Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How many times was Jesus Burried?

We have all heard about the Get discovery by now, the bones of Jesus have suppossedly been found in a tomb in Jerusalem. The director of Titanic, Commeon is going to make a film about it. Of cousre the scholarly wrold thinks little of it and has actually heap scorn upon it.

What do theguys who think Jesus was burreid in Kashmir think abou the Cameron film? There is also another group who says he was burried in Japan.

In 1935, Kiyomaro Takeuchi discovered 1900 year old document stored in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, containing evidence, that Jesus (Joshua) born in Bethlehem to virgin Mary is buried in Herai Village in Aomori district of Japan. The document contained also Jesus will, requesting that his brother's tomb to be located next to his. The document was SO authentic and news so explosive at the time, that the Japanese government banned the document from public view and kept it locked in a museum in Tokyo. During World War II Tokyo was severely bombed and the museum with all documents was allegedly destroyed. Luckily, Takeuchi family made copies of the document before surrendering it to officials. Copies preserved by the Takeuchi family survived to this day.

How many tombs did he have? How many times did he stay dead?

I saw on ABC news today that 70 tombs in Israel have the name "Jesus" on them and date to the time of Christ.

I am also anxious to see Jesus mythers try to sort out the dilemma; they can disprove Christianity, which is their big dream, with this new info, but they must admit he was a guy in history in order to do that.

Another probelm I can't seem to get an answer to is to what will they compare the DNA? they keep skwaking about testign it as though they have some sample of Jesus DNA to see if it is really him. Of course they do not, but I'm sure they will continue to boat. "DNA tested."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Answering Doherty 3

The Cross and the Tomb

Doherty says:

"Only in Justin Martyr, writing in the 150s, do we find the first identifiable quotations from some of the Gospels, though he calls them simply "memoirs of the Apostles," with no names." This is already been disproved. I've already pointed out quotations and allusions in all the major Apostolic fathers, in Paul and in pre Mark Redaction. Doherty seems mainly to be carping on the fact that no one sties chapter and verse, as though he doesn't know they didn't write in chapters and verses.

Doherty evokes Koster, but as we see with the myther penchant for quoting Cumont, it's cleary he has not read Koster closely enough:

"Scholars such as Helmut Koester have concluded that earlier "allusions" to Gospel-like material are likely floating traditions which themselves found their way into the written Gospels. (See Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels and his earlier Synoptische Uberlieferung bei den apostolischen Vatern.) Is it conceivable that the earliest account of Jesus' life and death could have been committed to writing as early as 70 (or even earlier, as some would like to have it), and yet the broader Christian world took almost a century to receive copies of it?"

But what does Koester really say? Here he speaks of how Papyrus Egerton 2 indicates an independent tradition, but that tradition is common with the canonical matieral and the cross and tomb are part of that tradition.


"There are two solutions that are equally improbable. It is unlikely that the pericope in Egerton 2 is an independent older tradition. It is equally hard to imagine that anyone would have deliberately composed this apophthegma by selecting sentences from three different Gospel writings. There are no analogies to this kind of Gospel composition because this pericope is neither a harmony of parallels from different Gospels, nor is it a florogelium. If one wants to uphold the hypothesis of dependence upon written Gospels one would have to assume that the pericope was written form memory....What is decisive is that there is nothing in the pericope that reveals redactional features of any of the Gospels that parallels appear. The author of Papyrus Egerton 2 uses independent building blocks of sayings for the composition of this dialogue none of the blocks have been formed by the literary activity of any previous Gospel writer. If Papyrus Egerton 2 is not dependent upon the Fourth Gospel it is an important witness to an earlier stage of development of the dialogues of the fourth Gospel....(Koester , 3.2 p.215)

But that earlier stage, and therefore the independent tradition is independent in that it is not merely copied form the canonical Gospels, but it does stand behind them as part of the material upon which they draw. But that material included almost word for word what is the canonicals, this table is but two examples presented by Koster:

Egerton 2: "And behold a leper came to him and said "Master Jesus, wandering with lepers and eating with them in the inn, I therefore became a leper. If you will I shall be clean. Accordingly the Lord said to him "I will, be clean" and immediately the leprosy left him.

Mark 1:40: And the leper came to him and beseeching him said '[master?] if you will you can make me clean. And he stretched out his hands and touched him and said "I will be clean" and immediately the leprosy left him.

Egerton 2: "tell us is it permitted to give to Kings what pertains to their rule? Tell us, should we give it? But Jesus knowing their intentions got angry and said "why do you call me teacher with your mouth and do not what I say"?

Mark 12:13-15: Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them or not? But knowing their hypocrisy he said to them "why do you put me to the test, show me the coin?"

As we can see these are the same stories, they are in a slightely different form, older (according to Koster) than those found in the canonicals, but basically the same stories. If we must assume that the tradition was a whole, why would the Orthodox just barrow from certain stories of a tradition that was totally alien to their view? The tradition as a whole must have included the cross and the tomb, and the textual evidence shows that these elements are part of the PMR and are as old as the writing itself.

Gospel of Peter

Fragments of the Gospel of Peter were found in 1886 /87 in Akhimim, upper Egypt. These framents were from the 8th or 9th century. No other fragment was found for a long time until one turned up at Oxyrahynchus, which were written in 200 AD. Bishop Serapion of Antioch made the statement prior to 200 that a Gospel had been put forward in the name of Peter. This statement is preserved by Eusebius who places Serapion around 180. But the Akhimim fragment contains three periciopes. The Resurrection, to which the guards at the tomb are witnesses, the empty tomb, or which the women are witnesses, and an epiphany of Jesus appearing to Peter and the 12, which end the book abruptly.

