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Who Was/Is Jesus Of Nazerath?


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#16    sylph

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 06:40 PM

i believe in Jesus & Mary, the lineage of who both were, & what they tried to do for the race of Man - working diligently to manifest heaven upon the earth for all, by healing the living Law between Man & our Heavenly Father.. mellow.gif of course, this may appear dubious to many ~ but i can say that his state of evolution is worthy to learn from..


#17    Jesusfan

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:13 PM

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"Contrast that with someone who was born into a lower class family, whose earthly father was a trade carpenter, and whose Mother had to daily face accusations of being an Adulyeter and whose real father of her child was an unnamed Roman soldier.."

Jesus was in line to the throne of david and destined to become the king of the jews, his brother was a VERY powerful religious leader.  He didnt give his life for us, he was betrayed by his fellow jews becuase he was trying to reform judaism, once in the power to do he would have led a holy war against rome and plunged every jew into it, so they killd him in order to cut a better deal with the Romans, which didnt help them much.  And yes, the Buddha and Jesus are very similar, and the point i was making about mohammed is not that they were similar, read my post again.

"jesus allowing Himself to die by being placed upon the Cross did not happen to Buddah, Mohammed, or any other religious figure"

oh, yes, it has.

Your also saying that every Pharoh didnt claim to be the flesh incarnate of gods, or anyone of the heroes populating greek mythology?.  MAN read your history more.



They were claiming to be the earthly vessals for gods of Mythology, while Jesus claimed to be GOD... Supreme Being, one who made everything that existes...

Buddah did not die upon a cross, nor did Mohhammed, which religious leader had died in such fashion?

JESUS  was bot "betrayed" by either his followers, or even his fellow Jews, rather, he said that he had come to earth, sent down from Heaven, with a specific agenda in m ind... Namely, to die upon the cross, to be forsaken by the One the Jews called their God, his father, and by virtue of his death and resurrection, bring grace and salvation to whomsoever believes upon His name...

Judas wanted the jesus of the type to smite the kingdom of Rome, and let their blood flow as He set up the glories of Isreal once again, but Jesus was not the King of that making...

The Jewish religious leaders wanted a messiah to keep control over the common peoples, through their exclusive pipeline to God, and to also kick out the Romans, but Jesus was not that type Messiah either...

His own Apostles wanted him to set up his glorious Kingdom here and now, and to be set up to rule in his name, but his kingdom was not odf this earth at that time...

No, Jesus came fulfilling to the T all of the OT prophencies concerning the coming Messiah, but his followers, reliogious leader, common Jewish peoples, Gentiles all wanted a King to rule by force, but he came as the Suffering Servant of the Lord, Isaiah 53, and as such, He would be killed off, not because of what others did to Him, but because it was part of the Divine Plan all along...

Difference betwenn Pharoah, Alexander, caesar'setc claiming to be a god, and Jesus was that he claimed to be THE GOD, and he had miracles/deeds/words, and most of all his resurrection to back up His claims to being Diety...



#18    seanph

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 09:01 PM

Please forgive the length of this post. wink2.gif

You're relying on the scriptures for an accurate portrayal of Jesus.  This is a mistake even the Vatican warns about.

STATEMENT FROM THE VATICAN: GOSPELS NOT HISTORY!

The Gospel authors were thus confronted with a literary problem that had to be solved. They wanted to tell the story of Jesus' birth, but apparently had little to work with. Here, then, is where tradition and theology came in. In 1965, the Second Vatican Council held that while the Scriptures are ultimately "true," they are not necessarily to be taken as accurate in the sense we might take an Associated Press wire report about what happened at a school-board meeting as accurate. The council focused on the importance of paying attention to "literary forms" in Scripture. The Gospels are such a "literary form," and the accounts of Jesus in the canon are not history or biography in the way we use the terms. Classical biography, however, was a different genre. Writers like Plutarch invented details or embellished traditions when they were reconstructing the lives of the famous, and the Christmas saga features miraculous births, supernatural signs and harbingers of ultimate greatness similar to those found in pagan works. If we examine the Nativity narratives as classical biography, then the evangelists' means and mission—to convey theological truths about salvation, not to record just-the-facts history—become much clearer.


Unfortunately, what is known about the historical Jesus is extremely sparse. No first century historian was a first-hand witness to his life, wrote a thing about him (And please do not cite Josephus.  While he does introduce Jesus, it is not a first-hand report, nor is the tiny paragraph in which Jesus is mentioned considered wholly authentic by scholars). The Gospels are not eyewitness accounts of his life. They were written decades after his crucifixion and are considered midrash (or as M. Goulder proposes--the Gospels were worked out along the lines of the Jewish lectionary), not history. Of course, that was the intent. The Gospels were expressions of faith, written to address particular questions about Jesus to particular communities. They are "faith documents", written to persuade others to believe. So, we can only take bits and pieces of the Nt thought to be reliable (and therein lies a big problem), and speculate.

From the terrific site LIVIUS:

*Later developments: from Messiah to Christ
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messiah_18.html

*Messianic claimants (6): Jesus of Nazareth (30 CE)
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messi...laimants05.html

*Overview of articles on 'Messiah'
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messiah00.html#overview

An interesting article from Notre Dame Magazine ... What theologians are freely admitting now about Jesus and the gospels ...

NEW TESTAMENT

A Catholic publication has finally come forward and revealed what are the most reasonable conclusions (up to a limit) about the Gospels. 

"Who Do Men Say That I Am"

BY

Kerry Temple, Ph.D. {Managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine, a Catholic publication}


It all began because I wanted to know the truth about Jesus.  I heard the stories before I could see over the pew in front of me, knelling prayerfully at St. John Berchmans Church.  I'd heard of the loaves and fishes, the wedding feast at Can, the prodigal son.  Jesus walked on water, calmed the storms, raised Lazaris form the dead, and said, Blessed are the meek.

I knew about the census and the trip by donkey to Bethlehem where there was no room at the inn.  I knew of the.  Through 16 years of Catholic education I heard about the carpenters son . And it was branded into me early on by the black-robed Daughters of the Cross that those who did not believe would burn in the fires of hell forever.

So here I was about to embark on a search for the historical Jesus, to discover who was the man called the Messiah, the Son of God, second person of the Holy Trinity.  Who was he really?  And as I began to wind my way back through 20 centuries of accumulated knowledge, trying to distinguished between fact and fiction, trying to peel away the layers of embellishment, I realized I was running counter to much of what had been ingrained in me.  And I felt myself entering a relm that felt foreign and strange and disturbing. 

The Jesus Debate

In many ways the figure of Jesus is like a poemor, as one prominent Catholic scholar wrote, Jesus is a parable.  The story of his life has not come to us like a news report or documentary film that presents historical events literally and factually. 

One day I sat in the office of the Reverend Robert Krieg, C.S.C., who teaches Christology at Notre Dame, and tried to explain this analogy to him.  "Looking for Jesus," I said, "is like being back in a poetry class dissecting a poem.  The poem is layered with meanings, and everyone has a different opinion."  Nobody is certain any more what the poet intended, and you’re left with a variety of very subjective interpretations.

Krieg nodded but cautioned against individual interpretations not supported by the Catholic faith tradition and centuries of scholarship.  And he warned against looking for the truth about Jesus in terms of literal or historical facts.

[T]he first thing to remember, he [Reverend Edward Schillebeck, O.P., a top Catholic, Dutch scholar] once said, is that there are limitations to what we can know by using the historical-critical approach.  The only text that we have show Jesus already proclaimed as Christ by the church and by his first disciples.  The New Testament is the testimony of a believing people, and what they are saying is not history but expressions of their belief in Jesus as Christ.

The fundamental Jesus debate (mere man or divine messiah?) as been waged since before the Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities contemplated his execution.  Many of the churchs teachings about his nature, so familiar to us today, were not hammered out until centuries after his deathand after heated argument. 

In a landmark book, The Life of Jesus; Critically Examined, David Friedrich Strauss concluded in 1835: if we would be candid with ourselves, that which was once sacred history for the Christian believer is, for the enlightened portion of our contemporaries, only fable.  That view cost Strauss his job at the University of Tubingen, but he was not the only scholar whose rationalist approach demythologized Christ. 

Early in this century, Albert Schweitzer {famed humanitarian and doctor who served in darkest Africa} launched his own search and in 1906 he stated in Quest for the Historical Jesus: "The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration never had any existence."  This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came too the surface one after another.

A year later, in 1907, says Krieg, Pius X decreed in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis that to pursued historical research into the Bible and life of Jesus was a move into modernism, so he condemned it.  But, ads the Holy Cross priest, in 1943 Pius XII in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu permitted historical studies of the Bible, its formation and Jesus life.

So what are scholars saying today about Jesus of Nazareth?  And how is the explosion of Christology being incorporated into Catholicisms continually evolving theology?

Hero Tales

One of the problems with retrieving the historical Jesus is that so little can be known of him with certainty.  He is mentioned briefly in about a half-dozen non-Christian texts of the time:  works by Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, and Pliny the Younger.1  But these say little more than that he lived, preached, and was crucified [which was based on what Christians said, rather than what they knew from their own historical research].

Most of what we know of Jesus come from the four gospels.  Yet scholars agree that these are hardly dependable as historical sources.  For one thing, they did not take shape until late in the first century, a generation or two after Jesus died; until then the stories and teachings of Jesus were spread orally, and it is probably that neither his exact words nor the stories details survived the retellings.  Scholars also agree that the gospels were not written by any of the 12 apostles (probably not by anyone named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, probably not by anyone who was even alive when Jesus was.2 Most importantly, the four gospels were compiled not as historical documents but as testimonies of faith by communities of believers.3 One of the intended effects, he [John Collins, internationally know biblical scholar from Notre Dame] was to make the New Testament accounts fit Old Testament prophecies. The stories were generated, say Collins, by authors trying to infer facts from biblical prophecies.  And for that reason many scholars would regard these as fictions to make theological points.

