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By the way, Cappy, as to higher criticism and its affect on scholarship regarding the authorship debate, have you ever read C.S. Lewis' 'Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism'?

If you haven't, you should. He details his own experience with textual critics, including several quite interesting ones where the textual critics said one thing about his work and another was true, and vice-versa (claiming others were influenced by Lewis' work when in fact they were not). He also recounts criticism of Tolkien's work indicating the ring was a reference to the atom bomb, which is also not the case.

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Good. This is the post I was referring to -- can you clarify what you meant?

http://boards.atlant...20#entry6811420

Be glad to. I was referring to the majority of the fraudulent writings starting and not that Theophilus committed the fraud personally (although it could be possible).

Well, first, that's not what Irenaeus said. There is an issue with what he did say about Jesus' age, but he did not say he lived to be 100. He indicated that JOHN lived to that approximate age, but this is generally accepted. Irenaeus' point was that He fulfilled the Judaic prophecies by being baptized at 30 and beginning His ministry at that time.

I can see the ambiguity in the 100 years statement but while you can say it was Iraneus' point to be baptized, etc. it doesn't excuse that he wrote that Jesus didn't die when everyone else claims but that Jesus was more than 50 when died. This is why oral tradition doesn't hold water with me.

Second, you say Jesus' contemporaries "never said a word about him," but this is also untrue. The only way you get there is to beg the question with regard to the authorship debate on the New Testament, specifically the Gospels. But the claim that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not write the Gospels is a late novelty, and more to the point, scholars are divided on the issue. You have to resolve that in favor of pseudonymous authorship in order to make the claim you do, and the scholarship just doesn't support that conclusion. More to the point, Mark is a likely eyewitness to the events in his Gospel, and Markan authorship is not as widely contested as, say, Matthew and John are. So you get to this claim by basically picking a side without regard to the dispute in the scholarship. That's fine, but it indicates you have as much a bias as anyone else in that regard. It certainly is not "going with the evidence," since the evidence is not conclusive on that point.

Further, Paul was a contemporary of Jesus, and his authorship of at least certain Epistles is undisputed. Luke was also a contemporary. The fact that neither of them knew Him personally (leaving the Road to Damascus out of it) doesn't change the fact that they certainly knew people who did.

And you get there by selectively interpreting the evidence, which is ironic. You claim that I want the Bible to be true and the Tradition of the Church to be true and that I therefore go forward on "faith," while you think "the facts" don't support my view. But the simple fact is you have picked a side yourself. You are engaging in argument, not fact-finding. You accept those facts that support your view and discount, disparage and outright ignore those that don't.

Admitting that might be a good first step to finding the truth.

I definitely question authorship as it's obvious that Matthew and Luke are plagiarisms of Mark with a virgin birth here or there added in for effect. As for Paul (if there was a Paul and I do have doubts of that), for someone who was a contemporary, he didn't seem to know much about Jesus except that he saw him as a ghost once. Nothing by his contemporaries of history mention him outside of the Bible.

At this point and time, I do side with atheists but I'm open to other evidence. I just haven't seen it yet. Pointing me back to the Bible isn't going to get me there. We are both engaged in argument as we have opposite viewpoints. You seem to think that I went into my fact-finding with the pre-conceived notion of not believing but you know this not to be true. You know that I was a big time Christian 4 or so years ago. It was from that point that I questioned my beliefs and thought it was simply a matter of the brand of Christianity I was attending (we exchanged PMs on this subject). So if there was any pre-conceived notion it was that I was simply in the wrong church. I have drawn a much different conclusion to that and I'm at peace with it.

I will still read material on it as I've said, I'm always open to true evidence but the Bible is simply not enough to convince me as I don't accept it as inerrant or authored by those attributed to it...

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Be glad to. I was referring to the majority of the fraudulent writings starting and not that Theophilus committed the fraud personally (although it could be possible).

I can see the ambiguity in the 100 years statement but while you can say it was Iraneus' point to be baptized, etc. it doesn't excuse that he wrote that Jesus didn't die when everyone else claims but that Jesus was more than 50 when died. This is why oral tradition doesn't hold water with me.

Regarding Antioch, that gets us back to this -- do you disagree that the community in Antioch was started by St. Peter? If so, tell us when it was started and by whom.

Regarding Irenaeus, he didn't really say He was "more than 50" either. The statement is highly ambiguous. But he definitely had the age wrong, so it's problematic. Then again, many Fathers had many things wrong over the years. No one said Irenaeus is infallible. I'm offering him as proof of the historicity of the New Testament and Patristic figures, not as some sort of be-all, end-all historian or theologian.

As noted above, Origen was a heretic. That doesn't discount his historical value.

I definitely question authorship as it's obvious that Matthew and Luke are plagiarisms of Mark with a virgin birth here or there added in for effect. As for Paul (if there was a Paul and I do have doubts of that), for someone who was a contemporary, he didn't seem to know much about Jesus except that he saw him as a ghost once. Nothing by his contemporaries of history mention him outside of the Bible.

You say it's "obvious," but it was never "obvious" to anyone until the 18th century, so what makes you so much better than those who came before you who had the same text to work with?

The fact is, scholarship is divided. If it was "obvious," there wouldn't be a divide, would there?

And scholars agree "there was a Paul," so your skepticism is wholly unfounded. As is your claim that "(n)othing by his contemporaries of history mention Him outside the Bible." There are several references to both Him and the communities of His followers apart from the Bible. You gloss past and ignore those as you do everything else that doesn't square with your revisionist view of history.

At this point and time, I do side with atheists but I'm open to other evidence. I just haven't seen it yet. Pointing me back to the Bible isn't going to get me there. We are both engaged in argument as we have opposite viewpoints. You seem to think that I went into my fact-finding with the pre-conceived notion of not believing but you know this not to be true. You know that I was a big time Christian 4 or so years ago. It was from that point that I questioned my beliefs and thought it was simply a matter of the brand of Christianity I was attending (we exchanged PMs on this subject). So if there was any pre-conceived notion it was that I was simply in the wrong church. I have drawn a much different conclusion to that and I'm at peace with it.

