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Re: [XTalk] Is Jesus the "Lord" in Gal 1:19 and the use of "kyrios" in Paul generally

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  • yeshua666
    First of all I d like to thank everyone who responded to my initial inquiry for their comments and contributions. Several people asked why I m bothering to
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 14, 2010
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      First of all I'd like to thank everyone who responded to my initial inquiry for their comments and contributions. Several people asked why I'm bothering to debate this HJ Agnostic and suggested that if he is as irrational and doctrinaire as he seems that this is a waste of time. Sorry to say, but he's actually rather more irrational and doctrinaire than I've made out and vicious and spiteful into the bargain. I am under no illusions at all that I am ever going to get him to back down about anything, let alone change his mind.

      So why bother talking to him at all? In the years I've been reading on the historical Jesus I've noticed a slow rise in these evangelical ahistoricists. They have gone from being a tiny handful on Usenet 15 years ago to dominating the conversation in some quarters. As an atheist and secular humanist myself, it's been dismaying to see these people virtually take over any discussion of the origins of Christianity on atheist and sceptics' fora and slam anyone who dares suggest that there was a Jewish preacher as the origin of the Jesus stories.

      I learned long ago that virtually none of these people are convinced by argument. Most of them stick to the idea that there is no way we can say a HJ was likely in the face of all evidence. A few, such as this guy, have carefully constructed a position over many years that means he has standard replies to any objection and counter-argument, backed up with scorn, sarcasm and insinuation that no-one is as learned and well-read as he is.

      I bother with him and people like him because there are others on the sidelines who are not convinced either way and who, unlike the fanatics, actually *can* be swayed by good argument. So far these observers are unconvinced by this guy's bluster, but he posts (cut and paste) contributions of many thousands of words several times a day and it's hard to counter everything he says because the sheer volume of his contributions all but drowns out counter-arguments. So I'm choosing to concentrate on his arguments' weakest points – the number of supposed "Christian interpolations" his position requires and the mentions of James in both Josephus and Galatians.

      Since several here have been good enough to make some suggestions to me, I hope you all don't mind if I respond to them in one post:

      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, David Cavanagh <davidcavanagh@...> wrote:

      > Well, I think I would move this argument away from the complex
      > grammatical issues, and ask JA to provide contemporary evidence for the
      > use of the idiom "the Lord's brother" as referring to a follower
      > of/believer in YHWH - I think he would be hard pressed to find any.

      Which he knows. So he broadens things by noting that Paul does use the term "brother"/"brothers" in several places to mean simply "a fellow believer" and asks why it can't mean that here. When it's noted that he also refers to "the Lord's brothers" in 1Corinthians 9:5 he claims this is simply a group of non-apostles who are equal to "Cephas" and "the other apostles". When it's pointed out that this group is otherwise unattested, he points out that there are a lot of otherwise unattested people mentioned in Paul's letters.

      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@...> wrote:

      > > Now this is interesting. Could you elaborate?
      >
      > Greek and the Semitic languages, Hebrew and Aramaic, have different
      > structures and word orders. Whenever Aramaic is translated into Greek, it
      > can be somewhat cumbersome as evidenced by the Gospel of Mark which is a
      > Greek text written by a bilingual Aramaic speaker (see Maurice Casey,
      > "Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel).

      [snip]

      > So also for Josephus who wrote his works in his own language (Aramaic) and
      > employed "synergoi" to translate them into Greek with which Josephus writes
      > that he was uncomfortable. As in the New Testament for its "Jesus stuff,"
      > Aramaisms in Josephan Greek are signatures of the pen of Josephus himself.
      > The James Passage in Ant. XXX is in Aramaic word order. Josephus wrote it,
      > not some later Christian monk/scribe abusing his wine ration.

      Jack – thanks very much for that. I was aware of Casey's work (though not that of Fitzmeyer) but thanks for the insight. I did guess this was what you were referring to, but I was actually asking for some more specific detail on how "ADELFON IHSOU TOU LEGOMENOU XRISTOU IAKWBOS ONOMA AUTW" is identifiably Aramaic in its syntactic structure rather than Greek. How does the syntax here differ from what we would expect for a Greek speaker and how does it conform better to Aramaic? Apologies, but my grasp of Greek is poor and my Aramaic is non-existent. But it strikes me that this line of inquiry is potentially a very useful argument against the persistent claims that any mention of Jesus in Josephus has to be an interpolation.