Many of the stories about Jesus contained in these ancient documents [Gospels, both canonical and not] Kannengiesser says, were tales commonly applied to mythical figures and heroes of the time.  It was almost obligatory to have such stories available, the theologian says; they were stock stories told to convert people to Jesus.  Tales of virgin births, divine heroes, and miracles workers were relatively common 2,000 years ago and simply did not mean what they do to us today.  [My emphasis, for this is central to this article by Kerry Temple]  

One such mythical hero was Mithras, a Persian deity introduced to Rome midway through the first century, shortly before the synoptic gospels were written.4  He, too, was said to have been sent by a father-god to vanquish darkness and evil in the world.  Born of a virgin (a birth witnessed only by shepherds), Mithras was described variously as the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Word, the Son of God, and the Good Shepherd and was often depicted carrying a lamb upon his shoulders.5

Followers of Mithras celebrated December 25 by ringing bells, singing hymns, lighting candles, giving gifts, and administering a sacrament of bread and water.  Between December 25 and the spring equinox (Easter, from the Latin for earth goddess) came the 40 days search for Osiris, a god of justice and love.  The cult also observed Black Friday, commemorating Mithras sacrificial bull slaying, which fructified the earth.  Worn out by the battle, Mithras is symbolically represented as a corpse and is placed in a sacred rock tomb from which he is removed after three days in a festival of rejoicing.

Pick-up Sticks

His name was Jesus, the Aramaic version of Yeshu or Yeshua, which is the common form of the Hebrew Joshua, meaning the Lord saves.  Historians estimate the year of his birth at about 6 to 4 BCE; the date, December 25, was adopted in the fourth century from a pagan-Roman feast day that coincided with the winter solstice.

The nativity stories are regarded by scholars as among the most recent and least authentic additions to the gospels.  These narratives, writes Murphy, summarizing Jesus status among [Christian] historians, cannot be relied upon as historical fact but were inserted into the gospels of Luke and Matthews to assert certain claims about Jesus.  The two versions, he adds, are utterly divergent and cannot be harmonized.  But they do provide insight into the evangelists storytelling devices and their intent to link Jesus to Old Testament prophecies [emphasis added].6

One point is clear from the outset: our understanding of divine man or Son of God is different today than it was to the world in which Jesus lived.  It was not an uncommon designation in those days.  Nor was it uncommon to have gods impregnate mortals who yield divine offspring; [see Genesis 6:1]... Even in scripture the tile Son of God was used in a variety of ways.  Notre Dames’ John Collins say it denotes angels, heaven being, the messiah, the king of Israel or the king of Judea, but it does not imply equality with God.

It was not until the Council of Nicea in 325 CE that church leaders determined that Jesus was of one substance with the Father.  If the gospel writers said son of God they probably meant he was a specially chosen human being, says Collins the interpretation of what was said about the messiah in the Old Testament. 

So I aksed Father Kannengiesser what we know for sure about the Jesus birth.  He smiled and said, “The fact is Jesus existed.  He was born.  Period.  That’s it.  Accepting the mystery of Jesus incarnation, scholars will tell you, is more a matter of faith than reproductive biology, or linguistics, of the mythologies of ancient cultures.” The  reason why it has never been possible to state a literal meaning for the ideal of Incarnation, says theologian John Hicks, is simply that it has no literal meaning.  It is a mythological idea, a figure of speech, a piece of poetic imagery.

The ear in which he was raised was well suited for his public mission.  Socially, politically, and religiously, the culture was in ferment.  Armageddon seemed imminent, and miracle-workers, charismatic holy men, nomadic teachers, and doom sayaing prophets were common, wandering the arid plains preaching, healing, exorcising demons, and attracting followers.

Scholars have estimated the length of Jesus evangelical life as lasting anywhere from several months to two years.  As with other aspects of his story, the events of this public ministry are shrouded in uncertainty and disagreement due to discrepancies in the sources and doubts about them.  No one really knows for sure what is authentic and what is not. 

Similar questions arise when the miracles are discussed.  Historians indicate that healings and exorcisms were fairly common in Jesus time (and, they point out, are still considered legitimate occurrences in some cultures today).  While scholars agree Jesus was doing extraordinary things, other miracle workers such as Hanina ben Dosa, Honi the Circle Drawer, and Apollonius of Tyana were performing similar deeds. 

[The works of the New Testament do little to distinguish Jesus.]  Son of Man, bar nisha, a seemingly profound and mysterious appellation found on some 70 occasions in the synoptic gospels, was used in the vernacular as a round about way of saying I or simply meant a person/someone.  Others think it is an allusion to the mysterious figure prophesied in the seventh chapter of Daniel.  Son of God, most scholars agree, is an ambigious title at best; so, too, is lord, from the Aramaic mare, which could be interpreted in a spectrum of ways from the mundane sir to the divine lord.

The meaning of messiah (the anointed one) is even more nuanceda rich mine for linguists to excavate.  It could have meant several things, from a spiritual redeemer descending from David to a political and military king-and not necessarily a divine person [similar to the Maccabbees]. In the 150 years before Jesus, the messiah to come was anticipated in broader eschatological terms as the ruler of all nations whom God would appoint at the end of time. Jesus virtual silence on the subject has left scholars with more questions than answers.[/I]

Did he see himself as one sent from God on some sacred mission?  Was he simply another Jewish prophet preparing his followers for the coming Parousia?  Did events unfold in such a way that he became aware of his role and divinity as time went on?  Or did he from the beginning considered himself Gods equal?  The answer to these questions doubtlessly pondered by those who talked and laughed and ate with him, remain elusive to us today.

The End of Time

Though the gospels differ somewhat on what happened next, it is believed that Jesus faced a stern investigation before the chief priests of the Sanhedrin (the supreme council of the religious establishment). But if the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death, it is unclear why it did not carry out the execution but, instead, took the case to Pilate. He was executed by Roman authorities for being a messianic pretender.

Something Happened

The gospel accounts of Easter morning are sketchy and inconsistent. No one is certain precisely what it was that happened. Whatever happened had an incredible effect on Jesus followers...

At this point the following of Kerry’s account has lost all semblance of objective scholars; it is in the realm of faith. 

*NT
http://jeromekahn123.tripod.com/newtestament/id11.html 

For a honest--and scholarly--look at the historical Jesus, read the masterful works of John P. Meier (Catholic priest ... Religion/Catholic Univ. of America).  Brilliant and refreshingly honest.

*A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1  
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This study inaugurates a new series that seeks to examine various topics (e.g., anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, theology) as they relate to the Bible. The series is intended for the general reader as well as for scholars. Here, Meier (New Testament studies, Catholic Univ. of America) adopts a two-tier approach: he delineates up-to-date research on the Jesus of history with discussions geared toward well-read general readers, and in his extensive notes he discusses technical matters of interest to doctoral students and scholars. Meier explains issues of method, definitions and sources, and then turns to the birth, years of development, and cultural background of Jesus. He distinguishes between "what I know about Jesus by research and what I hold by faith." His study is a necessary purchase for academic libraries.--Cynthia Widmer, Downingtown, Pa.Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
Meier (Religion/Catholic Univ. of America), a Catholic priest, offers a vigorously honest, skeptical, and scholarly attempt to discover the historical Jesus. The author poses an intriguing hypothetical: ``suppose that a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, and an agnostic...hammered out a consensus document on who Jesus of Nazareth was.'' Meier tries to create such a ``consensus document'' by examining the fundamental facts of Jesus' life (while excluding those aspects of Jesus' biography that are premised on tenets of Christian belief, like the Resurrection). In this, the first volume of a two-part work, Meier carefully conducts an exegesis of the ``Roots of the Problem'' (the New Testament texts, which are not primarily historical works; the apocryphal gospels; and the fleeting references in the works of Josephus, Tacitus, and other pagan and Jewish writers that constitute the entire historical record of Jesus), and an analysis of the ``Roots of the Person'' (in which Meier brings hermeneutic tools to bear on the birth, development, and early years of Jesus). Meier points out Jesus' historical ``marginality''--his peripheral involvement in the society, history, and culture of his age--that ironically underscores the central position he has occupied in Western culture in the centuries since he died. Rife with scholarly terminology, and thus slow going for the nonspecialist--but, still, a superb examination of a fascinating historical problem.--Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


Take care.

Sean

Edited by seanph, 02 November 2005 - 10:06 PM.

"Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation don’t conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed."--Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

#19    PLO

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 03:15 AM

at least soemone else realises the bible is not reliable

"Buddah did not die upon a cross, nor did Mohhammed, which religious leader had died in such fashion"

never said they did, i've mentioned another religious grouping you seemd to ignore.

www.oilempire.us  www.killinghope.org

#20    iaapac

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 03:59 AM

Quote


Sincerely hope that you are making a joke my friend... Since the Jesus that History and the Bible portrays is one who preached/taught/ and lived out the ideals of loving others, and doing unto them as you would want them to do unto you... He told us to love and pray for our enemies, not to take up swords(bullets) and try to kill them off, but show them love and allow God to work on their hearts...

If the World would have learned His message, and tried to Love God with their whole herat and mind, and love their neighbors as themselvers, a lot of needless bloodshed would have been averted...

That is another reason that jesus is unique among all religious founders, not only did he do the acts of God, claimed to be God, was raised from the dead to show that his claims were true, but that He lived out perfectly what He was teaching... The Man and the Message 100% agreement... Pity that othe  religions would try to use the sword and vilolence to achieve the means... Know that the Church did do brutal acts and commited atrocities, but they were NOT obeying the dictates of Jesus Christ in doing this, as His true Church was able to overcome Roman Empite through Love and by good deeds of kindness, not acts of agression and violence... Bu the followers of other religions that taught and did... Peace of Peace contrasted with Prophet of War... Just something to think about...



Is that why near the end of his life he told his diciples to sell their clothes if necessary and buy a sword?



#21    Jesusfan

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 12:54 PM

Quote


Is that why near the end of his life he told his diciples to sell their clothes if necessary and buy a sword?


Actually, Jesus asked his followers how many swords they have among them, and they answered they had one, and Jesus said that was enough... This was in the middle of his ministry, and later on, he told Peter to put away his Sword, as those who take up and live by the Sword shall also die by the Sword...

The quote you are reffeing to was in the context of his Apostles being sent out to Isreal to preach the Good News of His coming unto them and bringing to them the Kingdom of God, and for that purpose, they just needed to have protection, but later on, Jesus kept consistent, that His Kingdom would come through hearts pf Men being changed by love of God, not by the Sword/forced to or else face death/pain etc..


#22    Jesusfan

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 01:22 PM

Quote


Please forgive the length of this post. wink2.gif

You're relying on the scriptures for an accurate portrayal of Jesus.  This is a mistake even the Vatican warns about.

STATEMENT FROM THE VATICAN: GOSPELS NOT HISTORY!

