Lying, Salvation and the Word of God: Proselytizing and the Fabrication Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity

This post theme is dedicated to District Supt. Harvey Burnett who once told me: “Write what you will you INTERNET misinformed anti-christ advocate! Love to see it and love EVEN more to put the garbage where it belongs...BACK IN HELL!” (His reply to a post 4/19/08)




Be it Protestant Pentecostal healers of Benny Hinn (who carries on the healing theology of Kathryn Kuhlman), Earnest Angley, Peter Popoff, Pat Robertson, or within the Catholic tradition: the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary with her bodily assumption into Heaven or the claims of the Mormon Church with it’s prophet and revelator Joseph Smith talking with Jesus and the apostles and translating Golden plates; lying has played and important function as a vital part of the Christian religious faith. In fact, lying has become so much a part of the ministry of Richard Roberts that he regularly gets a “Word of Wisdom” where he has a two way conversation directly with God while on his ministry’s telecast in which God himself tells Rev. Roberts exactly who needs healing. Fact is, all the bull shit about “there can be no morality or ethics with out God” is totally shot to hell by the very lying and conniving of much of the Christian leadership itself. Peter Popoff with his for profit “Miracle Spring Water” or the “Prayer Cloths” of Earnest Angley are all Biblically based ideas used by modern televangelist to steal much needed money form the poor and retired elderly. So, if anything, God himself is the bases for an attack on the very basic morals and ethics that protect society today! But this lying to create a following of the faithful by modern televangelist who hock divine miracle products and preachers who hold miracle healing crusades had it foundation laid firmly in the Bible. And thus my main post.

The fact remains clear that nowhere in the Bible is out right fabrication of “Scripture” condemned. In fact, the dynamics of faith demands proof for the supernatural. This in turn feeds the superstitious mind hungry in a mental imaginary world fueled by faith . As such, the Jewish world had long swam in a sea of these fabricated Scriptures with a resurgent of these text mounting rapidly from 200BCE to 200 CE in which well know and highly honored figures of Jewish ancestors who had been long death such as Adam and Eve, Enoch, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob along with other prophets and Patriarchs recorded their own inspired writings as Scripture where each ancient person wanted to express a new revelation from God. These text revealed the power of faith and the imagination for those Jews who needed to know that Judaism and its God were true. Such ancient ancestors of Israel were usually “caught up into Heaven” to be given a personal tour by an angel appointed by God. To re-enforce the glories of Heaven, the ancient Jewish ancestor was also given a tour of Hell and directly witnessed the suffering of the damned. (1) Amazingly, even though these text were claimed to be written by men who had been dead for thousands of years, the content of these texts were forged to address the social and theological problems of the present day for the Jews in Roman Palestine. (2) Knowingly creating fraudulent, or better put, mythological stories was a major past-time for the literate scribe or Jewish religious leader of the day. This had already been an outgrowth begun earlier with the Hebrew text where the Old Testament itself mentions 24 names of text no longer in existence since, (3) in all likelihood they had lost their religious significants. Of the mythological text created between 200 BCE to 200 CE, Charlesworth has included 52 of these text in his edited two volume work. Another 12 text such as The Death of Abraham, The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan and The Book of Adam and Eve were, according to Charlesworth, fabricated too “far removed from the Old Testament in date and character” to be included in the current collection of Jewish myths. (4) Indeed, first century Palestine was awash in fabricated myths that helped false Jewish messiahs lead the faithful to their deaths as they were slaughtered by the Romans. (5) Also forged during the same geographical area of Palestine and spanning the life of Jesus were certain texts by the sectarian group at Qumran generally known as the Essenes who had themselves written practical Peshers (Commentaries) on such Biblical texts as Habakkuk and seven other Biblical prophets, but (like the early Christians) they saw themselves living in the last days and thus, also produced fabricated text of myth to support their own version of theology. Texts such as the War Scroll, where the righteous and true Jewish children of light will do battle with the evil forces support by the corrupted Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, and along with other texts such as the Apocryphal Pentateuch, Apocryphon of Jeremiah and other ancient Jewish leaders and prophets, Puesdo-Daniel, Puesdo-Enoch, Puesdo-Ezekiel, Puesdo-Moses and Puesdo-Jubilees and many more text written to legitimize only their sect as God’s true Jews. (6)

It is no coincidence that the Christian religion was begun in this hot bed of religious discontent in which new sects sprang up supporting “newly found” texts written by well respected ancient prophets, patriarchs and other “Idea Figures” proving they were God's personal choice. With the competition for God’s legitimacy now being proven though fabricated holy texts which swamped the Jews of Palestine, Christianity moved in with a novel idea of the concept of Theios Aner or Divine Man in the Greco-Roman world based on Greek myths where the Greek (and Roman) gods had relations with humans and produced half god and half human or the demigods. It is in just such rich tradition that the formation Gospel texts with their divine image of Jesus that Christianity broke away from the Judisms which used forged text for its ligitmation. Now, instead of having to create ancient texts to show God’s approval / blessing, God himself fathers a royal demigod son who only needs to be established in the Jewish tradition by citing proof texts from the Greek Old Testament (LXX) which the authors of the Gospels gladly did (thus, exposing the Greek thinking behind the soon to be created Greek Gospel traditions). (7) These new concepts as drawn from Greek myths of a virgin birth when the Jewish Semitic Yahweh is now the Greek Theos who descends to earth and mates with a human who, inturn gives birth to a demigod working miracles but, like in the Jewish Apocalypses, he ascends back to Heaven. However, at this point the Gospels are not clear on whether Jesus was a spirit or flesh and they are unclear as to whether the fish he ate and the clothes he wore when to Heaven too since in Jewish Apocalypses, ancient Biblical characters, like Paul, seemed only to be caught up in the spirit. (8)


Not to be out done, once Christianity had established itself as a growing sect (especially among the Gentiles under Paul in Asia Minor) it also acquired the taste to fabricate more Scriptures (apart from the forged Gospels) in which the Apostles, Paul, along with Pilate and other New Testament characters recorded their own stories about Jesus, faith, martyrdom, the after life and the spread of Christianity. (9) Even canonized New Testament texts such as Peter and Jude depended on Jewish forgeries to base certain points of their theology. Again, long dead famous men such as Enoch (I Enoch) and Job (Testament of Job) were used. Thus, Jude 14 -15 quotes I Enoch 1: 9 while James, I & 2 Peter make use of I Enoch, Jubilees, Testament of Job and other Pseudepigrapha (or false writings as modern scholars term the collection). (10)

In the ancient world, where an abscessed tooth meant certain death and where only two in a hundred lived to the age of 50 (based on bones dated in graves excavated in Alexandrian, Egypt), (11) the promise of untold wealth for the poor faithful masses promised an escape from an ancient world ravaged with hardship, plus a short life complicated with hunger and disease. Without being born into royalty and wealth, one could now gain both of these and more simply by faith! (12) Moreover, the concept of Theios Aner (Divine Man) where again, the faithful masses were promised by the Gospel tradition directly from Jesus himself to be given powers for healing and wonder workings should they only believe and they too could become Theios Aner (Divine Men) just like Jesus working wonders with eternal life thrown in to boot just as the divine rulers of ancient Egypt and Rome had enjoyed too as semi-gods. In John 14, Jesus promises rooms to the believers in his father’s or God’s very own house plus, Jesus promises even greater power to work miracles (14:12) when he is gone. But as time passed and promises failed, these forged texts had to be re-interpretreted or simply ignored. Thus, the famous Christ evangelization quote of John 3:16 is one such failed promise in that had orginally promised that since God loved the cosmos, all who believed in Jesus would not die, but have life eternal as a Theios Aner. (13)

Stories of Divine Men working miracles such as that of Philostratus’ The Life of Apollonius of Tyana proved this status was indeed possible. (14) In his life of Apollonius, we find a Greek counter part to the New Testament where a saintly ascetic Greek philosopher works miraculous wonders and predicts the future ending in a life of 100 years after he trains his disciples and, in which Philostratus suggests he never died. (15)

The end to the flat out fabrication and fraudulent religious texts is generally given around 200CE as the Jews sought to control such writings which inflamed Jewish nationalistic theological ideals and had lead to the expulsion of all Jews from Palestine after the Bar Kochba revolt. Although there are a number of problems with a set date for canonization of the Hebrew Bible, the Council of Jamnia in 90 CE is usually given as date the limiting the Jewish canon.

On the Christian side, it is accepted that the collection / canon is given in 367 CE by Athanasius, bishop of Alexander in his Easter letter. Within Christianity, the shift in forged holy texts came to an end within the restrictive confines of dogmas a expressed in the orthodox creeds. (16)

It is not a coincident that this background to the so-called “absolute truth” of the morals and ethics of the Christian faith and history has been suppressed as the “Red Headed Step Child” in churches and conservative colleges and universities. While pious believers continue to claim there can be no morals or ethics without God, to counte this claim, one they only needs to look at the fake healing televangelists who swindle- the poor out of their money and placed in perspective with the lying and fabrication of holy text one can clearly see (as the old proverb goes: “an apple does not fall far from its tree”!

1. Such is the ascension of Heaven give to Enoch in I Enoch and carried out in more detail in 2 & 3 Enoch. See for example the excellent works by Martha Himmelfabb: Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocrylpses, Oxford 1993; shows how apocalyptic writings were created / forged as religious propaganda to inspire the righteous on what God had laid up for them in Heaven. On the other hand, in her earlier work: Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic From in Jewish and Christian Literature she reveals the negative side of religious propaganda as to the fate of the damned in the same genre of literature where, for example, men who commit adultery are hung in Hell by their penises while women are hung by their breasts.

2. See the major work in the two volume set edited by James H. Charlesworth: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (OTP), Doubleday, 1983).

3. Sid Z. Leiman, The Canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures: The Talmudic and Midrashic Evidence, Archon Books, 1976. Pp. 17 -18.

4. Charlesworth, OTP, Introduction, p. xxvi.

5. Judaisms and Their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era, edited by J. Neusner, E. Frerichs and J. Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

6. A complete list can be found in: Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Oxford University Press, 2,000; volume 2, “Provisional List of Documents from the Judean Desert”, pp. 1013 - 1049.


7. Although reports of a Hebrew or Aramaic Matthew have been claimed by Papias and Irenaeus, modern scholarship beginning with Erasmus, rejects this claim and careful study proves it was originally written in Greek. Plus, the earliest preserved Gospel is that of John of a small fragment also written in Greek. Facts based of the use of the LXX (a text used by Diaspora Jews whose first language was Greek) and the Hellenistic Greek of the Gospels point to Asia Minor as the place for the creation of the Synoptic tradition and most definitely that of the Gospel of John. It is little wonder then that Jewish theology was married to ancient Greek myths in Asia Minor the very place Paul had the hardest time preaching Jesus as a god-savior as even the book of Acts notes. For example Acts 17: 16 -34 is typical.
In such a foundational light, the Hellenistic Apostle Paul’s last letter (Romans 56 CE) predates the earliest Gospel (Mark) by about 14 years.


8. The fact that Jesus was crucified rises as an unkillable Divine Man is a problem in the understanding of ancient cultic sacrifice in that all meat offered to God was burnt. But this heretical idea seems not to phase the Hellenistic mind.

9. A great collection of these forged Scriptures with introduction are in: Apocryphal New Testament, Edited by M.R. James and revised by J.K Elliott; Oxford, 1993. The recently published Gospel of Judas is one of the few Gnostic codices that directly relates to the Gospels (apart form the “Saying Source” of the Gospel of Thomas).
If one could only read one apocryphal Acts, one of the earliest is that of the revisions of the Acts Andrew better know as: The Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of the Cannibals. See The Apocryphal New Testament pp. 229 - 302. Here one find that faith has no limits when it comes to fantastical claims.

10. See the excellent discussion in: The Pesudepigrapha and Early Biblical Interpretation, edited by J.H. Charlesworth and C.A. Evans, Sheffield, 1993 pp. 228 -245.

11. Biblical Archaeological Review (exact issue uncertain).

12. Mostly notably in Revelation 21: 9 - 21 where the new Jerusalem is described in jewels and this despite the austere teachings about wealth of Jesus in the Gospels on earth, but they could be “laid up in Heaven” Matt. 6: 19 - 20...this was and is the bases for the Prosperity Gospel and who says “You can‘t take it with you“!).

