The hoops the Christian has to jump through to believe the Nativity

The hoops the Christian has to jump through to believe the Nativity October 29, 2012

I thought I’d re-post this thread from when I was regularly contributing to John’s original Debunking Christianity blog. See what you think:

I was recently talking, an a thread or two, about the historical implausibility of pretty much all of the claims in both Luke and Matthew with regards to the infancy accounts of Jesus’ birth.

The situation is this. I maintain that, to hold to the notion that the accounts are historical, one has to jump through hoops. However, the Christian might say that one or two claims in the accounts may be false, but that does not mean that the other claims are false. But in this approach lie many issues. For example:

1) If we accept that some claims in the accounts are false, does the Christian special plead that the other claims are true?

2) The claims are so interconnected that to falsify one or two of them means that the house of cards comes tumbling down.

3) If we establish that at least some of the claims are false, how does this affect other claims within the same Gospel? How can we know that claims of Jesus’ miracles are true given that the reliability of the writer is accepted as questionable?

And so on. In my book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination, I think I give ample evidence that allows one to conclude that the historicity of the nativity accounts is sorely and surely challenged. All of the aspects and claims, that is. There are problems, for sure, if one accepts that some claims are false but others are true. But the simple fact of the matter is that all of the claims are highly questionable.

Here are the hoops that a Christian must jump through. They are flaming hoops, and the Christian can do nothing to avoid being burnt, it seems. From my book:

In order for the Christian who believes that both accounts are factually true to uphold that faithful decree, the following steps must take place. The believer must:

• Special plead that the virgin birth motif is actually true for Christianity but is false for all other religions and myths that claim similarly.

• Deny that “virgin” is a mistranslation.

• Give a plausible explanation of from whence the male genome of Jesus came from and how this allowed him to be “fully man”.

• Be able to render the two genealogies fully coherent without the explanation being contrived or ad hoc.

• Believe that the genealogies are bona fide and not just tools to try to prove Jesus’ Davidic and Messianic prophecy-fulfilling heritage.

• Be able to explain the inconsistency of the two accounts in contradicting each other as to where Joseph lived before the birth (without the explanation being contrived or ad hoc).

• Somehow be able to contrive an explanation whereby Herod and Quirinius could be alive concurrently, despite all the evidence contrary to this point.

• Believe that a client kingdom under Herod could and would order a census under Roman diktat. This would be the only time in history this would have happened.

• Find it plausible that people would return, and find precedent for other occurrences of people returning, to their ancestral homes for a census (at an arbitrary number of generations before: 41).

• Give a probable explanation as to how a Galilean man was needed at a census in another judicial area.

• Give a plausible reason as to why Mary was required at the census (by the censors or by Joseph).

• Give a plausible explanation as to why Mary would make that 80 mile journey on donkey or on foot whilst heavily pregnant, and why Joseph would be happy to let her do that.

• Believe that Joseph could afford to take anywhere from a month to two years off work.

• Believe that, despite archaeological evidence, Nazareth existed as a proper settlement at the time of Jesus’ birth.

• Believe that the prophecies referred to Nazareth and not something else. • Believe that the magi were not simply a theological tool derived from the Book of Daniel.

• Believe that Herod (and his scribes and priests) was not acting entirely out of character and implausibly in not knowing the prophecies predicting Jesus, and not accompanying the magi three hours down the road.

• Believe that the magi weren’t also merely a mechanism to supply Herod with an opportunity to get involved in the story and thus fulfil even more prophecies.

• Believe that the magi were also not a reinterpretation of the Balaam narrative from the Old Testament, despite there being clear evidence to the contrary.

• Believe that a star could lead some magi from the East to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem where it rested over an individual house and not be noted by anyone else in the world.

• Believe that the shepherds were not merely midrashic and theological tools used by Luke.

• Believe that there is (and provide it) a reasonable explanation as to why each Gospel provides different first witnesses (shepherds and magi) without any mention of the other witnesses.

• Believe that, despite an absence of evidence and the realisation that it is clearly a remodelling of an Old Testament narrative, the Massacre of the Innocents actually happened.

• Believe that Herod would care enough about his rule long after his death to chase after a baby and murder many other innocent babies, a notion that runs contrary to evidence.

• Believe that God would allow other innocent babies to die as a result of the birth of Jesus.

• Believe that the Flight to and from Egypt was not just a remodelling of an Old Testament narrative in order to give Jesus theological gravitas.

• Give a plausible explanation as to why the two accounts contradict each other so obviously as to where Jesus and family went after his birth.

• Explain the disappearance of the shepherds and magi, who had seen the most incredible sights of their lives, and why they are never heard from again despite being the perfect spokespeople for this newfound religion.

• Provide a plausible explanation as to why Jesus’ own family did not think he was the Messiah, given the events of the nativity accounts.

Once the believer in the accuracy of these accounts can do all of the above, in a plausible and probable manner, then they can rationally hold that belief. I would contest that it is rationally possible to ever hold such a belief.

But does a Christian have to hold the belief that all of the claims are true? This is something which I have mentioned several times. The difficulty here for such a (liberal) Christian is how to arrive at any kind of a rational basis as to what they accept and what they reject. Given that it has been shown that every single claim can be soundly doubted under critical examination, it is difficult to build a case for any veracity within the combined, two-prong approach of the infancy narratives. There really is no solid rational foundation to an acceptance that, for example, the virgin birth claims are true, but the magi are probably false; or that the magi were real and factual, but the star was not; or that the shepherd encounter truly happened as reported, but that the census never took place. It would be fairly arbitrary at best. Many of the events are crucially interconnected.

The ramifications for pulling the rug out from under the believers’ feet is that we are left with no proper account of Jesus’ life until, really, he starts his ministry. Furthermore, we have no real evidence for the claims that Jesus is the Messiah and is derived from Messianic and Davidic heritage. As a result, we have only the accounts of the miraculous events surrounding Jesus’ ministry and death. However, the same problems afflict these accounts: they are uncorroborated by extra-biblical, non pro-Jesus attestation and rely on unknown authors writing in unknown places. What is particularly damaging, as I have already set out, is that if the birth narratives can be shown to be patently false, and the narratives involve sizeable accounts from two Gospel writers, then how can we know what other purported facts are true? If these infancy miracle claims are false, then what of the myriad of other miracle claims – the walking on the water, the water to wine, the resurrection? It is a serious indictment of these writers (especially since Luke is declared as being a reliable historian by so many apologists ).

The undermining of these narratives does not disprove that Jesus was the Son of God, or that he had Davidic lineage, or whatever else these passages were trying to establish, per se. However, one has to recognise that some really damaging chinks are undoubtedly beaten into the apologetic armour of claims of Jesus’ divinity.

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  • BethAnnErickson

    A very impressive post. Sadly, logic doesn’t enter the equation when you’re dealing with people of faith. It’s far more important to hang onto the story than to glimpse reality. I once posed a few innocent questions to a fellow church goer and was blown away by their anger. “You’re attacking my faith!” she cried through tear filled eyes. (True story.)

    If logic had anything to do with this, reality would easily win the day. But there’s more involved and I’m not sure I can put my finger on one factor that would make it so.

    But this is a brilliant post. :)

    • Thanks Beth, nice of you to say so!

      At the heart of the problem is a presuppositional conclusion, no matter the rational cost involved.

  • Thanks Johnny boy, great stuff!

  • JohnM

    Almah, means young unmarried woman. The virgin part, enters the picture, given the Jewish Culture.

    As for the male genome of Jesus.. Keep in mind who we are dealing with here.. He created the universe and shaped Adam from dust. Finding a bit of male genome, probably wasn’t too big a task.

    As for the two  genealogies, it’s now a commonly accepted fact, that one is from Mary the other is from Joseph.

    http://www.ldolphin.org/2adams.html – if you’re interested

    As for the Census .. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius

    As for Herod.. I see no reason why one should dismiss Christ, on the basis of our current lack of knowledge. A few years ago, I would often hear atheist arguing on the internet, that Nazareth was a hole in the ground, at the time of Christ. We now know better.

    Believe that, despite archaeological evidence, Nazareth existed as a proper settlement at the time of Jesus’ birth.

    WHAT?!?!?! Oh no, you didn’t just write that.. I had just written the above statement, and then I came across this one..

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Early+History+-+Archaeology/Residential_building_time_Jesus_Nazareth_21-Dec-2009.htm

    Believe that God would allow other innocent babies to die as a result of the birth of Jesus.

    So now you’re blaming God for the action of men?

    • Male genome – problem isn’t how he created it, but how he selected the code in order for it to allow Jesus to be fully man in such a way that would be relevant to mankind. What was the criteria over which the genes were selected and how does this qualify for jesus to be fully man?