The Gospel authors were thus confronted with a literary problem that had to be solved. They wanted to tell the story of Jesus' birth, but apparently had little to work with. Here, then, is where tradition and theology came in. In 1965, the Second Vatican Council held that while the Scriptures are ultimately "true," they are not necessarily to be taken as accurate in the sense we might take an Associated Press wire report about what happened at a school-board meeting as accurate. The council focused on the importance of paying attention to "literary forms" in Scripture. The Gospels are such a "literary form," and the accounts of Jesus in the canon are not history or biography in the way we use the terms. Classical biography, however, was a different genre. Writers like Plutarch invented details or embellished traditions when they were reconstructing the lives of the famous, and the Christmas saga features miraculous births, supernatural signs and harbingers of ultimate greatness similar to those found in pagan works. If we examine the Nativity narratives as classical biography, then the evangelists' means and mission—to convey theological truths about salvation, not to record just-the-facts history—become much clearer.


Unfortunately, what is known about the historical Jesus is extremely sparse. No first century historian was a first-hand witness to his life, wrote a thing about him (And please do not cite Josephus.  While he does introduce Jesus, it is not a first-hand report, nor is the tiny paragraph in which Jesus is mentioned considered wholly authentic by scholars). The Gospels are not eyewitness accounts of his life. They were written decades after his crucifixion and are considered midrash (or as M. Goulder proposes--the Gospels were worked out along the lines of the Jewish lectionary), not history. Of course, that was the intent. The Gospels were expressions of faith, written to address particular questions about Jesus to particular communities. They are "faith documents", written to persuade others to believe. So, we can only take bits and pieces of the Nt thought to be reliable (and therein lies a big problem), and speculate.

From the terrific site LIVIUS:

*Later developments: from Messiah to Christ
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messiah_18.html

*Messianic claimants (6): Jesus of Nazareth (30 CE)
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messi...laimants05.html

*Overview of articles on 'Messiah'
http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messiah00.html#overview

An interesting article from Notre Dame Magazine ... What theologians are freely admitting now about Jesus and the gospels ...

NEW TESTAMENT

A Catholic publication has finally come forward and revealed what are the most reasonable conclusions (up to a limit) about the Gospels. 

"Who Do Men Say That I Am"

BY

Kerry Temple, Ph.D. {Managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine, a Catholic publication}


It all began because I wanted to know the truth about Jesus.  I heard the stories before I could see over the pew in front of me, knelling prayerfully at St. John Berchmans Church.  I'd heard of the loaves and fishes, the wedding feast at Can, the prodigal son.  Jesus walked on water, calmed the storms, raised Lazaris form the dead, and said, Blessed are the meek.

I knew about the census and the trip by donkey to Bethlehem where there was no room at the inn.  I knew of the.  Through 16 years of Catholic education I heard about the carpenters son . And it was branded into me early on by the black-robed Daughters of the Cross that those who did not believe would burn in the fires of hell forever.

So here I was about to embark on a search for the historical Jesus, to discover who was the man called the Messiah, the Son of God, second person of the Holy Trinity.  Who was he really?  And as I began to wind my way back through 20 centuries of accumulated knowledge, trying to distinguished between fact and fiction, trying to peel away the layers of embellishment, I realized I was running counter to much of what had been ingrained in me.  And I felt myself entering a relm that felt foreign and strange and disturbing. 

The Jesus Debate

In many ways the figure of Jesus is like a poemor, as one prominent Catholic scholar wrote, Jesus is a parable.  The story of his life has not come to us like a news report or documentary film that presents historical events literally and factually. 

One day I sat in the office of the Reverend Robert Krieg, C.S.C., who teaches Christology at Notre Dame, and tried to explain this analogy to him.  "Looking for Jesus," I said, "is like being back in a poetry class dissecting a poem.  The poem is layered with meanings, and everyone has a different opinion."  Nobody is certain any more what the poet intended, and you’re left with a variety of very subjective interpretations.

Krieg nodded but cautioned against individual interpretations not supported by the Catholic faith tradition and centuries of scholarship.  And he warned against looking for the truth about Jesus in terms of literal or historical facts.

[T]he first thing to remember, he [Reverend Edward Schillebeck, O.P., a top Catholic, Dutch scholar] once said, is that there are limitations to what we can know by using the historical-critical approach.  The only text that we have show Jesus already proclaimed as Christ by the church and by his first disciples.  The New Testament is the testimony of a believing people, and what they are saying is not history but expressions of their belief in Jesus as Christ.

The fundamental Jesus debate (mere man or divine messiah?) as been waged since before the Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities contemplated his execution.  Many of the churchs teachings about his nature, so familiar to us today, were not hammered out until centuries after his deathand after heated argument. 

In a landmark book, The Life of Jesus; Critically Examined, David Friedrich Strauss concluded in 1835: if we would be candid with ourselves, that which was once sacred history for the Christian believer is, for the enlightened portion of our contemporaries, only fable.  That view cost Strauss his job at the University of Tubingen, but he was not the only scholar whose rationalist approach demythologized Christ. 

Early in this century, Albert Schweitzer {famed humanitarian and doctor who served in darkest Africa} launched his own search and in 1906 he stated in Quest for the Historical Jesus: "The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration never had any existence."  This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came too the surface one after another.

A year later, in 1907, says Krieg, Pius X decreed in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis that to pursued historical research into the Bible and life of Jesus was a move into modernism, so he condemned it.  But, ads the Holy Cross priest, in 1943 Pius XII in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu permitted historical studies of the Bible, its formation and Jesus life.

So what are scholars saying today about Jesus of Nazareth?  And how is the explosion of Christology being incorporated into Catholicisms continually evolving theology?

Hero Tales

One of the problems with retrieving the historical Jesus is that so little can be known of him with certainty.  He is mentioned briefly in about a half-dozen non-Christian texts of the time:  works by Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, and Pliny the Younger.1  But these say little more than that he lived, preached, and was crucified [which was based on what Christians said, rather than what they knew from their own historical research].

Most of what we know of Jesus come from the four gospels.  Yet scholars agree that these are hardly dependable as historical sources.  For one thing, they did not take shape until late in the first century, a generation or two after Jesus died; until then the stories and teachings of Jesus were spread orally, and it is probably that neither his exact words nor the stories details survived the retellings.  Scholars also agree that the gospels were not written by any of the 12 apostles (probably not by anyone named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, probably not by anyone who was even alive when Jesus was.2 Most importantly, the four gospels were compiled not as historical documents but as testimonies of faith by communities of believers.3 One of the intended effects, he [John Collins, internationally know biblical scholar from Notre Dame] was to make the New Testament accounts fit Old Testament prophecies. The stories were generated, say Collins, by authors trying to infer facts from biblical prophecies.  And for that reason many scholars would regard these as fictions to make theological points.

Many of the stories about Jesus contained in these ancient documents [Gospels, both canonical and not] Kannengiesser says, were tales commonly applied to mythical figures and heroes of the time.  It was almost obligatory to have such stories available, the theologian says; they were stock stories told to convert people to Jesus.  Tales of virgin births, divine heroes, and miracles workers were relatively common 2,000 years ago and simply did not mean what they do to us today.  [My emphasis, for this is central to this article by Kerry Temple]  

One such mythical hero was Mithras, a Persian deity introduced to Rome midway through the first century, shortly before the synoptic gospels were written.4  He, too, was said to have been sent by a father-god to vanquish darkness and evil in the world.  Born of a virgin (a birth witnessed only by shepherds), Mithras was described variously as the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Word, the Son of God, and the Good Shepherd and was often depicted carrying a lamb upon his shoulders.5

Followers of Mithras celebrated December 25 by ringing bells, singing hymns, lighting candles, giving gifts, and administering a sacrament of bread and water.  Between December 25 and the spring equinox (Easter, from the Latin for earth goddess) came the 40 days search for Osiris, a god of justice and love.  The cult also observed Black Friday, commemorating Mithras sacrificial bull slaying, which fructified the earth.  Worn out by the battle, Mithras is symbolically represented as a corpse and is placed in a sacred rock tomb from which he is removed after three days in a festival of rejoicing.

Pick-up Sticks

His name was Jesus, the Aramaic version of Yeshu or Yeshua, which is the common form of the Hebrew Joshua, meaning the Lord saves.  Historians estimate the year of his birth at about 6 to 4 BCE; the date, December 25, was adopted in the fourth century from a pagan-Roman feast day that coincided with the winter solstice.

The nativity stories are regarded by scholars as among the most recent and least authentic additions to the gospels.  These narratives, writes Murphy, summarizing Jesus status among [Christian] historians, cannot be relied upon as historical fact but were inserted into the gospels of Luke and Matthews to assert certain claims about Jesus.  The two versions, he adds, are utterly divergent and cannot be harmonized.  But they do provide insight into the evangelists storytelling devices and their intent to link Jesus to Old Testament prophecies [emphasis added].6

One point is clear from the outset: our understanding of divine man or Son of God is different today than it was to the world in which Jesus lived.  It was not an uncommon designation in those days.  Nor was it uncommon to have gods impregnate mortals who yield divine offspring; [see Genesis 6:1]... Even in scripture the tile Son of God was used in a variety of ways.  Notre Dames’ John Collins say it denotes angels, heaven being, the messiah, the king of Israel or the king of Judea, but it does not imply equality with God.

It was not until the Council of Nicea in 325 CE that church leaders determined that Jesus was of one substance with the Father.  If the gospel writers said son of God they probably meant he was a specially chosen human being, says Collins the interpretation of what was said about the messiah in the Old Testament. 

So I aksed Father Kannengiesser what we know for sure about the Jesus birth.  He smiled and said, “The fact is Jesus existed.  He was born.  Period.  That’s it.  Accepting the mystery of Jesus incarnation, scholars will tell you, is more a matter of faith than reproductive biology, or linguistics, of the mythologies of ancient cultures.” The  reason why it has never been possible to state a literal meaning for the ideal of Incarnation, says theologian John Hicks, is simply that it has no literal meaning.  It is a mythological idea, a figure of speech, a piece of poetic imagery.

The ear in which he was raised was well suited for his public mission.  Socially, politically, and religiously, the culture was in ferment.  Armageddon seemed imminent, and miracle-workers, charismatic holy men, nomadic teachers, and doom sayaing prophets were common, wandering the arid plains preaching, healing, exorcising demons, and attracting followers.

