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Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus

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  • Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus

    The journey begins.

    --------------

    How shall we begin this one? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Rather than continue going through the 101 reasons book, we'll go through this one seeing as it seems a bit meatier. As I started reading through, I was pleased to see the topic seemed to be taken seriously. It's sad that I was relieved that nothing was said about Jesus existing at the start of the work. Too many atheists out there think that is some hot debate in the academic world. (Spoiler alert. It isn't.)

    The book is by a guy named John Campbell who I think says he is a lawyer, which got me thinking this could probably be a bit more rigorous. In some ways, it is. In others, I do find myself being disappointed again.

    Today, we're just going to look at the introduction. First, one noteworthy point is that he says Christians have their view of Jesus too colored by Paul. In some ways, there can be a sense in which we ignore the Gospels and go to the epistles where we think the doctrine is. However, the main point to establish is that Campbell says never met Jesus or heard His teachings.

    To begin with, this is just an argument from silence. We don't have any record of Paul encountering Jesus, to be sure, but that is a far cry from saying it never happened. Arguments from silence like this are just weak. Not only that, we have Paul's work in Galatians that no one disputes that says that he met with the disciples for a prolonged period and as has been said, we can be sure that they weren't talking about the weather. Paul would have known the teachings of Jesus.

    Not only that, Clement of Rome was the disciple of Peter and Polycarp that of John. Both of them praised Paul. Hard to think they would praise someone who got the teachings of Jesus that their main mentors had taught them wrong.

    Of course, there is a statement against miracles.
    This is the primary reason historians reject miracle claims–miracles have no demonstrable analogy in the present. They don’t reflect the way we currently understand the world to work. They violate natural laws for which scientists have never demonstrated a violation. Because historians work in probabilities, the principle of analogy requires that miracle claims be assigned very low probabilities.

    To begin with, this book came out this year. Keener's work has been out for some time on miracles and yet, there is no interaction with either of his books on the topic. Second, one can say they don't reflect the way we understand the world to work. I shall blow Campbell's mind and say they don't reflect the way ancient people knew the world to work either. They recognized miracles as exceptions for a reason.

    Finally, it is question-begging to say we have never observed a violation of natural laws. If anyone does say they have seen a miracle, their testimony is discounted. Why? We know that's not how the world works. How do we know that? Because it's never been seen. One would think that Hume would be evoked so at least he wasn't. It's not a shock that Earman's work on Hume was not referenced either.

    We are also told Jesus did not write anything down. Indeed! Most great teachers didn't as Sandy and Walton show in The Lost World of Scripture. Then we are told that the writings in the Gospels are anonymous, despite the church fathers practically agreeing universally on who wrote them. As to why they are anonymous, E.P. Sanders wrote that
    The authors probably wanted to eliminate interest in who wrote the story and to focus the reader on the subject. More important, the claim of an anonymous history was higher than that of a named work. In the ancient world an anonymous book, rather like an encyclopedia article today, implicitly claimed complete knowledge and reliability. It would have reduced the impact of the Gospel of Matthew had the author written 'this is my version' instead of 'this is what Jesus said and did.' - The Historical Figure of Jesus by E.P. Sanders page 66.

    He also says the Gospels contain fiction since even Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, and Bill Craig all say the resurrection of the saints didn't happen in Matthew 27. That doesn't mean first that those people are interpreting it as if it was a fictional account made up. They all say there is a reason for it being there. However, even more concerning is that Gary Habermas has never said it's a fiction at all. I even emailed him to ask him if he had ever said that and received a reply of no, he had never said the resurrection of the saints is a fiction.

    He does say that after Jesus's crucifixion, Jesus's brother James took up the movement. There is no interaction with N.T. Wright pointing out that James was never said to be the Messiah, which would be an easy claim to make if one Messiah figure falls. Perhaps that is addressed later, but here, it is not. He does go further though and say that James established a movement called the Nazarites, or the Way, or the Ebionites. No evidence is given for any of this.