      As for the two  genealogies, it’s now a commonly accepted fact, that one is from Mary the other is from Joseph.

      WHOOOOOAAAHHHHH!
      What? You really think this is accepted? Do you know how bad that theory is and how many issues it has?? Man… You need to read my book! Again, your reading of academia needs more careful application. Even wiki concedes only some scholars adhere to that. Do you want me to elucidate the problems?

      The census is NOT adequately explained BY ANY apologist. Again, read my book, or look at Carrier’s excellent article:

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html

      As for Nazareth, I concede in my book that I am agnostic over the evidence. The interesting thing is the destruction of the evidence of the ‘house’ that the Catholics found there in 2009…


    • Believe that God would allow other innocent babies to die as a result of the birth of Jesus.

      So now you’re blaming God for the action of men?”

      this is funny because it is perhaps the only time in the bible where scholars have trouble providing a theodicy because it looks to be the only time in the bible when innocents die as a direct result of an action of God / Jesus. Again, you should do more reading on the matter.

  • [[Almah, means young unmarried woman. The virgin part, enters the picture, given the Jewish Culture.]]

    The fact is the bible doesn’t mention the virgin birth as a prophesy. It was reverse engineered and attempted to make a square peg go through a round hole.

    [[As for the male genome of Jesus.. Keep in mind who we are dealing with
    here.. He created the universe and shaped Adam from dust. Finding a bit
    of male genome, probably wasn’t too big a task.]]

    No evidence…..

    [[As for the two  genealogies, it’s now a commonly accepted fact, that one is from Mary the other is from Joseph.]]

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

  • JohnM

     Lol!! Infidels.org?

    They haven’t got a clue.

    • Andy_Schueler

       Lol!! Infidels.org?
      They haven’t got a clue.

      How about you explain why one gospel author would give one geneaology of Mary (and not label it as such) while another gospel author gives a completely different geneaology of a man who is in no way, shape or form related to Jesus, and again not label it as such ? (hint: Joseph was not the father of Jesus) 

      • And get it wrong to boot. Joseph’s father? Both contradict this!

        • JohnM

           Jonathan

          And get it wrong to boot. Joseph’s father? Both contradict this!

          If you’re actually interest in the truth, then read my link.

          • I have. It is the definition of ad hoc. Unevidenced, contrived and poor. The fact that you believe is says a lot. 

            Also, the fact that there are no other maternal genealogies in the bible must tell you something!

  • Another fallacy to boot, this one called “Damning the source”

  • JohnM

     “And thus the Lord Jesus received the two guarantees of right to the throne of David: the blood line through his mother directly, and the title through his adopting father, Joseph.” – http://www.ldolphin.org/2adams.html

    • Andy_Schueler

       “And thus the Lord Jesus received the two guarantees of right to the throne of David: the blood line through his mother directly, and the title through his adopting father, Joseph.”

      1. To quote from infidels.org:

      “The apostle Paul says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3). Here the word “seed” is literally in the Greek “sperma.” This same Greek word is translated in other verses as “descendant(s)” or “offspring.” The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.

      Women did not count in reckoning descent for the simple reason that it was then believed that the complete human was present in the man’s sperm (the woman’s egg being discovered in 1827). The woman’s womb was just the soil in which the seed was planted. Just as there was barren soil that could not produce crops, so also the Bible speaks of barren wombs that could not produce children.

      This is the reason that although there are many male genealogies in the Bible, there are no female genealogies. This also eliminates the possibility put forward by some apologists that Jesus could be of the “seed of David” through Mary.”

      2. The interpretation you quote is a nice example of apologists simply making shit up when the gospels clearly contradict each other.

      • Not only that, Andy, but you can tell by the sheer PLETHORA of theories defending such inconsistencies that they are at least all but one, and thus probably all, ad hoc and contrived.

        • Andy_Schueler

          And what apologists just don´t get in this respect, is that they are not defending the teachings of the gospel – they see two (or more) contradicting stories in two (or more) different gospels, then they make up a completely new story that´s not supported by any of the gospels and defend this story – they are not defending what is to be found in the gospels but only their own BS. 
          Funny how all christians can see the irrationality of this approach when Muslim apologists talk about their ad hoc explanations of why the clear contradictions in the Koran are not actually contradictions, isn´t it ;-).

  • JohnM

    Jonathan

    this is funny because it is perhaps the only time in the bible where scholars have trouble providing a theodicy because it looks to be the only time in the bible when innocents die as a direct result of an action of God / Jesus. Again, you should do more reading on the matter.

    No, Jonathan. You need to read the bible more. For Revelation 12 tells us, that it was the great red dragon AKA “Evil God”, who attempted to kill the child.

    • Well, considering most independent historians and historians of Herod think that the massacre never happens, the whole point is rather moot.

      Again, I have a whole chapter on this. You are regurgitating usual apologetic tripe without even beginning to ask yourself whether it stands up at all. It doesn’t.

  • JohnM

    Well… I could play High Judge as well. But I don’t really see how that would change anything. I think we’ll just have to disagree.

  • JohnM

     Jonathan:

    Also, the fact that there are no other maternal genealogies in the bible must tell you something!

    Do you actually know how one determines whether or not, one is a Jew, according to Jews?

  • JohnM

    infidels.org:

    Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin

    According to the law, adopted children are no longer children of other men; legally they’re the adoptive father’s kids; and so he’s responsible for them. as if they were his own blood kin.

    Also, Paul is referring to – Isaiah 11:1
    A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse(David); from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

    So don’t read their garbage. They haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You know, quote-mining is just as reprehensible as lying, actually even more, because you make others lie for you.
      Here´s the complete quote:

      The apostle Paul says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3). Here the word “seed” is literally in the Greek “sperma.” This same Greek word is translated in other verses as “descendant(s)” or “offspring.” The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.

  • Right. Let’s pick one issue and stick to it. Let’s bottom out one point at a time. John, you pick.

  • JohnM

    But they’re wrong. According to the law, adopted sons would be entitled to sit on the throne.
     
    Also lol at accusing me for quote-mining, because I picked a line that summarized it all.

    • Ok, let’s strip this one back and bottom it out. What is the issue you are defending and how are you defending it? Just one simple thing at a time.

    • Andy_Schueler

      But they’re wrong. According to the law, adopted sons would be entitled to sit on the throne.

      1. If the Bible is correct on the number of David´s wives and concubines, he would have left a pretty impressive number of descendants. All of whom would have more right to claim his throne than someone who was just adopted.
      2. In the entire recorded history of ancient israel, no adopted son ever claimed a throne (and there is not even evidence for a king adopting a son).
      3. Whether there even was such a thing as adoption, as we currently understand it, in ancient israel is still a matter of debate, and if there was – the legal consequences of adoption, especially what it means for inheritance, are completely unclear (i.e., you are making stuff up)

      Also lol at accusing me for quote-mining, because I picked a line that summarized it all.

      No, you did not. You quoted “Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin” from the infidels article and proceeded to talk about Joseph adopting Jesus while completely ignoring the evidence for the sentence you quoted, which would have been: 
      “The apostle Paul says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3). Here the word “seed” is literally in the Greek “sperma.” This same Greek word is translated in other verses as “descendant(s)” or “offspring.” The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.” 

      And your reference to Isaiah 11 is another example of you ignore scripture when it´s inconvenient and cherry-picking the parts that support your bullshit ideas. Paul is using a word that unambigiously implies blood relationship.

      • JohnM

        Andy_Schueler:

        All of whom would have more right to claim his throne than someone who was just adopted.

        No. In ancient Jewish culture, an adopted son shares the same privileges ones own blood.

        If the Bible is correct on the number of David´s wives and concubines, he would have left a pretty impressive number of descendants.

        Something that you assert, without having the slightest clue, what actually happened to the bloodline of King David.

        • “In ancient Jewish culture, an adopted son shares the same privileges ones own blood.”

          whilst I don’t deny this, I would like you to provide me with primary evidence that adoptive sons can inherit a throne in Jewish culture. You make assertions without backing them up.

        • GearHedEd

          No. In ancient Jewish culture, an adopted son shares the same privileges ones own blood.

          Citation, please, and make sure it defines the relationship of adopted sons of royalty. Here, you assert your opinion as fact….

          Something that you assert, without having the slightest clue, what actually happened to the bloodline of King David.

          Pot, meet Kettle.

  • pboyfloyd

    “The hoops the Christian has to jump through to believe the Nativity”


    “Almah, means young unmarried woman.”