Many features of the Gospel of Peter are clearly from secondary sources, that is reworked versions of the canonical story. These mainly consist of 1) exaggerated miracles; 2) anti-Jewish polemic.The cross follows Jesus out of the tomb, a voice from heaven says "did you preach the gospel to all?" The cross says "Yea." And Pilate is totally exonerated, the Jews are blamed for the crucifixion. (Koester, p.218). However, "there are other traces in the Gospel of Peter which demonstrate an old and independent tradition." The way the suffering of Jesus is described by the use of passages from the old Testament without quotation formulae is, in terms of the tradition, older than the explicit scriptural proof; it represents the oldest form of the passion of Jesus. (Philipp Vielhauer, Geschichte, 646] Jurgen Denker argues that the Gospel of Peter shares this tradition of OT quotation with the Canonicals but is not dependent upon them. (In Koester p.218) Koester writes, "John Dominic Crosson has gone further [than Denker]...he argues that this activity results in the composition of a literary document at a very early date i.e. in the middle of the First century CE" (Ibid). Said another way, the interpretation of Scripture as the formation of the passion narrative became an independent document, a ur-Gospel, as early as the middle of the first century!

Corosson's Cross Gospel is this material in the Gospel of Peter through which, with the canonicals and other non-canonical Gospels Crosson constructs a whole text. According to the theory, the earliest of all written passion narratives is given in this material, is used by Mark, Luke, Matthew, and by John, and also Peter. Peter becomes a very important 5th witness. Koester may not be as famous as Crosson but he is just as expert and just as liberal. He takes issue with Crosson on three counts:

1) no extant text,its all coming form a late copy of Peter,

2) it assumes the literary composition of latter Gospels can be understood to relate to the compositions of earlier ones;

3) Koester believes that the account ends with the empty tomb and has independent sources for the epihanal material.


"A third problem regarding Crossan's hypotheses is related specifically to the formation of reports about Jesus' trial, suffering death, burial, and resurrection. The account of the passion of Jesus must have developed quite eary because it is one and the same account that was used by Mark (and subsequently Matthew and Luke) and John and as will be argued below by the Gospel of Peter. However except for the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection in the various gospels cannot derive from a single source, they are independent of one another. Each of the authors of the extant gospels and of their secondary endings drew these epiphany stories from their own particular tradition, not form a common source." (Koester, p. 220)

"Studies of the passion narrative have shown that all gospels were dependent upon one and the same basic account of the suffering, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. But this account ended with the discovery of the empty tomb. With respect to the stories of Jesus' appearances, each of the extant gospels of the canon used different traditions of epiphany stories which they appended to the one canon passion account. This also applies to the Gospel of Peter. There is no reason to assume that any of the epiphany stories at the end of the gospel derive from the same source on which the account of the passion is based."(Ibid)

What this means is that the indiviudal sittings of Jesus at the end of the Gospels came from different soruces, were perhaps embellishements, but the basic stroy, the basic tradition from which all the other sources, canonicals, Peter, Thoams, Q, Egerton 2 all of them derive, included the cross and the tomb.

Raymond Brown, in Death of the Messiah demonstrates brilliantly that the story of the guards on the tomb as reported in Peter is not derived from Matthew, but is an independent tradition, perhaps as old or older. He demonstrates the independence of Peter's Passion narrative and tomb sequences in a huge and brilliantly constructed chart, which cannot be reproduced here, but which is elaborate. He uses the same argument that Koester uses above, not one forged s a document or redacts or copies a document by taking every other word. When one finds this kind of divergence in the wroking is indicates a separate tradition.

GPet follow the classical flow from trail through crucifixion to burial to tomb presumably with post resurrectional appearances to follow. The GPet sequence of individual episodes, however, is not the same as that of any can canonical Gospel...When one looks at the overall sequence in the 23 items I listed in table 10, it would take very great imagination to picture the author of GPet studying Matthew carefully, deliberately shifting episodes around and copying in episodes form Luke and John to produce the present sequence. [Brown, Death of the Messiah, 1322]

This work Brown did upon the indepdent tradition of GPet was the work that made his initial reputation as a major scholar.

Gospel of the Hebrews

We do not possess any copies of this work. It exists only in quotations from church fathers, but that's the similar sitaution with Q as well. GHebrews includes the atonement and the resurrection, and the tradition is independent of the canonicals and is traced to mid fist century. This gives us several sources that show a pre Mark tradition not derived from the canonical Gospels that is at least as old as the hypothetical tradition to which Doherty alludes; it contains Jesus, it contains the corss and the tomb:

Peter Kirby:
Early Christian Writings, Gospel of the Hebrews.

Unlike other Jewish-Christian gospels, the Gospel of the Hebrews shows no dependence upon the Gospel of Matthew. The story of the first resurrection appearance to James the Just suggests that the Jewish-Christian community that produced this document claimed James as their founder. It is reasonable to assume that the remainder of the gospel is synoptic in flavor. The Gospel of the Hebrews seems to be independent of the New Testament in the quoted portions; unfortunately, since the gospel is not extant, it is difficult to know whether unquoted portions of the Gospel of the Hebrews might show signs of dependence.

Cameron makes these observations on dating and provenance: "The earliest possible date of the composition of the Gospel of the Hebrews would be in the middle of the first century, when Jesus traditions were first being produced and collected as part of the wisdom tradition. The latest possible date would be in the middle of the second century, shortly before the first reference to this gospel by Hegesippus and the quotations of it by Clement and Origen. Based on the parallels in the morphology of the tradition, an earlier date of composition is more likely than a later one. Internal evidence and external attestation indicate that Egypt was its place of origin."

Peter Kirby gives a good summary of the ms attesttation of Thaoms:

The Gospel of Thomas is extant in three Greek fragments and one Coptic manuscript. The Greek fragments are P. Oxy. 654, which corresponds to the prologue and sayings 1-7 of the Gospel of Thomas; P. Oxy. 1, which correponds to the Gospel of Thomas 26-30, 77.2, 31-33; and P. Oxy. 655, which corresponds to the Gospel of Thomas 24 and 36-39. P. Oxy 1 is dated shortly after 200 CE for paleographical reasons, and the other two Greek fragments are estimated to have been written in the mid third century. The Coptic text was written shortly before the year 350 CE.