    He says Mark presents Jesus as entirely human. No effort to interact with the scholarship that disagrees. After all, there are plenty of ways for Jesus to show His deity besides getting up on a mountain and saying "Hi, everyone! I'm Jesus, but you may also know me as God!"

    He also says Jesus's family being shocked at what He was doing doesn't make sense in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke since they mention a virgin birth (Which I do affirm), but he gives no reason for this. Was the family to have perfect theology and know entirely the plan of the Messiah from the get-go? The oldest son anyway was to provide for the family and Jesus wasn't doing that. He also wasn't acting the way the Messiah was supposed to act.

    He does say that we can be sure Jesus taught the Kingdom of God since it would be embarrassing to put it in since that Kingdom didn't come. As an orthodox Preterist, I contend that that Kingdom did come. Jesus is king right now. We will see if this is dealt with any more when we get deeper into the book.

    Again, this book is better than most, but considering the most, that might not be saying a lot. We shall see more as we go on through and see how it holds up in the end.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)
    How shall we begin this one? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. Rather than continue going through the 101 reasons book, we’ll go through this one seeing as it seems a bit meatier. As I started reading through, I was pleased to see the topic seemed to be taken seriously. It’s sad … Continue reading Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus

  • #2
    What is meant when Jesus is said to be the Messiah?

    ---------------

    So what does it mean to be the Messiah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    In this chapter, Campbell starts off with listing what the Messiah is. He tells us matters that are uncontroversial at first, such as the Messiah being a king of Israel and a deliverer of the people. Then, he gets to some prophecies that he says everyone, Jew and Christian, agree the Messiah fulfills.

    I am confused by #2 as he says everyone will speak one language when Messiah comes, but the text he references is Zech. 3:9. I went to look that up and saw:

    “See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.”

    Yeah. I’m having a hard time finding it there.

    I also wonder about some of the others. Yes. One day knowledge of the Lord will cover the Earth as the waters do the sea, but what does this mean? I could argue that since Jesus came, to a large extent this has happened. What about Jews returning to Israel? A lot of your dispensationalists would agree. A number of us can’t sign on that dotted line. The same applies to a third temple being built. Actually, when Julian the Apostate became an emperor, he tried to build a third temple to DISPROVE Christianity. (For some strange reason, he died before it could take place. Odd thing that.)

    Campbell wants to say all Jews and Christians agree, but he doesn’t cite any.

    He also says the Messiah couldn’t be the greatest king because Israel already had one, Hezekiah. One would think that if anyone was considered the greatest king by most Jews, it would be David. But what about 2 Kings 18:5 that says about Hezekiah:

    “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.”

    The problem is Campbell doesn’t realize this is Hebrew exaggeration. Look at 2 Chron. 30:26 describing the Passover of Hezekiah.

    “So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.”

    Wow. That must have been some Passover. Nothing like it from the time of Solomon to the present.

    But then when we get to Josiah in 35:18 of the same book.

    “And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a Passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

    The same kind of thing shows up when God tells Solomon that no king will rival him in wisdom before or after. This is just the way Hebrews spoke to exalt a person or event. Campbell sadly reads the text like a fundamentalist, which isn’t a shock.

    He also says that according to Christian theology, Jesus could not have been a dedicated lover of the Torah because He came to replace the Torah and the Temple. Which Christian theologians say this? We don’t know. He doesn’t tell us. I contend that Jesus did not come to replace the Torah but to fulfill it. He did replace the temple, but that doesn’t mean He’s not a great lover of the Torah. All Christians should be. Jesus loved the Torah. So should we.

    He says also that Jesus being divine would negate His human nature. Why? He doesn’t say. He tosses this out there like it’s an uncontroversial statement. Never mind 2,000 years or so of Christian thinkers writing on this topic. Campbell just needs to make the assertion.

    He says God is one alone and solitary in the Torah. We went through a lot of this looking at Anthony Buzzard and it’s not any more convincing. All Trinitarians agree that God is one.

    He also says to deify or worship anything besides God would be idolatry. That’s the point of the Trinity. No one is being worshipped but God alone.

