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  • Originally posted by psstein View Post
    I would very strongly disagree. Josephus explicitly states the Romans do not require their subjects to violate their national laws. The Jewish custom was honorable burial. There are clearly legendary accretions to the tomb (i.e. spices for the king, never before used, personal tomb, etc.), but an honorable burial seems in keeping with Roman governance during peacetime. We also have evidence the crucified were buried in peacetime, rather than left to rot on the cross.

    With regard to Paul, I would agree Paul himself may not have known of an empty tomb. I think Paul's beliefs on the matter are themselves unknowable. The tradition Paul relates does, with the Greek suggesting rising from a lying to a standing position.
    The bodies of thieves and even murderers might be given to their families and friends, it is true. But I again ask you to provide proof that the body of someone executed for high treason against Caesar was allowed such an honorable burial.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by psstein View Post
      I would very strongly disagree. Josephus explicitly states the Romans do not require their subjects to violate their national laws. The Jewish custom was honorable burial. There are clearly legendary accretions to the tomb (i.e. spices for the king, never before used, personal tomb, etc.), but an honorable burial seems in keeping with Roman governance during peacetime. We also have evidence the crucified were buried in peacetime, rather than left to rot on the cross.

      With regard to Paul, I would agree Paul himself may not have known of an empty tomb. I think Paul's beliefs on the matter are themselves unknowable. The tradition Paul relates does, with the Greek suggesting rising from a lying to a standing position.
      Stein: Do you believe that the empty tomb is important to the Christian claim of the bodily resurrection of Jesus? If so, why, since without guards, there are multiple possibilities for it being empty on Sunday morning.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
        So - "not everything in the Bible is inspired-by-God scripture" - what are your objections? A number of Christians accept that fact and move on. But there is no discrepancy in the Biblical record regarding the birth of, teaching by, death of, and resurrection of Jesus. Lots of discrepancies in the fine detail to be sure - maybe even a third of the number that atheists claim.

        Speaking of that - atheist claims regarding errors in the Bible are 90% wrong. And 50% of the claims take no more than three minutes of investigation before they are shown to be wrong. So how come you haven't also rejected atheism - seems kind of inconsistent to me.
        Are you claiming that Jesus birth in a manger in Bethlehem attended by shepherds and wise men is undisputed historical fact or just that Jesus existed? Are you saying that there is no discrepancy regarding early Christian belief in a Resurrection or in the Resurrection stories themselves?

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Gary View Post
          Dear Tabby,

          I don't understand why many conservative Christians do not understand this point: You are using the stories in question...as evidence that the stories in question...are historical. That is called "Begging the Question". If you read the four Gospel accounts in the chronological order that most scholars believe they were written, the alleged appearances of Jesus become more and more detailed and elaborate, with ever increasing emphasis to demonstrate that Jesus was not a ghost, to the point that he asks for broiled fish to gulp down in front of everyone.
          I don't accept that most scholars are correct in their belief of the order. Luke seems to be the most likely candidate for the first. However, I am not asserting that as a fact.

          The stories are being embellished, for whatever reason! They are being embellished just as "Matthew" embellished his story with Roman guards, multiple earthquakes, and zombies roaming the streets of Jerusalem.
          The most likely reason for such an "embellishment" would involve an impetus of some sort - assuming the gospels were written in the order accepted by most scholars, the most likely cause for more detailed accounts (and in the case of Matthew, a somewhat embellished account perhaps) would be the need to give improved detail as a result of misconceptions and allegations.

          Why don't we all agree not to be literalist fundamentalists and agree on these facts:

          1. Jesus lived.
          2. Jesus was crucified.
          3. Shortly after this death, his followers believed he had been bodily resurrected.
          I see no reason to object to the list. I would take exception to a Christian subscribing to the qualification on point 3, but an outsider can't be convinced of the fact of the third, and I won't expect him to be. After all, if he did accept the third, he'd have no excuse for disbelief.

