Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

a few examples; discussion invited

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Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#1  Postby Ichthus77 » Sep 03, 2011 6:31 pm

I first heard about these from Professor Tim McGrew:
http://www.wmich.edu/philosophy/index.p ... _interview

Here are a few examples:

(Note: numbers are being skipped on purpose because I am sticking to 'internal' coincidences amongst the Gospels.)

#1: Matthew 26:67-68 Why ask him to tell them who slapped him? Luke 22 They blindfolded him.

#2: Mark 6:31 Why are many coming and going? John 6:4 The Passover pilgrimage.

#3: Matthew 8:14-16 Why in the evening? Mark 1:21 Sabbath over at evening (cannot bear burden).

#4: Luke 9:36 Why did they keep silent? Mark 9:9 Jesus told them to tell no one (most consistently disobeyed command, lol).

#5: John 6:5 Why pick Philip? Luke 9 The setting of the miracle is Bethsaida, Philip’s “hometown” (John 1:44).

#7: John 21:15 Why ask “…more than these?” Matthew 26:33 “Though they all fall away…I will never fall away.” In John 21 Peter is done boasting and just says “Lord, you know that I love you.” Beautiful!

#8: Luke 23:1-4 Why Pilate find no guilt in Jesus? John 18:28- “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Also, John never mentions the charge against him, but Luke fills in the detail.

#10: Matthew 14:1-2 Why is Herod speaking about this to his servants? Luke 8:3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager/steward. Herod knows that if he’s got questions about Jesus, talk to his Christian servants. Acts 13:1 Manaen had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch.

#11: Mark 14:57-58 Mark 15 People mock him for saying he would destroy the temple. He never says that in Mark. John 2:18-19 Jesus says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

These are just examples of ‘internal’ undesigned coincidences in the Gospels.

For other types and examples, and more sources for further research, go here:
http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2011/07/u ... y-tim.html
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#2  Postby Shrunk » Sep 03, 2011 6:58 pm

:eh:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#3  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 03, 2011 7:29 pm

Ichthus77 wrote:I first heard about these from Professor Tim McGrew.


That's what coincidences are, from the standpoint of 'design', unless (of course) you think the bible was written by people. You know, the animals that are forever designing things. Even if they aren't aware of it, they use unoriginal stuff they can't remember, and so do you. Coincidence assumes some sort of supernatural agency; unless you call it something other than a coincidence.

I sure hope Professor Tim McGrew creates an account in this forum, so I can tell him exactly what I think of him and my effort not be entirely wasted. Is my effort wasted on you, Ichthus?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#4  Postby Shrunk » Sep 04, 2011 12:26 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Ichthus77 wrote:I first heard about these from Professor Tim McGrew.


That's what coincidences are, from the standpoint of 'design', unless (of course) you think the bible was written by people. You know, the animals that are forever designing things. Even if they aren't aware of it, they use unoriginal stuff they can't remember, and so do you. Coincidence assumes some sort of supernatural agency; unless you call it something other than a coincidence.

I sure hope Professor Tim McGrew creates an account in this forum, so I can tell him exactly what I think of him and my effort not be entirely wasted. Is my effort wasted on you, Ichthus?


That's quite remarkable. It's pretty well what I meant to imply with my "smiley", but of course I didn't say any of it.

Would that count as an "undesigned coincidence"? What do you think, Cito?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#5  Postby willhud9 » Sep 04, 2011 3:16 am

Not coincidence if they were written by humans and based off of one another. :whistle:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#6  Postby Alan B » Sep 04, 2011 12:02 pm

willhud9 wrote:Not coincidence if they were written by humans and based off of one another. :whistle:

Oh, willhud9, how could you suggest that! :shock:

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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#7  Postby Ichthus77 » Sep 04, 2011 1:43 pm

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, or perhaps he only 'sustained' it (we'll not go on that tangent)...but the primary point is that their not intending to fill in eachother's details is a good test for the authenticity of what they are saying...it shows they did not rely on eachother, that they are independent sources. Historians get excited when you have 2 independent sources for the same recorded saying/event.

willhud9 and Alan B--If they were based off one another, why didn't they copy the missing details, rather than leave them out? Do you think they sat down, anticipated biblical criticism, and concocted a plan to fill in eachother's missing details to make it 'look' authentic? Why didn't the Gnostic gospel authors think of that? They don't have 'any' undesigned coincidences and embellish a lot.

Rational Skepticism...or just...Skepticism for the sake of skepticism? :?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#8  Postby Shrunk » Sep 04, 2011 1:58 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, or perhaps he only 'sustained' it...


You're overlooking several other obvious alternatives.

but the primary point is that their not intending to fill in eachother's details is a good test for the authenticity of what they are saying...it shows they did not rely on eachother, that they are independent sources.