Scholars have estimated the length of Jesus evangelical life as lasting anywhere from several months to two years.  As with other aspects of his story, the events of this public ministry are shrouded in uncertainty and disagreement due to discrepancies in the sources and doubts about them.  No one really knows for sure what is authentic and what is not. 

Similar questions arise when the miracles are discussed.  Historians indicate that healings and exorcisms were fairly common in Jesus time (and, they point out, are still considered legitimate occurrences in some cultures today).  While scholars agree Jesus was doing extraordinary things, other miracle workers such as Hanina ben Dosa, Honi the Circle Drawer, and Apollonius of Tyana were performing similar deeds. 

[The works of the New Testament do little to distinguish Jesus.]  Son of Man, bar nisha, a seemingly profound and mysterious appellation found on some 70 occasions in the synoptic gospels, was used in the vernacular as a round about way of saying I or simply meant a person/someone.  Others think it is an allusion to the mysterious figure prophesied in the seventh chapter of Daniel.  Son of God, most scholars agree, is an ambigious title at best; so, too, is lord, from the Aramaic mare, which could be interpreted in a spectrum of ways from the mundane sir to the divine lord.

The meaning of messiah (the anointed one) is even more nuanceda rich mine for linguists to excavate.  It could have meant several things, from a spiritual redeemer descending from David to a political and military king-and not necessarily a divine person [similar to the Maccabbees]. In the 150 years before Jesus, the messiah to come was anticipated in broader eschatological terms as the ruler of all nations whom God would appoint at the end of time. Jesus virtual silence on the subject has left scholars with more questions than answers.[/I]

Did he see himself as one sent from God on some sacred mission?  Was he simply another Jewish prophet preparing his followers for the coming Parousia?  Did events unfold in such a way that he became aware of his role and divinity as time went on?  Or did he from the beginning considered himself Gods equal?  The answer to these questions doubtlessly pondered by those who talked and laughed and ate with him, remain elusive to us today.

The End of Time

Though the gospels differ somewhat on what happened next, it is believed that Jesus faced a stern investigation before the chief priests of the Sanhedrin (the supreme council of the religious establishment). But if the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death, it is unclear why it did not carry out the execution but, instead, took the case to Pilate. He was executed by Roman authorities for being a messianic pretender.

Something Happened

The gospel accounts of Easter morning are sketchy and inconsistent. No one is certain precisely what it was that happened. Whatever happened had an incredible effect on Jesus followers...

At this point the following of Kerry’s account has lost all semblance of objective scholars; it is in the realm of faith. 

*NT
http://jeromekahn123.tripod.com/newtestament/id11.html 

For a honest--and scholarly--look at the historical Jesus, read the masterful works of John P. Meier (Catholic priest ... Religion/Catholic Univ. of America).  Brilliant and refreshingly honest.

*A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1  
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This study inaugurates a new series that seeks to examine various topics (e.g., anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, theology) as they relate to the Bible. The series is intended for the general reader as well as for scholars. Here, Meier (New Testament studies, Catholic Univ. of America) adopts a two-tier approach: he delineates up-to-date research on the Jesus of history with discussions geared toward well-read general readers, and in his extensive notes he discusses technical matters of interest to doctoral students and scholars. Meier explains issues of method, definitions and sources, and then turns to the birth, years of development, and cultural background of Jesus. He distinguishes between "what I know about Jesus by research and what I hold by faith." His study is a necessary purchase for academic libraries.--Cynthia Widmer, Downingtown, Pa.Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
Meier (Religion/Catholic Univ. of America), a Catholic priest, offers a vigorously honest, skeptical, and scholarly attempt to discover the historical Jesus. The author poses an intriguing hypothetical: ``suppose that a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, and an agnostic...hammered out a consensus document on who Jesus of Nazareth was.'' Meier tries to create such a ``consensus document'' by examining the fundamental facts of Jesus' life (while excluding those aspects of Jesus' biography that are premised on tenets of Christian belief, like the Resurrection). In this, the first volume of a two-part work, Meier carefully conducts an exegesis of the ``Roots of the Problem'' (the New Testament texts, which are not primarily historical works; the apocryphal gospels; and the fleeting references in the works of Josephus, Tacitus, and other pagan and Jewish writers that constitute the entire historical record of Jesus), and an analysis of the ``Roots of the Person'' (in which Meier brings hermeneutic tools to bear on the birth, development, and early years of Jesus). Meier points out Jesus' historical ``marginality''--his peripheral involvement in the society, history, and culture of his age--that ironically underscores the central position he has occupied in Western culture in the centuries since he died. Rife with scholarly terminology, and thus slow going for the nonspecialist--but, still, a superb examination of a fascinating historical problem.--Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


Take care.

Sean


The problem with all of this is that though interesting speculations, there are several conservative/scholarly writers from this past 100 years who would refure nearly all that has been written by these allenged Scholars...

The common viewpoints that the Gospels were written much later than the facts presented, that none of them were by the recorded author, and that we have no historical evidence to verify their historacity has been pretty much knocked down..

There is ample witness within the writtings, and to the historical setting that they were out of to support the idea that all of the Gospels were either written by the author given credit for it by Early Church, or else by someone directly connected to that person... Also, there was NEVER any other authors known if by the Early Church to be credited other than thos ewho are commonly referred to, except for perhas a John the Elder, but many hold that person to be actually the Aostle John ..

All of the writings within the NT can be safe to assume as being originally written before 100 AD, and the first Gospel to have been originally written and circulated approx. 60-65 AD, with Gospel of John no later than 95 AD..

Though several have had problems with what Jesus actually considered His mission,a nd his idenity to be, the Bible is quite clear... Jesus saw Himself as being the final Echatological figure that God sent upon the Earth, the One whose mission was to bring together the peoples of both Isreal and the Gentiles, through His being the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, and the Son of Man of Daniel... jesus was the one to explain these details to his followers, as this was so far from what the Jewish religious leaders and even his followers believed the coming Messiah to be, as all of them were looking for a political/physical Kingdom to be brought to isreal through a Messiah King like David, but Jesus had to continually try to explain to them that His Messiahship would be that of the shame of the cross, and to have to edure being put to death at hands of gentiles/Jews alike...

Unless jesus was the actual One to give to the writers these ideas of Him being likked to the dual concepts of the Suffering Servant/Exaulted Son of Man, there would have been recorded a far different picture of Jesus of Narareth. for his followers would have portrayed him as coming in glory, have being the King of power , no way that they would have connected the idea of the true messiah of Isreal coming to die as a suffering Servant...

To this day, that is one of the biggest reasons why majority of Jewish peoples have refused to evn consider jesus as their messiah, since in their minds, they have connected idea of Messiah with the one who would bring about to Isreal the glories of the Kingdom again, and whose rule would establish peace/prosperity/end to all wars etc, and since jesus did not do that, than he did not fit the qualifications of the real Messiah..

problem is that they see the Messiah as he will being at His second coming to this Earth to rule and reign, but jesus Himself had to bring into his followers the idea that before the glory would come, that he must endure and fulfill the prophecies concerning the Suffering Servant of the Lord...

And the earliest accounts within the writtings to show us , from within 20-25 yaers of his bith/death/resurrection that the Church did experience and believe that God raised Christ from his tomb, and that He was the messiah, and that he was both Lord and Christ... true, that it would take several years to fully outline and explain in detail these things, but from the very beginnings of Christianity, their was a belief that in some fashion/way, God was at work through Jesus of Narareth in a way far beyond that of ANY other being ever, and that in some unique way this Man was able to be both Lord of the Church, and also the Son of Man... Son of God/Son of Man, this being jesus was able to do/say/live things that persuaded them that he was more than a mere prophet,teacher, even their concept of the Messiah, which was that of being a godly man influenced by the Spirit of God, another King David, but Jesus was the One who brought to them the concept of Messiah actually being Divine, and One who was/is Son of God, and Son of Man... Jewish Sanherdrin council could accept him as being just a human Messiah, but by saying that He was also a divine One, who would be seated back in heaven at right hand of God, than in their minds it was blashemey... Interesting how the people that actually heard and experienced jesus knew that he kept refering to Himself as being Son of God always took it literally, as being God come down to earth as a man, yet today, many removed some 2000 years kept saying that either Jesus never claimed ANY of this for Himself, or else he meant it in some watered down fashion... Think that his being put to death upon the Cross clearly revails to us what/how the actual hearers of Hiswords took it as meaning...



#23    seanph

seanph

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 04:11 PM

Quote

The problem with all of this is that though interesting speculations, there are several conservative/scholarly writers from this past 100 years who would refure nearly all that has been written by these allenged Scholars...


Interesting speculation?  The Vatican isn't speculating--they're finally telling the truth.  The RCC was/is the world's first church, and is still the largest Christian institution.  Through their hands came the NT ... and you think they're speculating?  Oh my. You are obviously an ultraconservative Protestant fundamentalist.

Quote

...several conservative/scholarly


Several?  Yes, a very tiny minority--and almost all Protestant fundamentalist--whose ranks are shrinking every time the Vatican makes a statement like that above.

Quote

The common viewpoints that the Gospels were written much later than the facts presented, that none of them were by the recorded author, and that we have no historical evidence to verify their historacity has been pretty much knocked down..


That is blatantly false.  Please re-read--if you even read it at all--the article above entitled "Who Do Men Say That I Am" bY Kerry Temple, Ph.D. (Managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine) for what theologians are saying about the historical Jesus.  And knocked down by whom?  Your "scholars"?  Geisler?  Craig?  McDowell?  Strobel?  Oh ... you mean quacks, faith peddlers?!

*Early Christian Writings
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

*Virtual Religion Index at Rutgers University
http://virtualreligion.net/vri/

*Early Christianity at Washington State University
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/CHRIST/CHRIST.HTM

*Christian Origins at Fordham University
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/asbook11.html

Quote

Though several have had problems with what Jesus actually considered His mission,a nd his idenity to be, the Bible is quite clear...


The synoptics are not historical documents!  Again, even the Vatican freely admits this FACT!  As for the rest of the NT--mainly the Pauline epistles, written about 20 years after the crucifiction--we have a man who never even met Jesus!

