matthew 1:12
          1. Shealtiel
          2. Zerubbabel
          Matthew 1:13
          3. Abiud
          4. Eliakim
          5. Azor
          Matthew 1:14
          6. Zadok
          7. Achim
          8. Eliud
          Matthew 1:15
          9. Eleazar
          10. Matthan
          11. Jacob
          Matthew 1:16
          12. Joseph
          13. Jesus

          And that would, of course, undermine Matthew’s purpose of showing Jesus as the completion of God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12).

          Which Matthew failed to do because he couldn’t count. Matthew 1:8 omits Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:24; 2 Chronicles 22:1), Joash (2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11), and Amaziah (2 Kings 14:1; 2 Chronicles 25:1) between Jehoram and Uzziah (1 Chronicles 3:10-12). Matthew 1:11 omits Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:6; 2 Chronicles 36:8) between Josiah and Jeconiah.

          Yes, Matthew leaves some names out of the genealogy in order to make the sets equal at 14. But that is not something that is unusual. There are genealogies in the Old Testament that do the same.

          Omitting a name here or there is one thing but then making a big deal about the number of generations like it is supposed to mean something is either dishonesty or incompetence. Since the names don’t add up, I go with the latter.

          From the Old Testament text, it appears that they did not think it “cheating” to make the numbers work even if they are not exactly correct by our reckoning.

          Or they thought it was cheating but did it anyway. Or the records they copied were illegible or just incorrect. Or it was a rush job and they didn’t have time to reconcile the differences and the later generations were afraid to make any alterations because they assumed it was holy.

          Luke must have thought it mattered. That genealogy has God at #1 and Jesus at #77. Luke follows the Septuagint genealogy perfectly in the reverse chronological order from 1 Chronicles 3:5 and Ruth 4:22 in Luke 3:31 and after that time but there is no OT documentation before that.

        • Don Camp

          Where did Matthew and Luke but different genealogies and nativity stories?

          That is unknown. But it would not be surprising l for the memories of the people involved to be collected after Jesus’ resurrection. What is 4evident is that Luke gather more than a simple nativity story. He included two poems, Mary’s song and Zarcharias’ song. Neither of those could be Luke’s composition; they are too thoroughly Hebrew in form and content. Both are probably earlier than a the more complete theology of Jesus was created because both are thoroughly Old Testament Hebrew in form and theme.

          This is more easily accounted for if Matthew copied Mark, and Luke copied Mark and Matthew, and there was no Q at all.

          That theory might work if it was not for the material in both Matthew and Luke that is unique to each of those Gospels. But there is an even bigger problem. That is where Mark got his material.

          We know there was a narrative about Jesus prior to Mark’s writing. Paul mentions it in Galatians and 1 Corinthians et al. John, who wrote independently from Mark and includes many episodes not found in the synoptics, yet intersects with the synoptics at a variety of places.

          If Papias is correct about whereand when Mark got his Gospel, Peter would also, and understandably, be the source of a gospel narrative prior to Mark’s Gospel. No matter when Mark wrote, there was a Jesus narrative earlier than his writing. So call if Q or call it the teachings of the Apostles, it was the source.

        • Greg G.

          That theory might work if it was not for the material in both Matthew and Luke that is unique to each of those Gospels. But there is an even bigger problem. That is where Mark got his material.

          Notice that I said “Luke copied Mark and Matthew”.

          But there is an even bigger problem. That is where Mark got his material.

          The Pauline gospels, Greek literature, Jewish literature including Philo, Roman propaganda, Jewish Wars, and the Septuagint, for starters.

          Paul mentions it in Galatians and 1 Corinthians

          Paul was reading the Suffering Servant passages as a hidden mystery coupled with other OT books. He quoted Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Hosea most. I suspect the name “Jesus” comes from the Septuagint translation of “Joshua” in Zechariah.

          John, who wrote independently from Mark and includes many episodes not found in the synoptics, yet intersects with the synoptics at a variety of places.

          John did not write independently of Mark. He just copied differently than Matthew and Luke did. Matthew and Luke appear to borrow a little from John but mostly rejected it.

          If Papias is correct about whereand when Mark got his Gospel

          Even if Papias knew the book we call Mark, he didn’t recognize that it is largely based on the Greek literature of the day.

        • Don Camp

          John did not write independently of Mark. He just copied differently than Matthew and Luke did.

          Have you read John? It doesn’t take more than a casual reading to know that the scene of John is almost exclusively Judea. If you have read Mark you’ll notice that Mark tells the Jesus story as it happened mostly in Galilee. That difference alone means that Mark and John are very different.

          But even Jesus’ teachings in John are not found in Mark. Where is the teaching of Jesus as the bread of Life, the shepherd and his flock? Where is the Samaritan woman at the well?

          As for Matthew and Luke, both contain a lot of material not in Mark, and I don’t mean the nativity narrative. Where is the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) in Mark? Where is Matthew 18 or 23 in Mark?

          Where are the parables in Matthew of the Mustard See, the Pearl, workers in the vineyard? Where are the parables in Luke of the money Leander, Good Samaritan, unfruitful fig tree, the prodigal son? There is actually more that is different in Matthew and Luke than the things that are the same. So those passages cannot have been copied from Mark.

          Even if Mark was written first and used as a outline for Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew goes way beyond Mark. So Does Luke. And obviously John is hardly the same at all. So Mark cannot have been more than an outline for the others, if that at all.. In fact, it makes more sense to say that Mark borrowed from Matthew. Though in fact, neither makes sense. There is a better explanation. See here https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/12/q.html and https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-gospel-of-mark.html

        • Greg G.

          Have you read John?

          Did you read what you blockquoted. Yes, John added stuff, just as Matthew and Luke did. But he also copied stuff. The Feeding of the 5000 immediately followed by the Walking on Water, the Barabbas story immediately followed by The Mocking of Jesus, the interrogation of Jesus while Peter is being asked if he was with Jesus, and many others are signs that aJohn knew gMark. Those are invented stories from the literature of the day. Mark’s versions have key details that John missed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As for Matthew and Luke, both contain a lot of material not in Mark, and I don’t mean the nativity narrative. Where is the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) in Mark? Where is Matthew 18 or 23 in Mark?

          In literature, it’s called embellishment.

          Embellish is defined as fancy details added on to make something look better or nicer, the act of adding such details or the act of stretching the truth of a story to make it sound more exciting. … An example of embellishment is a detail added to a story to make it more exciting.

          You claim to be a literary scholar and didn’t know that?

          Mark’s gospel is by far the shortest, just over half the length of Luke, and omits much found in Matthew and Luke. In fact, while the majority of Mark is included in the other two Synoptics, the additional material shared between Matthew and Luke only is quite extensive.

          While Marcan priority easily sees Matthew and Luke building upon Mark by adding new material, Marcan posteriority must explain some surprising omissions. Mark has no infancy narrative nor any version of the Lord’s Prayer, for example.

          Nor does Mark have more than a handful of unique pericopes. This is expected under Marcan priority, where Matthew has reused nearly everything he found in Mark, but if Mark wrote last, it is harder to explain why he adds so little new material.

          Where are all those things in Paul’s writings? Even where it would’ve been prudent for Paul to mention a lot of these things about the Jesus yarn, had he known about them, in order to back up a message, he doesn’t. It’s like they are made up later nonsense.

          The first thing to say is that the current books of the New Testament were not the only contenders for inclusion in the canon when a canon was first proposed (by a man now considered heretical) around 150 years after the crucifixion. There were many contenders, even among the gospels. Indeed the author of the Luke gospel indicates that there were “many” accounts already in existence before he wrote his (Luke 1:1). It is now known that more than 80 such works existed.

          http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/ab0_nt.htm

        • Don Camp

          If the teachings were oral, they would be in Aramaic. If Mark, Matthew,
          and Luke have verbatim passages, it means they had a Greek source. Too
          much of the gospels are Greek from the ground up, not translated from a
          Semitic language.

          Yes, I believe they had a Greek source, the teachings of the Apostles. Greek was the second language for many Jews in Judea and the first language for Jews elsewhere. If the message of Jesus was going to be available to people living beyond Judea it needed to be translated to Greek. It turns out that Mark was one of the translators. See https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-gospel-of-mark.html

          Jesus’ words are more literally translated and retain a lot of the Hebraisms common to Aramaic. Probably they were translated literally out of respect for Jesus’ words.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I believe they had a Greek source, the teachings of the Apostles.

          I think they used the authentic Pauline epistles. Matthew relies heavily on James to put words in Jesus’ mouth.

        • Don Camp

          The similarity between the teaching style of Jesus and James is evident. But since James is Jesus’ brother, we can infer that both had the same education and the same experience with the scriptures. So if both teach in a proverbial wisdom literature style that is not surprising.

        • Greg G.

          Greek was the second language for many Jews in Judea and the first language for Jews elsewhere.

          I know a first century Jew who disagrees with you. From Antiquities of the Jews 20.11.2

          For those of my own nation freely acknowledge that I far exceed them in the learning belonging to Jews; I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness; for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations, and so adorn their discourses with the smoothness of their periods; because they look upon this sort of accomplishment as common, not only to all sorts of free-men, but to as many of the servants as please to learn them. But they give him the testimony of being a wise man who is fully acquainted with our laws, and is able to interpret their meaning; on which account, as there have been many who have done their endeavors with great patience to obtain this learning, there have yet hardly been so many as two or three that have succeeded therein, who were immediately well rewarded for their pains.

          Jesus’ words are more literally translated and retain a lot of the Hebraisms common to Aramaic. Probably they were translated literally out of respect for Jesus’ words.

          Many Hebraisms are taken straight out of the Septuagint. There were probably many Hebrew writings that were translated to Greek that did not make it out of the second century AD. Matthew borrowed from James to put words in Jesus’ mouth. I would be surprised if that was the only source for words of Jesus.

        • Don Camp

          Aren’t you contradicting yourself? The LXX of which you speak is the Old Testament in Greek. It was translated because there were many Jews outside Judea who no longer spoke Aramaic but did speak Greek. In addition, Galilee was a multi-ethnic area many Jews dealing with foreigners spoke Greek. Probably Matthew was among them since he collected taxes from both Gentiles and Jews.

          Hebraism in the LXX are taken out of the Hebrew Bible. How do we know? We have the Hebrew text.

        • Greg G.

          Aren’t you contradicting yourself?

          No, Josephus is contradicting you. The New Testament was written by people who spoke Greek for people who spoke Greek.

          Hebraism in the LXX are taken out of the Hebrew Bible. How do we know? We have the Hebrew text.

          Exactly. That is my point. Many of the New Testament Hebraisms are taken directly from the Septuagint.

        • Don Camp

          I once had a neighbor who had been a Marine assigned to Germany. He met German lady and they married and had three kids. At home Mom would speak German. Dad spoke English. The kids were bi-lingual. One day the toughness was coming out the door of their apartment headed somewhere. I ask where she was going. She said, “We are to the park going.”

          Now that was a Germanism. It was English words in a German word order. It told me that the child was thinking Gerrman and speaking English. That is what we read in the LXX. We read Greek but we hear the Hebraisms behind it.

          However, I don’t know what your point is here. If people spoke Greek and wrote Greek but used Hebrew idioms word order, and figures of speech and schemes, isn’t that an indication that the source of those Hebraisms was Hebrew? A native Greek speaker would not speak like that.

          If you are implying that the writers of the NT only spoke Greek and got their Hebraisms from the LXX, That might work if we were to assume they were doing something like we might do in speaking in King James English. But it would be strange.

        • Greg G.

          If you are implying that the writers of the NT only spoke Greek and got their Hebraisms from the LXX, That might work if we were to assume they were doing something like we might do in speaking in King James English. But it would be strange.

          No, I am saying that some passages that are said to contain Hebraisms appear to get them directly from the Septuagint when it is used for material for a story. For example, Luke 9:51-56 is where Luke begins to go off-script from Mark, talking about a Samaritan village that rejected Jesus’ messengers. Josephus tells about a Samaritan village that caused problems for Galileans traveling to Jerusalem for festivals.

          Antiquities of the Jews 20.6.1 [excerpt]
          1. NOW there arose a quarrel between the Samaritans and the Jews on the occasion following: It was the custom of the Galileans, when they came to the holy city at the festivals, to take their journeys through the country of the Samaritans; and at this time there lay, in the road they took, a village that was called Ginea, which was situated in the limits of Samaria and the great plain, where certain persons thereto belonging fought with the Galileans, and killed a great many of them.

          Luke 9:51 has “when the days were near that he [Jesus] should be taken up”, which is like 2 Kings 2:1 where Elijah was about to be taken up. Next, the verse says, “he intently set his face to go to Jerusalem.” “Setting his face to go” is a Hebraism. It is used in 2 Kings 12:17.

          After they didn’t accept him, Luke 9:54 says, “When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from the sky, and destroy them, just as Elijah did?’” That is an allusion to 2 Kings 1 where Elijah incinerated 51 men with fire from heaven, then another 51 men because their captains didn’t ask him politely enough.

          Luke 9:57-60 is from Matthew 8:18-22, but Luke 9:61-62 is a variation on 1 Kings 19:19-21 where Elijah calls Elisha. In 1 Kings, plowing is a worldly chore that must be left behind, but in Luke, Jesus uses it as a metaphor for following him.

          Luke was making this stuff up after reading up on Elijah and Elisha.

          In Luke 10, he switches to Deuteronomy to replace Mark’s version of Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem.

        • Don Camp

          No, I am saying that some passages that are said to contain Hebraisms
          appear to get them directly from the Septuagint when it is used for
          material for a story.

          Getting the Hebraism from the LXX means nothing. It would be no different from getting it from the Hebrew text. Getting a story element from Josephus is different. .But in the case you refer to it also is meaningless.

          The historical background was the antagonism between the Samaritans and the Jews. That is what Josephus is relating. But if it is a historical fact that the Samaritans were antagonistic toward the Jews traveling through their country, then the story of Jesus and the Samaritan village woman fits the historical context. No borrowing by John (4:4) is necessary. nor is the pericope surprising. Josephus actually makes it more plausible. It is a situation that happened often, at least that is inferred from Josephus. Jesus’ journey through Samaria was maybe ten years earlier than that Josephus recounts, so it possible the situation had become more volatile by the time Josephus’ story occurred.

          Luke was making this stuff up after reading up on Elijah and Elisha.

          You are doing the same thing MacDonald does with Homer and Mark. You, or the website where you are getting this, makes much of similarities that do not demonstrated

        • Greg G.

          The historical background was the antagonism between the Samaritans and the Jews. That is what Josephus is relating. But if it is a historical fact that the Samaritans were antagonistic toward the Jews traveling through their country, then the story of Jesus and the Samaritan village woman fits the historical context.

          Luke and Acts seems to get a lot of historical context from Josephus.

          You are doing the same thing MacDonald does with Homer and Mark.

          Aw, shucks. Thank you.

          All that demonstrates is that “set his face” is a common expression.

          2 Kings 12:17 is favored because of the proximity to other references to 1 & 2 Kings in that section of Luke. Luke 10:1 has Jesus sending off seventy disciples as in Matthew 9:35-38 and Mark 6:7-13. The provisions they are to take in Luke 10:4 are similar to Mark 6:8 and Matthew 10:10 but the Greek words match what Matthew says. Mark’s account appears to be based on Josephus’ Jewish Wars description of the Essenes’ travel habits. But none of those sources have anything about not saluting anybody. But there is a similar verse from 2 Kings.

          2 Kings 4:29 (NRSV)29 He said to Gehazi, “Gird up your loins, and take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet anyone, give no greeting, and if anyone greets you, do not answer; and lay my staff on the face of the child.”

          There may be some Elijah references with John the Baptist from Mark.

          Luke 4:16 begins a parallel Mark and Matthew but Luke 4:25-26 adds a reference to Elijah’s drought. Luke also fits in a reference to Aesop’s The Quack Frog just before that, then right after, the crowd tries to throw Jesus off an imaginary cliff, which was how Aesop died. None of this is in the other gospels. It appears that Luke made up this section from other sources.

          Luke 7:1-10 has The Centurion of Capernaum and his Servant which is similar to 1 Kings 17:1, 5, 10-13 but doesn’t add much to Matthew’s version.

          Luke 7:11-17 has The Son of the Widow of Nain, a unique story that seems to be based on elements from 1 Kings 17:17, 19-20, 22-24, including the verse 15 phrase “καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ” (“and he delivered him to his mother”) which is verbatim from 1 Kings 17:23 (LXX).

          Then there is the concentration of 1 & 2 Kings references from Luke 9:50-10:4. I do not know of any others until the only ascension story in the gospels, which has elements like Elijah’s ascension.

          Most of 1 & 2 Kings are not about Elijah and Elisha. The Chronicles have lots of parallels with the Kings but none with Elijah and Elisha. But Luke’s unique passages have no references to the Kings that do not have to do with Elijah or Elisha.

          though that is not certain because they make no allusion to Elijah.

          Elijah is mentioned by name right in the middle of the passage.

          At some point the average reader is going to conclude he is grasping at straws.

          Luke mentions Elijah by name in one passage with multiple similarities to the small bit of the Kings books that are about Elijah and Elisha. In another place, Luke quotes from such a passage verbatim. It seems that you are grasping at straws and flailing just to avoid admitting that the gospels used other textual sources.

          To imagine that every one of the Gospel writers borrowed from Homer or Josephus or the Old Testament and borrowed many times is too much to believe and is grasping at straws.

          It is quite obvious that the Synoptic authors did borrow from those sources and more. I don’t think John used Josephus (unless it was about the Pool of Siloam) nor Homer, but there are many similar sounding things with the writings of Philo.

          The gospel authors were writing fiction. They borrowed from other writings for material, as was typical for writers of the era.

        • Don Camp

          lockquote>2 Kings 12:17 is favored because of the proximity to other references to 1 & 2 Kings in that section of Luke.

          The thing is that it is not part of or proximate to the Elijah story. But the fact is a idiom in any language is just an idiom, I can show up anywhere the idea expressed in the idiom is intended.

          Mark’s account appears to be based on Josephus’ Jewish Wars description of the Essenes’ travel habits. But none of those sources have anything about not saluting anybody. But there is a similar verse from 2 Kings.

          Actually the instructions of Jesus to his disciples are not similar at all to the 2 Kings 4 passage. In 2 Kings 4 the point is to go immediately to the child without stopping or being distracted. In the gospel instructions the disciples are instructed to go to the villages and speak about the kingdom of God. IF they are not received, then they are to shake the dust off their feet and leave. Those are opposite instructions. In Mark it is to “stay.” In 2 Kings it is to go directly and not tarry. If Mark was using Elijah’s instructions and transplanting them to his Gospel, he made a strange choice.

          As for the Essenes, why is that a surprise? They were contemporaries to Jesus and their habits may have been similar to Jesus’ instruction or vice versa. No copying is required.

          the crowd tries to throw Jesus off an imaginary cliff,

          Have you been to Nazareth? Have you seen pictures of Nazareth? It is built on a hill, just as the scripture indicates.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/447a6ab29f8b03b2225f8eb9e2dfcd04526d5a56c19939823c28b43ba5baa05d.jpg

          There were plenty of steep places where a fall might kill a man.