Even though scholars date the actaul MS to the third or fourth century, a large camp of scholars, including those who discovered Thomas, date the actual writing in middle first century.Does this work indicate a separate tradition growing up along side the canonical Gospels, a tradition that lacked the cross and the empty tomb? It does constitute a MS tradition that is not derived from the canonical Gospels, but that is not proof of "another" Church that lacked the atonement or the resurrection as central pillars of its testimony to Jesus. What it proves is that by the time these sources manifest themselves as second century or later Gnostic "other Gospels" they are minus those elements because the Gnostics would allow them to slip out. First, piece of proof on this point,GThom was heavily redacted. In fact we possess it four separate versions:

Ron Cameron (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 535):

Substantial differences do exist between the Greek fragments and the Coptic text. These are best explained as variants resulting from the circulation of more than one Greek edition of Gos. Thom. in antiquity. The existence of three different copies of the Greek text of Gos. Thom. does give evidence of rather frequent copying of this gospel in the 3d century. According to the critical edition of the Greek text by Attridge (in Layton 1989: 99), however, even though these copies do not come from a single ms, the fragmentary state of the papyri does not permit one to determine whether any of the mss "was copied from one another, whether they derive independently from a single archetype, or whether they represent distinct recensions." It is clear, nevertheless, that Gos. Thom. was subject to redaction as it was transmitted. The presence of inner-Coptic errors in the sole surviving translation, moreover, suggests that our present Gos. Thom. is not the first Coptic transcription made from the Greek. The ms tradition indicates that this gospel was appropriated again and again in the generations following its composition. Like many other gospels in the first three centuries, the text of Gos. Thom. must be regarded as unstable.

It would seem that the tradition of the Gospel of Thomas is varied and the text has been through several redactions.

Arguing Thomas' independence from the Synoptics Stephen J. Patterson(quoted by Kirby) compares the wording of each saying in Thomas to its synoptic counterpart with the conclusion that Thomas represents an autonomous stream of tradition (The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus, p. 18):

Patterson (quoted by Kirby): If Thomas were dependent upon the synoptic gospels, it would be possible to detect in the case of every Thomas-synoptic parallel the same tradition-historical development behind both the Thomas version of the saying and one or more of the synoptic versions. That is, Thomas' author/editor, in taking up the synoptic version, would have inherited all of the accumulated tradition-historical baggage owned by the synoptic text, and then added to it his or her own redactional twist. In the following texts this is not the case. Rather than reflecting the same tradition-historical development that stands behind their synoptic counterparts, these Thomas sayings seem to be the product of a tradition-history which, though exhibiting the same tendencies operative within the synoptic tradition, is in its own specific details quite unique. This means, of course, that these sayings are not dependent upon their synoptic counterparts, but rather derive from a parallel and separate tradition.

That proves that GThom was independent, that it was not derived by copying the canonicals, but it doesn't prove that saying pertaining to the Cross and the Tomb weren't just left out. Cameron argues that he can prove this:

Cameron (537) quoted by Kirby:

Those who argue that Gos. Thom. is dependent on the Synoptics not only must explain the differences in wording and order, but also give a reason for Gos. Thom.'s choice of genre and the absence of the gospels' narrative material in the text. To assert, for example, that Gos. Thom. erased the passion narratives because Gnosticism was concerned solely with a redeeming message contained in words of revelation (Haenchen 1961: 11) is simply not convincing, since the Apocryphon of James (NHC I, 2), the Second treatise of the Great Seth (NHC VII, 2), and the Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII, 3) all indicate that sayings of and stories about the death and resurrection of Jesus were reinterpreted by various gnostic groups. For any theory of dependence of Gos. Thom. on the NT to be made plausible, one must show that the variations in form and content of their individual sayings, together with the differences in genre and structure of their entire texts, are intential modifications of their respective parallels, designed to serve a particular purpose.

This last criterion that Cameron lays down, that "the variations in form and content of their individual sayings, together with differences in genre and structure of their entire texts, are intentional modifications of their respective parallels, designed to serve a particular purpose," why is it necessary to show that? All they had to do was leave out the bits about the cross and the resurrection. If we assume that both canonicals and GThom have a common ancestor, some group or body of sayings that they both draw from, that's pretty obvious, or there would not be such parallels, the Gnostic use of that tradition could very as greatly as just leaving out the key expressions of doctrines hey no longer included in their tradition. There are numerous parallels not only between GThom and canonicals, but E2 and the canonicals. So it's clear that these "other gospels" drew upon the same parent sources, since it is equally clear that they did not just copy the canonicals. This might indicate that the groups producing Q, Thomas and E 2 did not use sayings pertaining to the cross and the resurrection. There is evidence that they had traditions that hinted at them, and the heavy redaction might indicate purging of such sayings. Let us not forget we are dealing with sayings and not narrative. Talk of context is not the same as if we were dealing with the expunging of a part of the plot in a narrative structure. All they have to do is leave out certain sayings. There are hints this may have been done. We can see from the chart above (paralels between E2 and John) that there are passes that deal with arresting Jesus and doing violence to him. That opens the door to the possibility that cross sayings have been expunged from the overall tradition.

Let us just assume for a moment that Doherty's hypothetical case is true and there was a Q community that is also represented in general by other words, such as E2 and GThom. The overall tradition must have at one time included some refernces to arrest and violence toward Jesus. Thus I am arguing two things:

(1) the door is open through the heavily redacted nature of the ms to have expunged sayings not in harmony with group ideology, at some later point of transmission after the composition of the individual works. if not

(2) good indications exist that some notion of Jesus being arrested and killed existed in the general tradition and were merely not included, either left out of these individual works (Q, E2, GThom) or they fell out before the composition of these works.

