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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:30 pm

> It looks like you need to go do some reading on these subjects and come back to me.

Actually I've done plenty of study and would love to keep talking with you. I have no desire to debate with Internet links, however. I'll be glad to interact with information and positions that you have, but linking me to a series of Internet sites is counter-productive. If YOU have done the research, then YOU talk to me.

Those links aren't claims, they're Bible texts. What about them? What do the texts claim about the historicity of Jesus, the 12 apostles, James, Paul, Tacitus, Josephus, and Suetonius? I'll be glad to hear what you have to say and consider your case, but to read Bible texts on Biblegateway doesn't take us anywhere.

The last one, "Jesus Never Existed.com". Tell me your point. There are screens and screens of information, some close to accurate and some bogus. YOU talk to me.

> And the other stuff you mentioned comes after 110 CE, including the passage forged by Eusebius in the antiquities of the Jews talking about the crucifixion of Jesus.

* Thallus: AD 50
* Pliny: about 100
* Suetonius: about 110
* Josephus: 90
* The Egerton Papyrus: anywhere from 70-200, depending on the scholar
* The James Ossuary: 62-63
* Tacitus: about 110
* Ignatius of Antioch: 100-108
* Paul: 50s

Certainly enough to evidence the existence of Jesus beyond a reasonable doubt.

> The other passage just says James, the brother of Jesus, called the Christ was executed.

He says Christ, the brother of James. There weren't any other "Jesus Christ"'s, unless you have evidence to substantiate that claim.

> James is not one of the apostles, and apparently is not of biological relation either, so that leaves only one kind that makes any sense within the full context of the passage it is found in.

You're right he is not one of the apostles. he was Jesus's brother. If you claim he was not of biological relation, you need to offer evidence.

> I even heard that this passage didn't exist when Marcion was compiling his version of the Christian bible, but that isn't important and I don't have anything to back that part up yet.

What passage? The execution of James the Just is not in the Bible.

The problem is all along that you have no evidence for anything you claim.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Sister Toy » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:07 pm

Thallus: AD 50 - three fragments pertaining to the Trojan war and an impossible eclipse, used by historicists but the eclipse would be impossible on or around passover. Pliny: about 100 - wrote to Trajan in a letter in 112 for how to deal with Christians Suetonius: about 110 - wrote in 121 Josephus: 90 - wrote in 93-96 before the gospel of Luke borrows from it, but the passage about James doesn't explicitly say which Jesus, and is talking about a guy who is known as the brother of Jesus Christ. It is one of the best things to support historicity - if Jesus had a biological brother who was a human he would also be a human. The other passage (testimoniun flavinium) was only mentioned by the guy who added it. It was considered authentic until around 100 years ago when it was shown that Eusebius was responsible for the Arabic translation and the forgery. The Egerton Papyrus: anywhere from 70-200, depending on the scholar - scraps of paper once thought to be from 150 CE and now thought to be 200 CE based on carbon dating. The James Ossuary: 62-63 - has forged enscriptiptions pertaining to James. Tacitus: about 110 - written in 116 and only mentions christians Ignatius of Antioch: 100-108 - a priest Paul: 50s - an apostle

These point to 2 priests and 1 apostle. Paul, John, Ignatius, Peter, James, Bananas, Andrew, Jude. People who were held in high regard because they either received divine revelation or preached to a congregation. These people are ordinary. Outside of all of this we find that the Romans recognize the existence of Christianity in 110 CE when they were causing havoc in Rome and when they were gathering without permits. One of their church leaders, considered the founder of the church in Jerusalem, was executed by Ananias ben Ananias causing Ananias to be replaced by Jesus of Damneus.