     “Almah (עלמה, plural: alamot עלמות) is a Hebrew feminine noun used in the Hebrew bible for a young woman of childbearing age who has not yet had a child.[1] Christian Old Testaments typically translate it as virgin, maiden, young woman, damsel or girl, although scholars agree that “almah” has nothing to do with virginity.”

    But John has a hoop to jump through.

     “The virgin part, enters the picture, given the Jewish Culture.”

    “As for the male genome of Jesus.. ”

    I think we’re talking about the idea that Jesus is descended from David, given the patrilineal chronicling of the Israelites/Jews. (IOW forget the Jewish Culture when it doesn’t suit you)

    But John has a hoop to jump through.

    “Keep in mind who we are dealing with here.. He created the universe and shaped Adam from dust. Finding a bit of male genome, probably wasn’t too big a task.”

    Yes, yes, so you’re saying that since you sincerely believe that Yahweh did all that, you’re willing to invoke HIM to read the Gospels as you prefer, which leads you to believe that Jesus died for your sins, which leads you to believe that Yahweh did all that in the O.T.

    That there is a circle of hoops.

  • JohnM
    • So that piece comes up with three pieces of evidence:

      Had Abraham not had a child “of his own loins,” Eliezar of Damascus would have inherited his “kingdom” (mobile kingdom that it was)–and he had no genetic link. Jacob adopted two of Joseph’s sons as his own heirs, giving them and their posterity the same inheritance as Joseph’s brothers, including specific domains in Israel. The laws of levirate marriage required a dead man’s brother to “give him a son” if he had no children of his own by marrying his widow.  The son would carry the dead man’s name and inherit his property and thus continue his line even though he would not be the man’s genetic son (Deu. 25:5; it was the refusal to perform this duty that brought about the death of Onan in Gen. 38:8ff).

      Really only the first one is relevant to adoption unless you definitely claim, irrespective of positive evidence, that Jesus’ birth was part of a Levirite marriage procedure.

      So your proof that adopted Jewish sons can take a throne comes from a claim that had Abraham NOT had a blood child, then Eliezar WOULD have inherited. All this despite God promising to David “When your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership.”

  • JohnM

    Jesus was the flesh and blood of David.

    Though his mother.. remember?

    • OK, let’s pick this point and bottom it out. You think, presumably, Luke’s genealogy is maternal. Let’s stick to this point and only this point.

      Reasons why this is not the case:

      1) No other maternal genealogy is mentioned in the bible. None. Thus you would need to special plead that this one is maternal.

      2) Mary being the daughter of Heli / Eli is a controversial apologist attempt to make sense of the genealogy but is not a good reading of the Talmud. see http://www.frontline-apologetics.com/mary_genealogy_talmud.html

      3) Mary’s patrilineal heritage is more traditionally seen as Joachim

      4)  Raymond E. Brown called it a “pious deduction”; and Joachim Gnilka “the desperation of embarrassment”. Cited in Frederick Dale Bruner,Matthew: The Christbook, Matthew 1-12 (Eerdmans, 2004), page 21-22. See also Larry Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ (Eerdmans, 2003), page 273.
      “Luke’s genealogy, was universally supposed to be that of Joseph.”– Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, NPNF2-01.”Mattan, who was descended from Solomon, begat Jacob. And when Matthan was dead, Melchi, who was descended from Nathan begat Eli by the same woman. Eli and Jacob were thus uterine brothers. Eli having died childless, Jacob raised up seed to him, begetting Joseph, his own son by nature, but by law the son of Eli. Thus Joseph was the son of both.” – Eusebius, History of the Church, 1.7.15.
      5) This is a really important piece of evidence. Luke HIMSELF shows that he referred to Luke as of David’s heritage:
      “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” – Luke 1.27-28.
      “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David …” – Luke 2.4

      6) Not only does Luke stress that Joseph has Davidic ancestry, nowhere does he suggest the same of Mary. On the contrary, Luke makes Mary a relative of Elizabeth, and she is a descendent of the priestly family of Aaron (Luke 1.5,6). Elizabeth is also married to Zechariah, himself a Levite of the Abijah division, so-named after a priest who returned from exile with Zerubbabel. The clear inference is that Mary has priestly, not royal, blood.

      7) Moreover, genealogy traced through the maternal line is not characteristic of Judaism. Lukemakes it abundantly clear that he is tracing the descent of Jesus through Joseph and it is only the existence of a contradictory bloodline in Matthew that compels apologists to ignore the natural reading of Luke and proffer an untenable alternative. Refer here to point 1.

      8) As Raymond Brown, who I really rate as a Christian scholar (dealing honestly with evidence) in his awesome “Birth of the Messiah”, p.89, “What influences this suggestion is the centrality of Joseph in Matthew’s infancy narrative, as compared with the spotlighting of Mary in Luke’s. Even at first glance, however, this solution cannot be taken seriously: a genealogy traced through the mother is not normal. in Judaism, and Luke makes it clear that he is tracing Jesus’ descent through Joseph. Moreover, Luke’s genealogy traces Davidic descent and despite later Christian speculation, we really do not know that Mary was a Davidid.”

  • JohnM

     The links that I have already shared, explains all of that.

    That you don’t accept the explanations given, is your problem, not mine.

    I’m not trying to force you to believe anything.

    • John, 

      That is rubbish. That is poor and that is rubbish. You have 7 points to address. Your links do not adequately answer that AT ALL.

      Just because you provide something which you think answers something DOES NOT mean that it does actually answer something. Do some work please to defend your thesis.

      Just take one point, that there is no other evidence in the bible (or anywhere else?) for a maternal bloodline. So why is this suddenly a maternal line?

      You lose all credibility with answers like that.

  • JohnM

    I’m a young earth creationist… I don’t have any credibility anyway! :p

    Sorry, if I’m not putting up much of a fight. But I’ve debated these topics like a gazillion times. The issues you bring forward, are not new to me. I do think that the links I have shared, answer the issues quite nicely. And it’s perfectly fine with me, if you disagree.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Sorry, if I’m not putting up much of a fight. But I’ve debated these topics like a gazillion times. 

      And you´ve learned nothing by doing that. Which does not surprise me at all. We´ve already seen it with other topics –  you are incredibly dishonest and stubbornly refuse to deal with any objections to your BS arguments. Or, alternatively, you simply lie about answering objections although you know fully well that you haven´t done so, as you did with statements like these:

      I do think that the links I have shared, answer the issues quite nicely.

      That´s a lie. And you know that it is a lie. The reason that you cannot elaborate on that is not that you are lazy or tired of talking about this issue – it´s because you are lying and simply cannot admit when you are wrong.

      You are just repeating the same garbage over and over and over again and simply ignore all refutations. 
      What you do is not debating / discussing issues, what you do is holding a monologue. As you said in another thread:

      If I wanted an atheists opinion on that, I would have asked.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/10/24/republican-richard-mourdock-god-intends-rape-pregnancies/#comment-695597401
      That´s saying a lot about you – you are a troll, and you are wasting your and our time.

  • JohnM

    Figures… Character assassination is just about the last thing that you haven’t tried yet..

    And for what?? All I’m doing is to disagree. Is that really so horrible?

    Look at how much name-calling I have to endure, just to be here and try having a few conversations.

    If you want me gone, so that you can sit there and scratch each other’s backs.. then all you had to do was to ask.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Figures… Character assassination is just about the last thing that you haven’t tried yet..

      Nope, character assassination is a form of defamation and true statements cannot be defamatory. I said nothing about you that is not demonstrably true. 

      I said that you are either ignoring objections to your arguments or lying about having answered objections even when it´s crystal clear that you didn´t. Examples for this behaviour would be this very thread:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/10/29/the-hoops-the-christian-has-to-jump-through-to-believe-the-nativity/#comment-696531647
      or this one:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/10/24/republican-richard-mourdock-god-intends-rape-pregnancies/#comment-695567943
      and the list could be extented to include pretty much every other thread on this blog where you commented. 

      I also said that you are not interested in having an honest discussion and are rather trying to hold a monologue, which is also demonstrably true:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/10/24/republican-richard-mourdock-god-intends-rape-pregnancies/#comment-695597401

      And for what?? All I’m doing is to disagree. Is that really so horrible?

      Nope, what you are doing is not “disagreeing” – you make completely outlandish claims, get rude, insulting and condescending when these claims are challenged, and either dishonestly ignore all challenges and objections to your claims or simply lie about having answered them even when it´s crystal clear that you didn´t.

      • JohnM

        Of course I’m not going to take an atheists opinion about what we read in the bible, above my own. What did you expect? Get real.

        And yes, I did refer to you as ignorant a couple of times. Sorry that I hurt your ego. But you are, on some issues. So deal with it.