13. The Greek word “apollumi” is defined in A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2ed, Chicago, 1979 as primarily “ruin, destroy” as in death. Compare its use in other New Testament passages as Matt. 8: 25, 26: 52, Mark 4: 38, Luke 8: 24, 13: 3&5, Romans 2: 12. If not taken in this sense, the idea that the wicked can escape Hell / The Lake of Fire by simply becoming nothing totally runs counter to Jesus’ statements about Hell in the Synoptic Gospels and the book of Revelation. On the other hand, that the wicked simply “perish” is a strong claim for atheism.

14. Note: This claim is pushed by Jesus in Mark 9: 1 and Luke 9: 27 only to be called into question and defended in 2 Peter 3:4. The living and faithful Christians could escape death altogether simply by waiting for Jesus to return and removed both the dead and the living into a new kingdom on earth at any hour Luke 12: 35 40, = Matt. 24: 32 - 44 and expressed by Paul in 1 Thess. 5: 1 -11.

15. Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Translated and edited by F.C. Conybeare; Vols. 1 and 2, Harvard University Press. These 2 volumes from the Loeb Classical Library has the Greek and English of facing pages.

In the competitive ancient Christian world, some else’s religion was what your religious sect termed magic or, simply put, your religion is my magic. An early example can be see in Exodus 7 : 8-8: 19 in which Pharaoh’s magicians compete with Moses and Aaron.

In Hellenistic times, this is clearly noted in Acts 8. Morton Smith states:

This is a piece of Christian propaganda against the followers of Simon. Its primary object is to show that the cult of Simon is inferior to that of Jesus because Simon himself was converted to Christianity and baptized by a Christian. Moreover, it intends to show that Simon was inferior to the apostles, as well as to Jesus, because he never received the power to communicate the holy spirit to his followers, though he tried to buy it, and was publicly rebuked by the apostles and accepted their rebuke and asked them to pray for him. Just for good measure it adds that Simon had a shady past: He had previously been a magician and it was his magical prowess which had made his followers believe that he was the Great Power of God. (Studies in the Cult of Yahweh: Vol. II New Testament, Early Christianity, & Magic, edited by S.J.D. Cohen, E.J. Brill, 1996, p.141.)

For even more uses of religion as magic see: Hans Dieter Betz, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells, University of Chicago Press, 1986.
Hans Betz had taught New Testament for years at the University of Chicago Divinity School and has an excellent introduction to the Papyri and how magic was an intrinsic part of religion; pp. xli - liii.

16. Robert Markus, The End of Ancient Christianity, Cambridge University Press,1990, pp.137 - 228.

[Written by Harry McCall and first posted 4/23/08]

32 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

Excellent research Harry! Wow!

Of course, what you say applies to the Bible itself, doesn't it?

Scholarship has shown that Moses did not write what is now known as the first five books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch. According to James D. G. Dunn, “it would be flying in the face of too much evidence and good scholarship to deny this basic affirmation: that the Pentateuch is the product of a lengthy process of tradition.”

Joe E. Holman said...

Very good stuff, Harry! And yet, worlds of people still await to hear more lies from liars they think are beyond all lying! The lie is just too damn comforting.

(JH)

Harry McCall said...

Thanks for the comments John and Joe.

The Bible is only as inspired and trustworthily as the men who choose which text to be canonized and this was simply based on the theology in vogue at the time.
Thus the whole Biblical process is a man made creation from the text to the canon.

As I've told Christians before, if you want to see God, just look in the mirror!

emodude1971 said...

From the article: For five and one-half earth days Dr. Collett walked in heaven with Jesus

I think somebody needs a drug test.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Harry~ A post dedicated to little ole me...I LOVE making friends like this. Can I at least get a link to my blog on this piece? Anyway, I prepared this with you and all your anti-Christ advocate friends in mind...Here's the TRUTH:

Harry- "The fact remains clear that nowhere in the Bible is out right fabrication of “Scripture” condemned."

[While I must agree with the author that a Christian crook is as equally dangerous as an atheist crook (Or any other for that matter) the agreements could all but end there. In efforts to claim that Christian ethics are at question, the author starts off with a misdirection., I suppose that the author has forgotten his former Christian education if he had any to begin with.

Christianity 101 (kids class enjoined) specifically states that Lies are not condoned by God because HE is Truth and the author of truth. Therefore prohibitions against lying would always include lying about him or his word, scripture. Further God calls this false prophesying or a false witness as summarized by wisdom literature, prophets and the law.

Prov. 6:16-19: These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Prov. 14:5: A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

Prov. 14:25: A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.

Zec. 13:3- And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:

Zec. Is indicative of the high standard against lying on the Lord through scripture or by any other method.

My personal favorite for this site…Ps. 31:18- “Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.”

As stated it is unfounded to think that God would require truth in everything except his word and leadership of his people. This is an absurd notion only perpetuated by die hard anti-Christ advocates, and apostates such as the author and others mentioned in the beginning of his article.]

Harry- "In fact, the dynamics of faith demands proof for the supernatural. This in turn feeds the superstitious mind hungry in a mental imaginary world fueled by faith."

[In the authors world view faith is based on superstition because of his antisupernatural bias- There is plenty to discuss regarding this I’ll save it for the moment]

Harry~ "These text revealed the power of faith and the imagination for those Jews who needed to know that Judaism and its God was true. Such ancient ancestor of Israel were usually “caught up into Heaven” to be given a personal tour by an angel appointed by God. To re-enforce the glories of Heaven, the ancient Jewish ancestor was also given a tour of Hell and directly witnessed the suffering of the damned. (1)"

[The author refers to books of the OT Pseudepigrapha stating that Israel needed a revelation from God. Even creates a straw man that somehow it developed the Hebrew OT and the NT. To reveal this to the lay reader, the author implores a method of Revised Document Theory originally developed in 1860 to basically suggest 3 things: 1- The OT is unhistorical, 2- Israel’s religion is totally natural not supernatural and that God did not act in Israel’s history only that the Jews thought he did and 3- The history and religion of Israel is fraudulent.
Because this theory has been proven to be unsound, it has crumbled for any number of reasons which include the following facts:

1- Archaeology provides plenty of evidence in support of the events of the OT.
2- Literary criticism has not been found to be the key to proper historical reconstruction OT historical fact. In fact without looking at archaeology literary criticism of the OT is highly insufficient.
3- The very acts of God in the OT were too high and too spiritual for the individual characters to have entertained on their own (J. Orr ‘The Problem Of The Old Testament 1917)
4- The Hebrew scriptures were purely Monotheistic in nature and teaching, this was in sharp and noted contrast to all other religious systems that existed in the day. It is an error to believe that a strict monotheistic religion would have been created and or borrowed from the Greeks or similar societies who held an abundant polytheistic view. Such notion is absurd to any historian seeking truth.
5- Advanced concepts such as the personification of wisdom were found as early as Third Millennia BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Therefore for the Hebrews to have such in their literature would be understandable in light of current and modern historical evidence. This seeks to bring the Hebrew scriptures in line and historically above parallels know to have existed during the similar rime frame.

Further the scriptures were from God to man not from man to men:

Heb. 1:1-2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” God spoke through men mend did not speak to create God.

II Peter 1:21- “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The author’s metaphysical naturalism does not allow for this although the evidence is clear and extant.]

Harry~ "
Amazingly, even though these text were claimed to be written by men who had been dead for thousands of years, the content of these texts were forged to address the social and theological problems of the present day for the Jews in Roman Palestine."

[The writer assumes that the plight of man (sin) is unique to each generation. The bible does not teach such a concept, in fact sin is common to man

I Cor. 10:13a- “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:”

and not isolated. Again his metaphysical naturalism basis against any spirituality whether negative or positive does not account for this]

Harry- "(2) Knowingly creating fraudulent, or better put, mythological stories was a major past-time for the literate scribe or Jewish religious leader of the day."

[To the point this presupposition is based on lies and fantasies and certainly no solid evidence. In fact the evidence and historical records tell us that the opposite was true. The Semitic culture sought to preserve the scriptures carefully because it was the WORD OF GOD not men. Once again the author implores a pre-imposition of Western thought to infer that minds of history were less sophisticated and given to fantasy and fabrication because of the acceptance of the supernatural. The weight of the historical evidence differs from the assertion]

Harry~ "This had already been an outgrowth begun earlier with the Hebrew text where the Old Testament itself mentions 24 names of text no longer in existence since, (3) in all likelihood they had lost their religious significants. Of the mythological text created between 200 BCE to 200 CE, Charlesworth has included 52 of these text in his edited two volume work. Another 12 text such as The Death of Abraham, The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan and The Book of Adam and Eve were, according to Charlesworth, fabricated too"

[The author refers to books of the OT Pseudepigrapha as if it is equivalent with literature of the cannon.

In some ancient literature books were not written by their claimed authors. Due to the historical time frame of composition Dr. Charlesworth indicates that the extra books were fabricated.

This does however lead to another interesting point off subject. It is here that the points and criticisms of the author further break down. As he sites that author J. Charlesworth. Therefore I would assume that the author considers his opinions generally reliable in his assessments of historical documents. Be it known that Dr. Charlesworth has affirmed in his book ‘Jesus Within Judaism’ (New York Doubleday 1988) p.96 that the Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus as written in Agapius’s Testimonium (an early Arabic Translation of Josephus’s Antiquities) does not contain the interpolations generally acknowledged by modern scholarship and is therefor considered to be strong evidence that Josephus confirmed to have acknowledged the Jesus of the Bible as a real and historic figure: (This is in addition to his other undisputed references to Jesus)

Dr. Charlesworth states, “We can now be as certain as historical research will presently allow that Josephus did refer to Jesus in Antiquities[18.3.3]” Dr. Charlesworth(New York Doubleday 1988) p.96

Now, I’m sure that the authors intent will be to prove that the Biblical record is myth and ultimately center that on Jesus being a myth, however this evidence and more points in a completely different direction.

“far removed from the Old Testament in date and character” to be included in the current collection of Jewish myths. (4) Indeed, first century Palestine was awash in fabricated myths that help false Jewish messiahs lead the faithful to their deaths as they were slaughtered by the Romans.

[Here the author claimed that “false Jewish myths” led the faithful to their deaths as they were slaughtered by Romans…There were individuals who claimed to be the Messiah who obviously were not, but that makes the office no less valid. Ie: anyone can claim to be the President. Does that make the Presidential office mythical? The authors reasoning is absurd and unintelligible. What actually happened was that individuals believed and spoke presumptuously that they were the Messiah and sent by God. Evidence to the contrary was true.

Deut. 18: 18-22 ~ “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

Further the author lumps early Palestinian mythic religions together as if they were amalgamated into one particular set of beliefs. This is not a historical fact based on current evidence. Mythical Palestinian religions were in flux and adapting themselves constantly to the culture. Historical evidence confirms that there was not one set of consistent beliefs from which the Hebrews could have borrowed and because the Hebrews God was unlike any other deity, both in nature and relationship and parallel is certainly contrived at best and created to fit the story]

Harry~ "Christianity moved in with a novel idea of the concept of Theios Aner or Divine Man in the Greco-Roman world based on Greek myths where the Greek (and Roman) gods had relations with humans and produced half god and half human or the demigod."

[The author borrows from GA Wells and Earl Doherty and suggests that "Theios Aner" was somehow the creation of a legendary Jesus myth or terminology that inspired the myth. Correctly understood, no Jewish author refers to another human as God (Theios) as in Yahweh-God, nor is there any indication that a human was to be worshipped such as we find in Greco-Roman religion. Specifically, Carl Holliday in “Theios Aner in Hellenistic Judaism” states that the term is used to mean “divine man”, inspired man”, “a man in some sense close to god”, or simply “extraordinary man” in either regard the Jews never used the term in a literal sense. The study of ancient Jewish literature such as Josephus, Philo, and Artapanus reveals that the term was used among Jews with an ethical connotation referring to a “godly”, “holy” or ‘wise man”p100-102. Additionally Jewish authors rarely associate the term with supernatural power and even then it’s within the descriptions and boundaries of what’s outlined within scripture and does not proceed from the hero, but from God. Therefore the contrast is too significant to bridge and cannot be superimposed upon Jesus without flat out fabrication.