Let us consider the question of Paul's ignorance, perhaps the most perplexing problem confronting the defenders of the historical Jesus. The Apostle Paul, often referred to as the founder of Christianity, seems to have been totally unaware of any details of Jesus' life and teachings as they are presented in the New Testament gospels. Nowhere does Paul equate his hero, Jesus Christ, with a virgin born miracle worker from Nazareth recently put to death in Judea. Certainly it is not unreasonable to expect that somewhere among his extensive writings he would have betrayed some knowledge of the circumstances surrounding these most important events had they actually occured...--The Mystery of Paul's Ignorance by Louis W. Cable

*The Mystery of Paul's Ignorance
http://home.inu.net/skeptic/

"It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with... Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since--as already it has been often proved--these things were written not by Christ, nor [by] his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they maliciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them." --St. Faustus, Fifth-Century French Bishop

First, as you can plainly see from St. Faustus, even he knew the truth regarding the gospels and how they came to be.  Second, the majority opinion of modern NT scholars--not Xian apologists wrapped in the guise of scholars--agree that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, histories.  

"Most of what we know of Jesus come from the four gospels.  Yet scholars agree that these are hardly dependable as historical sources.  For one thing, they did not take shape until late in the first century, a generation or two after Jesus died; until then the stories and teachings of Jesus were spread orally, and it is probably that neither his exact words nor the stories details survived the retellings.  Scholars also agree that the gospels were not written by any of the 12 apostles (probably not by anyone named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, probably not by anyone who was even alive when Jesus was.2 Most importantly, the four gospels were compiled not as historical documents but as testimonies of faith by communities of believers.3 One of the intended effects, was to make the New Testament accounts fit Old Testament prophecies. The stories were generated, say Collins, by authors trying to infer facts from biblical prophecies.  And for that reason many scholars would regard these as fictions to make theological points."--John Collins, internationally know biblical scholar from Notre Dame

*Allen D. Callahan: Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School: ”...If we want to read the gospels as eyewitness accounts, historical records and so on, then not only are we in for some tough going, I think there's evidence within the material itself that it's not intended to be read that way. I mean that there are certain concerns that are being addressed in this literature.  And we become theologically and even historically tone deaf to those concerns, if we don't give them due consideration. It's now consensus in the New Testament scholarship to some extent [that] ... in the gospels we're dealing with theologians, people who are reflecting theologically on Jesus already.  And there's all indication that what we now refer to as theological reflection was there at the very beginning of things. . . They (gospels) don't claim to be eyewitness accounts of his life.  I don't think that the people who are responsible for those documents were staying up at night worried about those kinds of things. . .”

*L. Michael White: Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin:  ”The gospels are not biographies in the modern sense of the word. Rather, they are stories told in such a way as to evoke a certain image of Jesus for a particular audience.  They're trying to convey a message about Jesus, about his significance to the audience and thus we we have to think of them as a kind of preaching, as well as story telling.  That's what the gospel, The Good News, is really all about...”

*Paula Fredriksen: William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University: ”The gospels are very peculiar types of literature.  They're not biographies.  I mean, there are all sorts of details about Jesus that they're simply not interested in giving us.  They are a kind of religious advertisement.  What they do is proclaim their individual author's interpretation of the Christian message through the device of using Jesus as a spokesperson for the evangelist's position...”

*John Dominic Crossan: Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies DePaul University: ”...For somebody who thinks the four gospels are like four witnesses in a court trying to tell exactly how the accident happened, as it were, this is extremely troubling.  It is not at all troubling to me because they told me, quite honestly, that they were gospels.  And a gospel is good news ... "good" and "news"... updated interpretation.  So when I went into Matthew, I did not expect journalism.  I expected gospel.  That's what I found...”

*Steve Mason: Professor of Classics, History and Religious studies at York University in Toronto: “All four gospels are anonymous texts.  The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.”

*Rudolf Bultmann: University of Marburg, foremost Protestant scholar in the field in 1926: “So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that ‘we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus.’

"In the New Testament we do have a shorter time span between presumed event and written account than we do in most parts of the Old testament but both time spans are long enough t cause all literal claims to become unraveled. For example, in the Old Testament if Abraham lived at all as a figure of history, it would be around 1850 B.C.E. While the earliest strand in the Book of Genesis that purports to tell the Abraham story was not written until some 900 years later. This means that everything we know about Abraham floated in oral transmission for 900 years before being written down. With Moses it is only slightly better. The Exodus in which Moses played a major role occurred around 1250 B.C.E. The books of Moses, as we call the first five books of the Bible, were not written for a minimum of 300 years and probably did not achieve their final form for about 800 years.

When we come to the New Testament, the earthly life of Jesus is generally dated between 4 B.C.E. and 33 C.E. with the year 30 the consensus bet on the date of the crucifixion. The first written part of the New Testament were the Pauline epistles, all of which were composed between 50 and 64 C.E. or 20 to 34 years after Jesus' earthly life was concluded. Paul tells us, however, almost nothing about the events in Jesus' life. In I Corinthians, chapters 11 and 15, he does pass on the tradition that he says had been given to him, but the details are still quite sparse.

Mark, the first Gospel, was written some 40 years after the end of Jesus' life. Matthew is second, written some 50 years after Jesus' life, Luke is third, some 60 years after Jesus' life and John is last, some 70 years after Jesus' life. So we deal with a time span of 40 to 70 years in a world where life expectancy was half of what we have today and in which there were no written records to which an author might refer. To complicate matters even more, all of the gospels were written in Greek and our presumption is that Jesus spoke Aramaic. So when we read the gospels, we are 40 to 70 years and one translation removed from the events being described. I would say any claim that one is dealing with literal words in either Testament is problematic. I think the New Testament contains authentic echoes of the Jesus of history far more than it contains his literal words.

The next issue that must be faced is where did the memory of both the words and actions of Jesus reside before these stories were written down. My study leads me to the conclusion that the place of their residence could only have been in the synagogue. The gospels are so deeply shaped by and intertwined with the stories found in the Old Testament that this intermingling process could only have occurred in the synagogue because that was the only place where the Old Testament was ever read and studied. Remember in that day there were no printing presses. Books had to be hand copied on scrolls and were thus very expensive and very rare. Even in the stories of the New Testament that do not directly quote Old Testament sources, the echoes of Old Testament themes are still heard. In Luke's Christmas story (Luke 1 & 2), for example, one meets allusions to Isaiah, Malachi, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Daniel Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, Samuel, David, Micah and probably others and that is just to scratch the surface.

If what you are looking for is literal accuracy, you will not find it in either Testament..."--Bishop John S. Spong


Again, this is the majority opinion, what is agreed upon history, taught in leading univerities and seminaries.  I learned the exact same thing in my days at BSU.  It is Religion 101.

Sean

Edited by seanph, 03 November 2005 - 04:49 PM.

"Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation don’t conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed."--Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

#24    Jesusfan

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:07 PM

Quote


Interesting speculation?  The Vatican isn't speculating--they're finally telling the truth.  The RCC was/is the world's first church, and is still the largest Christian institution.  Through their hands came the NT ... and you think they're speculating?  Oh my. You are obviously an ultraconservative Protestant fundamentalist.
Several?  Yes, a very tiny minority--and almost all Protestant fundamentalist--whose ranks are shrinking every time the Vatican makes a statement like that above.
That is blatantly false.  Please re-read--if you even read it at all--the article above entitled "Who Do Men Say That I Am" bY Kerry Temple, Ph.D. (Managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine) for what theologians are saying about the historical Jesus.  And knocked down by whom?  Your "scholars"?  Geisler?  Craig?  McDowell?  Strobel?  Oh ... you mean quacks, faith peddlers?!

*Early Christian Writings
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

*Virtual Religion Index at Rutgers University
http://virtualreligion.net/vri/

*Early Christianity at Washington State University
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/CHRIST/CHRIST.HTM

*Christian Origins at Fordham University
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/asbook11.html
The synoptics are not historical documents!  Again, even the Vatican freely admits this FACT!  As for the rest of the NT--mainly the Pauline epistles, written about 20 years after the crucifiction--we have a man who never even met Jesus!

Let us consider the question of Paul's ignorance, perhaps the most perplexing problem confronting the defenders of the historical Jesus. The Apostle Paul, often referred to as the founder of Christianity, seems to have been totally unaware of any details of Jesus' life and teachings as they are presented in the New Testament gospels. Nowhere does Paul equate his hero, Jesus Christ, with a virgin born miracle worker from Nazareth recently put to death in Judea. Certainly it is not unreasonable to expect that somewhere among his extensive writings he would have betrayed some knowledge of the circumstances surrounding these most important events had they actually occured...--The Mystery of Paul's Ignorance by Louis W. Cable

*The Mystery of Paul's Ignorance
http://home.inu.net/skeptic/

"It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with... Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since--as already it has been often proved--these things were written not by Christ, nor [by] his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they maliciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them." --St. Faustus, Fifth-Century French Bishop

First, as you can plainly see from St. Faustus, even he knew the truth regarding the gospels and how they came to be.  Second, the majority opinion of modern NT scholars--not Xian apologists wrapped in the guise of scholars--agree that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, histories.  

"Most of what we know of Jesus come from the four gospels.  Yet scholars agree that these are hardly dependable as historical sources.  For one thing, they did not take shape until late in the first century, a generation or two after Jesus died; until then the stories and teachings of Jesus were spread orally, and it is probably that neither his exact words nor the stories details survived the retellings.  Scholars also agree that the gospels were not written by any of the 12 apostles (probably not by anyone named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, probably not by anyone who was even alive when Jesus was.2 Most importantly, the four gospels were compiled not as historical documents but as testimonies of faith by communities of believers.3 One of the intended effects, was to make the New Testament accounts fit Old Testament prophecies. The stories were generated, say Collins, by authors trying to infer facts from biblical prophecies.  And for that reason many scholars would regard these as fictions to make theological points."--John Collins, internationally know biblical scholar from Notre Dame

*Allen D. Callahan: Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School: ”...If we want to read the gospels as eyewitness accounts, historical records and so on, then not only are we in for some tough going, I think there's evidence within the material itself that it's not intended to be read that way. I mean that there are certain concerns that are being addressed in this literature.  And we become theologically and even historically tone deaf to those concerns, if we don't give them due consideration. It's now consensus in the New Testament scholarship to some extent [that] ... in the gospels we're dealing with theologians, people who are reflecting theologically on Jesus already.  And there's all indication that what we now refer to as theological reflection was there at the very beginning of things. . . They (gospels) don't claim to be eyewitness accounts of his life.  I don't think that the people who are responsible for those documents were staying up at night worried about those kinds of things. . .”