        And no, I’m not going to continue commenting on something, just because you claim that it is valid.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Of course I’m not going to take an atheists opinion about what we read in the bible, above my own. What did you expect? Get real.

          If you don´t care about someone´s opinions or arguments when they happen to be atheists then why the fuck are you talking to atheists ?! That´s exactly what I mean, you are not interested in a discussion, you want to hold a monologue and get angry when someone criticizes you while you´re doing that! 

          And no, I’m not going to continue commenting on something, just because you claim that it is valid.

          And you are not going explain why it´s invalid either. Because you can´t. You´d rather lie than admit that you are either wrong and / or unable to answer challenges to your beliefs.

          • JohnM

             Well I did explain it to you several times..

            Unjust actions goes against the character of God.

            But you wouldn’t listen. So I ignored you. Big deal. Get over it.

          • Andy_Schueler

             Well I did explain it to you several times…

            No. What you did was the same stunt that you tried to pull off with Jonathan here:
            Jonathan provides a detailed refutation of your position, and instead of engaging even just one tiny detail of this refutation, you lie about it by saying that you had already provided a link to a source that answers all of Jonathan´s objections although it is crystal clear to anyone who followed your link that this is not true. 
            You did the same in the other discussion I linked to. I challenged you on your “pre-judgment is not just” argument many times (at least 4 times so far) and instead of admitting that you cannot answer these objections, you lie about them by calling them “invalid” (obviously without providing even the tiniest bit of an explanation for why they allegedly are invalid). 

          • Andy_Schueler

            Btw, it would be very easy for you to demonstrate that you are not lying:

            Jonathan provided a detailed list of 8 objections to your argument here.
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/10/29/the-hoops-the-christian-has-to-jump-through-to-believe-the-nativity/#comment-696508423
            You claim that these links:
            http://www.hebrewroot.com/Articles/David_v_Solomon.htm
            http://www.ldolphin.org/2adams.html
            answer all of Jonathan´s objections, but you did explain how exactly they answer any of these objections, you don´t have time to do that because:
            “But I’ve debated these topics like a gazillion times. The issues you bring forward, are not new to me.  do think that the links I have shared, answer the issues quite nicely.”
            I say that you know that this is not true (i.e. you are lying) and to prove me wrong, all you would have to do is quoting Jonathan´s objections and for each one the relevant part of your links that answer his objections. Since none of the texts you link to  are very long, that should not take you more than 5 minutes (if you are not lying that is). 

            The same of my objections to your “pre-judgment” is not just argument. You claim that my objections are invalid. I say again that this is not true, and that you know that this is not true. To prove me wrong, all you have to do is show why these objections are invalid for your “God is just and not creating people that would not obey God´s commands would be an unjust pre-judgment”:
            Objection 1:God created Adam & Eve (who did not obey all of his orders), and by doing that instead of creating you & a random obedient woman (who would have followed his orders), he did not “pre-judge” anyone. He just actualized two humans out of the set of potential humans. 
            Explain how actualizing 2 humans out of the set of potential humans is “pre-judging” all other humans. Explain especially how it is even possible that something which could only potentially exist, but does not actually exist, could be judged – how do you judge things that do not exist ? Did God “pre-judge” Leprechauns and Fairies by never creating them in the first place ? If not, why ? Objection 2:Thought-experiment: assume that I could create a new life form (like Dr. Frankenstein) and knew in advance all choices that this life form would make (like an omniscient God). 
            If I knew that the creature I create would use it´s free will to choose to go on a murderous rampage and that I would have to hunt it down before it could cause any more harm, would it be an immoral prejudgment of mine to simply not create the creature in the first place ? What would it say about me if I let the creature go on a murderous rampage although I knew that this would happen and I could have saved all the people it killed by either not creating the creature in the first place or locking it up ? What would it say about me if I not only hunt the creature down after it went on a murderous rampage – but also torture it as brutally as I could manage to do ? Who is ultimately responsible for the people that were killed by my creature ? The creature itself, or it´s creator who knew in advance that it would make the free choice to go on a murderous rampage ?

  • JohnM

    Jonathan asked me to provide evidence that adoptive sons can inherit a throne in Jewish culture. And after I replied, he started talking about maternal genealogy. So he basically surrendered that one to me.As for maternal genealogy.. Well everyone knows that Jews determine the bloodline though the mother. Even today there’s 4 ways of listing genealogy..You can track the males, by listing the the males.You can track the males, by listing the the females.You can track the females, by listing the the males.You can track the females, by listing the the females.So Joseph being mentioned in both, says nothing about what kind of genealogy it is. And I bet you didn’t know that.What one should pay attention to, is the one being mentioned after that..  Luke has Heli. Matthew has Jacob. Right then and there, you should know that it’s different genealogies.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You did not respond to any of the 8 objections that Jonathan gave.

      Jonathan asked me to provide evidence that adoptive sons can inherit a throne in Jewish culture

      And the source you linked to provides no evidence for that. The only relevant part would be that one:
      “Had Abraham not had a child “of his own loins,” Eliezar of Damascus would have inherited his “kingdom” (mobile kingdom that it was)–and he had no genetic link.”
      And Eliezar would not have “inherited” the kingdow, he was the steward of the kingdom and if Abraham´s lineage would have died out with him, he simply would have had no heirs, the kingdow would fall to a new dynasty.

      As for maternal genealogy.. Well everyone knows that Jews determine the bloodline though the mother. 

      No, children born of jewish mothers are considered to be Jews as well even if the father was a gentile, but the bloodline was patrilineally inherited in hebrew law – the father determines tribal descent, not the mother. 

      So Joseph being mentioned in both, says nothing about what kind of genealogy it is.

      All other geneaologies provided in the Bible are patrilineal geneaologies. Your theory that one gospel author provided the patrilineal and the other the matrilineal one is completely ad hod and fails to explains many things, for example why didn´t both gospel authors mention both geneaologies if this information is important ? Why didn´t they clearly label them as one being the patrilineal and the other being the matrilineal one ? 

    • “And after I replied, he started talking about maternal genealogy. So he basically surrendered that one to me.”

      I did nothing of the sort. i am still waiting for you to supply the requested information.

      And then I zeroed in the matrilineal genealogy theory which you simply failed to support. There are a host of reasons why it is not a good theory and you simply supplied a link which did not even begin to answer them. 

  • JohnM

     Well.. As I said, it’s pretty simple.. because there are 4 ways of listing genealogy..

    You can track the males, by listing the the males.
    You can track the males, by listing the the females.
    You can track the females, by listing the the males.
    You can track the females, by listing the the females.

    Now seeing that both gospels mentions men, only 2 of these are relevant.

    Following Joseph, Luke has Heli. Matthew has Jacob. Right then and there, you should know that it’s different genealogies.

    And when one actually lays out the puzzle ( http://www.ldolphin.org/2adams.html ) things add up beautifully.

    • ” because there are 4 ways of listing genealogy.”

      Give me primary evidence for this within the context of the Bible particularly. The bible uses exclusively partilineal genealogies.

    • In order to conclude that the maternal genealogy (MG) is the most probable explanation you have to (using the basics of Bayesian probability):

      1) establish that the MG is a sound theory (based on prior probabilities and background knowledge).

      2) show that is is MORE probable than competing theories (mistakes, symbolic overlay etc)

      You have only attempted 1 (and failed) and not even shown knowledge of how probable alternate theories are. Any analysis must be comparative.

  • JohnM

    Hey Jonathan :)  Sorry about the reply delay. Had to finish a deadline…

    The bible uses exclusively partilineal genealogies.

    That’s your claim. Your burden of proof. I don’t need to refute that.

    In order to conclude that the maternal genealogy (MG) is the most probable explanation …

    1) establish that the MG is a sound theory (based on prior probabilities and background knowledge).

    It’s common knowledge that there are 4 ways of listing genealogy.
    Why should we excluding 3 options from the outset?

    2) show that is is MORE probable than competing theories (mistakes, symbolic overlay etc)

    I don’t need to show anything. I’m free to believe, whatever I find to be the best explanation of evidence.

    You have only attempted 1 (and failed)

    Thank you for sharing your subjective opinion.

    • ” I’m free to believe, whatever I find to be the best explanation of evidence.”

      THIS IS THE POINT – you cannot claim that without showing that this is the case. You are just asserting.

      “It’s common knowledge that there are 4 ways of listing genealogy. ”

      Again, just asserting. You could just as well say “it’s common knowledge that the moon is made of cheese”.

      The burden of proof is on you in asserting in the positive. 

