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Messages - lapwing

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A point of order

Quote from: Asherah
I never claimed to prove they (the synoptic gospels) were made up, although Lapwing made this accusation.
What lapwing wrote:

The substance of what you mean seems to be:

1. The Resurrection accounts in the gospels have nothing in common so they were made up
2. The pre-Resurrection accounts in the gospels have common passages so they were made up

Notice that word "seems". That's how it seemed to me. Also in any communication, error can be caused by both the sender and receiver. Since it is normally write once, read many, the onus is more on the sender to ensure clarity.

Mark has the text: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”  Matthew relates the same story, same context, and this sentence is copied verbatim, but inserts the phrase, “except for unchastity” in the middle of it.  Luke relates this text the same as Mark

It's not quite as simple as that if you take a step back and look a bit wider at each version.

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery

So note that Mark considers the man or woman doing the divorcing+remarrying whereas Luke considers the man who divorces his wife and remarries, and the man who marries a divorced woman. Matthew here only considers the man who divorces and remarries and then adds his exception. Note Mt 5:32 as well though.

In the smaller subtext Asherah has focussed on note  that Mark adds at the end "against her". Otherwise, the Greek is identical between Mk and Mt from "anyone ... adultery" apart from Matthew's additional proviso.

It has been argued that Matthew is only emphasising a legal fact that was known anyway. In the case of unchastity, divorce was automatic (Mt 1:19 and Mishnah Yebamoth 2:8; Sotah 5:1). This also harmonizes with the earlier Mt 5:32.

Note that, in cases, like these, unlike the sayings on the cross, we are given a summary of Jesus' teaching. The gospels do not give us every word that Jesus said on a subject or in any one event. Recall that when Jesus is walking to Jairus' house we get the phrase "So Jesus went with him". An atheist-literalist would say that meant they walked in complete silence. A theist-realist would say Mark saw no need to report the conversation or didn't know it's content.

According to Mark, Jesus carries the cross in silence
Mistake. No words recorded does not mean Jesus was silent. This is an example of where an atheist becomes a hyper-literalist when trying to score points. Ditto the thieves on the cross.

This argument about reasons being "ad hoc" seems (notice "seems") to be implying that one can't take account of the content of the text.

The Gospel was written anonymously 30-40 years after the alleged events.  It was written in Greek (and Greek scholars tell us it is not a translation), while Jesus’ followers were Aramaic speakers.  Jesus’ disciples almost definitely illiterate – it’s highly unlikely they could write in their native tongue, and the notion that they could write in Greek is extremely remote
This has been batted about so much the umpire has run out of new balls (cricket analogy).

The Gospel contains some geographical errors
We're all agog for you to say what you mean here!

NB: I think an extended argument abut the synoptic problem and harmonization deserves a new OP and thread.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: [off topic] Best or favourite TV shows?
« on: November 08, 2015, 07:40:27 PM »
There's a new BBC historical drama series called The Last Kingdom about the struggle between the Saxons under Alfred and the Vikings, which is pretty good.

Otherwise I tend to watch a lot of factual stuff since fact is often more compelling than fiction.

There's also a quirky comedy series called The Detectorists about people who use metal detectors to find historical artefacts.

(argh there's a connection!)

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Poll: How strong is the case for atheism?
« on: November 08, 2015, 07:19:50 PM »
Does a strong case for theism necessarily mean a weak case for atheism? I think from the definitions it does.

I would think most Christians' views are determined by what they think of theism rather than what they think of atheism - and vice versa for atheists.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The End of Protestantism
« on: November 08, 2015, 07:15:56 PM »
Any regrets about how the Spanish catholics treated the indigenous Jewish population?

The Spanish government was harsh at times, sure, no arguement there.

And of course the Jews were ill treated by both Catholics and Protestants as the minority other. That doesn't mean all Jews were or are now completely innocent.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The End of Protestantism
« on: November 08, 2015, 07:14:04 PM »
And you are still avoiding looking at or even commenting on Why is that?

I'm going through this now (and hopefully tomorrow). I'll try to respond to each point he makes.

Looking forward to your thoughts, Kalamity. You may well disagree with much of what he says but as an ex-teacher I thought his lecture style and use of slides was good.

If you want to dig out a catholic apologist for me to look at/read/listen to then feel free. As with you I couldn't guarantee any particular timescale to respond in.

Quote from: Asherah
In the Op, you admitted the post-mortem accounts have nothing in common
To reiterate I wrote "not much" in common in the OP. This is not the same as "nothing in common" which is your claim not mine.

I’m going to assume you linked to one of my favorite Monty Python bits in jest
And you would be right. The brilliance of that sketch is the contrast between the normal polite doctors' waiting room situation and the arguments with the argument consultants - still hilarious.

As I said making stuff up was an idea you introduced into the thread. It's not essential to the OP. On the other hand, threads do have a life of their own and I'm not trying to suppress freedom of speech.