    He says that Pauline Christians looked for any passage that might in some context speak about Jesus. They had no understanding of the context and no problem ignoring it. No. There is no interaction with the church fathers to see what they said. There is no interaction with communities like the Essene community to see how they interpreted the Old Testament. There is no mention of different styles of interpretation like midrash or pesher. There is no interaction with scholarship on the New Testament’s usage of the Old Testament, like Richard Longenecker. Just an assertion.

    He points to the creed in 1 Cor. 15 and says Paul says according to the Scriptures and gives no citation. Of course not. Paul is talking about the whole of the Scriptural message. Considering how timely and expensive letter writing was, do we expect him to list out every single reference he has in mind?

    He also points to Luke having Jesus say similar to the disciples about the Scriptures in the end of his Gospel. Obviously, the only conclusion is Luke got this from Paul. Campbell has a habit of thinking his way of reading is the only way to read the text. It could be that, oh, I don’t know, this is what Jesus actually said.

    Next time, we’ll start looking at the proof texts.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)
    So what does it mean to be the Messiah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. In this chapter, Campbell starts off with listing what the Messiah is. He tells us matters that are uncontroversial at first, such as the Messiah being a king of Israel and a deliverer of the people. Then, … Continue reading Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus — Messiah Part 1

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
      First, one noteworthy point is that he says Christians have their view of Jesus too colored by Paul. In some ways, there can be a sense in which we ignore the Gospels and go to the epistles where we think the doctrine is. However, the main point to establish is that Campbell says never met Jesus or heard His teachings.

      To begin with, this is just an argument from silence. We don't have any record of Paul encountering Jesus, to be sure, but that is a far cry from saying it never happened.
      We actually have two records of Paul encountering Jesus - on the road to Damascus (recounted three times in Acts) and in 1 Cor. 15:8.
      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
      sigpic
      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
        We actually have two records of Paul encountering Jesus - on the road to Damascus (recounted three times in Acts) and in 1 Cor. 15:8.
        Yes, but the account is meant about pre-resurrection.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post

          Yes, but the account is meant about pre-resurrection.
          I see.

          It would be somewhat surprising if Paul hadn't encountered Jesus, since he was brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), and the Pharisees kept close tabs on Jesus.
          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
          sigpic
          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
            I see.

            It would be somewhat surprising if Paul hadn't encountered Jesus, since he was brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), and the Pharisees kept close tabs on Jesus.
            He very well could have. We don't know either way, but an argument from silence is just weak.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
              He says God is one alone and solitary in the Torah. We went through a lot of this looking at Anthony Buzzard and it’s not any more convincing. All Trinitarians agree that God is one.
              God is most certainly not "one alone and solitary" in the Torah. You can't get through the first chapter of Genesis without disproving that idea (1:2, 1:26). John's prologue clearly expands on that.
              Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

              Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
              sigpic
              I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

              Comment


              • #8
                What about proof texts?

                -----------

                Are there proof texts that Jesus is the Messiah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                One statement early on in this from Campbell that is right is that new religions were looked at in the ancient world with skepticism. However, he says religions associated with an old religion like Judaism, would have credibility. He gives no evidence of this claim. It certainly wouldn’t help when it was seen by the Jews themselves that Christianity was outside of them and that they opposed it.

                He also says Paul and the Gospel writers should have been taken known Messianic prophecies. Which ones are these? He doesn’t say. I’m not saying there weren’t any, but Campbell has made the claim and he has not backed it.

                I will be speaking on passages that I am highly familiar with. For others, I will defer to others. Isaiah 53 is an obvious starting place. Michael Brown (Someone who is the leading defender in Jewish apologetics and who Campbell does not interact with once) has spoken on this here. I also recommend the work of my friend Eric Chabot.

                I find Campbell’s claims on Psalm 22 to be strange since the text I understand is difficult to translate and verse 16 is normally read to talk about hands and feet being pierced. He talks about the lions approaching David’s hands and feet except this is not what lions do. This is what is done when someone is crucified. Again, I refer again to Brown and Chabot.

