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Re: [apologetics] Responses to Dark Lady

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  • allen goforth
    ... From: Dark Lady To: Sent: Friday, June 30, 2000 11:36 PM Subject: Re: [apologetics] Responses to Dark Lady
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 1, 2000
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Dark Lady <darklady@...>
      To: <apologetics@egroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, June 30, 2000 11:36 PM
      Subject: Re: [apologetics] Responses to Dark Lady


      >
      >
      > --- "M Thorn" <apologists@...>
      > > wrote:
      > >
      >
      > <snip anger for now>
      >
      > >
      > >This is just a pastiche of wishful thinking and grand assumptions that
      > >cannot be pulled off.
      > >
      > >
      > >Hey, if you feel like it we can come to a board and discuss it:
      > >
      > >http://www.InsideTheWeb.com/mbs.cgi/mb622067"
      > >
      >
      >
      > Beth
      > Why not discuss it here? Or, if the list moderators object, why
      > not on another list more suited to debating the truth of Christianity?
      >
      > Where would that be Beth?

      allen
      >
      >
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    • Dark Lady
      ... Beth I do not believe, as some do, that no historical Jesus ever existed, -because- (alleged) legends of this nature tend to grow around actual people. I
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 3, 2000
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        --- "M Thorn" <apologists@...>
        > wrote:
        >
        >================================================
        >The timeline accepted by many scholars for the writing of the
        >
        >earliest manuscripts seems to fit very well into the developing
        >
        >folklore theory. Paul, apparently writing the oldest canonical
        >
        >material, omits any mention of a -physical- resurrection or of an
        >
        >extended period of time between the resurrection and the ascension,
        >
        >and says little about Jesus' physical life or teachings as
        >
        >reported in the Gospels.
        >==================================================
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >No actually you have the folklore time-line backwards. I don't think there s
        >any instance where any mythos begins as abstract cosmic theoloigcal
        >speculation and then evolves into concerete historical characters! If
        >anything it always goes the other way! And whose "time line" are you using?
        >

        Beth
        I do not believe, as some do, that no historical Jesus ever existed,
        -because- (alleged) legends of this nature tend to grow around
        actual people. I believe that an actual person existed around
        whom the Biblical story evolved. I also believe that the historical
        person lived in approximately the time that Christians claim,
        though some skeptics suggest that the actual historical Jesus
        lived in an earlier time. I disagree with that, though,
        -because- of how legends usually develop.

        It is generally accepted that many of Paul's letters were written
        before any of the Gospels, though, as you note, the existence of
        some pre-Marcan material would not surprise me at all. I
        would expect it, in fact. There is a minority who believe that
        Matthew was the first of the Gospels (the majority view is
        that Mark was the first), but either place many of Paul's letters
        early in relation to other canonical New Testament books.


        >
        >
        >
        >==============
        >Yet upon reading Paul's letters, it looks like Paul had run off
        >
        >with a legend that was growing for some time already. In the
        >
        >first several chapters of Romans, for instance, Paul appears to be
        >
        >building upon a belief system that was already loose, rather than
        >
        >inventing it completely from whole cloth. Paul was already familiar
        >
        >with the idea of Jesus dying for our sins. In this light, Paul's silence on
        >
        >much of the Gospel material is
        >
        >especially mysterious.
        >=========================
        >
        >He actually met some of the principle figures of the "legend" twice so why
        >would he not have the facts about Jesus' life? The fact that he doesn't
        >mention Mary and Jospeh and the details of the Gospels is not mysterious at
        >all. His taks in writting the epistle is to speak to problems in the chuch.

        Beth
        But if Paul was addressing problems in the church, why would
        Paul neglect reiteration of most of the teaching of Jesus', and
        even go so far as to contradict Jesus on divorce? If Paul was
        addressing problems in the church, I would -expect- detailed accounts
        of what Jesus taught. The shortage of those details is even
        more mysterious in that context.