*L. Michael White: Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin:  ”The gospels are not biographies in the modern sense of the word. Rather, they are stories told in such a way as to evoke a certain image of Jesus for a particular audience.  They're trying to convey a message about Jesus, about his significance to the audience and thus we we have to think of them as a kind of preaching, as well as story telling.  That's what the gospel, The Good News, is really all about...”

*Paula Fredriksen: William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University: ”The gospels are very peculiar types of literature.  They're not biographies.  I mean, there are all sorts of details about Jesus that they're simply not interested in giving us.  They are a kind of religious advertisement.  What they do is proclaim their individual author's interpretation of the Christian message through the device of using Jesus as a spokesperson for the evangelist's position...”

*John Dominic Crossan: Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies DePaul University: ”...For somebody who thinks the four gospels are like four witnesses in a court trying to tell exactly how the accident happened, as it were, this is extremely troubling.  It is not at all troubling to me because they told me, quite honestly, that they were gospels.  And a gospel is good news ... "good" and "news"... updated interpretation.  So when I went into Matthew, I did not expect journalism.  I expected gospel.  That's what I found...”

*Steve Mason: Professor of Classics, History and Religious studies at York University in Toronto: “All four gospels are anonymous texts.  The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.”

*Rudolf Bultmann: University of Marburg, foremost Protestant scholar in the field in 1926: “So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that ‘we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus.’

"In the New Testament we do have a shorter time span between presumed event and written account than we do in most parts of the Old testament but both time spans are long enough t cause all literal claims to become unraveled. For example, in the Old Testament if Abraham lived at all as a figure of history, it would be around 1850 B.C.E. While the earliest strand in the Book of Genesis that purports to tell the Abraham story was not written until some 900 years later. This means that everything we know about Abraham floated in oral transmission for 900 years before being written down. With Moses it is only slightly better. The Exodus in which Moses played a major role occurred around 1250 B.C.E. The books of Moses, as we call the first five books of the Bible, were not written for a minimum of 300 years and probably did not achieve their final form for about 800 years.

When we come to the New Testament, the earthly life of Jesus is generally dated between 4 B.C.E. and 33 C.E. with the year 30 the consensus bet on the date of the crucifixion. The first written part of the New Testament were the Pauline epistles, all of which were composed between 50 and 64 C.E. or 20 to 34 years after Jesus' earthly life was concluded. Paul tells us, however, almost nothing about the events in Jesus' life. In I Corinthians, chapters 11 and 15, he does pass on the tradition that he says had been given to him, but the details are still quite sparse.

Mark, the first Gospel, was written some 40 years after the end of Jesus' life. Matthew is second, written some 50 years after Jesus' life, Luke is third, some 60 years after Jesus' life and John is last, some 70 years after Jesus' life. So we deal with a time span of 40 to 70 years in a world where life expectancy was half of what we have today and in which there were no written records to which an author might refer. To complicate matters even more, all of the gospels were written in Greek and our presumption is that Jesus spoke Aramaic. So when we read the gospels, we are 40 to 70 years and one translation removed from the events being described. I would say any claim that one is dealing with literal words in either Testament is problematic. I think the New Testament contains authentic echoes of the Jesus of history far more than it contains his literal words.

The next issue that must be faced is where did the memory of both the words and actions of Jesus reside before these stories were written down. My study leads me to the conclusion that the place of their residence could only have been in the synagogue. The gospels are so deeply shaped by and intertwined with the stories found in the Old Testament that this intermingling process could only have occurred in the synagogue because that was the only place where the Old Testament was ever read and studied. Remember in that day there were no printing presses. Books had to be hand copied on scrolls and were thus very expensive and very rare. Even in the stories of the New Testament that do not directly quote Old Testament sources, the echoes of Old Testament themes are still heard. In Luke's Christmas story (Luke 1 & 2), for example, one meets allusions to Isaiah, Malachi, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Daniel Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, Samuel, David, Micah and probably others and that is just to scratch the surface.

If what you are looking for is literal accuracy, you will not find it in either Testament..."--Bishop John S. Spong


Again, this is the majority opinion, what is agreed upon history, taught in leading univerities and seminaries.  I learned the exact same thing in my days at BSU.  It is Religion 101.

Sean


Well... What IS interesting is that appear to have apreconceived notion that the Gospels and rest of the NT cannot be historically accurate accounts, based upon notions of what the writers were expressing... If they were espousing "liberal" theology, that jesus was a good teacher/sage, whose teachings were corrupted/distorted by the early Church, especially Apostle paul, than you would be agreeing that they are valid historical documents... But since even in the earliest writings, there is presentede a Jesus who is a Heavely messiahanic figure, than off course they are corrupted/non hostorical...

many of the people that you mentioned as "quacks" are actually very sound in their arguements, as they are simple looking at the NT documents and examing if they in fact can be seen as valid historical documents... That is the difference here, "conservative" scholars look at the historical evidence without a bias, while"liberal " scholars automatically reject anything that goes against their religious min grid...

Reminds me of how the Documentary theory about how the OT was wriiten throught he ages, as a sort of swiss cheese, with 4 authors in Genesis, 3 Isaiah's, No actual Jonah etc... Yet as of today, what was once widely held and taughted has had to be backed up with historical data, and it was found wanting...

Even some of the "liberal" OT scholars are now finding themselves to have to agree that much of Genesis was probably penned by Moses, with certain additions added on...

Just wanted to make sure that all of us understand.. It is not simply that "conservative/UltraFundementalist" have all Quack scholarship, while the "liberals" have sound scholarship... Much of the question of historical documentation for NT background of the Bible hinges on one's viewpoint of Inspiration, Jesus theological mindset, and those of what the Bible is suppossed to say and show in general...

Keep peeling away the Historical accounts of Jesus, and you will keep coming back to finding a man who spoke/said/did things as no other has ever done, and who somehow persuaded a rag tag team of followers to proclaim at point of death that He, the crucified"failure" was now raised up as the Lord and Christ...



#25    seanph

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:20 PM

Quote

many of the people that you mentioned as "quacks" are actually very sound in their arguements, as they are simple looking at the NT documents and examing if they in fact can be seen as valid historical documents...


No, they are not.  They have been roundly dismissed by the academic community for their faulty scholarship.  All have claimed the Bible to be inerrant and literally true.  That is not scholarship ... but intellectual dishonesty.

Quote

That is the difference here, "conservative" scholars look at the historical evidence without a bias...


No, conservative "scholars" look at the Bible with preconceived notions of what should be and find just that.  That is why they are so widely dismissed.

Quote

... while"liberal " scholars automatically reject anything that goes against their religious min grid...


The Vatican is liberal?!  Are you kidding?!  It is through their hands that the NT came to be ... and they're liberal?!  Oh brother!  I can't believe that statement.

Quote

Even some of the "liberal" OT scholars are now finding themselves to have to agree that much of Genesis was probably penned by Moses, with certain additions added on...


First, name these "liberal" scholars.  Second ... Absolute nonsense!  This is not the case at all!

From the Oxford Companion to the Bible:

Development of the text. The development of the book of Genesis was a long process extending over centuries. The first book of Moses, or Genesis, as we know it, is only the final stage of this process. Oral tradition—narratives, genealogies, itineraries—played a large part in the evolution of this book; it was a long way to the present unity that combines all of primeval and ancestral history. The question of the identity of the author (in the modern sense) of Genesis is irrelevant. It was not writers or poets who desired and first formulated these accounts; their origins lie in the human communities to whose life they belonged. Thus they express an understanding of God, of the world, and of humanity, which did not yet make distinctions between knowledge and belief, between science, philosophy, history, and religion. This explains in part the parallels to the themes of the creation story in many other cultures. These parallels were not necessarily due to literary derivation; rather, questions about origins were asked everywhere in early human history. Therefore, primeval events cannot be understood or described as the beginning of history; it is misguided to inquire about their “historicity.” The appropriate question to ask of this material is not, “Did it really happen that way?” but, “Is it our world that is being portrayed? Is this description of human beings accurate?” The essential fact is that, in describing creation, people for the first time grasped the world, and humanity, as a whole.--CLAUS WESTERMANN, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Ruprecht-Karl-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany

As for Moses:

Historical Assessment.  Any critical attempt to assess the historicity of the portrait of Moses presented in Exodus to Deuteronomy must take into account a number of characteristics of this literature and its presentation. First, many of the stories are legendary in character and are built on folktale motifs found in various cultures. The theme of the threatened child who eventually becomes a great figure, for example, was employed from Mesopotamia to Rome and appears in the stories about Sargon the Great, Heracles, Oedipus, Romulus and Remus, Cyrus, and Jesus. Second, Israel’s theology located the giving of the Law and the formation of the national life outside the land it occupied and thus considered the wilderness period as its constitutional time. Hence, laws and institutions from diverse times and conditions are located in this formative era. Third, the duplications in the texts and the frequent lack of cohesion in the narratives and of consistency in details indicate that the material is composite and multilayered. Fourth, the lack of external frames of reference makes it impossible to connect any of the events depicted about Moses with the history of other cultures. The Egyptian Pharaoh of the oppression, for example, goes unnamed and no contemporary nonbiblical sources mention Moses. Finally, Moses is depicted as the archetype of several offices. Throughout he is representative not only of the good leader but also of the ideal judge and legal administrator, intercessor, cult founder, and prophet. In all of these he excelled and thus served as the standard by which others were judged.--JOHN H. HAYES

Quote

Reminds me of how the Documentary theory about how the OT was wriiten throught he ages, as a sort of swiss cheese, with 4 authors in Genesis, 3 Isaiah's, No actual Jonah etc... Yet as of today, what was once widely held and taughted has had to be backed up with historical data, and it was found wanting...


The theory is accepted by the majority of scholars--including conservative scholars (see below).  In fact, the Vatican estimates "90% of academics in the field of biblical scholarship support it".

One of the best books on the subject is entitled "Who Wrote the Bible?" by conservative scholar Richard E. Friedman, professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California.  