I will still read material on it as I've said, I'm always open to true evidence but the Bible is simply not enough to convince me as I don't accept it as inerrant or authored by those attributed to it...

Here's an interesting observation, as a Christian, you certainly didn't argue in favor of the non-historicity of the Scriptures and the Patristic Fathers the way you do now. So the evidence didn't change, you did. That would be fine if you were pointing us to valid sources and scholarly documentations of your beliefs, but you're not. You're simply taking disputed claims and resolving them in favor of your position, and you're taking non-disputed claims and disputing them.

Then you provide as a source for Ignatius' supposed fraudulent authorship a Protestant flake with an anti-Roman Catholic bias, who makes the claim that Ignatius' "forgeries" were "forged" over 70 years AFTER Irenaeus referenced them in Against Heresies.

If you can't see that you are coloring the evidence with your preferred conclusions, I don't know what to tell you. I acknowledge a scholarly divide with regard to authorship of the New Testament, and I can give you valid reasons why I disagree with those scholars pointing to Mark as the genesis for Matthew and Luke, and I can give you valid reasons why I question higher criticism. Rather than do that for your side, you assume your side is right and use that assumption as the basis for your argument, as you did above with the authorship issue. That's called begging the question. It's not truth-finding. It's shaping the facts to fit your argument.

Finally, I haven't yet pointed you to the Bible as evidence for the historicity of the people depicted therein. That's a strawman. A convenient one, but your exact problem is, as I said many miles upstream, you treat the historicity of the Christian faith like a fundamentalist. Ultimately, you color your whole view of Christian history because you view it with Protestant presuppositions. As I've already noted, Cardinal Newman said "to go deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." That is true for both of us, but unlike you, I let go of my Protestant presuppositions about Christian history the more I learned about it. You, by contrast, still want to talk more about the four corners of the Bible and less about the communities of Christians who were undisputedly existing, persecuted and perservering in the 1st and 2nd centuries, the vast majority of which still exist to this very day. Ignoring that history is helpful to your position, but fatal to your argument.

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If the early writers couldn't even get on the same page (including whoever wrote the gospels) then how can anything be considered "historical" other than being historical in the fact that it was indeed written a long time ago?

Of course I didn't argue against it because I didn't bother investigating it as I had faith in what I was being taught. When things started feeling wrong, that's when I started exploring and I'm not done exploring by any means whatsoever although I'm 95% certain what I believe.

I posted the link mostly for the Schaff criticism. I presented my own logical questions on Ignatius and it's still valid. And as for Iraneus, it's the exact title of Chapter 22 of Book II of Against Heresies! So yeah, he did exactly say it.

"Chapter XXII.-The Thirty Aeons are Not Typified by the Fact that Christ Was Baptized in His Thirtieth Year: He Did Not Suffer in the Twelfth Month After His Baptism, But Was More Than Fifty Years Old When He Died."

I won't go into the re-writes of the Bible, etc. but there is just way too much fraudulent writing all around it not to question it. You say that I'm caught up on the 4 corners but I was the one that said the entire thing was a metaphor. Doesn't really fit that picture that you painted IMO. I simply say that I draw a much different conclusion at this point on the "history"...

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If the early writers couldn't even get on the same page (including whoever wrote the gospels) then how can anything be considered "historical" other than being historical in the fact that it was indeed written a long time ago?

Of course I didn't argue against it because I didn't bother investigating it as I had faith in what I was being taught. When things started feeling wrong, that's when I started exploring and I'm not done exploring by any means whatsoever although I'm 95% certain what I believe.

Well, for one, most of the early writers are incredibly consistent. Irenaeus is a flyer on the age of Christ. Not much of one, but a flyer nonetheless.

I posted the link mostly for the Schaff criticism. I presented my own logical questions on Ignatius and it's still valid. And as for Iraneus, it's the exact title of Chapter 22 of Book II of Against Heresies! So yeah, he did exactly say it.

"Chapter XXII.-The Thirty Aeons are Not Typified by the Fact that Christ Was Baptized in His Thirtieth Year: He Did Not Suffer in the Twelfth Month After His Baptism, But Was More Than Fifty Years Old When He Died."

Re: Schaff, he doesn't say what that author says he says. You cited to Schaff's work earlier, and I showed you where he essentially takes the opposite position you did at the time. Likewise, Schaff doesn't say all of Irenaeus' works are fraudulent. He sets forth the evidence, including the scholarly consenses that they are NOT fraudulent. He concludes nothing in his own words.

Re: Irenaeus, fair enough -- I was going by the passages where he discusses the 40th and 50th years. I missed the heading.

I won't go into the re-writes of the Bible, etc. but there is just way too much fraudulent writing all around it not to question it. You say that I'm caught up on the 4 corners but I was the one that said the entire thing was a metaphor. Doesn't really fit that picture that you painted IMO. I simply say that I draw a much different conclusion at this point on the "history"...

I'm going by the fact that every time we discuss Church history you dismiss it out of hand and then say "don't say 'it's in the Bible.'" Well, I never said it was "in the Bible." I showed you apart from the Bible that the people you say never existed "as they are presented" actually did. Which is why I say, you treat the Scriptures as a fundamentalist, ripping them out of history and demanding they be examined in a vacuum. Much as you treat Ignatius, as another example. The problem is you can't do that in any other field, so why should it be accepted here.

If I suggested your great great great great grandfather never existed, or at least was not who he claimed to be, you'd provide me witnesses who attest to his existence and you'd expect me to accept that. And if I said "well, your witnessess are untrustworthy, and don't show me a picture because a picture doesn't prove who he was," you'd rightly think I was nuts. That's EXACTLY what you are doing with regard to the existence of Jesus Christ, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, presumedly the other apostles, Ignatius and God knows who else. It doesn't matter to you that entire communities started by these men exist to this very day. It doesn't matter that the vast majority of scholars accept them as historical figures. No, you want "proof." Ignoring all the while that these communities, their writings, their testimony and their very existence is "proof." If we ask you to consider that information, you cite to the most outlandish sources to supposedly refute it.