        >He's not preaching. But he does allude to much of the Gospel material
        >throughout his epistles. One example is the verse in 1 Cor. 11 I think where
        >he says 'On the night our Lord was betrayed he took bread...." he describes
        >the last supper. There are such hints of knowlege of the Gospel material
        >thorughout. But one fact which is often overlooked, since he wasn't there
        >and he didn't have a copy of any of the Gospels he may not have known that
        >many of the stories or sayings.

        Beth
        Or many of Jesus' teachings...

        You are making my point saying this. Paul did not know many of
        the stories or teachings because when Paul wrote, the Gospels had
        yet to be written. That is why it is important to focus on
        what the relatively detached Paul may have believed. Plus,
        if Paul was 'inspired by God,' then his lack of knowledge is
        astonishing.



        He may have had a core of knowlege expanded
        >upon that with his own theology. Rather than building a new religion or a
        >mythos what he's doing is just what any good theologian does, he's building
        >a theology.

        Beth
        Actually, you still make my point. He took a core of knowledge or
        tradition and built upon it. That is how legends can evolve.



        >
        >==============
        >>From there, look at the Gospel of Mark, upon which many say
        >
        >the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are based. Skeptics contend that
        >
        >Matthew and Luke, having been written later, have added to Mark.
        >
        >I will remark on that soon, but first I want to offer evidence
        >
        >for why I concur with the view that Mark is the oldest of the
        >
        >canonical Gospels.
        >=============
        >
        >But it's not the oldest of any Gospel material. Koester finds pre-marcan
        >material from a very early period shared by all four plus G of Peter! This
        >ends with the empty tomb. Thus it pushes the historicity back to a very
        >early date, probably before any of Pauline epistles.

        Beth
        Koester also rejects the canonical Mark 12:32-34. I also allow
        that may end at an empty tomb. If Koester is correct, and
        I have no reasons at all to deny the existence of pre-Marcan
        material which was later incorporated into Mark (Q), is this not
        already a sign of legendary claims being rolled into the
        story of Jesus? My argument is precisely that the accretion
        of folklore (based on a real, but very human subject), gave us
        the Jesus of the Bible.

        Before I go any further, do you agree or disagree with the belief
        that Mark predates, and provides the basis for, much of Matthew's
        and Luke's Gospels?


        >
        >
        >===========================
        >If you note the first verse of Mark, it says something that is
        >
        >strange unless Mark reflects an earlier stage in Jesus' folklore
        >
        >than Matthew and Luke:
        >
        >
        >Mark 1:1
        >
        >'The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.'
        >
        >
        >The 'beginning' of 'the gospel' starts with Jesus' adult life,
        >
        >and ends with a surprisingly brief and apparently nonphysical
        >
        >account of the post-resurrection Jesus. Jesus seems to 'appear'
        >
        >to people much after his death as a ghost, angel or other
        >
        >nonphysical being would appear, especially in Mark 16:12, in
        >
        >which he 'appeared in a different form' to two mourners. Keep
        >
        >this passage from Mark in mind, because it will help support my
        >
        >argument for the folklore status of the Jesus story.
        >=======
        >
        >
        >Where in the
        >heck are you getting this? Look, the whole notion of a non-physical
        >resurrection was totally foreign to the jewish outlook, as it is to the
        >English language. A surviving entity outside the body in spirit form is a
        >ghost not a resurrected person. The whole point of the epiphanies is that he
        >resumed his life, he was not a ghost. He could be touched and handaled and
        >seen. That's probably what John the elder has in mind when the says "that
        >which we touched, which our hands handaled." Paul does bring in the notion
        >of a spiritual body (1 Cor 15) but is careful to call it "flesh" pointing
        >out that there are different types of flesh.
        >
        >So it's a glorified and transmographied body, or is he even talking about
        >the epiphanies and not post asccention? Now, in any case , at this time, the
        >asscended Christ is glorified with a "Spiritual body" but as Paul says it is
        >still one made of a type of flesh!

        Beth
        Where does Paul say that it is made of a type of flesh? You
        have an ally, and I an opponent, who would like to know this.