The three passages from the bible, if you'd read them complement what I'm saying. "Don't let anyone preach you a gospel that is not in your heart" "I did not receive anything I tell you from any man, but I received it through my connection with Jesus Christ... after I had been preaching the gospel revealed to me for three years I went to see what the apostles before me had been teaching and while there I spent time with Cephas for 15 day, but I did not see any other apostles, only James the brother of the Lord." He also says that he persuades them to agree that their message is for the Jews and they'll allow him to spread his message to the uncircumcised gentiles. If you don't cherry pick this one verse, Paul makes it clear that James is just some guy who has no more authority about the truth about Jesus than what he and Peter share by being chosen by god to reveal his message about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (implying he hasn't come yet). In this context when you understand that everything on earth also exists in heaven, you'll be able to picture a place where Jesus has brothers, parents, and dirt to be buried under. He refers to Jesus as an angel and talks about the gospel he preaches as being divinely revealed to him, through the scriptures and through visions such as one he had on his way to persecute the followers of James, John, and Peter.

The passage I was referring to is in Galatians chapter 4. I heard it didn't used to include "the brother of the lord" but I didn't bother investigating that particular claim in any depth, because Paul calls his congregation brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who exists inside all of them (like the holy spirit).

So to summarize it goes something like this:

    750 to 450 BCE different elements of apocalytic messianic Judaism spring up
    about the same time period the majority of the old testament is written
    Isaiah
    Jeremiah
    Ezekiel
    Zechariah
    the book of Daniel ~ 450 BCE
    the book of the watchers (the oldest part of the book of Enoch) - 200 BCE
    Philo of Alexandria 30-40 CE
    the first apostles
    Paul- 50 CE
    the gospel of Mark - 70 to 72 CE (the oldest mention that unambiguously described Jesus as a man on Earth with a family
    the gospel of Matthew - around 80 CE (the oldest to have him born in Bethlehem to a virgin)
    antiquities of the Jews - 93 CE
    the epistle of Clement I (written between 51 and 96 CE depending on the scholar)
    the gospel of Luke and the acts of the apostles - late 90s/early 100s
    the time period when Christianity grew in popularity to the point that the Romans took notice
    the book of Revelations and the gospel of John (written by different people) - around 130 CE
    the time period when it became clear Christianity and Judaism were distinct religions
    the gospel of Thomas - around 140 CE
    the oldest scraps of documents of biblical texts - 150 CE
    the gospel of Peter - around 200 CE
    the oldest complete books - mid 200s
    the first verified pope without relying on epistles or church records - around 240 CE
    the "vision of the cross" by constantine - around 315 CE?
    the first council of Nicea- 325 CE - when people looked at everything up to this point in this list to start working out the nature of Jesus and establishing Christian orthodoxy
    the forgery of Josephus by Eusebius
    the oldest complete bibles - 400s

There is enough corruption in what we do have that it makes it hard to determine what is original and in what we do have it is clear that Paul "did not get his information from anyone but Jesus himself and through reading Jewish scripture." "He was crucified according to the scriptures" - what scriptures predate Paul's epistles for this claim? Since you included some earlier dates than what is the consensus for your "sources" it might be worth considering that something generally considered to be about the same age as the gospel of Thomas to have been written as early as 30 CE in some form, such as the ascension of Isaiah. The part that was added to the end seems to be copied from Luke, but there is also a lot more to the story which is similar to the book of Enoch and the visions of Muhammad in many ways, and certainly the watchers is at least 250 years older than the first epistle of Paul.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:09 pm

> The historicity of Jesus.

These sources I listed are the ones that pertain to the historicity of Jesus. Various ones of them have different weights of reliability.