If you're 95% sure on the "evidence" you have provided thus far, then your mind is not open at all, my friend. You ignore scholarship, you ignore history and you ignore ancient writings. But you're 95% sure you're right and all of those things are wrong. And you rely on biased and unreliable sources to back up your belief. If you TRULY want to approach it with an open mind, then read some historians on the matter, and not only those who agree with you (in fact, especially those who do not). I did this WRT evolution a while back and essentially changed my mind on the subject. But in order to do that, you have to be willing to be proven wrong, and right now, you're just not. I've been there, so I'm not being as critical as I'm probably coming across. But it's patently obvious from this side of the fence that you have your story and you're sticking to it.

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Well, for one, most of the early writers are incredibly consistent. Irenaeus is a flyer on the age of Christ. Not much of one, but a flyer nonetheless.

Not from what I've read.

Re: Schaff, he doesn't say what that author says he says. You cited to Schaff's work earlier, and I showed you where he essentially takes the opposite position you did at the time. Likewise, Schaff doesn't say all of Irenaeus' works are fraudulent. He sets forth the evidence, including the scholarly consenses that they are NOT fraudulent. He concludes nothing in his own words.

Re: Irenaeus, fair enough -- I was going by the passages where he discusses the 40th and 50th years. I missed the heading.

Schaff concludes nothing but that's not why I posted it. I posted it to show that my logical questions specifically about Ignatius are based on facts and that there is clearly not a a consensus on the authenticity of the letters. I don't see how anyone can possibly deem them to be authentic when the only thing known about him is the martyrdom story.

I'm going by the fact that every time we discuss Church history you dismiss it out of hand and then say "don't say 'it's in the Bible.'" Well, I never said it was "in the Bible." I showed you apart from the Bible that the people you say never existed "as they are presented" actually did. Which is why I say, you treat the Scriptures as a fundamentalist, ripping them out of history and demanding they be examined in a vacuum. Much as you treat Ignatius, as another example. The problem is you can't do that in any other field, so why should it be accepted here.

If I suggested your great great great great grandfather never existed, or at least was not who he claimed to be, you'd provide me witnesses who attest to his existence and you'd expect me to accept that. And if I said "well, your witnessess are untrustworthy, and don't show me a picture because a picture doesn't prove who he was," you'd rightly think I was nuts. That's EXACTLY what you are doing with regard to the existence of Jesus Christ, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, presumedly the other apostles, Ignatius and God knows who else. It doesn't matter to you that entire communities started by these men exist to this very day. It doesn't matter that the vast majority of scholars accept them as historical figures. No, you want "proof." Ignoring all the while that these communities, their writings, their testimony and their very existence is "proof." If we ask you to consider that information, you cite to the most outlandish sources to supposedly refute it.

If you're 95% sure on the "evidence" you have provided thus far, then your mind is not open at all, my friend. You ignore scholarship, you ignore history and you ignore ancient writings. But you're 95% sure you're right and all of those things are wrong. And you rely on biased and unreliable sources to back up your belief. If you TRULY want to approach it with an open mind, then read some historians on the matter, and not only those who agree with you (in fact, especially those who do not). I did this WRT evolution a while back and essentially changed my mind on the subject. But in order to do that, you have to be willing to be proven wrong, and right now, you're just not. I've been there, so I'm not being as critical as I'm probably coming across. But it's patently obvious from this side of the fence that you have your story and you're sticking to it.

I'm not ripping Ignatius out of history because I'd still have the same logical questions that are based on the facts of history. I mean we have no problems establishing Julius Caesar's existence and he was born a good century before Jesus yet the Savior of the world isn't documented by philosophers such as Philo or Seneca who certainly were in areas that they would know of all of the stories and goings on? Or more importantly, that they did make known Pontius Pilate's personality and ways of conducting himself, etc.

I say 95% because that's where I'm at. Having read Ignatius' letters, having read a good bit of Iranaeus and knowing about the factions in the 1st century, in addition to the known fraudulent writings, it screams of one faction needing to establish itself as the true version and that's exactly what I think occurred. I do believe that Jesus was a composite character drawn upon from the Old Testament and other gods whose time had come and gone or on the way out. And no worries on how it may read, I know where you are coming from. I think it's just the lawyer in ya...;)

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Not from what I've read.

Which is why I suggested you change your reading habits.

Schaff concludes nothing but that's not why I posted it. I posted it to show that my logical questions specifically about Ignatius are based on facts and that there is clearly not a a consensus on the authenticity of the letters. I don't see how anyone can possibly deem them to be authentic when the only thing known about him is the martyrdom story.

But there clearly IS a consensus. That's your problem. You can't cite to an anti-Catholic Protestant flake as a dissenter and then say "see! There's no consensus!" This is exactly like people pointing to Duane Gish and saying "see! There's no scientific consensus on evolution!" It's EXACTLY the same thing. That's why it's so frustrating.

I'm not ripping Ignatius out of history because I'd still have the same logical questions that are based on the facts of history. I mean we have no problems establishing Julius Caesar's existence and he was born a good century before Jesus yet the Savior of the world isn't documented by philosophers such as Philo or Seneca who certainly were in areas that they would know of all of the stories and goings on? Or more importantly, that they did make known Pontius Pilate's personality and ways of conducting himself, etc.

I say 95% because that's where I'm at. Having read Ignatius' letters, having read a good bit of Iranaeus and knowing about the factions in the 1st century, in addition to the known fraudulent writings, it screams of one faction needing to establish itself as the true version and that's exactly what I think occurred. I do believe that Jesus was a composite character drawn upon from the Old Testament and other gods whose time had come and gone or on the way out. And no worries on how it may read, I know where you are coming from. I think it's just the lawyer in ya...

