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Paul’s basket escape from Damascus (Robert Eisenman)

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  • Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
    The appearance of a legal execution needs the appearance of evidence and law. So far, you not have shown me how the priests had any evidence that even apparently warranted his execution. Even a kangaroo court needs evidence, even if it's phony evidence.
    Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.

    And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

    And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

    And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows. (Mark 15:55-65)

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

    Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’”

    And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

    Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

    Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?”

    They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” (Matthew 26:55-68)

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

    When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.”

    But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”

    So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.” (Luke 22:66-71)

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

    So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year... The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

    When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

    Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”

    Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest... Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. (John 18:12-28)

    So blasphemy was the sin that concerned them, and Jesus' testimony satisfied them that the accusation was justified. (Keep in mind, this was the first time Jesus had met the guys at the top of the Jewish religious food chain, and vice versa.) But as previously noted, before Pilate, the charge was claiming to be "King of the Jews," i.e. a charge of insurrection. Jesus subsequently admitted to Pilate that he was King of the Jews, with the opaque caveat that his kingdom was "not of this world."

    John's gospel gives the most detail about where and how "the Sanhedrin" acted and makes it sound like a subgroup under cover of night, meeting in courtyards and front stoops of the houses of powerful men, rather than a formal inquisition with court reporters and the like.
    Last edited by RBerman; 04-30-2014, 12:13 PM.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by whag View Post
      In which case, both their views, for all intents and purposes, are legit and rationally justified.
      Yes, that's plausible. ;)

      When Doug wrote, "Your reasoning seems to be that if it is plausible, then it is probable." It didn't seem he was taking into consideration Paprika's (as you put it) summing of elements. Paprika's reasoning ability is probably more complicated than "if plausible, then probable". That's why I thought it fair game to ask Doug if he was guilty of the same. Thank you for helping me make that point.

      You're right. I read more into the word denial than you meant. Apologies.
      No worries.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by OingoBoingo View Post
        Constantine didn't institutionalize Christianity, that was Theodosius I.
        Sort of. Constantine was the first to give bishops financial support (as well as some civil functions). Theodosius I made Christianity the state religion and outlawed paganism (though how well he enforced this is an open question).

        The funny thing is, we have NT manuscripts older than Constantine - and shockingly, they look remarkably similar in content to what we have today (IOW, most of the rest of Norm's post is errant speculation).
        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


        • Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
          Sort of. Constantine was the first to give bishops financial support (as well as some civil functions).
          True, he did do that. He also continued to patronize pagan projects as well.

          The funny thing is, we have NT manuscripts older than Constantine - and shockingly, they look remarkably similar in content to what we have today (IOW, most of the rest of Norm's post is errant speculation).
          Yep.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by OingoBoingo View Post
            Constantine didn't institutionalize Christianity, that was Theodosius I.
            Really? Are we playing that game? Constantine issued the Edict of Milan that allowed for the legalization of Christianity. He also convened the Council of Nicea that codified Christianity. Theodocius I made Christianity the official Church of Rome - quite a few years after Constantine, as I recall. You are splitting hairs to make sure you "catch" me in a mistake. You know very well what I meant by my statement.

            Petty.



            Originally posted by OingoBoingo View Post
            Do you have evidence for any of this? Earlier when I asked you for major redactions and interpolations that you felt substantially altered Church doctrine, you really couldn't name any. You mentioned the Johannine Comma, which we don't find until the late medieval period (its not commonly found in manuscripts till the 16th century), and it doesn't appear to substantially alter earlier views on the trinity (we see trinitarian attestation in church writings as early as the 2nd century). You also mentioned the Pericope Adulterae, but that doesn't really effect any doctrine, and church writers were familiar with a similar story by the early 2nd century (some scholars even argue that it may have originated with the author of Luke). There's longer Mark, but there's not much there that we don't have in other gospels in one form or another.
            Of course not. Neither do you for anything you think is true about the Bible or early Christianity. You have no idea when John's additions were made. Scholars just "think" they were added in such and such a century.

            I'm just applying common sense and reason with a keen eye to history. I don't get into detail when it comes to the Bible for two very good reasons: a). It's just a religious work - poetry and philosophy. It was written down ORAL history (ever play the password game?) where we have very few of the original documents. We only have copies of copies of copies. It isn't history or science or cultural analysis. b). There are so many agendas by church leaders and political manipulators to make any attempt at finding the truth pointless.

            All we can do is speculate about what really happened. Or, you can choose to believe what the caretakers of your institution tell you.