Additionally the author proposes a variation of one of the popular hellenization thesis either of which have been rejected by modern scholarship for at least 5 primary reasons outlined as follows:

1- The processes by which hellenistic philosophy and pagan religion influenced early Christianity are unconvincing.
2- The rapid speed by which a high Christology and devotion to Jesus arose with in the early Christian communities counts against the Hellenization thesis in general. L. Hurtado in “devotion to Jesus and Second Temple Jewish Monotheistic Piety” p34 he states “All of this provides evidence that shortly after his execution, Jesus early Jewish followers were recognizing and worshipping him as divine, yet within a creational monotheistic context”
3- Early Christian followers were steeped in monotheistic thought and traditions which rejected Greek ideas of Jesus. Dr. Hurtado further states, “it is simply not very credible therefore to allege influence of the pagan religious movement as a crucial factor generating devotion to Jesus as divine” p41
4- The undeniable fact is that the NT documents retain an “unflinching commitment” to Jewish creational monotheism and a rejection of pagan polytheism “The Jesus Legend” Eddy/Boyd p97.
5- Theories based on proximity have been found to be unwarranted, misguided speculation.]

Harry~ "These new concepts as drawn from Greek myths of a virgin birth when the Jewish Yahweh is now the Greek Theos who descends to earth and mates with a human who is born a demigod working miracles and like the Jewish Apocalypses, he ascends back to Heaven"

[The author evidently does not know the biblical account of Jesus, contrary to the story he refrences of Zeus or Perseus. Looking closely at the story of Zeus an anthropomorphuic god who lusts after a human woman and creates mythological offspring who are half god and half men who’s lives begin at birth…Wait a minute, God overshadows Mary (No Lust) Jesus is 100% god and 100% man and is eternal BEFORE his birth…next victim Dionysis, sorry the story offers no virgin birth because Zeus couldn’t keep his hands off of mamma (Princess Semele) and aside from that when Zeus ordered her burned to death he as a matter of fact saved Dionysis from the fire and sewed him to his thigh for safekeeping…Then Zeus goes on to give Danae a “golden shower” that somehow impregnates her giving birthe to Perseus…Doesn’t sound like the Christian or Biblical concept to me in any way. Maybe you say it’s like Buddah and the White Elephant…nly that Buddah’s mother was MARRIED for many years prior to Buddah’s birth…wasn’t a virgin. Maybe it was Mithra…but Mithra was born out of a rock NOT a human female…so that looks like that won’t work either….darn! for the anti-Christ advocate.

The author should at least attempt to make a case by providing evidence that will make his case…I see…once can’t be made because alleged parallels are ONLY that ALLEGED parallels. The author seems to be a victim of post hoc ergo propter hoc!]

Harry~ "Not to be out done, once Christianity had established itself as a growing sect (especially among the Gentiles under Paul in Asia Minor) it also acquired the taste to fabricate Scriptures in which the Apostles, Paul, Mary, Joseph (the parents of Jesus) along with Pilate and other New Testament characters recorded their own stories about Jesus, faith, martyrdom, the after life and the spread of Christianity. (9)"

[A noted in other posts previously and often the gospels were espoused early, through the use of oral historicity and potentially early writing by literate individuals including disciples whose accounts were first hand. Debated sources such as L,M and Q if they existed certainly existed in written form BEFORE the gospel narratives were produced. Compilation of the latest gospel, John, was probably no later than 90AD. This is further confirmed in light of the manuscript fragment P52 at Ryland’s which has been dated as early as Mid 90 AD to 120 AD (as not to overstate the case) copy of that. Current interdisciplinary studies have pieced together an overwhelming and developing amount of evidence for the suggestion of a high Christology in oral tradition and early writing. In short there is no reason to believe that the Gospel narratives were not in use and extant prior to Paul’s writing to the Corinthians in AD 55 this places the first significant discourses and written narratives well within 20 years of the death of Jesus. As noted the development of the narrative had little to do with Paul as by his own words his message was confirmed by the Apostles]

There's much more to say but I have a meeting C U Later Harry!

eheffa said...

For Dist. Supt. Harvey...

I suspect that your bold confidence in the self-verifying "truth" of the Bible may be based on the understanding that God is more likely to reward unquestioning loyalty to North American fundamentalist dogma over the sinful impertinence of a skeptical questioning spirit.

I will not attempt to parse your lengthy & convoluted apologetics but I wonder.... Is there anything that would ever cause you to question the veracity of your beliefs? (The pursuit of truth perhaps?) i.e. If you were to start over from scratch & examine all the evidence available to you without all of your presuppositions still firmly in place, would you honestly still buy into this convoluted belief system of the Christian faith?

As a committed Christian, it was very difficult for me to step back & examine the evidence for the faith in an objective open-minded way; the potential consequences seemed all too dangerous. (I had for years seen myself as a skeptical inquirer type Christian but was all too ready to buy into the pat answers of the professional apologists and their swarmy rationalizations.) Once you take the step to be loyal to nothing but the existing evidence and the pursuit of truth (as opposed to loyalty to one's well polished beliefs), it's amazing how poorly the Christian claims to truth stand up to careful scrutiny. It's a risky step to take as a God and Hell fearing believer, but if God isn't really there, he won't be able to hold your doubting against you. On the other hand, if he is there & is really the God of truth and justice, you'll hardly offend him for searching for that truth & possibly being mistaken...

It's just a hunch, but I'll bet you haven't found the courage to pursue that sort of open-minded evaluation...yet.

If the Christian belief system is false or based on fabricated source documents - how exactly under your current set of suppositions with the Bible as the only authoritative admissible evidence, would you ever be able to detect the falsity of that belief system?

Forgive me for my impertinence but I hope you will someday be able to step back & see how tenuous the orthodox Christian position really is.

Peace & truth to you.

-evan
(Recent deconverter, "infidel" to you I guess)

;-)

Shygetz said...

1- Archaeology provides plenty of evidence in support of the events of the OT.

No, it really doesn't, and your unsupported assertion is not evidence that it does.

2- Literary criticism has not been found to be the key to proper historical reconstruction OT historical fact. In fact without looking at archaeology literary criticism of the OT is highly insufficient.

Literary criticism is not meant to get to historical fact; it is meant to get to original text.

3- The very acts of God in the OT were too high and too spiritual for the individual characters to have entertained on their own (J. Orr ‘The Problem Of The Old Testament 1917)

What do you mean? I have read the OT, and the acts of God are not particularly high nor spiritual in most cases. OT Judaism is largely a non-mystical religion.

4- The Hebrew scriptures were purely Monotheistic in nature and teaching, this was in sharp and noted contrast to all other religious systems that existed in the day. It is an error to believe that a strict monotheistic religion would have been created and or borrowed from the Greeks or similar societies who held an abundant polytheistic view. Such notion is absurd to any historian seeking truth.

Nope, sorry. The 10 Commandments do not say "Thou shalt have no other gods". It says "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Deuteronomy 10:17 says "For the LORD your God is God of gods..." Psalm 82:1 says "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods." Daniel 2:47...shall I go on? The polytheistic roots of the OT are deep and wide. And Judaism did not originate monotheism, even in the region:

"O sole god, like whom there is no other!
Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
Whilst thou wert alone"

--Great Hymn to the Aten, 14th century BC

This predates even traditional Jewish claims of the age of the Torah by 50-100 years.

5- Advanced concepts such as the personification of wisdom were found as early as Third Millennia BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Therefore for the Hebrews to have such in their literature would be understandable in light of current and modern historical evidence. This seeks to bring the Hebrew scriptures in line and historically above parallels know to have existed during the similar rime frame.

Most of the rest of your post is a long, winding exercise in begging the question (The Bible is true because it says it's true) and thus undeserving of comment.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Eheffa~ Thank you, and I don't mind the criticism a BIT... you said this "If the Christian belief system is false or based on fabricated source documents - how exactly under your current set of suppositions with the Bible as the only authoritative admissible evidence, would you ever be able to detect the falsity of that belief system?"

You make the false assumption that the Bible IS the only authoritive admissable evidence. To overlook the additional evidence is to do the science of historical criticism injustice. One cannot simply throw out evidences that one doesn't like, simply because one doesn't like them. That's CLOSED MINDEDNESS(sp)

Historicalical critical scientific means considers and weighs all available evidence within context if one can be ascertained. The extreme anti-Christ advocate, like the unjust judge, simply and arbitrarily esponges the record and only accepts such arguments and evidences as supports their presuppositions. This is the error. We can disagree over the weight of the evidence but don't arbitrarily accept or reject at least without basis.

My most infamous critic Lee R. asks me then "why don't you use the same techniques in your evaluation of evolution...there's overwhelming archaeological evidence for it and a host of other evidences"

There are yet MAJOR details about evolution that cannot be reconciled and or explained and there are theories that have been found wanting. In light of what CANNOT be reconciled and all things being equal, I would rather place my faith in the testimony of God and his word why? I believe I'm more than just a glorified piece of primordial Slime and random processes...I'm created in the image of God with attributes that make up my charecter and the ability to choose and truly exercise free will...not a predetermined synaptic response...

Jesus is the ONLY deity in history that says "examine me". Some of the critical questions and suggestions as is found on this site in my opinion are good...only one should not have to be an unbeliever to ask.

The problem is, in my opinion, "anti-god money hogs" writing books and handling information irresponsibly because it sells...it'a all about commerce baby! Get a degree behind your name and say ANYTHING only create and construct it to look like a parallel and whaaaaalaaa! It must be a fact...Ehrman, Doherty, Tolbert...CROOKS! and irresponsible sensationalists...

One question for you...Are you an anti-supernaturalist?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Shygetz~ Nice try, I appreciate the misdirections...

So far as archaeology is concerned you said "No, it really doesn't, and your unsupported assertion is not evidence that it does."

Ok then I guess the Mari tablets are mythical too...William F. Albright in "From Stone Age TO Christianity" p197 says "The latest discoveries at Mari on the Middle Euphrates...have strikingly CONFIRMED the Israelite traditions according to which their Hebrew forefathers came to Palestine from the region of Harran in northwestern Mesopotamia"

This ARCHAEOLOGICAL discovery began in 1933 which has uncovered many THOUSANDS of cuneiform tablets dating mostly around 1700 BC.

The Nuzi Tablets dating from 1500 to 1400 BC clear up much of what the bible leaves out about the social and legal codes of history s. H. Horn "Recent Illuminations of The Old Testament" in Christianity Today 6/1968. The findings relate to the time period that the OT records.

Further archaeological confirmation come from examination and finds of the 5 cities of the plain (incl. Sodom and Gomorrah) have been affirmed to line up with the biblical account to a period of 2065 BC- M. Unger Archaeology and The Old Testament 1954.

I could go on, but point made. Archaeology adds more insight to the period of time in which the OT was written.

So just because you say it ain’t so, don't make it not so! (Anyway)

Shygetz~ "Literary criticism is not meant to get to historical fact; it is meant to get to original text."

I'll give you HALF credit for that because that is ONE purpose of literary criticism a further purpose is Higher criticism (which I call literary criticism) "consists of the exercise of the judgement in reference to the text, on grounds taken from the nature, form, method, subject, or arguments of different books; the nature and connection of the context; the relation of passages to each other; the known circumstances (HISTORY) of the writers and those of the persons for whose immediate use they wrote." J. Gardner Christian Cyclopedia 1858 p206

Shygetz~ "Nope, sorry. The 10 Commandments do not say "Thou shalt have no other gods". It says "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Deuteronomy 10:17"

easily understood that before meant in his presence...but where is the presence of the Lord...Prov. 15:3 "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."

He is omnipresent Ps. 139:7- " Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

Means what it says NO OTHER gods!

You also said:

"O sole god, like whom there is no other!
Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
Whilst thou wert alone"
--Great Hymn to the Aten, 14th century BC
This predates even traditional Jewish claims of the age of the Torah by 50-100 years."

OK-Gleason Archer in "Survey Of The Old Testament Introduction" 1964 and 1974 p134 states, "It is an incontestable fact of history that no other nation(apart from those influenced by the Hebrew faith) ever did develop a true monotheistic religion which commanded the general allegiance of it's people. Isolated figures may be pointed out like Akhanaton and Xenophanes (both of whom spoke of Gods in the plural number) but it remains incontrovertible that neither the Egyptians nor the Babylonians nor the Greeks EVER embraced a monotheistic faith on a national basis"

James Orr in "Problem Of The Old Testament 1917 p. 40-41 states that during the time frame polytheism and idolatry were the modern trend among the Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians and even Israel's Palestinian neighbors were corrupt and polytheistic.