          Greg, it has been fun, this journey into the bizarre, but I am finding it tiring to continually correct the misinformation you have been listening to. I am going to shake the dust off my feet and leave. I hope you can one day think your way out of the quagmire you have fallen into.

        • Greg G.

          The thing is that it is not part of or proximate to the Elijah story. But the fact is a idiom in any language is just an idiom, I can show up anywhere the idea expressed in the idiom is intended.

          There are only 17 verse between 2 Kings 12:17 and 2 Kings 13:14 which begins the narrative of Elisha’s death and they weren’t divided by chapters and verses. They might have been on the same page.

          Actually the instructions of Jesus to his disciples are not similar at all to the 2 Kings 4 passage.

          The instructions in Luke 10:4 are taken from Matthew except for not greeting anyone which is found in 2 Kings.

          As for the Essenes, why is that a surprise? They were contemporaries to Jesus and their habits may have been similar to Jesus’ instruction or vice versa. No copying is required.

          Getting so many details the same in such a short span of one passage while having other passages and other details, too, does require copying. You can deny each similarity as a coincidence, but when you have a series of coincidences, you have a pattern that is not satisfactorily denied by the coincidence excuse.

          Have you been to Nazareth? Have you seen pictures of Nazareth? It is built on a hill, just as the scripture indicates.

          Where? Why would Jews think of killing someone that way? They stoned people. If they weren’t Jews, why would they care what Jesus said about the Jewish religion? Don’t let your cognitive dissonance shut down your brain. Think it through.

          I am going to shake the dust off my feet and leave.

          You aren’t shaking the dust off, you are burying your head in the sand.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It was English words in a German word order.

          It’s not any German word order I ever spoke. So you are lying.

          “Wir gehen in den park” works perfectly well. But you are trying to say that the kids were bilingual, but they took the English they learned from their father and translated it through their mothers German? Fucking up the word order. Seriously?

          Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain

          That isn’t how anyone today talks, but if I’m writing a yarn that I want to include that commandment anyone would recognise, that version will do nicely. That applies to any holy book that has been translated. The Book of Mormon was intentionally done so for full effect. Joseph Smith didn’t normally communicate in 14th century English. But felt the need to translate the tablets from Hebrew in Egyptian glyphs to the English of a past time.

          The book claims that the language it was first written in was made from “the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.”

          Unless you think Smith really got the golden plates from an angel? Ya don’t think that, do ya?

        • Greg G.

          I was getting “Sorry, an error happened on Disqus” when I try to log in. What are the chances?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The vagaries of Disqus…enigmatic to the end.

        • Don Camp

          The child was 4 or 5 years old, so neither her German nor English grammar was likely to be right. But in any case she was having trouble getting the word order right.

          Far be it from me to to tell a German speaker about German,but this from https://www.fluentu.com/blog/german/learn-german-word-order/ does suggest the reason she was having difficulty with two languages.

          In German, there are many situations where the verb absolutely has to
          come at the end of the sentence. This is one of the reasons why German
          is considered to be such a strange and difficult language.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The child was 4 or 5 years old, so neither her German nor English grammar was likely to be right.

          So, a crappy analogy then. Maybe she’d just been watching Star Wars and picked up a bit of Yoda’s OSV.

          In any case. The analogy helps your argument not one iota.

          But in any case she was having trouble getting the word order right.

          The question is why? Learning as a second language I can perhaps understand, though not much, but not learning as bilingual. It makes no sense.

          Far be it from me to to tell a German speaker about German,but this from https://www.fluentu.com/blo… does suggest the reason she was having difficulty with two languages.

          Well, am not fluent, but I studied it to ‘O’ Level many years ago and lived in Germany, twice. So, I was able to get by.

          Your analogy makes absolutely no sense.

          Simple, declarative sentences are identical in German and English: Subject, verb, other.

          The verb is always the second element in a German sentence.

          With compound verbs, the second part of the verb goes last, but the conjugated part is still second.

          German sentences are usually “time, manner, place.”

          After a subordinate clause / conjunction, the verb goes last.

          “We are going to the park” is a simple declarative sentence.

          So whatever the child’s reason for fucking up the order, it wasn’t because of a thinking in German, then translation error from German into English.

        • Greg G.

          I did get his point though. My wife learned English after the age of 30. She hears the tonal changes of the vowels more than the consonants at the end of the word. I have learned to ask if she said “fifteen” or “fifty” because the “n” is not usually pronounced. The adjective-noun sequence is reversed in Vietnamese so when she asks me to get “ground beef” at the store, it sounds like “bean sprouts” because the order can be arbitrary and the consonant combinations can be a problem. But she sure can cook whatever I think she said!

        • Don Camp

          <blockquotr< the world did not come to believe in Jesus as was supposed to happen.

          Did you think this was going to magically happen right away? Didn’t Jesus say that the disciples were to go into all the world and preach the good news? How could that happen right away?

        • Greg G.

          Did you think this was going to magically happen right away?

          Aren’t prayers answered by god thingy magic?

          Didn’t Jesus say that the disciples were to go into all the world and preach the good news?

          Yes, but wouldn’t that mean he didn’t have much faith in his prayer?

          How could that happen right away?

          It should take one set of believers to be in unity to start off. People who met them are supposed to be so impressed by their unity that they also believe. Then it should expand exponentially.

          But even if it was just that one group with the amazing unity, the whole world should have come to believe before they died.

          That prayer by Jesus is the greatest prayer failure of all time.

        • Greg G.

          Also, it’s been 2000 years.

        • Don Camp

          Nothing suggests that the world would come to believe in Jesus. Quite the opposite: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” It simply says that the good news (gospel) would be preached in all the world. At this point according to recent estimates from my mission oriented church leadership, there are about 1 billion out of 7 that have not had access to the gospel.

        • Greg G.

          Nothing suggests that the world would come to believe in Jesus.

          It says it explicitly, TWICE! In a parallelism!

          John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
          20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

          The greatest prayer failure of all time defended by the greatest apologetics failure of all time.

        • Greg G.

          Again,

          Some parallels between Homer and Mark inevitably will be weaker than others, but the same is true, for example, of parallels between Mark and Luke. Even though few scholars today doubt that Luke rewrote Mark, many parallels between the two works are so weak that interpreters have doubted any genetic, literary relationship between them at all. Even a large number of such weak associations, however, cannot jeopardize the general thesis that Luke rewrote Mark. Rather, the opposite is true: the clearer examples lend plausibility to the fainter.
          –Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, page 9

          You are not getting his entire argument. Consider the order of the events in Mark and the Odyssey. A trivial parallel between two stronger parallels is strengthened when the order is the same in the source or reversed. I haven’t seen MacDonald make the argument that the fact that Mark wrote in a chiastic format would tend to reverse the order of events, but it seems to me to explain that characteristic. Even three weak parallels in the same order strengthens them as derivatives.

        • Don Camp

          You know that Catholics are going to want to defend the perfection of Mary. That being the case, her thinking her son is crazy or acting crazy is way too edgy to be considered.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You really aren’t getting it at all, are ya?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe that it was something that actually happened??? But I don’t think that is going to satisfy you. So why not take a stab at explaining.

          What happened at the end of chapter 3?

          Earlier in gMark, Jesus asked the disciples to leave everything. Jobs, family, community, the heap. At the end of chapter three, Jesus reciprocated by disowning his own lot.

          Why isn’t Jesus scooped by the authorities for his blasphemy? Not because they took pity on him as a mad man. The reason for that was to let the 12 see that families aren’t everything. The authorities allow him to walk, because he defends himself as not being possessed.

        • Don Camp

          The buybull is chock full of fictional yarns using verisimilitude.

          This is the place for an example. We have a saying in the American west: “Big hat, no cows.” That may fit here.

          Re: Evans. I would not consider the accurate description of the geography of Judea as verisimilitude. The term verisimilitude is usually reserved for fictional narrative where a sense of reality enhances the story.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This is the place for an example. We have a saying in the American west: “Big hat, no cows.” That may fit here.

          I gave you one at your previous request, didn’t you read it, and the accompanying article from the Journal of Biblical Literature on the topic?

          You are the epitome of the verisimilitude throughout the buybull. In spite of contrary evidence, you refuse to accept the many parts that can’t be historical fact, therefore, the verisimilitude employed by the authors has worked.

          There are folk in the US today that believe that the Genesis accounts of creation are historical fact. And only a matter of centuries ago, that was the case for most people. Demonstrating effective verisimilitude.

          Verisimilitude

          Definition:

          Verisimilitude tends to be based around the appearance or proximity to being real, or the truth. It was a large part of the work of Karl Popper, and can be used in a variety of different ways to describe something, as well. It is a way of implying the believability or likelihood of a theory or narrative. However, just because something can be described as having Verisimilitude does not mean that it is true, only that merely appears to or seems to be true.

          The Book of Exodus, The Book of Joshua…full of stuff that folk believed was historical fact, but just isn’t.

          Re: Evans. I would not consider the accurate description of the geography of Judea as verisimilitude.

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KlqJDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT240&lpg=PT240&dq=dr+craig+evans+verisimilitude&source=bl&ots=xznctfYYYZ&sig=ACfU3U0MjjbtdY2CKbhAPc9cdxA4G2x0GQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj57ZGAib3mAhUZSxUIHffgCRMQ6AEwDnoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=dr%20craig%20evans%20verisimilitude&f=false

          Anno, daft, isn’t he? And he isn’t alone in his confusion.

          But he ain’t alone.

          https://www.twr360.org/blog/details/399/verisimilitude

          Like I already said, haven’t a clue.

          The term verisimilitude is usually reserved for fictional narrative where a sense of reality enhances the story.

          Indeed. So if the gospels are a fictional narrative, those things that Evans list, would indeed be examples of reality being used to enhance the stories. Or as Evans claims, verisimilitude.

        • Don Camp

          As I mentioned before, Evans uses the term verisimilitude improperly.

          Verisimilitude tends to be based around the appearance or proximity to being real, or the truth. [emphasis mine]

          On the other hand, a description of a real place, even a detailed description, is to be expected in actual history. And btw that was my point.

          Whether something is history or fiction needs to be decided on other bases, not verisimilitude or description. But my second point was that putting a little vignette such as the mother and brothers of Jesus thinking him crazy in a fiction story would make little sense. It creates a potential contradiction between what we expect and what is being described. (That was Bob’s point.) That being then case, and the vignette not being essential to the story, if it is fiction, why do it? Yet there it is. It would be better not to see it as an attempt at making the narrative look real but of it being real.

        • Greg G.

          On the other hand, a description of a real place, even a detailed description, is to be expected in actual history.

          But the converse does not follow. Gone with the Wind is fiction and it refers to real places.

          That being then case, and the vignette not being essential to the story, if it is fiction, why do it?

          Mark 3:20-21 is part of a Markan sandwich that ends with Mark 3:31-35.

          Mark 3:31-35 (NRSV)31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I mentioned before, Evans uses the term verisimilitude improperly.

          Bwaaahahaha! Nope….as I mentioned before, Evans is using the term improperly.

          I’ve been using information for my argument from a 6 year old article from Vridar in my favourites’

          https://vridar.org/2013/11/28/history-and-verisimilitude-real-vs-realistic/

        • Ignorant Amos

          On the other hand, a description of a real place, even a detailed description, is to be expected in actual history. And btw that was my point.

          Don, your point is stupid. And you know it. Plenty of fiction has real people and places in them.

          Describing real locations in literary works, lends no veracity to their historical value, especially when most of the rest of the work is clearly fictitious.

          Whether something is history or fiction needs to be decided on other bases, not verisimilitude or description.

          So why bring that up then?

          But my second point was that putting a little vignette such as the mother and brothers of Jesus thinking him crazy in a fiction story would make little sense.

          You keep repeating this nonsense. You have to demonstrate why. And why the alternative reasons you’ve been presented are less probable.

          It creates a potential contradiction between what we expect and what is being described. (That was Bob’s point.).

          So it is an embarrassment, so why did the author include it, even if historical. If the author thought it an embarrassment, why not omit it altogether?

          That being then case, and the vignette not being essential to the story, if it is fiction, why do it?

          You’ve been given reasons why it was valuable to the story. Theological reasons too. You chose to ignore those reasons due to your biased agenda. That is being dishonest.

          Yet there it is.

          Indeed.

          It would be better not to see it as an attempt at making the narrative look real but of it being real.

          It doesn’t need to be either. Like a lot of other stuff that serves a purpose that isn’t an attempt to make the narrative look real, or even if it being real. If gMark wasnt writing history, but a historical fiction for theological reasons.

        • Don Camp

          Plenty of fiction has real people and places in them.

          But real history has only real people.

          If the author thought it an embarrassment, why not omit it altogether?

          The easy answer is that it did not conflict with anything in Mark. Bob only considered it a contradiction after he made some assumptions related to the visitation of angels with Mary.

          You’ve been given reasons why it was valuable to the story.

          And I agree with that; it is Bob who is making a big deal of this. You need to speak with him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But real history has only real people.

          Really?

          Ever heard of Ned Ludd?

          https://www.history.com/news/who-were-the-luddites

          Ever read Plutarch’s “Life of Romulus”?

          http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Romulus*.html

          Folk that were considered historical that might not have…

          https://www.grunge.com/21799/famous-people-may-never-existed/

          …and if they never existed, anything historical written about them is historically spurious.

          The easy answer is that it did not conflict with anything in Mark.

          Correct. It is only a problem when read in parallel with the other gospels.

          Bob only considered it a contradiction after he made some assumptions related to the visitation of angels with Mary.

          Well it’s a bit more complex than that. But yes. From Luke…

          26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

          29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

          34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

          35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

          38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

          Your needing Mary to disregard this in order to defend gMark and the crazy Jesus charge is fucking ludicrous.

          From Matthew…

          18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

          20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

          22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

          Your needing Mary and Joseph to disregard this in order to defend gMark and the crazy Jesus charge is fucking ludicrous.

          And I agree with that; it is Bob who is making a big deal of this.

          No. Bob is pointing out that when you try to harmonise gMark with the above, anyone thinking critically, can see the problem.

          You need to speak with him.

          Why? I get the point. It’s you who is being stupid.

        • Greg G.

          But real history has only real people.

          Jewish Wars 2.17.6 §425-429 (describes the Sicarii) and Jewish Wars 2.17.8 §433-440 says, “In the mean time, one Manahem, the son of Judas, that was called the Galilean, (who was a very cunning sophister)”.

          It seems that Mark probably combined the description of the Sicarii and the description of Judas the Galilean to invent Judas Iscariot by swapping the first two letters of “Sicarii”.

          Judas is probably the sixth most important character in Mark and plays a key role in every gospel. The other gospel authors felt free to invent different deaths for him.

          Real history wouldn’t have invented characters.

        • Don Camp

          And the Gospel writers did not invent characters. There is no reason to think Judas was invented. In fact, if there was no real Judas in the story of Jesus there would have been no betrayal and no trial or execution.

        • Don Camp

          Sicarii in Greek is σικάριος. Iscariot in Greek is Ἰσκαριώτης.
          Swapping or reversing the order of the first two letter of
          Ἰσκαριώτης leaves you with a word that may sound the same as Iscariot in English, but as you can see, is not the same in Greek and would not have sounded the same. The vowel ο (omricon) and ω (omega) are different. Only if you use the plural for σικάριος, Σικαρίων, do you get an omega (which is the indicator of a genitive plural). In addition there is the της in the name of Iscariot.

          So even if this bizarre theory were true, more than a simple swapping of letters would be necessary. But there are more problems with the theory than the morphology of the word. More significant is that Ἰσκαριώτης has a simpler and more reasonable etymology. It is that Iscariot is Hebrew in origin and the combination of ish meaning man and qirya meaning city. In the typical Hebrew idiom, Iscariot would mean “man of the city. ”

          [Hebrew idiom usually names people by reference to their father or to their place of origin. ]

          Judas, of course, is a common name in the biblical era. There was another Judas among the twelve disciples and even one brother of Jesus had the name Judas.

          So to come up with this theory, requires, again, knowledge of Josephus that would have been extremely improbable for Mark to have even if he lived some time after Josephus wrote. That would be at the turn of the first and second centuries. And it is impossible to date the Gospel of Mark to that time.

          Equally significant is the reference in the Gospel of John to Judas Iscariot. Mark and John wrote independently of one another. That is acknowledged by almost every scholar. How then did this strange twisting of the word sicarii get attached to Judas in both Gospels?

          I do give you credit for searching out the most offbeat theories. Hardly anyone would be so motivated to find some reason, no matter how crazy, to discredit the biblical text.

        • Greg G.

          Your reply was made two days ago but I just got the email notification early this morning.

          Sicarii in Greek is σικάριος. Iscariot in Greek is Ἰσκαριώτης.
          Swapping or reversing the order of the first two letter of
          Ἰσκαριώτης leaves you with a word that may sound the same as Iscariot in English, but as you can see, is not the same in Greek and would not have sounded the same. The vowel ο (omricon) and ω (omega) are different. Only if you use the plural for σικάριος, Σικαρίων, do you get an omega (which is the indicator of a genitive plural). In addition there is the της in the name of Iscariot.

          That is not how “Iscariot” is spelled in Mark. Mark 3:19 and 14:10 end with “ωθ”, which is a common ending for place names. Thanks for bringing this up. I will point out that ending in the future.

          Place Names in Josephus’ Writings that End with “-ωθ”
          Εξαλωθ > the village called Xaloth
          Μηρωθ > Meloth
          Ροωβωθ > He named this well Rehoboth
          Αναθωθ > to go elsewhere, to his own country, which was called Anathoth
          Ναβαλωθ > Naballo
          Αμηρωθ Meroth
          Ξαλωθ Xaloth
          Γαβαρωθ the village Gabaroth

          So to come up with this theory, requires, again, knowledge of Josephus that would have been extremely improbable for Mark to have even if he lived some time after Josephus wrote. That would be at the turn of the first and second centuries. And it is impossible to date the Gospel of Mark to that time.

          No, Jewish Wars was written during Vespasian’s rule, probably near the end, apparently with better assistants for translating, or so I have read, so around 75 to 80 AD. It was certainly written before Antiquities (because Jewish Wars is mentioned within) and it can be dated to about 94 AD.

          Since Mark used Latin words without having to explain them, he must have been writing for Romans. If Mark was writing for Romans in Rome, he would certainly have had access to Jewish Wars.

          Matthew and Luke contain evidence of using Antiquities so that puts them around “the turn of the first and second centuries” or later.

          Equally significant is the reference in the Gospel of John to Judas Iscariot. Mark and John wrote independently of one another. That is acknowledged by almost every scholar. How then did this strange twisting of the word sicarii get attached to Judas in both Gospels?

          We can see how Mark invented the pericopae. When we see them in John, they had to have been borrowed from Mark.