                He also says something about the Messianic Age not having come in 2,000 years. This is assuming a certain ideal of a Messianic Age, likely a dispensationalist one. I contend that the Messianic age has been here for around 2,000 years. Jesus is king right now.

                He also says God’s system was a true prophet would be recognized by the leading sages of the generation, which would explain why so many prophets were killed. Campbell says that this is what was set up to be the case in Deuteronomy 17. Well, let’s see what it has to say.

                Well, the first section is about claims that someone is enticing Israel to worship false gods and that is to be investigated. Nothing there about how to tell if a prophet is true or that the leading sages of the age will be able to tell if a prophet is true. What’s next?

                Next is about legal courts. The idea is that if a case is too difficult for the court, go to the priest and the priest will inquire of God. Everyone must then listen to the ruling of the priest. Nothing in there about prophecy.

                Finally, the last section in the chapter is about the king. These are good rules for the king to have, but there’s no reason to think the king was one of the leading sages of the day. I am puzzled then as to where in Deuteronomy 17 this passage is.

                Next time we come to this book, we will be talking about the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) and the infancy of Jesus.

                In Christ,
                Nick Peters
                (And I do affirm the virgin birth)
                Are there proof texts that Jesus is the Messiah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. One statement early on in this from Campbell that is right is that new religions were looked at in the ancient world with skepticism. However, he says religions associated with an old religion like Judaism, would have … Continue reading Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus — Messiah Proof Texts

                Comment


                • #9
                  Time to talk about the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm)

                  ---------------

                  Are we right about the virgin birth? (Which I do affirm) Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                  Sit back boys and girls. It’s time for some fun. We’re now going to look at the topic of the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm) At the start of this section, it’s not a shock that Campbell jumps straight to “The Hebrew word is Almah.” Yes. Everyone and their mother knows that. Does it necessarily mean virgin? No. Can it refer to a virgin? Yes. How did the translators of the LXX understand it? They understood it to be a virgin, hence they used the word Parthenos.

                  Of course, Campbell does not hold to traditional authorship, so the author of Matthew may have in using the Greek translation thought the original Hebrew had the same meaning and just says that it didn’t. Well, call me crazy if you will, but I think I’ll side with the Hebrew scholars of the time who translated the text into the Greek that Matthew used. They were under the impression that Isaiah was talking about a virgin.

                  Campbell also says it’s clear that Isaiah was referring to his own wife and child in the immediate context. It’s true he could have been referring to that, but that is far from clear. After all, there are a number of people who think the child spoken of is Hezekiah, and I’m pretty sure the king was not the son of Isaiah.

                  As for context, Campbell nowhere attempts to interact with the scholarship on the New Testament usages of the Old Testament. Do a search for Longenecker and you will come up empty-handed. There is no attempt to look at how a group such as the Dead Sea Scrolls interpreted the Old Testament to see if they used similar methodology.

                  It wouldn’t be a complete look at the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) without bringing up the pagan copycat theory. He says that a virgin birth (Which I do affirm in the case of Jesus) was a common feature of pagan gods at the time. Miraculous births I can grant, and even then those are by their reading far and away from what we see in the New Testament. He also says this would raise Jesus in the eyes of the pagans Paul was reaching. Nothing about how that would be dropped down radically by a crucifixion.

                  Here is a list of those “virgin births”.

                  Alexander the Great, Romulus, Augustus, Zoroaster, Horus, Mithra, Perseus, Hercules, Apollo)

