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Re: [apologetics] Question from an Agnostic

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  • warpedabit@aol.com
    Richard, I apologize that its taken me this long to continue the discussion... wild fires as well and other things have distracted me. Beginning the evaluation
    Message 1 of 91 , Nov 4, 2003
      Richard, I apologize that its taken me this long to continue the
      discussion... wild fires as well and other things have distracted me.

      Beginning the evaluation of the theories presented for us. All three theories
      pretty much agree on points 1 and 2 (Jesus was a known preacher and healer
      approx 28-30ad. He traveled around with a group of disciples).

      Its at point #3 that the theories begin to diverge. All of our theories agree
      that the disciples knew Jesus' teachings. As mentioned in another post, these
      teachings, sayings, deeds from Jesus came into existence when he actually
      taught, said, or did them (around the time 28-30ad depending upon one's dating
      method) and I think all three theories agree that far into the chronology.

      TT claims that the teachings, sayings and deeds were recorded "accurately"
      while TEGIRLEL and TEGIRWRLEL claim that there was some enhancing during oral
      transmission prior to the penning of the documents we now call the gospels.
      TEGIRLEL and TEGIRWRLEL also claim that the original teachings, sayings and deeds
      were lost through the nature of oral transmission - ie the phenomena which
      we've called "the chinese whispers game."

      The question here is "what happened to the original teachings, sayings and
      deeds of Jesus during the 20-60 years between the passion and the pennings of
      the gospels?" Along those lines, I think the key issue here is: "what is the
      nature of ancient oral transmission and can it be trusted?"

      If we can establish some known facts on oral transmission then we should be
      able to evaluate point three on the competing theories in light of those facts.

      Do you agree thus far?

      - Rick



      (keeping these around for posterity)
      summaries of the competing theories:

      We have the Traditional Theory (we'll call it TT):

      1. Jesus was a known preacher and healer in the time of Tiberius, Pilate, the
      Herods, Caiaphas.

      2. He traveled around with a group of disciples.

      3. His disciples, or those closely associated with them, accurately recorded
      his teachings as well as their own. (and we have those teachings preserved
      for us today)

      4. Jesus was executed by crucifixion just prior to the Jewish Passover, and
      buried in a tomb. All of which caused great distress on his followers.

      5. Shortly after the execution and burial (first day of the week, or three
      days by Jewish reckoning after the execution), the tomb was discovered empty.

      6. Immediately, the disciples begin to experience appearances of what they
      claim to be a resurrected Jesus.

      7. Shortly after the discovery of the empty tomb (about six weeks), the
      disciples begin preaching and evangelizing in Jerusalem that Jesus is
      resurrected.

      8. This preaching/evangelizing and acceptance as truth by large numbers of
      people (first Jews, then pagans) results in the explosion of Christianity
      onto
      the world scene.

      9. This best sense is made out of this data by the explanation "the
      resurrection actually happened."



      We have The Elaborated Gospel, Imaginary Resurrection, Legendary Eternal
      Life theory (we'll call it TEGIRLEL).

      I replaced your term "enhanced" instead of "elaborate" - unfortunately they
      both start with "e" so our terrible acronym still works. :-)

      1. Jesus was a known preacher and healer in the time of Tiberius, Pilate, the
      Herods, Caiaphas.

      2. He traveled around with a group of disciples, although the exact
      membership
      of that group is unknown - or at least debatable.

      3. His disciples (the apostles) knew his teachings,
      a. but enhanced them in the re-telling to attract followers
      b. although written down at some point by these apostles or those close
      to them,
      his original teachings were lost through the nature of oral transmission
      (chinese whispers game).

      4. Jesus was executed by crucifixion at some point in time near Passover, and
      buried in a tomb. All of which caused great distress on his followers.

      5. Shortly after the execution and burial (first day of the week, or three
      days by Jewish reckoning after the execution), the tomb was discovered empty.

      6. Some of the disciples as individuals experienced non-physical visions of
      Jesus after the tomb was discovered empty. The disciples believed that
      Jesus lived on in their hearts and minds - e.g. the memory of Jesus lived
      on. They thought of a spiritually living Jesus, not a physically living
      Jesus.

      7. Their stories of non-physical visions were misconstrued or morphed
      (chinese whispers) into "Jesus resurrected bodily."

      8. The miscontrued stories evolved into the idea that followers of Jesus
      could
      themselves escape death.

      9. People want to believe they can escape death, so the new religion was
      attractive to people and grew.

      10. The best sense is made out of this data by the explanation "the disciples
      stories were erroneously believed to be literal. The message played into
      people's fear of death and thus became popular."

      (Richard, double check me on all these points, please)



      We also have The Elaborated Gospel, Imaginary Resurrection With
      Resuscitation,
      Legendary Eternal Life theory (we'll call it TEGIRWRLEL).

      1. Jesus was a known preacher and healer in the time of Tiberius, Pilate, the
      Herods, Caiaphas.

      2. He traveled around with a group of disciples, although the exact
      membership of that group is unknown - or at least debatable.

      3. His disciples (the apostles) knew his teachings,
      a. but enhanced them in the re-telling to attract followers
      b. although written down at some point by these apostles or those close
      to them, his original teachings were lost through the nature of oral
      transmission (chinese whispers game).

      4. Jesus was executed by crucifixion at some point in time near Passover, and
      buried in a tomb. All of which caused great distress on his followers.

      5. Shortly after the execution and burial (first day of the week, or three
      days by Jewish reckoning after the execution), the tomb was discovered empty.

      6. Some of the disciples as individuals experienced non-physical visions of
      Jesus after the tomb was discovered empty. The disciples believed that
      Jesus lived on in their hearts and minds - e.g. the memory of Jesus lived
      on. They thought of a spiritually living Jesus, not a physically living
      Jesus.

      7. Their stories of non-physical visions were misconstrued or morphed
      (chinese whispers) into "Jesus resurrected bodily."

      8. The miscontrued stories evolved into the idea that followers of Jesus
      could
      themselves escape death.

      9. People want to believe they can escape death, so the new religion was
      attractive to people and grew.

      10. The best sense is made out of this data by the explanation "the tomb was
      discovered
      empty because, unknown to the disciples, Jesus was not really dead but
      resuscitated
      while in the tome. The disciples stories were erroneously believed to be
      literal.
      The message played into people's fear of death and thus became popular."
    • warpedabit@aol.com
      ... I threw that third one out there because it is associated with Evangelical American Christianity so often (and rightfully so, too - I hear it frequently).
      Message 91 of 91 , Nov 21, 2003
        ken@... writes:

        > Oh boy, oh boy!! I can't wait. It's a pitty about the third one though. I
        > could have some REAL fun with that one...

        I threw that third one out there because it is associated with Evangelical
        American Christianity so often (and rightfully so, too - I hear it frequently).


        > I have pretty much been
        > open about my agenda (a possible Arianist with orthodox tendenies), and
        > Richard has about his (a skeptic at heart?) -- what is on your personal
        > agenda?

        My agenda is simply truth.

        If you're asking about my position on these issues, then I'm best described
        as an evangelical (fundamentalist is archaic and normally used in a pejorative
        sense - orthodox has a different meaning to me in the RC versus Orthodox
        sense).

        - Rick
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