      I also wasn't aware that Josephus wasn't comfortable writing Greek and had his works translated from Aramaic – do you have a reference for that?

      Thanks also to David Hindley's analysis of the uses of the word "KURIOS". And yes David, this is FRDB's "spin" we're talking about. It seems he's declared some kind of internet vendetta against me and is now following me to other fora to pursue it relentlessly. I suppose I should be flattered or something.

      Thanks again to all,

      Tim O'Neill
    • ehub035
      [from Geoff Riggs; not Liz H., my better half] ... on the historical Jesus I ve noticed a slow rise in these evangelical ahistoricists. They have gone from
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 15, 2010
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        [from Geoff Riggs; not Liz H., my better half]

        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "yeshua666" <t.c.oneill2@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > So why bother talking to him at all? In the years I've been reading
        on the historical Jesus I've noticed a slow rise in these evangelical
        ahistoricists. They have gone from being a tiny handful on Usenet 15
        years ago to dominating the conversation in some quarters. As an
        atheist and secular humanist myself, it's been dismaying to see these
        people virtually take over any discussion of the origins of Christianity
        on atheist and sceptics' fora and slam anyone who dares suggest that
        there was a Jewish preacher as the origin of the Jesus stories.
        >
        > I learned long ago that virtually none of these people are convinced
        by argument. Most of them stick to the idea that there is no way we can
        say a HJ was likely in the face of all evidence. A few, such as this
        guy, have carefully constructed a position over many years that means he
        has standard replies to any objection and counter-argument, backed up
        with scorn, sarcasm and insinuation that no-one is as learned and
        well-read as he is.
        > Tim O'Neill
        >

        And I must urgently second everything that Mr. O'Neill has stated here,
        with an added concern. Everything that these evangelical ahistoricists
        habitually write in these days has not only had the effect of sabotaging
        serious discussions on the Web concerning the latest professional
        historical research, again and again. Their increasing numbers also
        seem to both reflect and propel a burgeoning "movement" (I can think of
        no other word) aimed at discrediting any "taint" of intellectualism in
        addressing any Scriptural or non-Scriptural materials related to the
        Historical Jesus whatsoever. While I am aware that many view certain
        kinds of Christian fundamentalisms as also tantamount to an attempt at
        "terrorizing" intellectual inquiry into Scripture off the "public
        square", these militant ahistoricists are now doing essentially the same
        thing from a rigorously materialistic perspective. In other words, they
        disrupt any and all such serious discussions by proclaiming with all the
        fervour of the most fanatic zealot that every jot and tittle of material
        on the historical Jesus of Nazareth, Scriptural and non-Scriptural
        alike, is purely and entirely made up, right down to the most multiply
        attested saying and the most mundane detail in the most purely Roman
        chronicle or letter.

        Some, like Mr. O'Neil and myself, are frankly growing alarmed by this
        trend. It is starting to smack of a fanatic type of would-be thought
        control as bad as anything ever imputed (rightly or wrongly) to the most
        orthodox and/or fanatical fundamentalist. Where some fundamentalists
        proclaim adamantly that every word in every text in Scripture is pure
        history precisely as it really happened and therefore not appropriate or
        proper for modern historical analysis and research, these ahistoricists
        proclaim just as adamantly that every word in every Roman chronicle and
        every Roman letter related to Jesus of Nazareth is just as much -- and
        as uniformly -- pure fiction, from A to Z, as anything in Scripture and
        therefore not appropriate or proper for modern historical analysis and
        research. The end result is the same as with the most intolerant
        fundamentalist: an attempt at de-legitimizing any attempt at serious
        discussion and give-and-take on historical research into the Historical
        Jesus and Christian Origins.