As to the argument that other Gnostics deal with the cross and the tomb, so why not these? The reason for that might be because those other works were not part of the early tradition. If these sources under discussion emerged form the mid first century, the other works Cameron mentions (Apocryphon of James, Seth literature from Nag Hammadi) were much latter works. The latter came form after the Orthodox chruch was more pervasive and the passion and resurrection were undisputed; those events had gained so much ground in the story they could not be ignored. In the early days, the mid firs century, groups that looked down upon the flesh and dephasized or were embarrassed by those events merely left them out and stopped dealing with them at some point. So they were either expunged from the parent sources that E2 and GThom used,(meaning the source itself was reshaped to exclude them) or they just weren't included in latter copies from which these latter were produced. At that point, only 18 years after the original events, in the groups of the original community, eye witnesses would still be alive to correct error, but in rough groups breaking off or in groups scattered far away (Egypt, Antioch) they would have been able to de-emphasize the cross at that time. Basically we need more information before we really know what the infant church taught.

Now we must turn Doherty's fantasy of a "Q community" because it is the crux of his whole argument. That is where he develops the idea of this "other tradition" that began as the original infant church.

Aside from all that, the Gosple of Thomas does actaully contain a reference to the cross of Christ:

Jesus said: He who does not hate his father and his mother cannot be a disciple to me. And (he who does not) hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross like me, will not be worthy of me

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Was Einstein the Greatest Thinker?

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A lot of people, on either side of the God divide, want to think that Einstein was on their side. That's because he is the icon of billiance. But he is ony so because he was in science. Science is assumed to be the umpire of reality. science is used in a socially constructed way to orbitrate for us in epistemic and ontological matters. Of course this is not really the way it should be, since philosophy as a discipline contians sub discipolines for both epistemology and ontology. But science offers us a concrete working proof of its validty; we can build bridges. People think in concrete terms, nothing suceeds like sucess.

It's not really intellect at all, but performance that dirves this sense of scinece as the only surce of true knowledge. It might be schocking to a lot of people to know that there are other thinkers in history who might well be more intelligent than Einstein. A lot of people would never accept that, just because they weren't in science.

some of these guys include, Goethe, Bekeley, Schweitzer, Has urs Von Balthasar (that would really be a shocker since he was a priest).

Goethe actually did science was an early contributer to theories of evolution before Darwin. He discovered a certain bone in the body that was not known befroe, that contributed to Wallace's version of evolution. But he was mainly a poet, playright, worte the ealry novel, and in general a renaissance man. Professionally he was a beurocrat.

Berekely was a philosopher who took on Newton's understanding of Philosophy and produced a different version of materiailsm that allowed for the spirit. Schweitzer mastered four brilliant careers at once. He was a theologian, an expert on building and playing organs (a concert organist) Philosopher, and Bible scholar who set the future of Eschatology and the study of historical Jesus on course with his Quest of the Historical Jesus, then after all that he became a doctor and moved to the jungle to spend the rest of his life treating leppers. He did some of the most important work in textual criticism of the ninetten century while in fox hole on militariy maneuvers on the cusp of WWI.

Balthasar is the least known, but highly accomplished. He spent his career hidden away in the Vatican except for his theological writtings. He was close life long friend of JPII. He spoke 20 langauges fultently and wrote over 1000 books.

In all of this is a subjective evaluation because there was never a comparison of thesse peple. ONe thing I base this on is a Time/LIfe book on the mind I saw as a kid. It belonged to my friend and it evalutated major thinkers of history and charted probable listings for their IQ's Goethe had the higest one, even higher than that of Einstein. Einstein as I recall was tiven 180. Goether was given 200.

The social historian Shappin of Shappin and Shaffer's Leviathan and the Air Pump, wrote a book called the social history of truth. this arged that there is always a source of authority at the bottom of all epistemic conclusions. So appeal to authority is always there. This is the force that the status of science in our world.

Scinece is a social constuct and it's according a source of authority apart from the turth content of it tells us.

Monday, February 12, 2007

My First Death Threat

I have my head screwed on just find blind man.

Since the Romans testify of Christ and Christians they must be lying also? How about the Kings of Babylon and Daniel? How about Isaiah and Sennacherib? The educated curators of those museums would laugh in your face if you tried to deny their existence as myths.

Job 38: And God said answer me like a man. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding.

Answer him little man cause your eventual death is not a myth.

this may be my first death threat. It's in private email from info@formerthings.com
It was in the second email which was an snwer to my answer to his first one. The first one is entitaled "your article is a bold faced lie." it included the link to some article i've never seen before. You know it. > http://www.formerthings.com
from a publication called "former things" which I'd never heard of.

what do you think?

btw who Christlike. Fundies are so sincere.

btw I'll give 20 peices of Chocloate to anyone who can tell me what the hell he's ranting about?

Answering Doherty part 2

The Gospel and the Ancient Tradition

Doherty makes the calim that the Gospels were not recieved as an authoritative contribution to the Christian tradition until after the close of the first century. The importance of this claim should be obvious, if the Gospels were not authoritative the elements that make them distinct from the other tradition must be late inventions. Thus the cross, the tomb, Jesus himself are all added late and not historical elements!

