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fullywired

Chronological order of the bible

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I was reading an article recently ,that suggested that the chronological order of the bible (ie Mathew , Mark, Luke and John) is not in a chronological order but a theological and that scholars now think that Mark's was the first by several decades.The main problem for them is the shortness of Mark's version and the ending ,also there is .no mention of the birth of Jesus nor of Joseph ,Mary's husband ,also no mention of the appearance of Jesus after the women go to the tomb he differs in the account of the visit to the tomb he says a young man ( not an angel) says to them

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing (Mark 16:6-8)

and that is the end, now according to Dr James Tabor (quote)

Mark gives no accounts of anyone seeing Jesus as Matthew, Luke, and John later report. In fact, according to Mark, any future epiphanies or “sightings” of Jesus will be in the north, in Galilee,not in Jerusalem.

This original ending of Mark was viewed by later Christians as so deficient that not only was Mark placed second in order in the New Testament, but various endings were added by editors and copyists in some manuscripts to try to remedy things. The longest concocted ending, which became Mark 16:9-19, became so treasured that it was included in the King James Version of the Bible, favored for the past 500 years by Protestants, as well as translations of the Latin Vulgate, used by Catholics. This meant that for countless millions of Christians it became sacred scripture–but it is patently bogus.

Dr. James Tabor is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he is professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism

The original article was by the above author

fullywired

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I was reading an article recently ,that suggested that the chronological order of the bible (ie Mathew , Mark, Luke and John) is not in a chronological order but a theological and that scholars now think that Mark's was the first by several decades.The main problem for them is the shortness of Mark's version and the ending ,also there is .no mention of the birth of Jesus nor of Joseph ,Mary's husband ,also no mention of the appearance of Jesus after the women go to the tomb he differs in the account of the visit to the tomb he says a young man ( not an angel) says to them

"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing (Mark 16:6-8)

and that is the end, now according to Dr James Tabor (quote)

Mark gives no accounts of anyone seeing Jesus as Matthew, Luke, and John later report. In fact, according to Mark, any future epiphanies or "sightings" of Jesus will be in the north, in Galilee,not in Jerusalem.

This original ending of Mark was viewed by later Christians as so deficient that not only was Mark placed second in order in the New Testament, but various endings were added by editors and copyists in some manuscripts to try to remedy things. The longest concocted ending, which became Mark 16:9-19, became so treasured that it was included in the King James Version of the Bible, favored for the past 500 years by Protestants, as well as translations of the Latin Vulgate, used by Catholics. This meant that for countless millions of Christians it became sacred scripture–but it is patently bogus.

Dr. James Tabor is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he is professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism

The original article was by the above author

fullywired

Can you link the Article please...

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The skeptical podcast Reasonable Doubts did an episode on this a while ago. One book was definitely the originator of all the other apostle retellings, and the stories change noticeably as time goes on, with more stuff added.

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It's been well-known for years (as long as I've been studying, at least) that Matthew was not the first gospel. Mark is largely considered to be the earliest of the gospel accounts. And yes, the earliest written accounts of Mark do not include the resurrection story, this is also well-known. Later versions did include it and I'd probably say that some over-zealous scribe added it in to make it conform with the other gospels. But that is in no way an indictment against early Christian belief. Consider for a moment the text of 1 Corinthians 15 (with focus on verses 3-5). Most scholars (regardless of religious persuasion) believe that the message that Paul received and passed on to others represents possibly the earliest codified belief statement about Christianity, composed sometime before 35 AD (ie, less than 5 years after Jesus' alleged existence). Since this includes the resurrection, the fact that Mark's gospel does not include such an account does not invalidate the earliest Christian belief on the death and resurrection.

With respect, I've been studying the Bible for 13 years (ever since I became a Christian while studying at university). What you have read is quite true. But it has been unreasonably sensationalised to make it appear as if early Christians were ho-hum about the resurrection, possibly unsure, uncertain, maybe not even a core part of their doctrine. The history of Christianity does not paint this picture at all. I understand the views of the scholar you presented, and I do agree with him. But I doubt this scholar used it s an attempt to obfuscate the early beliefs of Christians. If he did, I'll apologise, but more likely other non-scholarly sources took his conclusions and sensationalised them.