Well, if we assume these were completely independent people who were strangers to each other and never discussed the events they are supposedly recounting, maybe. But no one is claiming that, are they?

I'm not sure what the point is supposed to be, anyway. To prove that Jesus actually existed and some of the events recounted in the NT actually occurred? There are some extremists who doubt that, but they're a decided minority. That a bunch of people witnessed something, then wrote separate accounts of the event, each of which differs in the details they include, is hardly a miraculous occurence, is it?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#9  Postby Onyx8 » Sep 04, 2011 4:44 pm

Here's a possibility: The different gospels were written for different intended audiences, hence some details were stressed to appeal to these audiences.

What is it that you are suggesting, Icthus77?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#10  Postby Ihavenofingerprints » Sep 04, 2011 5:04 pm

The koran (supposedly.......) talks about concepts that would not be discovered until centuries later. They could have been divinely inspired as well. We are sceptical of the bible's divine knowledge for the same reason we are sceptical of the koran's divine knowledge.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#11  Postby willhud9 » Sep 04, 2011 5:08 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, or perhaps he only 'sustained' it (we'll not go on that tangent)...but the primary point is that their not intending to fill in eachother's details is a good test for the authenticity of what they are saying...it shows they did not rely on eachother, that they are independent sources. Historians get excited when you have 2 independent sources for the same recorded saying/event.

willhud9 and Alan B--If they were based off one another, why didn't they copy the missing details, rather than leave them out? Do you think they sat down, anticipated biblical criticism, and concocted a plan to fill in eachother's missing details to make it 'look' authentic? Why didn't the Gnostic gospel authors think of that? They don't have 'any' undesigned coincidences and embellish a lot.

Rational Skepticism...or just...Skepticism for the sake of skepticism? :?


Actually what Onyx8 said is the best possibility and one which is taught in Seminaries across the world. You see Matthew, Mark, and Luke never mind the authorship and dating, we are focusing on potential audiences of each text. If they were meant to be one text, there would have been one conclusive text, but there is not. We have 4 gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the Semitic Gospels. They share many similarities including text verbatim. Some scholars such as John Wenham place Matthew being written first, but the majority hold to a 2 document hypothesis that Mark was written and was used with an unknown source Q for Matthew and Luke. Okay, that out of the way...audience.

Matthew focused heavily on Jesus' messianic roles and kingship. Relying on verses from the Old Testament Prophets, "Matthew" focused on showing the intended audience that Jesus was the Messiah and Heir of David. His audience was mainly Jewish. The people whom would care to know about it.

Mark, the shortest of the Gospels, focused heavily on Jesus' ministry. Mark did not really care for the birth or childhood of Jesus, nor did he focus heavily on the resurrection. Mark dealt with Jesus' life on earth and how Jesus lived. Mark's audience was a mixture of Gentiles and Jews.

Luke, the longest of the Gospels. focused on Jesus' teaching and miracles, and showed that Jesus was the "perfect man." Luke in an attempt to document the life of Jesus added detail that was in none of the author Gospels. His audience was primarily Gentiles.

Now we get to the Gospel of John. If the church fathers are correct than this Gospel was written by John the Disciple around the end of his very long life in 90 AD. At this point, Matthew, Mark, and Luke should have already been written. Meaning John would have known about them, and many people would be familiar with the texts. So when John decided to write HIS account He added things that the Semitic Gospels did not include and deleted things that were already sufficiently addressed. But he had the other Gospels to work with.

The above is very conservative church history. I find myself in disagreement with it, however, for sake of the purpose of getting the point across, you see that each of the Gospel authors were familiar with each other's text and could base theirs around each other.

Next, oftentimes in that day and age, sayings and speeches were memorized. The story of Jesus' life was common speech back then and all of the disciples and disciples of the disciples knew the story.

However, we can safely conclude that it is not mere coincidence, but the result of human actions via human authorship.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#12  Postby Ichthus77 » Sep 04, 2011 7:49 pm

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.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#13  Postby willhud9 » Sep 04, 2011 9:57 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.


What on....did you read my above post? No is saying they faked anything, but its not coincidence....
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#14  Postby Ichthus77 » Sep 04, 2011 10:13 pm

Will, earlier you said "Not coincidence if they were written by humans and based off of one another"--what was your point in saying that, if you do not think the detail-filling was intentional? In the reply to which you are referring, you are going off on tangents I am attempting to avoid. It 'is' coincidence (I'm not suggesting or denying anything 'supernatural' here) when one source unintentionally (in other words, without 'faking it') fills in a missing detail for another source.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#15  Postby willhud9 » Sep 04, 2011 10:30 pm

Ichthus77 wrote:Will, earlier you said "Not coincidence if they were written by humans and based off of one another"--what was your point in saying that, if you do not think the detail-filling was intentional? In the reply to which you are referring, you are going off on tangents I am attempting to avoid. It 'is' coincidence (I'm not suggesting or denying anything 'supernatural' here) when one source unintentionally (in other words, without 'faking it') fills in a missing detail for another source.