* Thallus. The evidence in Thallus is his mention of the death of Christ in AD 50. The reference is highly debated as to its authenticity. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give in only a 2, but it's there, and it's AD 50.
* Pliny died in about 112, so his letter to Trajan is prior to that. Three times in the document he mentions "Christ," and since he was talking to the emperor, it's unlikely he would take the risk of reporting something fictional. Even so, he gets a "2" also.
* Suetonius, about 110, gets a 3 or 4. He gets most of his facts wrong, but he does mention the historical Jesus.
* Josephus. I'll just ignore your mistake about Luke borrowing from Josephus, for which there is absolutely no proof. We could discuss that another time. His mention of Jesus Christ as the brother of James is a reasonably solid historical reference. He gets a 4 or 5. As far as "It is one of the best things to support historicity - if Jesus had a biological brother who was a human he would also be a human," the Gospels clear and explicit that Jesus had biological half-siblings.
* The Egerton Papyrus. I know some scholars date it to 200, but others date it earlier. Ah, we'll give it a 4 also because of the ruckus about the date.
* The James Ossuary has been declared as authentic by a broad swath of scholars: Amnon Rosenfeld (emeritus geophysicist with the Geological Survey of Israel), Shimon Ilane (geophysicist with the Geological Survey of Israel), André Lemaire (paleographer at the Sorbonne), Edward Keal and Ewa Dziadowiec (curator and conservator, respectively, of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Joseph Fitzmyer (Aramaicist), Ada Yardeni (the leading Israeli authority on Hebrew and Aramaic script), Wolfgang Krumbein (Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany), and James Herrell (University of Toledo), to name some.
* Tacitus, about 110, mentions "The founder of the sect, Christus, had been put to death by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, when Tiberius was emperor." The Tacitus reference, because of his reliability as a historian, gets a 7.
* Ignatius. The quote is particularly significant because he is arguing precisely for the historical birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, though his target is not so much those who would deny that He lived at all as those who would, like the later Gnostics, deny the reality of His physical body. Though he was a Christian there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of his reference. Just because someone is a Christian doesn't make their work moot. That would be like saying we can't trust any woman telling us about sexual harassment.
* Paul, AD 50, eventually an apostle but originally a somewhat renowned hostile persecutor, so he was not a believer with bias. We have letters by Paul that are undisputed by scholars. At least a dozen times he speaks of Jesus's historical reality.

Together they make the historical reality of Jesus true beyond a reasonable doubt.

> These point to 2 priests and 1 apostle.

Don't ignore that I also pointed to 2 Roman historians, a Roman/Jewish historian, A Samaritan historian, and a lawyer and magistrate of Rome. It's like an attempt to commit the fallacy of suppressing evidence to skew the conclusion by implying I only referenced 2 priests and 1 apostle.

> Paul, John, Ignatius, Peter, James, Bananas, Andrew, Jude.

I never said anything about John, Peter, Bananas (that's a funny typo), Andrew or Jude.

> Outside of all of this we find that the Romans recognize the existence of Christianity in 110 CE when they were causing havoc in Rome and when they were gathering without permits.

We also have Tacitus mentioning Nero persecuting Christians in the early-mid 60s.

> The three passages from the bible, if you'd read them complement what I'm saying.

I did read them. I couldn't figure out what your point of reference was. And I don't cherry pick, thank you. I would still need to know exactly what you're getting at, but Paul is basically saying that he hadn't received his apostleship from men but by the call of God. We also learn that between Paul and the other apostles (Peter, James, et al.) there are no differences. They proclaim the same gospel. They all speak with the authority and truth directly from God.

You're right that James doesn't have any more authority. None of them are in a position of authority over the others or have a more authoritative gospel. They all stand on the same ground.

> In this context when you understand that everything on earth also exists in heaven...

??????

> He refers to Jesus as an angel

Reference?

> through visions such as one he had on his way to persecute the followers of James, John, and Peter.

???? He was persecuting the followers of Jesus (9.2). "The Way" was a common moniker in Acts for describing Christianity as a way of life, the way of salvation, the way of Jesus. He was persecuting the disciples as followers of Jesus (Acts 9.1).

> So to summarize it goes something like this:

I disagree with some of your dates (Daniel, Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Revelation, Peter), but we'll have to discuss those another time. I also disagree that we can just disregard all of Josephus as a forgery. Regardless, your timeline doesn't present any evidence that the prophets and patriarchs never actually existed.

> There is enough corruption in what we do have

You can't just make a statement like that and expect me to fly past it. There is no evidence of the corruption of the NT text. We have 5800 manuscripts that lead us to a very accurate rendering. Since manuscripts were copied and distributed, there would be no practical way in their world to track down every one and change them all. With this many copies, we can see where the variants are and know about the original text. Less than 3% of the variants are significant, and less the 1% is textually uncertain. None of the variants change what Christians believe. Therefore the text is not corrupt, and we can reconstruct the originals with a high dread of probability.