I think I have good support for all of the statements I've made so far. Thanks.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Shygetz~ I'm not picking on you but I know this is how most of you feel with diehards such as myself,

You said: "Most of the rest of your post is a long, winding exercise in begging the question (The Bible is true because it says it's true) and thus undeserving of comment."

So far I've shown that the evidence when taken into consideration shows that the bible is true. So as you know more than just the bible says it's true findings of history do too.

Look I'll leave it alone...Peace!

M. Tully said...

harvey,

you wrote, "One question for you...Are you an antisuper-naturalist?"

I have to admit: I'm not anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, anti-Thor, anti-Zeus, etc, etc, etc.

But, I am antisuper-naturalist. Why? Because over the course of human history it has proven itself to be an ineffective method of discovering truth over and over and over again.

And there are costs involved with not finding truth, human costs. Do I pray for an end to the plague or do I look for a natural cause? One leads to continued plague, the other to the germ theory of disease.

Super-naturalism has real human costs. And while naturalism has not now, nor may ever find the answer to everything, it has done more in the last 400 years to reduce human suffering than super-naturalism did in the 4000 years preceding it.

So, am I anti-supernaturalist? You bet I am.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

M. Tully ~ Thanks for answering the question. I appreciate your observations.

Most antisupernaturalists seem to come into that belief because they have never experienced or seen the hand of God in their existance...I'm not making a blanket statement but I am speaking from what I've heard from them who are. I am seeking to understand this better.

Is my statement correct in your opinion?

By the way I'm not looking to BLAST anyone with the question. I am formulating my own opinions.

Harry McCall said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett, there are major problems with your defense of the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible. Relying on W.F. Albright would now be seen as a major one (My graduate Professor of Old Testament, Ludwig Dewitz, was one of Albright’s last Doctoral student to have him as an advisor at John Hopkins). I have much more to say about Albright and his use of data.

Your archeology points are very weak and out dated. You have left yourself wide open for an attack here and I will do so.

Monotheism as an absolute in Israel is NOT a fact and can be easily proven wrong.

It seems you use J.P. Holding as a resource…big mistake.

I will attack each pf you apologetic point this weekend when I have time to pull books and quote modern objective sources.

Your points to prove the Bible is true has much in common with the LDS Mormons claiming the Book of Mormon has archeological proof that it is true.

It’s late and I will reply in full this weekend. However, one thing is for sure, you Christian apologist use too much circular reasoning and little to none objective logic. That will cost you in the end!

richdurrant said...

Hi Harry,

Your points to prove the Bible is true has much in common with the LDS Mormons claiming the Book of Mormon has archeological proof that it is true.

You are right that archeology doesn't prove a book to be true. However, I submit that it can leave open to plausibility of the stories. Many newer findings in mesoamerica is doing just that for the Book of Mormon. Long time problems of the book are being shown that there is plausibility. Not proof positive.

Harry McCall said...

Thanks for the comment richdurrant.

I have read two papers on Mormon history and the Book of Mormon at two religion meetings and, because of my strong facts, the Elder on their missions can not meet with me anymore as prohibited by the Stake President even if I offer a lunch at a local restaurant on me. I had attended the Mormon Ward for 20 years though I never joined the LDS Church.

Problems abound in the Book of Mormon with one being in that, for example, the Nephites and Lamanites had horses; a fact that did not happen until the Spanish brought them over.

The Book of Mormon has elephants in it that lived in America with these Israelites(I could quote chapter and verse, but don’t have my Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and D&C concordance with me) a fact that shaped Joseph Smith mind, when, in around the first part of the 1800s, an ancient Woolly Mammoth was unearthed in upstate New York and put on public display that had been dead for over 11,550 years. Fact is, most Woolly Mammoths died out at the end of the Pleistocene period and this time frame is way out of balance with the Israelites coming to America after the one of the two Exiles in the Bible; either in 721 or in 586 BCE.

We know the Smith family read current events since Joseph Smith’s father was sued for a news paper fee recorded at the local court house. We also know that the square shaped boats that the lost tribes of Israel come to America on are copied after the barges on the Erie Canal, a canal dug near the Smith home in which the Smith boys worked in and the Simth family sold goods to other workers.

The Book of Mormon is in constant change every so many decades. If you ever attend a LDS Ward, you notice all the Mormons use the same modern version of the Book of Mormon (the last updat was in the1980’s). I once carried in a photo copy of the original 1830 Book of Mormon to Priesthood Class and the teacher told me that it was an unapproved version and not to bring it back!

I could go on with many more problems with Mormonism, but I rest my case now.

Shygetz said...

The Mari tablets confirm the Bible? How? The Mari tablets refer to polytheistic traditions from Semetic peoples. Nothing in the tablets refers to any of the disputed "histories" of the OT.

The Nuzi tablets also deal with a Semetic people who did not worship Yahweh. They do not confirm any of the "histories" of the OT; indeed, all they do is show that the traditions supposedly handed down by God in the Torah pre-existed the Jews.

Sodom and Gomorrah were discovered? Really? I know some Christian scholars who heartily disagree as Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira (the cities you refer to) were "in the wrong place at the wrong time", were destroyed before Abraham supposedly existed, and are on the southeastern shore of the Dead Sea, while the Bible places them on the north shore.

Archaeology definitely does add insight into the times in which the books of the OT were written; unfortunately, they do not support the "history" laid out in the OT. If 600,000 Hebrew men, and unnumbered mutlitudes of Hebrew women, children, and unnumbered non-Hebrews wandered the desert for 40 years (remember, Egypt only had a total population of 3-4 million at the time, so we're talking at least 50% of the total population of Egypt), where are the ruins in Sinai? Where are the indications of a MASSIVE increase in population in Canaan? Jericho at the time Joshua supposedly conquered it wasn't there (Sturgis, Matthew; John McCarthy (2001). It ain't necessarily so : investigating the truth of the biblical past. London: Headline.) If the Kingdom of Israel reached the height of its grandeur under Solomon, why is there not wide and deep evidence of his reign instead of a few heavily disputed modest ruins (Solomon: Israel's Ironic Icon of Human Achievement, Walter Brueggmann).

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the things in the OT were made from whole cloth; rather, I think that, like most oral traditions, they were fables based upon oral retellings. There is probably some speck of historical fact in them; however, as a historical document of anything other than Israeli oral tradition at the time, they are highly suspect at best.

I'm afraid the only point you made is that your willingness to cherry-pick scholarly evidence to suit your theological notions is not limited to the natural sciences.

I will partially accept the correction regarding higher criticism; only part of higher criticism is concerned with getting to the original text (not the original manuscript from which certain copies were made, but the original text itself--e.g. the "M" document); however, form criticism is considered part of higher criticism, and it is interested in how the text was influenced by the historical situation.

The Hebrews were commanded not to worship other gods; as the texts clearly show, they believed other gods existed (e.g. "the Lord your God is a god of gods"), a belief that slowly morphed into the current monotheistic trend. This is in contrast to your previous assertion that they were "purely Monotheistic in nature and teaching".

Also, Akhenaten wasn't some isolated guy; he was Pharaoh of Egypt who tried to compel his entire nation into the monotheistic worship of Aten (whom he declared in year 9 of his reign to be not only the supreme god, but the ONLY god) shortly before the Jews "invented" monotheism. He defaced temples of pagan gods and de-pluralized the word "gods" in various inscriptions. His monotheistic religion lasted for 20years before falling to polytheism after his death. So, your contention that "It is an error to believe that a strict monotheistic religion would have been created and or borrowed from the Greeks or similar societies who held an abundant polytheistic view. Such notion is absurd to any historian seeking truth." is clearly false; there was a national religion in place around the time when the Torah was written, and it was state-sponsored and edicted throughout Egypt--very suitable to claim both precedence and potential influence on the Jewish successors.

I think I have good support for all of the statements I've made so far...So far I've shown that the evidence when taken into consideration shows that the bible is true. So as you know more than just the bible says it's true findings of history do too.


Sorry, no dice. I'm not one of your congregants willing to accept your cherry-picking of data. The internet was the worst thing that could ever happen to quote-miners and cherry-pickers, and you have yet to adapt. The claims of the Bible are largely unsupported by archaeology, what little support there is disagrees with the text in important details and is often heavily disputed on both the archaeology and the theological implications.

Shygetz said...

Problems abound in the Book of Mormon with one being in that, for example, the Nephites and Lamanites had horses; a fact that did not happen until the Spanish brought them over.

Actually, horses evolved in North America, and then went extinct here about 6000-8000 BCE. So, if we are willing to put the Nephites et al back into those periods, there's no problem with them having horses. Similarly, elephants (mammoths) also existed here.

Sure, there are problems with details in the Book of Mormon, but if you grant me the same cherry-picking license that the devout grant theological archaeology, the Book of Mormon falls in the same range. Of course, I find it useful as an illustration of how you can make the data fit any hypothesis if you are willing to increase your tolerance for error enough.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Harry~ by the way, I haven't looked at JP Holding's site (or anyone else's site for that matter) for any of this...so show me what you got...It's all good!

Thanks.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Shygetz ~ Concerning the tablets you OVERLOOK how they verify the historical setting and much of what critics have called scriptural inconsistencies in the OT. They reveal customs, settings and additional information necessary to understanding the biblical narratives and they confirm the historical settings that the Bible indicates that existed.

The Biblical authors could not have invented the info unless thir history ran concurrently or through what is spelled out by them. This sort of proof does not require a stright line interpretation (ie. The tablets have to name Israel or Spell Moses) that's not how history is put together.

The problem is that you and most other contend that Israes history is fantasy or a recreated fictious story. The tablets give insight that the history was real. There's more to say but I'm keeping it short.

Shygetz_ "Don't get me wrong, I don't think the things in the OT were made from whole cloth; rather, I think that, like most oral traditions, they were fables based upon oral retellings. There is probably some speck of historical fact in them; however, as a historical document of anything other than Israeli oral tradition at the time, they are highly suspect at best."

That's ok, I won't argue because that's your opinion and there are Christians with similar opinions but who yet remain believers. Although there is a polemic consequence to believeing that historical narratives were allegories, as long as the truths of those narratives are examined the points can be made.

Shygetz- "I will partially accept the correction regarding higher criticism; only part of higher criticism is concerned with getting to the original text (not the original manuscript from which certain copies were made, but the original text itself--e.g. the "M" document); however, form criticism is considered part of higher criticism, and it is interested in how the text was influenced by the historical situation."

See I knew you weren't as bad as they said you were (LOL)

Shygetz- "Also, Akhenaten wasn't some isolated guy; he was Pharaoh of Egypt who tried to compel his entire nation into the monotheistic worship of Aten (whom he declared in year 9 of his reign to be not only the supreme god, but the ONLY god) shortly before the Jews "invented" monotheism"

Egypt never completely accepted Akhenaten's declaration, that's why we see Egypt's polytheistic structure defining Egypt historically. Yes there were encouragements and even as you say an official declaration but it did not stick. The statements I cited suggest the same.

Just when I though we were getting along...then you have to go all LAPD on me- "Sorry, no dice. I'm not one of your congregants willing to accept your cherry-picking of data. The internet was the worst thing that could ever happen to quote-miners and cherry-pickers, and you have yet to adapt."

Man we had so much PROMISE...so much POTENTIAL (LOL)

Look I cherry pick no more than you or any of the anti-Christ advocates who hat God and the Bible...it's just that my cherries don't have pesticide and bugs like yours do...

Every now and then you offer valuable info, but far too often correct interpretives are missed and overlooked to prove your godless points...

(Concerning the last statement, I'm not talking about Shygetz in particular, that statemnt is something I've observed in general as many of you try to debunk the bible)

We're good.

Peace.

Shygetz said...

Look I cherry pick no more than you or any of the anti-Christ advocates who hat God and the Bible...it's just that my cherries don't have pesticide and bugs like yours do...