*Who Wrote the Bible?
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com

"J," "P," "E," and "D" are the names scholars have given to some authors of the Bible, and, as such, they are very important letters to a lot of people. Churches have died and been born, and millions of people have lost faith or found it, because of the last two centuries of debate about who, exactly, wrote the canonical texts of Christianity and Judaism. Richard Elliott Friedman's survey of this debate, in Who Wrote the Bible?, may be the best written popular book about this question. Without condescension or high-flown academic language, Friedman carefully describes the history of textual criticism of the Bible--a subject on which his authority is unparalleled (Friedman has contributed voluminously to the authoritative Anchor Bible Dictionary). But this book is not just smart. Perhaps even more impressive than Friedman's erudition is his sensitivity to the power of textual criticism to influence faith. --Michael Joseph Gross

From Library Journal
Friedman carefully sifts through clues available in the text of the Hebrew Bible and those provided by biblical archaeology searching for the writer(s) of, primarily, the Pentateuch. He does so with clarity and engaging style, turning a potentially dry scholarly inquiry into a lively detective story. The reader is guided through the historical circumstances that occasioned the writing of the sources underlying the Five Books of Moses and the combining of these diverse sources into the final literary product. According to Friedman, the most controversial part of his case is the identification of the writer and date of the Priestly source. This book is neither comprehensive nor unduly complex, making it a good introductory text for beginners and nonspecialists. Recommended for all academic libraries. Craig W. Beard, Harding Univ. Lib., Searcy, Ark.


Sean

Edited by seanph, 03 November 2005 - 10:56 PM.

"Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation don’t conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed."--Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

#26    trublvr

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:40 PM

Quote

Quote

no one before or after Jesus ever followed a failed (i.e., dead) messiah! At best, they would have remembered him fondly, but they did not follow him.


Mohamad and budha the All Father of Norse mythology im sure theres hundreds of other "martyrs" out there, consider theres over 500 religions on the planet. Funny that the life of Buddha is somewhat extremely similar to the life of jesus, and jesus' death on the cross isnt anything new to be honest, spear in the side etc, its all happend before you know. Just wish people could accept christianity is nothing more than an amalgimation of many other religions. It's hardly very original.


PLO,

   The category of "martyr" and "messiah" are two entirely different things.  I didn't say that Jesus was the only martyr.  You are correct in saying that there are many other martyrs.  However, in a Jewish context (which is the only one in which the term "messiah" would have any meaning--not merely the word [which just means "anointed one"], but the meanings), no Jewish person continued to follow a dead messiah, except in Jesus' case.  Not only that, but people do not follow Mohammed, Buddha, or the All Father in the same way that Christians follow Jesus.  Again, there is a problem of categories here.  And by the by, could you please demonstrate how Buddha's life was so similar to that of Jesus' that one can say that Christians cut elements from his life and pasted them onto Jesus'?  If you can produce them, I'd be very interested in seeing them.  



If truth is not a matter of majority vote, neither is it a matter of minority dissent.        

                                                --Douglas Groothius

#27    Jesusfan

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 11:58 PM

Quote


No, they are not.  They have been roundly dismissed by the academic community for their faulty scholarship.  All have claimed the Bible to be inerrant and literally true.  That is not scholarship ... but intellectual dishonesty.
No, conservative "scholars" look at the Bible with preconceived notions of what should be and find just that.  That is why they are so widely dismissed.
The Vatican is liberal?!  Are you kidding?!  It is through their hands that the NT came to be ... and they're liberal?!  Oh brother!  I can't believe that statement.
First, name these "liberal" scholars.  Second ... Absolute nonsense!  This is not the case at all!

From the Oxford Companion to the Bible:

Development of the text. The development of the book of Genesis was a long process extending over centuries. The first book of Moses, or Genesis, as we know it, is only the final stage of this process. Oral tradition—narratives, genealogies, itineraries—played a large part in the evolution of this book; it was a long way to the present unity that combines all of primeval and ancestral history. The question of the identity of the author (in the modern sense) of Genesis is irrelevant. It was not writers or poets who desired and first formulated these accounts; their origins lie in the human communities to whose life they belonged. Thus they express an understanding of God, of the world, and of humanity, which did not yet make distinctions between knowledge and belief, between science, philosophy, history, and religion. This explains in part the parallels to the themes of the creation story in many other cultures. These parallels were not necessarily due to literary derivation; rather, questions about origins were asked everywhere in early human history. Therefore, primeval events cannot be understood or described as the beginning of history; it is misguided to inquire about their “historicity.” The appropriate question to ask of this material is not, “Did it really happen that way?” but, “Is it our world that is being portrayed? Is this description of human beings accurate?” The essential fact is that, in describing creation, people for the first time grasped the world, and humanity, as a whole.--CLAUS WESTERMANN, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Ruprecht-Karl-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany

As for Moses:

Historical Assessment.  Any critical attempt to assess the historicity of the portrait of Moses presented in Exodus to Deuteronomy must take into account a number of characteristics of this literature and its presentation. First, many of the stories are legendary in character and are built on folktale motifs found in various cultures. The theme of the threatened child who eventually becomes a great figure, for example, was employed from Mesopotamia to Rome and appears in the stories about Sargon the Great, Heracles, Oedipus, Romulus and Remus, Cyrus, and Jesus. Second, Israel’s theology located the giving of the Law and the formation of the national life outside the land it occupied and thus considered the wilderness period as its constitutional time. Hence, laws and institutions from diverse times and conditions are located in this formative era. Third, the duplications in the texts and the frequent lack of cohesion in the narratives and of consistency in details indicate that the material is composite and multilayered. Fourth, the lack of external frames of reference makes it impossible to connect any of the events depicted about Moses with the history of other cultures. The Egyptian Pharaoh of the oppression, for example, goes unnamed and no contemporary nonbiblical sources mention Moses. Finally, Moses is depicted as the archetype of several offices. Throughout he is representative not only of the good leader but also of the ideal judge and legal administrator, intercessor, cult founder, and prophet. In all of these he excelled and thus served as the standard by which others were judged.--JOHN H. HAYES
The theory is accepted by the majority of scholars--including conservative scholars (see below).  In fact, the Vatican estimates "90% of academics in the field of biblical scholarship support it".

One of the best books on the subject is entitled "Who Wrote the Bible?" by conservative scholar Richard E. Friedman, professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California.  

*Who Wrote the Bible?
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com

"J," "P," "E," and "D" are the names scholars have given to some authors of the Bible, and, as such, they are very important letters to a lot of people. Churches have died and been born, and millions of people have lost faith or found it, because of the last two centuries of debate about who, exactly, wrote the canonical texts of Christianity and Judaism. Richard Elliott Friedman's survey of this debate, in Who Wrote the Bible?, may be the best written popular book about this question. Without condescension or high-flown academic language, Friedman carefully describes the history of textual criticism of the Bible--a subject on which his authority is unparalleled (Friedman has contributed voluminously to the authoritative Anchor Bible Dictionary). But this book is not just smart. Perhaps even more impressive than Friedman's erudition is his sensitivity to the power of textual criticism to influence faith. --Michael Joseph Gross

From Library Journal
Friedman carefully sifts through clues available in the text of the Hebrew Bible and those provided by biblical archaeology searching for the writer(s) of, primarily, the Pentateuch. He does so with clarity and engaging style, turning a potentially dry scholarly inquiry into a lively detective story. The reader is guided through the historical circumstances that occasioned the writing of the sources underlying the Five Books of Moses and the combining of these diverse sources into the final literary product. According to Friedman, the most controversial part of his case is the identification of the writer and date of the Priestly source. This book is neither comprehensive nor unduly complex, making it a good introductory text for beginners and nonspecialists. Recommended for all academic libraries. Craig W. Beard, Harding Univ. Lib., Searcy, Ark.


Sean


Well... The viewpoint of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the Holy Bible is indeed that of being Moderate/Liberal, as they hold that much of the genesis account was from the framework of myth and believe in mainly an allorigorical reading of the Sacred texts...

They also hold to the Holy spirit being at work through the papacy in such an extent that the Catholic Church is THE infallable interpretor of the Bible, and that the Traditions of the Catholic Church=The written Word of God...

Being such, they have agreed to hold to the evolutionary understanding of the OT formation, and to more liberal scholarship concerning the NT documents..

What is also intersting is that jesus and the Apostles never knew about the various authors involved in the formation of OT, as they believed in Moses as the writer, and also held to a literal reading of genesis, actual Adam/Eve, and to there being 1 isaiah, not 3 writers... Intersting how those closest to the time of the texts actually held to what we would classify today as being Myths and stories...

Luke undertook a very detailed recording of the events surrounding the life of Christ, and undoubtle had the actual eyewitnesses such as Mary interviewed, and even secular Historians do credit Luke with being very precis in his accuracy, as even being of the most accurate of the era...

If there was a Jesus, and there were people willing to die on his behalf, with the impression that somehow He was the risen Lord, how did a crucified, little known itenernt not formally educated forsaken and finally killed off man within a matter of months became the focus of Worship and veneration, from peoples that were raised knowing that their Lord God is one and one alone, yet were quite willing to have jesus as their lord and God?

it would take a miracle to explain Christianity being formed and becoming seperate from Judasim of the era, and one way to have that happen what to have God raise jesus from the dead... All the religious leaders and Romans would have to do is produce his dead body, but that tomb is still empty, and jesus is still THE most influntial and important person to ever walk the earth...


#28    SoLLiZ

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 05:51 AM

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Pity that othe  religions would try to use the sword and vilolence to achieve the means... Know that the Church did do brutal acts and commited atrocities, but they were NOT obeying the dictates of Jesus Christ in doing this, as His true Church was able to overcome Roman Empite through Love and by good deeds of kindness, not acts of agression and violence...


alot of the violence done by the christian church was done with the full blessing of the pope.

and the church didnt overcome the roman empire through love and good deeds. where is your proof of this? more like they got a bit of power by constantine pretending to convert to help maintain peace between the christians and the other people. why do you think that they blended the cultures together so much.

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#29    seanph

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 04:22 PM

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Well... The viewpoint of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the Holy Bible is indeed that of being Moderate/Liberal, as they hold that much of the genesis account was from the framework of myth and believe in mainly an allorigorical reading of the Sacred texts...


First, you didn’t answer my question.  Who are these liberal scholars that believe Genesis to be written by Moses?  Second, the Genesis account is myth and allegory.  The Vatican admits this to be true ... because it is!  To take it literally is just ridiculous.

Quote

Being such, they have agreed to hold to the evolutionary understanding of the OT formation, and to more liberal scholarship concerning the NT documents..


That is because we now have a better understanding--through Biblical and Textual Criticism--of how the scriptures came to be.  Early church fathers did not--and many freely voiced their discouragement at this fact.