          For example, when Jesus is being interrogated before the Sanhedrin, In Mark 14:65, Jesus’ face is covered and he is being slapped around and ordered to “Prophesy!” In the following verses, Peter is recognized and accused of being with Jesus. He denied it and the rooster crowed, then he is accused to more times and after the third denial, the rooster crows again, fulfilling the prophesy from Mark 14:30. John 13:38 has a slightly different version of the prediction with three denials before the first rooster crow. John 18:17 is the first. John 18:22 has Jesus slapped around but without the order to prophesy. John 18:25 has the second denial, immediately followed by John 18:26-27 with the third denial and the crow of the rooster. John was only impressed by the prophesy but missed out on the subtleness of the prophecy being fulfilled while Jesus was being ordered to prophesy. It is another Markan sandwich.

          I do give you credit for searching out the most offbeat theories. Hardly anyone would be so motivated to find some reason, no matter how crazy, to discredit the biblical text.

          When you give up trying to force truth into the gospels, their sources become evident.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Papias has an even more extraordinary death for Judas. An it ain’t one found in any gospel, but Don thinks he knew two of the gospels. Strange then that he wouldn’t know the NT gospel death of Judas.

        • Greg G.

          Good point. If the Matthew that Papias read had this account of the death of Iscariot, it certainly was a different Matthew:

          According to a scholium attributed to Apollinaris of Laodicea, Papias also related a tale on the grotesque fate of Judas Iscariot:

          Judas did not die by hanging but lived on, having been cut down before he choked to death. Indeed, the Acts of the Apostles makes this clear: “Falling headlong he burst open in the middle and his intestines spilled out.” Papias, the disciple of John, recounts this more clearly in the fourth book of the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord, as follows:

          “Judas was a terrible, walking example of ungodliness in this world, his flesh so bloated that he was not able to pass through a place where a wagon passes easily, not even his bloated head by itself. For his eyelids, they say, were so swollen that he could not see the light at all, and his eyes could not be seen, even by a doctor using an optical instrument, so far had they sunk below the outer surface. His genitals appeared more loathsome and larger than anyone else’s, and when he relieved himself there passed through it pus and worms from every part of his body, much to his shame. After much agony and punishment, they say, he finally died in his own place, and because of the stench the area is deserted and uninhabitable even now; in fact, to this day one cannot pass that place without holding one’s nose, so great was the discharge from his body, and so far did it spread over the ground.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papias_of_Hierapolis#Death_of_Judas

        • Not sure I follow. Are you saying that the criterion of embarrassment (and the Jesus-is-crazy bit is embarrassing) argues for it being true?

          Mark is consistent–Jesus’s mother and brothers think he is crazy. The other synoptics don’t say this but instead say that everyone knew that Jesus was divine. Each book is consistent. Nothing embarrassing.

          That you’ve got a mess when you put them together is easily explained with naturalistic causes. As usual, the supernatural explanation is unnecessary.

        • Don Camp

          I don’t think that there is any embarrassment putting them together. That was your argument.

          The naturalistic answer is that Mary was not sure what it meant that Jesus was the Savior, the Messiah, divinely conceived, etc. After 30 years of pretty normal behavior, Mary was not prepared for what seemed like a crazy situation to her. That would have been quite normal.

          Imagine what she thought about the crucifixion.

          Mark evidently did not see anything embarrassing in the incident. I think you are the only one I know of who thinks it embarrassing.

          Mark evidently placed this vignette along with the accusation of the Jewish men of the Law – interposed the second in the middle of the former – for the purpose of illustrating that Jesus was not understood by friend or foe and that only when one gets close enough to him to understand his passion for the mission his father had given him would they understand. That is why the pericope ends with:

          3: 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

          In the end – probably not until after the resurrection – Mary, James and Jude and maybe others of Jesus’ brothers became believers in Jesus (Acts 1:14). Paul says that Jesus specifically appeared to James who is named along with Cephas and Paul, perhaps because they were the more surprising (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

          You perhaps understand, Bob. Knowing about Jesus does not necessarily mean you understand him.

        • Greg G.

          Mark evidently did not see anything embarrassing in the incident. I think you are the only one I know of who thinks it embarrassing.

          I agree. Mark’s Jesus was just a dude going to get a baptism like everybody else but it was like he received the one millionth baptism and won a grand prize. Mark had no backstory about Jesus being pre-existent or miraculously born of a virgin. Jesus went into the desert for a while and apparently came out as a nazirite.

          In Mark 5:35, Jesus was going to heal Jairus’ daughter when they were informed that she had died. Jesus told the mourners that she was just sleeping, entered, and told her to get up, and she did. So he did not break the nazirite vow by approaching a corpse.

          Drinking wine or vinegar would break the nazirite vow. Mark 14:23-25 has Jesus breaking bread and pouring wine but he does not take any for himself. In Mark 15:23, while on the cross, Jesus was offered wine and myrrh but he didn’t take it. In Mark 15:36, Jesus was given some vinegar but he died without taking it.

          In Mark 15, it seems that Jesus died before either of the others crucified with him died. They were insulting him between the third hour (Mark 15:25,32) and the sixth hour (Mark 15:33). Jesus died in the ninth hour (Mark 15:34) which surprised Pilate that he died so soon (Mark 15:44). So nobody died in his presence.

          Matthew 27:34 says Jesus tasted the sour wine and gall which would break the vow and he would have had to shave his head and start over. John 19:30 says Jesus drank the vinegar that was offered to him. I think turning water into wine would probably break the vow though nobody thought it necessary to include such a prohibition. Luke has Jesus eating and drinking a lot but never specifies the drinks as being from the fruit of the vine.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This really is a struggle for ya, ain’t it?

          I don’t think that there is any embarrassment putting them together. That was your argument.

          But putting them together is the problem. The offending passage in gMark on it’s own, with the holy family not knowing the earlier shit in the other gospels, works just fine. As has been explained…ad nauseam…Jesus divinity becomes recognised at his baptism. Hence his families ignorance and thinking he’d lost his marbles. The passage is sound as a theological message. That those that walk the same path, will know his secret. Those that do not, even family, will be shunned.

          The naturalistic answer is that Mary was not sure what it meant that Jesus was the Savior, the Messiah, divinely conceived, etc. After 30 years of pretty normal behavior, Mary was not prepared for what seemed like a crazy situation to her. That would have been quite normal.

          Your whole position rests on this nonsense. Given the other gospels, how ta fuck could she not be sure? The whole two nativity narratives of Jesus have to be ignored, forgotten, or unknown, to the author of gMark for your assertion to be valid.

          See, the problem is, you have to ignore the other gospels. Take the position that the story never happened the way they claim. Which for our part, is fine. But for Christers and your wee thesis above, is problematic.

          There is no way on any level, a mother is going to forget the archangel Gabriel telling her how she became pregnant without getting fucked. She is carrying Gods son put there by the spirit of the Lord. Joseph getting the explanation as to how and why his virgin fiancee was up the duff without getting the big lad, through revelation. The trip to Bethlehem, giving birth in a stable, the miraculous star, the angel led shepherds pitching up, the magi presenting precious gifts, the slaughter of the innocents because the King was trying to off their “special” baby, the vacation to Egypt to keep the baby out of harms way, etc., you are bonkers mad if you think any of that happened and the holy couple forgot about it for 30 years of mundane life, then were suddenly surprised when Jesus started doing the miraculous and imparted deeply profound philosophical readings of scripture. And believing it the ravings of a loony.

          The pragmatic approach, is that none of that happened, That’s why Marks author wrote nothing about it. But lets grant you that gMark did know it, but found little reason to write about it. Then it is fair to assert that any of the stuff young Jesus got up to in those 30 years of the nothing you need, he thought relevant to his story. See your predicament?

          And if you grant the nativity nonsense as historical, then you must grant the following too..

          In accordance with the Jewish law, his parents presented the infant Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, where two people in the temple, Simeon and Anna the Prophetess, gave thanks to God who had sent his salvation. Joseph and Mary then returned to Nazareth. There “the child grew and became strong, and was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” Each year his parents went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and when Jesus was twelve years old they found him in the Temple listening to the teachers and asking questions so that “all who heard him were amazed”. His mother rebuked him for causing them anxiety, because his family had not known where he was, but he answered that he was in his Father’s house. “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them, but his mother treasured all these things in her heart, and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

          …which makes your 30 years of nothing, totally untenable, and Mary not knowing he was special, even more nonsense.

          Nah…gMark starts where he does for a reason…the start of the ministry, without the later gospels nonsense bells and whistles embellishments, the vignette makes sense on that thesis.

          Imagine what she thought about the crucifixion.

          The same as any mother whose crazy son breaks a capitol law with execution as punishment, in those days. Or in a days I imagine.

          Mark evidently did not see anything embarrassing in the incident.

          We know. That’s what Bob has being saying. It is only embarrassing when lined up against the other gospels…written later. Otherwise it serves perfectly well as a literary plot device for gMark. That’s the point.

          I think you are the only one I know of who thinks it embarrassing.

          Oh ffs, does it take special training to be so fucking stupid and obtuse?

          Mark evidently placed this vignette along with the accusation of the Jewish men of the Law – interposed the second in the middle of the former – for the purpose of illustrating that Jesus was not understood by friend or foe and that only when one gets close enough to him to understand his passion for the mission his father had given him would they understand. That is why the pericope ends with:

          We know. We told you that at least a week ago. That’s why it is a perfectly reasonable literary plot device in a work of fiction. Where the problem lies, is Mary not knowing Jesus wasn’t crazy vis a vis the other gospel narratives.

          In the end – probably not until after the resurrection – Mary, James and Jude and maybe others of Jesus’ brothers became believers in Jesus (Acts 1:14).

          Nope. The Resurrection and The Acts are a loada made up ballix too.

          Paul says that Jesus specifically appeared to James who is named along with Cephas and Paul, perhaps because they were the more surprising (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

          Appeared in a revelation, i.e. a dream, just like he did to Paul.

          You perhaps understand, Bob. Knowing about Jesus does not necessarily mean you understand him.

          You perhaps understand, Don. Knowing about Sherlock Holmes does not necessarily mean you understand him.

        • Don Camp

          The offending passage in gMark on it’s own… works just fine.

          You are right; it does work just fine. Each of the Gospels has coherence and unity on its own. The authors wrote with a purpose and chose the facts, the elements of the narrative, that furthered their purpose.

          So for Matthew choosing the facts that presented Jesus as the Messiah, including the nativity, furthered his purpose. For Luke choosing the facts that presented Jesus as a man living out the experiences common to all, including his nativity, yet at the same time the God-man and Savior, furthered his purpose.

          For Mark choosing to tell the more focused message of the gospel and Jesus as Savior, without his nativity, furthered his purpose.

          BTW I have not claimed that the passage in question is and “offending passage.” It fits the gospel message that Mark is telling.

          Jesus divinity becomes recognised at his baptism.

          Yes. It becomes recognized, but that happens in the first chapter of Mark and certainly before the point of the narrative in question.

          Mary not knowing he was special, even more nonsense.

          Knowing and understanding the the implications are two different things. You quote Luke 2:51 in your post, “But his mother treasured al these things in her heart. The word translated “treasured” means:

          1301 diatēréō (from 1223 /diá, “through, thoroughly,” intensifying 5083 /tēréō, “guard”) – properly, thoroughly keep (very carefully) to ensure final safety (staying intact for “successful final delivery”).

          The passage suggests that Mary was a bit mystified by all this that was happening and kept thinking about what it meant. We tend to make it a sentimental reaction on Mary’s part because of the translation “treasured.” I don’t think it was. It was a puzzle which Mary was thinking about.

          Note that verse 51 directly follows the episode of Jesus in Jerusalem speaking to the “teachers” while his parents head for home. When Mary finally finds him she actually chastises him saying, “Son, why have you treated us like this?: If she was so convinced that he was divine and special, that reaction seems as out of character as the Mark passage. How would Mary question anything Jesus did?

          But she did. She didn’t understand what all this meant and was still, twelve years after his birth, puzzling over it.

        • Greg G.

          Note that verse 51 directly follows the episode of Jesus in Jerusalem speaking to the “teachers” while his parents head for home. When Mary finally finds him she actually chastises him saying, “Son, why have you treated us like this?: If she was so convinced that he was divine and special, that reaction seems as out of character as the Mark passage. How would Mary question anything Jesus did?

          But she did. She didn’t understand what all this meant and was still, twelve years after his birth, puzzling over it.

          I would expect an angel to be able to explain exactly what was going to happen better than a horny teenager trying to get into a naive girl’s pants.

          Luke has given a new story that is not in any other gospel. He seems to have got the premise of the idea from the most salacious passage of Josephus:

          Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.4 §65-80
          4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman, who was a man very high in the equestrian order; and as she was of too great dignity to be caught by presents, and had already rejected them, though they had been sent in great abundance, he was still more inflamed with love to her, insomuch that he promised to give her two hundred thousand Attic drachmae for one night’s lodging; and when this would not prevail upon her, and he was not able to bear this misfortune in his amours, he thought it the best way to famish himself to death for want of food, on account of Paulina’s sad refusal; and he determined with himself to die after such a manner, and he went on with his purpose accordingly. Now Mundus had a freed-woman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief. This woman was very much grieved at the young man’s resolution to kill himself, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others,) and came to him, and encouraged him by her discourse, and made him to hope, by some promises she gave him, that he might obtain a night’s lodging with Paulina; and when he joyfully hearkened to her entreaty, she said she wanted no more than fifty thousand drachmae for the entrapping of the woman. So when she had encouraged the young man, and gotten as much money as she required, she did not take the same methods as had been taken before, because she perceived that the woman was by no means to be tempted by money; but as she knew that she was very much given to the worship of the goddess Isis, she devised the following stratagem: She went to some of Isis’s priests, and upon the strongest assurances [of concealment], she persuaded them by words, but chiefly by the offer of money, of twenty-five thousand drachmae in hand, and as much more when the thing had taken effect; and told them the passion of the young man, and persuaded them to use all means possible to beguile the woman. So they were drawn in to promise so to do, by that large sum of gold they were to have. Accordingly, the oldest of them went immediately to Paulina; and upon his admittance, he desired to speak with her by herself. When that was granted him, he told her that he was sent by the god Anubis, who was fallen in love with her, and enjoined her to come to him. Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis; so he agreed to her acceptance of the offer, as fully satisfied with the chastity of his wife. Accordingly, she went to the temple, and after she had supped there, and it was the hour to go to sleep, the priest shut the doors of the temple, when, in the holy part of it, the lights were also put out. Then did Mundus leap out, (for he was hidden therein,) and did not fail of enjoying her, who was at his service all the night long, as supposing he was the god; and when he was gone away, which was before those priests who knew nothing of this stratagem were stirring, Paulina came early to her husband, and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her. Among her friends, also, she declared how great a value she put upon this favor, who partly disbelieved the thing, when they reflected on its nature, and partly were amazed at it, as having no pretense for not believing it, when they considered the modesty and the dignity of the person. But now, on the third day after what had been done, Mundus met Paulina, and said, “Nay, Paulina, thou hast saved me two hundred thousand drachmae, which sum thou sightest have added to thy own family; yet hast thou not failed to be at my service in the manner I invited thee. As for the reproaches thou hast laid upon Mundus, I value not the business of names; but I rejoice in the pleasure I reaped by what I did, while I took to myself the name of Anubis.” When he had said this, he went his way. But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of this wicked contrivance, and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would.

          The oldest priest of the Isis cult who told Paulina that Anubis wanted to sleep with her became the angel who told Mary that the Lord wanted to sleep with her, and she conceded to the seduction, as did Paulina.

        • richardrichard2013

          “It was a puzzle which Mary was thinking about.”

          she gave birth to yhwh and breast fed yhwh day and night. she was reading scriptures which prophesied yhwhs birth . she was presenting yhwh to the public and joseph was pretending to be yhwhs dad at the same time with full confidence that yhwh was the son of the holy ghost. mary in luke was not really puzzled but surprised that she would be chosen to birth yhwh feed him , teach him, potty train him, school him. if a christian woman were chosen to birth yhwh, do you think she would not be overwhelmed with surprise even with knowledge that yhwh has chosen to be born in the past?

        • Don Camp

          do you think she would not be overwhelmed with surprise even with knowledge that yhwh has chosen to be born in the past?

          No. The simple and ordinary dominated Mary’s life just as it does with all of us.

          The New Testament paints a picture of Mary that is different from the sentimental portrait of Mary we are accustomed to. She is miffed that Jesus did not think about staying with the family on that trip to Jerusalem. She thinks what is going on with Jesus and the mob is crazy. She does seem to understand that Jesus was capable of doing miracles (John 2) but she is not mentioned among the women who followed Jesus. She doesn’t seem to expect that Jesus would rise from the dead. She is not mentioned as one who expected his resurrection any more than the disciples – who did not expect it. It isn’t until after the resurrection that she shows up in the narrative of Acts and as one who were gathered with the believers on Pentecost.

          So whatever Mary understood about Jesus and his mission, it doesn’t appear that she was totally comprehending who her son was.

        • richardrichard2013

          the text say why did you make us worry .
          does the text say why did you behave like a prick by going missing ?
          OR is it about MISTREATMENT ?

          emotionally worrying for yhwh the child and being mistreated by yhwh the child are two different thinks. no catholic on this planet thinks yhwh mistreated his parents. why would catholics use mary as INTERMEDIARY IF he mistreated his mum as a child?

        • Don Camp

          It says something like “mistreating” or at least implies it.
          Verse 50 says

          49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

          That they did not understand he would be in his Father’s house implies they didn’t really fully understand his divinity. Or that he was a bit thoughtless as a pre-teen.

          Luke is showing a side to Jesus that we may have difficulty putting together with our millennia old picture of Jesus as a perfect-in-every-way child. There is no scriptural reason to imagine that he was perfect- in-every-way. He was a kid just like every 12 year-old is. The scripture would hold that even as a child he did not sin, but that is different from being thoughtless or preoccupied to the point of being thoughtless about his parents’ concern.

          In fact, verse 52 suggests that he had room to grow in wisdom and perhaps even in favor (approval) with God and man.

          And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

          I am not Catholic, so I have no inclination to make Mary perfect.

        • richardrichard2013

          “It says something like “mistreating” or at least implies it.”

          no, you are reading that into the text

          “That they did not understand he would be in his Father’s house implies they didn’t really fully understand his divinity.”

          “not understanding” is the same as being MISTREATED ?

          There is nothing in the text which says that the mary who considered jesus nuts(gospel of mark) FELT that she WAS being mistreated by pre-teen yhwh.

          ” Or that he was a bit thoughtless as a pre-teen.”

          evidence ?

          the angel of the lord never said that mary was going to give birth to a thoughtless yhwh.

          “Luke is showing a side to Jesus that we may have difficulty putting together with our millennia old picture of Jesus as a perfect-in-every-way child. There is no scriptural reason to imagine that he was perfect- in-every-way.”

          how is a misunderstanding the same as being mistreated ?