                  This is what Plutarch says of Alexander:
                  It is agreed on by all hands, that on the father’s side, Alexander descended from Hercules by Caranus, and from Aeacus by Neoptolemus on the mother’s side. His father Philip, being in Samothrace, when he was quite young, fell in love there with Olympias, in company with whom he was initiated in the religious ceremonies of the country, and her father and mother being both dead, soon after, with the consent of her brother, Arymbas, he married her. The night before the consummation of their marriage, she dreamed that a thunderbolt fell upon her body, which kindled a great fire, whose divided flames dispersed themselves all about, and then were extinguished. And Philip, some time after he was married, dreamt that he sealed up his wife’s body with a seal, whose impression, as be fancied, was the figure of a lion. Some of the diviners interpreted this as a warning to Philip to look narrowly to his wife; but Aristander of Telmessus, considering how unusual it was to seal up anything that was empty, assured him the meaning of his dream was that the queen was with child of a boy, who would one day prove as stout and courageous as a lion. Once, moreover, a serpent was found lying by Olympias as she slept, which more than anything else, it is said, abated Philip’s passion for her; and whether he feared her as an enchantress, or thought she had commerce with some god, and so looked on himself as excluded, he was ever after less fond of her conversation. Others say, that the women of this country having always been extremely addicted to the enthusiastic Orphic rites, and the wild worship of Bacchus (upon which account they were called Clodones, and Mimallones), imitated in many things the practices of the Edonian and Thracian women about Mount Haemus, from whom the word threskeuein seems to have been derived, as a special term for superfluous and over-curious forms of adoration; and that Olympias, zealously, affecting these fanatical and enthusiastic inspirations, to perform them with more barbaric dread, was wont in the dances proper to these ceremonies to have great tame serpents about her, which sometimes creeping out of the ivy in the mystic fans, sometimes winding themselves about the sacred spears, and the women’s chaplets, made a spectacle which men could not look upon without terror.

                  At best we have a miraculous birth. Nothing indicates a virgin here. Even if that is granted, this is hardly comparable to the accounts in the New Testament and is also written AFTER those accounts. (Keep in mind that if it’s contested that this was oral and was handed down reliably, it’s strange that a tradition like this can be handed down for about 500 years, but the New Testament can’t last one generation.)

                  For Romulus, we have the following from again, Plutarch:
                  Some again say that Roma, from whom this city was so called, was daughter of Italus and Leucaria; or, by another account, of Telaphus, Hercules’s son, and that she was married to Aeneas, or, according to others again, to Ascanius, Aeneas’s son. Some tell us that Romanus, the son of Ulysses and Circe, built it; some, Romus, the son of Emathion, Diomede having sent him from Troy; and others, Romus, king of the Latins, after driving out the Tyrrhenians, who had come from Thessaly into Lydia, and from thence into Italy. Those very authors, too, who, in accordance with the safest account, make Romulus give the name of the city, yet differ concerning his birth and family. For some say, he was son to Aeneas and Dexithea, daughter of Phorbas, and was, with his brother Remus, in their infancy, carried into Italy, and being on the river when the waters came down in a flood, all the vessels were cast away except only that where the young children were, which being gently landed on a level bank of the river, they were both unexpectedly saved, and from them the place was called Rome. Some say, Roma, daughter of the Trojan lady above mentioned, was married to Latinus, Telemachus’s son, and became mother to Romulus; others that Aemilia, daughter of Aeneas and Lavinia, had him by the god Mars; and others give you mere fables of his origin. For to Tarchetius, they say, king of Alba, who was a most wicked and cruel man, there appeared in his own house a strange vision, a male figure that rose out of a hearth, and stayed there for many days. There was an oracle of Tethys in Tuscany which Tarchetius consulted, and received an answer that a virgin should give herself to the apparition, and that a son should be born of her, highly renowned, eminent for valour, good fortune, and strength of body. Tarchetius told the prophecy to one of his own daughters, and commanded her to do this thing; which she avoiding as an indignity, sent her handmaid. Tarchetius, hearing this, in great anger imprisoned them both, purposing to put them to death, but being deterred from murder by the goddess Vesta in a dream, enjoined them for their punishment the working a web of cloth, in their chains as they were, which when they finished, they should be suffered to marry; but whatever they worked by day, Tarchetius commanded others to unravel in the night.

                  I have tried to find accounts of the miraculous birth of Augustus. So far, that is not being successful, and it is worth noting that Suetonius has nothing like that.

                  For Zoroaster, the best I can find is that he was said to have come out of the womb laughing and even that was on a wiki on miraculous births that says a citation is needed.

                  For Horus, there is much confusion and a number of myths. If, however, Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis, that is hardly a virgin birth.

