Any bible scholars out there?

Can a christian deny the old testament?

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#101  Postby John Platko » Apr 23, 2017 5:49 pm

PensivePenny wrote:John, the itemized response is appreciated. I think you've given me a fair grasp of your position. I won't respond in like kind for brevity and only because I accept most everything you've written. Nothing unreasonable.

I will however respond to a few of the points. If I fail to respond to something in you're particularly interested in hearing, let me know.

Alright, so we can agree that "something" can be learned from human behavior based on how people react to a story. For that matter, we can add to a "story", a sneeze, a crying infant, a Mormon evangelist knocking on the door, or the pizza delivery arriving late. All those are opportunities to learn about human behavior.


Yes, one can learn from all of those situations. The crying infant is an interesting case. But that's perhaps another story for another day.


Personally, I don't see much to be learned from it that can't be learned in about a minute. That is an exaggeration. Some might find it more interesting topic than others, but I seriously doubt there is much value to be gained. But, say I'm wrong. For example, tell me what you think the lesson is that people believe in a virgin birth?


I think just about every kind of human interaction one could have is to be found in the four gospels and the way people deal with them. And it's helpful that there are four versions of the same story. The virgin birth wouldn't be my choice of where to start sussing out what we can from the story but, since you've been so polite in your responses I will honor your request.

The bullet points of the virgin birth story are:

Mary, a young girl, was engaged to Joseph
Before the wedding Mary was found to be pregnant
Joseph didn't want to disgrace her so he decided to quietly remove himself from the situation
But Joe had a dream where an angel appeared to him and the angel told him no need for that the baby is holy.
When he woke up he followed the message from his dream and took Mary as his wife and accepted the baby as his own.

There's a bit more to the story but lets just see what we might learn from that part - which is plenty to chew on.

So we have an unwed mother - and the fiancé doesn't seem to think he's responsible. :no:
He's a good guy, he doesn't want to get her in more trouble, he's thinking, "I'll quietly slip out the back door". - like a lot of us might.
But then he has a dream - now that's interesting. But can we learn anything from a dream? Some say :no: some say obviously :nod:, dreams give us a window into our unconscious processes - albeit an imperfect and often irrational window. And what does Joe learn from the dream? He learns that Mary and her baby aren't tainted, they're holy - there's no reason from him to abandon her. That's not what the God of Joseph's unconscious imagination (the part of Joe that created the dream) thought was right.
And Joe had the courage and wisdom to follow up on these ideas that were created deep within himself - with high expectations of who this child could grow up to be, what he could accomplish - in spite of what others might say about these "questionable" circumstances.

Which I could say more about but perhaps that's enough for now. From this story we can learn something we're talking a lot about in a thread on free will - why we should be more compassionate and loving to others because they are not in control of all that they do and that happens to them. :no: And Joseph modeled that behavior because he was trying, as much as he could, to be the best person he could be.

Again, there's more to be learned from this story but that's a start. For example how people deal with the "questionable' birth circumstances. It's almost like they had their very own Sean Spicer shouting out: "Joseph believed she was a holy virgin - period.
Why does that sort of thing happen? What can we learn from that?


"Flimsy" was a poor word choice. My comparison of Hamlet and the bible was merely to suggest that any value gained in learning human behavior would be more or less equal, of only modest value, and in the end so subjective as to further reduce it's value. The "flimsy" was just meant to say that if one wants to learn about human behavior there are far better ways that are more scientifically valuable and more objective.


Such as? I find our knowledge of human behavior in 2017 to be pretty flimsy. I know of no psychological system that can really sus out what's afoot at the psychological extremes. There's a reason they call psychology, and anthropology soft sciences.


I don't understand why you'd think anything I said in the post you referenced was "unfair." I think I was perfectly fair and reasonable, but will entertain your opposition. Is it because I (paraphrased) said the bible is fiction?


I don't have a problem with parts of the Bible being called works of fiction - for many parts that's a perfectly reasonable description. But given that the majority of scholars assess Jesus to have been a historical figure, it's unfair to evaluate that story as a work of fiction- I think calling it a noisy (heavily corrupted) historical account is closer to the truth - at least that's how I approach it. And I give that sort of thing a little more weight than a work of fiction, especially one produced by a single author. But in the end, it's the explanatory value of either story that matters to us today. But I feel more sympathy for an actual person who actually lived who was a good guy unjustly killed than I do for a fictitious character.


I'm not one of those people who think the bible must be ALL true or ALL false. Whether Jesus lived or not is of little relevance, imo. However, the evidence is equally compelling that Jesus didn't live as it is that he did.


That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.


That being said, one of my favorite shows on TV right now is Black Sails. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a period piece from the 17th century about the waning years of the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean and Bahama region. It is chock full of historical figures. A fair accounting of them is done. BUT, there are also several fictional characters stolen from other works of fiction like Treasure Island. Once these elements are introduced into a story, it becomes fiction. When a fictional character and a non-fiction character interact, what exactly is that supposed to achieve? Besides entertainment? This kind of fiction is commonplace and has been probably since the beginning of the written alphabet... it is a genre all unto itself, known as "Historical Fiction." The bible falls into that genre. I do hope you agree with that. Whether this or that character actually existed is irrelevant. We already agree that at least some parts are fictional (supernatural stuff, you said), so the source (the bible) is a discredited witness. That doesn't mean that it is all fabricated, but enough is known to be fabricated that it ALL must be suspect.

<ETA: So much for "brevity." Sorry about that.>


Knowing actual history is difficult. My wife and I often disagree about what happened the day before. Once in a while I'm even shown to be wrong about what I think happened. ;) We don't have to have a perfect account of what happened to learn important things form history. The fact that the Jesus story had such legs through history is something that I think needs explaining. Why? What is it about that story? I think it reaches something deep inside of people and even though they might not be able to articulate why, they feel there's something important there. To me, it's a revelation of human dynamics and psychological processes. Maybe someday neurology will have better explanations and ways of explaining human behavior - but not today.
I like to imagine ...
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#102  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 23, 2017 7:13 pm

John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:John, the itemized response is appreciated. I think you've given me a fair grasp of your position. I won't respond in like kind for brevity and only because I accept most everything you've written. Nothing unreasonable.

I will however respond to a few of the points. If I fail to respond to something in you're particularly interested in hearing, let me know.

Alright, so we can agree that "something" can be learned from human behavior based on how people react to a story. For that matter, we can add to a "story", a sneeze, a crying infant, a Mormon evangelist knocking on the door, or the pizza delivery arriving late. All those are opportunities to learn about human behavior.


Yes, one can learn from all of those situations. The crying infant is an interesting case. But that's perhaps another story for another day.


Personally, I don't see much to be learned from it that can't be learned in about a minute. That is an exaggeration. Some might find it more interesting topic than others, but I seriously doubt there is much value to be gained. But, say I'm wrong. For example, tell me what you think the lesson is that people believe in a virgin birth?