But equally important is attestation. When do the Gospels start to show up in the wider record of Christian writings? If Mark is as early as 70, and all four had been written by 100, why do none of the early Fathers—the author of 1 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, the author of the Epistle of Barnabas— writing between 90 and 130, quote or refer to any of them? How could Ignatius (around 107), so eager to convince his readers that Jesus had indeed been born of Mary and died under Pilate, that he had truly been a human man who suffered, how could he have failed to appeal to some Gospel account as verification of all this if he had known one?(Doherty, Ibid)

While it is true that Clement of Rome hardly ever quotes Gospels in is epistle (1 Clement) it is not true that he never does so at all. From the etherial library's translation and footnote scheme of 1 Clement: he quotes or alludes to Matt 23:35 in chapter 24 (FN 102). In Chapter 56 FN 210 he alludes to Matt 18:6, 26:24, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2. Secondly, there are good reasons why Clement wouldn't quote many Gospels. For one thing, John was from the circles of Asia minor. While these churches were probably on speaking terms with the Pauline churches there, they probably had little or no discourse with the churches in Rome. For another thing, if the traditional dates hold up John was written sometime in the 90's and 1 Clement is traditionally assigned the date of 95. So John would only have been within a five year period, and in fact might not have yet been written yet at all. So that would explain why Clement doesn't quote John. It either had not had time to reach Rome and build up authority, or it didn't exist yet.He does quote Matt, Mark, and Luke. Matthew had more authority and more ethos than did Mark. Clement quotes Matthew more than the other two Gospels.

Secondly, Doherty misses the fact that Gospels didn't have chapter and verse at that time, people didn't use footnotes, and the allusion to an author was sometimes all one Gave. Igtantus orinary habit seems to have been quoting major works without reference to who wrote them, but this was not uncommon. Clement does the same thing. Given this undersatnding, Ignatius quotes from or alludes to the Gosple of John a great deal.

Etherial Library,Philip Schaff

Philip Schaff, 1882 provides several possible quotations of John by early church fathers, who are said by skeptics not to mention him. This is an outdated source, but it makes really good use of the Apostolic fathers and that information has not changed.

But we can go still farther back. The scanty writings of the Apostolic Fathers, so called, have very few allusions to the New Testament, and breathe the atmosphere of the primitive oral tradition. The author of the "Didache" was well acquainted with Matthew. The first Epistle of Clement has strong affinity with Paul. The shorter Epistles of Ignatius show the influence of John's Christology.30 Polycarp (d. a.d. 155 in extreme old age), a personal pupil of John, used the First Epistle of John, and thus furnishes an indirect testimony to the Gospel, since both these 'books must stand or fall together.31

32John 1:40-43; from which it has also been inferred that he knew the fourth Gospel. There is some reason to suppose that the disputed section on the woman taken in adultery was recorded by him in illustration of John 8:15; for, according to Eusebius, he mentioned a similar story in his lost work.3334

Here from the footnotes where he lines up the quotations. Quotations of Ignatius drawing upon the 4G..


"Comp.(FN 1065) such expressions as "I desire bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ ... and I desire as drink His blood, which is love imperishable," Ad Rom., ch. 7, with John 6:47 sqq.; "living water," Ad Rom. 7, with John 4:10, 11; "being Himself the Door of the Father," Ad Philad., 9, with John 10:9; [the Spirit] "knows whence it cometh and whither it goeth," Ad Philad., 7, with John 3:8. I quoted from the text of Zahn. See the able art. of Lightfoot in "Contemp. Rev." for February, 1875, and his S. Ignatius, 1885.

[here quotes Polycarp](FN1066)
31 Polyc., Ad Phil., ch. 7: "Every one that doth not confess that Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh is Antichrist; and whosoever doth not confess the mystery of the cross is of the devil." Comp. 1 John 4:3. On the testimony of Polycarp see Lightfoot in the "Contemp. Rev." for May, 1875. Westcott, p. xxx, says: "A testimony to one" (the Gospel or the first Ep.) "is necessarily by inference a testimony to the other."Eusebius32 According to Eusebius, III. 39. See Lightfoot in the "Contemp. Rev." for August and October, 1875.

33 Eusebius, H. E., III. 39, closes his account of Papias with the notice: "He has likewise set forth another narrative [in his Exposition of the Lord's Oracles] concerning a woman who was maliciously accused before the Lord touching many sins, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews."

Here From Justin Martyr The quotation is not literal but from memory, like most of his quotations:Justin, Apol., I. 61: "For Christ also said, Except ye beborn again [ajnagennhqh'te, comp. 1 Pet. 3:23], ye shall in no wise enter [eijsevlqh'te, but comp. the same word In John 8:5 and 7] into the kingdom of heaven (the phrase of Matthew]. Now that it is impossible for those who have once been born to re-enter the wombs of those that bare them is manifest to all."John 3:3, 4: "Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew [or from above, gennhqh'/ a[nwqen], he cannot see [ijdei'n 3: 5, enter into] the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"Much account has been made by the Tübingen critics of the slight differences in the quotation (ajnagennhqh'te for gennhqh'/ a[nwqen, eijselqei'n for ijdei'n and basileiva tw'n oujranw'n for ba". tou' qeou') to disprove the connection, or, as this is impossible, to prove the dependence of John on Justin! But Dr. Abbot, a most accurate and conscientious scholar, who moreover as a Unitarian cannot be charged with an orthodox bias, has produced many parallel cases of free quotations of the same passage not only from patristic writers, but even from modem divines, including no less than nine quotations of the passage by Jeremy Taylor, only two of which are alike. I think he has conclusively proven his case for every reasonable mind. See his invaluable monograph on The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, pp. 28 sqq. and 91 sqq. Comp. also Weiss, Leben Jesu, I. 83, who sees in Justin Martyr not only "an unquestionable allusion to the Nicodemus story of the fourth Gospel," but other isolated reminiscences.

Doherty tries to deride the whole Orthodox chain of testimony by undermining the authority of Papias. Papias is a crucial link because he's one of only two early second century writers who knew eye witnesses to Jesus ministry..

Doherty:"Eusebius reports that in a now-lost work written around 125, bishop Papias mentioned two pieces of writing by "Matthew" and "Mark." But even these cannot be equated with the canonical Gospels, for Papias called the former "sayings of the Lord in Hebrew," and the description of the latter also sounds as if it was not a narrative work."