> "He was crucified according to the scriptures" - what scriptures predate Paul's epistles for this claim?

He was referring to numerous texts in the Tanakh. He doesn't say "He was crucified...", but rather "he died for our sins according to the Scriptures." These could easily include Isa. 53.4-6, 8, 11-12, Dan. 9.26, and Zech. 12.10.

The bottom line is: You have not yet substantiated your case that that patriarchs and prophets never existed. Your critique of the evidences for Jesus goes against a reasonable doubt, and your timeline doesn't contribute to your thesis.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Sister Toy » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:05 pm

Paul calls Jesus an angel in some of the translations of Galatians 4:14. The fact that there are some versions of that verse that don't even mention Jesus or which set Jesus apart from the angels is just one of many examples that the new testament is corrupted. There are also many different endings for the gospel of Mark. 1 Corinthians 8 to 1 Corinthians 9 points to multiple letters being combined and Paul looks like he has a stroke in the middle of one topic and jumps to a completely different one. In the gospel of John Jesus turns water into wine, performs a bunch of other signs, and then performs his second sign. A lot of time jumping or signs inserted in between his first and second signs.

These are just some of the more obvious corruptions of the new testament and the reference to Jesus as an angel.

The majority of what you present for historicity you rate quite low, so we can set those aside for Tacitus, Ignatius, and Paul. Tacitus got his information from the Christians themselves at least 30 years after the gospel of Matthew was written. By the time he was writing the religion was growing in popularity so he was stating what was well known at the time. In Greek mythology Cronos eats his children and when it came time for him to eat Zeus he was fed a stone. Later Zeus feeds Cronos poison and he pukes out all of the other gods and they defeat Cronos and elevate Zeus to the supreme god with his brothers Poseidon and Hades regarded almost as high. What Tacitus tells us is about like what I just told you about a different religion, so I don't hold it in high regard. The other two are pushing a narrative that comes from a priest preaching an idea that was going around and apostles claiming to have divine revelation. The gospel is revealed through the holy spirit and an esoteric reading of Jewish scripture, just like you pointed out, and for what I was trying to explain. The true apostolic age was a bunch of people doing the same things as what Paul did and they shared some distinct similarities because they started with the same scripture, but they also had striking differences, at least according to Paul. He warns us to beware of the false Christs and false gospels because he has not received his gospel from any man but through Jesus Christ himself, who he calls an angel. He preaches about the coming of Jesus Christ and a revealed gospel. That which has been hidden from view is revealed to him by the glory of God and he is preaching his own brand of Christian theology. He talks to Peter and the other apostles (who get the gospel in the same way) and they agree to allow him to preach to the gentiles.

Before the writings of Paul we don't really have much except for old testament prophecy, philosophy, apocrypha and the religious culture of the Roman Empire at the time.

The stuff Luke adds to the gospel pertains to various other messiah figures in this one work by Josephus with no real established literature before that so it is just one of the more parsimonious explanations for how that gospel got information that doesn't exist in Mark and Matthew. If he did borrow from Josephus that makes his gospel close to 100 CE.

The corruption of text and the fact that all we have back to 150 CE in its original form are papyrus fragments. If the text they derive from dates 100 years before that, they were handwritten copies. The nag Hammadi cache includes a modified version of Plato's Republic as well showing just yet another example of theological literature besides the teacher of righteousness in the dead sea scrolls.