        How do you interpret the following to mean a fleshly resurrection?
        I read these to refute a fleshly resurrection:

        1 Corinthians 15:42-44
        So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown
        is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is
        raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is
        sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural
        body, there is also a spiritual body.

        1 Corinthians 15:12-13
        But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can
        some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is
        no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

        1 Corinthians 15:50
        I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
        kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.


        If Paul believed in a fleshly resurrection, why does he consider the
        disbelief in spiritual resurrection of the dead to be a barrier
        to belief in the resurrection of Jesus?



        >And by the way Mark's begining does not
        >signify that the oldest strata of material begins with his manhood and
        >doens't include infancy narratives or boyhood pericope. These could easily
        >be part of Koester's pre-Marcan material.

        Beth
        But why would Mark delete them?

        And, if you are acknowledging that strata of material exist,
        does that not imply a human, naturalistic development of the
        Gospels and not a divine one?



        >
        >
        >===================================
        >
        >Both Matthew and Luke apparently added the virgin birth story to
        >
        >Jesus' life (recall Mark 1:1), and added a physical dimension to the
        >
        >resurrection story.
        >============
        >
        >
        >Why? Where do you get that. Espeicially the waccy non-physical res part? Why
        >do they have to add what was clearly always present? There is no basis in
        >any kind of rational discourse for this outlandish assumption! The Jews had
        >a concept of resurrection, they didn't have a concept of ghosts as
        >resurrected. A non-physical resurrection is a contradiction in terms. It
        >was then, it is now. Moreover, See N.T. Wright The Challenge of Jesus and
        >Alfred Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
        >

        Beth
        And see above.


        >
        >==============
        >In the birth stories, the mother of Jesus is frequently called
        >
        >by name, Mary, who is named only twice in any story of the adult
        >
        >life of Jesus (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). Just the wordings in the
        >
        >area of Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 appear strange insofar as Jesus'
        >
        >alleged family is reported in much detail, while something as
        >
        >phenomenal as a virgin birth went unmentioned.
        >==========
        >
        >
        >Documentory Hype assumption, that wont stand criticism. Mary fades from the
        >scene when he grows up because he's grown up. That's not so strange if you
        >think about it.
        >

        Beth
        If the mother of Jesus fades from the scene, why does she
        appear in stories of his adult life?


        >
        >
        >================================
        >And while Mark 6:5
        >
        >makes the unexpected statement that Jesus -could- not do hardly
        >
        >any miracles in his hometown, Matthew in 13:58 apparently tried
        >
        >to clean up the story by saying 'he -did- not do many miracles
        >
        >there because of lack of faith.' If Mark 6 and the passage near
        >
        >Matthew 13:55 are the patch jobs that they appear to be, that
        >
        >leaves the crucifixion story with numerous mentions of Jesus' mother,
        >
        >but none by name. This is surprising unless the birth story is
        >
        >a later development.
        >=============================================
        >
        >
        >Or unless we reverse the assumption and supposse that we already know her
        >name cause it's in the front of the book.

        Beth
        That is possible, but unlikely considering Mark's signalling
        the beginning of his Gospel in Jesus' adult life, and the fact
        that the later Matthew and Luke (apparently) append the stories
        that Mark does not contain.


        >
        >
        >====================================================
        >Luke, in chapter 24, seems to be trying to steer the resurrection
        >
        >story to his liking. Unlike the spiritual resurrection that
        >
        >Paul apparently believed and Mark may well have believed, Luke
        >
        >seems to overplay the game a little in Luke 24:39-40, in which
        >
        >Luke has Jesus saying, 'Touch me and see; a ghost does not have
        >
        >flesh and bones, as you see I have.' Luke is protesting just
        >
        >a little too much about ghost stories, and by doing so may be
        >
        >betraying his agenda of putting flesh and bones to the resurrection.
        >==============================================
        >
        >
        >Paul says nothing to imply that the resurrection is not physical. In fact
        >the whole concept of redemption in the Pauline scheme, and the statement he
        >makes about us being the most miserable if Jesus did not rise form the dead
        >are meaningless in such a scenerio.