Yes, you certainly do--you claim that the Bible is a wholly reliable historical text, despite heavily confirmed cases where it is not (the Tower of Babel, the Global Flood of Noah, etc.) and despite the fact that most of the partial confirmations of a thread of historical truth buried beneath mounds of falsehoods (e.g. the potential identity of Sodom, except it is in the wrong place and existed at the wrong time) are heavily disputed. And yet you pretend that they are fact, clear and simple to anyone who wishes to look. It is the price you pay for proclaiming certain knowledge in a widely accessible text, whereas I deal in doubt and probabilities, leaving certain knowledge to the deluded.

You claim that the tablets counter critics' claims that the OT traditions are inconsistent with the traditions of other cultures of the time and area. That's odd; I would consider such inconsistencies to be evidence (poor, but still evidence) in favor of supernatural origins. I have never come across higher criticisms that relied upon the fact that some of the Hebrew customs were unusual; in fact, most criticism that I've read that places the OT faith in historical context attempt to show how their beliefs were not atypical of the time and place (e.g. animal sacrifice, creation myths, etc.) There is absolutely nothing in the tablets to show " The tablets give insight that the history was real." They do no such thing; they are wholly unrelated tho historical events in the OT and in fact support a naturalistic origin of Jewish traditions.

Although there is a polemic consequence to believeing that historical narratives were allegories, as long as the truths of those narratives are examined the points can be made.

I am not saying the OT is an explicit allegory; I am saying that they are folklore, much like the stories published by the Brothers Grimm. They may have allegorical value, but they are preserved for cultural reasons; either way, to rely upon them for history is foolish.

Egypt never completely accepted Akhenaten's declaration, that's why we see Egypt's polytheistic structure defining Egypt historically.

The Israelites did not completely accept Yahweh either, if complete acceptance is your criteria. There are many who argue that not all modern self-identifying Jews are monotheistic (this argument is usually made of Messianic Jews). The fact remains that a socially and politically powerful and widespread monotheistic religion existed prior to Judaism in the same geographical region. You cannot then claim that monotheism started with Judaism; it clearly did not.

Every now and then you offer valuable info, but far too often correct interpretives are missed and overlooked to prove your godless points...

And by "correct interpretives" you mean, of course, people who accept your cherry-picked data and ignore any inconvenient facts or interpretations. Unfortunately for you, many people are not willing to cede their brains to you, myself among them.

You have to realize that any claims of objectivity that come from you are terribly tainted by your evolution denialism; how can I expect you to be fair with ambiguous data when you deny clear-cut evidence from multiple disciplines when it goes against your theology? You have ruined any claim toward even pretended objectivity with such denialism.

eheffa said...

For Supt Harvey:

I'm not sure you've actually answered my question so I'll ask it again...

Is there anything that would ever cause you to question the veracity of your beliefs? (The pursuit of truth perhaps?) i.e. If you were to start over from scratch & examine all the evidence available to you without all of your presuppositions still firmly in place, would you honestly still buy into this convoluted belief system of the Christian faith?


Consider for a moment, if you will, why you have become a Christian believer & not a Mormon, Scientologist, Muslim or any other person of Faith. I suspect that you will cite the active intervention of the Holy Spirit acting by the grace of God in your life but...

What was it that drew you to the Christian paradigm?
1.>Your upbringing and thus your mother's faith?
2.>A moment of weakness in a time of need?
3.>A careful weighing of the contradictory claims of each faith & looking for the historical, scientific and philosophical evidence for Christianity over & above its competitors?
4.> Other...

I'll be guessing but I'd bet it wasn't number 3.

The process that most people undergo to become Christians is usually number 1 or 2. (Substitute the word Christian with Mormon, Muslim or whatever & you will see that most people inherit their religious ideas and affinities from their families and/or their culture.) It may be natural to subscribe to the faith of your fathers but it is hardly the best way to evaluate or determine metaphysical truth or reality.

Consider for a moment what effect a real Jesus as described in the gospels would have had in the world of first century Palestine. He worked amazing miracles which made him a celebrity. He was publicly tried & executed. Earthquakes and darkening skies, and resurrections marked his execution. He rose from the dead and was seen publicly by more than 500 people. His followers were imbued with power & charisma as they proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God. His commissioned apostles travelled to all the known Roman world starting churches & performing more miracles...amazing stuff except that no one outside of evangelists of the Christian movement even noticed enough to make note of it until the second century (It was only the second half of the second century before anyone even knew about these precious gospel records). Apart from the Josephus forgeries, no contemporaneous literature exists to even validate the existence of a first century wonder-working Son of God named Jesus let alone his spectacular acts and claims or his radical revolutionary followers. His fierce and literate Pharisaical opponents never bothered to mention him. The synagogues of the day didn't note the controversial figure or the movement causing all this controversy documented in Acts...
On & on it goes - one looks for the impact of these marvelous events & what do we find? Nothing.

If you were the omniscient creator of the universe, would you leave your most important act in history to this sort of feeble & suspect documentation?

I would suggest that you step back a moment and take off your Bible tinted glasses & ask yourself...If this were the only documentation presented for belief in a God-Man named Asterixis, would you believe it be accurate & reliable enough to stake your life on it? If not, then why would belief in Jesus Christ be more compelling? -unless you have already ceded the idea to be true and are now merely looking for validation of your already fixed beliefs.

I am no longer a Christian because when I finally got up the courage step back & look hard at the whole package, it was clear that this is a man-made religious fabrication on par with all the other religions I have already dismissed for lack of evidence or because they violate any sense of reality.

You seem pretty keen on defending the faith against all these infidels but have you ever really considered the evidence on its own merits without starting from the position of belief?

You say:

"I would rather place my faith in the testimony of God and his word why? I believe I'm more than just a glorified piece of primordial Slime and random processes...I'm created in the image of God with attributes that make up my charecter and the ability to choose and truly exercise free will...not a predetermined synaptic response..."

You state in the same post that:

"One cannot simply throw out evidences that one doesn't like, simply because one doesn't like them. That's CLOSED MINDEDNESS(sp)"

So if I read you correctly, you don't like the implications of natural selection and evolutionary theory when it would imply that you are not the deliberate creation of a personal god. You will therefore look to any flimsy excuse to reject the only scientific explanation of our origins that has predictive power & has not been falsified despite the many attempts by its opponents. You are using your revulsion for the implications of natural selection to determine your acceptance of its veracity rather than weighing the evidence for its veracity. You will never apprehend the truth of anything using that methodology. This is mere wish fulfillment. (Kind of like believing in the Sunday School Jesus.)

I understand your thinking, because I was just like you once upon a time. It is a form of intellectual bondage you know. There is great liberty & freedom in shaking off the shackles of dogma. Go explore the universe with an open mind & I'll bet that all those second century prejudices will quickly lose their appeal.

-evan

PS. You asked about being anti-supernaturalistic.

No, I am not anti-supernaturalistic.

If God exists, one would expect that he is capable of working outside our time-space constraints, but the god of the Bible has declared himself to be active in history & daily life, i.e. our time-space world. His activity should therefore be verifiable. Now that I have looked with a more open mind, I see no evidence of his supernatural or even his natural activity that would compel me to believe in him. If he is there, he is remarkably elusive. The Jesus stories cannot be taken seriously as anything but a late first century, second century legendary construct.

I would expect god to be a supernaturalist, but like Bertrand Russell, I would have to say that in the case of the NT Jesus, there is simply not enough evidence to support the Christian case. I expect that your views will differ & you expect that God will have to punish me for not accepting the dramatic claims of Jesus' followers as believable. I would not wish to offend my creator but if he is just, I doubt that he would condemn anyone for rejecting such wishful thinking and convoluted nonsense.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Shygetz~ Lets renew our friendship:
"Yes, you certainly do--you claim that the Bible is a wholly reliable historical text, despite heavily confirmed cases where it is not (the Tower of Babel, the Global Flood of Noah, etc.)"

[Now to have a "heavily confirmed cases" where the bible is not historically reliable we would have to have evidence of such...last I heard you say, "Just because you say it, doesn’t make it so"]

Shygetz~"and despite the fact that most of the partial confirmations of a thread of historical truth buried beneath mounds of falsehoods (e.g. the potential identity of Sodom, except it is in the wrong place and existed at the wrong time) are heavily disputed"

[Disputations do not necessarily equal falsehood. Example: A part of the legal system is settling of disputations. Although many falsehoods exist, some disputes are honest misinterpretations of the law where both individuals are correct in their understanding but one individuals is more correct and has a better legal position. I only offer that to say, complete agreement is not necessary on any biblical narrative before it is considered more plausible, and factual than the alternative.]

Shygetz~ "And yet you pretend that they are fact, clear and simple to anyone who wishes to look. It is the price you pay for proclaiming certain knowledge in a widely accessible text, whereas I deal in doubt and probabilities, leaving certain knowledge to the deluded."

[While I agree that one can agree with history only as much as there is plausible evidence to agree, most anti-Christ advocates BEGIN with a decided slant against the biblical narratives because of the supernatural events contained within it. That position, which is the one that you take, taints YOUR ability to properly evaluate the narrative for evidence because you begin with an unscientific bias.]

Shygetz~ "I have never come across higher criticisms that relied upon the fact that some of the Hebrew customs were unusual; in fact, most criticism that I've read that places the OT faith in historical context attempt to show how their beliefs were not atypical of the time and place (e.g. animal sacrifice, creation myths, etc.)"

[I can’t tell you how to do your criticism, but the criticisms that I have studied center around Abraham and Patriarcal period as well as customs and traditions of the day. (many others too but) The tablets cleary address most of those issues setting a clear extra- biblical time frame and customs that were extant. Example: I wondered how and why Sarah gave her handmaid to Abraham. Made no sense to me. The Nuzi Tablets shed immense light on that whole subject and give clear indication of exactly how the characters processed information during that time period. Additionally the tablets pin down the time frame in which these customs existed and guess what? It’s consistent with the EXACT time that the narrative story and biblical historians claim. Without that understanding and knowledge both the practice and time frame seem strange. There are other conditions that only could be fulfilled in the day or time indicated throughout scripture. An anachronistic writing would have left too many of these areas underdeveloped, same is true of flolklore and mythical writings as you suggest. Facts would have stuck out like a sore thumb and we would have never had this conversation. There is far too much verification of important scenarios for the TRULY OBJECTIVE mind to overlook…As I said an antisupernatural bias won't even step to the plate and will miss it every time]

Shygetz~ "The fact remains that a socially and politically powerful and widespread monotheistic religion existed prior to Judaism in the same geographical region. You cannot then claim that monotheism started with Judaism; it clearly did not."

[The fact is clear, Israel accepted a clear definition of the Lord…Deut 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:" Egypt had a pantheon of gods and goddesses and territorial gods. In fact most Pharaohs thought they were god. Israel NEVER had such and opposed to what many critics claim their monotheism did not evolve. The record of history does not agree with your assessments, but You do You...I’ll leave it alone, we’ve got other stuff to debate]

Shygetz~ "And by "correct interpretives" you mean, of course, people who accept your cherry-picked data and ignore any inconvenient facts or interpretations. Unfortunately for you, many people are not willing to cede their brains to you, myself among them."

[No, by correct interpretives, I mean interpretations that are viable within the setting claimed and undergirded by reasonable facts. This has nothing to do with manipulations or text tainting as I’ll leave that to professional anti-Christ advocates such as yourself.]

Could somebody tell me how to highlight and Bold comments? Even create a link? I'm sorry for the inconvenience. the comment section is somewhat tedious for me.

Thanks.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Eheffa ~ "I suspect that you will cite the active intervention of the Holy Spirit acting by the grace of God in your life but... "

[That is supernaturalism and I believe in such]


Eheffa ~"What was it that drew you to the Christian paradigm?
1.>Your upbringing and thus your mother's faith?"

[No wasn’t raised in a Christian home or god fearing environment]


Eheffa~ " 2.>A moment of weakness in a time of need?"

[No, I had no identifiable need in particular, I was young, popular high school athlete, plenty of major college offers and life was good, but I wasn’t saved]


Eheffa ~ "I'll be guessing but I'd bet it wasn't number 3."

[Number 3 is a lifetime pursuit. To make irrational assumptions as you do that once a person is saved they do not further investigate is on par with many anti-christ advocates. Your antisupernatural bias does not allow the belief that one can be objective after experiencing any faith. However that whole construct is unscientific and unevidential]


Eheffa ~ "The process that most people undergo to become Christians is usually number 1 or 2. (Substitute the word Christian with Mormon, Muslim or whatever & you will see that most people inherit their religious ideas and affinities from their families and/or their culture.)"