For everyone besides Jesus I'd direct you to Google scholar, because I am on the side of the majority scholarship with them. Two of the most obvious to me are Moses and Noah. Two characters that seem to copy multiple Akkadian myths. Hammurabi claimed his laws were passed down by the gods, but the code of Hammurabi definitely existed. Sargon was said to be placed in a read basket and then picked up and raised by a princess. The Egyptian kingdom encompassed the land the Israelites were supposed to be going when they left Egypt. These are the reasons to doubt Moses. Noah copies the others so closely in global flood myths based on a local flood in Shirrupak that he was obviously created from them. Of these, Ziusudra might have been a real person, but that's debatable - and he certainly didn't ride in a boat with two of every animal for a week because the gods were annoyed at the loud humans they had to eradicate. Flooding was unpredictable and devastating in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, so it is most likely one of them was blown completely out of proportion and the myth about hauling around some animals on a boat was probably an excuse for why animals still exist. Noah just simply copies one or all of those myths and the man behind it this time doesn't appear to be real.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:06 pm

> Paul calls Jesus an angel in some of the translations of Galatians 4:14.

Oh my. That translation is so obscure I had to work to find it, and never did. I went through 57 English translations in Biblegateway and never came across that translation. So you'll have to reveal your source, but I can already tell how obscure it is. It's not academically responsible for you to base your position on one isolated obscure translation. There are no variants in the Greek of that portion that I know of. It reads, "καὶ τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε, ἀλλὰ ὡς ἄγγελον θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με, ὡς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν."

> The fact that there are some versions of that verse that don't even mention Jesus or which set Jesus apart from the angels is just one of many examples that the new testament is corrupted.

What is your source? What versions don't mention Jesus? I reviewed the Greek variants and the English translations? Please give me your source for this.

> There are also many different endings for the gospel of Mark.

There is only 1 ending to the Gospel of Mark. Verses 9-20 are widely regarded as not authentic. The Gospel ending as verse 8 is, as far as I know, universally attested in the manuscripts and scholarship. What is your source for this?

> 1 Corinthians 8 to 1 Corinthians 9 points to multiple letters being combined and Paul looks like he has a stroke in the middle of one topic and jumps to a completely different one.

Yes, this is characteristic of Paul. And there are some letters of his that are lost. That doesn't indicate the text is corrupt.

> In the gospel of John Jesus turns water into wine, performs a bunch of other signs, and then performs his second sign. A lot of time jumping or signs inserted in between his first and second signs.

John specifically mentions that this was the second sign Jesus performed in Galilee. He is linking the water-to-wine miracle to this healing miracle, the only two done in Galilee.

> These are just some of the more obvious corruptions of the new testament and the reference to Jesus as an angel.

These aren't corruptions at all. I can't even find a reference to Jesus as an angel in Gal. 4.14, and John makes his point explicit: the second in Galilee.

> Tacitus got his information from the Christians themselves at least 30 years after the gospel of Matthew was written. By the time he was writing the religion was growing in popularity so he was stating what was well known at the time.

We know that Tacitus's information was not first hand. That was true of other information about which Tacitus reports. But we certainly don't know his source for this material. He doesn't say, so your claim that he got it from Christians is both unsubstantiated and unsubstantiatable. Many scholars report that Tacitus used his sources wisely and responsibly. His accuracy stands tall.

> By the time he was writing the religion was growing in popularity so he was stating what was well known at the time.

Yes, he was, and so we can consider it to be reliable. He was reported what was common knowledge.

> The other two are pushing a narrative that comes from a priest preaching an idea that was going around and apostles claiming to have divine revelation.

Once again, you have no evidence of this. It's obviously your opinion, but you have no evidence that it's not true. You have nothing to support your position that the prophets never existed, or even that these men were preaching something untrue.

> but they also had striking differences, at least according to Paul. He warns us to beware of the false Christs and false gospels because he has not received his gospel from any man but through Jesus Christ himself, who he calls an angel.

Even Jesus warned his followers to beware of false Christs (Mt. 24.4). Paul didn't preach anything different, and I've already established that Paul never called Christ an angel.

> He preaches about the coming of Jesus Christ and a revealed gospel.

Yes, Jesus did the same thing in Jn. 14.3 and other places. They are not preaching anything different.

> and he is preaching his own brand of Christian theology.

No he's not. Gal. 2.6-10 there is the decided conclusion that they are preaching the same thing.

> Before the writings of Paul we don't really have much except for old testament prophecy, philosophy, apocrypha and the religious culture of the Roman Empire at the time.