I think just about every kind of human interaction one could have is to be found in the four gospels and the way people deal with them. And it's helpful that there are four versions of the same story. The virgin birth wouldn't be my choice of where to start sussing out what we can from the story but, since you've been so polite in your responses I will honor your request.

You've given me no reason to be impolite. We obviously have differing opinions and views. That doesn't mean we can't benefit from a conversation. If anything, there's little to gain from a conversation where there is little disagreement.

The bullet points of the virgin birth story are:

Mary, a young girl, was engaged to Joseph
Before the wedding Mary was found to be pregnant
Joseph didn't want to disgrace her so he decided to quietly remove himself from the situation
But Joe had a dream where an angel appeared to him and the angel told him no need for that the baby is holy.
When he woke up he followed the message from his dream and took Mary as his wife and accepted the baby as his own.

There's a bit more to the story but lets just see what we might learn from that part - which is plenty to chew on.

So we have an unwed mother - and the fiancé doesn't seem to think he's responsible. :no:
He's a good guy, he doesn't want to get her in more trouble, he's thinking, "I'll quietly slip out the back door". - like a lot of us might.
But then he has a dream - now that's interesting. But can we learn anything from a dream? Some say :no: some say obviously :nod:, dreams give us a window into our unconscious processes - albeit an imperfect and often irrational window. And what does Joe learn from the dream? He learns that Mary and her baby aren't tainted, they're holy - there's no reason from him to abandon her. That's not what the God of Joseph's unconscious imagination (the part of Joe that created the dream) thought was right.
And Joe had the courage and wisdom to follow up on these ideas that were created deep within himself - with high expectations of who this child could grow up to be, what he could accomplish - in spite of what others might say about these "questionable" circumstances.

Which I could say more about but perhaps that's enough for now. From this story we can learn something we're talking a lot about in a thread on free will - why we should be more compassionate and loving to others because they are not in control of all that they do and that happens to them. :no: And Joseph modeled that behavior because he was trying, as much as he could, to be the best person he could be.

Again, there's more to be learned from this story but that's a start. For example how people deal with the "questionable' birth circumstances. It's almost like they had their very own Sean Spicer shouting out: "Joseph believed she was a holy virgin - period.
Why does that sort of thing happen? What can we learn from that?

Okay... trying to think how I might approach this. I hope you'll grant me a tiny bit of latitude.

I accept your "bullet points" of the story of the virgin birth as hitting most of the important points. Your summation that follows it is very close to an objective accounting (of the story). Obviously where many would disagree with you (and why I say your account is "objective), again no surprise to you, is that the angel was real and the dream was induced directly by God the Creator through that angel. Well, that is one of many possible interpretations. Point is, you are doing a bit of interpreting. Nothing wrong with that, I'm only pointing out that subjectivity is required. Once that happens, all manner of divergent interpretations emerge, nearly unique to the number of believers. IF, big IF, the interpretation is an accurate account, then what derives from that can be no more accurate. In other words, your interpretation is only true, if it's true. What might be learned from that story about human nature is only possible if it IS true. Otherwise, it is fiction and may not be human nature at all, rather only the musings of an author with an imagination. I can't accept that a story tells us ANYTHING about human nature if humans never behaved that way. It isn't evidence to me.

However, my question wasn't what the story told us about human behavior. I took your previous posts to mean we could learn about human behavior by witnessing, with our own eyes, how people reacted to the story. I grant you there is much to learn in such a case. I was just curious what YOU thought could be learned by those personal observations. If I didn't make that clear earlier, I apologize.



"Flimsy" was a poor word choice. My comparison of Hamlet and the bible was merely to suggest that any value gained in learning human behavior would be more or less equal, of only modest value, and in the end so subjective as to further reduce it's value. The "flimsy" was just meant to say that if one wants to learn about human behavior there are far better ways that are more scientifically valuable and more objective.


Such as? I find our knowledge of human behavior in 2017 to be pretty flimsy. I know of no psychological system that can really sus out what's afoot at the psychological extremes. There's a reason they call psychology, and anthropology soft sciences.



"Such as?" First, I agree with the soft science remark. It is highly subjective, even under the best circumstances, in clinical settings, studying human behavior in the most stringent double blind studies. How the data is interpreted can lead to all kinds of inaccurate thinking. I hardly think there is an equivalency in analyzable data in a story written two millennia ago, which may or may not be fictional, chock full of all manner of incredulous disregard of the laws of physics. Is there something the bible can tell us about human nature? Okay, some modest bits, perhaps... highly subjective. Nothing on the order of Prison Simulation Experiment for example.

I don't understand why you'd think anything I said in the post you referenced was "unfair." I think I was perfectly fair and reasonable, but will entertain your opposition. Is it because I (paraphrased) said the bible is fiction?


I don't have a problem with parts of the Bible being called works of fiction - for many parts that's a perfectly reasonable description.

Ah. But, which parts!? This is where the disagreement really begins in "interpretation." One has to decide what is real, fiction, or parable based pretty much solely on other parts of the bible which are likewise subject to real, fiction or parable. Uncertainty supported by uncertainty. At some point, some basic interpretations MUST be assumed because there is no concrete objective truth on which to build.

But given that the majority of scholars assess Jesus to have been a historical figure, it's unfair to evaluate that story as a work of fiction- I think calling it a noisy (heavily corrupted) historical account is closer to the truth - at least that's how I approach it. And I give that sort of thing a little more weight than a work of fiction, especially one produced by a single author. But in the end, it's the explanatory value of either story that matters to us today. But I feel more sympathy for an actual person who actually lived who was a good guy unjustly killed than I do for a fictitious character.



I can appreciate that. When I watch or read a story, I want to know how closely it aligns with reality. It is far easier to relate to the characters if they actually existed.

I'm not one of those people who think the bible must be ALL true or ALL false. Whether Jesus lived or not is of little relevance, imo. However, the evidence is equally compelling that Jesus didn't live as it is that he did.


That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.



When I said "compelling evidence," I meant compelling to me. I am no scholar, biblical or otherwise.

That being said, one of my favorite shows on TV right now is Black Sails. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a period piece from the 17th century about the waning years of the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean and Bahama region. It is chock full of historical figures. A fair accounting of them is done. BUT, there are also several fictional characters stolen from other works of fiction like Treasure Island. Once these elements are introduced into a story, it becomes fiction. When a fictional character and a non-fiction character interact, what exactly is that supposed to achieve? Besides entertainment? This kind of fiction is commonplace and has been probably since the beginning of the written alphabet... it is a genre all unto itself, known as "Historical Fiction." The bible falls into that genre. I do hope you agree with that. Whether this or that character actually existed is irrelevant. We already agree that at least some parts are fictional (supernatural stuff, you said), so the source (the bible) is a discredited witness. That doesn't mean that it is all fabricated, but enough is known to be fabricated that it ALL must be suspect.