[This is called a steryotype...As a Black man I can easily identify your line of reasoning as such. Just like stereyotypes are often untrue your assessments and reasoning here is a complete fabrication]

[I was almost sympathetic to you until you got to this point]

Eheffa~ "Apart from the Josephus forgeries,"

[Maybe you missed this part: "Be it known that Dr. Charlesworth has affirmed in his book ‘Jesus Within Judaism’ (New York Doubleday 1988) p.96 that the Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus as written in Agapius’s Testimonium (an early Arabic Translation of Josephus’s Antiquities) does not contain the interpolations generally acknowledged by modern scholarship and is therefor considered to be strong evidence that Josephus confirmed to have acknowledged the Jesus of the Bible as a real and historic figure: (This is in addition to his other undisputed references to Jesus)

Dr. Charlesworth states, "We can now be as certain as historical research will presently allow that Josephus did refer to Jesus in Antiquities[18.3.3]" Dr. Charlesworth(New York Doubleday 1988) p.96. This means that even removing the interpolations Jesus as a historical person was confirmed by Josephus.]


Eheffa~ "no contemporaneous literature exists to even validate the existence of a first century wonder-working Son of God named Jesus let alone his spectacular acts and claims or his radical revolutionary followers."

[None of what you’re saying is on the thread here but I’ll be brief:

First, last year I created and conducted 2 historic events in our cities history (true story) I was on TV, newspaper, radio etc. Did you hear about it? Do you think George Bush got word about it? Quite naturally the answer I’m sure to both questions is NO. Did it not happen because you didn’t hear about it? Should I have expected any of you to hear about it? I THINK NOT. But it happened.

Should we expect that the Roman Empire would have given a blow by blow of a backwater preacher in a Jewish (of all things) sect? Should any of the Caesars have come to hear him preach? Should the Caesars historical records reflect anything greater than we find in Tacitcus? (Although we only have 2 of his original 13 volumes) It is unreasonable to say YES to any of those questions but if you’re blinded by presuppositions against a historical Jesus no writings are sufficient. The critic’s thinking is like this:

Too many writings and they’re interpolated, too little and he’s a myth...Now look at it objectively, who really has a problem with their view of facts and reality...certainly not the Christian, because the fact is that the anti-Christ advocate won’t even consider or follow the evidence.

To your points, we have the extrabiblical records of Julius Africanus who qrotes Roman Historian Thallus, who writes in 50AD regarding the unusual "eclipse" upon the crucifixion of Jesus. Thallus was actually trying to do what most non-believers do...explain away and minimize the "darkness" at the crucifixion (as confirmed in the bible) and Julius Africannus was giving an apologetic years later. Wouldn’t that be what we expect of a non-believer? That’s what I expect of you...and you should expect as much from me to be like Julius Africannus...

Next: Mara Bar Serapion...you know the story, equates the destruction of the Temple and plight of the Jews to how they treated their "wise king". Now tell me, if you were a non believer seeing, knowing or even hearing about the inscription hung above Jesus head at his crucifixion, {Hail Jesus, King Of The Jews} how would you have referred to him?

Next: Pliny The Younger...it’s amazing, all the critics are so sure about everything NOT pointing to Jesus, because the word Jesus is not used. But then when people point to his office, which Pliny would easily substitute as his name, "Chrestus" then there’s a breakdown and all sorts of suspicion...That’s incredulous.

Next: Suetonius, another Roman historian, not only affirms the banning of Jews from Rome in 49 AD (Acts 18:2) he also affirms the Claudius’s reign and tells why?..."They were always making disturbances because of the instigator Chrestus" As I’ve heard on this site..."well Jesus was dead, how could he cause a problem" but That misses the whole point...These people were acting BECAUSE of Jesus (Chrestus) and he WAS present vicariously through believers...Heck...To the anti-Christ advocate HE'S CAUSING A PROBLEM TODAY!

Next, Lucian Of Samosata, refers to the Christians as "dangerous" because they follow the teachings of their "first lawgiver" "Impaled in Palestine" (Crucified)

Next: Josephus’s James passage and Testimoniym Flavium mentioned above along with the other facts that he gives regard to the life of Jesus according to the gospel stories.

Do any of these independently confirm his life? Some better, some worse but YES!. Taken together, is the there plausible reason and evidence to conclude that Jesus lived and was cricified according to the Biblical account YES! Do we have extrabiblical sources of Jesus life and death? YES! Should we look at the Bible for a better and deeper understanding of who he was then...YES!

Only the die hard and nonevidential, antisupernaturalist would conclude otherwise, but there’s a catch 22 the antisupernaturalist is SUPPOSED to be evidence driven. Isn't that right?]

Eheffa~ "You seem pretty keen on defending the faith against all these infidels"

[I never called you that but you’ve referred to yourself at least 2 times as an infidel. Now you haven’t yet made it to the status of "anti-Christ Advocate" yet which is 1 step before and infidel but you’re quickly approaching your "advocate" status...good job!]

Eheffa ~ "You are using your revulsion for the implications of natural selection to determine your acceptance of its veracity rather than weighing the evidence for its veracity."

[Now in order to make an accurate judgement, one must consider all the evidence. The Biblical account cannot be just thrown out of the mix...In my world the biblical account has greater weight against all other evidences because the consequences are "light years" apart.
Now evolution creates a glorified piece of primordial slime, that has no culpability for it’s actions and is fatalistically determined based on environmental conditioning...ie: BOTTOM LINE, you have no control over anything and by virtue cannot be held accountable for faulty programming of our DNA...PLEASE...I’d rather believe in the Bible, it’s much more complex but yet more simple and allows the individual to CONTROL their own life and destiny with a humble submission to God]

Eheffa~ " If God exists, one would expect that he is capable of working outside our time-space constraints, but the god of the Bible has declared himself to be active in history & daily life, i.e. our time-space world. His activity should therefore be verifiable."

[Obviously you didn’t get the memo, he’s verified himself to me MANY times]

Eheffa~ "I would expect god to be a supernaturalist, but like Bertrand Russell, I would have to say that in the case of the NT Jesus, there is simply not enough evidence to support the Christian case."

[Sorry to tell you but Dr. Russell’s theories are no longer accepted as the standard and his methods and teachings of metaphysical antisupernaturalism have been proven to be both circular and unscientific. His objectivity has been proven to unobjective. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways, basing supernaturalist thoughts on an avvid antisupernaturalist platform. Almost like being pregnant, no such thing as "just a little bit"]

Anyway, Peace!

eheffa said...

Eheffa ~ "I suspect that you will cite the active intervention of the Holy Spirit acting by the grace of God in your life but... "

[That is supernaturalism and I believe in such]


Eheffa ~"What was it that drew you to the Christian paradigm?
1.>Your upbringing and thus your mother's faith?"

[No wasn’t raised in a Christian home or god fearing environment]


Eheffa~ " 2.>A moment of weakness in a time of need?"

[No, I had no identifiable need in particular, I was young, popular high school athlete, plenty of major college offers and life was good, but I wasn’t saved]


Eheffa ~ "I'll be guessing but I'd bet it wasn't number 3."

[Number 3 is a lifetime pursuit. To make irrational assumptions as you do that once a person is saved they do not further investigate is on par with many anti-christ advocates. Your antisupernatural bias does not allow the belief that one can be objective after experiencing any faith. However that whole construct is unscientific and unevidential]


As Jim Holan has pointed out here: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21219785&postID=3500167437969894474&page=1
Christians will often not dare to investigate the claims of the non-Christian sceptics except through reading apologetic defensive literature. The fact that you are willing to come to this site perhaps shows your willingness to face a little more live fire than many, but you still seem awfully credulous in quoting sources who are clearly little more than evangelistic propagandists.


Eheffa ~ "The process that most people undergo to become Christians is usually number 1 or 2. (Substitute the word Christian with Mormon, Muslim or whatever & you will see that most people inherit their religious ideas and affinities from their families and/or their culture.)"

[This is called a steryotype...As a Black man I can easily identify your line of reasoning as such. Just like stereyotypes are often untrue your assessments and reasoning here is a complete fabrication]

[I was almost sympathetic to you until you got to this point]


This is not stereotyping - it’s simple statistics. The majority of people loyal to a faith have adopted the faith of their fathers or culture and are not converts from other faiths or non-faith groups.


Eheffa~ "Apart from the Josephus forgeries,"



[Maybe you missed this part: "Be it known that Dr. Charlesworth has affirmed in his book ‘Jesus Within Judaism’ (New York Doubleday 1988) p.96 that the Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus as written in Agapius’s Testimonium (an early Arabic Translation of Josephus’s Antiquities) does not contain the interpolations generally acknowledged by modern scholarship and is therefor considered to be strong evidence that Josephus confirmed to have acknowledged the Jesus of the Bible as a real and historic figure: (This is in addition to his other undisputed references to Jesus)

Dr. Charlesworth states, "We can now be as certain as historical research will presently allow that Josephus did refer to Jesus in Antiquities[18.3.3]" Dr. Charlesworth(New York Doubleday 1988) p.96. This means that even removing the interpolations Jesus as a historical person was confirmed by Josephus.]


Hmmm. Dr. Charlesworth had the last say on this issue way back in 1988 & nobody told us? Fancy that.... This issue has been beaten to death. Only wishful thinking of the highest order makes the TF of any value to the Christian case. Late second century Christian apologists arguing for the faith quoted Josephus at length (Origen I think?) but failed to notice this golden nugget to clinch their argument. ( I wonder why? Maybe because it wasn’t in the text yet.)


Eheffa~ "no contemporaneous literature exists to even validate the existence of a first century wonder-working Son of God named Jesus let alone his spectacular acts and claims or his radical revolutionary followers."

[None of what you’re saying is on the thread here but I’ll be brief:

First, last year I created and conducted 2 historic events in our cities history (true story) I was on TV, newspaper, radio etc. Did you hear about it? Do you think George Bush got word about it? Quite naturally the answer I’m sure to both questions is NO. Did it not happen because you didn’t hear about it? Should I have expected any of you to hear about it? I THINK NOT. But it happened.


You didn't perform wondrous signs & miracles, get executed and & rise from the dead did you? I suspect that if you had, FOX news would have been camped out on your lawn.

Should we expect that the Roman Empire would have given a blow by blow of a backwater preacher in a Jewish (of all things) sect? Should any of the Caesars have come to hear him preach? Should the Caesars historical records reflect anything greater than we find in Tacitcus? (Although we only have 2 of his original 13 volumes) It is unreasonable to say YES to any of those questions but if you’re blinded by presuppositions against a historical Jesus no writings are sufficient. The critic’s thinking is like this:

Too many writings and they’re interpolated, too little and he’s a myth...Now look at it objectively, who really has a problem with their view of facts and reality...certainly not the Christian, because the fact is that the anti-Christ advocate won’t even consider or follow the evidence.

To your points, we have the extrabiblical records of Julius Africanus who qrotes Roman Historian Thallus, who writes in 50AD regarding the unusual "eclipse" upon the crucifixion of Jesus. Thallus was actually trying to do what most non-believers do...explain away and minimize the "darkness" at the crucifixion (as confirmed in the bible) and Julius Africannus was giving an apologetic years later. Wouldn’t that be what we expect of a non-believer? That’s what I expect of you...and you should expect as much from me to be like Julius Africannus...

Next: Mara Bar Serapion...you know the story, equates the destruction of the Temple and plight of the Jews to how they treated their "wise king". Now tell me, if you were a non believer seeing, knowing or even hearing about the inscription hung above Jesus head at his crucifixion, {Hail Jesus, King Of The Jews} how would you have referred to him?

Next: Pliny The Younger...it’s amazing, all the critics are so sure about everything NOT pointing to Jesus, because the word Jesus is not used. But then when people point to his office, which Pliny would easily substitute as his name, "Chrestus" then there’s a breakdown and all sorts of suspicion...That’s incredulous.

Next: Suetonius, another Roman historian, not only affirms the banning of Jews from Rome in 49 AD (Acts 18:2) he also affirms the Claudius’s reign and tells why?..."They were always making disturbances because of the instigator Chrestus" As I’ve heard on this site..."well Jesus was dead, how could he cause a problem" but That misses the whole point...These people were acting BECAUSE of Jesus (Chrestus) and he WAS present vicariously through believers...Heck...To the anti-Christ advocate HE'S CAUSING A PROBLEM TODAY!

