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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:52 pm

> The whole thing about jesus being an angel I also found on Bart Ehrman's blog

No surprise.

> The whole thing about jesus being an angel I also found on Bart Ehrman's blog

Not across all sides. Just with the new atheists willing to latch onto any perspective that gives academic credence to a position they presupposed.

> Jesus was considered an angel, but perhaps the head of the angels, like the archangel Michael.

This is patently false. Jesus was never considered an angel, even the head of the angels. Hebrews 1 shoots down that entire position, and no biblical text supports that Jesus was an angel.

> This is also apparent when the revelation of John of Patmos puts Jesus in the same apocalytic role that Michael had in the old testament apocalypse prophecies.

This is patently false. Revelation puts Jesus in the position of Son of Man, Lamb, Alpha & Omega, the Word of God, Faithful and True, King of kings and Lord of lords, the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star, but NEVER angel.

> Jesus seems to replace Michael in nearly every way early on

This is patently false. Michael doesn't even appear in the book of Revelation until chapter 12, and then he only shows up once (12.7). Never again in the book. In Jude 9 Michael appears in similar fashion (doing battle with Satan), which seems to be his role in Daniel 10 & 12. It's Michael's role. Jesus's role in Revelation starts off as revealer (1.1), resurrected one (1.5), ruler of the kings of the earth (1.5), and redeemer (1.5; 5.6). To him belongs all power (1.6; 5.13). None of these are the role of Michael.

> then in the gospels he ... gains attributes of other lesser failed messiahs and priests.

This is patently false. Jesus does "gain" attributes from anywhere or anyone. He has no concern for other false or failed messiahs and gains nothing from them. Nor does he gain anything from failed priests.

> He is also apparently linked to the high priest Jesus/Joshua in Zechariah or the future person by the same name who is the other olive branch. The branch and the name refer to the same person who is supposed to free the Jews from their oppressors.

There is some linkage between Jesus and Joshua in Zechariah. The Zechariah texts are considered to be messianic prophecy. Joshua prefigures Jesus.

> The third option for the translation is that they received Paul as a messenger of God, the supreme messenger, Jesus Christ.

The point is not that they thought he was Jesus but that they treated him as well as they would have treated Jesus himself.

> he is an angelic being who is unknown to all until the apostles reveal the gospel that has been revealed to them.

This is patently false. Hebrews 1 effectively speaks directly against this very argument. It's also untrue from the nativity on. Jesus is prophesied as the Son of the Most High, the Messiah who will inherit David's throne, the one who will reign forever as God (Lk. 1.31-34). He is announced as the Savior Messiah (Lk. 2.11). He is baptized as the Son of God (Mt. 3.17). He is not angelic. And he is not unknown until the apostles reveal the gospel that has been revealed to them. Jesus himself is the revelation of the Father by his own teaching and testimony (Jn. 14.7-30). He makes Himself known long before the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit to announce it to the larger world.

> Even if they talk about him as a man, they are still talking about a message that nobody on Earth gave to them.

This is patently false. Peter (Acts 2.22; 3.15) and John (Jn. 1.14; 1 Jn. 1.1-3) and all the apostles (Jn. 14.9-11) speak from the experience of their eyes and ears. They got their message from Jesus Himself, and they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach it.

> They don't pretend to be first hand accounts or even second hand testimony from humans who knew these things first hand.

This is patently false. Peter (Acts 2.22; 3.15) and John (Jn. 1.14; 1 Jn. 1.1-3) and all the apostles (Jn. 14.9-11) speak from the experience of their eyes and ears. Luke got his from eyewitnesses (Lk. 1.1-3).

> They either made the story up about a guy based on old testament prophecy or they made up stories about some guy based on old testament prophecy.

This is not plausible. The Gospels don't bear out a possibility of this. No one in an honor/shame culture would make up the crucifixion for their messiah. They quote Jesus a number of times with sayings that could inhibit their cause. All four Gospels tell of Peter's failure in denying Jesus. Mark's Gospel has nothing good to say about the disciples in the whole book except Peter's confession. All four Gospels portray the disciples as lacking understanding and being fearful and ultimately disloyal at his crucifixion. You'd be hard pressed to imagine why the disciples or anyone who looked to them for leadership or spiritual insight would make up these stories. They wouldn't write a Gospel where a virgin gave birth, shepherds proclaimed his birth, and women were the first at the tomb. They wouldn't write a book of outrageous miracles in the very country where eyewitnesses still abounded. They wouldn't make up a resurrection because there was no such possibility in Greek, Roman, or Jewish theology.