      On PGs:
      “That’s your claim. Your burden of proof. ”

      The bible. There, that’s my proof over with. There are no MGs in the bible. You plead Luke, but because this has an exceptionally low prior probability, you MUST provide good evidence to show it is the case. Simple Bayesian analysis here, and you are doing nothing to advance your case.

  • JohnM

    The bible only contains genealogies.

    To point to the bible, to prove your conclusion about what kind of genealogies it contains, is circular logic.

    And no, I don’t need to prove anything. You have your view. I have mine.

    • Yet in another thread you accuse Richard of merely asserting and yet this is what you do here. Double standards!

      “To point to the bible, to prove your conclusion about what kind of genealogies it contains, is circular logic.”

      Er, this is nonsense. We are talking about the probability of a genealogy in the bible being maternal. The very first port of call is to assess prior probabilities (in a Beyesian manner). This means we have to assess all other genealogies in the bible. None of them are maternal. 

      The other problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special pleading the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily from a woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men through men. But women through men is nonsensical.

      As Rabbi Singer says:

      “According to Christian teachings, Jesus had only a human Jewish mother, and was not related to Joseph. A human Jewish father, however is essential for anyone to be a legitimate heir to the throne of David, which the real messiah will be.

      With regard to your final question, Mary’s genealogy is completely irrelevant to Jesus’ supposed lineage to King David. For good reason, nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded. As mentioned above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification. Both the first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a putative genealogy of Joseph alone. Although these two genealogies completely contradict each other, neither suggests that Mary was a descendant of king of David. Joseph’s genealogy is irrelevant to Jesus because according to two out of four Gospels claim that Joseph was not Jesus’ father. The author of the Book of Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels, knows nothing of a virgin birth, and accordingly, begins his book with the baptism of Jesus. The Book of John contains no infancy narrative.

      It should be noted that both Catholic and Protestant traditions hold that whereas Matthew’s genealogy is that of Joseph, Luke’s genealogy is of Mary. Although this tradition is nowhere to be found in the New Testament, it was a necessary doctrine for the Church to adopt.

      Nowhere in the third Gospel, or in the entire New Testament, for that matter, is there a claim that Mary was a descendant of the House of David. On the contrary, Luke plainly asserts that it is Joseph who was from the House of David, not Mary.

      To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:27)

      In fact, Luke claims that Mary was the cousin of Elizabeth, who he says was a descendant of Aaron the high priest,1 placing her in the tribe of Levi, not David’s tribe of Judah. Moreover, in Luke 2:4, the author writes that the reason it was necessary for Joseph and Mary to return to Bethlehem was because it was Joseph, not Mary, who was from the House of David.

      And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David. (Luke 2:4)

      There are a number of reasons why the Church sought to claim that Luke’s genealogy of Jesus is traced through Mary’s line. To begin with, Paul claims in Romans 1:3 that Jesus was from the seed of David after the flesh. This has always been understood to mean that Paul was claiming that King David was the biological ancestor of Jesus. At the time when Paul penned the Book of Romans, he was completely unaware that Christendom would eventually claim that Jesus was born of a virgin. Consequently, the Church desperately needed Paul’s statement to correlate with the virgin-birth story.

      This dilemma was solved by the assertion that whereas Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus was traced through Joseph’s line, Luke’s genealogy of Jesus was through Mary’s lineage. In this way, Jesus could now be from the seed of David after the flesh through Luke’s genealogy. Likewise, establishing Mary’s lineage to King David, Luke’s genealogy ostensibly solves the problem of what to do with Romans 1:3 (Paul), and enables the Church to claim a physical link between Jesus and King David.

      Finally, it seeks to resolve an awkward discrepancy between the conflicting genealogies contained in the books of Matthew and Luke. Whereas in Matthew’s genealogy, Joseph’s father is Jacob,2 in Luke’s genealogy it is Heli.3 By claiming that Luke’s genealogy is of Mary, Heli becomes Mary’s father and Joseph’s father-in-law.

      Sadly, Christendom’s far-fetched resolution to the Gospel’s conflicting genealogies has satisfied the unlettered minds of billions of parishioners worldwide.

  • Richard Edwards

    @johnnyp76:disqus  

    Once the believer in the accuracy of these accounts can do all of the above, in a plausible and probable manner, then they can rationally hold that belief. I would contest that it is rationally possible to ever hold such a belief.

    Do you mean “impossible”?

    @disqus_VpcCfzNZjQ:disqus , just to confirm, you believe the entire Bible is literal, right? None of it is metaphorical? (Or was the YEC comment a joke?)

    • I contest it is possible! ie it is impossible!

      • Richard Edwards

        Oops. English fail by me. Sorry! I think my brain was reading it as “contend”.

  • JohnM

    Richard Edwards,

    JohnM, just to confirm, you believe the entire Bible is literal, right?

    The bible talks about Followers of Christ being sheeps. How am I to take that literal?

    None of it is metaphorical?

    Not even the Parables of Jesus?

    • Richard Edwards

      Do you always answer a question with a question? I’m asking you what you think. I cannot tell you what you think. (I’m happy to tell you what *I* think, if you like.)
      The parables can be metaphors but the account of their telling can be literal. I assume you believe that a literal Jesus said those actual recorded (not paraphrased) words? Please correct me if you don’t. What about Genesis? Is that literal? What about the “historical” parts of the OT? I’m just trying to understand where you are coming from. Are you a Young Earth Creationist? It should be a simple question to answer without getting snarky.

  • JohnM

    Jonathan :

    We are talking about the probability of a genealogy in the bible being maternal.

    And what probability would that be?

    And yes Jonathan. Please bring the math. You know what I do for a living.

    The other problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special pleading the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily from a woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men through men. But women through men is nonsensical.

    Makes sense to you.. And doesn’t make sense to you…. Because you’re not familiar with the common methods used in genealogy.

    Why are you allowing your own ignorance to limit their way of expressing themselves?

    For good reason, nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded.

    That’s nothing more than your subjective conclusion, based your own lack of insight.

    As mentioned above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification. Both the first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a putative genealogy of Joseph alone.

    Earlier you wrote this:

    “When your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership.”

    Clearly flesh and blood is relevant to the tribe of Judah. And that’s why it’s entirely logical to assume, they would have been seeking to establish both though genealogy.

    As for Catholic and Lutheran traditions… I couldn’t care less.

    Nowhere in the third Gospel, or in the entire New Testament, for that matter, is there a claim that Mary was a descendant of the House of David.

    LIES!!! Or ignorance…

    Romans 1:1-4
    Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Though human nature, a descendant of David. What made Jesus human? Flesh and blood.

    And we also know that it was common practice for Jews, to marry one of their own tribe. So naturally, David would have sought a wife, of similar linage.

    And no, that’s not something that I’m making up. It’s actually expressed in Biblical apocrypha.

    Tobit 4:12
    “Be on your guard, son, against every kind of fornication, and above all, marry a woman of your own ancestral family. Do not marry a foreign woman, one who is not of your father’s tribe, because we are descendants of the prophets, who were the first to speak the truth.

    • And what probability would that be?

      And yes Jonathan. Please bring the math. You know what I
      do for a living.

      Well, considering there are none, the prior probability
      would be a very small nonzero. This means the onus on the positive evidence is
      huge to make the overall probability for your thesis viable.

      P(h|e.b) = P(h|b) x P(e|h.b)     /    
      [ P(h|b) x P(e|h.b) ] + [ P(~h|b) x P(e|~h.b)

      Where P = Probability (epistemic probability = the
      probability that something stated is true)

      h = hypothesis being tested

      ~h = all other hypotheses that could explain the same
      evidence (if h is false)

      e = all the evidence directly relevant to the truth of h
      (e includes both what is observed and what is not observed)

      b = total background knowledge (all available personal and
      human knowledge about anything and everything, from physics to history)

      The
      other problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special
      pleading the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily
      from a woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men
      through men. But women through men is nonsensical.

      “Makes sense to
      you.. And doesn’t make sense to you…. Because you’re not familiar with the
      common methods used in genealogy.

      Why are you
      allowing your own ignorance to limit their way of expressing themselves?”

      You keep falling for Danth’s Law. You are the one who is
      showing ignorance here. I also think you may be confusing theories of matrilineal
      ethnicity as opposed to genealogical bloodlines.

      As far the above is concerned,  this is what you are subscribing to:

      A bloodline which takes male relatives for about 40 odd
      generations, then switches to a female, then switches BACK to a male (Jesus).
      Nonsense.

      For good reason,
      nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded.

      That’s nothing
      more than your subjective conclusion, based your own lack of insight.

      That was actually the quote of rabbi Singer.

