Re: [XTalk] Re: miracles
- At 08:11 PM 2/22/01 -0500, Gordon Raynal wrote:
>The battle between an immanent materialism and a transcendentI suppose there is no point in addressing this thread atll, since at least
>supernaturalism is endless. Both are metaphysical arguments and the
>arguers for each will, in principle, never be able to agree. That
some participants are not bothering to read my posts.
One more time for the record, restated: there's a difference between "can't"
and "didn't." The evidence, most plausibly (and even-handedly) interpreted,
sugessts VERY strongly that Jesus did NOT perform miracles. There is not an
assumption that he (or anyone else) COULDN'T have. Rather, there is a
recognition that a miracle is a MORE extraordinary event than, say, people
making up stories. Two anaologous claims:
1. "Jesus never flew." I suspect most folks would agree on this. Why?
Because it's impossible for human beings to fly? Well, no, in fact it ISN'T
impossible for humans to fly -- I've flown lots of times, and hate it (in
airplanes, for those who are wondering). Since, however, I am convinced that
there were not airplanes in antiquity, and that there have never been other
devices that could accomplish the same thing (well, not exactly: blimps and
hot air balloons, and such) (again, not impossible, just exceedingly
unlikely) I'm prepared to stand by the claim that Jesus never flew.
2. "Jesus was not (ethnically) Chinese." Again, this is hardly impossible;
since our earliest records don't describe Jesus physically, and since it is
quite conceivable that travellers from the far east could have settlled in
the Levant by the Roman period (I'm sure some did, actually). Why couldn't
Jesus have been one of them? He COULD, in fact. And I'm sure there are
Chinese Christian depicts of Jesus as Chinese. Still, though, the
probabilities are pretty overwhelming that Jesus was NOT oriental, given the
demographics of the place and time. But to make this claim is hardly the
same thing as saying, "it is impossible that Jesus was Chinese."
So it would be nice, in fact, if folks would quit repeating the received
"wisdom" that "Jesus walked on water" and "Jesus did not walk on water" are
based on analogous sorts of prior assumptions. They're not.
William Arnal william.arnal@...
Religion/Classics New York University
please note my slightly revised e-mail address