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Some of the writings attributed to Paul represent the earliest extant Christian writings, and they present a picture of a Jesus betrayed and killed and resurrected and soon to return in glory. They tell nothing of the biography of an earthly Jesus nor any details of the resurrection other than its having happened.

So we have it generally backwards. The earliest Christians had a Jesus in heaven having been sacrificed for our sins; the later Christians have one with an earthly birth and life and death. First came the resurrection, then came the stories of his life. That the earliest versions of the story of his life don't contain the resurrection is an indication that the two threads developed separately.

I wouldn't make too much of the dating of the Pauline writings as near the time of Jesus, since the Jesus stories evolved later and were even later put into those dates (not very precisely and with conflict). Christianity without the early Jesus was somewhat older.

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It's been well-known for years (as long as I've been studying, at least) that Matthew was not the first gospel. Mark is largely considered to be the earliest of the gospel accounts. And yes, the earliest written accounts of Mark do not include the resurrection story, this is also well-known. Later versions did include it and I'd probably say that some over-zealous scribe added it in to make it conform with the other gospels. But that is in no way an indictment against early Christian belief. Consider for a moment the text of 1 Corinthians 15 (with focus on verses 3-5). Most scholars (regardless of religious persuasion) believe that the message that Paul received and passed on to others represents possibly the earliest codified belief statement about Christianity, composed sometime before 35 AD (ie, less than 5 years after Jesus' alleged existence). Since this includes the resurrection, the fact that Mark's gospel does not include such an account does not invalidate the earliest Christian belief on the death and resurrection.

With respect, I've been studying the Bible for 13 years (ever since I became a Christian while studying at university). What you have read is quite true. But it has been unreasonably sensationalised to make it appear as if early Christians were ho-hum about the resurrection, possibly unsure, uncertain, maybe not even a core part of their doctrine. The history of Christianity does not paint this picture at all. I understand the views of the scholar you presented, and I do agree with him. But I doubt this scholar used it s an attempt to obfuscate the early beliefs of Christians. If he did, I'll apologise, but more likely other non-scholarly sources took his conclusions and sensationalised them.

I don't know if other people sensationalised this man's work or not but to me his credentials seem authentic and this and other readings I have come across in the past leave me with no doubt in my mind that the early writers padded the stories out bit to make them fit

fullywired

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I don't know if other people sensationalised this man's work or not but to me his credentials seem authentic and this and other readings I have come across in the past leave me with no doubt in my mind that the early writers padded the stories out bit to make them fit

fullywired

With respect, you didn't provide any links, and as such I could only give what I read. And what I read was that the Resurrection in Mark's account is a late insertion. And on this note, two points are worth noting: 1- Absolutely correct, we can trace the textual history of Mark's gospel and agree that the original did not include the resurrection...., and 2- Despite this, 1 Corinthians 15 was written before 50 AD and according to most secular historians ("secular" meaning more than just the Christian apologists) and most historians (regardless of religious beliefs) regard this section of the Bible to be a fixed narrative-summary of THE event composed sometime before 35 AD (that is, less than 5 years after the event).

I'm not trying to argue minority views here, I'm presenting what the majority of scholars have agreed upon, regardless of whether they are believers or non-believers.

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Posted (edited)

With respect, you didn't provide any links, and as such I could only give what I read. And what I read was that the Resurrection in Mark's account is a late insertion. And on this note, two points are worth noting: 1- Absolutely correct, we can trace the textual history of Mark's gospel and agree that the original did not include the resurrection...., and 2- Despite this, 1 Corinthians 15 was written before 50 AD and according to most secular historians ("secular" meaning more than just the Christian apologists) and most historians (regardless of religious beliefs) regard this section of the Bible to be a fixed narrative-summary of THE event composed sometime before 35 AD (that is, less than 5 years after the event).

I'm not trying to argue minority views here, I'm presenting what the majority of scholars have agreed upon, regardless of whether they are believers or non-believers.

