Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

a few examples; discussion invited

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

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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#21  Postby willhud9 » Sep 05, 2011 2:17 am

Ichthus77 wrote:willhud--do you see Byron's (oh, hey Byron--howdy! this is for you, too...) attempts to explain why one author would mention a detail, while another author would leave the detail out? It is important to keep in mind that it doesn't matter why (though, I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool to know why)--it only matters that their details are (without intention) inter-locking. It smacks of authenticity. If you would just sit down and study the examples, you might see what I mean.


Okay......so how can you prove it was without intention? You cannot unless you say that the authors of the Gospel just miraculous wrote the Gospels while being compelled by the Spirit. You cannot do that, since you have no extrabiblical or biblical for that matter evidence for which. However, we have plenty of evidence that suggests that the authorship, detail and lack of detail WAS intentional. What is hard to understand about that?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#22  Postby ElDiablo » Sep 05, 2011 2:37 am

:popcorn:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#23  Postby Byron » Sep 05, 2011 4:17 am

Ichthus77 wrote:(oh, hey Byron--howdy! this is for you, too...)

Howdy!
It smacks of authenticity.

A common source isn't authenticity. The 40-odd years between Jesus' execution and the authoring of G. Mark is more than enough time for inaccuracies to enter the narrative, inaccuracies transmitted, via G.Mark/Q/other sayings trad., through John and the synoptics.

If, for the sake of argument, these alleged " 'internal' coincidences" do somehow flag authenticity: so what? I don't doubt the existence of a historical Jesus. All this "authenticity" would show is that authors writing a generation after Jesus died worked history into their theological accounts. Getting some details right doesn't mean they got all details right.

This does nothing to advance Christianity's theological claims. History isn't theology.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#24  Postby Oldskeptic » Sep 08, 2011 2:00 am

@ Ichthus77:

When all you are doing is cherry picking coincidences from the gospels the only valid criticism is that you are cherry picking coincidences from the gospels.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#25  Postby Shrunk » Sep 08, 2011 10:33 am

Oldskeptic wrote:@ Ichthus77:

When all you are doing is cherry picking coincidences from the gospels the only valid criticism is that you are cherry picking coincidences from the gospels.


Maryann seems to have thought that, when you mentioned "cherry picking", you were referring to her selecting only some of the examples from McGrew's full list. She often struggles with basic comprehension this way.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#26  Postby trubble76 » Sep 08, 2011 10:51 am

Brilliant! I really needed a good comedy Poe thread. :lol:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#27  Postby Alan B » Sep 08, 2011 11:04 am

Byron wrote:A common source isn't authenticity. The 40-odd years between Jesus' execution and the authoring of G. Mark is more than enough time for inaccuracies to enter the narrative, inaccuracies transmitted, via G.Mark/Q/other sayings trad., through John and the synoptics.

If, for the sake of argument, these alleged " 'internal' coincidences" do somehow flag authenticity: so what? I don't doubt the existence of a historical Jesus. All this "authenticity" would show is that authors writing a generation after Jesus died worked history into their theological accounts. Getting some details right doesn't mean they got all details right.

This does nothing to advance Christianity's theological claims. History isn't theology.

Agreed. And, of course, theology isn't history, either.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#28  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2011 1:47 pm

Alan B wrote:
Agreed. And, of course, theology isn't history, either.


Although history is more like theology than it is like physics.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#29  Postby Teague » Sep 08, 2011 2:03 pm

Ichthus77 wrote:Shrunk and Cito--These are undesigned coincidences because the Gospel authors fill in eachother's missing details without intending to. Now...perhaps God a hand in that,


So what happened to the other 99.9%? :ask:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#30  Postby MattHunX » Sep 11, 2011 8:35 am

Byron wrote:
Ichthus77 wrote:(oh, hey Byron--howdy! this is for you, too...)

Howdy!
It smacks of authenticity.