<ETA: So much for "brevity." Sorry about that.>


Knowing actual history is difficult. My wife and I often disagree about what happened the day before. Once in a while I'm even shown to be wrong about what I think happened. ;) We don't have to have a perfect account of what happened to learn important things form history.

We're in agreement on the first part. While I can partially agree in principle with the last sentence, it does get pretty complicated. What are we calling "history?" Is it the stories we tell our children? Or the reality? If some unnamed drunkard penned the US Declaration of Independence on the purloined apron of some bar wench an hour before last call and the whole story about Adams and Jefferson and the Continental Congress is a fabrication, then "history" is just a fabrication. Are we really learning anything? Or are we just fueling some feeling, satisfying some missing emotional need? If a drunk nobody wrote the Declaration, the reality would fill us with disappointment. The lie would fill us with joy, pride, patriotism... To me, what I would learn about human nature wouldn't come from the story, rather the willingness of human nature to satisfy emotions at the expense of reality. Choosing fantasy over reality really does tell us a great deal about human nature. I'm just not sure what it tells us or how useful it really is. The scorpion stings the frog. Quelle suprise.
The fact that the Jesus story had such legs through history is something that I think needs explaining. Why? What is it about that story? I think it reaches something deep inside of people and even though they might not be able to articulate why, they feel there's something important there. To me, it's a revelation of human dynamics and psychological processes. Maybe someday neurology will have better explanations and ways of explaining human behavior - but not today.

We don't need to go back 2000 years for this. There are plenty of examples of it today, happening in real time. How did trump get elected? What has compelled so many to follow him? He's created a movement that defies logic. I don't get it. Does it tell us anything about human nature? Sure. I'm not sure what exactly. Lots of people try to explain how he was elected and none of them have the definitive explanation... and we don't have the handicap of having to go back to a time when relatively little of history was being documented, whereby to collect anywhere near the data we can on the trump election. I don't disagree we can learn something from history. But I think in the end, we learn less about human nature from history, and significantly more about our own personal nature in our own response to it.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#103  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 23, 2017 7:39 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:By implying that my statement should also be applicable to the rule of law whereby contradictory laws are stricken from the "law book" by legislative action

Missed this the first time around. I implied no such thing.
I said nothing about contadicting laws.


So? You didn't? I didn't say you did.... What I said you implied is emphasized above.

Except that I did not such thing.
I pointed out that when you have a text that contains a rule, why would you expect such a rule to appear mutliple times.
Nothing to do with contradicting laws.

PensivePenny wrote: And yeah, you did imply THAT.

This is still a blind counterfactual assertion, no matter how many times you repeat it, even with words in all caps.
I explained exactly why I used the analogy of text of laws. You added the whole contradictions ruling each other out, thing yourself.


PensivePenny wrote: Tell, me o teacher.

While I am a teacher, I suspect this is nothing but a passive agressive remark.
Not only is that unhelpful in a rational discussion, it contravenes the FUA you signed Penny.

PensivePenny wrote:
.. does claiming I said YOU said something about contradicting laws (when I didn't) rise to the level of straw man?

Since I never said that, it's irrelevant.
All I did was point that I never said anything that would imply contradictions ruling each other out and that its therefore something you added to the conversation.
If you did so intentionally, then yes, it's a straw-man. However I assume you didn't so it's probably a misunderstanding.
Now, given that I've eplained twice exactly how I used the anology, I hope you understand.
If you do and keep insisting I implied something that cannot be found in my post, then yes, you will be staw-manning.
However, I'm hoping that you're interested in a rational discussion, rather than a vindictive one.

PensivePenny wrote: See? Your interpretation cherry picks what you want to hear,

Wrong, that's what you keep doing. You keep interpeting things that are not present in my posts or worse outright making up claims and motivations for me that I have not expressed.
Again, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, that this is based on one or more misunderstandings on your part and not repeated attempts to straw-man me and/or poison the well.

PensivePenny wrote:which in my observation of your posts, when it comes from a forum member with whom you are unfamiliar, you "interpret" in the most adversarial way possible.

Then your observation is severly flawed as I've not once expressed any adversiality.
I've only been skeptical of some of your arguments and responses, because they seem to lack either sound reasoning and/or a misunderstanding (deliberate or non-deliberate) of what your interlocutors post.


PensivePenny wrote: I didn't come here with an agenda or even any kind of strong claim. I just don't get your aggression on minor unimportant aspects of a thread.

Again, I haven't expressed any agression.
It would really help if you read what I actually post, rather than projecting all manner of things on me.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#104  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 23, 2017 7:42 pm

John Platko wrote:

That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.

Which is rather irrelevant, since facts aren't decided by popular vote and scholar is not a protected term.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#105  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 23, 2017 9:14 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:By implying that my statement should also be applicable to the rule of law whereby contradictory laws are stricken from the "law book" by legislative action

Missed this the first time around. I implied no such thing.
I said nothing about contadicting laws.


So? You didn't? I didn't say you did.... What I said you implied is emphasized above.

Except that I did not such thing.
I pointed out that when you have a text that contains a rule, why would you expect such a rule to appear mutliple times.
Nothing to do with contradicting laws.

PensivePenny wrote: And yeah, you did imply THAT.

This is still a blind counterfactual assertion, no matter how many times you repeat it, even with words in all caps.
I explained exactly why I used the analogy of text of laws. You added the whole contradictions ruling each other out, thing yourself.


PensivePenny wrote: Tell, me o teacher.

While I am a teacher, I suspect this is nothing but a passive agressive remark.
Not only is that unhelpful in a rational discussion, it contravenes the FUA you signed Penny.

PensivePenny wrote:
.. does claiming I said YOU said something about contradicting laws (when I didn't) rise to the level of straw man?

Since I never said that, it's irrelevant.
All I did was point that I never said anything that would imply contradictions ruling each other out and that its therefore something you added to the conversation.
If you did so intentionally, then yes, it's a straw-man. However I assume you didn't so it's probably a misunderstanding.
Now, given that I've eplained twice exactly how I used the anology, I hope you understand.
If you do and keep insisting I implied something that cannot be found in my post, then yes, you will be staw-manning.
However, I'm hoping that you're interested in a rational discussion, rather than a vindictive one.

PensivePenny wrote: See? Your interpretation cherry picks what you want to hear,

Wrong, that's what you keep doing. You keep interpeting things that are not present in my posts or worse outright making up claims and motivations for me that I have not expressed.
Again, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, that this is based on one or more misunderstandings on your part and not repeated attempts to straw-man me and/or poison the well.

PensivePenny wrote:which in my observation of your posts, when it comes from a forum member with whom you are unfamiliar, you "interpret" in the most adversarial way possible.

Then your observation is severly flawed as I've not once expressed any adversiality.
I've only been skeptical of some of your arguments and responses, because they seem to lack either sound reasoning and/or a misunderstanding (deliberate or non-deliberate) of what your interlocutors post.