I linked to the article by putting this into google The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference

by James Tabor

I glad you put me straight on the meaning of secular ,I could have spent the rest of my life thinking it

meant something else LOL

A further extract from the same article

I trust that the self-evident spuriousness of these additions is obvious to even the most pious readers. One might in fact hope that Christians who are zealous for the “inspired Word of God” would insist that all three of these bogus endings be recognized for what they are–forgeries

fullywired

Edited by fullywired

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Interesting ideas. My own work suggests that Matthew/Mark were written very close together. Also, there are several non-canonical gospels that appear to predate the ones we use now. How do these fit into the picture?

Doug

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Posted (edited)

It's been well-known for years (as long as I've been studying, at least) that Matthew was not the first gospel. Mark is largely considered to be the earliest of the gospel accounts.

PA, can you explain the reasoning by which the belief that Mark was first was established? Who's thinking is this and where can I read it? Does the Mark-first idea depend on Papias?

Consider for a moment the text of 1 Corinthians 15 (with focus on verses 3-5). Most scholars (regardless of religious persuasion) believe that the message that Paul received and passed on to others represents possibly the earliest codified belief statement about Christianity, composed sometime before 35 AD (ie, less than 5 years after Jesus' alleged existence).

As far as I know, the earliest historical reference to 1st Corinthians is that of Clement of Rome in c. 96 AD. Do you know of an early one? How did you reach the conclusion that it was written before 35 AD?

With respect, I've been studying the Bible for 13 years (ever since I became a Christian while studying at university). What you have read is quite true. But it has been unreasonably sensationalised to make it appear as if early Christians were ho-hum about the resurrection, possibly unsure, uncertain, maybe not even a core part of their doctrine. The history of Christianity does not paint this picture at all. I understand the views of the scholar you presented, and I do agree with him. But I doubt this scholar used it s an attempt to obfuscate the early beliefs of Christians. If he did, I'll apologise, but more likely other non-scholarly sources took his conclusions and sensationalised them.

We have long disagreed on the dating of the gospels and books of the NT. I am ready to change my views any time somebody can produce some evidence. I am asking that if you have anything that indicates earlier dates for the gospels than my second-century ones, could you please post them? You keep saying that scholars believe in the earlier dates, but you don't produce the names of those scholars or reproduce their thinking. I don't accept anything on faith. I want to see for myself what genuine evidence there is and what it says.

I want to draw only the clonclusions that are supported by evidence - no hunches allowed (nothing on "faith"). I am asking you for some help in this endeavor. I need as many hard dates as possible, along with the evidence and reasoning that supports them.

Example: the "great darkness" that came over the earth when Jesus died. There is at least one non-biblical reference to it, so it's not just a Christian invention. There was a partial solar eclipse visible in Jerusalem on March 22, 33 AD. This, in my opinion, is the best estimate of the date of Jesus' execution. But it was not Passover - that was two weeks later on April 3rd. So if the "great darkness" was the eclipse, the biblical account is garbled.

That's an example of the type of thinking I am looking for. Can you help?

Doug

P.S.: Though the Bible garbles a lot of history, it generally gets the sequence of events right. That's especially obvious in the story of the Exodus and, I think, to a lesser extent in the NT as well.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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Luke contains basically the same stuff as Mark with a few extras; Matthew has added a lot of stuff and in a few cases completely changed the story. John comes from a different tradition that seems substantially later and is of a more neo-Platonic sort while the Synoptics are more just simple narrative. The presumption is that Luke either had Mark at hand or something that preceded Mark ("E") that both Mark and Luke drew from. Matthew drew from all three, and was a good inventor of stuff, as there is stuff in Matthew neither found elsewhere nor even alluded to elsewhere.

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I linked to the article by putting this into google The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference

by James Tabor

I glad you put me straight on the meaning of secular ,I could have spent the rest of my life thinking it

meant something else LOL

A further extract from the same article

I trust that the self-evident spuriousness of these additions is obvious to even the most pious readers. One might in fact hope that Christians who are zealous for the “inspired Word of God” would insist that all three of these bogus endings be recognized for what they are–forgeries

fullywired

Thanks, I just noticed you replied to someone with a link. I read the article, and I fully agree that the resurrection account in Mark is not in the original. Indeed, every Bible I have ever known puts the resurrection account in indents, with a note to the effect of "The earliest and most accurate Greek texts do not include these verses". I am happy to accept it as a forgery. However, that does not take away from the fact that the earliest believers did believe in a resurrection, as evidenced by Paul's writings, two decades before Mark was ever composed.