          ” He was a kid just like every 12 year-old is. The scripture would hold that even as a child he did not sin, but that is different from being thoughtless or preoccupied to the point of being thoughtless about his parents’ concern.”

          define “thoughtless”
          where does mary feel that he was “thoughtless” ?

          the mary in mark and the mary in luke are two different creatures.

        • Greg G.

          the mary in mark and the mary in luke are two different creatures.

          The mother of Jesus in John is a third different creature but not named Mary. John gives the names of four women in that gospel. One is named Martha and three are named Mary. The sister of Jesus’ mother is named Mary but Jesus’ mother is never named. She is mentioned in John 2:3-5 and 19:25-27.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are right; it does work just fine.

          Ah, yes….the dishonest Christer quote mine. Lying for Jesus at it’s finest. Yes, it works just fine on it’s own as a fictional literary plot device. Glad we agree on that.

          Each of the Gospels has coherence and unity on its own.

          A wouldn’t go that far. But anyway, on there own is not the issue, is it? When read in parallel, the whole ball of wax is a literary clusterfuck, and you’d know it if ya were being honest with yerself.

          The authors wrote with a purpose and chose the facts, the elements of the narrative, that furthered their purpose.

          All authors write with a purpose ya Dime Bar. You have to be able to demonstrate that what they chose were facts. Something no one has been able to do to date, so a doubt you can do any better. Their purpose was to further their particular flavour of the woo-woo.

          So for Matthew choosing the facts that presented Jesus as the Messiah, including the nativity, furthered his purpose.

          Matthew chose no facts. The author wrote a yarn that was plagiarised from other stories. But this nonsense is irrelevant to this discussion other than the fact that in that version of the story, Mary and Joseph knew fine well that her son was the son of God too.

          For Luke choosing the facts that presented Jesus as a man living out the experiences common to all, including his nativity, yet at the same time the God-man and Savior, furthered his purpose.

          Common to all? Bwaaaahahahaha!

          Again, the point is, according that version of the nonsense, Mary knew her son was divine from conception…or as near as dammit. You want us to believe that in gMark, she didn’t know that, or forgot about it, or somehow thought it wasn’t to be taken seriously. Then when he was 30, was doing extraordinary stuff, and she didn’t recollect the whole nativity extravaganza and think, hey, my boy is the real McCoy, but instead thought, that lad of mine is crackers. Wise ta fuck up Don, just because you are that gullible, doesn’t mean to say the rest of us here is too.

          For Mark choosing to tell the more focused message of the gospel and Jesus as Savior, without his nativity, furthered his purpose.

          Or it wasn’t mentioned, because it didn’t happen. Which honest scholars concede. It was made up woo-woo to fulfil OT prophecy.

          BTW I have not claimed that the passage in question is and “offending passage.” It fits the gospel message that Mark
          is telling.

          I never said ya did. For the purposes of this discussion, it is problematic, so I’m claiming it is the offending passage. And for the nth time, the fact that it fits gMarks story, isn’t the issue. It doesn’t fit the gospels story as a whole. Which is the point in the OP and which you seem to be struggling to grasp. Your incredulity won’t change that fact.

          Yes. It becomes recognized, but that happens in the first chapter of Mark and certainly before the point of the narrative in question.

          The point is, it isn’t at the same point in the other two gospels, so the inference is, Mary and the lads are unaware of his divinity, so think he’s crackers for blaspheming when he did. The other inference is, Marks author wasn’t aware of the nativity shenanigans as described in the other two yarns. It’s not like it was something unworthy of note.

          Knowing and understanding the the implications are two different things.

          Oh for fuck sake. Are you gonna wise up any time soon? A fucking archangel tells her your son is the spawn of God and that makes him extra special. He’s here to do wonderous things. Later, when the son of God is doing wonderous things, Mary thinks he’s nuts and gets very concerned about it. You are trying to say that she wouldn’t think back 30 years and go, well yeah, a fucking angel from heaven told me this state of affairs would obtain. I’m not sure what’s going on, but it must be something to do with my boy being the son of God. Never mind Jesus, you are the one who is fucking crackers Don.

          You quote Luke 2:51 in your post, “But his mother treasured al these things in her heart. The word translated “treasured” means:

          1301 diatēréō (from 1223 /diá, “through, thoroughly,” intensifying 5083 /tēréō, “guard”) – properly, thoroughly keep (very carefully) to ensure final safety (staying intact for “successful final delivery”).

          So what? Cherry-picking pious fraud that you are…which a Google search is enough to uncover your dishonesty.

          Detailed Definition:

          1. to keep continually or carefully

          https://www.messie2vie.fr/bible/strongs/strong-greek-G1301-diatereo.html

          The passage suggests that Mary was a bit mystified by all this that was happening and kept thinking about what it meant.

          Does it fuck. Mary knew he was the son of God already. An archangel from Heaven told her already, remember?

          We tend to make it a sentimental reaction on Mary’s part because of the translation “treasured.” I don’t think it was. It was a puzzle which Mary was thinking about.

          I could give zero fucks about what you think. The plain reading in the context of the gospel says different, and the translators that picked treasured thought the same. You really need this, don’t ya?

          Note that verse 51 directly follows the episode of Jesus in Jerusalem speaking to the “teachers” while his parents head for home. When Mary finally finds him she actually chastises him saying, “Son, why have you treated us like this?: If she was so convinced that he was divine and special, that reaction seems as out of character as the Mark passage. How would Mary question anything Jesus did?

          Ballix…he was a minor in her charge and her son. She was showing the natural concern that a mother whose kid wanders of in the mall. The fact that he was special would make it all the relevant. The saviour of mankind getting lost or worse, before he had time to fix the world, isn’t what ya’d want. Ever see the Fifth Element.

          But she did. She didn’t understand what all this meant and was still, twelve years after his birth, puzzling over it.

          Even if correct, she knew there was something about him…an archangel told her, remember?

          You are clutching at straws.

        • Don Camp

          My goodness, you are long winded, Amos. But what you’ve written is intriguing enough to respond to – though in several parts.

          When read in parallel, the whole ball of wax is a literary [mess] and you’d know it if ya were being honest with yerself.

          You’ve been quite open with what you assert to be true, but give me a couple of places where you find this to be true.

          You have to be able to demonstrate that what they chose were facts.

          When doing the everyday kind of history we cannot be sure of the facts reported unless there is conformation in more than source. That is true on the everyday level of news reporting and on the more academic level of writing history. (BTW that was a standard even in Old Testament law that required an accusation or claim to be confirmed by two or more witnesses.) Well, we have more than one source for most if not all of the core facts. (I distinguish core facts from the details.)

          Let’s take the resurrection of Jesus as an example. All four Gospels report it. Multiple people gave witness to the risen Jesus, and their testimony is found in multiple documents. (I won’t repeat all those as I am sure you are aware of them.)

          In addition, every actual event is a cause that has effects. The resurrection was a cause for the faith of the disciples who witnessed the risen Jesus and their proclamation of that fact and ultimately the establishment of the church that exists because of that proclamation by those who witnessed the risen Jesus.

          Thanks for probing . It causes me to think carefully through the questions and challenges you present.

          More later.

        • Greg G.

          You’ve been quite open with what you assert to be true, but give me a couple of places where you find this to be true.

          My favorite is whether Jesus was crucified before the Passover feast (John) or afterward (Synoptics).

        • Don Camp

          Good. That is a puzzle, one of a very few I’d add.

          JOHN The “just before the the Passover festival” (this is a reasonable translation of the Greek) in John 13:1 seems to mean the day before the festival. Add to that John 18:28, and it seems clear that the evening meal of John 13 was not the Passover meal celebrated by the Jewish leaders. That meal would occur on the evening after Jesus crucifixion.

          MATTHEW indicates that the meal the disciples prepared was the Passover meal. That would mean Jesus was crucified after the Passover meal on Passover day.

          MARK says that it was on the first day of Unleavened Bread that the disciples were going to prepare the Passover meal. That is an oddity. It does not fit the pattern established in Leviticus 23:4-8 which has the Festival of Unleavened Bread beginning on the 15th day of Nissan, the day after the Passover.

          LUKE, who typically explains Jewish traditions for his Gentile readers, says (Lk.22:7) that the day before the last supper (Passover meal?) was the first day of Unleavened Bread. That is an oddity.

          JOHN seems more consistent with the OT prescription for the Passover/Festival of Unleavened Bread. BUT there is the possibility that the way the Jews celebrated Passover/Unleavened Bread was not consistent with the Leviticus prescription.

          But JOHN then throws us a curve by explaining that the day of the crucifixion was the day of Preparation Day for a special Sabbath” (19:31) What would the “special” Sabbath be here? It is not the usual seventh day sabbath. Was it the First Day of Unleavened Bread? That would be consistent with the Jewish calendar.

          But there is still a disconnect, or appears to be one. in fact, the problem is even bigger than you have suggested.

          Jack Kelley doing research on a slightly different question made the following statement:

          Some years before the birth of Jesus the Passover celebration had been changed and in the Lord’s time called for a brief ritual meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (horseradish) to begin the 14th followed by a great and leisurely festival meal on the 15th, when the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. This tradition is still followed today. https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/solving-the-three-day-three-night-mystery/

          I have not been able to confirm a source for Jack Kelley. But Kelley is right about when Jews today celebrate the Passover meal.

          Passover starts on the 15th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar and lasts for 7 or 8 days, usually in April. It celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery and their exodus from Egypt, almost 3000 years ago, as told in the Haggadah (Haggada). https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/jewish/first-day-of-passover

          This would solve your puzzle. If there was two different evenings on which a special meal called Passover was celebrated then both Matthew and John could be correct.

          It would go like this:

          1) The day Jesus tells his disciples to prepare the Passover was Nissan 13 the day before the Passover and preparation day for the Passover, which was then celebrated on Nissan 14 in the evening, the beginning of the Jewish day. This would have been the traditional Passover meal. Interestingly, John does not even call it the Passover meal and does not describe the meal because he wants to emphasize that Jesus died on Passover. Mark considers Passover (Nissan 14) as the beginning of the festival week and thus was the first day of Unleavened Bread.

          2) Jesus was crucified on Nissan 14 and died before evening and the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. His death was not on the day the Passover lambs were sacrificed. But it was on Passover day. It was also the day of preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the second preparation day.

          3) The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on Nissan15, the evening following Jesus’ crucifixion .

          Thus both John and Matthew are correct in their descriptions and the disconnect is solved by there being two preparation days.

        • Greg G.

          Nope. Mark 14:16-17, Matthew 26:19-20, and Luke 22:13-14 say that the disciples prepared the Passover, the evening and the hour came for the Passover, and that Jesus joined the disciples at the table. Mark and Matthew even say that they were eating in the next verse.

          So Jesus definitely ate the Passover.

          Interestingly, John does not even call it the Passover meal and does not describe the meal because he wants to emphasize that Jesus died on Passover.

          I think John was trying to make a theological point that Jesus was the Passover lamb so he had to die the day the Passover lambs were killed.

          John does refer to the Passover (πάσχα) many times but in that gospel, Jesus was dead and buried before the Passover.

          John 13:1-2 explicitly states that it was before the time of the Passover and that they had a meal. John 13:29 tells us they had not begun to prepare for the Passover by saying that some assumed Jesus told Judas to buy things for the feast. Then it is mostly Jesus talking continuously to the end of chapter 17. John 18:1-12 says that when Jesus stopped talking, he crossed the creek and got arrested, tried, convicted, crucified, and died before sunset.

          So Jesus definitely did not eat the Passover.

          I have heard that there once was a custom of having two Passover meals because of the delays in communications. The new moon was declared in Jerusalem and the days until the Passover started counting on that day. But the Diaspora wouldn’t hear exactly when they saw the new moon in Jerusalem but they could estimate it to within two days. They would have two meals and find out later which was the real one. But there was no need for this practice in Jerusalem or within less than two weeks travel distance.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What was the last words of Jesus on the Cross?

        • Greg G.

          What was the last words of Jesus on the Cross?

          “Hey, Peter! I can see your mother-in-law’s house from up here!”

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg G.

          I saw “The Fashion of the Christ” the second time I looked at it. I’m going to look at the others to see if I missed something else.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am blotted….02:06 am here…but anno ya’d appreciate the funnies….

        • Ignorant Amos

          My goodness, you are long winded, Amos.

          Sometimes it becomes necessary when faced with such bullshit.

          But what you’ve written is intriguing enough to respond to – though in several parts.

          You’ve been quite open with what you assert to be true, but give me a couple of places where you find this to be true.

          What? You are unaware that secular and honest Christian scholars of the NT have known this for sometime.

          https://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

          When doing the everyday kind of history we cannot be sure of the facts reported unless there is conformation in more than source. That is true on the everyday level of news reporting and on the more academic level of writing history.

          Indeed, which is why historians frown upon the way their trade is being plied in NT scholarship.

          (BTW that was a standard even in Old Testament law that required an accusation or claim to be confirmed by two or more witnesses.)

          Not on the contents of the OT, so I could give zero fucks.

          Well, we have more than one source for most if not all of the core facts. (I distinguish core facts from the details.)

          I know you might think that’s the case, and Christer apologists would love it to be so, but it really isn’t.

          Let’s take the resurrection of Jesus as an example. All four Gospels report it. Multiple people gave witness to the risen Jesus, and their testimony is found in multiple documents. (I won’t repeat all those as I am sure you are aware of them.)

          Nope. That’s not how it is. The four gospels are not independent attestations. What they report is not eye-witness, it is what some early Christians believed happened, they don’t know it happened.

          I usually cite this article by Christian scholar working as a secular historian at this stage.

          Do Historians Exclude the Supernatural?

          https://jamestabor.com/do-historians-exclude-the-supernatural/

          In addition, every actual event is a cause that has effects.

          You are pressuring the there was an actual event that’s not in evidence. But that means that every supernatural claim or belief, get’s to be put on the table. Furthermore, that works of complete fiction can result in cult following, religious or otherwise, shouldn’t be much of a surprise for you. Claiming yours is different, is special pleading.

          The resurrection was a cause for the faith of the disciples who witnessed the risen Jesus and their proclamation of that fact and ultimately the establishment of the church that exists because of that proclamation by those who witnessed the risen Jesus.

          Nope. That’s the claim. There is no evidence other than the religious texts that make the claim. That is circular. Not all Christians believed the resurrection was a physical body one. And many Christians today hold no truck with the phenomena.

          Thanks for probing . It causes me to think carefully through the questions and challenges you present.

          Hey, if ya get something out of it, knock yerself out. It’s mostly for others reading, that I bother.

        • Rudy R

          Sadly, the questions you present to Camp are pretty much the mainstream chatter in secular communities. And Camp is now being challenged?

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s here with the “reset button” pressed. These are all things he has been faced with elsewhere years ago before being banhammered.

        • Don Camp

          Or it wasn’t mentioned, because it didn’t happen.

          You don’t actually think Jesus had no nativity, do you?

          the inference is, Mary and the lads are unaware of his divinity, so think he’s crackers for blaspheming when he did.

          Let’s look at what Mary knew.
          In Matthew:

          1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

          That is not enough to conclude that Jesus was divine.

          In Luke:

          1:31 …the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

          Still not enough to conclude Jesus was divine – unless we read back into the passage what we know from later parts of the narrative.

          1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

          Still not enough to conclude Jesus was divine – unless we read back into the passage what we knew from later parts of the narrative.

          2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

          Still not enough to conclude Jesus was divine – unless we read back into the passage what we knew from later parts of the narrative.

          It seems that Mark even after hearing all this was not sure what it all meant:

          2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

          I won’t quote Anna’s prophecy or Simeon’s in Luke 2, but neither provide anything that specifically would identify Jesus as divine.

          All the terms used to describe Jesus identify him as Messiah, Savior,Son of God, even Lord – this is all Mary knew – without the development of those terms in later passages do not clearly say that Jesus is God. Even the disciples did not believe Jesus was Divine, though they would and did use these terms to describe him.

          The idea that a man could be God was so contrary to Jewish thought that no one was willing to go there – until he demonstrated it.

          So if there was not something that definitively identified Jesus as divine, why would Mary come to that conclusion. Everything we know about Mary up to the passage in Acts – and that is not much – tells us that she did not believe he was divine. Otherwise your idea that she certainly would not have considered him crazy is reasonable.

          No one in their right mind believing in God and having great reverence for him, would be miffed at his thoughtlessness or have thought him crazy. But if you thought he was “special” but a man child nevertheless who acted like every other baby or junior high kid, you might get miffed and feel correct in trying to rescue him from the craziness he seem to be involved in.

          So I do not find the Mark passage to be in conflict with what we can detect that Mary knew.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t actually think Jesus had no nativity, do you?

          That’s completely irrelevant to the argument. But for what it’s worth, no I don’t think Jesus had a nativity. Anymore than I think Sherlock Holmes had one either. Characters in fiction don’t. And only characters in fiction are going to have the sort of nativities as described in the two contradictory accounts in gMatt and gLuke.

          The next part of your comment is absolute codswallop and you know it.

          In Christianity, the title “Son of God” refers to the status of Jesus as the divine son of God the Father. It derives from several uses in the New Testament and early Christian theology.

          You will lower yerself to the depths of depravity in an attempt to support your bullshit. Really quite sad, but par for the course. it is commonplace among Christers. Lying for Jesus.

          The scene was set out earlier, at the beginning of gMark and in Mark 3 …

          11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” 12 But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.

          Mary hadn’t a clue about this, and if the Jesus’s birth in the other two gospels had been an histotical event, she couldn’t help but know it.

          The terms “son of God” and “son of the LORD” are found in several passages of the Old Testament. In Christianity, the title Son of God refers to the status of Jesus as the divine son of God the Father.

          It derives from several uses in the New Testament and early Christian theology. In mainstream Christianity, it also refers to his status as God the Son, the second divine person or hypostasis of the Trinity.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_God_(Christianity)

          Sons of gods are divine by virtue of the fact they are sons of gods.

          But you keep flogging your dead horse. It serves as an embarrassing example of Christer dishonesty.

          So I do not find the Mark passage to be in conflict with what we can detect that Mary knew.

          Who cares? You’ve demonstrated that you can’t be considered to have any intellectual integrity. A long time before you came here too. You will denounce common Christer interpretation of texts in order to shoehorn in your utter ballix. An angel told Mary she was pregnant without having sex, and that the baby was the son of God. Apparently she understood the significance, so did Joseph. Extraordinary miraculous stuff happened at the birth. You want us to believe all this happened, but then later, she had totally forgot all this about her son, and thought the extraordinary things he was doing in Mark were the actions of a crazy dude? Nah…I’ll be going with the more pragmatic approach, ya can cram your pretzelmania contortion apologetics to your fellow gullible Christer eejits, though I should imagine many of those will think yer heads away with the fairies.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t actually think Jesus had no nativity, do you?

          You don’t actually think Jesus had more than one nativity, do you?

        • Pofarmer

          I think Jesus had exactly as many nativities as Rhett Butler.

        • I don’t think that there is any embarrassment putting them together.

          So “Jesus is divine” and “Jesus is crazy; we need to take him home to keep him safe from himself” fit together nicely in your mind?