PensivePenny wrote: I didn't come here with an agenda or even any kind of strong claim. I just don't get your aggression on minor unimportant aspects of a thread.

Again, I haven't expressed any agression.
It would really help if you read what I actually post, rather than projecting all manner of things on me.


Whatever you say, Thomas. If subtlety escapes you, let me point it out. I've withdrawn from attempts to have a meaningful discussion with you. For whatever reason, through your desire to be intentionally obtuse or adversarial or maybe just you and I don't gel... whatever the reason, I see trying to engage you as pointless. If that hasn't been apparent to you, hopefully now it will be. Frankly, if you have such a problem with things I've written, I am puzzled why you haven't withdrawn as well. Ok. Now I've moved on.

Best wishes :cheers:
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#106  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 23, 2017 9:18 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
John Platko wrote:

That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.

Which is rather irrelevant, since facts aren't decided by popular vote and scholar is not a protected term.


I'm curious... are you a climate change denier too? Yours is essentially the same argument they use to discredit scientists.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#107  Postby The Serpent » Apr 23, 2017 9:25 pm

zulumoose wrote:Google "jot or tittle"

That is the most quoted bible reference regarding the old testament, basically it is Jesus saying that the entirety of the old laws are valid, jot and tittle is, I believe, the Hebrew equivalent of dotting your i's and crossing your t's.


This. It's red text. The Riz said it and for Christians, it's most inconvenient.
Religious traditions are the fault lines along which societies fracture when placed under stress. -- Sam Harris
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#108  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 23, 2017 9:40 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
John Platko wrote:

That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.

Which is rather irrelevant, since facts aren't decided by popular vote and scholar is not a protected term.


I'm curious... are you a climate change denier too? Yours is essentially the same argument they use to discredit scientists.

Yet more personalised remarks, in lieu of actually adressing the point being raised.
Science is based on verifiable facts, not on how many people agree with a notion.
And scholar isnt a protected term, anyone and their senile grandmother can call themselves a scholar. Doesn't mean what they think about the topic carries any weight.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#109  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 23, 2017 9:51 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
Missed this the first time around. I implied no such thing.
I said nothing about contadicting laws.


So? You didn't? I didn't say you did.... What I said you implied is emphasized above.

Except that I did not such thing.
I pointed out that when you have a text that contains a rule, why would you expect such a rule to appear mutliple times.
Nothing to do with contradicting laws.

PensivePenny wrote: And yeah, you did imply THAT.

This is still a blind counterfactual assertion, no matter how many times you repeat it, even with words in all caps.
I explained exactly why I used the analogy of text of laws. You added the whole contradictions ruling each other out, thing yourself.


PensivePenny wrote: Tell, me o teacher.

While I am a teacher, I suspect this is nothing but a passive agressive remark.
Not only is that unhelpful in a rational discussion, it contravenes the FUA you signed Penny.

PensivePenny wrote:
.. does claiming I said YOU said something about contradicting laws (when I didn't) rise to the level of straw man?

Since I never said that, it's irrelevant.
All I did was point that I never said anything that would imply contradictions ruling each other out and that its therefore something you added to the conversation.
If you did so intentionally, then yes, it's a straw-man. However I assume you didn't so it's probably a misunderstanding.
Now, given that I've eplained twice exactly how I used the anology, I hope you understand.
If you do and keep insisting I implied something that cannot be found in my post, then yes, you will be staw-manning.
However, I'm hoping that you're interested in a rational discussion, rather than a vindictive one.

PensivePenny wrote: See? Your interpretation cherry picks what you want to hear,

Wrong, that's what you keep doing. You keep interpeting things that are not present in my posts or worse outright making up claims and motivations for me that I have not expressed.
Again, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, that this is based on one or more misunderstandings on your part and not repeated attempts to straw-man me and/or poison the well.

PensivePenny wrote:which in my observation of your posts, when it comes from a forum member with whom you are unfamiliar, you "interpret" in the most adversarial way possible.

Then your observation is severly flawed as I've not once expressed any adversiality.
I've only been skeptical of some of your arguments and responses, because they seem to lack either sound reasoning and/or a misunderstanding (deliberate or non-deliberate) of what your interlocutors post.


PensivePenny wrote: I didn't come here with an agenda or even any kind of strong claim. I just don't get your aggression on minor unimportant aspects of a thread.

Again, I haven't expressed any agression.
It would really help if you read what I actually post, rather than projecting all manner of things on me.


Whatever you say, Thomas.

I notice, that once again, you don't actually adress anything I've said, instead opting to post this:

PensivePenny wrote: If subtlety escapes you, let me point it out.

Another passive-agressive remark.

PensivePenny wrote: I've withdrawn from attempts to have a meaningful discussion with you.

That has nothing to do with subtlety.
It's your perogative to not engage in a discussion. However this won't prevent me from pointing out things in your post that aren't clear, irrational, misrepresentations or unsupported.
This is not agressive, nor is it personal. As you can see, I just did the same with one of John Paltko's posts.

PensivePenny wrote: For whatever reason,

I have stated my reason for adressing your post clearly. So there's no 'whatever'.
It also makes the rest of this sentence rather hypocritical.

PensivePenny wrote: through your desire to be intentionally obtuse or adversarial

Again, I've clearly stated that my reason for my responses to your post is to understand them and point out errors in them (if there are any).
Doing so is not being intentionally obtuse nor adversarial.


PensivePenny wrote: or maybe just you and I don't gel

I harbour no ill will to you in any way.
At best I take issue with your repeated attempts to project nefarious motives and straw-man positions onto me.
But that's a judgment of what you posted, not you as a person.


PensivePenny wrote:... whatever the reason, I see trying to engage you as pointless.

Like I said, our discusssions would be far more productive if you took the effort to read and respond to what I actually post, rather than sticking various unsubstantiated motivations and straw-man positions to me.

PensivePenny wrote: If that hasn't been apparent to you, hopefully now it will be. Frankly, if you have such a problem with things I've written, I am puzzled why you haven't withdrawn as well.

Given that I've already explained this in the very post you're responding to, I wonder why you're puzzeled.
Could it be that you haven't actually read what you've just responded to?

PensivePenny wrote: Ok. Now I've moved on.

Best wishes :cheers:

Again, it's your perogative and if you feel like you're frustrated by our interaction, taking a step back may help.
But I advise you to reread our ongoing discussion in this thread and realise I haven't expressed any hostility, adversialiaty nor deliberate obtuseness.

Hope you have a nice day/night, wichever is applicable.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#110  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 23, 2017 10:57 pm

Thomas, "frustration" is an emotion that occurs when some desire is unfulfilled. Rest assured, you haven't frustrated me.

One thing authors learn pretty quickly is that 100% comprehension by 100% of their audience is an un-achievable goal. Our inability to communicate on any significant level isn't something I take as a personal failing.