But He is documented outside the Scriptures, and you claim He was not. Now that your claim is disputed, you're moving the goalpost to claim He wasn't documented by the people you think should have documented Him. But to those people, He was just a dude who got executed. The "news" in all of this is that He claimed to be the Son of God and His followers claimed He rose from the dead. And that IS documented by sources that would have an interest in documenting such, not to mention the existence of Christian communities is well documented as early as the first century and incredibly well documented by the second. Similarly, Pilate was not a major figure, and is remarkable largely because he crucified Jesus. But there is archeological evidence of his existence, so if you're claiming Pilate didn't exist, you're on even shakier ground than I thought. This stone identifies Pilate as "prefect of Judea" and was archeologically dated to the early 1st cenutry:

Pilate_Inscription.JPG

So unless you are going to claim it is a forgery (which would be ridiculous given the fact it has been dated), you have to deal with it. Caesar is obviously different -- he was the Emperor, and more to the point he was the Emperor because he changed the course of history to create an Empire. The historians of the time you suggest would certainly be covering issues like that. Jesus was a carpenter from Nazareth and Pilate was a prefect of Judea, a Roman province of little import. It makes sense that they would only be documented by people who had an interest in what Jesus and Pilate did. That includes not only Christians, but those who do not believe Jesus was the Son of God and who viewed Christians as rabble rousing heretics. So you can't even claim that the only people who documented Jesus were those "in" on the supposed "fraud" because it's not true. People who AGREED WITH YOU that Jesus was a fraud still document His historical existence. That's a real problem for you. So the fact that He wasn't documented by the people you think should have documented Him doesn't in any way change the fact that both He and Pilate are historically well documented -- better documented than many other ancient figures that are commonly accepted as "real people," and more important it doesn't change the fact that historians who study these matters for a living and have doctorate level degrees in historical documentation overwhelmingly agree that both were real people who really lived and, by the way, that Pilate was not only a real person, but a real person who actually crucified Jesus, a real person. All of this is commonly accepted among historians, so I'll take their word over yours, particularly with the illogical and selective approach you take to the subject.

Let me say this -- if it weren't for Protestants (Calvinists specifically) wanting to refute Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican ecclesiology, there would be no dispute about Ignatius' letters. None at all. Literally no one for about 1800 years questioned the authenticity of those letters, and we have a pretty good idea of exactly who interpolated and expanded the authentic letters. In fact, of the ones the Church itself admits to be fraudulent, two (if authentic) would be some of the most damning refutations of your approach that could possibly exist -- a letter to St. John the Apostle and another to the Blessed Virgin. These have long been acknowledged BY THE CHURCH to be fraudulent. In fact, NONE of the early Fathers mention any of the spurious letters, but the others are written about rather extensively. So the dispute as to the 7 original letters is a dispute that was fabricated in the 18th century for theological reasons by people who want to justify their unhistorical refusal to submit to a local bishop, and you are glomming onto it to help your case. That's fine -- anyone willing to read up on it on their own will see the paucity of the entire "dispute."

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But there clearly IS a consensus. That's your problem. You can't cite to an anti-Catholic Protestant flake as a dissenter and then say "see! There's no consensus!" This is exactly like people pointing to Duane Gish and saying "see! There's no scientific consensus on evolution!" It's EXACTLY the same thing. That's why it's so frustrating.

But He is documented outside the Scriptures, and you claim He was not. Now that your claim is disputed, you're moving the goalpost to claim He wasn't documented by the people you think should have documented Him. But to those people, He was just a dude who got executed. The "news" in all of this is that He claimed to be the Son of God and His followers claimed He rose from the dead. And that IS documented by sources that would have an interest in documenting such, not to mention the existence of Christian communities is well documented as early as the first century and incredibly well documented by the second. Similarly, Pilate was not a major figure

Caesar is obviously different -- he was the Emperor, and more to the point he was the Emperor because he changed the course of history to create an Empire. The historians of the time you suggest would certainly be covering issues like that. Jesus was a carpenter from Nazareth and Pilate was a prefect of Judea, a Roman province of little import. It makes sense that they would only be documented by people who had an interest in what Jesus and Pilate did. That includes not only Christians, but those who do not believe Jesus was the Son of God and who viewed Christians as rabble rousing heretics. So you can't even claim that the only people who documented Jesus were those "in" on the supposed "fraud" because it's not true. People who AGREED WITH YOU that Jesus was a fraud still document His historical existence. That's a real problem for you. So the fact that He wasn't documented by the people you think should have documented Him doesn't in any way change the fact that both He and Pilate are historically well documented -- better documented than many other ancient figures that are commonly accepted as "real people," and more important it doesn't change the fact that historians who study these matters for a living and have doctorate level degrees in historical documentation overwhelmingly agree that both were real people who really lived and, by the way, that Pilate was not only a real person, but a real person who actually crucified Jesus, a real person. All of this is commonly accepted among historians, so I'll take their word over yours, particularly with the illogical and selective approach you take to the subject.

Let me say this -- if it weren't for Protestants (Calvinists specifically) wanting to refute Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican ecclesiology, there would be no dispute about Ignatius' letters. None at all. Literally no one for about 1800 years questioned the authenticity of those letters, and we have a pretty good idea of exactly who interpolated and expanded the authentic letters. In fact, of the ones the Church itself admits to be fraudulent, two (if authentic) would be some of the most damning refutations of your approach that could possibly exist -- a letter to St. John the Apostle and another to the Blessed Virgin. These have long been acknowledged BY THE CHURCH to be fraudulent. In fact, NONE of the early Fathers mention any of the spurious letters, but the others are written about rather extensively. So the dispute as to the 7 original letters is a dispute that was fabricated in the 18th century for theological reasons by people who want to justify their unhistorical refusal to submit to a local bishop, and you are glomming onto it to help your case. That's fine -- anyone willing to read up on it on their own will see the paucity of the entire "dispute."

I've read the actual documents you point to (Iranaeus/Ignatius for starters). I have not given you an exhaustive list of what I've read so you have no basis to say what you have concerning my reading habits nor how I've arrived at my current position. This is simple presumption and assumption on your part.