          OK. It’s your religion.

          After 30 years of pretty normal behavior, Mary was not prepared for what seemed like a crazy situation to her.

          Crazy like what? Healing people is crazy? Seems to me that that was pretty common during those times.

          Imagine what she thought about the crucifixion.

          What’s crazy? Cruel, yes. But completely understandable.

          If you mean the resurrection, that’s the kind of thing that divine beings do now and then. Given that observation, you’d clearly say “divine,” never “crazy.”

          Mark evidently did not see anything embarrassing in the incident.

          Are you not following the plot? No, Mark didn’t find anything embarrassing, because he didn’t have his family clearly informed about Jesus’s divinity! It’s only when the New Testament forces these books together that things get weird.

          I think you are the only one I know of who thinks it embarrassing.

          Right. And all the other atheists who are reading along. If any are confused like you, point them out to me.

          Mark evidently placed this vignette along with the accusation of the Jewish men of the Law . . .

          Yet, again, you don’t get it. Any sentence that says, “It makes complete sense for Mark to say X,” I might well agree with you. It’s when you put it next to Matt. and Luke that things get weird.

        • Don Camp

          Crazy like what?

          Crazy like being at the center of a mob.

        • I think you’ve left some important points on the table.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because he was never at the centre of mobs elsewhere in the gospels?

          Say, 4,000 or 5,000.

          Pfffft!

        • Don Camp

          But his mother and brother were not there to see it. Capernaum was just a few miles from Nazareth.

        • Greg G.

          Capernaum was just a few miles from Nazareth.

          Google thinks it was 20 miles as the plane flies. The Jesus Trail from Nazareth to Capernaum is 40 miles. A group can travel as fast as the slowest member.

        • Don Camp

          Still the closest place.

          I am taking a break for a couple days. Merry Christmas.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who cares? They are yarns in a story book. The point is, being at the centre of a mob doing what was considered crazy stuff in one story, while doing the same stuff in another story where it wasn’t considered crazy stuff, means there was a literary purpose for including the Mary and the lads thinking Jesus was crazy, in that particular episode. A number of interpretations why, have been presented to you. All of which you hand wave off because they don’t fit your narrative that the only reason for such an inclusion is that it was a real historical event. Which, given the other gospels, is the most untenable and unpragmatic of all reasons. But then that’s just your Christian bias and intellectual dishonesty at work, even in the face of Christian scholars who hold those other interpretation.

        • Greg G.

          If his mother and brothers were 20 miles away, how would they know to go there? How long would it take someone who knew Jesus and where his family lived in Nazareth to decide it would be the right thing to do to run over there to tell them? How long would it take them to get ready to go to Capernaum and to get there? Apparently most people in the story thought Jesus was worth seeking out and following. Why would anyone run the other way to tell others? Plot holes…

        • Ignorant Amos

          If they were even 3 miles away it is problematic. Who is really going to give a flying fuck? So 3 miles to go find Mary, 45 minutes, 45 minutes back…at a pace…the yarn is complete silly pants ffs. But 20 miles away…talk about extracting the urine.

        • Don Camp

          On what grounds is a story to be judged fictional?

          That is the important question.

          A narrative rich in accurate detail is not necessarily a mark of historicity. (I’d disagree with Evans here.) But how are we to discriminate between fiction and history? Sometimes it is rather easy. The excessive and ornate embellishment of the Iliad certainly is a mark of fiction, even if the Trojan War was historical. It is also why the creation myths of the Sumerians should be considered fiction.

          In contrast history is usually told in a spare and sober manner. See the recently cited book by Winston Churchill, The Grand Alliance.. Clearly it is sober and unembellished. See also the Gnostic gospels.

          But that still doesn’t zero in on what identifies history versus fiction.

          It might be a temptation to say that history is believable and fiction is not. But that is only true some of the time. Real life can be as strange as fiction, and fiction can be as realistic as history.

          There is one means, however. An historical event has consequences in real life. In my Jack Reacher stories, there are no real life outcomes to his many adventures. There are no real people who attest to the reality of Jack Reacher. Or consider another fiction story, The Scarlet Letter . Does real history make any reference to Hester Prynne? Did any real person in history say that they knew Hester?

          If someone was trying to make the point that Hestor and the story were historical, they would have to support their opinion with some facts related to the consequences of Hester’s life.

          In the case of Jesus, The people who we’d expect to know if he was a real person and whether the events of his life are historical would be the disciples. And it is hardly debatable that they declared Jesus and his life as historical and were radically changed by that fact. We can, because of this, be reasonably sure that they were not motivated by a fiction.

        • Susan

          But how are we to discriminate between fiction and history?

          By using the methods historians use?

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

        • Don Camp

          Which is exactly what I suggested.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But ya don’t practice what ya preach.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even honest NT scholars are having to admit the methods they are using are flawed.

          Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity

          Criteria of authenticity, whose roots go back to before the pioneering work of Albert Schweitzer, have become a unifying feature of the so-called Third Quest for the Historical Jesus, finding a prominent and common place in the research of otherwise differing scholars. More recently, however, scholars from different methodological frameworks have expressed discontent with this approach to the historical Jesus. In the past five years, these expressions of discontent have reached a fever pitch.

          The internationally renowned authors of this book examine the nature of this new debate and present the findings in a cohesive way aimed directly at making the coalface of Historical Jesus research accessible to undergraduates and seminary students. The book’s larger ramifications as a thorough end to the Third Quest will provide a pressure valve for thousands of scholars who view historical Jesus studies as outmoded and misguided. This book has the potential to guide Jesus studies beyond the Third Quest and demand to be consulted by any scholar who discards, adopts, or adapts historical criteria.

          A review of that book can be read at…
          https://www.academia.edu/6701798/Review_of_Jesus_Criteria_and_the_Demise_of_Authenticity_by_Chris_Keith_and_Anthony_Le_Donne_eds._

          …not that you are terribly interested, but others might be.

          In conclusion, this edited volume, co-written by no less than ten respected scholars in biblical studies, represents a landmark study that clearly articulates a paradigmatic shift in the state of research in historical Jesus studies from the quest for authenticity.By examining the historical and ideological backgrounds to the formation and reception of the criteria of authenticity, through a detailed criticism of the merit of each criteria, and most importantly, demonstrating the logical flaws inherent in the using such criteria in the first place, Keith, Le Donne, and other contributors to this volume deal a formidable blow to the quest for authenticity; not merely highlighting its limitations, but revealing the need for a new approach to the study of the historical Jesus entirely. NT scholarship has long expressed discontent with the limitations and flaws of the methods and results of the criteria approach derived from the New Quest for the Historical Jesus; however, Keith and Le Donne bring these opinions together into an exciting and cogent volume that expresses the need to move toward a new era of Jesus research and scholarship.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That is the important question.

          And it is clear that the Book of Esther is fiction using verisimilitude, which gave it the air of realism. And for many over a long time, it was believed to be historical.

          A narrative rich in accurate detail is not necessarily a mark of historicity. (I’d disagree with Evans here.)

          Indeed. And a narrative rich in detail can be historical. It depends on those details and why they are included.

          But how are we to discriminate between fiction and history?

          Well, ya have to start from a non-biased position to begin with. A Christian NT scholar is going to see the Resurrection as an historical event right off the bat. Historians, even Christian ones, don’t play like that. Off the top of my head I can cite James Tabor and Donald Akenson, whose book, “Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus”, I’m looking at on my bookshelf. That’s a book full of detail.

          “Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies in the department of history at Queen’s University has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians of Yeshua have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty.

          He says that the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because
          of this, he maintains that, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work and that it is only through considerable individual heroism that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.”

          Sometimes it is rather easy.

          And sometimes it’s rather hard…especially when the fiction is so entrenched in a cultural society as history. And even more so if religion is involved.

          The excessive and ornate embellishment of the Iliad certainly is a mark of fiction, even if the Trojan War was historical.

          See, this is the problem the buybull faces too.

          It is also why the creation myths of the Sumerians should be considered fiction.

          No it isn’t. All creation myths are now considered myths because they are unscientific. When they were written, they were accepted as historical by the cultures at the time as how it happened. There are plenty of people today that still believe the creation myth of the buybull.

          In contrast history is usually told in a spare and sober manner.

          Don’t talk nonsense. Have you read the different versions of the Bravo Two Zero SAS patrol in the first gulf war. No, of course you haven’t.

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

          I’ve been involved in incidence that have been misreported. In military terms, there’s this phenomenon which I’ve called “third party yarning”. It’s when a couple of squaddies are retelling an entertaining incident they were both involved in and a member of the audience, the third party takes the story away. Sometime later, maybe years. One of the soldiers involved in the initial incident, will hear the incident being retold, but by someone placing themselves in as a central character, and with all sorts of untrue embellishments. It makes for an embarrassing situation. Even though the risk of being caught out is real, it doesn’t stop the phenomenon occurring. And that’s in modern times with so much access to media. How much worse do ya think it must’ve been back in the day?

          You know that it wasn’t the Yanks that recovered the first Enigma machine, right? U-571 is a complete work of fiction.

          Although the film was financially successful and reasonably well received by critics, the plot attracted substantial criticism. British sailors from HMS Bulldog captured the first naval Enigma machine from U-110 in the North Atlantic in May, 1941, months before the United States entered the war and three years before the US Navy captured U-505 and its Enigma machine. The anger over these inaccuracies reached the British Parliament, where the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, agreed that the film was an “affront” to British sailors. The film was also criticized for portraying German U-boat crews in a negative light by showing them gunning down Allied survivors instead of giving them assistance or taking them aboard as prisoners.

          See the recently cited book by Winston Churchill, The Grand Alliance. Clearly it is sober and unembellished.

          What’s your point? Are you comparing Churchill’s work with the buybull? Where is the supernatural claims in Churchill’s work? You do know how that book was constructed?

          Churchill wrote the book, with a team of assistants, using both his own notes and privileged access to official documents while still working as a politician; the text was vetted by the Cabinet Secretary. Churchill was largely fair in his treatment, but wrote the history from his personal point of view. He was unable to reveal all the facts, as some, such as the use of Ultra electronic intelligence, had to remain secret. From a historical point of view the book is therefore an incomplete memoir by a leading participant in the direction of the war.

          It’s a history by eyewitnesses based on primary sources ffs.

          A better comparison to what we are talking about would be the 18th century Edward Gibbon’s, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Which was the seminal historical work on the subject for a long time, so much so that scholars lacked interest in further research on areas of history for a long time, but it was wrong.

          Others such as John Julius Norwich, despite their admiration for his [Gibbon’s] furthering of historical methodology, consider Gibbon’s hostile views on the Byzantine Empire flawed and blame him somewhat for the lack of interest shown in the subject throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. This view might well be admitted by Gibbon himself: “But it is not my intention to expatiate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the Byzantine history.” However the Russian historian George Ostrogorsky writes, “Gibbon and Lebeau were genuine historians – and Gibbon a very great one – and their works, in spite of factual inadequacy, rank high for their presentation of their material.”

          See also the Gnostic gospels.

          Don, the Gnostic scriptures are religious texts that were held as every bit as important to those groups as the Apocryphal and canonical texts. What is it about them that you think defends your position? The only reason you have the canon, is because the proto-orthodox won the day. That only happened because Constantine picked a side.

          But that still doesn’t zero in on what identifies history versus fiction.

          Oh, I know.

          It might be a temptation to say that history is believable and fiction is not. But that is only true some of the time. Real life can be as strange as fiction, and fiction can be as realistic as history.

          You are stating the obvious. Many folk in the UK, 21% on one survey, believe Sherlock Holmes was an historical character, while there are those that think Churchill is a fiction. That’s in this modern age with access to reliable sources. But for some reason you can’t accept the gullibility of the ancients.

          There is one means, however. An historical event has consequences in real life.

          And a fictional story can have consequences in real life. I can’t really believe you are a literary scholar and don’t know jack shite…or are here pretending not to know. Which is worse.

          In my Jack Reacher stories, there are no real life outcomes to his many adventures.

          The Jack Reacher stories are yours? Well I never!

          There are no real people who attest to the reality of Jack Reacher.

          That’s because the genre is well understood by most thinking folk. Yet Reacher has a fictional biographical back story.

          You are about to hoist yerself by your own petard again. Attesting to the reality of things doesn’t entail veracity. Mohamad attested to meeting an archangel after a ride on a flying horse. It is well believed as historical fact. Joseph Smith attested to meeting the angel Moroni. There are 3 eyewitness attestations who wrote witness affidavits to the fact that Moroni showed them the golden tablets and a further 8 witnesses who attest to seeing the tablets with their own eyes. That is well believed as historical fact. If only Christianity had anything like it. There are no real people who attest to the reality of Jesus who could know he was real.

          Plutarch attests to the reality of Romulus. Plutarch was an historian.

          Or consider another fiction story, The Scarlet Letter .

          How do you know it is fiction?

          Does real history make any reference to Hester Prynne?

          Why would it? On the other hand, plenty of real history makes reference to characters of fiction as real.

          Did any real person in history say that they knew Hester?

          Who was Joseph of Arimathea? Who was Simon of Cyrene, Rufus and Alexander? Did any real person in history say they knew those folk?

          If someone was trying to make the point that Hestor and the story were historical, they would have to support their opinion with some facts related to the consequences of Hester’s life.

          Huh?

          In the case of Jesus, The people who we’d expect to know if he was a real person and whether the events of his life are historical would be the disciples.

          Only if the disciples were real people, and wrote about him or told someone about him. We don’t have that. As much as you wish we had, we haven’t.

          And it is hardly debatable that they declared Jesus and his life as historical and were radically changed by that fact.

          Oh it’s debatable all right. there is no solid evidence that there were any disciples of Jesus, never mind what they believed about him.

          Circular reasoning. Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes attests to the history of Holmes and of the characters he writes about in his diaries.

          We can, because of this, be reasonably sure that they were not motivated by a fiction.

          Nope. And get this. Even if the central character can be attested to as a real historical character, you don’t get to assert everything else about the stories are historical facts, particularly the far-fetched supernatural mumbo jumbo.

        • Don Camp

          Compare the best with the best. Even though I enjoy Lee Child, I would not consider him a literary master. He simply tells a good story.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re saying that the gospels are not good literature. I won’t argue.

          You’ve obviously in tune with Sturgeon’s Law, even if you didn’t acknowledge it.

        • Don Camp

          So you’re saying that the gospels are not good literature.

          You might say that; I will defer. But I would be interested in what you think the characteristics of good literature are.

          Actually, the four gospels are quite different in quality as literature – information al or otherwise. That is my opinion.

          Mark, as I’ve said, is pretty much a raw narrative, candid, spare, with a relatively simple thesis. It has little in the way of detail (compared with Luke) and very simple language.

          At the other end, Matthew is highly organized and carefully argued drawing on a lot of support from the the Old Testament and using some of the fairly well recognized Jewish interpretive techniques, particularly the remez. It is written in very good Greek. The thesis is clear. f

          Luke is more subtle but equally well organized. The language is very good Greek. Luke’s emphasis on women and the disenfranchised is vivid. His drawing of the character of Jesus is compassionate, probing, and realistic. His inclusion of detail qualifies Luke as one of the better historians of the age.

          John is probably a composite of the Apostle John’s memories with the prologue and epilogue written by the author/editor who wrote down the Apostle’s memories. (The prologue is eloquent and almost poetic in Greek and equal to any such statement in ancient or modern literature, whether philosophy, myth, or history, even if written in simple Greek.) The narrative has an easily recognized thesis and it builds toward that thesis logically using dialogue and short vignettes of Jesus’ interaction with various groups. That is a rather sophisticated organizational technique. Even so the language is simple. One of the interesting characteristics of the Gospel is the ability of the author to express quite deep ideas in simple language and dialogue.

          Those are my thoughts on the quality of the narratives with the assumption that they are historical. Mark is the least literary; Mathew is the most. I would be interested in how you rate the literary quality of the Gospels. Please refer to some of the standard characteristics of good literature.

        • Greg G.

          In ancient literature, fiction was far less sophisticated than modern fiction.

          Ed keeps insisting that fiction was invented in the Middle Ages.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was a literature teacher.

          A wouldn’t have thought so from your comments.

          But then Jesse H claims to be a science teacher too.

    • Wouldn’t that be how you or I would read the situation? Sure.

      Nope. If I knew for a fact that Jesus was divine, I don’t know how I’d then jump to, “Well, maybe not divine, maybe crazy.”

      BTW Jesus’ brothers had not had the kind of experience Mary had. They knew Jesus as a normal brother.

      Careful. The more you justify the doubt or disbelief from Mary, the brothers, John the Baptist, etc., the more you undercut your own justification for belief. John the Baptist sees the Holy Spirit and hears Yahweh, and yet it’s understandable that he later wonders if Jesus is the One. Mary gets a personal visit from an angel but then later doubts.

      If they’re justified in doubting with that evidence, whatever you’ve got isn’t worth considering.

      • Ficino

        Good point, Bob. I think the same can be said about the Genre Argument or less sophisticated forms of it, like Don Camp’s appeal to Churchill’s memoirs. The more discrepancies in the gospels are waved away by the argument that the gospels need not be more accurate than some profane author like Plutarch or Churchill, the more the apologist for Scripture undercuts his own case that we should treat scriptural utterances as authoritative. If some purported factual account actually cashes out just as some ancient dude’s theological riff, often seemingly at odds with some other ancient dude’s theological riff, why should I hold those riffs as uniquely authoritative and other riffs, not printed within the pages of The Bible, as not authoritative?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Exactly.

          Just take a look at the shenanigans that went on with “Hitler’s Table Talk” ffs.

        • Don Camp

          Ficino, you are misrepresenting what I said.

          BTW I disagree with Licona and his appeal to a “genre argument.”

        • Ficino

          If you were appealing to Churchill’s memoirs to make a point different from that which I took you to be making, I’m ready to hear it. It sounded as though you wanted to say, Churchill had an agenda and modified historical fact to further that agenda, but we don’t say his memoirs are in error, so similarly with the gospels.

        • Don Camp

          I don’t believe Churchill modified historical facts to further his agenda. He wrote from hid own memory as one intimately involved in the war and with personal acquaintance with most of the major figures. He used the facts as he knew them to make his point.

          It is a mistake to think that any historian writes raw history with no attempt to organize the facts to create a historical narrative. It is also a mistake to think that the telling of history can be entirely divorced from the point of view of the historian. Read the history books written in Vietnam and those we use in the United States. The point made about the Vietnam War and point of view will differ significantly even though the facts are facts.

          So with the Gospels. Each author had a point he was making about Jesus. But the facts are not manufactured to do that. They are organized to do that.

        • Ficino

          Each author had a point he was making about Jesus. But the facts are not manufactured to do that. They are organized to do that.

          You have not demonstrated that the above claim is true. You merely assert it. And to the extent that you liken the Gospels to other presentations of events, which you acknowledge undergo modification, to that extent you weaken our obligation to receive the gospels as presentations in which “facts” have not been modified.