                  Mithra was born out of a rock wearing a cap and carrying a knife. Well, to be fair, that rock was probably a virgin.

                  Perseus was born when Zeus had sex with his mother in the form of a shower of gold. Miraculous? Yes. Virgin? No.

                  Hercules’s mother was the wife of a king. (Willing to bet she wasn’t a virgin then) Zeus came to her once disguised as her husband and had sex with her. Again, not a virgin birth.

                  Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. Notice again, two people there having sex. Not a virgin birth.

                  Of course, if you’re an internet atheist, you’ll eat up this stuff.

                  If you bother to look it up, it’s hardly convincing.

                  And I do affirm the virgin birth.

                  In Christ,
                  Nick Peters
                  (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                  Are we right about the virgin birth? (Which I do affirm) Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. Sit back boys and girls. It’s time for some fun. We’re now going to look at the topic of the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm) At the start of this section, it’s not a … Continue reading Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus — Virgin Birth

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    From what I understand of Zoroaster (Zaratthustra) is that there would be three saviors, called Saoshyants, who would be born at intervals of 1,000 years apart. In each case, a maiden was to swim in a pool in which Zarathustra's semen had been supernaturally preserved, and each would be artificially inseminated while swimming in that pool, thus giving birth to the Saoshyant while still a virgin. Sounds sick to me.

                    About the attempt by Julian to rebuild the temple, there are different accounts. One is that an earthquake in Galilee in AD 363 ruined its foundations while under construction. But according to Salamanes Hermias Sozomenos (Sozomen) in Historia Ecclesiastica mentions fireballs coming from the ground and setting the workers on fire. Theodoret mentions violent whirlwinds scattering everything they tried to build. Whatever, Julian's efforts were unsuccessful.
                    When I Survey....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Where did the birth of Jesus take place?

                      ------------

                      Where was Jesus born? Let’s plunge into the Deeper waters and find out.

                      In this section, John Campbell is going to deal with the idea that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Last time, we pointed out that Campbell nowhere argues with scholarship that tries to look at questions of how the New Testament authors used the Old Testament. There’s no looking at how it was done in the Dead Sea Scrolls or Philo or Josephus or anyone else.

                      He says modern scholars say this refers to the clan of Bethlehem and not the town of Bethlehem. Unfortunately, he doesn’t name any of these scholars. He then goes on to say that the reference is to a clan and not to a town. This is a highly unusual reading historically and Glenn Miller has some great material from the sources showing that that you can read here.

                      He also states that Matthew and Luke hopelessly contradict one another in their birth narratives and cannot be harmonized. Unfortunately, nowhere does he attempt to show how this is the case nor does he interact with those who have tried to harmonize it. Finally, either way, we still have at that case then two independent sources claiming that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

                      He also says that Jewish ancestry runs through the father and Joseph was not the father. First off, it isn’t so cut and dry as that. Unfortunately, Campbell offers no interaction with any sources for his claim of that sort. There are even some sources that openly dispute that claim.
                      The Code of Jewish Law clearly states that a child of a Jewish mother is Jewish, regardless of the father’s lineage (or whatever else may show up in a DNA test), while the child of a non-Jewish mother is not Jewish.1 Matrilineal descent has been a fundamental principle of Torah since the Jewish people came into existence.

                      Hypothetically, it could be that these sources are wrong, but the problem is Campbell doesn’t give any for his position and if you have some sources that are Jewish saying that Jewish Law clearly states the contrary, who am I to believe? If I can’t trust Campbell on this basic point in just a quick web search, why should i trust him on any? What kind of research has he really done?

                      So let’s put in a bonus section. Right after this, he looks at Hosea 11:1 that says “Out of Egypt, I called my Son.” Campbell wants to remind us that the passage is about Ephraim coming out of Egypt and it is not messianic at all. Well, so much for Matthew. Right?