I have not "glommed" onto anything. I presented you several questions based on agreed upon FACTS that you still have not offered me anything on concerning Ignatius. You completely missed the point on Pilate. Pilate, while not a major figure, is still one recognized in several different histories with entirely different traits. Please go back and read what I wrote, I never made the claim that Pilate didn't exist--that would be absurd. Yes, Caesar was an emperor but the Savior of the entire world is less important. Not buying that one.

If legitimate sources stated there was a historical Jesus then there'd be nothing to argue about. Everyone would be Christians. That's not the case and it's certainly not as cut and dry as you are making it seem. Bottom line is this: I continue to read and learn but when I read acknowledged fraud, can flat out see that 95% of Matthew is Mark word for word, etc. I have logical and natural questions. When I see fraudulent letters and deemed "authentic" letters from someone that nothing is known about, I have logical and natural questions. Not sure why and where that disconnect is with regards to this discussion...

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I've read the actual documents you point to (Iranaeus/Ignatius for starters). I have not given you an exhaustive list of what I've read so you have no basis to say what you have concerning my reading habits nor how I've arrived at my current position. This is simple presumption and assumption on your part.

I have not "glommed" onto anything. I presented you several questions based on agreed upon FACTS that you still have not offered me anything on concerning Ignatius.

I've offered you the scholarship, which you've yet to address other than to state there is a lack of consensus when the consensus is actually quite clear.

You completely missed the point on Pilate. Pilate, while not a major figure, is still one recognized in several different histories with entirely different traits. Please go back and read what I wrote, I never made the claim that Pilate didn't exist--that would be absurd. Yes, Caesar was an emperor but the Savior of the entire world is less important. Not buying that one.

And you're missing the point WRT Caesar. The historians of the period didn't think Jesus was the Christ, so he wasn't an important figure to them. He was important to Jewish historians, several of whom have documented His existence.

If legitimate sources stated there was a historical Jesus then there'd be nothing to argue about. Everyone would be Christians. That's not the case and it's certainly not as cut and dry as you are making it seem. Bottom line is this: I continue to read and learn but when I read acknowledged fraud, can flat out see that 95% of Matthew is Mark word for word, etc. I have logical and natural questions. When I see fraudulent letters and deemed "authentic" letters from someone that nothing is known about, I have logical and natural questions. Not sure why and where that disconnect is with regards to this discussion...

Well first, it is logically fallacious to conclude that if there were evidence for a historical Jesus "everyone would be Christians." That He existed does not argue that He was the Son of God, rose from the dead, or even if He was and He did that this does anything for us. Christianity is based on the historical existence of Jesus, but it's also based on a whole lot more that people can reasonably disagree with.

You continue to beg the question with regard to which sources are "legitimate." Scholars say the sources documenting His life are "legitimate," but you disagree. I'm not sure what to say about that beyond the fact that you are unqualified to make such a judgment, much less demand that everyone else accept it as a premise of your argument. I reject your premise, and so do the vast majority of historians. Therefore, your argument fails inasmuch as it is based on the false premise.

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I've offered you the scholarship, which you've yet to address other than to state there is a lack of consensus when the consensus is actually quite clear.

The "scholarship" (however you are defining it) doesn't answer the logical questions I asked.

And you're missing the point WRT Caesar. The historians of the period didn't think Jesus was the Christ, so he wasn't an important figure to them. He was important to Jewish historians, several of whom have documented His existence.

And again, they did describe Pilate and it was with much different characteristics than the behavior exhibited with Jesus' death. So no, I'm not missing the point, I'm simply using the history to frame the argument.

Well first, it is logically fallacious to conclude that if there were evidence for a historical Jesus "everyone would be Christians." That He existed does not argue that He was the Son of God, rose from the dead, or even if He was and He did that this does anything for us. Christianity is based on the historical existence of Jesus, but it's also based on a whole lot more that people can reasonably disagree with.

You continue to beg the question with regard to which sources are "legitimate." Scholars say the sources documenting His life are "legitimate," but you disagree. I'm not sure what to say about that beyond the fact that you are unqualified to make such a judgment, much less demand that everyone else accept it as a premise of your argument. I reject your premise, and so do the vast majority of historians. Therefore, your argument fails inasmuch as it is based on the false premise.

"Scholars say" is far too wide of a generalization. His existence is not that open and shut. It's not just me that disagrees, there's plenty of people much more studied than myself that at least have doubt. You can't reject the premise simply because the points I raised are facts:

1) There are many, many instances according to scholarship of fraudulent writings during the period and including some of the same works considered authentic. (Which still begs the logical questions of the Ignatius discussion) By the way, here's an interesting write-up on that: http://www.depts.dre...lenIgnatius.pdf

2) 95% of Matthew is actually Mark, a lesser portion than Matthew but a majority of Luke is actually Mark. This is fact.

How can you reject the premise of doubt when it's based on facts? Further, to say that Jesus wasn't an important figure yet claim the gospels to be eyewitness accounts yet Philo (a true contemporary) or Seneca wrote not one word about him is a contradiction. There's no way that they wouldn't have mentioned him if the events in the gospels were true...

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The "scholarship" (however you are defining it) doesn't answer the logical questions I asked.

Historians. People with doctorate level degrees in history and who study such things for a living.

You know, professionals.

What you said above is EXACTLY like someone referring to evolutionary theory as "science." With the quotes.

And again, they did describe Pilate and it was with much different characteristics than the behavior exhibited with Jesus' death. So no, I'm not missing the point, I'm simply using the history to frame the argument.

"Scholars say" is far too wide of a generalization. His existence is not that open and shut. It's not just me that disagrees, there's plenty of people much more studied than myself that at least have doubt. You can't reject the premise simply because the points I raised are facts:

The scholarly consensus is overwhelming. That there are a handful who agree with you doesn't mean those people are to be taken seriously. They are out of line with all of history.