Why can't these works to which Eusebius refers, the "logia" mentioned by Papias, and the work by Mark, be equated with the Gospels of Matthew and Mark? The piece mentioned by Mark is said to be his gospel. The piece by Matthew may not be his Gospel because it is said to have been written in "his native language" (either Aramaic or Hebrew). The Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek and scholars say it was not translated from another language.On the other hand, Papias says all translated as best they could. There are arguments that Matthew uses loan words and translation words.. Another reason it can't be the Gospel is because it is called "the logia" or writings or sayings. This would seem to indicate it was not a narrative Gospel. In the Gospel section of Doxa I argue that this is probably a Matthew saying source that stands behind the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew put in the sayings and someone else reworked it into a narrative in Greek. See my page on Gospel behind the Gosples, and also my page on Matthew. I show that the Hebrew saying source to which Papias alludes probably stands beyond the Gospel of Matthew. There's no way to prove that assertion of course, but it is entirely Possible. Doherty's theory is no less speculation and is just as circumstantial as mine. Doherty is also making the mistake of thinking that the Gospels have to be written by the name sakes to have historical significance or authority. See my essay on community as author to dispell this myth.

"Moreover, it would seem that Papias had not possessed these documents himself, for he simply relays information about them that was given to him by "the elder." He makes no comment of his own on such documents (in fact, he continues to disparage written sources about the Lord), while Eusebius and other later commentators who quote from his writings are silent about him discussing anything from the "Mark" and "Matthew" he mentions. All that Papias can tell us (relayed through Eusebius) is that certain collections of sayings and anecdotes (probably miracle stories) were circulating in his time, a not uncommon thing; the ones he speaks of were being attributed to a Jesus figure and reputed to be compiled by legendary followers of him."

Of course, he totally ignores the fact that Papias says he has heard these people speak himself. He is not just quoting rumors, he actually heard the witnesses. He speaks of Arietion and the Elder John in present tense, he is in contact with them now. But Doherty goes on:

"What is most telling, on the other hand, is that even a quarter of the way into the second century, a bishop of Asia Minor writing a book called The Sayings of the Lord Interpreted did not possess a copy of a single written Gospel, nor included sayings of Jesus which are identified with those Gospels.

Of course we don't know that he doesn't quote them, because we don't have his five books. For all we know four those books might be chock full of Gospel quotations. Moreover, Doherty seems to imply that Papias comes to us only from Eusebius. That is certainly not true. A lot of what we know of Papias comes from Irenaeus, and even more from many other sources, some discovered in the middle ages. St. Jerome is one of these other sources.See my page on the testimony of Apostolic fathers to historical Jesus. This also brings us to a second category, that of extra canonical literature and the testimony of that literature to the canonical Gospels.

Pre Marcan Redaction

As we can see Doherty is quite wrong about the status and use of the Gospels among the Apostolic fathers.In addition to this problem, he also underestimates the early date and use for the same material in previous form, such as the pre Marcan redaction (PMR), early verions of Mark, the Q source and the like. In this category we can strat with the Pauline corpus which demonstrates a wide use of the Gosple material, to such an extent that Koster theorizes that Paul had his own saying source that contianed Q material and PMR material.

Koster, Crosson, Cameron and other textaul critics have found PMR to constitute an independent source, barrowed by the canonical sources but not dependent upon them. They trace this to AD 50, and that is where the writing of Egerton 2 is placed.This invovles the use of anther kind of literature, writings from outside the Bible, Gnostic ms and fragments of "other Gospels." There are three main sources that Doherty uses to indicate another church tradition, one without Jesus in the begining, and without the cross and the empty tomb. These three sources include: Q, which is a hypothetical source derived from sayings in the "synoptic Gosples" (Matt, Mark and Luke) but supposedly representing another source which we no longer have. I will deal with Q latter, as it is the lynch pin of Doherty's arguement. Also there is "The Unknown Gospel of Papyrus Egerton 2 (E2) and the Gospel of Thomas (GThom).

Peter Kirby summarizes the facts about E2:

"The Egerton Gospel is also known as Papyrus Egerton 2. It is known from an ancient manuscript that is rivaled only by the John Rylands fragment p52 in its antiquity. Ron Cameron states in his introduction in The Other Gospels, "On paleographical grounds the papyrus has been assigned a date in the first half of the second century C.E. This makes it one of the two earliest preserved papyrus witnesses to the gospel tradition."

E2, Q, and Thomas all date to middle of the frist century for their initial writing of their primary material.Egerton 2 demonstrates many canonical parallels:

Paralels between Egerton 2 and Canonoicals

Debate over Credentials (l. 1-24)

John 5:39, 5:45, 9:29, (John 3:2, 5:46-47, 7:27-28, 8:14, 10:25, 12:31)

Attempt to Seize Jesus (l. 25-34)

[Further Violence Against Jesus (l. 89-94)] John 7:30, 7:44, 8:20, 8:59, 10:30-31, 10:39, Luke 4:30

The Healing of the Leper (l. 35-47)

Mt 8:2-4, Mk 1:40-44, Lk 5:12-14, 17:12-19, (John 5:14, 8:11)

Debate with False Questioners (l. 50-66)

Mt 22:15-22, Mk 12:13-17, Lk 20:20-26, (Mt 15:7-9, Mk 7:6-7, Lk 6:46, John 3:2)

Miraculous Fruit (l. 67-82)

No exact parallels, but words and reminiscences.

The ancient use of Q material

Helmut Koester comments on the provenance of Q (Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 164):

"Even the sayings used for the original composition of Q were known and used elsewhere at an early date: they were known to Paul, were used in Corinth by his opponents, employed perhaps in easter Syria for the composition of the Gospel of Thomas, and quoted by 1 Clement in Rome at the end of the 1st century. The document itself, in its final redacted form, was used for the composition of two gospel writings, Matthew and Luke, which both originated in the Greek-speaking church outside of Palestine."

