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Textual Criticism and the Bible

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Uladyne, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Well, you asked for it:

    The Historical Jesus:The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant by John Dominic Crossan (see particularly the detailed discussion of dates in this volume).

    The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus by John Dominic Crossan

    Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham

    The New Testament and the People of God by N.T. Wright

    Jesus and the Victory of God by N.T. Wright

    The Aims of Jesus by Ben F. Meyer

    Critical Realism and the New Testament by Ben F. Meyer

    Paul and Palestinian Judaism by E.P. Sanders

    How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God? by Larry Hurtado

    Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity by Larry Hurtado

    Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary by Marcus Borg

    I certainly don't agree with all of these authors, but if you looked into at least some of these works, it would give you an idea of what the historical study of Jesus, the Gospels, and Paul is truly like right now. I don't think the list is too biased; not all of the writers are Christians, and they are all serious historians.

    Your idea of the 'canon' being formed is a little off. The first official (anything like government) pronouncement of the canon was in the Council of Trent (C16). The fact is that the Christian community held the books that are in that canon to be authoritative long before any official pronouncement.
     
  2. Έρεβος

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    Did you even read most of those titles? :lol:
     
  3. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Haha, some of them I just use for reference, but I have read some of them, yes :)
     
  4. Έρεβος

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    I looked up most of the books ye listed, and that list is extremely far from a credible source of information. Most of the authors are interested specifically, even exclusively, in proving Christianity's credibility. A Christian whom is convince entirely of his religion, writing on the history of that religion, is a far from un-biased source of credible information. Any individual obsessed with proving something is bound to be able to find enough information to piece together a complete twisting of historical fact. There are thousands of similar texts on the opposite spectrum, such as The DaVinci code; even mentioning such works would be laughable here.
     
  5. Έρεβος

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    I looked up most of the books ye listed, and that list is extremely far from a credible source of information. Most of the authors are interested specifically, even exclusively, in proving Christianity's credibility. A Christian whom is convince entirely of his religion, writing on this history of that religion, is a far from un-biased source of credible information. Any individual obsessed with proving something is bound to be able to find enough information to piece together a complete twisting of historical fact. There are thousands of similar texts on the opposite spectrum, such as The DaVinci code; even mentioning such works would be laughable here.
     
  6. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    This argument is actually outdated as well.

    Let me reword it to show its absurdity:

    Freudian Skeptic: What is two plus two?
    Mathematician: Four.
    Freudian Skeptic: Well, you only say that because you're a mathematician!

    Of course that's a gross oversimplification, but the argument you and the 'Skeptic' are making is the same.

    None of the individuals I listed are obsessed with proving anything. They are simply looking at the evidence and making genuinely historical hypotheses. They, in fact, are not trying to 'prove' Christianity (as if that could even be done). If you had actually read the works, I think you'd see that.

    Meyer and Wright have made a genuine contribution to the critical realist epistemology with their works. Crossan's research has lead him to deny the resurrection. Borg is far from an orthodox Christian. E.P. Sanders has made possibly the greatest contribution to first century history in the whole list, and he's not a Christian at all. Vermes and Ehrman are Jewish and agnostic (respectively), but they'd make similar arguments about the dates listed above. And no serious historical scholar accepts the foolishness that is The Davinci Code. It's just popular nonsense (but particularly dangerous nonsense at that).

    But besides that, the whole argument that 'because they're Christians, they're not good historians' is a foolish one. Everyone comes from a viewpoint, and I think it's plain silly to pretend that an atheist or agnostic would be more 'objective' than a Christian. What is important is the quality of the research, and from what I can judge the above works are of the highest.
     
  7. Έρεβος

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    I made no blanket statement about Christians being historians, just the cases you showed. Each book was dead obvious religious bullshit ridden with mass bias. Though I do tend to not respect the word of any Christian scholar, at least alone, due to the nature of religion & Christianity in particular (it has been very well known for completely corrupting recorded human history, and erasing much of it from the planet). Christian scholars' track record shows you a quite wrong. I'd like to see a single book that backs anything your Christian scholars have to say, from a non-Christian scholar.
     
  8. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    I won't even point out how incredibly contradictory that post was. I'll just answer your last question by quoting what I just wrote:

    "Crossan's research has lead him to deny the resurrection. Borg is far from an orthodox Christian. E.P. Sanders has made possibly the greatest contribution to first century history in the whole list, and he's not a Christian at all. Vermes and Ehrman are Jewish and agnostic (respectively), but they'd make similar arguments about the dates listed above."
     
  9. Έρεβος

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    Actually, the word "though" made the post not contradictory in the least. But I resign for now as I don't have the time or energy to dig up all of my sources (well, except wikipedia, which disagrees fully with you, and has been shown 99.9% accurate on factual matters (at least for the large topics, such as this one)).
     
  10. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Actually, I checked and you can find most of that on wiki:

    E.P. Sanders: "Though he has spent his life studying Jewish and Christian texts, Sanders himself is not a Christian"

    Crossan: "Crossan questions the historicity of many of the gospel stories of Jesus, including his "nature miracles", the virgin birth, and the raising of Lazarus. Perhaps his most unusual proposal is that Jesus' body may have been stolen from its tomb, buried in a shallow grave, and scavenged by animals"

    Vermes: "He left the Catholic church in 1957; and, reasserting his Jewish identity, came to Britain and took up a teaching post at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne"

    Borg: "He has a panentheist understanding of God, which sees God as both indwelling in everything and transcendent. He teaches that a historical-metaphorical approach to the Bible is more meaningful for today's world than is the historical-grammatical approach or that of biblical literalism. He also distinguishes between the pre-Easter Jesus, who was a Jewish mystic and the founder of Christianity, and the post-Easter Jesus, who is a divine reality that Christians can still experience personally"

    Ehrman: "Ehrman became an Evangelical Christian as a teen. He attended Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College (B.A., 1978). His desire to know the original words of the Bible led him to textual criticism, which in turn undermined his faith in the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Ehrman now considers himself an agnostic. He appeared on The Colbert Report, as well as The Daily Show, in 2006 to promote his book Misquoting Jesus and was jokingly called an "atheist without balls" (alluding to his agnosticism) on national television by Stephen Colbert"

    p.s. Colbert is the best :)
     
  11. Έρεβος

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    I wasn't talking about your people.
     
  12. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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