And so are you.

1) There are many, many instances according to scholarship of fraudulent writings during the period and including some of the same works considered authentic. (Which still begs the logical questions of the Ignatius discussion) By the way, here's an interesting write-up on that: http://www.depts.dre...lenIgnatius.pdf

Ah, yes. A Calvinist. You should really look into the history behind that. When I say "scholars," I don't just mean "Church people." In fact, I'd wager that a fair number of historians who believe Jesus existed as depicted (historically speaking) in the Scriptures aren't Christians at all. Quoting someone with an obvious bias against Roman Catholic ecclesiology is not particularly helpful, though.

....cont. below.

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2) 95% of Matthew is actually Mark, a lesser portion than Matthew but a majority of Luke is actually Mark. This is fact.

Since you keep repeating this "fact," lets set the record straight. First, it's 90%, not 95. 95% of Matthew is also found in Mark AND Luke.

Second, this refers to the CONTENT of the Gospels, not word for word plagiarism. It makes sense that the CONTENT of the Gospels would be highly similar. This is actually a testament to their accuracy, not some fraud. You imply Matthew and Mark are actually the same book. They are quite obviously not. If you have ever read them, you should know that. If you haven't, I'd suggest you start there.

Third, assuming interdependence for the sake of argument, interdependence does not logically equal fraud. If I write a book heavily reliant on someone else's work, that doesn't make the writing false. I'm pretty sure the academic rules about attribution and citation were not present in the ancient world. What you have done is skipped the logical connection you reach between interdependence and fraud. You have begged the question. Your premise amounts to "interdependence equals fraud." I again reject the premise.

How can you reject the premise of doubt when it's based on facts?

Uh, see above.

Further, to say that Jesus wasn't an important figure yet claim the gospels to be eyewitness accounts yet Philo (a true contemporary) or Seneca wrote not one word about him is a contradiction. There's no way that they wouldn't have mentioned him if the events in the gospels were true...

I didn't say He wasn't important to anyone. I said He wasn't notable to certain people (like Stoic philosophers). Philo and Seneca were not from Judea. It is speculative as to whether Philo ever visited Judea, and certainly speculative as to whether he spent any significant time there. So the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate he would have ever run across Jesus, much less known anything significant about him.

Seneca is a worse example. I can't find the first thing saying that Seneca ever visited Judea. He was European, and spent much of his life in exile. I know of the speculation that he converted to Christianity, but I assume you don't believe that, and I certainly do not, so that's really neither here nor there. I doubt a late convert to Christianity would have committed suicide.

More to the point, neither were historians, as was (for example) Josephus.

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Historians. People with doctorate level degrees in history and who study such things for a living.

You know, professionals.

What you said above is EXACTLY like someone referring to evolutionary theory as "science." With the quotes.

No, I simply asked logical questions about how they authenticated Ignatius letters and the process involved. It's nowhere near the same and I still haven't found anything that explains it nor have I been pointed towards anything.

The scholarly consensus is overwhelming. That there are a handful who agree with you doesn't mean those people are to be taken seriously. They are out of line with all of history.

And so are you.

Depends on your outlook on the scholars, I suppose. "And so are you" Objection: Opinion. "Sustained"...

Ah, yes. A Calvinist. You should really look into the history behind that. When I say "scholars," I don't just mean "Church people." In fact, I'd wager that a fair number of historians who believe Jesus existed as depicted (historically speaking) in the Scriptures aren't Christians at all. Quoting someone with an obvious bias against Roman Catholic ecclesiology is not particularly helpful, though.

....cont. below.

So basically, anyone who isn't Roman Catholic or Orthodox you dismiss as having an obvious anti-Catholic bias. Got it.

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Since you keep repeating this "fact," lets set the record straight. First, it's 90%, not 95. 95% of Matthew is also found in Mark AND Luke.

Second, this refers to the CONTENT of the Gospels, not word for word plagiarism. It makes sense that the CONTENT of the Gospels would be highly similar. This is actually a testament to their accuracy, not some fraud. You imply Matthew and Mark are actually the same book. They are quite obviously not. If you have ever read them, you should know that. If you haven't, I'd suggest you start there.

Third, assuming interdependence for the sake of argument, interdependence does not logically equal fraud. If I write a book heavily reliant on someone else's work, that doesn't make the writing false. I'm pretty sure the academic rules about attribution and citation were not present in the ancient world. What you have done is skipped the logical connection you reach between interdependence and fraud. You have begged the question. Your premise amounts to "interdependence equals fraud." I again reject the premise.

And then when you get to comparing Matthew and Luke and realizing their stories of the nativity don't match AND you also add in the fact that there are known fraudulent documents during all of this and it's reasonable to question them.

And no, I have done no such thing in regards to interdependence. It's more than that as I've explained. What I've implied is that whoever wrote Matthew copied off Mark and embellished a little further. Luke was a little more creative and in turn, their stories don't mesh. Add in the known element of fraudulent writings in the time period and that equals suspicion.

Uh, see above.

Right back at ya.

I didn't say He wasn't important to anyone. I said He wasn't notable to certain people (like Stoic philosophers). Philo and Seneca were not from Judea. It is speculative as to whether Philo ever visited Judea, and certainly speculative as to whether he spent any significant time there. So the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate he would have ever run across Jesus, much less known anything significant about him.

Seneca is a worse example. I can't find the first thing saying that Seneca ever visited Judea. He was European, and spent much of his life in exile. I know of the speculation that he converted to Christianity, but I assume you don't believe that, and I certainly do not, so that's really neither here nor there. I doubt a late convert to Christianity would have committed suicide.

More to the point, neither were historians, as was (for example) Josephus.

We know Philo was in Jerusalem and we know he wrote many commentaries on the Jewish religion and of politics of the time. Certainly the events of the story would have merited some little mention.

I just don't buy that one...

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Depends on your outlook on the scholars, I suppose. "And so are you" Objection: Opinion. "Sustained"...

Since historians write the history, this is objective, not subjective.