No worries.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#111  Postby proudfootz » Apr 23, 2017 11:18 pm

Alan B wrote:
proudfootz wrote:
Alan B wrote:
proudfootz wrote: I suspect that the Jewish scriptures would still be included, because the letter writers constantly referred to them and the stories in them as doctrinal supports.

The letter writers were at a much later period after Jesus' death and had to include references to the Torah because Jesus said so...

Circular. :think:


We differ here: the letter writers rarely refer to anything that indicates they had any awareness of a Jesus who might have walked the Earth and left a legacy of teachings or sayings which were widely known.

They certainly appear to be ignorant of the gospel tales, hence their reliance on interpreting Jewish scripture to derive their nonsense.

So, not circular on my part. Not at all. :coffee:

Of course it isn't circular if, and only 'if', these letters are the only ones ever to have been written. I would suggest (and this is pure conjecture on my part) that these later writers, and there may have been more than what we know of, knew of the teachings of Jesus either by hearsay or of letters now lost. I do not think that is an unreasonable conjecture.

That statement of Jesus seems to be the link between the Christians and the inclusion of the Torah.

But until there is more evidence, it all remains 'up in the air'.


I quite agree - without the evidence the issue remains 'up in the air'.

Whether there might have been letter writers who actually did know about the gospel narrative(s) about Jesus or perhaps certain remarks by Him is not a wholly unreasonable conjecture.

But that there were letter writers whose theology does seem to be heavily dependent on Jewish scripture is plenty enough for me, even if a Jesus said anything about it one way or the other. Therefore I would hesitate to put any especial emphasis on something Jesus may or may not have said as being 'the' link between the christians and the Torah.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#112  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 7:26 am

PensivePenny wrote:Thomas, "frustration" is an emotion that occurs when some desire is unfulfilled. Rest assured, you haven't frustrated me.

It's a figure of speech.

PensivePenny wrote:One thing authors learn pretty quickly is that 100% comprehension by 100% of their audience is an un-achievable goal.

This deepity is pointless.

PensivePenny wrote: Our inability to communicate on any significant level isn't something I take as a personal failing.

There is no such inability.
There's a refusal on your part to answer my questions and explain your position more clearly.

PensivePenny wrote:No worries.

I'm not worried, only disappointed that you refuse to engage with what I actually post and have now chosen to dismiss me out of hand, based on several characteristics you've projected onto me that have no basis in reality.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#113  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 11:17 am

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
I'm not worried, only disappointed that you refuse to engage with what I actually post and have now chosen to dismiss me out of hand, based on several characteristics you've projected onto me that have no basis in reality.


If I were "disappointed" because some anonymous person on a forum wouldn't talk to me, I would evaluate that with my therapist, not share it in a public forum. That's just me. If "baiting" me is your goal, you'll have to do better.

Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#114  Postby Agrippina » Apr 24, 2017 11:48 am

John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:John, the itemized response is appreciated. I think you've given me a fair grasp of your position. I won't respond in like kind for brevity and only because I accept most everything you've written. Nothing unreasonable.

I will however respond to a few of the points. If I fail to respond to something in you're particularly interested in hearing, let me know.

Alright, so we can agree that "something" can be learned from human behavior based on how people react to a story. For that matter, we can add to a "story", a sneeze, a crying infant, a Mormon evangelist knocking on the door, or the pizza delivery arriving late. All those are opportunities to learn about human behavior.


Yes, one can learn from all of those situations. The crying infant is an interesting case. But that's perhaps another story for another day.


A behaviour isn't a "story". The way we react to a "story" a retold piece of fiction is different to the way we react to a perceived stimulus. A behaviour isn't a story, it's something that stimulates us to respond. If we are told a baby cried, or someone sneezed, or Mormon knocked on a door, a pizza delivery man arrived late, we respond with acknowledgement of hearing or reading the story, when we hear a baby cry, we might ignore it, or tell the parent to shut it up, a sneeze with "bless you" or ignoring it, a Mormon knocking on the door, with abuse or inviting them in, and the pizza delivery guy arriving late, with a smaller tip, and anger, or just accepting there was a reason for it. We don't learn from other people's behaviour, unless they're expressly trying to inform us. However, we do learn from a story, even unconsciously.


Personally, I don't see much to be learned from it that can't be learned in about a minute. That is an exaggeration. Some might find it more interesting topic than others, but I seriously doubt there is much value to be gained. But, say I'm wrong. For example, tell me what you think the lesson is that people believe in a virgin birth?


I think just about every kind of human interaction one could have is to be found in the four gospels and the way people deal with them. And it's helpful that there are four versions of the same story. The virgin birth wouldn't be my choice of where to start sussing out what we can from the story but, since you've been so polite in your responses I will honor your request.


They're not four versions of the same story, they are copies of the original, changed slightly to appear to be different versions.

Also they are not the only versions of the story.

This scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s. Both used a written form of the Gospel of Mark as source material for their own narratives. In addition, because both Matthew and Luke contain a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark, most researchers hold that both Evangelists also had a collection of Jesus’ sayings that they incorporated into their works. This saying source is known as “Q” and was likely assembled in the 40s or 50s. This understanding of the origins of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke explains why they are similar yet different from one another. The arrangement is called “The Two-Source Hypothesis” because Matthew and Luke are seen to have two written sources, Mark and Q.

The Gospel of John emerges from an independent literary tradition that is not directly connected to the Synoptic tradition. This explains the major differences between John and the Synoptics. The Johannine narrative is indebted to oral and possibly written traditions that were transmitted from earlier decades.


http://www.bc.edu/schools/stm/crossroads/resources/birthofjesus/intro/the_dating_of_thegospels.html

The bullet points of the virgin birth story are:

Mary, a young girl, was engaged to Joseph
Before the wedding Mary was found to be pregnant
Joseph didn't want to disgrace her so he decided to quietly remove himself from the situation
But Joe had a dream where an angel appeared to him and the angel told him no need for that the baby is holy.
When he woke up he followed the message from his dream and took Mary as his wife and accepted the baby as his own.

There's a bit more to the story but lets just see what we might learn from that part - which is plenty to chew on.

So we have an unwed mother - and the fiancé doesn't seem to think he's responsible. :no:
He's a good guy, he doesn't want to get her in more trouble, he's thinking, "I'll quietly slip out the back door". - like a lot of us might.
But then he has a dream - now that's interesting. But can we learn anything from a dream? Some say :no: some say obviously :nod:, dreams give us a window into our unconscious processes - albeit an imperfect and often irrational window. And what does Joe learn from the dream? He learns that Mary and her baby aren't tainted, they're holy - there's no reason from him to abandon her. That's not what the God of Joseph's unconscious imagination (the part of Joe that created the dream) thought was right.
And Joe had the courage and wisdom to follow up on these ideas that were created deep within himself - with high expectations of who this child could grow up to be, what he could accomplish - in spite of what others might say about these "questionable" circumstances.