Next, Lucian Of Samosata, refers to the Christians as "dangerous" because they follow the teachings of their "first lawgiver" "Impaled in Palestine" (Crucified)

Next: Josephus’s James passage and Testimoniym Flavium mentioned above along with the other facts that he gives regard to the life of Jesus according to the gospel stories.

Do any of these independently confirm his life? Some better, some worse but YES!. Taken together, is the there plausible reason and evidence to conclude that Jesus lived and was cricified according to the Biblical account YES! Do we have extrabiblical sources of Jesus life and death? YES! Should we look at the Bible for a better and deeper understanding of who he was then...YES!


Actually none of these citations are of much value. (I am quite familiar with all but the Lucian reference.) None of them advance the cause as they they all represent hearsay references to what the Christians of the day were saying about the source of their belief. In some cases we are talking about authors like Pliny the younger or Lucian who wrote sometime in the second century – hardly contemporaneous verification. These citations would only convince someone who has already decided that they want to believe in the Historical Jesus (HJ) but are they not at all compelling for a neutral or skeptical observer. They are nothing more than second century verification of the fact that Christians of that time were beginning to look to an historical Jesus figure as the founder of their faith. It is interesting that it isn’t until the late first to mid second century that one can even find this. Why do you suppose no-one quotes from any of the Gospels until the mid-second century? The P51 scrap of John is dated by non-partisan scholars as 115-150+ CE so doesn't count for much to refute this observation.


Only the die hard and nonevidential, antisupernaturalist would conclude otherwise, but there’s a catch 22 the antisupernaturalist is SUPPOSED to be evidence driven. Isn't that right?

Yes but what you bring forward as evidence is really very poor quality and not at all supportive of the HJ hypothesis. It is second century evidence of a heterogeneous religious cult of people who claimed to be followers a Messiah figure named Jesus. Why is there not more evidence for a Jesus-following First century Church?


Anyway, Peace!

And to you.

You still have not answered my question BTW.

-evan

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Eheffa~ "...but you still seem awfully credulous in quoting sources who are clearly little more than evangelistic propagandists."

[The reason that most Christians do not take anti-Christ skeptics propaganda seriously is because 1- the arguments are regurgitated arguments that have been turned down over the last 200 to 300 years and there is no new evidence to suggest that better arguments can be made against biblical truth. And 2- the anti-Christ dogma is the least objective MESS in the world.
The critics often 1- Believe in antisupernaturalism which is unscientifically biased against the evidence by demanding that anything containing supernatural events not be considered as evidence as it pertains to the complete record of events. As I’ve said that’s incredulous. Just because an evidence is not what you want, does not mean that it should be thrown out. 2- Most of their literature is not given to full discovery, ONLY their propaganda in support of their dogmatic presuppositions. I can give many references of your most popular propagandists, such as Carrier, Doherty, Bultmann and even Ehrman and in each, their major arguments are unevidential (totally made out of thin air), unsupported, overstated in many cases and are primarily based on sensationalism.]

Eheffa~ "You didn't perform wondrous signs & miracles, get executed and & rise from the dead did you? I suspect that if you had, FOX news would have been camped out on your lawn."

[In contrast, when the miraculous events do take place we get NO news coverage. You see in our congregation we’ve had cancer healed, deaf ears open and I personally know individuals whom the Dr. declared medically DEAD that live today to the Dr.’s amazement…spontaneous life or regeneration I believe is the current medical term. In spite of all that the point should have been understood that even though we have TV, Internet, PDA’s, Blackberry’s, Cell Phones, Satellite etc news about me or these people NEVER made it to you. That’s not surprising to me. There was nothing but word of mouth in Jesus day, so is it far fetched to believe that news about him would travel quickly outside of the epicenter especially since he was a religious leader which the secular world viewed as a dime a dozen.]

Eheffa~ "These citations would only convince someone who has already decided that they want to believe in the Historical Jesus (HJ) but are they not at all compelling for a neutral or skeptical observer."

[No, these citations would convince anyone who was looking objectively at all the evidence that there was clearly and certainly a historical Jesus and he had followers and was crucified as the Bible accounts. The die hard skeptic, such as you, does not accept evidence because you think info travels and reports are made as they are in the western world. As I said, nothing is further from the truth. These Roman Historians would not have made references based on what Christians said. In fact of the ones I mentioned (especially Tacticus) there is strong evidence to suggest that they were personally aware of the reports. Their historical records were a part of the national archives so accuracy would have been very important. I could go in greater detail but this isn’t the place I may post a detailed argument on one of my pages.
In contrast, the extreme critic, such as yourself, goes to great lengths to disqualify the accounts. An objective critic would first ask, how many references are there to other known sects and religious leaders in Palestine in these writings? Then one would be hard pressed to ask further, what made Jesus or "Chrestus" and his followers of such importance that they would even mention him? History tells us that there were other claimed Messiahs, but why did Jesus stand above all others? Why do the Christians, mentioned by name, as followers of Jesus obtain special reference although there were other sects more dangerous? Because you don’t ask these questions it shows just how unobjective you really are. A comparative analysis is part of any scientific search for truth. The anti-Christ advocate WILL NOT do that because the answers further damage their case.]

Eheffa~ "Why is there not more evidence for a Jesus-following First century Church?"

[I don’t know what you need, because there’s the writing of Clement and others that wrote before the end of the 1st century with a high Christology and reference to an already established church and scriptures, the p52 fragment you mentioned is dated between 95 –120 AD but even that’s a copy of the original that we know was created as late as 90AD. Then there’s Papias who lived in the 1st Century and clearly established that the original writings occurred during the lifetimes of the apostles prior to 70AD. Further, the Bible records certain events that were only indicative to the 1st Century AD. Many of the events and places recorded, did not exist in second century.
In conclusion, if you know how ancient history is put together, you know that in many cases history was not written until 2 to 4 centuries removed from the events, so by contrast Christianity is extremely early and well preserved in comparison to other data available even pertaining to secular individuals during the time. The claims of Christianity are certainly more plausible and viable than alternate claims or claims against it in every circumstance ---As long as you don’t arbitrarily throw out evidence that you don’t like, which I see is one of your tendencies also]

Eheffa~ " You still have not answered my question BTW."

[Look I’ve answered all your questions, I can’t help it if your somewhat reading impaired-LOL (Just kidding)]

Anyway...Peace!

Harry McCall said...

Reply to District Supt. Harvey Burnett.

While the authorship of Moses for the Pentateuch had long been rejected by major Biblical commentaries such as the International Critical Commentary series with volumes issued from the late 1890’s unite the final volume in the first series on Kings was published in the 1950’s, cuneiform text had long revealed that the Hebrew Bible had long copied ideas from its neighbors and place these mythologies into the book of Genesis as part of the “Universal History” in Genesis 1 - 11. After Genesis 11, the Biblical text focuses on the fathers of the Jewish nation (Israel) in what is know as the Patriarchal Narratives. While the older school of scholarship such as W.F. Albright and C.H. Gordon rejected the universal history of Genesis 1 - 11 as myths, they accepted the Patriarchal Narratives as having a factual foundation.

This claim for the Patriarchal having been in fact real historical people was finally laid to rest in a major book by Thomas L. Thompson (based on a dissertation completed at the University of Tubingen) entitled “The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives: The Quest for the Historical Abraham (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1974). In this 392 page book, Thompson took on all the evidence and arguments for Patriarchal Historicity and showed that only religious bias and forceful anachronistic control of the data could any references to Biblical Patriarchs be created. Following is a list of chapter titles in the Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 Introduction
2 The Names of the Patriarchs in the “Patriarchal Period”
3 Mai and the Patriarchs
4 The Early West Semites of Mesopotamia and the “Patriarchal Period”
5 The Early West Semites in Palestine and Syria
6 Egypt and the Amorites Question
7 Early Bronze IV / Middle Bronze I: Period of Amorite Semi-Nomadic Invasions?
8 Abraham as a Caravaneer
9 The Problem of Historicity of Genesis 14
10 Nuzi and the Patriarchal Narratives
11 Genesis 11: 10 - 12: 9 and the Wandering of Abraham
12 Summary and Conclusions

Thompson’s book (which is still in print) broke the hold that W.F. Albright (Johns Hopkins) and his doctoral students now teaching at Harvard (F.M. Cross, G. E. Wright) and his other student (John Bright whose History of Israel is still in print / revised) had long held on the Patriarchal Narratives tradition (For a review of this tight control and it affect on Biblical scholarship in America fro over 60 years see: Planting and Reaping Albright : Politics, Ideology, and Interpreting the Bible, by Burke O. Long (and my review of this book at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles in 2001).

Building on this position was John Van Seter’s “Abraham in History and Tradition”, Yale University Press, 1975, followed by is major work: In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and the Origin of Biblical History, Yale University Press, 1983. This study of the early part of the Biblical narratives re-enforced the out come of Thompson’s book and won Van Seters two nation book awards.

On the archaeological side, was William G. Dever from the University of Arizona who is know as the foremost archaeologist in the United States on ancient Israel published his excellent review of the technical data in his book: Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research, University of Washington Press, 1990. Dever opens with the goals: Does the Bible record historical events? Does archaeology prove the accuracy of the Bible? After a full review of all the data, Dever ends his book with the statement; “But, as we have seen, the official version of Israelite religion enshrined in the Hebrew Bible produced by these circles is sometimes more pious fiction than fact.” p. 166. On pages 57 - 60, Dever gives two tables listing the claims of the Bible and what archaeological evidence shows and concludes with this statement: “In conclusion, it may be stated confidently that the archaeological evidence today is overwhelmingly agaist the classical conquest model of Israelite origins, as envisioned in the book of Joshus and much Biblical scholarship until recently.” p. 61. Here, Dever advances the fiction of the Hebrew Bible narratives into the Book of Joshua. In later books, such as “Who Where the Early Israelites and Where did They Come From” 2006, Dever provides archaeological facts that show the Israelites are, in fact, simple Canaanites under a new name.

Dever’s and the preceedings works have been put forth in a very detail and hard hitting book of 821 pages by Ziony Zevit: The Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches, Continum Press, 2001. In closing the polytheistic religions of Israel, Zevit states: “The multiplicity of Israelite religions attested in the different types of data considered in this study can all be explained reductively as bio-psychological expressions of citizenship in cosmos perceived of as disharmonious. …the worldview of the YHWH-alone movement may have become particularly wide-spread among Israelites, even in their places of exile.” p. 690.

With the falsification of history in the Hebrew Bible now moved up to the books of Samuel and Kings, a new books, just published by the Society of Biblical Literature show that while the Kings like Saul and David are historical figures, their legacy is controlled propaganda of the Southern Kingdom of Judah over that of northern Israel. (see the excellent book by Steven McKenzie on the reign of King David entitled: King David: A Biography, Oxford University Press, 2000. A good summary is on the cover.
“McKenzie shows that the story of humble beginnings is utterly misleading: "shepherd" is a metaphor for "king," and David came from a wealthy, upper-class background. Similarly, McKenzie reveals how David's ascent to power, traditionally attributed to popularity and divine blessing, in fact resulted from a campaign of terror and assassination. While instituting a full-blown Middle Eastern monarchy, David was an aggressive leader, a devious politician, and a ruthless war chief. Throughout his scandalous reign, important figures who stood in his way died at convenient times, under questionable circumstances. Even his own sons were not spared. David's story, writes McKenzie, "reads like a modern soap opera, with plenty of sex, violence, and struggles for power."

In Part 2, I will respond to District Supt. Harvey Burnett apology for Jesus and the New Testament.

Harry McCall said...

The Newest book show Biblical fiction from the Society of Biblical Literature book which continues the debate is: The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel by two leading archaeologist from Israel: Israel Finkelstien and Amihal Mazar with American Brian Schmidt; SBL, 2007.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Harry, This will be my final word on the subject at least on this blog page. Thanks.

Harry~ "This claim for the Patriarchal having been in fact real historical people was finally laid to rest in a major book by Thomas L. Thompson (based on a dissertation completed at the University of Tubingen) entitled “The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives: The Quest for the Historical Abraham (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1974)."