> With a historical guy you might speculate about why they had to make him born in Bethlehem even though he was from Nazareth

This is patently untrue. He was born in Bethlehem. Both Matthew 2.1 and Luke 2.6 claim Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. There is no evidence to the contrary.

> He doesn't seem to be from that city in any of Paul's epistles yet a Greek author who knew nothing of Jewish rituals and geography places him there.

Matthew, a Levite Jew, also places his birth in Bethlehem (Mt. 2.1). Paul only speaks of His birth as being to a Jewish woman (Gal. 4.4).

> The gospels that come after that one don't bother to get rid of that location in the three in the modern canon.

This is an illegitimate claim. No one knows the exact order the Gospels were written, nor even exactly when they were written. No one.

> This is where the problems with historicity arise.

Your case and "facts" are more the problem. There is no substantiation for anything you have said, even 5, 6, 7 exchanges into the conversation. Everyone is entitled to her own opinion, but not to her own facts.

> There isn't really anything that can be trusted to refer to a man who actually existed when the same types of stories are written about people who never did.

We've covered this ground. In support of Jesus's historicity, We have (in order of their credibility) Thallus, Pliny, Suetonius, Josephus, The Egerton Papyrus, the James Ossuary, Tacitus, Ignatius of Antioch, and Paul. In rebuttal you have offered nothing: no evidence, no support, no facts.

> If we had something beyond the myths

Presumably you only assume they are myths because you presuppose that miracles are impossible. That's circular reasoning.

> The majority of people described in the same way never existed - Harry Potter, Darth Vader, Elijah, the archangel Michael, superman

The Gospels are nothing like Harry Potter, Darth Vader, or superman.

> The ones who we know for sure existed have statues, pictures, money, books they wrote, and contemporary literature describing them as ordinary people.

These are not the only criteria for believability, nor for historicity.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Sister Toy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:56 pm

The Edict of Milan made Christianity legal, but it was established as the state religion around 340 CE, 15 years after the first ecumenical council of Nicea.

Constantius II made rules enforcing a type of Semi-Arian Christianity and the Jews faced several severe restrictions and pagan practices were outlawed. His successor Julian, was the last pagan emperor. And then his successor Jovian reestablished Christianity as the state religion. He ruled from June 363 to February 364. The Edict of Milan was around 315 CE and wasn't when Christianity was established as the state religion. It came about through a couple emperors after Constantine.

Christianity was used as an attempt to bring an empire back together, but it was a little too late. The emperor was the pontifex maximus and passed that title onto the Catholic Pope. Before this time the emperor had total control over religious laws and eventually the holy Roman emperor was crowned by the Catholic church establishing the Pope as superior to the king in pretty much every European country, at least until the protestant reformation and the rise of Protestantism and the Anglican church of England.

This was also around the time of the Enlightenment.

I agree that there was definitely a local flood. The flood basin was centered on shirrupak about 2100 years before the book of genesis was written talking about all of the character found within it. This includes Adam, Abraham, Enoch, and Noah. Around the time of king Josiah the book of Deuteronomy was "found" introducing us to Elijah, Moses, David, Samson, and Solomon as well as a few people that likely existed like Gideon and Samuel.

The first part of the book of Isaiah is dated to around 750 BCE as are the last half of Micah and the books of Amos and Hosea. The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, Samuel, Chronicles written between 680 and 450 BCE. A few stories might be older like the story about Abraham and Lot with Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt and the book of Job. Pentatuech was coming together parts of it were very polytheistic, then monolatrist, and finally point to the strict monotheism of 450 BCE and the Persian Empire - and when the book of Daniel was being written.

This is the time period of the rise of apocalytic Judaism and the stories related to kings, priests, and angels being chosen by god to lead them out of captivity- the Assyrian, Babylonians, and the Persians.