Young people being what they are, and even though sexual contact was forbidden until formal blessing from a rabbi, it is more than likely, if these were real people that they were caught unawares and made up the story of the angel's appearance to placate the parents who quickly arranged a shotgun wedding. More than likely. Or you can read this version of what possibly happened here.


Which I could say more about but perhaps that's enough for now. From this story we can learn something we're talking a lot about in a thread on free will - why we should be more compassionate and loving to others because they are not in control of all that they do and that happens to them. :no: And Joseph modeled that behavior because he was trying, as much as he could, to be the best person he could be.


Of course we are in control of how we respond to a situation. We're not automatons, we see a situation, figure out the easiest solution: girlfriend is pregnant, let's make a up a story to get married quickly.

Again, there's more to be learned from this story but that's a start. For example how people deal with the "questionable' birth circumstances. It's almost like they had their very own Sean Spicer shouting out: "Joseph believed she was a holy virgin - period.
Why does that sort of thing happen? What can we learn from that?

He knew she wasn't because he knew her.


"Flimsy" was a poor word choice. My comparison of Hamlet and the bible was merely to suggest that any value gained in learning human behavior would be more or less equal, of only modest value, and in the end so subjective as to further reduce it's value. The "flimsy" was just meant to say that if one wants to learn about human behavior there are far better ways that are more scientifically valuable and more objective.


Such as? I find our knowledge of human behavior in 2017 to be pretty flimsy. I know of no psychological system that can really sus out what's afoot at the psychological extremes. There's a reason they call psychology, and anthropology soft sciences.


No people who've never studied the workings of human behaviour call it "soft sciences". The term doesn't refer to "well we don't actually know what the hell is going on so we're sucking nonsense explanations out of our thumbs". It's a pejorative used by people who think that abnormal behaviour is caused by the supernatural, and that it can be prayed away.


I don't understand why you'd think anything I said in the post you referenced was "unfair." I think I was perfectly fair and reasonable, but will entertain your opposition. Is it because I (paraphrased) said the bible is fiction?


I don't have a problem with parts of the Bible being called works of fiction - for many parts that's a perfectly reasonable description. But given that the majority of scholars assess Jesus to have been a historical figure, it's unfair to evaluate that story as a work of fiction- I think calling it a noisy (heavily corrupted) historical account is closer to the truth - at least that's how I approach it. And I give that sort of thing a little more weight than a work of fiction, especially one produced by a single author. But in the end, it's the explanatory value of either story that matters to us today. But I feel more sympathy for an actual person who actually lived who was a good guy unjustly killed than I do for a fictitious character.


It is all a work of fiction. The only part that has some basis in truth is that some people from Judah were taken to Babylon with the person they called a king because they refused to pay tribute to the king of Babylon, and some of them were executed.

We know the history, because the Babylonians wrote it down (of course with themselves as the heroes, but nevertheless, they did write an account of it from their point of view).

The Cyrus Cylinder.

The rest of the Bible's stories are made up nonsense.



I'm not one of those people who think the bible must be ALL true or ALL false. Whether Jesus lived or not is of little relevance, imo. However, the evidence is equally compelling that Jesus didn't live as it is that he did.


That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.


It doesn't matter whether he did or didn't live, and there's a multiple-thousand page thread for this. What does matter is that for 2000 years there's been a belief that he did, and people still kill each other about it.


That being said, one of my favorite shows on TV right now is Black Sails. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a period piece from the 17th century about the waning years of the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean and Bahama region. It is chock full of historical figures. A fair accounting of them is done. BUT, there are also several fictional characters stolen from other works of fiction like Treasure Island. Once these elements are introduced into a story, it becomes fiction. When a fictional character and a non-fiction character interact, what exactly is that supposed to achieve? Besides entertainment? This kind of fiction is commonplace and has been probably since the beginning of the written alphabet... it is a genre all unto itself, known as "Historical Fiction." The bible falls into that genre. I do hope you agree with that. Whether this or that character actually existed is irrelevant. We already agree that at least some parts are fictional (supernatural stuff, you said), so the source (the bible) is a discredited witness. That doesn't mean that it is all fabricated, but enough is known to be fabricated that it ALL must be suspect.

<ETA: So much for "brevity." Sorry about that.>


Knowing actual history is difficult. My wife and I often disagree about what happened the day before. Once in a while I'm even shown to be wrong about what I think happened. ;) We don't have to have a perfect account of what happened to learn important things form history. The fact that the Jesus story had such legs through history is something that I think needs explaining. Why? What is it about that story? I think it reaches something deep inside of people and even though they might not be able to articulate why, they feel there's something important there. To me, it's a revelation of human dynamics and psychological processes. Maybe someday neurology will have better explanations and ways of explaining human behavior - but not today.


Much of recorded history is fiction. You cannot accept a single piece of evidence in whatever form as "the truth". It's when you examine multiple sources of a story, and find the pieces that agree, then examine those further, again looking for agreement, that you might be able to cobble together a possible scenario. That's how it's supposed to work. Every single historical account of every event, even if written from the point of view of an eye witness, should be questioned. Christopher Hitchens said that when he was a reporter, writing about an event he witnessed, he often wondered whether other reporters were actually at the event they were reporting on, because of how different their stories were. It's easy to test. Just go to a major event with a group of friends, place them at different places away from each other, some of them watching the event in a mirror, without their knowledge, then compare notes after the event. Each point of view will be different, especially the ones who don't know they're looking at a mirror image where they'll swear the person at the centre of the event was writing with the opposite hand, for example. It's a matter of looking for the similarities in each story to find the truth, and even then that should be questioned.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#115  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 11:56 am

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
I'm not worried, only disappointed that you refuse to engage with what I actually post and have now chosen to dismiss me out of hand, based on several characteristics you've projected onto me that have no basis in reality.


If I were "disappointed" because some anonymous person on a forum wouldn't talk to me

Once again you fail to respond to what I actually post.
I did not say I was disappointed that you don't respond, I said that I was disappointed that you did, but only with repeated straw-manning, personalised comments and by attributing various things to me I have not expressed.

PensivePenny wrote:I would evaluate that with my therapist, not share it in a public forum.

Q.E.D.

PensivePenny wrote: That's just me. If "baiting" me is your goal, you'll have to do better.

I've clearly explained what my goal is, that you keep trying project different goals onto me suggest that it is you, not me who's out to goad someone. Especially in light of your other personalised comments and accusations of nefarious motives on my part.
I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt but with every response you post, it seems more and more that you're just out to troll.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#116  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 12:06 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
I'm not worried, only disappointed that you refuse to engage with what I actually post and have now chosen to dismiss me out of hand, based on several characteristics you've projected onto me that have no basis in reality.


If I were "disappointed" because some anonymous person on a forum wouldn't talk to me

Once again you fail to respond to what I actually post.
I did not say I was disappointed that you don't respond, I said that I was disappointed that you did, but only with repeated straw-manning, personalised comments and by attributing various things to me I have not expressed.

PensivePenny wrote:I would evaluate that with my therapist, not share it in a public forum.