When someone says evangelist X made stuff up it comes across as deliberate deception. Now that might be credible if this was done by the richer medieval church to keep the faithful faithful, but not in NT times when it would inevitably mean opposition and persecution. And as I said there have been lots of threads and posts on the subject. But maybe you mean something else by it, which is why I think it's better to discuss actual examples -and I'm glad you took the hint.

Your example of the last words on the cross could just be different witnesses hearing and/or remembering different things. I don't see that as "making up". Mark doesn't say "my God, my God ..." were Jesus' last words on the cross, and in 15:37 Mark writes "with a loud cry". Couldn't that "cry" be Luke's “into your hands I commit my spirit". Jesus was dying on the cross so would his diction be perfectly clear? I don't see this as Luke making things up at all - simply that different eyewitnesses, or sources derived from eyewitnesses, were used by the different evangelists.

Mt 19:9 is more pertinent. Why does Matthew include "except for marital unfaithfulness" whereas Luke doesn't? There's obviously big theological and pastoral implications to this, which has affected the church down the centuries. It seems there are textual difficulties here as well as disputes over meaning so I'm going to have to think about this one and respond later (now after midnight).

It’s preaching
What is the theological import of the number of angels at the tomb other than different sources/eyewitnesses?

I’m simply demonstrating that there is evidence of creativity by the evangelists.
And I'm saying there's quite a difference between saying what are the conditions for divorce and adultery and how many angels were seen at the tomb. It's sleight-of-hand to confuse the two.

Your analogy fails, because it depends on the assumption that Jesus really was conceived by a virgin and that Mark simply left out this detail.  Mark depicts Jesus’ family thinking him crazy, which is hard to reconcile with Mary knowing she conceived Jesus virginally after being told of this by God
You've gone off the rails here, Asherah. This sounds like a typical atheist ill researched rant website where there are more shaky suppositions than I've had hot dinners. You failed to address the basic point that these theories about what the evangelists should or shouldn't have included don't recognise the genre or the period and are frankly worthless. The point about Mary shows a serious misunderstanding of the text and human nature. Also my argument doesn't depend on the fact of the virgin birth but only that all the evangelists believed it.

Either there is sufficient evidence to make a case or there isn’t.  Being the best of a poor lot doesn’t make it good
So your problem is that you are analysing these texts as if they were written in modern times.

that’s what you’re doing – and you rely on a plethora of assumptions to bridge the data affirmations of your beliefs. 
Uh oh. We've moved from empty assertions to empty accusations of bias. Your post is going downhill fast.

You’re evading my question.
No I'm saying nobody (or very few) in those days provided the kind of metadata to support texts you're looking for. Until you provide some good parallel examples that do there's no point discussing this further.

Why can’t you simply answer my questions? 
I did. Try to correct this idea that I have to answer your questions in the way you want. I assert the right to answer your questions in the way I choose.

Ditto comment above about metadata
Looks like your formatting broke down here. It's a bit confusing.

What does it matter if Caesar’s Gallic Wars were based on eyewitness testimony? Is there some historical controversy that is dependent on it? 
Because it's a text from the same period!

it’s an argument from analogy
Well the argument is faulty as I've already explained in this post.

The answers to your poll supports what I’m saying.
Are you a Stalinist! I make it 14-5 in my favour!
Quote from: Stalin
The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything

Why did you bother to reply to Holy Moly’s question as you did?
Because I thought he was saying Bayes' formula itself was faulty. It isn't.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Time travel to see Jesus
« on: November 08, 2015, 04:32:47 PM »
Even I couldn't come back.  To be an original eye witness of the fact. . . I would go in a heart beat.

My thought as well Steve. I'm fully confident that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today - but to actually witness it all would be much better than being an astronaut imo.

And of course you could get a selfie with Jesus (though I think there should be rules against that sort of thing).

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The End of Protestantism
« on: November 08, 2015, 05:41:37 AM »

I see you are still more defined by what you are against than what you are for.
You write much more about sola scriptura and Luther than you do about Pope Francis. Have you thought about what that tells people about you?

And you are still avoiding looking at or even commenting on Why is that?

Now you are implying that Luther personally murdered over 100,000 peasants. Do you actually believe that?

Now rather than quote mining how about reading about where your quote comes from here:
(except you never look at such links do you)

Here's a fuller quote from the link:

Taken at face value by someone predisposed against Luther, the comment appears to be Luther admitting his guilt for the peasants demise. Roland Bainton points out, "Catholic princes held Luther responsible for the whole outbreak" of the Peasants War. Here one could find Luther blatantly admitting he ordered the death of the peasants and it was carried out by his demand.