This sets the stage for the new testament and the stories written to update a religion for people in Babylonian captivity to a set of people being oppressed by the Romans and the pagan religious practices that were not fully eradicated until the 360s. These are the stories and the environment for the Jesus religion and even with a historical figure behind the myths that you haven't yet established the entirety of the bible, Quran, Upanishads, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, and every other religious book points to theological mythology for the cultures and time periods in which they were written. They explain the world, they appease the common people, and they set up rules said to come from a god. None of it actually established that a god exists or that the stories are historically reliable, yet they are filled with many stories that didn't happen as suggested.

The flood myth of Noah is very similar to the others, written after people were in constant contact with foreign countries having flood myths just like the one apparently being copied, and the stories about Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, and Solomon set the stage for the new testament theological myths pertaining to the son of God.

The children of god came down from heaven and had sex with daughters of men. This sounds a lot like lesser gods or angels having sex with humans making giants and a flood that wiped the slate clean yet failed to kill the giants. Obviously a problem unless you scale the flood back to historical proportions, but in doing so you also run into the problem of a boat that couldn't float carrying all of those animals. You have a man who was old making a giant boat that it took whole crews of people and modern machinery to replicate at the Ark Park.
What do these stories tell us? They provide a metaphor for the brokenness of mankind, the wrath of God, the sacrifices to sustain his anger, and his child sent to be an everlasting sacrifice. You are born broken and if you trust in a divine being you'll be rewarded. If we step back from this and try to establish a rational person for any of these people we run into the problem of only having mythology to work with and nothing which establishes their historicity except for what is probably not even true.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:38 pm

> The Edict of Milan made Christianity legal, but it was established as the state religion around 340 CE, 15 years after the first ecumenical council of Nicea.

Your point was "Buddhism or Zoroastrianism would likely be the dominant religions if it wasn't for the Romans elevating a popular religion and the strict adherence to ecumenical council decisions that followed." Buddhism or Zoroastrianism were not competing for dominance. Christianity won out over mythology.

> The flood basin was centered on shirrupak about 2100 years before the book of genesis was written talking about all of the character found within it. This includes Adam, Abraham, Enoch, and Noah.

The many differences between the accounts suggest a common source rather than borrowing. I am never surprised to find that historical records have a common source. It has yet to be shown there was any borrowing. Anyone who suggests borrowing still has to admit large-scale revision, alteration, and reinterpretation, so much so that we end up with vastly different narratives with only some match in details. Both the Babylonians and the Israelites mark the Flood as the end of an age. Genesis is obviously the more historical account on the basis of meteorology, geophysics, and timing alone. What we most likely have is two literary and theological perspectives on a single actual event.

> The flood basin was centered on shirrupak about 2100 years before the book of genesis was written talking about all of the character found within it. This includes Adam, Abraham, Enoch, and Noah.

OK, we have an ancient flood basin. There's nothing in that, then, to support the thesis that Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham are fictional.

> Around the time of king Josiah the book of Deuteronomy was "found" introducing us to Elijah, Moses, David, Samson, and Solomon as well as a few people that likely existed like Gideon and Samuel.

You put "found" in quotes as if it were written then. The evidence we have is to the contrary. And we have proof of David from the 9th c. BC.

> The first part of the book of Isaiah is dated to around 750 BCE as are the last half of Micah and the books of Amos and Hosea.

I date Isaiah to about 735-700.

> The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, Samuel, Chronicles written between 680 and 450 BCE.

I date the Pentateuch to about 1200 BC. Joshua probably late 7th century. Judges in about 1000 BC. Samuel unknown and probably unknowable, and Chronicles to 450-400.

> Pentatuech was coming together parts of it were very polytheistic, then monolatrist, and finally point to the strict monotheism

There are theories about this from Mark Smith and others, but nothing can be proved.

> 450 BCE and the Persian Empire - and when the book of Daniel was being written.

The date of Daniel's writing is unknown, but I still take the prophet Daniel (600 BC) as its tradent. I'm not aware of any evidence that makes me doubt that Daniel was the source of the material, even though we don't know when it was written.

> ...religious book points to theological mythology for the cultures and time periods in which they were written.

The Bible is distinctly different than the mythologies of other cultures. It has a whole different flavor and nature to it.

> The children of god came down from heaven and had sex with daughters of men. This sounds a lot like lesser gods or angels having sex with humans making giants and a flood that wiped the slate clean yet failed to kill the giants.