[For the lay reader: A group often styled as biblical minimalists sees little or no correlation between archaeological and biblical evidence and thus no reliable history in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). Leading spokesmen among the minimalists are Thomas L. Thompson (Author referenced) and Niels P. Lemche of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, with like-minded, postmodernist colleagues in both the East and the West. Their theories are a feeble attempt to declare the OT narratives folklore and unhistorical. I will reveal factual (not speculative) reasons why.]

[The new criticism of the scriptural record is corrosive and categorical from beginning to end.

It claims,

A- There is no evidence that any such person as Abraham ever lived or even could have lived in its new version of ancient Israelite origins.

B- There was no migration from Mesopotamia to any Promised Land.

C- Stories about the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it argues, were cobbled together out of various bits of early local lore.

D- Moses was no more historically real than Abraham, for there was no Israelite sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus was a fiction;

E- Joshua did not conquer the Promised Land, since the ancient Israelites were an indigenous culture already living in that land.

F- Saul, David, and Solomon and their regional empires were not historical. According to their revisionism, Jerusalem priests in the eighth and seventh centuries BC probably invented them.]

Since Harry has introduced this field of study with representations by men that have been proven to make pantently sensationalist and false assertions, I’ll look more specifically at exactly what archaeology has proven:

Around 1890 around ten thousand manuscripts were discovered in Cairo Geniza. In addition to these manuscripts, more were discovered in the caves by the Dead Sea at Qumran in 1947, also known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The largest collection of manuscripts in the world, the Second Firkowitch Collection in Leningrad, contains 1,582 items of Bible and Masora (manuscripts from the 6th-9th century AD) text, plus twelve hundred Hebrew fragments (Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p. 439). Most of the OT manuscripts in our possession are dated between A.D. 800-1100 (Geisler, p. 439). However, due to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating as far back as the third century B.C., the accuracy of these later manuscripts has been attested.

Harry’s Authors claim : There is no evidence that any such person as Abraham ever lived or even could have lived in its new version of ancient Israelite origins.

The evidence says:
Sir Leonard Woolleys systematic excavations from l92234 uncovered the immense ziggurat or temple tower at Ur near the mouth of the Euphrates in Mesopotamia. The name Abraham appears in Mesopotamian records, and the various nationalities the patriarch encountered, as recorded in Genesis, are entirely consistent with the peoples known at that time and place. Other details in the biblical account regarding Abraham, such as the treaties he made with neighboring rulers and even the price of slaves, mesh well with what is known elsewhere in the history of the ancient Near East. (Kenneth Kitchen, The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History? Biblical Archaeology Review (hereafter BAR), March/April 1995, 48ff)


Harry’s Authors claim: There was no migration from Mesopotamia to any Promised Land.

The evidence says:
Semitic tribes of the time were continually moving into and out of Mesopotamia. In fact, Abrahams recorded trek into the Promised Land along a route up the Euphrates valley to Haran in southern Anatolia, which has also been identified and excavated, and then down through Syria to Canaan is geographically accurate. Using that Fertile Crescent route was the only way to travel successfully from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean in those days.


Harry’s Authors claim: Stories about the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it argues, were cobbled together out of various bits of early local lore.

The Evidence Says:
Nothing in the Genesis account contradicts the nomadic way of life, replete with flocks and herds, that was characteristic of life in the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries BC. The agreements and contracts of the time, such as finding a bride from members of the same tribe and other customs, are well known elsewhere in the ancient Near East. To argue that the patriarchs did not exist because their names have not been found archaeologically is merely an argument from silence the weakest form of argumentation that can be used. As fair-minded historians put it, Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.


Harry’s authors claim: There is no evidence that Israel was ever in Egypt, therefore we reject the complete story as folklore.

The evidence says:
Not so fast shooter… The famous Israel Stele (an inscribed stone or slab) of Pharaoh Merneptah states, “Israel his seed is not.” This is the earliest reference to Israel in nonbiblical sources and demonstrates that, as of c. 1230 BC, the Hebrews were already living in the Promised Land. Furthermore, even if there were no mention whatever of the Hebrews in Egyptian records, this also would prove nothing, especially in view of the well-known Egyptian proclivity never to record reverses or defeats or anything that would embarrass the majesty of the ruling monarch. Would any pharaoh have the following words chiseled onto his monument: Under my administration, a great horde of Hebrew slaves successfully escaped into the Sinai Desert when we tried to prevent them? This doesn’t even address or account for Ipuwer’s records and testimony.


Harry’s authors claim: The was no Canaan Conquest by Joshua.

The evidence says:
When Dame Kathleen Kenyon excavated at Jericho in the 1950s, she claimed not to have found any collapsed walls or even evidence of a living city at Jericho during the time of Joshuas invasion nothing for him to conquer. She did, indeed, find an earlier, heavily fortified Jericho that c. 1550 BC was subject to a violent conquest with fallen walls and a burnt ash layer a yard thick, indicating destruction by fire. That, in her view, was before Joshua and the Israelites arrived. Critics immediately seized on her interpretation as solid evidence that Joshuas conquest of Jericho must have been folklore. (This is EXACTLY what you continue to do) Archaeologist Bryant G. Wood, however, editor of Bible and Spade, found that Kenyon had misdated her finds and that the destruction of Jericho actually took place in the 1400s BC when Joshua was very much on the scene, according to earlier (1400 rather than 1200 BC) datings of the Israelite invasion. In a brilliant 1990 article in BAR, Wood based his chronology on stratigraphy, pottery types, carbon-14 datings, and other evidence, including collapsed walls, to show a rather surprising archaeological confirmation of the biblical detail recorded in Judges 6 and following.

This is also what archaeology has found:

The Existence of Hittites.

Genesis 23 reports that Abraham buried Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah, which he purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Second Samuel 11 tells of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. A century ago the Hittites were unknown outside of the Old Testament, and critics claimed that they were a figment of biblical imagination. In 1906, however, archaeologists digging east of Ankara, Turkey, discovered the ruins of Hattusas, the ancient Hittite capital at what is today called Boghazkoy, as well as its vast collection of Hittite historical records, which showed an empire flourishing in the mid-second millennium BC. This critical challenge, among many others, was immediately proved worthless a pattern that would often be repeated in the decades to come.


Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically.

In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives; otherwise, the specificity regarding these urban sites would have been replaced by Once upon a time narratives with only hazy geographical parameters, if any.

Israel’s enemies in the Hebrew Bible likewise are not contrived but solidly historical.

Among the most dangerous of these were the Philistines, the people after whom Palestine itself would be named. Their earliest depiction is on the Temple of Rameses III at Thebes, c. 1150 BC, as peoples of the sea who invaded the Delta area and later the coastal plain of Canaan. The Pentapolis (five cities) they established namely Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, and Ekron have all been excavated, at least in part, and some remain cities to this day. Such precise urban evidence measures favorably when compared with the geographical sites claimed in the holy books of other religious systems, which often have no basis whatever in reality.


Shishaks Invasion of Judah.
First Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 tell of Pharaoh Shishaks conquest of Judah in the fifth year of the reign of King Rehoboam, the brainless son of Solomon, and how Solomons temple in Jerusalem was robbed of its treasures on that occasion. This victory is also commemorated in hieroglyphic wall carvings on the Temple of Amon at Thebes.


The Moabite Stone.
Second Kings 3 reports that Mesha, the king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel following the death of Ahab. A three-foot stone slab, also called the Mesha Stele, confirms the revolt by claiming triumph over Ahabs family, c. 850 BC, and that Israel had perished forever.

Obelisk of Shalmaneser III.
In 2 Kings 910, Jehu is mentioned as King of Israel (841814 BC). That the growing power of Assyria was already encroaching on the northern kings prior to their ultimate conquest in 722 BC is demonstrated by a six-and-a-half-foot black obelisk discovered in the ruins of the palace at Nimrud in 1846. On it, Jehu is shown kneeling before Shalmaneser III and offering tribute to the Assyrian king, the only relief we have to date of a Hebrew monarch.

Burial Plaque of King Uzziah.
Down in Judah, King Uzziah ruled from 792 to 740 BC, a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. Like Solomon, he began well and ended badly. In 2 Chronicles 26 his sin is recorded, which resulted in his being struck with leprosy later in life. When Uzziah died, he was interred in a field of burial that belonged to the kings. His stone burial plaque has been discovered on the Mount of Olives, and it reads: Here, the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought. Do not open.

Hezekiahs Siloam Tunnel Inscription.
King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalems water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment. The tunnel is probably the only biblical site that has not changed its appearance in 2,700 years.

The Sennacherib Prism.
After having conquered the 10 northern tribes of Israel, the Assyrians moved southward to do the same to Judah (2 Kings 1819). The prophet Isaiah, however, told Hezekiah that God would protect Judah and Jerusalem against Sennacherib (2 Chron. 32; Isa. 3637). Assyrian records virtually confirm this. The cuneiform on a hexagonal, 15-inch baked clay prism found at the Assyrian capital of Nineveh describes Sennacheribs invasion of Judah in 701 BC in which it claims that the Assyrian king shut Hezekiah inside Jerusalem like a caged bird. Like the biblical record, however, it does not state that he conquered Jerusalem, which the prism certainly would have done had this been the case. The Assyrians, in fact, bypassed Jerusalem on their way to Egypt, and the city would not fall until the time of Nebuchadnezzar and the Neo-Babylonians in 586 BC. Sennacherib himself returned to Nineveh where his own sons murdered him.

The Cylinder of Cyrus the Great.
Second Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1 report that Cyrus the Great of Persia, after conquering Babylon, permitted Jews in the Babylonian Captivity to return to their homeland. Isaiah had even prophesied this (Isa. 44:28). This tolerant policy of the founder of the Persian Empire is borne out by the discovery of a nine-inch clay cylinder found at Babylon from the time of its conquest, 539 BC, which reports Cyruss victory and his subsequent policy of permitting Babylonian captives to return to their homes and even rebuild their temples.
This list of correlations and finds between Old Testament texts and the hard evidence of Near Eastern archaeology could easily be tripled in length.

In view of the overwhelming evidence, The OT story IS obviously not a myth and YOUR sources are only WHINERS CRYING because they WERE AND ARE WRONG!

Final thought, the revisionists suggest that revisionist criticism represents the latest and best scholarly and archaeological research on biblical origins today. As is proven, THEY ARE WRONG. In sober fact, recent issues of journals such as BAR and Bible and Spade are crammed with criticism of the minimalist position, and the debate between traditional and radical views among biblical scholars continues to rage. The proof is in the FINDINGS, not what you can imagine.]

Thanks for the space.

Harry McCall said...

DSHB: I'm not sure how we got off the original post of seudepigrahic literature in the Old Old and New Testaments, but the fact remains that both Jew and Christians created this stuff to vindicate their faith.

A far as the early history in the Hebrew Bible goes, I could reply with more problems in your discussion, but as you pointed out, it's time to move on as this side track has become a two person discussion.

Anyway, thanks for all your hard work on this post. Harry

Shygetz said...

In contrast, when the miraculous events do take place we get NO news coverage. You see in our congregation we’ve had cancer healed, deaf ears open and I personally know individuals whom the Dr. declared medically DEAD that live today to the Dr.’s amazement…spontaneous life or regeneration I believe is the current medical term. In spite of all that the point should have been understood that even though we have TV, Internet, PDA’s, Blackberry’s, Cell Phones, Satellite etc news about me or these people NEVER made it to you.

Never made it to James Randi, either. You could spread an awful lot of gospel with one million dollars, not to mention the publicity Jesus would get with a successful challenge.

Go ahead--I guarantee you that would shut me up.

Harry McCall said...

skygetz, District Supt. Harvey Burnett will not be able to answer you right now as he is presently walking in Heaven with Jesus for the next 5.5 days.

He will return with a new commission.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Good one Harry...LOL-LOL-LOL

Rand doesn't want to go the places I've been or talk to the people I know...He'd be BROKE!

See you guys don't remember the days when we counldn't get to the doctor, either bceuase he was too far away or because we couldn't afford one...Then, some of my relatives (as I found out later in life) were NOT welcome at some doctor's offices for treatment down south...Please, if God didn't heal some people they would have died right then...

I will however accept a generous contribution for you Shygetz...Need envelopes???(LOL)