          If we could all accept these three basic facts, we could call our debate at an end, shake hands cordially, and all go to bed for a good night's sleep. However, my guess is that even the moderates among you, and most definitely the conservatives and fundamentalists among you, will not be satisfied with that statement. My bet is that the fundamentalists, conservatives, and even the moderates among you will insist that the bodily resurrection of Jesus was not just a belief but a provable historical fact.
          Empirically, and sans the demonstrated fact that miracles do occur, it cannot be regarded as proven beyond reasonable doubt. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on viewpoint), I have witnessed for myself the fact that miracles do occur.
          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Gary View Post
            I don't understand why you are getting frustrated. I did not deconvert at the first crack in inerrancy.

            I was perfectly willing to accept a non-literalist interpretation of the Bible. Yes, I was raised fundamentalist, and some would refer to the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod as fundamentalist, but when I was having doubts as an LCMS Christian, I was assured by several prominent LCMS pastors that it was ok to believe that there were discrepancies in the Resurrection stories. It is the message that is inerrant.

            "Great!" I thought to myself. "I can keep my cherished faith but still acknowledge the obvious discrepancies (and Matthew's exaggerations/embellishments) as unimportant. If the discrepancies in the Resurrection accounts were the only issue, I would still be a Christian. Unfortunately, it was just the first "card" of many to fall in what I eventually discovered to be a house of cards.
            I'm getting frustrated because you're attacking straw men and claiming victory. You're bringing things up that critical scholarship knew about 50 years (or more!) ago and claiming it somehow represents a defeat for the Resurrection and Christianity in general. It's a very fundamentalist way of reading things, and one I'm not particularly interested in. The guards are an apologetic legend. Peter's sermons in Acts, while having a Petrine core, are highly stylized.

            Yes, John differs on the date. The vast agreement is the date is near Passover. Scholars have accepted both dates (Meier for the Johannine date, Brown for the Synoptic date). These are not defeaters.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Gary View Post
              The bodies of thieves and even murderers might be given to their families and friends, it is true. But I again ask you to provide proof that the body of someone executed for high treason against Caesar was allowed such an honorable burial.
              The law allowed that anyone crucified could be claimed and given decent burial. If you can provide evidence to show that certain classes of criminal were exempt, I'd be happy to see it. Otherwise, all we have is your bare assertion.
              sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

              Comment


              • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                I don't accept that most scholars are correct in their belief of the order. Luke seems to be the most likely candidate for the first. However, I am not asserting that as a fact..
                There are scholars who believe in Lukan priority, though I think their numbers are few and far between. I think Lukan priority has some issues, but I don't think it's automatically implausible (nor is Markan, Matthean, or Johannine priority, for that matter).

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusa...ool_hypothesis (Yes, I know it's Wikipedia).

                Comment


                • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                  The law allowed that anyone crucified could be claimed and given decent burial. If you can provide evidence to show that certain classes of criminal were exempt, I'd be happy to see it. Otherwise, all we have is your bare assertion.
                  The biggest possible claim is the digesta stating "bodies very occasionally weren't given to the family, specifically in cases of high treason." However, Evans mentions this specifically in the context of areas outside Judea.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                    Scholars have accepted both dates (Meier for the Johannine date, Brown for the Synoptic date). These are not defeaters.
                    John 19
                    14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”


                    Where's the discrepancy?
                    sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                      I'm getting frustrated because you're attacking straw men and claiming victory. You're bringing things up that critical scholarship knew about 50 years (or more!) ago and claiming it somehow represents a defeat for the Resurrection and Christianity in general. It's a very fundamentalist way of reading things, and one I'm not particularly interested in. The guards are an apologetic legend. Peter's sermons in Acts, while having a Petrine core, are highly stylized.