Uh, did you read what I said in my last post? This is the most unlikely interpretation of the possibilities, and the one that sounds most mythological, granting it an even lesser possibility. More likely, it is the royal heroes of the culture, as the text says (Gn. 6.4).

> Obviously a problem unless you scale the flood back to historical proportions, but in doing so you also run into the problem of a boat that couldn't float carrying all of those animals.

No, we don't run into a problem. The boat is to house a vast collection of local animals. It was designed like a barge. A large barge with Noah in charge. : )

> What do these stories tell us? They provide a metaphor for the brokenness of mankind, the wrath of God, the sacrifices to sustain his anger, and his child sent to be an everlasting sacrifice.

They do tell us those things, but much more as well. They are not only metaphors but also historical events of God at work in history to separate out a people for Himself.

> If we step back from this and try to establish a rational person for any of these people we run into the problem of only having mythology to work with and nothing which establishes their historicity except for what is probably not even true.

I couldn't disagree more strongly, as you can tell, and I > The Edict of Milan made Christianity legal, but it was established as the state religion around 340 CE, 15 years after the first ecumenical council of Nicea.

Your point was "Buddhism or Zoroastrianism would likely be the dominant religions if it wasn't for the Romans elevating a popular religion and the strict adherence to ecumenical council decisions that followed." Buddhism or Zoroastrianism were not competing for dominance. Christianity won out over mythology.

> The flood basin was centered on shirrupak about 2100 years before the book of genesis was written talking about all of the character found within it. This includes Adam, Abraham, Enoch, and Noah.

The many differences between the accounts suggest a common source rather than borrowing. I am never surprised to find that historical records have a common source. It has yet to be shown there was any borrowing. Anyone who suggests borrowing still has to admit large-scale revision, alteration, and reinterpretation, so much so that we end up with vastly different narratives with only some match in details. Both the Babylonians and the Israelites mark the Flood as the end of an age. Genesis is obviously the more historical account on the basis of meteorology, geophysics, and timing alone. What we most likely have is two literary and theological perspectives on a single actual event.

> The flood basin was centered on shirrupak about 2100 years before the book of genesis was written talking about all of the character found within it. This includes Adam, Abraham, Enoch, and Noah.

OK, we have an ancient flood basin. There's nothing in that, then, to support the thesis that Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham are fictional.

> Around the time of king Josiah the book of Deuteronomy was "found" introducing us to Elijah, Moses, David, Samson, and Solomon as well as a few people that likely existed like Gideon and Samuel.

You put "found" in quotes as if it were written then. The evidence we have is to the contrary. And we have proof of David from the 9th c. BC.

> The first part of the book of Isaiah is dated to around 750 BCE as are the last half of Micah and the books of Amos and Hosea.

I date Isaiah to about 735-700.

> The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, Samuel, Chronicles written between 680 and 450 BCE.

I date the Pentateuch to about 1200 BC. Joshua probably late 7th century. Judges in about 1000 BC. Samuel unknown and probably unknowable, and Chronicles to 450-400.

> Pentatuech was coming together parts of it were very polytheistic, then monolatrist, and finally point to the strict monotheism

There are theories about this from Mark Smith and others, but nothing can be proved.

> 450 BCE and the Persian Empire - and when the book of Daniel was being written.

The date of Daniel's writing is unknown, but I still take the prophet Daniel (600 BC) as its tradent. I'm not aware of any evidence that makes me doubt that Daniel was the source of the material, even though we don't know when it was written.

> ...religious book points to theological mythology for the cultures and time periods in which they were written.

The Bible is distinctly different than the mythologies of other cultures. It has a whole different flavor and nature to it.

> The children of god came down from heaven and had sex with daughters of men. This sounds a lot like lesser gods or angels having sex with humans making giants and a flood that wiped the slate clean yet failed to kill the giants.

Uh, did you read what I said in my last post? This is the most unlikely interpretation of the possibilities, and the one that sounds most mythological, granting it an even lesser possibility. More likely, it is the royal heroes of the culture, as the text says (Gn. 6.4).

> Obviously a problem unless you scale the flood back to historical proportions, but in doing so you also run into the problem of a boat that couldn't float carrying all of those animals.