"It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with... Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since--as already it has been often proved--these things were written not by Christ, nor [by] his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they maliciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them." --St. Faustus, Fifth-Century French Bishop

Quote

What is also intersting is that jesus and the Apostles never knew about the various authors involved in the formation of OT, as they believed in Moses as the writer, and also held to a literal reading of genesis, actual Adam/Eve, and to there being 1 isaiah, not 3 writers... Intersting how those closest to the time of the texts actually held to what we would classify today as being Myths and stories...


Of course they believed it!  It was the 1st century for crying out loud!    Gods were everywhere.  They also believed that demons and sin caused illness, including Jesus--which goes to show that he was no god at all, but a fallible superstitious human being.

Quote

Luke undertook a very detailed recording of the events surrounding the life of Christ, and undoubtle had the actual eyewitnesses such as Mary interviewed, and even secular Historians do credit Luke with being very precis in his accuracy, as even being of the most accurate of the era...


Is it possible Luke wrote the gospel (80-85 CE) attributed to him?  Yes.  However, the consensus is no, that the third gospel is anonymous.  Also, as to Luke’s sources ... Most he takes--and redacts--from Mark, Q and a unique source designated as “L”.

From the Oxford Companion to the Bible:

Authorship.  Unlike the Pauline letters, which bear the Apostle’s name, the third gospel is anonymous, as are the other gospels. Ancient church tradition attributed the third gospel to the Luke who appears in Philemon 24 as Paul’s “fellow worker” and is called “the beloved physician” in Colossians 4.14 (cf. 2 Timothy 4.11).

Most modern commentators on the Lucan gospel, however, are skeptical about the validity of this traditional attribution. They regard the tradition as based largely on inferences from the text of the New Testament made when people were first beginning to wonder who had written the Gospels. They further call in question Irenaeus’s description of Luke as Paul’s “inseparable” collaborator (Adv. haer. 3.14,1), which he inferred from the “we” sections of Acts (esp. Acts 16.10; Acts 20.6). The nature of these “we” sections has since been questioned. Are they fragments of a diary or notebook that the author of Acts kept as he journeyed with Paul? Or are they, rather, a literary form used by the author to enhance his narrative of sea journeys? A still larger part of the problem is the relationship of the author of Acts to Paul. In recent decades it has become evident that only with considerable difficulty can one reconcile much of the depiction of Paul in Acts with that which emerges from Paul’s own letters. Hence, was the author of Luke-Acts really the “inseparable” collaborator of Paul? The difference between the Lucan Paul and the Pauline Paul is not minor; even though it is largely an issue of Acts and the Pauline letters, it bears on the authorship of the Lucan gospel. The result is that many modern commentators are uncertain about the authorship of Luke-Acts.--JOSEPH A. FITZMYER, S.J. Ph.D. New Testament, Emeritus at Catholic University of America


Quote

If there was a Jesus, and there were people willing to die on his behalf, with the impression that somehow He was the risen Lord, how did a crucified, little known itenernt not formally educated forsaken and finally killed off man within a matter of months became the focus of Worship and veneration, from peoples that were raised knowing that their Lord God is one and one alone, yet were quite willing to have jesus as their lord and God?


Taken straight from McDowell.  Lord?  Liar?  Lunatic?  Yawn.

*McDowell
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/the...s.html#mcdowell

And how many people were willing to die on behalf of the mighty god of gods--Zeus?  How about Osiris?  Isis?  How many have died believing their god was the real god, their belief system was THE true belief system?  How many have gone to their deaths for their devout belief in Joseph Smith and Mormonism, David Koresh (believed he was Jesus), Allah et al?

QUOTE
it would take a miracle to explain Christianity being formed and becoming seperate from Judasim of the era, and one way to have that happen what to have God raise jesus from the dead...


"God raised Jesus from the dead' is a statement of faith, not historic fact.”--Stephen J. Patterson, associate professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis

First, hardly the case at all.  Why the success of all other religions?  Second ... Oh my.  Jesus was not raised from the dead.  He was left upon the cross--like all criminals--until there was nothing left, then dumped in a garbage pit and burned or buried in a undisclosed shallow grave.  Third, please read the following books as to the rise and success of Christianity.   Right time, place, socioeconomic and political environment.  Hardly miraculous.

*Christianizing the Roman Empire: A.D. 100-400 (A.D. 100-400)  by Ramsay MacMullen (Dunham Professor of History and Classics at Yale University)

*Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance by  H. A. Drake (Professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara)

Stark's 'The Rise of Christianity.'

The Christian Church did eventually begin to grow much more rapidly than it did in the 1st century, but the growth can be adequately explained by means of secular factors, factors most notably exemplified in Rodney Stark's 'The Rise of Christianity.'

Stark explains that Christianity enjoyed social benefits, benefits in the here and now, not just from the hope of 'a pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye' (my words), and benefited from the weaknesses of paganism.

Regarding social benefits, Stark says the following:

"It grew because Christians constituted an intense community, able to generate the 'invincible obstinacy' that so offended the younger Pliny but yielded immense religious rewards. And the primary means of its growth was through the united and motivated efforts of the growing numbers of Christian believers, who invited their friends, relatives, and neighbors to share the 'good news.'"

Regarding benefits in the here and now, Stark say the following:

"Moreover, the fruits of this faith were not limited to the realm of the spirit. Christianity offered much to the flesh as well. It was not simply the promise of salvation that motivated Christians, but the fact that they were greatly rewarded here and now for belonging. Thus while membership was expensive, it was, in fact, a bargain. That is, because the church asked much of its members, it was thereby possessed of the resources to 'give' much. For example, because Christians were expected to aid the less fortunate, many of them received such aid, and all could feel greater security against bad times. Because they were asked to nurse the sick and dying, many of them received such nursing. Because they were asked to love others, they in turn were loved. And if Christians were required to observe a far more restrictive moral code than that observed by pagans, Christians - especially women - enjoyed a far more secure family life."

"The dynamics of stigma and sacrifice have the following direct and formal consequences (Iannaccone 1992). First: 'By demanding higher levels of stigma and sacrifice, religious groups induce higher average levels of member commitment and participation.' Second: 'By demanding higher levels of stigma and sacrifice, religious groups are able to generate greater material, social, and religious benefits for their members.'"

Regarding benefits from the weaknesses of Paganism, Stark says the following:

"Henry Chadwick assured his readers that 'Paganism was far from being moribund when Constantine was converted to Christianity' (1967:152), and E. R. Godds noted that in the fourth century paganism began 'to collapse the moment the supporting hand of the State [was] withdrawn from it' ([1965] 1970:132). I quote these two distinguished scholars to illustrate the general agreement among historians that paganism was brought down by Christianity and that the conversion of Constantine was the killing blow - that paganism declined precipitously during the fourth century when Christianity replaced it as the state religion, thus cutting off the flow of funds to the pagan temples."


*The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal, Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force by Rodney Stark (Professor of sociology and comparative religion at the University of Washington)

QUOTE
...All the religious leaders and Romans would have to do is produce his dead body, but that tomb is still empty, and jesus is still THE most influntial and important person to ever walk the earth...


They didn’t have to.  Jesus ceased to be any threat--not that he was to the mighty Roman empire anyway--the moment he was executed (which went completely unnoticed, by the way) and his handful of followers fled.  And the tomb is still empty because there was nothing in it in the first place.  The risen Jesus was not physical, but spiritual.  Dreams, in the 1st century, were considered real.  One of the apostles, probably Peter, under extreme duress because he had just lost Jesus, has a vivid dream or waking vision in which Jesus appears--much like people have visions of Mary, Allah et al today--and runs to tell his fellow disciples.  In a state of joy and ecstasy, others now begin to have--like they do today--dreams and visions.  The boulder roles.  In fact, the boulder went out of control!  As Russell Shorto explains in “The Gospel Truth” (p. 221-222):

”... The doctrine of bodily resurrection also serves an essential political function: it legitimizes the authority of certain men who claim to exercise exclusive leadership over the churches as the successors of the apostle Peter.  What seems to have developed in the first decades of the new movement, following the stories of the appearances of Jesus to his disciples, was a veritable rash of further appearances.  The luminous Jesus was turning up all over the Mediterranean.  This soon became a problem.  The original disciples were busy trying to establish a network of believers, which entailed establishing doctrine and authority--i.e. a church.  When questions arose, someone had to answer them; those who had experienced the Risen Christ were deemed to be in position of authority.
    
But now all sorts of people, in Ephesus and Antioch and Alexandria, people who had never known Jesus in life, were insisting that they had been visited by him after his death.  Why were their visions any less authoritative than others?  Why could they not find their own way through Jesus?  What special sign of power did the disciples possess?
    
Somehow, between the years 30 and 70, an answer to this problem was decided on.  We see it enshrined today in the New Testament.  Jesus appeared BODILY to Peter, then to the other disciples.  He stayed on earth BODILY form for forty days after the resurrection, and then he ascended BODILY into heaven.  And that was that: no other appearances were to be considered authoritative.  By appearing in a  resurrected physical body to Peter and certain others, he conferred a special status on them.  They were to lead his church.  And this doctrine of bodily resurrection redounds to us today, for in Catholic tradition the Pope still derives his authority from Peter; the sitting Pope wears “the shoes of the Fisherman.”  Every mainline Christian institution similarly claims a place in the relay of authority from Christ to Peter to the fathers and so on...”


*The Gospel Truth by Russell Shorto
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

*The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels (Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

Dreams and visions were extremely powerful and motivating.  Read the classics and you will see incident after incident in which the great rulers of Greece and Rome et al were motivated to war--or not--by visions and dreams in which the gods appeared and instructed them to do this or that.  It’s quite astonishing, but nothing even remotely new.

Sean

Edited by seanph, 05 November 2005 - 02:19 PM.

"Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation don’t conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed."--Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

#30    mako

mako

    Poltergeist

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:36 PM

How can you even know how accurate your gospels are?  Here is a little quote for you:

"Today we know of just over thirty papyrus manuscripts of New Testament books which can be dated before the fourth century. That number is small in comparison with the scores of copies of Homer and the dozens of copies of other famous Greek authors."
"Each copy [of the New Testament texts] has its own oddities and mistakes: no two are completely identical, or the same as the Codex Sinaiticus [ca. 350 C.E.] or other later manuscripts - Alan Millard, Discoveries From the Time of Jesus
yes.gif

Our earth is degenerate in these latter days.  There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end.  Bribery and corruption are common,   Children no longer obey their parents.  Every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world evidently is approaching.
                    Assyrian tablet circa 2800 BCE




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