A common source isn't authenticity. The 40-odd years between Jesus' execution and the authoring of G. Mark is more than enough time for inaccuracies to enter the narrative, inaccuracies transmitted, via G.Mark/Q/other sayings trad., through John and the synoptics.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
If, for the sake of argument, these alleged " 'internal' coincidences" do somehow flag authenticity: so what? I don't doubt the existence of a historical Jesus. All this "authenticity" would show is that authors writing a generation after Jesus died worked history into their theological accounts. Getting some details right doesn't mean they got all details right.

This does nothing to advance Christianity's theological claims. History isn't theology.
Byron (like Shrunk...a real role-model) [...] I am resigning from this discussion.

:grin:

I always equate that period to a long game of telephone. 40-odd years of nothing but hearsay upon hearsay, perpetuated through the oral traditions of primitive, credulous, scared, naive fallible primates, thousands of them, who needed something/someone to believe in and find comfort in.

Also, it seems to me that the OP is conveniently, or perhaps honestly, forgetting about the contradictions in the gospels, and focuses only on the similarities, in order to claim that it is somehow a divine coincidence that somehow proves the validity of that Compilation of the Credulous.

But, yeah. Let's do imagine some conversations and motivations, but expand the time-line. Imagine what these stories would have read like if that 40-odd year gap had been a whole century, or several. All that time, with stories being passed on by people, some with agendas, some well-intentioned.

There is a quote from the movie, The Man From Earth, that aptly describes that time-period. I just love it!

"History hates a vacuum. Improvisation, some of it very sincere, fills the gaps. It would have been easy to falsify a past back then. A few words, credulity. Time would do the rest."

That there are similarities between the gospels, and many details that complement each-other, is no surprise. Neither is that there are contradictions, parts that don't complement each other or curiously/tellingly enough, omit (important) parts. It comes as no surprise given the authors. Not just the 4 gospel writers, but all the Bronze-Age, primitive, credulous, naive, fearful, ignorant peasants whose oral tradition kept these alleged miracles afloat long enough for four different people, with four different agendas, to record them, add to them their own views, and those from their own unsurprisingly unnamed sources, and practically piggy-back their story off of each other. As they had to do, in order to have something to satiate their and the people's appetite for something divine, something to believe in, to find comfort and purpose in, something to bow down before and glorify, as was, and still is, many people's nature.

Simple as that.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#31  Postby willhud9 » Sep 11, 2011 3:46 pm

MattHunX wrote:
Byron wrote:
Ichthus77 wrote:(oh, hey Byron--howdy! this is for you, too...)

Howdy!
It smacks of authenticity.

A common source isn't authenticity. The 40-odd years between Jesus' execution and the authoring of G. Mark is more than enough time for inaccuracies to enter the narrative, inaccuracies transmitted, via G.Mark/Q/other sayings trad., through John and the synoptics.[/quote

And you know this, how? There are still scholars who challenge on valid grounds the two-document hypothesis, and many say there are manuscripts early than the earliest Mark manuscript we have. To me it sounds like you are jumping the gun in saying that in those 40 years that there were no writings relating to Jesus. There is no evidence to support this assertion.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#32  Postby Shrunk » Sep 11, 2011 6:03 pm

Maryann has mentioned on her blog that she has posted this on the following websites as well. She's really, really excited about this:

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=176514
http://iloveopinions.com/index.php/topic,4373.0.html
http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtop ... 46&t=19845
http://www.project-reason.org/forum/viewthread/22069

Some people there try to help her out. They have no more success than we have.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#33  Postby Moonwatcher » Sep 13, 2011 5:38 pm

Ichthus77 wrote:If anyone actually studies the examples, sees how they fill in eachother's missing details, imagines the sort of conversations and motivations that would have to take place between the Gospel authors in order to fake each interlocking example (before we ever began writing historical fiction or doing biblical criticism)...let me know what you come up with. Tangents abound.


I seem to recall it was well-documented that Mark used two previous sources for his works. Repetitive sequences of stories abound which tends to generally indicate that an author has used previous versions of the same story that varied. With that in mind, it is hardly a huge leap that these leaders in this new Christian community were somewhat aware of what had been written before and they clearly embellished each other.