            NORM
            When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

            Comment


            • Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
              The funny thing is, we have NT manuscripts older than Constantine - and shockingly, they look remarkably similar in content to what we have today (IOW, most of the rest of Norm's post is errant speculation).
              What manuscripts are those? Can we see them? How much older than Constantine? 25 years? 50?

              The Jews were booted from the Christian churches long before then, so I'm sure by the year 200 CE, the Christian dogma was pretty well established.

              So, I'll reserve my right to speculate that between 30CE and 200 CE the message of Jesus of Nazareth was substantially altered.

              NORM
              When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

              Comment


              • It is not all that uncommon for so-called "tenets" of a given faith to undergo evolution.

                Take Judaism, for example. In the earliest sections of the Tanakh (chronologically speaking, not canonically), G-d is rigid, unwielding, jealous and prone to violence against the humans. In later periods (particularly after the Babylonian captivity), G-d is more loving, patient and forgiving and far less prone to violence.

                Flash forward to the present era: G-d is no longer meddling in human affairs. Mankind is pretty much on its own. We emphasize Tikkun Olam instead of divine intervention.

                Islam is even easier to document the changes because it is a relatively young religion. It evolved from an esoteric, ethnically and regionally specific religion to a worldwide, rigidly held set of universal beliefs (despite the very distinct cultural differences between Shia and Sunni).

                Christianity itself has evolved, even if ever so slowly. You can see it most in the pediment frieze sculptures over top of Christian cathedrals. In the Medieval era, Jesus was depicted casting demons and souls into Hell, while post-Renaissance cathedrals show Jesus with open arms corralling sheep and children.

                I think we are stuck in the post-Great Awakening phase in America, which refuses to allow the faith to evolve. I suspect that soon, American Christianity will resemble European Christianity.

                NORM
                When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

                Comment


                • Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                  Really? Are we playing that game? Constantine issued the Edict of Milan that allowed for the legalization of Christianity. He also convened the Council of Nicea that codified Christianity. Theodocius I made Christianity the official Church of Rome - quite a few years after Constantine, as I recall. You are splitting hairs to make sure you "catch" me in a mistake. You know very well what I meant by my statement.

                  Petty.
                  The legalizing of a thing is not the same as the institutionalizing of a thing. And the Council of Nicaea did not codify Christianity, it codified certain doctrines.

                  Of course not. Neither do you for anything you think is true about the Bible or early Christianity. You have no idea when John's additions were made. Scholars just "think" they were added in such and such a century.
                  Its quite a bit more complicated than that. Scholars use historical and textual criticism to help them understand the text, like, whether or not the style and flow of writing is consistent throughout (indicating one writer or many), whether it's similar to literature from that era or a later one, what genre the literature (or even just a passage) falls into, whether its been redacted, interpolated, etc. Then there's the scripture quotes from early church writers. If early church writers are consistent with one another, and/or are consistent with what we see in the Bible, then that gives scholars a clue about the authenticity and age of a passage. And of course, there's the manuscript evidence itself. We have a near whole copy of John dating to 200 CE (P66)! We even have fragments of John dating earlier than that (125 and 150 CE). So when you make the claim that we can't really know what's in the Bible before Constantine got his grubby little hands on it, that's goofy dumb dumb talk.

                  I'm just applying common sense and reason with a keen eye to history. I don't get into detail when it comes to the Bible for two very good reasons: a). It's just a religious work - poetry and philosophy. It was written down ORAL history (ever play the password game?) where we have very few of the original documents. We only have copies of copies of copies. It isn't history or science or cultural analysis. b). There are so many agendas by church leaders and political manipulators to make any attempt at finding the truth pointless.
                  You just spelled out the issue in a) NORM. To you, the Bible is just another book, no different than Moby Dick or Dune, and your posts here demonstrate that. You don't care about the history, the context, the language, any of it. You even stated as much in the Papyrus found Jesus married thread. But see, for serious historians, the Bible is a peek into a world filled with ancient people, places, and events that have almost all been lost to the sands of time. Historians care because it tells something about a world we don't know nearly enough about. Its something that anyone who loves ancient history should be fascinated with.

                  Oh, and the corruption of oral tradition as a game of telephone is not accurate. Prof. Mark Goodacre of Duke University has a terrific audio on the subject here: http://markgoodacre.org/podcasts/NTPod66.mp3
                  As for b) if you can't substantiate it (which you've failed to do), it can be dismissed.