I am saying the gospel writers did intentionally leave things out, add things in. Now I am just confused. :whine:
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#16  Postby Shrunk » Sep 04, 2011 11:27 pm

Maybe you could be explicit about what you are suggesting, Maryann. That God deliberately addled the minds of the authors of the Gospels so that they would omit certain detail?

So there are details included in some of the Gospels that are not included in others. There are also details that are common to several or all. There are not a few details that directly contradict each other (What is God's purpose in those, I wonder?) And, doubtlessly, there are details of Jesus' life that were omitted from all the Gospels altogether. This would be the case in any account of an event recounted by several people. If you ask people to describe a party they attended last week, you'd find the same thing. Another miracle, you think?

This has to be one of the most desperate attempts at apologetics I have ever seen. Really scraping the bottom of the barrel. For this, people can get a full professorship?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#17  Postby Oldskeptic » Sep 04, 2011 11:58 pm

Cherry picking "coincidences" from gospels. Nothing more. Using fiction to validate fiction is useless.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#18  Postby Byron » Sep 05, 2011 12:19 am

Like Shrunk, I ask, what's this even supposed to prove? That the Holy Spirit guided the gospel authors' hands? If that's the desired endzone, other possibilities have to be kicked into touch.

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. Check. Some details turn up in some that don't turn up in others. Check. Gospels copied other gospels. Check: Matthew and Luke copied Mark, and had other source/s in common. John was off doing his Christology thing, but dipped into the same well of Jesus traditions.

If these coincidences are just that, they're explicable by different gospel authors getting different versions of similar traditions. Or by different gospel authors giving different focus to the same tradition ("John" doesn't care why Jesus picked Philip for shopping tips, being more concerned with making his Christological point: "Luke" mentions the hometown for some reason). Or the gospel authors are making conscious reference to other gospels, but as usual, don't feel the need to acknowledge their sources.

Some of these "coincidences" are seeking to solve mucho contrived "problems", anyhow. "Why in the evening?" How is this even a problem? And since "Matthew" was copying Mark, he couldn't have been unaware of its content! So the whole thing falls down anyway.

I've seen some lame apologetics, but this one's barely coherent.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#19  Postby willhud9 » Sep 05, 2011 12:24 am

Byron wrote:Like Shrunk, I ask, what's this even supposed to prove? That the Holy Spirit guided the gospel authors' hands? If that's the desired endzone, other possibilities have to be kicked into touch.

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. Check. Some details turn up in some that don't turn up in others. Check. Gospels copied other gospels. Check: Matthew and Luke copied Mark, and had other source/s in common. John was off doing his Christology thing, but dipped into the same well of Jesus traditions.

If these coincidences are just that, they're explicable by different gospel authors getting different versions of similar traditions. Or by different gospel authors giving different focus to the same tradition ("John" doesn't care why Jesus picked Philip for shopping tips, being more concerned with making his Christological point: "Luke" mentions the hometown for some reason). Or the gospel authors are making conscious reference to other gospels, but as usual, don't feel the need to acknowledge their sources.

Some of these "coincidences" are seeking to solve mucho contrived "problems", anyhow. "Why in the evening?" How is this even a problem? And since "Matthew" was copying Mark, he couldn't have been unaware of its content! So the whole thing falls down anyway.

I've seen some lame apologetics, but this one's barely coherent.


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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#20  Postby Ichthus77 » Sep 05, 2011 2:07 am

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.

OldSkeptic:

Ichthus77 wrote:For other types and examples, and more sources for further research, go here:
http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2011/07/u ... y-tim.html


Accusing someone of "cherry-picking" is an opiate-meme which dampens critical thinking--it is best to avoid it and use actual reasons.

Shrunk and Byron:

I don't think anything can be proved, and please refer to my earlier attempt at being explicit:

Ichthus77 wrote:Shrunk and Cito--These are undesigned coincidences because the Gospel authors fill in eachother's missing details without intending to. ... their not intending to fill in eachother's details is a good test for the authenticity of what they are saying...it shows they did not rely on eachother, that they are independent sources. Historians get excited when you have 2 independent sources for the same recorded saying/event.


More opiates devoid of reason:

This has to be one of the most desperate attempts at apologetics I have ever seen. Really scraping the bottom of the barrel. For this, people can get a full professorship?
-- Shrunk

I've seen some lame apologetics, but this one's barely coherent.
-- Byron (like Shrunk...a real role-model)

Not exactly what you'd expect from a forum with the word "Rational" in the title...

I am resigning from this discussion. You know where to find me if you actually want to talk about the examples.
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