Udo Schnelle writes about the dating of Q (The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings, p. 186):

The Sayings Source was composed before the destruction of the temple, since the sayings against Jerusalem and the temple in Luke 13.34-35Q do not presuppose any military events. A more precise determination of the time of composition must remain hypothetical, but a few indications point to the period between 40 and 50 CE: (1) Bearers of the sayings tradition, which possibly extends all the way back to pre-Easter times, included both wandering preachers of the Jesus movement as well as local congregations. Thus the conditions in which the Sayings Source originated included both continuity with the beginnings and with the developing congregational structures across the region. (2) The Sayings Source presupposes persection of the young congregations by Palestinian Jews (cf. Luke 6.22-23 Q; Luke 11.49-51 Q; Luke 12.4-5 Q; 12.11-12 Q). About 50 CE Paul mentions in 1 Thess. 2.14-16 a persecution of Christians in Judea that had already taken place. The execution of James the son of Zebedee by Agrippa I (cf. Acts 12.2) occurred around 44 CE. (3) The positive references to Gentiles in Q (cf. Luke 10.13-15Q; Luke 11.29-31Q; Matt. 8.5-13 Q; Matt. 5.47 Q; Matt. 22.1-10 Q) indicate that the Gentile mission had begun, which is probably to be located in the period between 40 and 50 CE.

Thus the material in Egerton 2, Q, and Thomas (some of which overlapps between Q and Thomas) was existing at a very early date. The problem is the Doherty assumption that it constitutes a separate and therefore earlier tradition and was taken over by canonical sources latter and pressed into service for the cross and tomb crowd, but originally is found independently of any group that assumed Jesus was crucified or risen. He also argues that much of the saying source material originated among cynics and stoics and wasn't even Christian at all. We will deal with these assertions on the next page. At this point is important to observe that the Cross and Tomb were just as ancient and present in the PMR as Koster observes bassed upon Diatesseronic readings and textual criticism. Doherty has no leverage from which he can demonstrate that the non Cross/tomb groups were any older or that their stories came first.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Answering Doherty's Evolution of Jesus

The Churhe's ability to Write

1 in a five part series

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Non canonical sources such as Gospel of Thomas and Egerton 2 establish an ancient and independent tradition of Christian witness that did not rely upon the canonical Gospels. Though much of that material is used in the canonicals, scholars argue that the infant church was diverse and not all groups clung to the cross or the empty tomb. Doherty uses that as a thin end of the wedge to argue that these sources weren't even Christian and knew nothing of Jesus, they were taken by Christians for whom Jesus was a mythological and etherial being, and only in the second century evolved into a historically grounded story. I argue that the cross and the tomb prove to be just as old, and the fact that the canonicals used the material indicates that its tradition, while not dependent upon canonical writing, nevertheless, agreed with it. The sources used for this "other tradition" are late Gnostic sources. While they make use of early material the cross and the tomb have merely been expunged.

Jesus mythers often tip their hands by quoting the wrong sources. It is common to find the fource Franz Cumont on most of their bibliographies. But they have not read Cumont because he says that mithrism copied Christianity. That totally defeats their copy cat savior idea.

In the same vein Doherty uses a source as an authority which totally destorys his entire thesis. He quotes Helmutt Koester, probably the major textual critic in the world today, trying to use him as support for the Jesus puzzle theory. But Koester disproves Doherty's theory by showing that the historical aspects of the Jesus story, including the empty tomb, were being written as early as AD 50 (see Ancient Christian Gospels 218). This makes them as old as any tradition Doherty can draw upon.

all of my criticisms in these five pages will come form

Doherty's one page on Evolution of Jesus.

Jesus Puzzle Part 3:

Evolution of Jesus of Nazerath.

Doherty wrongly assumes that Justin Martyr is the only Christian writer before the end fo the 150s to make identifiable quotations from some of the canonical Gospels. This will be soundly disproved latter. He also makes other assertions:

"Scholars such as Helmut Koester have concluded that earlier "allusions" to Gospel-like material are likely floating traditions which themselves found their way into the written Gospels. (See Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels and his earlier Synoptische Uberlieferung bei den apostolischen Vatern.) Is it conceivable that the earliest account of Jesus' life and death could have been committed to writing as early as 70 (or even earlier, as some would like to have it), and yet the broader Christian world took almost a century to receive copies of it?(Jesus Puzzell, part 3:Evolution of Jesus Of Nazerath"

The problem is Koester himself says that people were writting Gospels as early AD 50.(Ancient Christian Gospels)

Moreover he's already distorted what Koester says. Nowhere does he argue that the early Gospel traditions blew in from non Christian sources, or merely "floating traditions" that found their way in late. Koester presents a cogent picture of a unified tradition that is use by all the canonicals and non canonical such as Peter, Thomas, Q and the Unknown Gospel of Egerton 2. Where he speaks of "floating traditions" is only in the epiphanies, the various sittings of the risen Christ after the discovery of the empty tomb. Those sittings be believes come from many sources, but the main story, including the empty tomb he seems coming from a single ancient source that predates all of the above mentioned gospels. In this regard Doherty has not done his homework.


"A third problem regarding Crossan's hypotheses is related specifically to the formation of reports about Jesus' trial, suffering death, burial, and resurrection. The account of the passion of Jesus must have developed quite eary because it is one and the same account that was used by Mark (and subsequently Matthew and Luke) and John and as will be argued below by the Gospel of Peter. However except for the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection in the various gospels cannot derive from a single source, they are independent of one another. Each of the authors of the extant gospels and of their secondary endings drew these epiphany stories from their own particular tradition, not form a common source." (Koester, p. 220)

"Studies of the passion narrative have shown that all gospels were dependent upon one and the same basic account of the suffering, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. But this account ended with the discovery of the empty tomb. With respect to the stories of Jesus' appearances, each of the extant gospels of the canon used different traditions of epiphany stories which they appended to the one canon passion account. This also applies to the Gospel of Peter. There is no reason to assume that any of the epiphany stories at the end of the gospel derive from the same source on which the account of the passion is based."(Ibid)


Doherty asserts a gulf between the world of the epistles and the world of the Gospels. He also asserts the conventional dating schemes are hard and fast such that the Gospels are written after the Epistles. While that is true of the Gospels in their final forms, the forms in which we know them, it is not true of the material in them.