But history says otherwise. Luther's Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants (the very document in which Luther called for the slaying of the peasants) was actually published after the peasants war began. The treatise was delayed, and did not have an immediate role during the war. The German nobility were not spurred on by Luther's words. They were spurred on by the peasants who strove towards anarchy and civil unrest.

But the treatise did have an impact, at least in court of sixteenth century popular opinion. Luther's Works point out, "Indeed, both Catholic and Protestant princes interpreted Luther’s Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants, which had gained wide circulation by the middle of May, as justification for their actions [LW 46:59]. Isn't that fascinating? A document that came out after the peasants were already in the process of being slaughtered became that which justified the killing.

Any regrets about how the Spanish catholics treated the indigenous Jewish population?

Luther's near contemporary Pope Alexander VI was not exactly a saint was he!

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Time travel to see Jesus
« on: November 08, 2015, 04:08:05 AM »
Good idea! Done Rostos!

Q11 - Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Hebrew Software?
« on: November 07, 2015, 05:48:00 PM »
Tks for this thread I didn't know such software existed.

Btw this is a useful Hebrew reference:

Choose Your Own Topic / Time travel to see Jesus
« on: November 07, 2015, 05:36:18 PM »
Option 5 is meant to be a fun option. Feel free to be creative about whom you'd like to date.


NB: Since Peter was married I'm assuming he's unavailable. Odd that he made it as the first Pope since he wasn't celibate.


The point I was making is that there ARE theological implications contained in the Resurrection stories, even if there aren’t any of the form you stated. 
That the Resurrection has theological implications is a truism of Christianity that I never denied.

In the Op, you admitted the post-mortem accounts have nothing in common, and I repeated that here
Why say "admitted" as if my saying that gives you some kind of advantage? Why not just say "stated"?
What I actually wrote was:
Quote from: lapwing
the synoptic Resurrection accounts don't have much common material - there's no word for word copying of passages
and remember it was prefaced by
Quote from: lapwing
Wright makes two observations about the NT Resurrection accounts

"not much" is not the same as "nothing".

Do you really need argument?
Given all the capitals and underlining I think you really meant "do you really need an argument" - 5 minutes or the full half hour?

So when we have parallel passages in two or more gospels which you term "copying" (why not "base on" since there are often minor, but not always unimportant differences?) then the evangelist doing the "copying" didn't make the accounts up. Isn't that stating the blindingly obvious?!

Otherwise, according to you, they either made up (i.e. invented) the accounts or they didn't. This isn't exactly adding to the sum of human knowledge is it?

they are straying from their source – they are making something up
Normally to say someone "makes something up" is to imply the account is an invention as when a guilty person invents an alibi.

But in  a case like:

And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes Mk 1:21-22

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority Lk 4:31-32

it seems an odd use of language to say, just because of the differences between these two passages, Luke "made up" his account or even "made up" the bit about "not as the scribes" since that follows from having unusual authority.

You’re taking my comment out of context
Did you notice that I wrote:
There have been very many discussions about whether the gospels were made up or not

I only wrote in the OP that there is an argument that the sources for the resurrection accounts are likely to be more primitive than the dates normally ascribed to their authorship. It was you who started all this stuff about accounts being "made up".

it’s possible Matthew and Luke exercised creativity
Sounds a bit too much like creative accounting i.e. deliberate deception. Is that what you mean or do you mean something like the above example? Also this goes well beyond the intention of the OP and has been discussed many times before, as I have said already.

  First of all, you’re statement suggests the evangelists Luke and Matthew used eyewitness sources.  That’s unlikely: if they had eyewitnesses sources, why would they have taken so much of their text from Mark, who was not an eyewitness?
You've moved from the post Resurrection accounts which we have agreed do not have much in common to parallel passages in the whole gospels by sleight of hand. However, each "parallel" passage should be examined on its own merits as you'll quickly see there are degrees of parallelism.

Sure, but the ascension is hardly some minor detail.
Well the incarnation is hardly a minor detail either yet only Mt and Lk give any details. These arguments, based on what the evangelists should or shouldn't have included, are tenuous in the extreme.

Luke had direct eyewitness testimony, why wouldn’t he say this explicitly to establish greater credibility?
Ditto above comment. Have you compared with other ancient historical accounts? Do they have such explicit confirmations to make you happy?

Why would he rely so heavily on the Gospel of Mark, who was not an eyewitness?
Are you assuming that Mark's account isn't based on eyewitness testimony? Writing a passage parallel to Mark doesn't mean he didn't check it independently

With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus

Are you suggesting that the sparseness of historical data somehow makes it REASONABLE to assume it highly probable they used direct eyewitness testimony, despite a lack of evidence for it!? 
You seem to be treating ancient historical sources as if they were C-SPAN broadcasts. Have you compared with other ancient historical accounts? Do they have such explicit confirmations to make you happy?