No, we don't run into a problem. The boat is to house a vast collection of local animals. It was designed like a barge. A large barge with Noah in charge. :)

> What do these stories tell us? They provide a metaphor for the brokenness of mankind, the wrath of God, the sacrifices to sustain his anger, and his child sent to be an everlasting sacrifice.

They do tell us those things, but much more as well. They are not only metaphors but also historical events of God at work in history to separate out a people for Himself.

> If we step back from this and try to establish a rational person for any of these people we run into the problem of only having mythology to work with and nothing which establishes their historicity except for what is probably not even true.

I couldn't disagree more strongly, as you can tell, and I even have some evidence and support for what I claim.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Toothpaste » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:01 pm

Have you actually read the other flood account? It’s clear that Noah is a straight up rip off.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:20 am

Yep, I have. Two pieces in comment.

ONE. We don't know the age of the oral tradition behind the Noah story, so we don't really know for sure whether it was before or after the other flood account. Since we don't know the flood event to which the narrative refers, and we don't know how long this story was being told from one generation to another, we just can't say.

The other flood stories are from Babylon (Atrahasis Epic), Sumer (Eridu Genesis), and Assyria (Gilgamesh Epic).

Babylon (Atrahasis):

    * The gods (particularly Enlil) decide to wipe out humanity because they're so noisy. Other gods (Ea) disagree.
    * Enki (another god) warns humanity to build a boat to survive.
    * One builds an ark and puts animals on board

Sumer (Eridu Genesis):

    * Enki, the deity, warns the king of a coming flood and he tells him to build an ark.
    * It rains 7 days and 7 nights
    * The waters recede and the king makes sacrifices.

Assyria (Gilgamesh): (3rd millennium BC)

    * Starts with fighting men, prostitutes, wrestling matches, and reconciliation.
    * The goddess Ishtar wants a relationship with Gilgamesh, but he refuses. She's angry.
    * Her father, Anu, kills Enkidu, Gilgamesh's new friend.
    * Gilgamesh wants to know the secret of eternal life from Uta-napishti, the only human that has eternal life.
    * the gods want to destroy humanity because they're so noisy.
    * Ea warns humanity to build a boat to survive, and to put animals on board.
    * The flood is so extreme it even scares the gods.
    * Gilgamesh releases 3 birds.
    * The waters recede and Gilgamesh offers sacrifices

TWO. There are as many differences as similarities.

The similarities:

    * The general plot lines
    * The anger of the gods
    * The ark, the animals, the flood waters
    * sacrifice after the flood

The differences:

    * Many differences in details: length and duration of flood, size and shape of ark, the reason for the flood, the number and identity of the people on the ark, the order of birds sent out.
    * The portrayal of the gods. In the Bible there is one God, who is entering into a covenant to assure that the world will maintain order and stability. In Mesopotamia, the gods are in competition/conflict with each other.
    * The number of gods. In the Bible there is one; everywhere else there are multiple.
    * The reason for the flood: human sin (Bible) vs. humanity an annoyance (the others).
    * The extent of the flood: In the Bible, hyperbolically the whole world. Mesopotamia: uncertain. Gilgamesh: partial. Atrahasis: total destruction.
    * The length of the flood: Mesopotamia: 7 days. Bible: 40 days.
    * Identification of the hero: All different: a king, a normal human, a righteous human, a priest.
    * What and who are being spared
    * Description of the boat
    * Materials of the boat
    * The mechanism of the flood
    * The kinds of birds and order of birds
    * different reasons for the sacrifice
    * The fate of the hero after the flood
    * Very different theological messages in the story

It seems everyone in the ancient world knew there was a flood.The story seems to go way back to a period before the invention of writing. The similarities don't mean that Noah is a straight-up rip off. Every culture will give the historical account their own shape, turning out vastly different interpretations. It seems that the story of an actual event in history past is interpreted and written about by the various cultures.

We all know Donald Trump is president, but the stories you will hear about him will differ depending on to whom you speak. It doesn't mean Trump isn't historical or that my assessment is a rip off from yours, with some similarities and differences.

There are enough similarities in the stories to suggest a common tradition, but enough differences that we can confidently conclude Noah is not a straight-up rip off.


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