To move from the New Testament epistles to the Gospels is to enter a completely different world. In Parts One and Two, I pointed out that virtually every element of the Gospel biography of Jesus of Nazareth is missing from the epistles, and that Paul and other early writers present us only with a divine, spiritual Christ in heaven, one revealed by God through inspiration and scripture. Their Jesus is never identified with a recent historical man. Like the savior gods of the Greek mystery cults, Paul's Christ had performed his redeeming act in a mythical arena. Thus, when we open the Gospels we are unprepared for the flesh and blood figure who lives and speaks on their pages, one who walked the sands of Palestine and died on Calvary in the days of Herod and Pontius Pilate.

Paul speaks of Jesus as flesh and blood in four passages, and Hebrews clearly states that Jesus had a life on earth in the flesh. John's Epistles speak directly of 'that which we heard which we touched stating clearly that he was flesh and blood. John goes so far as to denounce as anti-Christ anyone who denies that Christ came in the flesh. The problem is Doherty's assertion that the world of the Gospels was constructed after that of he Epistles. but the very scholar he looks to as an authority dispels that myth by arguing for a pre Marcan redaction (PMR) which places the Passion narrative and empty tomb, and a flesh and blood Christ in History, as penned as early as AD 50, before most epistles were written! That in itself invalidates almost everything Doherty says.(see Gospel Behind the Gospels.)

Doherty assumes that must be the products of their namesakes in order to be valid.He grounds the chain of redaction in the Ur mark, the original composition that latter became Mark, and ascribes the creativity of all Gospels to that single author. He even alludes to modern scholars who find connections between Mark and John:"This picture of Gospel relationships is really quite astonishing. Even John, in its narrative structure and passion story, is now considered by many scholars (see Robert Funk, Honest to Jesus, p.239) to be based on Mark or some other Synoptic stage."(Ibid). While new connections have been found between Mark and John, this is not due to mere copying, but to the mutal dependence upon the single source, the PMR. (see Koster, Ibid).

Doherty assumes that this is evidenced by haphazard growth of the early church in all directions, the same basic story, following Mark, is still kept in line even when a supposed Apostle writes it (Ibid.). Of course what he's missing is the fact that the four Gospels were products of core communities which strove to control the telling of the basic story. The fact that there is only one story, and that the facts of it were kept in line, serves to illustrate the historical nature of the material. Secondly, he completely misses the fact that the Ur mark is placed at the beginning of a process which probably started in the 40's. It's many editions prove that it was not written for the first time in AD 70 but many years before that.

He also misses the fact that many pre marcan sources existed, saying sources like Q and narratival material, and all of this existed on different trajectories all going back to the original preaching of the Christian message. The link between mark and John is explained by Koster in this Pre Marcan Redaction which dates to AD 50; all four canonical gospels used that same material. What all of this means is, what Doherty just ignores, the assertion that Jesus concrete historicity comes in the second century is empirically disproved through Koster and his textual criticism. But Doherty can't face that fact, instead he distorts the information and bends it to his own purpose, which would be to place the actually making of the Gospels as late as possible. The tendency now is to place them early, certainly textual evidence proves this.

In his attatempt to streach the dates of writtings out to as late as possible, Doherty Places them in the secnod century, which almost no scholar does now days.

When were the Gospels—or their earliest versions—written? Mark is usually dated by its "Little Apocalypse" in Chapter 13, which tells of great upheavals and the destruction of the Temple, spoken as a prophecy by Jesus. This must, it is claimed, refer to the first Jewish War (66-70); thus Mark wrote in its midst or shortly after. But even Mark is presumed to have drawn on source elements, and some think this Little Apocalypse could originally have been a Jewish composition (with no reference to Jesus), one that Mark later borrowed and adapted. Or, if Chapter 13 is by Mark, it could well have grown out of a later period, for other documents, like Revelation and some Jewish apocalypses, show that vivid apocalyptic expectations persisted until at least the end of the century. In fact, 13:7 has Jesus warning his listeners not to regard the End as imminent even when the winds of war arrive. Nothing in Mark should force us to date him before the 90s.

Almost all modern scholars date Mark to AD 70, and not without good reason. Doherty is right that that reason revolves around the destruction of the temple. That is a good reason to assume that the writing was after the destruction, but there is no reason at all to put it as late as 90. Placing the writing of Mark in 90 would put it in a totally different period, when the concerns of destruction of the temple would be over. The Evangelist could be reflecting upon a past event to show Jesus' prophetic gift, but why that event? The reason for choosing that event would be its timely nature. It seems more likely that writing in 90 would have him reflect upon events in 90. As a persecution was starting at that time, and the Jews were holding the council of Jamnia, these would seem more likely since they would seem more related to current events..

But that is as much a reason to date Mark in the early 60's rather than after 70. The winds of war were predictable, since they had not come yet, it would make sense to say "don't panic with the first winds of war begin to blow." It would make no sense to say that after the temple has been destroyed. The total lack of any military imagery or any statement to the effect of the temple being destroyed by the Romans would seem to indicate that the idea was more hypothetical and the writing prior to 70. Besides the idea of the end of the temple being connected with the coming of Messiah was already part of Jewish thinking (see Alfred Edersheim, LIfe and Times of Jesus the Messiah).

He asserts that the parting of the ways between Jews and gentiles is used as the major key to dating the gospels, and that took place as a consequence of the war of 66-70.But again, he forgets (a) that conflict began long before AD 70 and was ripe by the time of the revolt, (b) he's talking about the final form of Mark's redaction, but there were different versions of Mark. It's the process which we know took place and the evidence from textual criticism that shows the many prior versions and the concrete historical nature of Jesus as early as mid century.

more on this latter (stay turned for part 2)