Q.E.D.

PensivePenny wrote: That's just me. If "baiting" me is your goal, you'll have to do better.

I've clearly explained what my goal is, that you keep trying project different goals onto me suggest that it is you, not me who's out to goad someone. Especially in light of your other personalised comments and accusations of nefarious motives on my part.
I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt but with every response you post, it seems more and more that you're just out to troll.


And again, Thomas you ramble on and on when it should be obvious that we both feel the other has nothing of value to offer. I'm content to just leave it at that. You continue with the item by item responses. Rhetorically, why? I've already indicated I am no longer responding to your comments. Take a deep breath, recognize the other party has nothing of importance to say and walk away. That's what I do. ;)
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#117  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 12:08 pm

Agrippina wrote:
John Platko wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:John, the itemized response is appreciated. I think you've given me a fair grasp of your position. I won't respond in like kind for brevity and only because I accept most everything you've written. Nothing unreasonable.

I will however respond to a few of the points. If I fail to respond to something in you're particularly interested in hearing, let me know.

Alright, so we can agree that "something" can be learned from human behavior based on how people react to a story. For that matter, we can add to a "story", a sneeze, a crying infant, a Mormon evangelist knocking on the door, or the pizza delivery arriving late. All those are opportunities to learn about human behavior.


Yes, one can learn from all of those situations. The crying infant is an interesting case. But that's perhaps another story for another day.


A behaviour isn't a "story". The way we react to a "story" a retold piece of fiction is different to the way we react to a perceived stimulus. A behaviour isn't a story, it's something that stimulates us to respond. If we are told a baby cried, or someone sneezed, or Mormon knocked on a door, a pizza delivery man arrived late, we respond with acknowledgement of hearing or reading the story, when we hear a baby cry, we might ignore it, or tell the parent to shut it up, a sneeze with "bless you" or ignoring it, a Mormon knocking on the door, with abuse or inviting them in, and the pizza delivery guy arriving late, with a smaller tip, and anger, or just accepting there was a reason for it. We don't learn from other people's behaviour, unless they're expressly trying to inform us. However, we do learn from a story, even unconsciously.


Personally, I don't see much to be learned from it that can't be learned in about a minute. That is an exaggeration. Some might find it more interesting topic than others, but I seriously doubt there is much value to be gained. But, say I'm wrong. For example, tell me what you think the lesson is that people believe in a virgin birth?


I think just about every kind of human interaction one could have is to be found in the four gospels and the way people deal with them. And it's helpful that there are four versions of the same story. The virgin birth wouldn't be my choice of where to start sussing out what we can from the story but, since you've been so polite in your responses I will honor your request.


They're not four versions of the same story, they are copies of the original, changed slightly to appear to be different versions.

Also they are not the only versions of the story.

This scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s. Both used a written form of the Gospel of Mark as source material for their own narratives. In addition, because both Matthew and Luke contain a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark, most researchers hold that both Evangelists also had a collection of Jesus’ sayings that they incorporated into their works. This saying source is known as “Q” and was likely assembled in the 40s or 50s. This understanding of the origins of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke explains why they are similar yet different from one another. The arrangement is called “The Two-Source Hypothesis” because Matthew and Luke are seen to have two written sources, Mark and Q.

The Gospel of John emerges from an independent literary tradition that is not directly connected to the Synoptic tradition. This explains the major differences between John and the Synoptics. The Johannine narrative is indebted to oral and possibly written traditions that were transmitted from earlier decades.


http://www.bc.edu/schools/stm/crossroads/resources/birthofjesus/intro/the_dating_of_thegospels.html

The bullet points of the virgin birth story are:

Mary, a young girl, was engaged to Joseph
Before the wedding Mary was found to be pregnant
Joseph didn't want to disgrace her so he decided to quietly remove himself from the situation
But Joe had a dream where an angel appeared to him and the angel told him no need for that the baby is holy.
When he woke up he followed the message from his dream and took Mary as his wife and accepted the baby as his own.

There's a bit more to the story but lets just see what we might learn from that part - which is plenty to chew on.

So we have an unwed mother - and the fiancé doesn't seem to think he's responsible. :no:
He's a good guy, he doesn't want to get her in more trouble, he's thinking, "I'll quietly slip out the back door". - like a lot of us might.
But then he has a dream - now that's interesting. But can we learn anything from a dream? Some say :no: some say obviously :nod:, dreams give us a window into our unconscious processes - albeit an imperfect and often irrational window. And what does Joe learn from the dream? He learns that Mary and her baby aren't tainted, they're holy - there's no reason from him to abandon her. That's not what the God of Joseph's unconscious imagination (the part of Joe that created the dream) thought was right.
And Joe had the courage and wisdom to follow up on these ideas that were created deep within himself - with high expectations of who this child could grow up to be, what he could accomplish - in spite of what others might say about these "questionable" circumstances.


Young people being what they are, and even though sexual contact was forbidden until formal blessing from a rabbi, it is more than likely, if these were real people that they were caught unawares and made up the story of the angel's appearance to placate the parents who quickly arranged a shotgun wedding. More than likely. Or you can read this version of what possibly happened here.


Which I could say more about but perhaps that's enough for now. From this story we can learn something we're talking a lot about in a thread on free will - why we should be more compassionate and loving to others because they are not in control of all that they do and that happens to them. :no: And Joseph modeled that behavior because he was trying, as much as he could, to be the best person he could be.


Of course we are in control of how we respond to a situation. We're not automatons, we see a situation, figure out the easiest solution: girlfriend is pregnant, let's make a up a story to get married quickly.

Again, there's more to be learned from this story but that's a start. For example how people deal with the "questionable' birth circumstances. It's almost like they had their very own Sean Spicer shouting out: "Joseph believed she was a holy virgin - period.
Why does that sort of thing happen? What can we learn from that?

He knew she wasn't because he knew her.


"Flimsy" was a poor word choice. My comparison of Hamlet and the bible was merely to suggest that any value gained in learning human behavior would be more or less equal, of only modest value, and in the end so subjective as to further reduce it's value. The "flimsy" was just meant to say that if one wants to learn about human behavior there are far better ways that are more scientifically valuable and more objective.


Such as? I find our knowledge of human behavior in 2017 to be pretty flimsy. I know of no psychological system that can really sus out what's afoot at the psychological extremes. There's a reason they call psychology, and anthropology soft sciences.


No people who've never studied the workings of human behaviour call it "soft sciences". The term doesn't refer to "well we don't actually know what the hell is going on so we're sucking nonsense explanations out of our thumbs". It's a pejorative used by people who think that abnormal behaviour is caused by the supernatural, and that it can be prayed away.


I don't understand why you'd think anything I said in the post you referenced was "unfair." I think I was perfectly fair and reasonable, but will entertain your opposition. Is it because I (paraphrased) said the bible is fiction?