          I cannot fathom why you do not grasp the obvious – that in narratives which serve the ends of propaganda (lit: things that are to be propagated), ALL assertions serve the propaganda. So it is not a foregone conclusion that if a propagandaistic narrative asserts that P occurred under xyz circumstances, that in fact P occurred under xyz circumstances.

          Therefore it is not a foregone conclusion that the gospels are inerrant under any straightforward construal of inerrancy.

          I gave you the out, that the Genre Argument or others like it get you out of this impasse, though they land you in the problematic space of defending the unfalsifiable. But you did not want to sign on to the Genre Argument.

          So far, then, you have offered no reason why anyone should take the gospels to be “inerrant” in any straightforward, strong sense. They contradict each other, so the PNC is violated by the gospels taken as a group. And they ARE a group, since all form part of the canon and are held to be inspired and inerrant.

        • Don Camp

          I do not use the word “inerrant.” I prefer the term “reliable.”

          I do not think the Bible is a magic book. In the case of the Gospels, they are the memories of people, some of whom knew Jesus personally in various episodes of the narrative. But they are people whose memories may differ from those of another person experiencing the same event.

          Multiple witnesses of any particular event are going to have slightly different memories. They will not differ in the significant things, but they may differ in the details. Those different versions of the same event can be “reliable” retelling of the event from that person’s point of view.

          I expect the Gospels to differ slightly. They may differ for the above reason: They are different points of view by different witnesses. They may differ because the author chooses to abbreviate a larger piece. Neither of these make the Gospels unreliable.

          Neither does the fact that each Gospel has a thesis which the author furthers by choosing to include particular events rather than others make the Gospels unreliable.

          Now, of course, an author can misuse the facts to make a point that does not flow naturally from the raw collection of raw facts. But I do not see this happening in the case of the Gospels. Take them all together and there is coherence and unity in the narratives that support the conclusion that they are reliable as multiple witnesses to the same larger event (the life of Jesus). They reinforce the conclusion of reliability rather than undermine it.

        • Greg G.

          Matthew 7:15 [quoting Jesus] {possible allusion in Acts 20:29}
          “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.”

          The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing –Aesop
          A Wolf resolved to disguise himself in order that he might prey upon a flock of sheep without fear of detection. So he clothed himself in a sheepskin, and slipped among the sheep when they were out at pasture. He completely deceived the shepherd, and when the flock was penned for the night he was shut in with the rest. But that very night as it happened, the shepherd, requiring a supply of mutton for the table, laid hands on the Wolf in mistake for a Sheep, and killed him with his knife on the spot.

          Matthew 11:16-17 [quoting Jesus] {Luke 7:31-32}
          16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions 17 and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you didn’t dance. We mourned for you, and you didn’t lament.’

          The Fisherman and His Pipe –Aesop
          A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the sea-shore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea. He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared: so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish. When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, “You rascals! you wouldn’t dance when I piped: but now I’ve stopped, you can do nothing else!”

          Compare Jesus’ Parable of the Pounds {Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27} with:

          The Miser –Aesop
          A Miser sold everything he had, and melted down his hoard of gold into a single lump, which he buried secretly in a field. Every day he went to look at it, and would sometimes spend long hours gloating over his treasure. One of his men noticed his frequent visits to the spot, and one day watched him and discovered his secret. Waiting his opportunity, he went one night and dug up the gold and stole it. Next day the Miser visited the place as usual, and, finding his treasure gone, fell to tearing his hair and groaning over his loss. In this condition he was seen by one of his neighbours, who asked him what his trouble was. The Miser told him of his misfortune; but the other replied, “Don’t take it so much to heart, my friend; put a brick into the hole, and take a look at it every day: you won’t be any worse off than before, for even when you had your gold it was of no earthly use to you.”

          Maybe Jesus really did use Aesop’s fables to make a point.

          But then when we see a parallel with Aesop within the narrative along with a quote within a half dozen verses, we have to be suspicious.

          The Quack Frog –Aesop
          Once upon a time a Frog came forth from his home in the marshes and proclaimed to all the world that he was a learned physician, skilled in drugs and able to cure all diseases. Among the crowd was a Fox, who called out, “You a doctor! Why, how can you set up to heal others when you cannot even cure your own lame legs and blotched and wrinkled skin?”

          Luke 4:23 (NRSV)
          23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”

          Plutarch, from On the Delay of the Divine Justice
          Take the case of Aesop…
          On account of some affront or quarrel, he made the sacrifice indeed, but sent the rest of the money back to Sardis, not thinking the men of Delphi worthy of the gift. They then raised against him the charge of sacrilege, and put him to death by throwing him from yonder cliff, which they call Hyampeia.
          https://archive.org/stream/plutarchondelayo00plut/plutarchondelayo00plut_djvu.txt

          Luke 4:29 (NRSV)
          29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.

          Not only do none of the other gospels record this event, there is no place near Nazareth to throw someone off. The L source material was either from Plutarch or a common source. If Luke was supplementing his text with stories that were not originally about Jesus, the Gospel of Luke is not so reliable after all.

        • Ficino

          Above in the thread you wrote this:

          I wonder if you understand how historians put together raw facts to tell the historical narrative, which we call “history.”

          I wonder whether you understand how the field of “history” operates, since many studies published by historians are not narratives. Some are, some are not.

          In any case, what would you think of a historian who wrote that the Gallipoli campaign was taking place during or after the Battle of the Somme? When you compare the gospels, there are many discrepancies among them. I don’t mention them now, writing to those who know.

          In any case #2, the gospels do not bear enough marks even of ancient history writing to be accurately classified in the same genre as Josephus’ Jewish War or Tacitus’ Histories or Annals. I don’t argue for this point now, writing to those who have seen it made many times.

          In any case #3, you drop “inerrant” and substitute “reliable.” That move gives you a specious advantage, because you can exploit the wiggle room provided by the vagueness of “reliable.” The champion of inerrancy puts himself/herself on the line to maintain that any assertion in the gospels (or entire Bible) is true. If the Bible asserts P, it cannot be the case, on the inerrancy view, that not-P is true and P is false.

          But now you are denying inerrancy? You are maintaining both that the gospels (or entire Bible) are/is inspired by God AND that the writers in their own person assert falsehoods among other true assertions that they make?

        • Don Camp

          When you compare the gospels, there are many discrepancies among them. I don’t mention them now, writing to those who know.

          I’d be interested in what you regard as “discrepancies.” Since in many cases the Gospels include the report of eyewitness to an event, it would be expected that two witnesses reporting the same event would have slightly different details in their report.

          Nevertheless, there are a small number of apparent contradictions that are often focused on. Greg, I believe, brought up one: the difference between when the last supper was celebrated in the synoptics and John. I assume you read my explanation of that difference by showing that there were two Passover meals (or celebrations). One was the transitional celebration originating in Exodus and Leviticus. The other was the official celebration.

          The traditional celebration happened on Nissan 14 in the evening , which is the beginning of the Jewish day. See Leviticus 23:5-8:

          In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk is the LORD’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work.

          Jesus evidently celebrated the traditional Passover. The rest of the nation celebrated the official Passover. Those differences account for what seems like a contradiction but is not actually.

          In any case #2, the gospels do not bear enough marks even of ancient history writing to be accurately classified in the same genre as Josephus’ Jewish War or Tacitus’ Histories or Annals.

          The gospels are a special genre within the larger genre of history. They are biography. I thought that would be obvious. As biography there are many similarities with biographies written in that era.

          But don’t you think Josephus’ Jewish War is a narrative? It tells the story of that war from beginning to end. It tells the story of the war from Josephus’ point of view with the Roman emperor in view as audience. Josephus, thus, tells the story of the war delicately so as not to offend the emperor and with the objective of defending the patriotism of Jews who like himself sided with Rome. Is that real history when it is influenced by those goals? Most would say so.

          But now you are denying inerrancy?

          “Innerancy” is a theological construct. It is not claimed directly by any biblical author for the whole of scripture. I prefer to use the words the biblical writers use: true, inspired, etc. “Reliable” is my attempt at a single descriptive word that captures the descriptions of biblical authors.

        • Ficino

          “Reliable” is my attempt at a single descriptive word that captures the descriptions of biblical authors

          So far you are dodging the issue.
          Does any biblical writer make in his own voice an assertion that is false – yes or no?

          Further unpacking can follow upon your answer.

        • Don Camp

          I will stick with the orthodox understanding that states that the Bible is inerrant when it comes to faith and practice. Only in definitions coming from the fundamentalist reaction to liberalism in the late 1800s does “inerrancy” expand to be verbal and plenary.

          Otherwise, for the reasons I gave above, it is possible for a biblical writer to have the facts of history and geography wrong. I don’t know of any significant inaccuracies. The usual skepticism about the early history of Israel are resolved when we read them in the genre they were written. Other trivial details may seem inaccurate. The measurement of the circumference of the laver, for example, is simply a matter of rounding of numbers. That makes no difference to anyone but skeptics.

        • Ficino

          The usual skepticism about the early history of Israel are resolved when we read them in the genre they were written.

          Earlier you said that you reject Mike Licona’s genre argument. But here you make a genre argument, the principles of which are the same as Licona’s. Did you mean that you accept a genre argument about some biblical books but not about the gospels? But if you refuse to apply a genre argument to the gospels, then you will be hard pressed to maintain that they are “reliable” or “true” (terms used by you) records of what actually happened and was actually said.

        • Don Camp

          See chapter 5, beginning on page 99 inHistorical Theology by Gregg Allison, for what I think is an accurate discussion of the history of the doctrine of inerrancy through history. I tend toward the Fuller Theological Seminary’s current statement rather than the Chicago Statement.. See page 118.

        • Ficino

          So you subscribe to the doctrine expressed in the Fuller TS statement, as follows?

          ““Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power.”

          Do you also agree with Allison’s conclusion that on this view, the Bible “is infallible in matters of faith and practice but which can and does indeed contain errors in matters of history, science, geography and the like”?

        • Don Camp

          I said I “tend toward” the Fuller TS statement. I do not know how they unpack that so I won’t sign on to what I don’t know.

          I think I did say the Bible might contain errors in history, science, and geography. But I also said that we need to be aware of the genre when we read the Bible. Poetry, for example, is a genre that uses a lot of figures of speech. We should be careful of taking them literally. Taking poetry literally leads to wrangling about words.

          In some cases, what we often regard as history is specifically hero tales. That means some exaggeration is expected, some condensation of the events is expected.

          The fundamental background stories of Genesis 1-5 are not scientific writing nor are they strictly history writing. They are in genre stories and are in purpose didactic. In that case read them looking for the point or teaching in the story.

          So your pressing for more careful defining of “reliable” really requires a great deal of nuancing related to era written, purpose,and genre.

          I learned biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) in an era when the evangelical principle was historical/grammatical. I continue to accept that as a working principle. But I also have a background in the study of literature and years of teaching literature. I recognize the biblical literature as literature and think that identifying the genre makes a big difference and enhances our understanding of the message. And the truth is, the message is the whole point. It is never to simply declare the raw facts of history. It is never simply creating a historical narrative. It always, even when things happen in a specific historical context, focuses upon the message.

          With that fact in view, most of the fussing over historical accuracy by skeptics is a digression. It is a means of avoiding the message and avoiding God. Even the fussing over inerrancy is an avoidance of the message, sometimes even for Christians.

        • Ficino

          As I wrote earlier today, you are now relying on a genre argument, although you said last week that you do not agree with Licona’s genre argument.

          Don, you seem to take refuge in vague formulations. Are you now retracting and are adopting a genre argument like Licona’s?

          … most of the fussing over historical accuracy by skeptics is a digression. It is a means of avoiding the message and avoiding God. Even the fussing over inerrancy is an avoidance of the message, sometimes even for Christians.

          I am chuckling. I was wondering when you would move back to the stronghold of “don’t get into intellectual arguments with unbelievers – bring them face to face with their sin and a Holy God.”

          If the Bible isn’t inerrant (or whatever term you feel comfortable with) on matters which at least in principle can be verified or falsified, it retains zero credibility as over against all other holy books regarding matters of doctrine and precept, which in principle aren’t testable.

        • epeeist

          I was wondering when you would move back to the stronghold

          There was a comedy programme on UK TV long ago called “Never mind the quality, feel the width”.

        • Don Camp

          you are now relying on a genre argument,

          If you are suggesting that there can be something like genre-less writing the is from the point of view of a literature teacher silly. Everything from the instructions for setting up your computer (technical writing) to the poetry of Whitman (poetry) to the writing of Thoreau (essay) is written in a particular genre. You even regard the Bible as a particular genre. Ironic isn’t it?

          But as I understood Licona’s use of genre as applied to the story of the graves that were opened at the crucifixion, I don’t agree. However, my disagreement is about what genre we are looking at rather than whether it is written in some genre.

          To some degree I don’t think it is productive for most unbelievers here for me to try to “bring them face to face with their sins” via the kinds of arguments we engage in. I am reasonably sure that if I were to convince you that the Bible was inerrant, that would not translate into your receiving it as a true revelation of God. If anything I am trying to demonstrate that the stereotypes most skeptics here bring to the discussion are inaccurate.

          If the Bible isn’t inerrant (or whatever term you feel comfortable with) on matters which at least in principle can be verified or falsified, it retains zero credibility

          And that is an example of stereotyping I was speaking of.

          The historical statements I would expect to be accurate as to the places and events in as far as it was possible for the author to know. I would expect that because in cases where the genre is historical/biography or historical/kerygma the history is background for the kerygma. It is for that reason I disagreed with Licona. He turned events that in the context of the narrative, I believe, should . be understood as historical/kerygma into allegory or something of that nature.. But it is not purely historical. it is also part of the kerygma of the Gospels, so the event is not chosen randomly or because it was curious but rather to demonstrate the convulsions of nature that marked the crucifixion.

          I would NOT agree that “inerrancy” or reliability means that an author’s reference to a historical event that he had not experienced would necessarily be any more inerrant than any other writer who relies on history for his facts. The idea the Bible must be inerrant in those situations is stereotyping. It is expecting the Bible to be a magic book. It is not. It is the vehicle for truth in a deeper sense than mere raw history. It is didactic, or wisdom, or kerygma, or apocalyptic, or story, or poetry. Sometimes it falls into several genres. But it is rarely, if ever, pure history.

        • Ficino

          You even regard the Bible as a particular genre. Ironic isn’t it?

          Did I say that the Bible is a genre? There are writings of various genres in it.

          I am reasonably sure that if I were to convince you that the Bible was inerrant, that would not translate into your receiving it as a true revelation of God.

          Why would I not so receive it if I became convinced that every assertion in it is true? You are “reasonably sure” that … what, that I am such a hardened sinner that I would deny that the Bible is revealed AND would believe that all it asserts is true?

          What you quote from me above cuts out what I wrote after the words “zero credibility.” I said the Bible lacks credibility as to its doctrines and precepts, which can’t be tested, because a good number of its assertions that can be tested turn up as pretty clearly false or as contradicting others of its assertions.

          The idea the Bible must be inerrant in those situations is stereotyping. It is expecting the Bible to be a magic book. It is not. It is the vehicle for truth in a deeper sense than mere raw history.

          It escapes me why anyone should be convinced by the kind of assertions you make above. If the Bible doesn’t even get the history right consistently, when it could get it right — it’s supposed to be inspired by an omniscient and omnipotent self-revealer — the conclusion that presents itself is that the Bible isn’t, in fact, so inspired. For why would an omniscient and omnipotent self-revealer cause its/His vehicle of revelation to be so wanting? Viewed as a purely human production of antiquity, on the other hand, we don’t have such quandaries.

          If I make statements that you can go back and check, and you find some of them false, you don’t have strong grounds to take my word for it about things that you can’t go and check.

        • Don Camp

          Did I say that the Bible is a genre? There are writings of various genres in it.

          Mostly fiction though, right?

          that I am such a hardened sinner that I would deny that the Bible is revealed AND would believe that all it asserts is true?

          No. Faith is not the end of an intellectual analysis. It is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in a person’s life. No one gets to faith just believe the Bible to be accurate.

          If the Bible doesn’t even get the history right consistently, when it could get it right — it’s supposed to be inspired by an omniscient and omnipotent self-revealer — the conclusion that presents itself is that the Bible isn’t, in fact, so inspired.

          I honestly do not know any place where the Bible gets history so wrong that it would engender distrust in the whole. Maybe you could provide one place where you find it inaccurate. I do know that the New Biblical Scholars, and most of those who are convinced by their skepticism, believe that the Old Testament is primarily the work of scribes in the 4th – 5th centuries B.C. who basically manufactured the biblical story. But that metanarrative is more of a fiction than anything they assume of the biblical narrative, and so totally without evidence that I am amazed that people who are usually convinced only by evidence are mesmerized by it.

          If I make statements that you can go back and check, and you find some of them false, you don’t have strong grounds to take my word for it about things that you can’t go and check.

          f feel about the metanarratives of the New Biblical Scholars the same way you feel about the Bible. The failures are too glaring to provide confidence in the theory.

        • Ficino

          1. “Fiction” is too broad a term to refer to a literary genre.
          2. You said I “even regard the Bible as a particular genre.” Now you are falling back to some weaker challenge, though as usual with you, your challenge is so vaguely worded that no concise reply can be made (see 1. above).
          3. You seem confused about the relation of faith to belief and about what is entailed in the set of assertions that are found in the Bible.
          4. There is no point in arguing with you about the formation of the OT as we have it. You are happy with the various assertions that you make. I am guessing that the number of people of solid academic training, whom you have convinced to abandon their views and adopt yours (in alignment with the Fuller Seminary statement on inerrancy, or whatever – your views are really too vague to pin down) is close to zero, if not zero.
          5.

          metanarrative is more of a fiction than anything they assume of the biblical narrative, and so totally without evidence … f [sic; you mean “I”] feel about the metanarratives of the New Biblical Scholars the same way you feel about the Bible.

          This pretty much says it all about your understanding, both of what counts as evidence in the study of how a text was formed, and of methodology used in such inquiries. Your confusion among disparate mental states, as though logical thought is denoted by “feel,” is patent.

          I don’t have leisure to say more. Your attempt to refute Bob’s OP is an abject failure.

        • Don Camp

          Okay.

          I am taking a break for a couple of days. Merry Christmas.

        • Greg G.

          Merry Christmas to you and yours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Mostly fiction though, right?

          What’s what in there?

          If a fact of history or geography is made up, when it really doesn’t need to be, why would anyone believe a dead man came back to life and flew up into the sky to a place called Heaven that we now know isn’t up there ffs.

        • Don Camp

          Hardly anyone, unless he saw it.

          I am taking a break for a couple days. Merry Christmas.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Mormonism is the true religion then.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Eyewitnesses? Bwaaahahahaha…..Dr. Watson wrote diaries too.

        • Don Camp

          I wonder if you understand how historians put together raw facts to tell the historical narrative, which we call “history.”

          Two historians writing about the same event may collect facts and make choices of which to include and which to exclude based on their theses. That is obvious in almost every instance where two historians write about the same piece of history.