That's correct. We have the entire Old Testament corpus, the Apocrypha, Greek and Roman mythology, and plenty of other religious culture. How do that support your point that the patriarchs and prophets never existed?

> The stuff Luke adds to the gospel pertains to various other messiah figures

Texts? Source? Substantiation? This stuff is way to the side. My position is that Luke was written by a companion of the Apostle Paul, probably in about AD 60. That I can give you evidence and a case for.

> Two characters that seem to copy multiple Akkadian myths.

Similarity doesn't mean derivation. As far as Noah, the chances are greater that the various cultures are recording, in their own way, a historical event. As far as Moses, the similarities between him and Sargon aren't enough to make a case for derivation, as I believe I've already explained.

> Noah just simply copies one or all of those myths

The similarities between Noah, Gilgamesh, and the Atrahasis Epic are outweighed by the difference in the biblical account, so much so as to make derivation unlikely. It's more plausible that they are all based on a historical event.

You still haven’t supported your case that the patriarchs and prophets didn’t exist.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Sister Toy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:13 pm

You didn't look very hard.

ANGEL:

Galatians 4.14 in the NIV, KJV, ESV, NET, WYC, ASV, AMP, CSB, EHV, EXB, GNV, HCSB, AKJV, YLT, OJB

NOT AN ANGEL:

ISV, TLB, GW, PHILLIPS, NOG, TLV, NTV

AMBIGUOUS:

GNT, JUB, NLV

All of the above verses show a link between Jesus and the angels but some of them include a word to differentiate him from the angels and some don't directly call him an angel but allow him to be. The mojority of these passages, including the literal translation consider him to be an angel.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+4%3A14&version=WHNU
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+4%3A14&version=TR1550

I'm not exactly fluent in Greek, but again he equates Jesus to an angel but this language is complex enough that you can take just the last two words and it translates to "christians" but in a more full context these say the angel of God appeared to him as Christ or that he was an taken in like an angel of God, a Christian. I don't even know where to begin as far as understanding it, but I'm sure Young's Literal Translation is a lot closer to a Greek to english translation than I could attempt to grasp. That translation has him calling Jesus an angel. It is likely the other translations were due to bias and not wanting to consider Jesus just another angel.

The global flood never happened. The story is a myth.

Flood: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXJ4dsU0oGMJP95iZJqEjmc5oxY5r6BzP
World Mythology: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNCG9Vq7vdvJytS-F-xGi7_

Check out video 16 in this series about the flood.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:16 pm

> You didn't look very hard.

I'm hoping to motivate you to more responsible scholarship. For instance, the NIV "as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself" doesn't claim, assert, hint, or imply that Jesus was an angel. Paul is giving several options. Option 1: they treated Paul as if he were an angel. Option 2: they treated Paul as if he were Jesus Christ himself. When Matthew 25.31-46 says "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mind you did for me," it is not claiming that Jesus was sick and in prison (25.35-40). Nor is Paul claiming Jesus is an angel. Read 1 Samuel 29.9 "I know that you have been pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God." Achish is not saying David is an angel. Also look at 2 Sam. 14.17 & 20; 19.27. Read Zech. 12.8. Paul is not claiming that Jesus is an angel.

Look at the context. Paul had some kind of illness (Gal. 4.13). He appreciated that they didn't treat him with contempt or scorn (v. 14), but instead treated him like an angel, or as they would have treated Jesus Christ himself. Notice that the Greek does NOT say, "you received me as if I were an angel of God, Jesus Christ." What it says is "you received me as if I were an angel of God, as Christ Jesus." The word "as" appears twice, separating the two references.

> I'm not exactly fluent in Greek,

I am.

> but again he equates Jesus to an angel

He's not. The word "as" (ὡς) appears once before angel, and again before Christ. Therefore "Christ Jesus" is not an explanation of who the angel is, but a separate category of possibilities of how they were treating him.

> but this language is complex enough that you can take just the last two words and it translates to "christians" but in a more full context these say the angel of God appeared to him as Christ or that he was an taken in like an angel of God, a Christian.