        Beth
        See above.


        You think Luke is fabricating that in
        >order to get around Pauline res theory?

        Beth
        No, to enhance it with is own preferences. It happens often
        during legend growth.



        Perhaps he did include that to
        >counter some form of proto-gnsoticism, doesn't have to be Pauls and doens't
        >have to be untrue that Jesus actually said it and did it. But I doudt that
        >any full blown gnostic elements existed this early, which makes the idea of
        >Paul's Gnostic Jesus all the more laughable.

        Beth
        Some skeptics believe that Paul told of a Gnostic Jesus, but
        I am not ready to accept that without further study.


        >
        >==================================
        >Matthew apparently cannot conceal his desires, either. In
        >
        >numerous places such as Matthew 21 and 26, he strains just a
        >
        >little too hard to emphasize that 'the prophets must be fulfilled'
        >
        >to be above suspicion. This is also evident in Matthew 21's
        >
        >donkey and colt story, where it appears that Matthew tries to hew
        >
        >too perfectly to Zechariah 9:9 by awkwardly forcing both animals
        >
        >into the story ('to fulfill the prophet,' Matthew 21:4), while
        >
        >Mark and Luke have only the colt and no accompanying written link
        >
        >to prophecy. It looks like Matthew has been doctoring.
        >=======================================
        >
        >
        >
        >Oh brother! So any time anyone tries to ephasize a point that proves the
        >opposite. That must be pretty tough on Elaine Pagels!

        Beth
        How does it prove the opposite?



        >
        >===================================================
        >While it would be unfair for me to insist that
        >
        >the Gospel writers belong to the Society of Professional Journalists,
        >
        >only the crucifixion story anywhere resembles decent reporting.
        >
        >The rest looks like any other good story, with drama in all the
        >
        >right places and a continuity that seems to me just too sweet
        >
        >to be an authentic attempt at firsthand reporting.
        >===================================
        >
        >Of course they aren't professional reproters! They
        >aren't writting for the 6:o'clock news, that's the whole point. Holy
        >Chronocentrism Batman, what assumption! That's violating one of the primary
        >rules of any sort of historiography, to impose modern expectations upon the
        >text. We have no right to expect them to live up to any sort of modern
        >cirteria of truth telling before we can except the text as historically
        >valid!

        Beth
        There is a transition, in my opinion, from an attempt to tell it
        as it (allegedly) happened to a structure that more resembles
        a deliberately composed story, though. Please read again my
        sentence that does not require them to follow modern journalistic
        standards.


        >
        >
        >========================================
        >Matthew 28:15 all but admits that it is already folklore:
        >
        >'And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews
        >
        >to this very day.'
        >==============================================
        >
        >
        >That's because he's talking about their story about stealing the body!
        >That's exactly what he says is a myth! He's not talking about the story of
        >Jesus over all or about the resurrection but about the story the Sanhedrin
        >fabricated.

        Beth
        When I read the passage, I got the feeling that the writer
        was referring to the larger story. To be fair, though, your
        reading of the verse is also plausible. However, while I will
        concede that the citation of that verse is inconclusive in itself,
        the argument from legend stands just as well without it.



        >
        >
        >===============================
        >That leaves the Gospel of John, believed to have been written
        >
        >more than fifty years later, and in it Jesus' metamorphosis
        >
        >from fact into fancy is much further along. Unlike the
        >
        >gravel-scratching, down to earth Jesus of the synoptic gospels,
        >
        >the Jesus of John comes off more like a luminous, haloed figure
        >
        >floating two inches off the ground emitting profound and
        >
        >reverberating utterances. In John, the transformation of
        >
        >Jesus from man to myth looks almost complete.
        >================================
        >
        >And yet it is the Johannine Jesus who weeps for his dead friend. Who
        >converses with the woman at the well, who litterally snorts with anger when
        >he sees how death and grief play havoc with people's psychies, I think you
        >are letting the prolgoue color your whole reading of the passage.

        Beth
        What is faulty about using earlier writings to shed light on
        later writings?




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