What assumptions have I made?
if you begin with the assumption that the Gospels are trustworthy accounts of the events in Jesus’ life, both before and after the Resurrection, then you are forced to assume this is due to them being eyewitness accounts.
You're assuming that I've made this assumption.

Can you be equally honest and agree that the historical data is also consistent with other possibilities? Set aside probabilities here.
Who is saying the gospel accounts, on their own, yield 100% certainty?

You can’t establish that even one of the Gospels used even one actual eyewitness,
Ditto comment above about metadata with ancient historical accounts. How do you know, just from the text, that Caesar's Gallic Wars are based on eyewitness testimony? That is not a good parallel example of course (military campaign v life of itinerant preacher and followers).

My point is that we have good evidence that Matthew and Luke made changes to the material they received, for theological purposes
Where's your evidence that they did this in the Resurrection accounts? You do appreciate that there may be a reason to modify a parable to make a theological point (or simply reflect a slightly different repeated use of a parable by Jesus).

As a believing Christian, it seems likely he would have uncritically accepted what Mark wrote rather than verifying it.
You're quite wrong of course here. Try asking some Christians you know that if they could safely travel back in time to NT Palestine (and return - some may want to stay?) whether they would want to witness the events of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Or would they instead say "I don't need to witness these things since I believe they happened anyway." Which do you think is the more likely answer?!

I’ll grant that there was no need to include the comment
Then why include it?

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The End of Protestantism
« on: November 07, 2015, 03:10:33 AM »
Gordy omitted to mention the deaths caused by the catholic government in Spain and other countries e.g.

Catholic princes, the counts of Castile and the first kings of Leon, treated the Jews as mercilessly as did the Almohades. In their operations against the Moors they did not spare the Jews, destroying their synagogues and killing their teachers and scholars. Only gradually did the rulers come to realize that, surrounded as they were by powerful enemies, they could not afford to turn the Jews against them

A turning-point in the history of the Jews of Spain was reached under Ferdinand III (who united permanently the kingdoms of Leon and Castile), and under James I, the contemporary ruler of Aragon. The clergy's endeavors directed against the Jews became more and more pronounced. The Spanish Jews of both sexes, like the Jews of France, were compelled to distinguish themselves from Catholics by wearing a yellow badge on their clothing; this order was issued to keep them from associating with Catholics, although the reason given was that it was ordered for their own safety.

The papal bull issued by Pope Innocent IV in April 1250, to the effect that Jews might not build a new synagogue without special permission, also made it illegal for Jews to proselytize, under pain of death and confiscation of property. They might not associate with the Catholics, live under the same roof with them, eat and drink with them, or use the same bath; neither might a Catholic partake of wine which had been prepared by a Jew. The Jews might not employ Catholic nurses or servants, and Catholics might use only medicinal remedies which had been prepared by competent Catholic apothecaries. Every Jew should wear the badge, though the king reserved to himself the right to exempt any one from this obligation; any Jew apprehended without the badge was liable to a fine of ten gold maravedís or to the infliction of ten stripes. The Jews were forbidden to appear in public on Good Friday.

Just in case you thought the idea of Jews wearing yellow badges came from the Nazis.

There's a lot more of this at

Oh and "Martin Luther caused over 150,000 deaths in 1 year with his rebellion" is a rather odd view of Luther and history.

Martin Luther, the dominant leader of the Reformation in Germany, took a middle course in the Peasants' War. He criticized both the injustices imposed on the peasants, and the rashness of the peasants in fighting back. He also tended to support the centralization and urbanization of the economy. This position alienated the lesser nobles, but shored up his position with the burghers. Luther argued that work was the chief duty on earth; the duty of the peasants was farm labor and the duty of the ruling classes was upholding the peace. He could not support the Peasant War because it broke the peace, an evil he thought greater than the evils the peasants were rebelling against; he also criticized the ruling classes for their merciless suppression of the insurrection

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The End of Protestantism
« on: November 07, 2015, 02:44:36 AM »

Right on. You said it so much clearer than I have.


But the kind of damage you are talking about could be done within one church as per 1 Cor ch 3. In the NT days individual fellowships were mostly single fellowships in towns and cities that were separated by days of travel time - with the exception of the small house fellowships in Rome.

The problems of disputes between denominations weren't a factor in the NT, but "discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions" were. So rather than denominations being the problem, it is human nature which is the problem. There's no reason why different denominations can't get along with each other (i.e. not attack each other) and celebrate their differences as well as what unites them - which is Christ.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: The End of Protestantism
« on: November 06, 2015, 06:19:51 PM »
Thanks for your posts, depthcharge623 and JFS.

Thanks for your post, thanking me for my post.

This video seems appropriate:

Barry McGuigan was a successful featherweight boxer (European and World champion winning 32/35 professional fights) born in N Ireland. He had a habit of thanking his manager, Barney Eastwood.

Note that despite being a Mac he's Irish not Scottish!

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