That's all I'm pointing out.

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Posted (edited)

PA, can you explain the reasoning by which the belief that Mark was first was established? Who's thinking is this and where can I read it? Does the Mark-first idea depend on Papias?

I can't say on the reasoning it was first established. But the general idea these days is the support for the two-source and four-source hypothesis. By this reasoning, Matthew and Luke had possession of Mark's text in order to compose their narrative.

As far as I know, the earliest historical reference to 1st Corinthians is that of Clement of Rome in c. 96 AD. Do you know of an early one? How did you reach the conclusion that it was written before 35 AD?

Sorry, I overlooked a sentence I should have written in. 1 Corinthians was written in 50 AD, or thereabouts, possibly a few years earlier or later. My reference to 35 AD was the particular quote from 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, which reads:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

What Paul delivered as of first importance is that Christ died/buried/raised to life/appeared to Cephas and the 12 is viewed by most historians to be a fixed narrative-summary of Jesus that was composed and circulated sometime before 35 AD (my source for this comment is John Dickson, who made this assertion in his book, The Christ Files). Does that clarify my point?

We have long disagreed on the dating of the gospels and books of the NT. I am ready to change my views any time somebody can produce some evidence. I am asking that if you have anything that indicates earlier dates for the gospels than my second-century ones, could you please post them? You keep saying that scholars believe in the earlier dates, but you don't produce the names of those scholars or reproduce their thinking. I don't accept anything on faith. I want to see for myself what genuine evidence there is and what it says.

I want to draw only the clonclusions that are supported by evidence - no hunches allowed (nothing on "faith"). I am asking you for some help in this endeavor. I need as many hard dates as possible, along with the evidence and reasoning that supports them.

Example: the "great darkness" that came over the earth when Jesus died. There is at least one non-biblical reference to it, so it's not just a Christian invention. There was a partial solar eclipse visible in Jerusalem on March 22, 33 AD. This, in my opinion, is the best estimate of the date of Jesus' execution. But it was not Passover - that was two weeks later on April 3rd. So if the "great darkness" was the eclipse, the biblical account is garbled.

That's an example of the type of thinking I am looking for. Can you help?

Doug

P.S.: Though the Bible garbles a lot of history, it generally gets the sequence of events right. That's especially obvious in the story of the Exodus and, I think, to a lesser extent in the NT as well.

Doug

I am not an historian. I cannot provide my own research on this. I rely on the scholars who report the dating. For example, James Tabor whom FW has just linked, includes in that article on the "strange" ending of Mark, the dating of Mark to be around the 70 AD date, or to quote Tabor, "perhaps in the decade before" - Source. In similar fashion, This website gives an almost identical date. These are all from scholarly sources, and do not represent the extreme of Christian apologetics (This site, for example, attempts to date the entire New Testament, including the gospels, to well before 70 AD - obviously a non-scholarly apologetics approach).

I don't know what evidence these scholars use to date the gospels. I'm not a scholar. On the balance of things, I prefer to accept the consensus of the majority of historians, rather than the conjecture of the minority (and indeed a minority of scholars do seem to take a later dating). It just so happens that the majority of sources I read tend to take the view that I have presented.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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.

We have long disagreed on the dating of the gospels and books of the NT. I am ready to change my views any time somebody can produce some evidence. I am asking that if you have anything that indicates earlier dates for the gospels than my second-century ones, could you please post them? You keep saying that scholars believe in the earlier dates, but you don't produce the names of those scholars or reproduce their thinking. I don't accept anything on faith. I want to see for myself what genuine evidence there is and what it says.

.