                      Yes, John differs on the date. The vast agreement is the date is near Passover. Scholars have accepted both dates (Meier for the Johannine date, Brown for the Synoptic date). These are not defeaters.
                      After reading your comment that most evangelical NT scholars now believe that the "guards at the tomb" is a literary device, not to be taken literally, I went to bed last night stunned. I did a google search and found a post by "Wintery Knight", a friend of Nick's I believe, who states that even William Lane Craig holds this view. I couldn't believe it! I have watched numerous of Craig's debates and have assumed that his repeated use of the empty tomb as the best evidence for the resurrection included the guards. I wonder how many of his debate opponents are aware of this.

                      Again, I am truly stunned.

                      It seems to me that this dramatically changes the debate. If the majority of Christians now hold this view, I fail to see how Christians can claim that the Resurrection is the "best attested event in ancient history". Here is the evidence:

                      1. An unguarded empty tomb.
                      2. The early belief by Christians in Jesus' bodily resurrection.
                      3. The dramatic change in the behavior of the disciples.
                      4. The acceptance and belief of a shameful belief system that invited persecution and even death.

                      Do you still believe that this is "strong" evidence? Do you really believe that there is only one explanation for these "facts"?

                      Also, have any of you heard an evangelical or other conservative Christian pastor mention from the pulpit that the majority of NT scholars now believe that Matthew's guards at the tomb is not historical? I would bet that the majority of Christians in the pews of evangelical, LCMS and other conservative churches would find this news shocking.
                      Last edited by Gary; 08-17-2015, 11:17 AM.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                        After reading your comment that most evangelical NT scholars now believe that the "guards at the tomb" is a literary device, not to be taken literally, I went to bed last night stunned. I did a google search and found a post by "Wintery Knight", a friend of Nick's I believe, who states that even William Lane Craig holds this view. I couldn't believe it! I have watched numerous of Craig's debates and have assumed that his repeated use of the empty tomb as the best evidence for the resurrection included the guards. I wonder how many of his debate opponents are aware of this.

                        Again, I am truly stunned.

                        It seems to me that this dramatically changes the debate. If the majority of Christians now hold this view, I fail to see how Christians can claim that the Resurrection is the "best attested event in ancient history". Here is the evidence:

                        1. An unguarded empty tomb.
                        2. The early belief by Christians in Jesus' bodily resurrection.
                        3. The dramatic change in the behavior of the disciples.
                        4. The acceptance and belief of a shameful belief system that invited persecution and even death.

                        Do you still believe that this is "strong" evidence? Do you really believe that there is only one explanation for these "facts"?

                        Also, have any of you heard an evangelical or other conservative Christian pastor mention from the pulpit that the majority of NT scholars now believe that Matthew's guards at the tomb is not historical? I would bet that the majority of Christians in the pews of evangelical, LCMS and other conservative churches would find this news shocking.
                        First, thanks for actually looking it up. In the scholarly world (i.e. the world I'm in 95%+ of the time), this isn't even a question. The guards at the tomb are attested in only two sources, one of which is the Gospel of Peter (written about 150 CE).

                        Second, I don't think the Resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history. Having the amount of information we have about Jesus is certainly different. Four biographies of a man within 70 years of his death is almost unprecedented in the ancient world. The crucifixion, on the other hand, is attested in something like 20 or more different sources, so I'd have to say it's the best attested event in ancient history.

                        Third, your evidence is incomplete; it would more accurately look like this:

                        1. The tomb was found empty by a number of women (the women tradition is extremely early and the criterion of embarrassment suggests its truth)
                        2. The disciples had experiences of the risen Jesus, who appeared to all twelve of them, as well as to James and Paul.
                        3. The disciples were convinced Jesus had risen from the dead, in contrast to a widespread belief that resurrection would only happen at the end of history and what we know of other Jewish Messianic movements.
                        4. At least three of them died for their belief (1st century sources for James, Paul, and Peter).