                  All we can do is speculate about what really happened. Or, you can choose to believe what the caretakers of your institution tell you.
                  When the caretakers are teaching at institutions like Oxford, Duke, Birmingham, Munich and the like, I think its in my best interest to take their word over the speculation of some guy on the internet who's read too much Spong, and once remembered seeing Gospel fragments in a collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls in a summer internship he "sort of" took.
                  Last edited by OingoBoingo; 05-01-2014, 12:00 AM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by NormATive View Post
                    What manuscripts are those? Can we see them? How much older than Constantine? 25 years? 50?
                    Hundreds. And here you go http://www.csntm.org/manuscript. You can even sort by century. The catalogue is not anywhere near complete, but it gives you a decent idea.


                    The Jews were booted from the Christian churches long before then, so I'm sure by the year 200 CE, the Christian dogma was pretty well established.

                    So, I'll reserve my right to speculate that between 30CE and 200 CE the message of Jesus of Nazareth was substantially altered.

                    NORM
                    Gotta love the bet hedging.

                    Changes to the text were definitely made when Constantine instituted Christianity at Nicaea...But if we have anything 25 or 50 years before that it doesn't mean anything...Wait, 200, yeah, 200 CE is the official cut off date...Actually, the NT was probably substantially altered as early as 30 CE.

                    At this rate we'll have to go all the way back to Qumran in the 3rd century BCE to find a NT text that will meet your criterion.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                      You claimed that it would be inconsistent, but have not shown otherwise.
                      I am not interested in a debate over how Philo and Josephus ought to be interpreted. If you have read what they wrote about Pilate, and you believe that his adoption of that custom would have been consistent with what they wrote, then further discussion is pointless. We have their words. I construe them one way. If you construe them differently, then you and I are at an impasse.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Paprika View Post


                        Matthew has [quote from trial before Pilate]


                        Mark has [quote from trial before Pilate]


                        Luke has [quote from trial before Pilate]


                        John has [quote from trial before Pilate]
                        I thought we were discussing the credibility of the Sanhedrin trial narrative. I am stipulating, for the moment, that there was a Roman trial over which Pilate presided. The accuracy of the gospel authors' account that trial is another issue, but I don't want it to sidetrack the present discussion.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Paprika View Post


                          Go look up what zealots were in that time and place. Your ignorance is showing.
                          I'm aware zealots were radical, though I'm not sure he was one. Recruiting violent religious nuts probably wouldn't advance the kingdom much.

                          Originally posted by Paprika
                          According to John, the Jewish leaders were threatening Pilate (“If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”) We do know from Philo that the Jews had the avenue of appealing to higher Roman authorities about Pilate's deeds and and records one incident in which they did so, resulting in a chastisement by Pilate of Tibeius Caesar.
                          You mean chastisement of Pilate by Caesar. Your propositional ignorance is showing. =)

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by OingoBoingo View Post
                            If you don't think plausibility = probability, shouldn't your view be agnosticism rather than denial?
                            Maybe I should have clarified my usage when these terms first entered the discussion. In common usage, they're both vague and do admit of overlapping applications.

                            I understand plausibility as roughly equivalent to mere possibility. A narrative is plausible if its occurrence is not inconsistent with what we think we know about how the world normally operates. If it is a historical narrative, then it is plausible if it depicts people doing the sorts of things we are accustomed to seeing people do at all times and places, and the specifics are consistent with everything else we think we know about events that were happening in that place at that time. A narrative can be plausible in that sense even if we have no good reason to believe that it is a true narrative. But if it is implausible, then we have a good prima facie reason to believe it is false. And it is implausible if it is inconsistent with human nature in general or with historical facts as established independently of the narrative in question.

                            Probability goes to the issue of how justified we are in believing that it actually did happen. This can get very complicated, because in my epistemology, probability means Bayesian probability. To keep things as simple as possible, at this point I will offer this criterion as a first approximation: A narrative is probable if all available evidence establishes more than a 50 percent probability that it actually occurred.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                              I thought we were discussing the credibility of the Sanhedrin trial narrative. I am stipulating, for the moment, that there was a Roman trial over which Pilate presided. The accuracy of the gospel authors' account that trial is another issue, but I don't want it to sidetrack the present discussion.
                              You said that
                              According to the story, Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world." I don't see that as a confirmation of the priests' accusation.

                              And I'm still looking for the evidence that the priests were using to support their accusation. Real evidence. Manufactured evidence. Whatever. Or did they expect Pilate to just take their word for it when they said, "This man claims to be our rightful king"?
                              My point of quoting the gospels is that they depict Jesus as admitting to Pilate that he was a king.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                                I am not interested in a debate over how Philo and Josephus ought to be interpreted. If you have read what they wrote about Pilate, and you believe that his adoption of that custom would have been consistent with what they wrote, then further discussion is pointless. We have their words. I construe them one way. If you construe them differently, then you and I are at an impasse.
                                All right. I merely thought that you might be interested in presenting your view of the matter.

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