Doug

I am not an historian or a bible studier but I too have noticed how apologists try to nibble away at the alleged dates of the gospels writings in an attempt to take them back, to nearer the crucifixion (alleged date)with the generalised phrase (the majority of scholars now think)but most of these scholars seem to be believers which seems to me to kind of lessen their credibility.This is only a personal view and could be wrong

fullywired

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Posted (edited)

Luke contains basically the same stuff as Mark with a few extras; Matthew has added a lot of stuff and in a few cases completely changed the story. John comes from a different tradition that seems substantially later and is of a more neo-Platonic sort while the Synoptics are more just simple narrative. The presumption is that Luke either had Mark at hand or something that preceded Mark ("E") that both Mark and Luke drew from. Matthew drew from all three, and was a good inventor of stuff, as there is stuff in Matthew neither found elsewhere nor even alluded to elsewhere.

In European/American scholarship the unknown material is referred to as "Q" (from the German 'Quelle,' for 'source'). "Inventor" is a strong word, as most modern scholarship agrees there are several other smaller sources that the gospel writers used. Some may have been novel, some allied with the writers, some independent but of the same faith. Of course there is some invention in all writing, even good writing.

Otherwise this is a fine overview of the literary quality of the gospels. It's helpful, in studying the gospels (and the rest of the Bible) to keep things in context. Although Luke explicitly states his is an "historical document" (I did a term paper on that conundrum in 9th grade), all four gospels are theology, not history. Each has his own discrete 'flavor;' Matthew is concerned with relationships to the Jewish community; Mark is drama/story; Luke connects Jesus to the Roman/pagan/commonfolk world; John, as you've noted, is 'higher' (more developed) theology and poetry.

I've studied the Christian Bible for 40 years, which doesn't make me an expert. It only means I know what I'm reading, and its provenance. That gives one a lot of useless information, much of which would be corrosive to the typical parishioner's faith. I try to proceed on the basis that I don't go to Newton, Sagan or Hawking (or UM) to buttress my faith, and scripture isn't intended to give us scientific, astronomical or historical information (but the gospels aren't bad on sociology of the time and local geography). It's not even a matter of scripture being the "comic book" version of the "classics" in history or any other endeavor. They are unique documents, each giving a different perspective on Jesus, making no apologies that their four accounts are not consistent, but are complementary.

Edited by szentgyorgy
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Posted (edited)

There has been much controversy over the final 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark. Behind this dispute lies some astonishing discoveries of profound significance.

The oldest existing manuscripts of the Greek New Testament text are three that had their origins in Alexandria in the 4th and 5th centuries. Since they are the oldest (in our present possession), many regard them as having an eclipsing authority. There are a number of passages that do not appear in these Alexandrian manuscripts, and therein lies an intense ecclesiastical debate.

Textus Receptus.

At the end of the 3rd century, Lucian of Antioch compiled a Greek text that achieved considerable popularity and became the dominant text throughout Christendom. It was produced prior to the Diocletain persecution (~303), during which many copies of the New Testament were confiscated and destroyed.

After Constantine came to power, the Lucian text was propagated by bishops going out from the Antiochan school throughout the eastern world, and it soon became the standard text of the Eastern church, forming the basis of the Byzantine text.

From the 6th to the 14th century, the great majority of New Testament manuscripts were produced in Byzantium, in Greek. It was in 1525 that Erasmus, using five or six Byzantine manuscripts dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries, compiled the first Greek text to be produced on a printing press, subsequently known as Textus Receptus ("Received Text").

The translators of the King James Version had over 5,000 manuscripts available to them, but they leaned most heavily on the major Byzantine manuscripts, particularly Textus Receptus.

Textus Receptus Dethroned

Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort were Anglican churchmen who had contempt for the Textus Receptus and began a work in 1853 that resulted, after 28 years, in a Greek New Testament based on the earlier Alexandrian manuscripts.

Both men were strongly influenced by Origen and others who denied the deity of Jesus Christ and embraced the prevalent Gnostic heresies of the period. There are over 3,000 contradictions in the four gospels alone between these manuscripts. They deviated from the traditional Greek text in 8,413 places.

They conspired to influence the committee that produced The New Testament in the Original Greek (1881 revision), and, thus, their work has been a major influence in most modern translations, dethroning the Textus Receptus.