                        Do I believe this is strong evidence? Yes, I do, and there's a very long line of reasoning behind it. I don't believe there's only one possible explanation, because history doesn't deal in what must have happened. History deals with what likely happened. I think Dale Allison's book Resurrecting Jesus as well as a lot of Habermas' work is very fair on this standpoint. As both Allison and Habermas acknowledge, there are alternative explanations, as there are in every historical question. We need to weigh the evidence we have and draw an inference to the best explanation. That is, one that requires the fewest additional assumptions and takes all the evidence into account.

                        As for whatever the majority of people in the pews believe, most of them probably believe the guards are historical. But then again, most people have absolutely no idea how to read the Bible, so it's kind of up in the air.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                          John 19
                          14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”


                          Where's the discrepancy?
                          In John, Jesus is crucified and dies on the Preparation Day, which ends with the slaughter of the paschal lamb (to remember what YHWH did for the Israelites in Egypt). Therefore, Jesus' death is shown as a sacrifice to inaugurate the new covenant.

                          In the Synoptics, Jesus is crucified and dies on the day before the Preparation. Remember, the Jewish calendar works differently from the Gregorian calendar. Days start at sunset and end at sunset the next day.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                            In John, Jesus is crucified and dies on the Preparation Day, which ends with the slaughter of the paschal lamb (to remember what YHWH did for the Israelites in Egypt). Therefore, Jesus' death is shown as a sacrifice to inaugurate the new covenant.

                            In the Synoptics, Jesus is crucified and dies on the day before the Preparation. Remember, the Jewish calendar works differently from the Gregorian calendar. Days start at sunset and end at sunset the next day.
                            ???

                            Luke 23

                            53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.


                            Mark 15
                            42 Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,

                            Evening (οψιος) - begins around 3 p.m. and extends til 6 p.m. - The Sabbath begins with our concept of evening: i.e. 6 p.m.

                            Matthew might take a bit of sorting - the Koine Greek seems to be a slightly disordered account at first glance.

                            But the other three gospels definitely say on the day of preparation.

                            ETA

                            Matthew agrees with the other three.

                            Mat 27
                            62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’

                            The day after the day of preparation: that is, the day after Jesus was crucified - the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate.
                            Last edited by tabibito; 08-17-2015, 12:22 PM.
                            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by psstein View Post
                              First, thanks for actually looking it up. In the scholarly world (i.e. the world I'm in 95%+ of the time), this isn't even a question. The guards at the tomb are attested in only two sources, one of which is the Gospel of Peter (written about 150 CE).

                              Second, I don't think the Resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history. Having the amount of information we have about Jesus is certainly different. Four biographies of a man within 70 years of his death is almost unprecedented in the ancient world. The crucifixion, on the other hand, is attested in something like 20 or more different sources, so I'd have to say it's the best attested event in ancient history.

                              Third, your evidence is incomplete; it would more accurately look like this:

                              1. The tomb was found empty by a number of women (the women tradition is extremely early and the criterion of embarrassment suggests its truth)
                              2. The disciples had experiences of the risen Jesus, who appeared to all twelve of them, as well as to James and Paul.
                              3. The disciples were convinced Jesus had risen from the dead, in contrast to a widespread belief that resurrection would only happen at the end of history and what we know of other Jewish Messianic movements.
                              4. At least three of them died for their belief (1st century sources for James, Paul, and Peter).

                              Do I believe this is strong evidence? Yes, I do, and there's a very long line of reasoning behind it. I don't believe there's only one possible explanation, because history doesn't deal in what must have happened. History deals with what likely happened. I think Dale Allison's book Resurrecting Jesus as well as a lot of Habermas' work is very fair on this standpoint. As both Allison and Habermas acknowledge, there are alternative explanations, as there are in every historical question. We need to weigh the evidence we have and draw an inference to the best explanation. That is, one that requires the fewest additional assumptions and takes all the evidence into account.

