Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bread and Butter Apologetocs

Image result for The woman at the tomb
Baciccico's Women at the Tomb

Let's go back to bread and butter apologetic. The resurrection debate. One of the most hackney and ridiculous arguments is the "swoon theory" the kind of thing that was big among 19th century liberals who were trying to naturalize the Gospel. Nineteenth century atheists ate that stuff up, and late 20th century internet atheists dug it up and tired to make it live again. The swoon theory says that Jesus didn't die on the cross he was just unconscious and latter taken away by followers, This argumemt is answered  efficiently (if not unnecessarily) Peter Kreeft.[1]  The argument is defended from Kreeft's refutation by the wise old vetran of the message board apologetic wars,  that champion of reason Bradley "literally right" Bowen, in his magnum opus in 32 parts, Here we will examine  Defending the Swoon Theory – Part 7: The “Break their Legs” Objection  (july 2019 Bradley Bowen)   [2] Bowen singles out three issues, the first:

Kreeft argues that Roman soldiers did not break Jesus' legs so that is a  good indication he was dead. They broke the legs of the other two to hasten death. Bowen argues that"

Roman soldiers were not medical doctors, and medical knowledge was very primitive 2,000 years ago. So, even if a Roman soldier was firmly convinced that Jesus was dead, that does NOT prove that Jesus was in fact dead.  Modern medical doctors with modern medical training and modern medical equipment still sometimes make a mistaken diagnosis of death, so a Roman soldier who had no modern medical knowledge, no modern medical training, and no modern medical equipment, could surely make a mistaken diagnosis of death.[3]
This is really non sequitur  but it's argued in such a way as to make one think the facticity of his opinion really counts for something,  but it does not since one need not be a doctor to tell when someone is dead. Roman soldiers saw death a lot. True to the literalistic from of thinking Bowen  assumes that the swoon theory must be totally disprove just to cast doubt on it. It need not be disproved if we have a good reason not to assume it and  and swoon theorists can give us no good reason to assume it then we need not assume it. If Te Roman soldiers thought Jesus was probably dead that is a good reason to assume he was so.

The swoon theory is really outmoded here's why. Let's assume they are right, Jesus did not die he only swooned. He was brutalized and beaten and badly  bleeding before the Crucifixion process even began. The process of Crucifixion  on top of everything else would have been so traumatic he did not just swoon like some Nineteenth century refugee from a gothic novel,   he would have been in shock and about bled to death, nearly drowned on his own respiratory from the crucifixion process, then shut up for the week end behind a stone it would take six men to move. Where's he going to go? What medical care could they give him that would save him assuring they could reach him in time?

The second issue Bowen argues the book of John Implies the Romans were confused about Jesus' death, quotes passages John 19: 31-33  to prove the Romans may have thought he was alive. The reasoning is one soldier pierced Jesus' side the only reason to do that was to see if he was dead. Therefore they didn't really think he was dead. So apparently if they were confused he was alive? Of course they ignore the fact that the sticking would have proven he was dead  because water coming out separate from blood proves heart is not working.  Even so it's that literalism that says it can't be that they thought he was probably dead and just wanted to confirm it. Doubt of any kind always means no God.

Third issue Kreeft asserts his view as historical fact
The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus broke the legs of the other men who were crucified along with Jesus, 
  • while those men were still hanging on their crosses.
  • The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus did not break Jesus’ legs while he was still hanging on his cross.
These are really just one issue (how reasonable is the assumption of death?)  he's segmenting that one issue to make it seem like more.

Bowen castigates Kreeft for asserting these are facts:

"These are clearly NOT historical facts.  They are questionable inferences based on the unreasonable assumption that the 4th Gospe" None of the assumptions Kreeft makes are unreasonable. Bowen labels them so because they disagree with him that makes them un reasonable. His assertion are just as doubtful and just as "unreasonable" in that same way(not my ideology). 

Bowen's "facts"    " good reasons to doubt the historical reliability of this passage from the 4th Gospel:"

  1. The 4th Gospel was probably NOT written by an eyewitness of the events it relates.
  2. The 4th Gospel is significantly less historically reliable than the other Gospels.
  3. This passage in the 4th Gospel conflicts with related accounts in the other Gospels.[4]
All of these ideas (more in fn) are just ideological assumptions no more backed by fact than  Kreft's ideas.

(1) Scholars have argued for John's testily being backed  by eye witness input more than any other.  In the poast coupleof decades devistating arguentshave been nade supportingthehistoricityof Johnadhteh eyewitnsscontent,  The best of these is Jesus and The Eye Witnesses by  Richard Bauckham. [5]

(2) That is an outmoded 19th century idea, its been disproved many times by dead sea scrolls and other work 

(3) Highly prejudicial because he doesns't demonstrate that it biases the Crucifixion accounts, modern scholars have much more respect for John than they did in the 19th cetury when the swoon theory was taken seriously.


[1] Peter Kreeft   (born 1937) Ph.D.  at Fordham University, addendum at Yale and taught Boston college.

[2] Bradley Bowen Defending the Swoon Theory – Part 7: The “Break their Legs” Objection  (july 2019 )

[3] Ibid

[4] these are the additional arguments he lists (he's only giving labels) I will give equally short answers, 

  1. This passage contains some internal conflicts that cast doubt on its historical reliability.[he doesn't list any]
  2. The historical claims in this passage can reasonably be viewed as “prophecy historicized”.[ideological assumption]
  3. None of the other Gospels corroborate the historical claims that Kreeft makes here.[none of them had a witness present in those events but see fn 5]
  4. None of the other Gospels corroborate the closely related historical claims concerning Jesus being stabbed in his side. [GPet does]
  5. None of the other Gospels corroborate the closely related historical claim that “the Jews” requested that the bodies of the crucified men be removed from their crosses before the sabbath day began.[dishonest we know that to be historical fact born out by Josephus]
  6. None of the other Gospels corroborate the presence of the “beloved disciple” at the cross (who is supposedly the ultimate source of this accounthat Kreeft is using as evidence).[see 5]
  7. None of the other Gospels corroborate other stories in the 4th Gospel about the “beloved disciple”.[that's irrelevant those other stories aren't offered as proof of this]

[5] Richard Bauckham, Jesus and The Eye Witnesses: The Gospel as Eye Witness Testimony, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans,2006, no page listed.  [accessed August 10. 2010]

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