Detractors of the traditional King James Version regard the Westcott and Hort as a more academically acceptable literary source for guidance than the venerated Textus Receptus. They argue that the disputed passages were added later as scribal errors or amendments.

Defenders of the Textus Receptus attack Westcott and Hort (and the Alexandrian manuscripts) as having expurgated these many passages, noting that these disputed passages underscore the deity of Christ, His atonement, His resurrection, and other key doctrines. They note that Alexandria was a major headquarters for the Gnostics, heretical sects that had begun to emerge even while John was still alive.

It is also evident that Westcott and Hort were not believers and opposed taking the Bible literally concerning the Atonement, Salvation, etc. If you read their personal writings you wouldn't dream of letting them even teach a Sunday School class!

The Last 12 Verses of Mark

Among the disputed passages are the final verses of the Gospel of Mark (16:9-20). (Look in your own Bible: you are likely to find an annotation that these were "added later.")

The insistence that Mark's Gospel ends at 16:8 leaves the women afraid and fails to record the resurrection, Christ's final instructions, and the Ascension. It is understandable why these verses are an embarrassment to the Gnostics, and why Westcott and Hort would advocate their exclusion, and insist that they were "added later."

However, it seems that Irenaeus in 150 A.D., and also Hypolytus in the 2nd century, each quote from these disputed verses, so the documentary evidence is that they were deleted later in the Alexandrian texts, not added subsequently.

Sources of the proof:

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. 3, Ch. 10.6 (~177 AD),

Tatian the Assyrian included the ending in his Diatessaron a document attempting the harmonization of the four Gospel narratives (~175 AD)

Hippolytus (~235 AD) quotes Mark 16:18-19 at least twice (S.P. Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text, p. 252)

http://www.textexcavation.com/snapp/PDF/snapporiginmk.pdf

Edited by Jor-el

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Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it. One wonders what they've been studying. The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi. I think he made them up. If he didn't, someone did. They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.

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P.S.: Though the Bible garbles a lot of history, it generally gets the sequence of events right. That's especially obvious in the story of the Exodus and, I think, to a lesser extent in the NT as well.

Doug

Are you implying that the exodus out of Egypt actually took place, or just some of the historical information in exodus is accurate?

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Posted (edited)

Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it. One wonders what they've been studying. The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi. I think he made them up. If he didn't, someone did. They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.

I haven't been studying the Bible my whole life. Only the last 14 years, ever since I converted as a 19 year old while at university (I'm now 33). And yes, I still believe it.

Of course, you know there weren't three Magi in the story. There may have been, but the text never says how many Magi there were. It just gives the number of gifts they brought, and since there were three, nativity scenes added three Magi, one for each gift.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Well we all know the bit about the number three not being in the text; I hadn't thought that through and just used it as a way to avoid the cliche "Wise Men."

It seems to me a case can be made that Satan arranged for the star of Bethlehem. First, it attracts astrologers -- denounced a few times in Scripture. Second, it leads them first to Herod in Jerusalem, apparently to alert him to the birth of a possible rival. Then it leads them (and after them Herod) to Bethlehem, where it takes an angelic intervention to save the Holy Family. In the end all that comes of it is the slaughter of the Innocents. This is God's handiwork?

Of course the author of the story didn't have that interpretation in mind, it just turns out that way. He was trying to invent ways to make Jesus fulfill various prophesies, in a rather far-fetched way, and, I suppose, to make Jesus competitive with other luminaries of the time whose births legends tell us were announced by heavenly portents.

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Posted (edited)

The Slaughter of the Innocents, like Matthew's Zombies, the eclipse at the crucifiction, and the earthquakes, are all imaginary episodes inserted by the fourth century compilers of the new testament. Why would Satan post a star to lead Herod to stage a non-existent Slaughter of the Innocents? How would John the Baptist have escaped? There is so very little truth or accuracy in the New Testament. It was put together as a drastic attempt to reunite the Roman Empire under one manditory Religion. Thousands were slaughtered for not adhering to the new state-sponsored faith, and the Empire fell apart again after the death of Theodosius. Haven't any of you seen the movie "Agora"?