So basically, anyone who isn't Roman Catholic or Orthodox you dismiss as having an obvious anti-Catholic bias. Got it.

Not at all. Anglicans have the same ecclesiology we do. Lutherans by and large do not, but they agree with the scholarly consensus as to the historicity of the Ignatian letters. Most Baptists (the non-Calvinist variety anyway) do as well. In fact, I'd wager most Christians agree with the scholarly consensus.

As I said, you should read into John Calvin's views on ecclesiology and how that colored his view of Ignatius. The fact is, Ignatius' letters are not only damaging to folks who deny history, they are also damaging to the folks who deny that the Church is organized around the local bishop. Of the Reformers, Calvin took the sharpest position against Ignatius, and it was precisely on that basis. Other Reformers denied that the Church was centered around the local bishop, but claimed that this was an innovation (under the "Apostacy of the Church" theory -- that after the last Apostle died, the entire Church fell into Apostacy). Those folks have no problem with the historicity of the letters, because they consider Ignatius to be in error on that point. Calvin, by contrast, went off the deep end.

Citing a Calvinist to "prove" the unhistoricity of Ignatius' letters is like citing a Lutheran to "prove" the uncanonical nature of James' epistle or a Baptist to "prove" that Jesus never drank wine. There is a bias there. It's ingrained in their theology.

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And then when you get to comparing Matthew and Luke and realizing their stories of the nativity don't match AND you also add in the fact that there are known fraudulent documents during all of this and it's reasonable to question them.

Now wait a minute -- first you said they are fraudulent because they are supposedly 95% the same, and now you say they are fraudulent because they differ?

Which is it?

And no, I have done no such thing in regards to interdependence. It's more than that as I've explained. What I've implied is that whoever wrote Matthew copied off Mark and embellished a little further. Luke was a little more creative and in turn, their stories don't mesh. Add in the known element of fraudulent writings in the time period and that equals suspicion.

"Suspicion" on your part doesn't equal proof. Not in the slightest. Further, you have yet to DEMONSTRATE that Matthew "embellished." You have only ASSERTED such. Your assertion not only doesn't amount to evidence, it doesn't even amount to an argument.

We know Philo was in Jerusalem and we know he wrote many commentaries on the Jewish religion and of politics of the time. Certainly the events of the story would have merited some little mention.

I just don't buy that one...

We know he visited the temple in Jerusalem once. Is that sufficient to form a detailed knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth in your eyes? Did he write about any other people who were crucified at the behest of the Sanhedrin? I agree the details of the story would have merited some attention, IF Philo knew any such details. That's the link you've yet to establish.

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Since historians write the history, this is objective, not subjective.

And not all historians agree conclusively.

Not at all. Anglicans have the same ecclesiology we do. Lutherans by and large do not, but they agree with the scholarly consensus as to the historicity of the Ignatian letters. Most Baptists (the non-Calvinist variety anyway) do as well. In fact, I'd wager most Christians agree with the scholarly consensus.

As I said, you should read into John Calvin's views on ecclesiology and how that colored his view of Ignatius. The fact is, Ignatius' letters are not only damaging to folks who deny history, they are also damaging to the folks who deny that the Church is organized around the local bishop. Of the Reformers, Calvin took the sharpest position against Ignatius, and it was precisely on that basis. Other Reformers denied that the Church was centered around the local bishop, but claimed that this was an innovation (under the "Apostacy of the Church" theory -- that after the last Apostle died, the entire Church fell into Apostacy). Those folks have no problem with the historicity of the letters, because they consider Ignatius to be in error on that point. Calvin, by contrast, went off the deep end.

Citing a Calvinist to "prove" the unhistoricity of Ignatius' letters is like citing a Lutheran to "prove" the uncanonical nature of James' epistle or a Baptist to "prove" that Jesus never drank wine. There is a bias there. It's ingrained in their theology.

Regardless of their theology, they are still "scholars". I do not use that to disprove Ignatius letters, I cite that to show scholars do question the authenticity of them. I have my own logical concerns that I would like to find the answers to and until I do, I will not blindly accept anyone's opinion on it. It's really that simple. If someone cannot answer those questions I asked then doubt remains.

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Now wait a minute -- first you said they are fraudulent because they are supposedly 95% the same, and now you say they are fraudulent because they differ? Which is it?

Quit being a lawyer sheesh. Do you really think I'm dumb enough to make a judgment on something based on one single point? The two are not mutually exclusive and you know that. I reach my conclusion based on the facts surrounding the writings We've had the discussion of the differences in the nativity stories, etc. and I just don't buy the explanation you set forth. That doesn't work for me. But it goes well beyond that.

"Suspicion" on your part doesn't equal proof. Not in the slightest. Further, you have yet to DEMONSTRATE that Matthew "embellished." You have only ASSERTED such. Your assertion not only doesn't amount to evidence, it doesn't even amount to an argument. We know he visited the temple in Jerusalem once. Is that sufficient to form a detailed knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth in your eyes? Did he write about any other people who were crucified at the behest of the Sanhedrin? I agree the details of the story would have merited some attention, IF Philo knew any such details. That's the link you've yet to establish.

I'm not trying to prove anything to you nor am I trying to convert you to my position. I'm simply explaining what I think at this point and how I got there without going over every minute detail because I don't have time to write a dissertation on my belief system.

The bottom line is if either side could actually be 100% proven then there'd be no discussion at all but it's just not the case. In the end, it's about which explanation one finds the most compelling...

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And not all historians agree conclusively.

No. Just the vast majority of them.

Regardless of their theology, they are still "scholars". I do not use that to disprove Ignatius letters, I cite that to show scholars do question the authenticity of them. I have my own logical concerns that I would like to find the answers to and until I do, I will not blindly accept anyone's opinion on it. It's really that simple. If someone cannot answer those questions I asked then doubt remains.

That's the point -- the vast majority of scholars DON'T question the authenticity of the 7 Ignatian letters. And the vast majority DO say the rest are fraudulent.