        Tied to this is an apparent willingness to trash the very discipline of
        history itself, as if the rigorous conclusions by the most recent
        historians related to, say, the more probable versus the less probable
        details for a Hannibal or a Boadicea (sp.?), are merely grounded on
        assumptions pulled out of thin air! This is tantamount to would-be book
        burning aimed at whole schools of historical research. It is growing
        quite terrifying, frankly, and I applaud posters like Mr. O'Neill who
        are ready to see the urgency of taking a stand and challenging an
        outlook as profoundly ignorant as this one, once and for all. Too many
        are being hoodwinked by this growing outlook today, and I'm starting to
        see younger and increasingly inexperienced "students" of history
        adopting this outlook on the Web unquestioningly. It's getting worse
        for not being properly challenged.

        It is no exaggeration to suggest that, if unchallenged, this profoundly
        anti-intellectual outlook against most modern serious historians and
        scholars of the ancient world might soon imperil freedom of inquiry way
        beyond the parameters of the online world.

        Seriously,

        Geoffrey Riggs
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Crosstalk Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Geoff Riggs On: Trashing History From: Bruce I am much in sympathy with the tone of Geoff s recent post. Here is one
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 15, 2010
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          To: Crosstalk
          Cc: GPG, WSW
          In Response To: Geoff Riggs
          On: Trashing History
          From: Bruce

          I am much in sympathy with the tone of Geoff's recent post. Here is one
          extract from it:

          GEOFF: Tied to this is an apparent willingness to trash the very discipline
          of history itself, as if the rigorous conclusions by the most recent
          historians related to, say, the more probable versus the less probable
          details for a Hannibal or a Boadicea (sp.?), are merely grounded on
          assumptions pulled out of thin air!

          BRUCE: Just so, and unfortunately this is no new thing. The textual
          sciences, and with them my own specialty of philology, have been under
          worldwide attack since approximately 7 July 1937, and the trend has now
          reached what can fairly be called alarming proportions. A recent article in
          the Chronicle of Higher Education thought that there might be a future for
          the humanities, but probably outside academe. I have been pointing to this
          probability for some years now, and if the Chronicle (never the fastest car
          on the track) is catching up, things must be really far advanced.

          The methodological crisis for the historical discipline was perceived long
          ago, and registered in several book-length treatments. I might mention Keith
          Windschuttle, The Killing of History, Encounter 1996. There are some
          possibly helpful notes in the Methodology section of the Warring States
          Project web site:

          http://www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/index.html

          One of those pages, The Attack on History, picks up on Windschuttle and a
          few like indictments.

          As Geoff notes, inflexible anti-intellectuallism simply fouls and stymies
          discussion. What to do? Convincing the errants is not a realistic prospect;
          they are already happy (or viably unhappy) where they are. It seems to me
          that there are roughly two options, or rather two sides of one option, that
          option being separation:

          1. Banish the offenders. 1 Cor 16:22. With adequate list management this can
          be done; it is what list managers are there for. It takes a certain amount
          of nerve.

          2. Withdraw and start a more productive conversation elsewhere. This happens
          all the time. The history of government in England (or in China) is simply a
          series of replacements of obsolete and dysfunctional institutions by new and
          at least briefly functional ones. There is no reason to expect E-discourse
          to pattern any differently, over the long haul.

          It was some years ago, if memory does not deceive me, that dissidents
          seceded from the American Historical Association and its increasingly
          PC-clotted discourse, and formed their own group.

          http://www.bu.edu/historic/about.html

          That the new and functional discussions will be small is not necessarily a
          disadvantage. We know from Parkinson that the ideal size of a committee
          which has to decide things (and otherwise it is just talk, and talk is a
          waste of our time on the planet), is five. Under careful management, that
          number can be exceeded, but not necessarily for long. My rule of thumb: if
          your discussion group is too large to fit into a booth at the local
          pizzeria, it is too large, period.

          Not that the whole field needs to be reduced to that size, but that this is
          the ideal discussion module. The field, ideally, is the result of linkage
          between the different discussions. Ask the next naval architect you meet, Do
          you design an ocean-going ship as one watertight unit? The answer will
          probably be, No, but as many such units dynamically linked together.

          How the different groups link up is a question with many answers, all of
          them cheap and easy. Journal, E, conference calls, pony express,
          miniconferences. Our group has used all of them, at one time or another, and
          can speak to their practicability.

          Seriously suggested,

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          http://www.umass.edu/wsp
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