                              As for whatever the majority of people in the pews believe, most of them probably believe the guards are historical. But then again, most people have absolutely no idea how to read the Bible, so it's kind of up in the air.
                              Again, I am stunned.

                              I believe that your position is reasonable, although we disagree on the strength of the evidence. I would still consider it very weak. However, I believe you are being reasonable because you are NOT saying:

                              "There is no other explanation for an empty tomb."
                              "There is no other explanation for people in a Honor-Shame Society believing in a never-heard of before, very shameful belief."
                              "The disciples 'experiences' of a resurrected Jesus can only be explained by literal, bodily appearances."
                              "James, Peter, and Paul died refusing to recant that they had seen a literal, flesh-and-blood, reanimated, dead human body."

                              I have no issue with your position. I believe that it is a fair and reasonable assessment of the evidence. You believe it is strong, I believe it is weak. Each person when presented with this evidence would have to make up his or her own mind. But I have to tell you, I would predict that if your position were presented in evangelical, LCMS, conservative Presbyterian churches across the country, that there were no guards, that Peter's sermon on Pentecost is not historical, and other stories in the NT are not historical, you would see a mass exodus from the churches. I would bet that a large number of laypersons would say, "Am I to believe that I as a layperson am unable to read my Bible and know what is God's Word and what is simply human literary additions to God's Word??"

                              Comment


                              • The story of the Roman guards at the Tomb and the Dead Saints roaming the streets of Jerusalem are not the only details mentioned SOLELY in Matthew's story/gospel. Should we consider the following details as literary devices, not to be believed literally?:

                                Passages Unique to Gospel of Matthew:


                                Narrative episodes:

                                Entire infancy narrative (1:18-25, 2:1-23)

                                Peter walks on water (14:28-33)

                                Judas' remorse, suicide, purchase of Field of Blood (27:3-10)

                                Dream of Pilate's wife (27:19)

                                Pilate washes his hands (27:24-25)

                                Opening of tombs of patriarchs at crucifixion (27:52-53)

                                Guarding of Jesus' tomb (27:62-66)

                                Bribery of guards to ensure their silence (28:11-15)

                                Appearance to eleven (28:16-20)



                                Parables:

                                Kingdom of Heaven likened to field sown with weeds (13:24-30)

                                Interpretation of same parable (13:36-43)

                                Net that gathered fish of all kinds (13:47-50)

                                Treasure hidden in field, pearl of great price (13:44-46)

                                The unforgiving servant (18:23-35)

                                The Laborers in the vineyard (20: 1-16)

                                The two sons (21:28-32)

                                The wise and the foolish virgins (25:1-13)



                                Teachings:

                                Beatitudes on meek, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers (5:5-9)

                                On continued force of Law of Moses (5:17-20)

                                Against anger toward brother (5:21-24)

                                Against oaths (5:33-37)

                                Against hypocrisy in almsgiving and prayer (6:1-8)

                                Against hypocrisy in fasting (6:16-18)

                                [To disciples] Go not to Gentiles and Samaritans but to "lost sheep of Israel" (10:5-7)

                                The persecution to come (10:17-23)

                                "Come to me all who labor . . . for my yoke is easy, my burden light" (11:28)

                                Every scribe trained for the kingdom like the householder with things new and old (13:51-52)

                                The primacy of Peter among the apostles (16:17-19)

                                Teaching against scribes and Pharisees (23:1-36) [far milder versions in Mark 12:38-40, Luke 20:45-47]

                                The Last Judgment (25:31-46)

                                Appearance to the eleven, their commissioning to preach and baptize all the world (28:16-20)



                                Explicit Prophecies:

                                [Several explicit prophecies contained in infancy narrative]

                                Prophecy of Isaiah to Zebulun and Naphtali (4:13-16)

                                Prophecy of (Deutero)-Isaiah of silence and hiddenness of God's servant (12:18-21)


                                Gary: Once we start taking a pair of scissors to God's Holy Word, what are we left with I wonder?

                                Comment

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