          The historian’s narrative is the interpretation of raw facts. It does not make the historian’s narrative unreliable. And it does not mean either writer is guilty of making up facts.

        • epeeist

          Two historians writing about the same event may collect facts and make choices of which to include and which to exclude based on their theses.

          So you are a truth relativist.

        • Rudy R

          The historian’s narrative is the interpretation of raw facts.

          Therein lies the problem with historical methodology and why it is so epistemologically inferior to the scientific method. One person’s interpretation of events that is not scrutinized and peer reviewed by the historical community is just one person’s opinion. And we know the old cliche about everyone having opinions. Adding to the fact that the historical community as a whole not employing probability theory to their methodology, leads to very unreliable conclusions (interpretations???)

        • Don Camp

          Therein lies the problem with historical methodology and why it is so epistemologically inferior to the scientific method.

          It is different, of course. Scientific methodology rests on direct evidence that is observable and repeatable. Historical methodology depends on evidence that is indirect.

          There is no way that an event in the past can be repeated. If it is long enough in the past, we cannot and have not personally observed the event. But we can be reasonably confident that actual events that happened in the past were real. We can be reasonably sure based on the reports of people who did observe the event (primary sources) and on artifacts that were the product of the event. The more evidence the better.

          Reported events, of course, can be reliable, but they can also be unreliable. They are filtered through the reporter’s perspectives. So

        • Rudy R

          A methodology that relies on indirect evidence that results in “reasonably confident” proves my point. Without that result being filtered through probability theory, it’s just an opinion by one person. Again, the failure of historical methodology is that a result is not proven mathematically using probability theory, that is, the result is not shown to be at least 51% more likely to be true than all other candidates.

        • epeeist

          A methodology that relies on indirect evidence that results in “reasonably confident” proves my point.

          You are dealing with someone who is about to go nuclear, because reason is against him he is going to reject it. But he isn’t going to become a complete sceptic of course, what he is going to do is keep the bits of reason that support his case and discard the rest.

        • Rudy R

          Bradley Bowen has a good blog series in The Secular Outpost, “Hinman’s Defense of his Sad Little Argument”, demonstrating a thorough takedown of Hinman’s attempt at rational thought. He frames Hinman’s anti-Swoon Theory position as “wishful thinking”. Wishful thinking seems to be the mindset of Camp as well, because logic and reason sure doesn’t achieve his goal.

        • Pofarmer

          You certainly called that one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Carrier claims that proper historians are doing BT even if they don’t realise it.

          The reason why there are so many versions of Jesus that Jesus scholars come up with, is because those folk aren’t doing history.

        • epeeist

          Scientific methodology rests on evidence that is observable and repeatable.

          Such as the Big Bang or the effects of the K-T event some 66 million years ago, scientists repeat these all the time.

          So it is fine to say that only scientific facts – and scientific narratives – are reliable. In practice it is just not so.

          And here we go, given that you can’t show the historicity of the gospels you are about to attempt to try a guilt-by-association move on other rational and empirical disciplines.

          Think of Copernicus. He observed the stars and planets in the sky and proposed a theory that is almost entirely wrong.

          Ah, so you only wish to accept as knowledge that which can be shown to be universal, necessary and certain. In which case one has also to discard history and in particular all claims that the gospels are definitively true.

          EDIT: missing words

        • Don Camp

          given that you can’t show the historicity of the gospels you are about
          to attempt to try a guilt-by-association move on other rational and
          empirical disciplines.

          No guilt by association. No guilt at all. Simply the truth that no knowledge is absolute – as you say “universal, necessary, and certain.”

        • Susan

          no knowledge is absolute – as you say “universal, necessary, and certain.”

          And… as epeeist predicted, you went nuclear.

          So weaselly.

        • Pofarmer

          Constant as the sun. If we can’t know what I wish we knew, then we can’t know anything at all. How many times have we seen this now?

        • epeeist

          And… as epeeist predicted, you went nuclear.

          Yep, toys/pram. How many times have we seen that before? I think we need a new acronym, I propose BRATT, behaviour repeated a thousand times.

          Anyway my daughters are due to arrive today, I have a goose to cook, bread to make and Christmas cake to feed. I suspect I won’t have time to browse the site over the next few days.

        • Susan

          my daughters are due to arrive today, I have a goose to cook, bread to make and Christmas cake to feed.

          It all sounds lovely.

          I won’t have time to browse the site over the next few days.

          There are better ways to spend your time than engaging with liars for Jesus.

          Merry Christmas!

        • Pofarmer

          Merry Christmas!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bleeeugh! Humbug.

          I watched Micky Flanagan’s “Christmas” on Sky last night…pished maself laughing.

          https://www.sky.com/watch/title/programme/de85b5c1-9166-4d96-a7ee-3969411fee73/micky-flanagans-christmas

        • Susan

          Merry Christmas!

          Same to you and yours, Po. 🙂

          And to everyone here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anyway my daughters are due to arrive today, I have a goose to cook, bread to make and Christmas cake to feed. I suspect I won’t have time to browse the site over the next few days.

          Enjoy.

        • epeeist
        • Ignorant Amos

          That looks just the ticket.

        • epeeist

          No guilt by association.

          Oh but it was, a definite attempt to discredit one particular hypothesis and by implication other findings as well.

          Simply the truth that no knowledge is absolute

          Which I would accept, but this doesn’t mean to say that all knowledge claims are equal.

          In the case of Copernicus he had millennia of detailed observations to work on. While he was unable to step outside the Aristotelian ideas of perfection in the heavens he did produce a model which produced good results without the arbitrary parameters that the Ptolemaic model required. In other words, while his model was wrong it was much less wrong than the Aristotelian, Ptolemaic or Brahian models. On top of that it formed a basis on which Kepler and Newton could build their ideas.

          Comparing the above with the historicity (or otherwise) of the gospels is definitely a false equivalence.

    • richardrichard2013

      poor mary forgot about “virgin birth” in isaiah and about messiah being born in bethlehem. wasnt important to remember even though chief priests and elders ALREADY knew

    • Ignorant Amos

      Whether Mary expected it or not, is irrelevant.

      Wouldn’t that be how you or I would read the situation?

      Not if what he was preaching was really profound and not blasphemous gibberish. Who could argue that the miracles, if real, were a sign of madness, if they were actual miracles and not just claims of the miraculous?

      Sure. That’s the natural explanation. In fact, it is so natural that it provides a confirmation that this is real. This isn’t a fairy tale. It is exactly how real people would react.

      No it isn’t.

      The story goes that Jesus’s preaching and performing was drawing unwanted attention to himself. The disciples were part of the problem. Mary and the lads are coming along to get him offside before the authorities arrived to cart him off. Did they believe he’d actually lost the plot, or was that an excuse for his illegal eccentricities? The cover story was that he’d lost his marbles. It is called the insanity defence in modern parlance. It was a “not guilty by reason of insanity” manoeuvre.

      There had been great excitement in the little town of Capernaum in consequence of Christ’s teachings and miracles. It had been intensified by His infractions of the Rabbinical Sabbath law, and by His appointment of the twelve Apostles. The sacerdotal party in Capernaum apparently communicated with Jerusalem, with the result of bringing a deputation from the Sanhedrim to look into things, and see what this new rabbi was about. A plot for His assassination was secretly on foot. And at this juncture the incident of my text, which we owe to Mark alone of the Evangelists, occurs. Christ’s friends, apparently the members of His own family-sad to say, as would appear from the context, including His mother-came with a kindly design to rescue their misguided kinsman from danger, and laying hands upon Him, to carry Him off to some safe restraint in Nazareth, where He might indulge His delusions without doing any harm to Himself. They wish to excuse His eccentricities on the ground that He is not quite responsible-scarcely Himself; and so to blunt the point of the more hostile explanation of the Pharisees that He is in league with Beelzebub.

      Conceive of that! The Incarnate Wisdom shielded by friends from the accusation that He is a demoniac by the apology that He is a lunatic! What do you think of popular judgment? But this half-pitying, half-contemptuous, and wholly benevolent excuse for Jesus, though it be the words of friends, is like the words of His enemies, in that it contains a distorted reflection of His true character. And if we will think about it, I fancy that we may gather from it some lessons not altogether unprofitable.

      Makes more sense for the story to me.

      • Greg G.

        Jesus disowned his family at that point. But good ol’ Mom was right there for him at the end. When did she move to Jerusalem?

        • But Jesus was the dutiful son at the end. Knowing that he was her only son, he assigned “the beloved disciple” to take care of her (John 19:26-7).

    • Jim Jones

      The gospels tell us much about the anonymous authors, nothing about ‘Jesus’.

  • Lark62

    My opinion:

    1. A semi famous wandering preacher named Jesus had a small cult following. He died. The cult continued after his death. Cephas and James were prominent.

    2. Paul wanted to start a mystery religion for fun and profit. To make his new religion stand out and sound exotic, he borrowed/ appropriated/ stole the name of a certain dead, semi famous wandering preacher.

    3. Paul took pretty much nothing but the name. The “doctrinal” disputes between Paul and the cult followers in Palestine arose because Paul made everything up.

    4. The gospels are fan fiction written years later. The various authors included stories to check the boxes on the “Jewish Messiah” and “Mystery Religion Deity” lists – virgin birth, half man/half deity, Bethlehem, died and rose after 3 days, walk on water, random pointless miracles, magic meals, lots of deepities, threats of eternal torment, etc. The gospels are close to 100% fiction. The 12 apostles of the zodiac are fiction.

    5. The actual history and teaching of the dead semi-famous wandering preacher are unknowable but likely unrelated to anything in the gospels. Story tellers agreed Jesus was born in Bethlehem just like story tellers agree Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest. But that doesn’t make the stories true. There is not nearly enough in the gospels for a 1 month ministry, much less 3 years of teaching and preaching.

    6. At least half of the rest of the NT is forged because other than Paul’s imagination, there is no reliable source for anything. The original cult followers have been made irrelevant. There are no disciples who followed god itself around for years. There is no source for anything.

    • Nice! Let me know if you want to write a guest post.

      7. Early Christianity was a fertile crucible. The canon (vs. the non-canonical documents like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Judas, etc.) is somewhat arbitrary. It doesn’t reflect the truth; it just documents the winners of the power struggle.

      • Thanks4AllTheFish

        I recommend the following book (available free online): THE CHRIST: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidences of His Existence
        By JOHN E. REMSBURG

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think Bob has read it already. It has certainly been cited a number of times here in the past. Though it does no harm for it to be put up again on the off chance someone not aware can benefit.

        • I’ve only browsed. But it’s an interesting resource.

        • Jim Jones

          Just read chapter 2.

        • NSAlito

          Nice summary.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          My thinking exactly.

        • Published in 1909, I believe, which explains why it’s on Project Gutenberg.

          Thanks.

      • Lark62

        Thanks. This is my conclusion after reading Nailed! and Forged and similar books.

        Nailed! argued Jesus didn’t exist, and was compelling except it never explained why Paul reported disagreements with Cephas and James. A Palestinian cult following seems to indicate a real person of some sort existed. But given that pretty much everything was made up by Paul or forged, and the gospels were written by followers of Paul, I don’t see any reason to think anything in the gospels is anything but crowd sourced myth.

        It might be fun to write a guest post, but all I have is opinion. I don’t have substance.

        • OK. If you put together a more solid foundation for your (convincing) summary, let me know.

        • Lark62

          Thanks! Would love to write a post eventually. But right now it isn’t likely to happen. (Too much on my plate at the moment.) And on this topic I really don’t think I’m qualified.

          You have my permission to use any or all of it for a post if you like. I would love to see it fleshed out by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

        • Greg G.

          James and Cephas were Jews and they thought following Jewish law was important, including circumcision. Paul didn’t think that was necessary, that faith was sufficient.

          Galatians was very strong on that and the written word. Read Gal 5:11-12 to see how sarcastic Paul was and verse 14 while you’re there. Notice the part of the opening where Paul says he is sent by the Lord, which is normal, then rants about not being sent by men.

          In Galatians 2, Paul points out that James is a leader of the circumcision faction and that he sends people places, the way the Lord sends Paul. So I read Galatians 1:19 as sarcasm of James sending people as if he is the Lord, or the Lord’s brother. Paul uses a similar expression in 1 Corinthiams 9:5 as men doing what the Lord should do, and pointing out that he follows scripture in verse 8.

          The Jews were led to believe the Messiah was coming. Josephus tells us that in Jewish Wars. It seems that Cephas was the first to read the Suffering Servant and other prophet’s scriptures as being about the Lord.

          Paul gives Cephas the credit in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. It says “According to the scriptures, he died for sins, was buried and rose on the third day.” But how could an eyewitess tell that a particular death was for sins? They didn’t witness it, they read it in the scriptures, Isaiah 53:8 for the “death for sins”, Isaiah 53:9 for the “was buried”, and Hosea 6:2 for the “rose on the third day”.

          Paul mentions Jesus and/or Christ about once for every five verses but everything he says about him can be found in the OT.

          The Epistle of James seems to be a reply to Galatians. He addresses Galatians 5:14 and Galatians 3:6. Paul responds to both of those in Romans.

          So the early apostles invented Jesus from Isaiah 53, Zechariah 3 LXX (including the name of Jesus), and a few other prophets.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have ya seen Raphael Lataster’s latest tome?

          At £157 a pop, a don’t think it will be heading my way any time soon.

          Neil Godfrey has done a multi part review of it over at Vridar.

          https://vridar.org/2019/09/22/review-part-1-questioning-the-historicity-of-jesus-lataster/

          Some interesting names taking part in the comments sections too.

        • Lark62

          Yes. But there is still no evidence that Paul used one single fact about Cephas’ Jesus when he created Christianity. Paul was Jewish and used Jewish memes. But his Jesus was “mystical”. His creation was a Greek mystery religion.

          The Cephas cult worshipped a dead Jewish messiah who had preached to the Jews and didn’t care squat about the rest of the world. Most Christian teaching cannot be found in Judaism.

          The Paul created a new religion out of whole cloth. He borrowed (stole) a mystical, exotic sounding name and created everything else.

          In Paul’s day, the small Jewish Jesus cult following tried and failed to stop the increasingly popular made up Greek Jesus.

          Decades later, Greek christians created fan fiction to describe the made up Jesus and reconcile him kinda sorta with Judaism. By claiming to be an offshoot of Judaism they could pretend that their religion wasn’t a recent creation of Paul’s. They quote mined Jewish scripture to support their case. But Judaism and Christianity aren’t really related.

          Paul’s “according to the scriptures” doesn’t make sense. He made that up. The Jewish Messiah would be a conqueror. Suffering and dying wasn’t in his job description. Hosea says Israel will arise after 3 days, not the Messiah. Dying and rising in three days is a trait of any self respecting Greek mystery religion deity not the Jewish messiah.

          I think everybit of Christianity except that a wandering Jewish messiah claimant died is Greek.

        • sandy

          Paul was from Tarsus, which I believe had a strong following for Mithraism. Paul borrowed and was influenced by some of Mithraism’s features in forming his flavour of Christianity. For example the Last Supper and it’s symbolism. Paul’s version of Christianity appealed to the poor who he promised a reward of life after death for their earthly suffering’s, if they believed, as well, he told his gentile followers they didn’t need to be circumcized, which of course, was a big hit. He came up with a winning formula imo.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep. Tarsus was the capitol of the area called Cilicia…renowned for pirates and their Mithra worshipping…apparently.

          According to the historian Plutarch, who lived in the first century A.D., the Romans became acquainted with Mithras through pirates from Cilicia, a province of Asia Minor. These were the pirates who constituted such a threat to Rome until Pompey drove them from the seas.

          In his biography of this skilful general, Plutarch writes of the pirates: ‘They brought to Olympus in Lycia strange offerings and performed some secret mysteries, which still in the cult of Mithras, first made known by them [the pirates]’. In the middle of the second century A.D. the historian Appian adds that the pirates came to know of the mysteries from the troops who were left behind by the defeated army of Mithridates Eupator. It is well established that all kinds of Eastern races were represented in that army.

          https://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Religions/iranian/Mithraism/m_m/pt2.htm

        • The problem with “X in Christianity comes from Mithraism”, as I understand it, is that Mithraism was a mystery religion, so we don’t have an independent source of Mithraism to point to.

          It gets murkier if “… unlike Christianity, which has the Bible” pops to mind. Yes, we have the Bible, but we don’t have the originals and (more important) it’s contradictory so that Christians don’t agree on what “Christianity” actually is. As unclear as Christianity is, Mithraism would be much murkier.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think sandy’s idea is, that Paul being raised in Tarsus would have been privy to the motifs of Mithraism. Then when he was creating, or developing the existing Christ cult about Jesus to his needs, he used these motifs. It seems to have been the idea of the surrounding Hellenistic world.

          It was in Tarsus that the Mysteries of Mithras had originated, so it would have been unthinkable that Paul would have been unaware of the remarkable similarities we have already explored between Christian doctrines and the teachings of Mithraism. [Footnote:] Tarsus was the capital of Cilicia, where, according to Plutarch [46-125CE], the Mithraic Mysteries were being practiced as early as 67BCE”

          http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/mithraism.html

          Not in ancient Asia. Or anywhere else. Only the West, from Mesopotamia to North Africa and Europe. There was a very common and popular mytheme that had arisen in the Hellenistic period—from at least the death of Alexander the Great in the 300s B.C. through the Roman period, until at least Constantine in the 300s A.D. Nearly every culture created and popularized one: the Egyptians had one, the Thracians had one, the Syrians had one, the Persians had one, and so on. The Jews were actually late to the party in building one of their own, in the form of Jesus Christ. It just didn’t become popular among the Jews, and thus ended up a Gentile religion. But if any erudite religious scholar in 1 B.C. had been asked “If the Jews invented one of these gods, what would it look like?” they would have described the entire Christian religion to a T. Before it even existed. That can’t be a coincidence.

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13890

        • sandy

          Thank you Ignorant Amos for the detailed response. That was exactly my point and I did get it for reading Carrier.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That was exactly my point and I did get it for reading Carrier.

          I figured as much.

        • Yes, that could be. And just like the secrets of Masonry or other secret societies have been spilled by others today, that might be true of Mithraism back then.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A few years ago I got into it on here with a Christer about how the early Christians were a secretive society with secret sacramental rituals whose attendance was dictated upon one’s rank within the group.

          Outsiders and initiates were to be excluded and kept outside closed doors on certain given teachings and rituals.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZcOxYATpUU

        • I’ll take a look. Thanks.

        • sandy

          As Amos points out below, my point was that Paul would have been influenced in some manner by Mithraism as a resident of Tarsus. How much? who knows but Mithraism was a strong mystery cult for hundreds of years and Christianity does have some of it’s features.

    • Jim Jones

      > The gospels are fan fiction written years later.

      Centuries. IMO, they were written around 350 CE.

      • Doubting Thomas

        Could you give a summary on why you think that?

        • Jim Jones

          Here’s a good starting point: https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/did-jesus-exist/

          There’s little argument that there are gospels from about the 4th century. I want solid evidence to mover the dates backwards.