I don't have a problem with parts of the Bible being called works of fiction - for many parts that's a perfectly reasonable description. But given that the majority of scholars assess Jesus to have been a historical figure, it's unfair to evaluate that story as a work of fiction- I think calling it a noisy (heavily corrupted) historical account is closer to the truth - at least that's how I approach it. And I give that sort of thing a little more weight than a work of fiction, especially one produced by a single author. But in the end, it's the explanatory value of either story that matters to us today. But I feel more sympathy for an actual person who actually lived who was a good guy unjustly killed than I do for a fictitious character.


It is all a work of fiction. The only part that has some basis in truth is that some people from Judah were taken to Babylon with the person they called a king because they refused to pay tribute to the king of Babylon, and some of them were executed.

We know the history, because the Babylonians wrote it down (of course with themselves as the heroes, but nevertheless, they did write an account of it from their point of view).

The Cyrus Cylinder.

The rest of the Bible's stories are made up nonsense.



I'm not one of those people who think the bible must be ALL true or ALL false. Whether Jesus lived or not is of little relevance, imo. However, the evidence is equally compelling that Jesus didn't live as it is that he did.


That's not the general assessment of the scholarly community.


It doesn't matter whether he did or didn't live, and there's a multiple-thousand page thread for this. What does matter is that for 2000 years there's been a belief that he did, and people still kill each other about it.


That being said, one of my favorite shows on TV right now is Black Sails. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a period piece from the 17th century about the waning years of the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean and Bahama region. It is chock full of historical figures. A fair accounting of them is done. BUT, there are also several fictional characters stolen from other works of fiction like Treasure Island. Once these elements are introduced into a story, it becomes fiction. When a fictional character and a non-fiction character interact, what exactly is that supposed to achieve? Besides entertainment? This kind of fiction is commonplace and has been probably since the beginning of the written alphabet... it is a genre all unto itself, known as "Historical Fiction." The bible falls into that genre. I do hope you agree with that. Whether this or that character actually existed is irrelevant. We already agree that at least some parts are fictional (supernatural stuff, you said), so the source (the bible) is a discredited witness. That doesn't mean that it is all fabricated, but enough is known to be fabricated that it ALL must be suspect.

<ETA: So much for "brevity." Sorry about that.>


Knowing actual history is difficult. My wife and I often disagree about what happened the day before. Once in a while I'm even shown to be wrong about what I think happened. ;) We don't have to have a perfect account of what happened to learn important things form history. The fact that the Jesus story had such legs through history is something that I think needs explaining. Why? What is it about that story? I think it reaches something deep inside of people and even though they might not be able to articulate why, they feel there's something important there. To me, it's a revelation of human dynamics and psychological processes. Maybe someday neurology will have better explanations and ways of explaining human behavior - but not today.


Much of recorded history is fiction. You cannot accept a single piece of evidence in whatever form as "the truth". It's when you examine multiple sources of a story, and find the pieces that agree, then examine those further, again looking for agreement, that you might be able to cobble together a possible scenario. That's how it's supposed to work. Every single historical account of every event, even if written from the point of view of an eye witness, should be questioned. Christopher Hitchens said that when he was a reporter, writing about an event he witnessed, he often wondered whether other reporters were actually at the event they were reporting on, because of how different their stories were. It's easy to test. Just go to a major event with a group of friends, place them at different places away from each other, some of them watching the event in a mirror, without their knowledge, then compare notes after the event. Each point of view will be different, especially the ones who don't know they're looking at a mirror image where they'll swear the person at the centre of the event was writing with the opposite hand, for example. It's a matter of looking for the similarities in each story to find the truth, and even then that should be questioned.



@Aggie... once again, a thoughtful, well-expressed post. :thumbup:
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#118  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 12:16 pm

PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
PensivePenny wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
I'm not worried, only disappointed that you refuse to engage with what I actually post and have now chosen to dismiss me out of hand, based on several characteristics you've projected onto me that have no basis in reality.


If I were "disappointed" because some anonymous person on a forum wouldn't talk to me

Once again you fail to respond to what I actually post.
I did not say I was disappointed that you don't respond, I said that I was disappointed that you did, but only with repeated straw-manning, personalised comments and by attributing various things to me I have not expressed.

PensivePenny wrote:I would evaluate that with my therapist, not share it in a public forum.

Q.E.D.

PensivePenny wrote: That's just me. If "baiting" me is your goal, you'll have to do better.

I've clearly explained what my goal is, that you keep trying project different goals onto me suggest that it is you, not me who's out to goad someone. Especially in light of your other personalised comments and accusations of nefarious motives on my part.
I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt but with every response you post, it seems more and more that you're just out to troll.


And again, Thomas you ramble on and on

I'm not.
I am pointing out falsehoods as well as FUA violations in your responses to my posts.

PensivePenny wrote: when it should be obvious that we both feel the other has nothing of value to offer.

Q.E.D. more personalised flaming.
And kindly speak for yourself. Unlike you I don't dismiss a person out of hand because they won't accept my position.
Nor do I question their sanity or motives, like you've done in these past couple of posts.
I do think we could have a productive discussion.
All we need to do is get of this personalised derail and start adressing what the other actually posts.


PensivePenny wrote: I'm content to just leave it at that.

That's demonstrably false.
Not just by the fact that you keep coming back, but also by the repeated personalised nature of your responses.

PensivePenny wrote: You continue with the item by item responses.

That's my usual MO as it is for many other members on this site: to adress each claims or statement, rather than one big response.


PensivePenny wrote: Rhetorically, why?

You keep on demonstrating my point: I've made it perfectly clear. That you keep asking/wondering why demonstrates you are either not reading the posts you're responding to, or dishonestly pretending this question hasn't already been answered.

PensivePenny wrote: I've already indicated I am no longer responding to your comments.

Which is a lie, as you've done so several times since then, including with this very post.

PensivePenny wrote: Take a deep breath,

You can stuff the passive-agressive nonsense.

PensivePenny wrote: recognize the other party has nothing of importance to say and walk away. That's what I do. ;)

Again, speak only for yourself, unlike you, I haven't dismissed you out of hand based on several things I made up about you and your motives.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#119  Postby PensivePenny » Apr 24, 2017 12:19 pm

Thomas, now that you've expressed yourself, can you let it go?
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Any bible scholars out there?

#120  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 24, 2017 12:24 pm

PensivePenny wrote:Thomas, now that you've expressed yourself, can you let it go?

You don't get to pretend to be the reasonable party Penny.
I made it clear, several posts ago, that I am looking for a rational discussion.
It was you that decided to derail said discussion by projecting all manner of positions and motivations onto me I had not expressed. And when I objected to those, to dig deeper rather than retract.

I've repeatedly stated that I'm looking to discuss the thread topic, only for you to make personalised and baseless accusations of me being incapable of having a discussion with you.
If you're done with this behaviour, maybe you can anwser my original question: why do you think the 4 or 5 mentions in the bible about the OT still being valid, is not a lot?
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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