      As
      mentioned above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification.
      Both the first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a
      putative genealogy of Joseph alone.

      Earlier you
      wrote this:

      “When
      your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish
      one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I
      will set up his rulership.”

      Again Rabbi Singer. http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/marys-geneology.html

      Clearly flesh and blood is relevant to the
      tribe of Judah.
      And that’s why it’s entirely logical to assume, they would have been seeking to
      establish both though genealogy.

      Flesh and blood
      (bloodline) is not done through the maternal line. THIS IS THE POINT.

      Romans 1:1-4 
      Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set
      apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his
      prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature
      was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared
      with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ
      our Lord.

      Though human
      nature, a descendant of David. What made Jesus human? Flesh and blood.

      Er, where is the mention of Mary? I think you are
      suffering from ex post facto presuppositionalism.

      And we also know that it was common
      practice for Jews, to marry one of their own tribe. So naturally, David would
      have sought a wife, of similar linage.

      What does this have to do with the claim of Mary’s
      genealogy?

      What you need to do which you have singularly
      failed to do is provide one single solitary example of a matrilineal genealogy.
      Your case rests on NOTHING. You have provided no genealogical knowledge, let
      alone evidence. You can start with looking in the bible, and then see if you
      can provide an extra-biblical one.

       

      Until you do this, the probability of your hypothesis is negligible.

    • And what probability would that be?

      And yes Jonathan. Please bring the math. You know what I
      do for a living.

      Well, considering there are none, the prior probability
      would be a very small nonzero. This means the onus on the positive evidence is
      huge to make the overall probability for your thesis viable.

      P(h|e.b) = P(h|b) x P(e|h.b)     /    
      [ P(h|b) x P(e|h.b) ] + [ P(~h|b) x P(e|~h.b)

      Where P = Probability (epistemic probability = the
      probability that something stated is true)

      h = hypothesis being tested

      ~h = all other hypotheses that could explain the same
      evidence (if h is false)

      e = all the evidence directly relevant to the truth of h
      (e includes both what is observed and what is not observed)

      b = total background knowledge (all available personal and
      human knowledge about anything and everything, from physics to history)

      The
      other problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special
      pleading the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily
      from a woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men
      through men. But women through men is nonsensical.

      “Makes sense to
      you.. And doesn’t make sense to you…. Because you’re not familiar with the
      common methods used in genealogy.

      Why are you
      allowing your own ignorance to limit their way of expressing themselves?”

      You keep falling for Danth’s Law. You are the one who is
      showing ignorance here. I also think you may be confusing theories of matrilineal
      ethnicity as opposed to genealogical bloodlines.

      As far the above is concerned,  this is what you are subscribing to:

      A bloodline which takes male relatives for about 40 odd
      generations, then switches to a female, then switches BACK to a male (Jesus).
      Nonsense.

      For good reason,
      nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded.

      That’s nothing
      more than your subjective conclusion, based your own lack of insight.

      That was actually the quote of rabbi Singer.

      As
      mentioned above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification.
      Both the first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a
      putative genealogy of Joseph alone.

      Earlier you
      wrote this:

      “When
      your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish
      one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I
      will set up his rulership.”

      Again Rabbi Singer. http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/marys-geneology.html

      Clearly flesh and blood is relevant to the
      tribe of Judah.
      And that’s why it’s entirely logical to assume, they would have been seeking to
      establish both though genealogy.

      Flesh and blood
      (bloodline) is not done through the maternal line. THIS IS THE POINT.

      Romans 1:1-4 
      Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set
      apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his
      prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature
      was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared
      with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ
      our Lord.

      Though human
      nature, a descendant of David. What made Jesus human? Flesh and blood.

      Er, where is the mention of Mary? I think you are
      suffering from ex post facto presuppositionalism.

      And we also know that it was common
      practice for Jews, to marry one of their own tribe. So naturally, David would
      have sought a wife, of similar linage.

      What does this have to do with the claim of Mary’s
      genealogy?

      What you need to do which you have singularly
      failed to do is provide one single solitary example of a matrilineal genealogy.
      Your case rests on NOTHING. You have provided no genealogical knowledge, let
      alone evidence. You can start with looking in the bible, and then see if you
      can provide an extra-biblical one.

       

      Until you do this, the probability of your hypothesis is negligible.

    • And what probability would that be?
      And yes Jonathan. Please bring the math. You know what I do for a living.

      Well, considering there are none, the prior probability would be a very small nonzero. This means the onus on the positive evidence is huge to make the overall probability for your thesis viable.

      P(h|e.b) = P(h|b) x P(e|h.b)     /     [ P(h|b) x P(e|h.b) ] + [ P(~h|b) x P(e|~h.b)

      Where P = Probability (epistemic probability = the probability that something stated is true)
      h = hypothesis being tested
      ~h = all other hypotheses that could explain the same evidence (if h is false)
      e = all the evidence directly relevant to the truth of h (e includes both what is observed and what is not observed)
      b = total background knowledge (all available personal and human knowledge about anything and everything, from physics to history)

      The other problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special pleading the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily from a woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men through men. But women through men is nonsensical.
      “Makes sense to you.. And doesn’t make sense to you…. Because you’re not familiar with the common methods used in genealogy.
      Why are you allowing your own ignorance to limit their way of expressing themselves?”

      You keep falling for Danth’s Law. You are the one who is showing ignorance here. I also think you may be confusing theories of matrilineal ethnicity as opposed to genealogical bloodlines.
      As far the above is concerned,  this is what you are subscribing to:
      A bloodline which takes male relatives for about 40 odd generations, then switches to a female, then switches BACK to a male (Jesus). Nonsense.

      For good reason, nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded.
      That’s nothing more than your subjective conclusion, based your own lack of insight.

      That was actually the quote of rabbi Singer.

      As mentioned above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification. Both the first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a putative genealogy of Joseph alone.
      Earlier you wrote this:
      “When your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership.”

      Again Rabbi Singer. http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/marys-geneology.html

      Clearly flesh and blood is relevant to the tribe of Judah. And that’s why it’s entirely logical to assume, they would have been seeking to establish both though genealogy.

      Flesh and blood (bloodline) is not done through the maternal line. THIS IS THE POINT.

      Romans 1:1-4 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
      Though human nature, a descendant of David. What made Jesus human? Flesh and blood.

      Er, where is the mention of Mary? I think you are suffering from ex post facto presuppositionalism.

      And we also know that it was common practice for Jews, to marry one of their own tribe. So naturally, David would have sought a wife, of similar linage.

      What does this have to do with the claim of Mary’s genealogy?

      What you need to do which you have singularly failed to do is provide one single solitary example of a matrilineal genealogy. Your case rests on NOTHING. You have provided no genealogical knowledge, let alone evidence. You can start with looking in the bible, and then see if you can provide an extra-biblical one.
       
      Until you do this, the probability of your hypothesis is negligible.

    • And
      what probability would that be?

      And yes Jonathan. Please bring
      the math. You know what I do for a living.

      Well, considering there are
      none, the prior probability would be a very small nonzero. This means the onus
      on the positive evidence is huge to make the overall probability for your
      thesis viable.

      P(h|e.b) = P(h|b) x
      P(e|h.b)     /     [ P(h|b) x
      P(e|h.b) ] + [ P(~h|b) x P(e|~h.b)

      Where P = Probability
      (epistemic probability = the probability that something stated is true)

      h = hypothesis being tested

      ~h = all other hypotheses that
      could explain the same evidence (if h is false)

      e = all the evidence directly
      relevant to the truth of h (e includes both what is observed and what is not
      observed)

      b = total background knowledge
      (all available personal and human knowledge about anything and everything, from
      physics to history)

      The other
      problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special pleading
      the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily from a
      woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men through men.
      But women through men is nonsensical.

      “Makes sense to you.. And
      doesn’t make sense to you…. Because you’re not familiar with the common
      methods used in genealogy.

      Why are you allowing your own
      ignorance to limit their way of expressing themselves?”

      You keep falling for Danth’s
      Law. You are the one who is showing ignorance here. I also think you may be
      confusing theories of matrilineal ethnicity as opposed to genealogical
      bloodlines.

      As far the above is
      concerned,  this is what you are subscribing to:

      A bloodline which takes male
      relatives for about 40 odd generations, then switches to a female, then
      switches BACK to a male (Jesus). Nonsense.

      For good
      reason, nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded.

      That’s nothing more than your
      subjective conclusion, based your own lack of insight.

      That was actually the quote of
      rabbi Singer.

      As mentioned
      above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification. Both the
      first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a putative
      genealogy of Joseph alone.