        • I would’ve thought that early manuscripts of the gospels (that is, before 300 CE) + early manuscripts of church fathers who quote the gospels.

          Robert M. Price dates the gospels to after the Bar Kokhba (sp?) revolt in the 130s, but not much later.

        • Jim Jones

          I thought Bar Kokhba too but it concerns me that we don’t even have one gospel manuscript before the 4th century.

          So I figured I’d let the Christians prove it.

          Crickets.

        • Wikipedia lists many papyri earlier than 300 CE. They’re not complete, of course, but this undercuts your argument.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript#Earliest_extant_manuscripts

        • Jim Jones

          I use Wikipedia a lot, but never trust it on religion. You know who writes those pages.

        • You raise a valid point, and @Ficino:disqus is correct that many papyri are being reconsidered.

          But I think this puts the ball back on your side of the court. “Well, many of those dates are probably too early” is only a glimmer of a rebuttal.

        • Jim Jones

          If we were discussing almost any other historical character, a Caesar, a general, a philosopher, sure. Because what does it matter? But the millions of murders committed in the name of Jesus demand absolute evidence beyond any doubt.

        • Ficino

          Standard dates of supposed early NT papyri all pretty much need revision. As some of us noted above, Nongbri (and Bagnall) argue convincingly that many of them are more likely to be third or fourth century than second.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem is the method used for dating, paleography and papyrology, isn’t an exact science. So dating ranges, while can be early, later dating i.e. after 300 CE, don’t seem to be able to be ruled out.

          From your Wiki link for example. Fragment p19 is dated 2nd to 3rd century, but hitting the link at Wiki takes us to the p19 Wiki that gives the dating as 4th to 5th century dating.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_19

          Things might be about to improve though….

          https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/overdue-dating-early-christian-papyri-at-the-sbl-annual-meeting-a-report/

        • Suppose Scribe X was busy during a certain 30-year period, and you’re pretty sure that the document you’re examining is unmistakably his work. First off, you could be wrong. But also, if he was an influential scribe and teacher, his students might be deliberately copying his (archaic) style in their work as an homage to their master. His style might have been copied for many decades after his death.

          At least, that’s how I understand one of the problems.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

          Am not pretending that there were no Christian texts prior to the fourth century. It’s just that what there is, and how early it existed, is not as clear cut as the Christers would like it. Though Hurtado would say Christer NT scholars don’t do that.

          Tim Widdowfield has an article on Vridar looking at the issue. Much along the lines of your own work elsewhere on this forum.

          https://vridar.org/2016/04/04/little-white-lies-is-the-nt-best-attested-work-from-antiquity/

          The go-to fragment for the Christers is/was Rylands p52, which, while might be as early as 125 CE, might also be much later.

          Neil Godfrey has a couple of interesting OP’s on the subject also over on Vridar.

          https://vridar.org/2013/03/08/new-date-for-that-st-johns-fragment-rylands-library-papyrus-p52/

          https://vridar.org/2013/03/10/more-on-dating-new-testament-manuscripts-and-the-rylands-fragment-p52-again/

          We are well aware of the problems with the fragments, even if they are genuine pre fourth century.

        • Yes, vridar is a helpful source. Thanks for the links.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I just did a quick scan, but I don’t see anything about a late date for the gospels. The article inked goes with the more traditional dating:

          “But what about the gospel of Mark, the oldest surviving gospel?
          Attaining essentially its final form probably as late as 90 CE but
          containing core material dating possibly as early as 70 CE…

          The gospel of John was compiled around the year 110 CE.”

        • Jim Jones

          Yes, but all I see is wishful thinking.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Ok, but is there any evidence for your dating?

        • Jim Jones

          It’s like standing on solid ice and looking at possibly thin ice. I ain’t going there without evidence that it’s solid and safe.

          I once went to an “Ask a Christian” site and asked what is the first step to belief in god, starting from none. Some told me you just have to believe or have faith! Others told me there is no path.

          So same.

        • markr1957

          Based on historical events contained in the gospels those dates are only the very earliest possible date of authorship, not the proven date of authorship. That is, the gospels could not possibly have been written before those dates, but could easily have been written up to 300 years later.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I understand that. Jim Jones said he thinks they were written around 350 and I was just wanting to know if there is any evidence for such a date. The link he gave me had none.

        • Lark62

          Lucian of Samosata described Christians as gullible fools who will fall for any scam circa 160CE. It is fully plausible that they had started to write fan fiction by then.

        • Jim Jones

          Maybe. For sure there were people around who were into this myth. That was the starting point for Paul. But in an oral society, they were all playing Chinese telephone with each other.

      • Ficino

        This doesn’t prove a date of writing of the gospels, but we do have pretty clear Jesus-cult material remains from the first half of the second century.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …we do have pretty clear Jesus-cult material remains from the first half of the second century.

          If it’s p52 to which ya refer, then nope, it’s not definitive.

          Brent Nongbri has written on this issue…

          The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel

          https://web.archive.org/web/20150216200012/http://people.uncw.edu/zervosg/papyrology/nongbri%20p52%20misuse.pdf

        • Ficino

          No, I wasn’t referring to p52 or in fact to any other papyrus fragment. Nongbri and Roger Bagnall have made strong arguments that the plethora of NT papyri dated 2nd century are as likely, or more so, to be from the third century or even the fourth.

          Bagnall, who was one of my professors, has concluded that a graffito from earlier than 125 CE is Christian. It’s from Asia Minor. It says “equal in value: Lord 800 faith 800”. See Bagnall’s Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East, pp. 22-23. The non-paywall Google link does not include these pages, but Larry Hurtado summarized accurately (I have read the original):

          http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/the-earliest-christian-graffito/

          But a question arises, WHICH Jesus cult generated a given artifact, even if the artifact is admitted to come from a Jesus cult? I have read of some inscriptions from the later 2nd century that seem to come from a gnostic milieu.

          Then there is the earliest layer of the tomb of St. Peter, which seems to date from c. 130-150 CE. The best treatment I’ve seen remains “The Tomb of St. Peter,” J.H. Jongkees, Mnemosyne ser. 4, 13.2 (1960) 143-55. Sorry I can’t link from behind the university paywall.

          I allow that not much can be concluded from remains like these except that there seems to have been one or more Jesus cult/s in the second century. That would accord with Pliny without our having to posit interpolation or forgery.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bagnall, who was one of my professors, has concluded that a graffito from earlier than 125 CE is Christian. It’s from Asia Minor. It says “equal in value: Lord 800 faith 800”. See Bagnall’s Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East, pp. 22-23. The non-paywall Google link does not include these pages, but Larry Hurtado summarized accurately (I have read the original):

          Well, like all these things. That dating is not as clear cut as first asserted. A subsequent book edited by your man Bagnall casts doubt on the earlier dating.

          Graffiti from the Basilica in the Agora of Smyrna (ISAW Monographs)

          In this analysis the dating is shifted back to ‘the last part of the second century and the first part of the third’ (p. 40).

          Reviewed here…

          http://www.bmcreview.org/2017/09/20170926.html

          From the author of an article at Evangelical Textual Criticism…Christian Graffiti in Smyrna – not as early as once thought

          There is a date amidst the graffiti (T16.1: the numbers refer to different bays in the structure): ‘in year 210′. Initially this was taken to refer to the era of Sulla (from the Roman conquest of Asia Minor in 85 BC hence AD 125/6). But there are complications to this view and some evidence that dates could also be assigned relative to the battle of Actium (31 BC hence AD 179/80). But in fact there are fewe inscriptions showing what dating system was used in Smyrna, and it is unknown how popular and idiosyncratic graffiti dates would be.

          T13.1 refers (in the plural) to ’emperors’ which suggests a date after AD 161 – the joint rule of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Further there was a bad earthquake in AD 178 and the general feel of this book seems to be that the re-plastering on which the graffiti was written post-dates that earthquake. Not completely secure, but broadly seems a plausible type of argument.

          http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2017/07/christian-graffiti-in-smyrna-not-as.html

          Of course as interesting as all this might be, like you say, it only demonstrates that there were Christ followers early on. It helps little with what they believed. Though some say the graffiti points to a Pauline following. But it is widely accepted that Pauline Christers were in Smyrna. That’s where Polycarp was doing his preaching and writing stuff.

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

        • Ficino

          I hadn’t followed up on that graffito. Good to know the more recent conclusions about its date, tx.

        • Jim Jones

          There was so much fakery and forgery I trust very little. The character of Jesus grew and expanded until it went too far and made Jesus god and life. And now they can’t take it back.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Carrier’s thesis…

      1. At the origin of Christianity, Jesus Christ was thought to be a celestial deity much like any other.

      2. Like many other celestial deities, this Jesus ‘communicated’ with his subjects only through dreams, visions and other forms of divine inspiration (such as prophecy, past and present).

      3. Like some other celestial deities, this Jesus was originally believed to have endured an ordeal of incarnation, death, burial and resurrection in a supernatural realm.

      4. As for many other celestial deities, an allegorical story of this same Jesus was then composed and told within the sacred community, which placed him on earth, in history, as a divine man, with an earthly family, companions, and enemies, complete with deeds and sayings, and an earthly depiction of his ordeals.

      5. Subsequent communities of worshipers believed (or at least taught) that this invented sacred story was real (and either not allegorical or only ‘additionally’ allegorical).

      • Lark62

        Yes. All of that. And Paul may have stolen the name of a dead palestinian preacher with a small cult following for his celestial deity. But I still think everything in the gospels is #4 above – fan fiction with no bearing on reality.

    • Don Camp

      . Paul wanted to start a mystery religion for fun and profit.

      I just ran across your post. So the late reply.

      What Paul did was neither fun nor profitable. Read through his descriptions of his life as an Apostle. If fun or profit was a motive, he would have done better to remain an up and coming Pharisee.

      • Lark62

        Founding a religion is a great path to power and wealth. Always has been. Believing one’s own rot is optional.

        The stories of Christian persecution are mostly fiction.

        • Don Camp

          Tell that to my Christian friends in India.

          Persecution was what Paul was doing before he was converted. See Gal. 1:13

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tell that to my Christian friends in India.

          Tell what to your Christian friends in India?

          Persecution was what Paul was doing before he was converted. See Gal. 1:13

          No, that’s what Paul claims. And Paul wouldn’t make something up for full effect, would he? But what form did the persecution take, if indeed there was persecution? See, that would add gravitas to his position. Gamekeeper turned poacher. We all enjoy a great deconversion story. Especially one were the person at the centre of the claim was so invested in the counter position. The change of heart is so emphatic that the 180 degree change must’ve had some basis in reality, right?

        • Greg G.

          Maybe Paul was a Pharisee who treated Christians the way Sadducees treated each other:

          Jewish Wars 2.8.14 excerpt
          …the behavior of the Sadducees one towards another is in some degree wild, and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them.

          Paul persecuted Christians by arguing vigorously against them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What authority would Paul have had to physically punish the members of a fledgling cult. Would the Jews have cared enough? Where is this persecution mentioned elsewhere in any contemporary texts? Porkies being told methinks.

          I read somewhere that Paul would have no authority to be rounding up Christians in Damascus as it was part of another jurisdiction.

          At the time of Paul’s stay in Damascus (35-38AD), the city was controlled by the Nabataean King Aretas IV (c.9BC- 40AD) (see 2 Corinthians 11:32). The Nabataean kingdom – known by the Romans as Arabia Petraea – was governed from their capital at Petra (in modern-day Jordan). Aretas had invaded the eastern territories of Judaea and defeated King Herod Antipas in 36AD after Herod had divorced Aretas’s daughter Phasaelis in favour of his brother Herod Philip’s estranged wife Herodias (see Mark 6:17-18). After the Romans had intervened in this quarrel between two of its allies, the emperor Caligula leased Damascus to the Nabataeans in order to strengthen their ties with Rome and to prevent an alliance with Rome’s enemy, the Parthians.

        • Greg G.

          I take the accounts in Acts with a grain of salt. There is too much evidence that stories were made up from accounts that happened to someone else. I trust more what Paul wrote about himself but that he is given to hyperbole.

          But I suspect that he was flat out wrong about who was governor of Damascus. It seems that the Romans had firm control of that area in the first century. I have visited most of the states in the US but I would be hard pressed to tell you who was the governor when I visited them. But Aretas IV ruled for approximately a half century in a kingdom near Syria so if one were to be trying to remember a governor’s name, it would be hard to remember one besides a king known for his longevity in the region.

          2 Corinthians 11:32 is the only place in Paul’s writings that has a historical reference that could be used as a clue to place a date on Paul’s era but the last time an Aretas controlled Syria was
          about 70 BC.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Regardless of who was running the show, I doubt anyone from Jerusalem would’ve had any jurisdiction to be persecuting a tiny breakaway cult of Jews.

          I take Paul’s writing with a pinch of salt too.

        • Greg G.

          I think Paul was sincerely deluded, and was willing to defend his delusions with hyperbole and sarcasm.

        • Don Camp

          No, that’s what Paul claims

          I would expect that is how you would see it. There is nothing that is factual or trustworthy in the Bible, so why should this be different, right?. For my part, I find the fact of Paul’s persecution of the early followers of Jesus to be so deeply woven into his personal story as to be virtually certain.

          As for the Jewish antipathy toward the Christians you can read that in their own words in the Talmud.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I would expect that is how you would see it.

          I see it the way you see it in other religions leaders ya Dime Bar. With a purpose to further their own needs. Mo, Joe Smith, Ron L. Hubbard, etc., etc., etc.,…it’s as old as humanity itself…snake oil salesmen fleecing the gullible…unless you think they were all telling the truth. Do you think they were all telling the truth? Nah ya don’t. But Paul, that guy was the one and only religion starter in history that was telling the truth…and that’s the fallacy of special pleading ya gullible twit.

          There is nothing that is factual or trustworthy in the Bible, so why should this be different, right?.

          There is nothing that can be taken as factual or trustworthy in the Buybull, because we know most of it isn’t. In other news, Muslims believe all the Quran is factual and trustworthy. Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is factual and trustworthy….and get this, there were Christians who believed their different holy texts were factual and trustworthy, until other different Christians decided they weren’t and had them destroyed or banned as heresies. But yours, fuck all wrong with yours is there? You’ve got the real McCoy….right…apart from the problems in it, that over the years apologists have crafted excuses to try and cover up…and you’ve bought into it, ya bloody idiot.

          For my part, I find the fact of Paul’s persecution of the early followers of Jesus to be so deeply woven into his personal story as to be virtually certain.

          Of course ya do Don. Your a gullible cretin. The other guys holy texts, well that’s all obviously bunkum, regardless of whether the other guy holds it to be virtually certain. You keep on drinking the Kool-Aid though, because you’ve got the one true version of religion. Above all others. Ya Dufus.

          As for the Jewish antipathy toward the Christians you can read that in their own words in the Talmud.

          Bwaaaahahahahaha!

          By the time the Talmud was written, Christian antipathy towards other Christians was in full swing ffs. And it has never stopped to this day. Didn’t ya know that?

      • Greg G.

        What Paul did was neither fun nor profitable.

        In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul seems to be arguing that the Corinthians should support him financially because someone seems to have argued against that. He uses OT scriptures to justify his pay while saying that those arguing against that are using their human authority.

        • Don Camp

          Paul was helped by various of the churches he had planted, though later in Corinthians he tells them he takes some pride in the fact that he did not receive help from them (1 Cor. 9:12 and 2 cor. 11:7). The help Paul received allowed him to spend more of his time in preaching and teaching rather than in making tents. Tent making was his occupation and the means by which he supported himself.

          Paul spent several years in prison in Judea and Rome. He lived during those times on the gifts of his friends; there was no provision for being supported by the government.

          His argument in 1 Corinthians 9 was that it was his right to be supported, though he did not exercise that right and ask the Corinthians to support him.

        • Greg G.

          Paul never says he was a tentmaker. Acts is a fictional story invented by Luke.

          His argument in 1 Corinthians 9 was that it was his right to be supported, though he did not exercise that right and ask the Corinthians to support him.

          Philippians 4:15 says the Philippians were the first to support him. 2 Corinthians 11:8 says that other churches were supporting him when he went to the Corinthians. Continue reading through 2 Corinthians 12:17, Paul is crying for pity to guilt them into supporting him. Someone seems to have accused him of cheating them in 2 Corinthians 12:16. Since he was comparing himself to the “super-apostles”, it is they who most likely made that accusation, as if it is a continuation of the problem in 1 Corinthians 9.

  • Ficino

    It’s important to understand that history and theology
    are interwoven in biblical history,
    and nothing about the life of Jesus
    can be theologically true that is historically false.
    — Christian scholar Ben Witherington

    Very interesting. Over on Bart Ehrman’s blog, Mike Licona has made the Genre Argument: that what skeptics construe as contradictions in the gospels aren’t contradictions because each evangelist is making theological points along with telling the main outline of the Jesus story. On this argument, it’s not that one gospel asserts P and another asserts not-P so one must be false. It’s rather that one gospel asserts P and another looks at first glance as though it asserts not-P but actually asserts something else, Q. So no contradiction.

    https://ehrmanblog.org/is-the-bible-inerrant-guest-post-by-mike-licona/

    So Witherington would disagree with Licona and Licona’s camp?

    • Ignorant Amos

      So Witherington would disagree with Licona and Licona’s camp?

      Yep, theologians will do that.

      When Licona shifted his “genre” interpretation on the “zombie” apocalypse in Matthew 27 from literal inerrant historical fact, to metaphorical apocalyptic imagery, is when he fell foul of his peers. That shift put him in an untenable situation with his place of employment as research professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary and as apologetics coordinator for the North American Mission Board, forcing his resignation.

      What is interesting about his guest posting at Ehrman’s blog…

      In the course of the controversy over the raised saints in the Gospel of Matthew, Evangelicals such as Norman Geisler, Albert Mohler and F. David Farnell have questioned whether Licona is moving away from his evangelical views and is headed in a similar path traveled by the agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman. While asserting his belief in the divine authority of the Bible and its inerrancy, he maintains he cannot presuppose these beliefs while engaged in historical research. He also claims the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is not a doctrine fundamental to the Christian faith. In a radio exchange with Ehrman, Licona said that if Jesus actually rose from the dead, Christianity is true even if it were also true that some things in the Bible were not. Licona noted what he saw as several problems with the argument for inerrancy provided by Norman Geisler.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_R._Licona#Academic_career

      • Ficino

        I tried to point out to Licona in the comboxes that his Genre Argument renders his (revised) inerrancy claim heuristically vacuous. We can’t know in advance that any biblical proposition is true BECAUSE it’s in the Bible, as fundamentalists say we can know, because on the Genre Argument, the proposition that the sacred author intends to express might not be what the passage says. The passage might say that there was an earthquake and the guards posted at The Tomb fell down as dead men, but on the Genre Argument it turns out that the proposition intended in the passage is something else: maybe, that the Resurrection was totally awesome and that the Jews were totally wrong to deny it.

        That which is set up in principle to be unfalsifiable lacks credibility.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, I read that comment.