But even if each added details the others didn't include and were drawing from independent sources, so what? If that somehow is evidence that it is real history, then all of the points where different versions of the same story blatantly contradict one another in almost every detail is evidence that it is not.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#34  Postby Byron » Sep 13, 2011 9:07 pm

willhud9 wrote:
Byron wrote:A common source isn't authenticity. The 40-odd years between Jesus' execution and the authoring of G. Mark is more than enough time for inaccuracies to enter the narrative, inaccuracies transmitted, via G.Mark/Q/other sayings trad., through John and the synoptics.

And you know this, how? There are still scholars who challenge on valid grounds the two-document hypothesis, and many say there are manuscripts early than the earliest Mark manuscript we have. To me it sounds like you are jumping the gun in saying that in those 40 years that there were no writings relating to Jesus. [my bold] There is no evidence to support this assertion.

I haven't made that assertion! As I said earlier, "The gospels incorporated various strands of oral tradition, maybe some proto-gospels composed of a few sayings -- in the G. Thomas format --, and theological fiction invented by the authors." I suspect that there were some proto-gospels doing the rounds, although until one turns up, this can't go beyond informed speculation.

:thumbup: to Ichthus77 for starting a thread that people continue to reply to even after she's left! :D
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#35  Postby willhud9 » Sep 13, 2011 11:35 pm

Byron wrote:
willhud9 wrote:
Byron wrote:A common source isn't authenticity. The 40-odd years between Jesus' execution and the authoring of G. Mark is more than enough time for inaccuracies to enter the narrative, inaccuracies transmitted, via G.Mark/Q/other sayings trad., through John and the synoptics.

And you know this, how? There are still scholars who challenge on valid grounds the two-document hypothesis, and many say there are manuscripts early than the earliest Mark manuscript we have. To me it sounds like you are jumping the gun in saying that in those 40 years that there were no writings relating to Jesus. [my bold] There is no evidence to support this assertion.

I haven't made that assertion! As I said earlier, "The gospels incorporated various strands of oral tradition, maybe some proto-gospels composed of a few sayings -- in the G. Thomas format --, and theological fiction invented by the authors." I suspect that there were some proto-gospels doing the rounds, although until one turns up, this can't go beyond informed speculation.


Oh. Oops, that'll learn me for not paying attention. Sorry Byron.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#36  Postby Lion IRC » Sep 14, 2011 4:00 am

I think the phenomenon of undesigned coincidences in the Gospels is a great subject for AvT discussion.

It's been described as Chinese water torture for bible skeptics insofar as the weight of so many separate (minor) coincidences accumulate - each of which might individually be dismissed - but which gather more and more weight collectively.

The bible-errancy crowd are happy to sift through the Gospels, "straining at gnats" and proposing extraordinary allegations based on (trivial interpretations of) minor details such as whether Jesus’ robe was "scarlet" or "purple". Well, "undersigned coincidences" are in the exact opposite direction and, IMHO, much more credible, persuasive & reasonable.

Thanks Ichthus77 :thumbup:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#37  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » Sep 14, 2011 4:05 am

What do you mean the "bible errancy" crowd? The bible says that the Earth existed before the sun, how can it not have errors? Wouldn't it be the "common sense crowd"?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#38  Postby Lion IRC » Sep 14, 2011 4:10 am

The bible does NOT say... "the Earth existed before the sun"

Go back and read it again. It says..."in the beginning God created the heavens AND the earth."

The sun and the Earth are "made of" the same matter/energy/matter/energy......
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#39  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » Sep 14, 2011 4:21 am

Ok, i've read through Genesis again. And read through an accurate timeline of the beginning of the universe/solar system on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Big_Bang / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formation_ ... lar_System

The claims made by God are clearly in conflict with all the facts. I don't know how someone can read it and think there are no errors.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#40  Postby Byron » Sep 14, 2011 6:53 am

willhud9: thanks. Scanning through's the nature of the net. Do it myself all the time. No worries. :)
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