                      Matthew knows that it is not a Messianic prophecy, but he is saying this to show Jesus fulfilled the type of Israel here. Israel went down to Egypt and came out. Jesus did the same. Israel passes through the waters. Jesus is baptized by John. Israel goes to the mountain and receives the Law. Jesus climbs the mountain and ends up giving the Law. Don’t expect Campbell to interact with any of this. While I had hoping his book would be more substantial when I started since at least he accepts Jesus existed, the more I have gone through it, the more it is incredibly weak.

                      In Christ,
                      Nick Peters
                      (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                      Where was Jesus born? Let’s plunge into the Deeper waters and find out. In this section, John Campbell is going to deal with the idea that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Last time, we pointed out that Campbell nowhere argues with scholarship that tries to look at questions of how the New Testament authors used … Continue reading Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus — Bethlehem

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                      • #12
                        Who is the child in Isaiah?

                        ------------

                        Do we have the correct interpretation of Isaiah 9:5-6? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                        We return now to Campbell’s book and we’re looking at this passage in Isaiah. Campbell argues that the child in the passage is Hezekiah. Does he have a case here?

                        Not really. Isaiah 7 is the one that starts all of this off with the Syro-Ephraimite war. Judah is being told that they need to join in to resist Assyria and if they don’t, the other nations will destroy Judah. Isaiah tells Ahaz to not worry about the situation. The whole plan will fall apart and Judah will survive.

                        Ahaz is highly resistant to this and Isaiah tells him to ask for a sign and Ahaz says “No! I will not ask for a sign!” Isaiah then says that he will get a sign anyway. The virgin shall be with child! While this is a prophecy of the virgin birth, which I do affirm, the immediate context is not about the virgin birth, which I do affirm.

                        The point of this prophecy is that the child will grow up and before he is done being weaned, the whole coalition will fall apart. The virgin in this case is the wife of Isaiah. She would have a child and the prophecy will be initially fulfilled.

                        Here then is a reason why this cannot be Hezekiah. Hezekiah was of the lineage of Judah and Isaiah would not be giving birth to a king like that. The child is instead Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.

                        Campbell doesn’t really give much of an argument, but since I have said that this is about the virgin birth, which I do affirm, I should further expand on my position. The child in the case of Isaiah was never named Immanuel. Jesus was said to be Immanuel in the New Testament, meaning God with us. This could be an inclusio with bookends of the Gospel being “God With Us.”

                        The virgin birth, which I do affirm, is a greater fulfillment that was meant to be

                        for the whole of the House of David. The greater evil to be dealt with is the evil of sin. The prophecy points beyond the immediate situation and goes to a far-distant future.

                        Jesus is the one that is also truly God with us. Also, keep in mind that the writers of the LXX saw this as referring to a virgin by their usage of the word parthenos. Jesus is the true hope of Israel in the end and the one that is the ultimate sign of the person of God being with us.

                        The other part of this chapter is a look at Daniel 9. There is a lot that is said I understand in the appendix and I have not got to that point yet so we will get to that at a later date. It is a complex issue.

                        We will next time be looking at the effect of Paul on Christianity which I have a lot to say about. We’ll deal with that then.

                        And I affirm the virgin birth.

                        In Christ,
                        Nick Peters
                        (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                        Do we have the correct interpretation of Isaiah 9:5-6? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. We return now to Campbell’s book and we’re looking at this passage in Isaiah. Campbell argues that the child in the passage is Hezekiah. Does he have a case here? Not really. Isaiah 7 is the one … Continue reading Book Plunge: Why Christians Are Wrong About Jesus — Isaiah 9:5-6

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                          We actually have two records of Paul encountering Jesus - on the road to Damascus (recounted three times in Acts) and in 1 Cor. 15:8.
                          I forget, was that Jesus or YHWY?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JimL View Post

                            I forget, was that Jesus or YHWY?
                            Trying reading the text and see if you can noodle it out.

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                              Trying reading the text and see if you can noodle it out.
                              When I moved I had to get rid of everything. I only kept my non fiction books. Besides I was always confused as to whether they were one and the same person or if one was actually the father and the other the son. I mean when Jesus went back to heaven i heard that he sat at the right hand of God or the right hand of the father which was a rather confusing to me if they were actually one being.

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