      Earlier you wrote this:

      “When your days come to an
      end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants
      to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership.”

      Again Rabbi Singer. http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/marys-geneology.html

       

      Clearly flesh and blood is
      relevant to the tribe of Judah.
      And that’s why it’s entirely logical to assume, they would have been seeking to
      establish both though genealogy.

       

      Flesh and blood (bloodline) is not done through
      the maternal line. THIS IS THE POINT.

       

      Romans 1:1-4 

      Paul, a servant of Christ
      Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel
      he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding
      his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through
      the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his
      resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

      Though human nature, a
      descendant of David. What made Jesus human? Flesh and blood.

      Er, where is the mention of
      Mary? I think you are suffering from ex post facto presuppositionalism.

      And we also
      know that it was common practice for Jews, to marry one of their own tribe. So
      naturally, David would have sought a wife, of similar linage.

       

      What does this have to do with
      the claim of Mary’s genealogy?

      What you need
      to do which you have singularly failed to do is provide one single solitary
      example of a matrilineal genealogy. Your case rests on NOTHING. You have
      provided no genealogical knowledge, let alone evidence. You can start with
      looking in the bible, and then see if you can provide an extra-biblical one.

       

      Until you do
      this, the probability of your hypothesis is negligible.

       

    • And
      what probability would that be?

      And yes Jonathan. Please bring
      the math. You know what I do for a living.

      Well, considering there are
      none, the prior probability would be a very small nonzero. This means the onus
      on the positive evidence is huge to make the overall probability for your
      thesis viable.

      P(h|e.b) = P(h|b) x
      P(e|h.b)     /     [ P(h|b) x
      P(e|h.b) ] + [ P(~h|b) x P(e|~h.b)

      Where P = Probability
      (epistemic probability = the probability that something stated is true)

      h = hypothesis being tested

      ~h = all other hypotheses that
      could explain the same evidence (if h is false)

      e = all the evidence directly
      relevant to the truth of h (e includes both what is observed and what is not
      observed)

      b = total background knowledge
      (all available personal and human knowledge about anything and everything, from
      physics to history)

      The other
      problem is that a maternal line makes no sense unless you are special pleading
      the person you are looking at. What yo must do is switch arbitrarily from a
      woman back through men. Women through women makes sense, as do men through men.
      But women through men is nonsensical.

      “Makes sense to you.. And
      doesn’t make sense to you…. Because you’re not familiar with the common
      methods used in genealogy.

      Why are you allowing your own
      ignorance to limit their way of expressing themselves?”

      You keep falling for Danth’s
      Law. You are the one who is showing ignorance here. I also think you may be
      confusing theories of matrilineal ethnicity as opposed to genealogical
      bloodlines.

      As far the above is
      concerned,  this is what you are subscribing to:

      A bloodline which takes male
      relatives for about 40 odd generations, then switches to a female, then
      switches BACK to a male (Jesus). Nonsense.

      For good
      reason, nowhere in the New Testament is Mary’s genealogy recorded.

      That’s nothing more than your
      subjective conclusion, based your own lack of insight.

      That was actually the quote of
      rabbi Singer.

      As mentioned
      above, matrilineal ancestry is irrelevant to tribe identification. Both the
      first chapter of Matthew and in the third chapter of Luke contain a putative
      genealogy of Joseph alone.

      Earlier you wrote this:

      “When your days come to an
      end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants
      to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership.”

      Again Rabbi Singer. http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/marys-geneology.html

       

      Clearly flesh and blood is
      relevant to the tribe of Judah.
      And that’s why it’s entirely logical to assume, they would have been seeking to
      establish both though genealogy.

       

      Flesh and blood (bloodline) is not done through
      the maternal line. THIS IS THE POINT.

       

      Romans 1:1-4 

      Paul, a servant of Christ
      Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel
      he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding
      his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through
      the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his
      resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

      Though human nature, a
      descendant of David. What made Jesus human? Flesh and blood.

      Er, where is the mention of
      Mary? I think you are suffering from ex post facto presuppositionalism.

      And we also
      know that it was common practice for Jews, to marry one of their own tribe. So
      naturally, David would have sought a wife, of similar linage.

       

      What does this have to do with
      the claim of Mary’s genealogy?

      What you need
      to do which you have singularly failed to do is provide one single solitary
      example of a matrilineal genealogy. Your case rests on NOTHING. You have
      provided no genealogical knowledge, let alone evidence. You can start with
      looking in the bible, and then see if you can provide an extra-biblical one.

       

      Until you do
      this, the probability of your hypothesis is negligible.

       

  • JohnM

    Jonathan:

    This means the onus on the positive evidence is huge to make the overall probability for your thesis viable.

    And so the “probability” that you are talking about, actually depends on your subjective conclusion about there being evidence or not. And so, it’s not a matter of math. It’s a matter of what you stick in there. And what you stick in there, is a subject of debate. Thanks for admitting that.

    And yes, I do think that the things that I have present, amounts to great evidence in favour of what I’m arguing. And therefore I naturally disagree with your claims about probability.

    Flesh and blood (bloodline) is not done through the maternal line. THIS IS THE POINT.

    But you’re wrong, Jonathan. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother. And Jews still track blood though the mother.

    Er, where is the mention of Mary?

    Well clearly Paul, writing Romans 1, did not consider Joseph to be the father of Jesus. To the apostles, there’s only one way for Jesus to have been the flesh of Blood of David. So Paul writing what he did, it a clear reference to Mary.

    And no… Paul doesn’t have to mention Mary by name. Such an argument is absurd.

    What does this have to do with the claim of Mary’s genealogy?

    Well knowing that Mary in all likelihood were a descended of David, makes it a even more legitimate to read the genealogy as we do. Furthermore, we know from reading the bible, that Heli was the father of Mary. Where as Jacob was the father of Joseph.

    So of course we are dealing with 2 different genealogies , just on the basis of one mentioning Heli, the other mentioning Jacob.

    Do you really think.. that one of the gospels would have gotten the name of the father of Joseph wrong?? And nobody would have noticed? Come on Jonathan…. How stupid do you think these people were?

    You’re just so desperate to try and claim error, that you’re willing to take an irrational stance, against a perfectly good explanation, that makes complete sense of the evidence.

    WAKE UP!!!!

    • Richard Edwards

      I think you have reached an impasse here. To me as a third party, both of your arguments are valid in that they follow from your different premises. The question becomes which of those premises is true but I cannot see you ever agreeing about that. 
      Can I suggest that you move on to one of the other points? Whether his position is sound (i.e. premises true) or not, JohnM has shown how he is able to jump through this particular flaming hoop. The genealogy argument seems to be one of the less serious issues with the differing accounts, so I would find it interesting to see how he handles the clear historical issues around the named historical figures and a census that appears not to have existed, plus the issue of the witnesses. (One at a time, maybe?) 

    • “And yes, I do think that the things that I have present, amounts to great evidence in favour of what I’m arguing.”

      EH? 

      What evidence? You have linked a terrible articvle which offers nothing. That is it! What evidence for a matrilineal genealogy. Also, there is no reference to primary sources, or even a decent secondary source. That article was a stand alone piece of apologist rhetoric with nothing to say about maternal genealogies. It makes assertions on adoptive rights, but past that, nothing.

    • OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      “But you’re wrong, Jonathan. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother. And Jews still track blood though the mother.”

      This is precisely the confusion I alluded to. This just shows you do not know what you are talking about. This is about establishing ethnic Jewishness. It is a one generational thing and has nothing to do with matrinlineal genealogies. 

      Come on, stop giving me the rhetorical “you’re so stupid” treatment when you come up with nonsense like this.

      Look, statements like this just show that your academic appraoch is very unacademic:

      ” Furthermore, we know from reading the bible, that Heli was the father of Mary. Where as Jacob was the father of Joseph.”

      This was a later interpretation of certain Protestant thinkers to get round the issue that the Gospel writers had made such a cock-up! Originally, of course, as I am sure you know, Africanus claimed a Levirite marriage answer. Another alternate hypothesis! You keep merely asserting conclusions!

      AND YOU HAVE YET TO SUPPLY ME WITH A SINGLE MATRILINEAL GENEALOGY OUTSIDE OF YOUR LUKE!

      So your claims of “it was common knowledge”, as it stands, has no basis. I am waiting. 

      “Do you really think.. that one of the gospels would have gotten the name of the father of Joseph wrong?? ”

      There is a whole host of things which differ and contradict. You and yours have spent 2000 years making ad hoc rationalisations and think that that answers it, but if you saw the same methods in Islam, you’d laugh your heads off!