Edited by GIDEON MAGE

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Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it. One wonders what they've been studying. The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi. I think he made them up. If he didn't, someone did. They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.

Complete hogwash, they do hold up...

And not once does it say that there were three magi... there were three different types of gift.

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Well we all know the bit about the number three not being in the text; I hadn't thought that through and just used it as a way to avoid the cliche "Wise Men."

It seems to me a case can be made that Satan arranged for the star of Bethlehem. First, it attracts astrologers -- denounced a few times in Scripture. Second, it leads them first to Herod in Jerusalem, apparently to alert him to the birth of a possible rival. Then it leads them (and after them Herod) to Bethlehem, where it takes an angelic intervention to save the Holy Family. In the end all that comes of it is the slaughter of the Innocents. This is God's handiwork?

Of course the author of the story didn't have that interpretation in mind, it just turns out that way. He was trying to invent ways to make Jesus fulfill various prophesies, in a rather far-fetched way, and, I suppose, to make Jesus competitive with other luminaries of the time whose births legends tell us were announced by heavenly portents.

Again complete hogwash, the star Bethlehem was not a star it was a planetary conjunction between Jupiter and Venus, furthermore it happened twice over a period of 1 year that they overlapped each other so that they appeared to be one single star, the brightest star in the sky. Secondly, the conjunctions that took place during the period include much more than two planets overlapping their orbits to appear as one single star.

The magi were much more than mere astrologers.

Astrology to predict the future is condemned in the bible, astrology as in the study of the stars and the planetary conjunctions is an essential part of the biblical record right from Genesis 1. Even the tribes of Israel are connected to certain constellations of the Zodiac and certain constellations have very important meanings to them that give us signs put in place by God himself.

It is extremely funny to read some of the things people say in their ignorance of known facts regarding the nativity, the background of the Magi and even the political circumstances of the Herodian Monarchy.

As a matter of fact Matthews account helps us to date the birth of Christ among other things.

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I am not an historian or a bible studier but I too have noticed how apologists try to nibble away at the alleged dates of the gospels writings in an attempt to take them back, to nearer the crucifixion (alleged date)with the generalised phrase (the majority of scholars now think)but most of these scholars seem to be believers which seems to me to kind of lessen their credibility.This is only a personal view and could be wrong

fullywired

If the evidence and reasoning are sound, it doesn't really matter whether it was a Christian that said so. Non-Christians may have their own reasons for finding against Christianity, so those are also suspect. The reasoning is everything. Without it, the "scholar" doesn't have a case.

Back to the topic of the thread: Eusebius places Papias' writings during the reign of Trajan (98 to 117 AD). Papias lamented that there were no biographical accounts of Jesus' life - all that existed was a book of sayings by "Mark," an individual who made a collection of Jesus' sayings from people who had heard the Apostles speak. That's not a description of the "Book of Mark" that we know. What am I to think? What we call the "Book of Mark" must not have existed when Papias wrote.

Aristides of Athens wrote an apology for Christianity, praising it as a good religion. He presented this to Hadrian, who visited Athens in 125 AD. He wrote the whole thing without mentioning a gospel or quoting from one. Not an easy thing to do if you have any idea of Jesus' life story. Yet Aristides managed it. Aristides provides no evidence for the existence of any of the gospels.

Yet in 96 AD, Clement of Rome tells the story of the woman who poured oil on Jesus' head. I realize the gospels say it was on his feet, but that's not what Clement wrote. Clement must have been referring to another gospel, one that we don't have.

There probably were some proto-gospels, written before Clement. I believe there are several still extant, but as I haven't read them I'll have to get back to you on them.

The reasoning behind the Q Document is that:

1. Mark is much shorter than Matthew.

2. You can write the Book of Mark using only Matthew as a source, but you can't do it the other way around.

3. If you are going to have the Book of Mark written first, because it fits your theology better, then you have to hypothesize another source: the Q Document.

The problem: the Q Document is entirely hypothetical. It is an invention needed to make a certain theology work. There is nothing to indicate that such a thing existed in fact; and, it violates Occam's Razor by adding a level of complexity.

The solution: Matthew as written first and Mark used Matthew as a source.

Doug

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