You, by contrast, say they are ALL fraudulent. That puts you outside the realm of scholarly consensus on the matter. I'm not asking you to "blindly" accept anyone's "opinion" on the matter. I'm saying until you either 1) get a doctorate level degree in history, 2) with an emphasis in ancient writings, and 3) publish on your research specifically into Ignatius' writings in a peer reviewed scholarly journal, your doubt is noted, but outside the mainstream of scholarship.

And that's even fine if you'd just admit it, but you continue down this path of "well, the Ignatian letters are fraudulent and there's no scholarly consensus." There is. And the scholars you cite to demonstrate your doubts have a very strong bias against Roman Catholic ecclesiology that calls into question their own veracity.

So the problem isn't that you disagree with that consensus -- I disagree with the scholarly consensus on the timing of the Gospels and the basis for considering Markan primacy and several other things. That's fine. The problem is you won't even admit you're outside the mainstream on it, and you haven't really given any basis for your doubt other than "I'm not taking anyone else's word for it and I have questions that are unanswered" and then citing to anti-Roman flakes and Calvinist scholars to back up your side. There are actually secular, non-biased scholars that back up your side as well, but they too are out of the mainstream.

As to your questions, they have been answered. You should do the research to know what the answers are before you dig your heels in.

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Quit being a lawyer sheesh. Do you really think I'm dumb enough to make a judgment on something based on one single point? The two are not mutually exclusive and you know that. I reach my conclusion based on the facts surrounding the writings We've had the discussion of the differences in the nativity stories, etc. and I just don't buy the explanation you set forth. That doesn't work for me. But it goes well beyond that.

I'm not the only one who has set forth an explanation. You keep saying you reach your conclusion based on "facts," but as we've seen, the "facts" are just your interpretation of some facts, and your speculation on other things you consider "facts." The "95% of Matthew is Mark" example is probably the best one I can think of. When you say something like this......

"I continue to read and learn but when I read acknowledged fraud, can flat out see that 95% of Matthew is Mark word for word, etc. I have logical and natural questions."

http://boards.atlantafalcons.com/topic/3871788-the-bible-is-a-work-of-fiction/page__view__findpost__p__6816884

....and then you persist with that argument saying.....

"it's obvious that Matthew and Luke are plagiarisms of Mark with a virgin birth here or there added in for effect."

http://boards.atlantafalcons.com/topic/3871788-the-bible-is-a-work-of-fiction/page__view__findpost__p__6814620

....and then you STILL persist with....

"95% of Matthew is actually Mark, a lesser portion than Matthew but a majority of Luke is actually Mark. This is fact."

http://boards.atlantafalcons.com/topic/3871788-the-bible-is-a-work-of-fiction/page__view__findpost__p__6817668

....I'm sorry. You're not dealing with "facts" in any fair sense of the word. You are skewing the facts -- "95% of Matthew is Mark WORD FOR WORD" is just NOT true, no matter how you slice it. That's not a "fact" except in your own mind.

I'm not trying to prove anything to you nor am I trying to convert you to my position. I'm simply explaining what I think at this point and how I got there without going over every minute detail because I don't have time to write a dissertation on my belief system.

The bottom line is if either side could actually be 100% proven then there'd be no discussion at all but it's just not the case. In the end, it's about which explanation one finds the most compelling...

Indeed. I'm merely giving reasons why I find your skepticism wanting. Not least of which being it is so far outside the mainstream of secular scholarship that I seriously cannot believe anyone still articulates the "Jesus is a myth" argument.

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No. Just the vast majority of them. That's the point -- the vast majority of scholars DON'T question the authenticity of the 7 Ignatian letters. And the vast majority DO say the rest are fraudulent. You, by contrast, say they are ALL fraudulent. That puts you outside the realm of scholarly consensus on the matter. I'm not asking you to "blindly" accept anyone's "opinion" on the matter. I'm saying until you either 1) get a doctorate level degree in history, 2) with an emphasis in ancient writings, and 3) publish on your research specifically into Ignatius' writings in a peer reviewed scholarly journal, your doubt is noted, but outside the mainstream of scholarship. And that's even fine if you'd just admit it, but you continue down this path of "well, the Ignatian letters are fraudulent and there's no scholarly consensus." There is. And the scholars you cite to demonstrate your doubts have a very strong bias against Roman Catholic ecclesiology that calls into question their own veracity. So the problem isn't that you disagree with that consensus -- I disagree with the scholarly consensus on the timing of the Gospels and the basis for considering Markan primacy and several other things. That's fine. The problem is you won't even admit you're outside the mainstream on it, and you haven't really given any basis for your doubt other than "I'm not taking anyone else's word for it and I have questions that are unanswered" and then citing to anti-Roman flakes and Calvinist scholars to back up your side. There are actually secular, non-biased scholars that back up your side as well, but they too are out of the mainstream. As to your questions, they have been answered. You should do the research to know what the answers are before you dig your heels in.

No, I have not said definitively that they are fraudulent. I said I have doubts and then proceeded to ask the logical questions. I have been trying to find answers to those questions and have come up empty. If you know of a source, that would have been nice to know about 4 pages ago ya stinker!

You want me to admit something that I simply haven't fully made up my mind on. Again, I have questions--not someone else's--my own. Having questions is not the same as "digging in". I'm not prepared to dig in on any stance at the moment although I do "lean" towards atheism.

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No, I have not said definitively that they are fraudulent. I said I have doubts and then proceeded to ask the logical questions. I have been trying to find answers to those questions and have come up empty. If you know of a source, that would have been nice to know about 4 pages ago ya stinker!

You want me to admit something that I simply haven't fully made up my mind on. Again, I have questions--not someone else's--my own. Having questions is not the same as "digging in". I'm not prepared to dig in on any stance at the moment although I do "lean" towards atheism.

Have you read any of these yet?

http://boards.atlantafalcons.com/topic/3871788-the-bible-is-a-work-of-fiction/page__view__findpost__p__6091776

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