      The fact that each author has them living in different towns, one has a several year trip to Egypt whilst the other has them returning straight to Nazareth and so on and so forth. You really need to study those infancy narratives. They differ A LOT!!! So the question is why, not how can we come up with bizarre ad hoc rationalisations.

      You are claiming that:

      The difference in genealogies is explained by one of them being matrilineal. You provide, as evidence, one poor article to defend your thesis and make no attempt to answer any of the eight points provided by me. One of which that there is no evidence that matrilineal genealogies were even used. You claim they are, and then cannot provide a single one. The other evidence WITHIN Luke himself that he was referring to a Josephan genealogy also needs answering.

      All told, your epistemology is poor, and your historiography is poor. And you have the AUDACITY to call me ignorant. I have researched this and written a book on it.

  • JohnM

    Jonathan :

    AND YOU HAVE YET TO SUPPLY ME WITH A SINGLE MATRILINEAL GENEALOGY OUTSIDE OF YOUR LUKE!

    No. Because I’m not trying to brain-wash you into submission.

    That is not my aim. I’m merely explaining how I see things.

    The fact that each author has them living in different towns, one has a several year trip to Egypt whilst the other has them returning straight to Nazareth and so on and so forth.

    Those are other common misunderstood verses in the bible.. And it’s been discussed and cleared up, like a gazillion times. There are perfectly reasonable explanations out there, that completely clears up whatever confusion you may have. We are far from the first to discuss these things. So may I suggest, that you just go ahead and google it, in order to save me some time?

    • “Those are other common misunderstood verses in the bible.. And it’s been discussed and cleared up, like a gazillion times. There are perfectly reasonable explanations out there, that completely clears up whatever confusion you may have. We are far from the first to discuss these things. So may I suggest, that you just go ahead and google it, in order to save me some time?”

      John, this is staggering. I have written a bloody book on it. I have researched it a GREAT deal. i suggest you go and read it, or maybe Raymond Brown. Do a bit of analysis please and don’t just rely on cognitive dissonance to get you through by only paying attention to the first harmonious apologist.

      Google it. Jeez. How about you go and get some books! I would start with Theissen’s The Historical Jesus to start you off on an overview on historical Jesus studies. You may be surprised that few serious and objective scholars agree with you. It’s the blue book on the right there.

  • JohnM

     Richard Edwards  :

    I think you have reached an impasse here. To me as a third party, both of your arguments are valid in that they follow from your different premises. The question becomes which of those premises is true but I cannot see you ever agreeing about that. Can I suggest that you move on to one of the other points? Whether his position is sound (i.e. premises true) or not, JohnM has shown how he is able to jump through this particular flaming hoop. The genealogy argument seems to be one of the less serious issues with the differing accounts, so I would find it interesting to see how he handles the clear historical issues around the named historical figures and a census that appears not to have existed, plus the issue of the witnesses.

    Yeah, I agree. We’re not getting anywhere. And it’s one of the easier ones to deal with.

    So is there anything that you want us to have a closer look at?

    • “And it’s one of the easier ones to deal with.”
      You have not even remotely dealt with it. One link is really rather poor. Your epistemological and historiographical methodology is terrible. I am not ad homming here, it is plain to see. You refuse to deal with any scholars and texts who disagree with you. Which is most.

  • JohnM

    Yeah, you’ve written a book. And so what?

    I’ve dealt with these issues, researched them, and sought to explain the ones that I struggled with, since I could read and write. If you think that you come close to having researched these issues, to the depths that I have, then you’re kidding yourself.

    Furthermore, you’re not really seeking the truth. Your research is superficial. You’re just looking for ammunition against Christianity. That’s your whole motivation. And when you’re discussing the issue with me, you’re not really interested in what explanations that I have to offer you. You’re just seeking to try and shoot it down. Because that’s what you want the truth to be.

    So I don’t view you as a serious truth-seeker. And therefore I don’t bother going to lengths, attempting to convince you.

    • I am not saying it for any appeal to whatever, I am saying it because it annoys the hell out of me that you think I don’t know of the harmonisation attempts, and that I should maybe go and google some! I mean, come on. I am the one providing positive arguments. You are deferring to a single website which doesn’t actually properly address the issue.

    • “Furthermore, you’re not really seeking the truth. Your research is superficial. You’re just looking for ammunition against Christianity. That’s your whole motivation. And when you’re discussing the issue with me, you’re not really interested in what explanations that I have to offer you. You’re just seeking to try and shoot it down. Because that’s what you want the truth to be.”

      I am not sure you are seeing your massive hyposcrisy here. I have entirely changed my worldview in the last 5 years or so based entirely on evidence, philosophical or otherwise. I really am a truth-seeker. I am happy to be wrong. You know what, it makes shit all difference to me whether one genealogy is maternal and another not, it really doesn’t. But having surveyed all of the evidence…

      You see, I have plenty of books here by apologists. i read the other side of the story, You have explicitly admitted that you don’;t care for that. 

      How the hell can that be a search for truth when you are only reading non-critical sources. When you have admitted not caring for academics? Your appeal to Danth’s Law is embarrassing.

  • JohnM

    Where have I admitted, not caring for academics?

    And who says that I only read non-critical sources?

  • JohnM

    Oki, then allow me to cl airy my position..

    I’m more than happy to read different peoples thoughts and conclusions, including people in academia. And even more interested in their sources.  And no, I certainly do read “critical sources”. I love seeing it from another persons perspective, especially if the person is capable of providing a good argumentation for his or her viewpoints. And I’ll even read garbage websites such as infidels.org..  Because sometimes you need a good laugh, you know.

    But when it’s time to actually make up my own mind, I’m going to do that myself. I’m not going to allow my viewpoint to be dictated by anyone. Rather, I’ll draw the conclusion that I myself thinks, follows from the evidence available to me.

    And so when you begin to bring forward arguments from authority, as you often do, then of course my response would be “I couldn’t care less”.

    So if you want me to change my mind, then bring some new information to the table. Don’t bring old information. And Don’t just bring figures of authority, and tell me to bow down to them. Because I’m not going to do that. And neither is any other rational thinking person.

    Only mindless fools, allow figures of authority, to dictate their own opinion.

    • John, you do realise that you brought NO relevant information to the table? those two links didn’t even cover the MG thesis, but adoption notions…See my new post. 

    • Richard Edwards

      Did a YEC just say: “Only mindless fools, allow figures of authority, to dictate their own opinion.” ? Hahahahahahahaha. Congratulations, JohnM, you win the prize for most ironic comment ever!

  • JohnM

    What authority figures, dictates my opinion?

    Bring it on. I’ll be more than happy to investigate your lies about me.

    • Richard Edwards

      Whoever wrote the Bible for starters.

  • JohnM

    But that’s false. It is me, who draws a conclusion, about what we read in the bible.

    • Richard Edwards

      Interesting. You seem to be appealing to the authority of words attributed to Paul regarding the nature of Jesus. And on what basis have you decided that Genesis is literal, in contradiction to the most parsimonious interpretation (by far) of the natural evidence, Biblical scholars (certainly non-Christian ones) and most of Christendom? Please point me to some evidence that, if the Bible did not exist, would point to the Earth being a few thousand years old. Or even someone who believes that and is not religious. I think we both know that you assess other evidence against the Bible, not vice versa. If not, I apologise for the assumption and I now have zero understanding of how you could possibly come to a conclusion that YEC is right. No matter.

      • That’s a great point. Must remember that. The ultimate appeal to authority ever, and it someone contravenes all known science and wins! wow.

  • JohnM

     Richard Edwards:

    You seem to be appealing to the authority of words attributed to Paul regarding the nature of Jesus

    Pauls letters is historic evidence. ( ask Bart Ehrman ).

    And what I’m saying is this:

    The apostles believed Jesus was a product of the holy spirit, born by Miriam ( aka Mary ). So when Paul writes in one of his letters,  about Jesus being a descended of David, though flesh and blood, he can’t possible have considered that to have come from Joseph. Clearly, it’s a reference to Miriam.

    • Richard Edwards

      So, if something is “historical evidence” it is automatically true? You are still appealing to his authority, whether he wrote the words yesterday or 2000 years ago (1s.f.). The entire argument you have presented rests on compatibility with one letter written by one person. Do we know that Luke also thought this? If Paul had presented that genealogy, you might have a case but it seems that you are assuming these two characters, separated it seems in space and time, were singing directly from the same hymn sheet. If this was obviously the case in early Christian sects, why the need to have a meeting and decide which bits to put it and which bits to leave out? (And why the need for all the letters from Paul telling the early Church what Christianity was *really* about, rather than leaving it up to the recorded words of Jesus himself?)

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