The Greek is not complex, but straight forward.

> that you can take just the last two words

It's 3 words: ὡς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν (as Christ Jesus) as a separate category from ὡς ἄγγελον θεοῦ, as an angel of God.

> but in a more full context these say the angel of God appeared to him as Christ or that he was an taken in like an angel of God, a Christian.

The fuller context does not lead to this conclusion. They cannot possibly be construed as saying that the angel of God appears to him as Christ. Impossible. The grammar and terminology simply doesn't allow it.

> but I'm sure Young's Literal Translation is a lot closer to a Greek to english translation than I could attempt to grasp

Here's the Greek text: καὶ τὸν πειρασμὸν ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε, ἀλλὰ ὡς ἄγγελον θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με, ὡς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν.

    καὶ = and
    τὸν πειρασμὸν = the trial, the temptation,
    ὑμῶν = of or to you
    ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου = in my flesh
    οὐκ ἐξουθενήσατε = You did not treat me with contempt
    οὐδὲ ἐξεπτύσατε = nor with scorn or loathing
    ἀλλὰ = Strong adversative. "Instead; rather."
    ὡς ἄγγελον θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με = As an angel of God you welcomed (received) me
    ὡς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν = as Christ Jesus.

The Young's Literal Translation says: "and my trial that [is] in my flesh ye did not despise nor reject, but as a messenger of God ye did receive me -- as Christ Jesus;"

Yep, that's the literal translation all right. The first phrase might more accurately be put "And your trial in my flesh," but Young's tries hard to put it in understandable English. What it categorically does NOT say is that Jesus is an angel.

> The global flood never happened. The story is a myth.

I'm not going to look at your links. I'm conversing with you. If you want to make your case, then YOU make it.

I don't believe in a global flood but rather in a largely regional one, as I have explained. I agree that a global flood never happened. But Noah could easily have been historical, and there is evidence he was (from the biblical account and the other epics about him and the flood), and the flood was a historical event, just not global. Not a myth, though. Using a literary form characteristic to some parts of the Bible, the story is hyperbolic.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Sister Toy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:26 pm

Since you are using the bible to "prove" the flood happened, what do you think it says about the giants? A global flood that killed everyone and yet people survive and lead to the giants like Goliath who David knocks out with a stone and decapitated with his own sword.

The wickedness of mankind and the angels having sex with the daughters of men creating giants were the two reasons for the flood to take place which would last 40 days and 40 nights. 150 days later god remembers Noah is still floating around in his boat and then Noah finds himself atop a mountain releasing three birds (because he couldn't just look over the side to see if there was any water beside him) just like in the stories about Utnapishtim, Ziusudra, and Atrahasis.

It seems odd that they all seem to talk about the same event, which we know wasn't global. Not just because it would be inhumane, but because various cultures that lived right through it, geology, thermodynamics, and physics. That much water would boil under the pressure and the boat would float better on its roof than on its keel. There is also a problem with most of the animals that lived about 5000 years ago or more recently in Australia, North America, Antarctica, and Africa were never in the Middle East and such a boat could never hold all of them. There couldn't be a time when there was just two of every "kind" either because of the genetic problems that would cause and because of the rate by which life diversifies.

There was definitely a local flood around Shirrupak with some people linking it to a meteorite in the Indian Ocean and the water rushing up the Tigris and Euphrates faster than expected, especially in the southern part of that region where the flood stories originated. The flood was devastating to people living there, but blown completely out of proportion. Different cultures have had local floods and exaggerated them and gave various ways for life to have survived. Sometimes just a family riding on a boat or hiding away in a mountain castle. Sometimes they just had loads of sex. Sometimes they cast stones over their shoulders.

This type of story is mythical in nature and about all that can be justified from it is a local devastating flood in shirrupak that was talked about in a community from the region. Apparently the flood was so important for them that they created stories about it, perhaps when people asked them questions they couldn't answer. How did anyone survive? I don't know for sure, but perhaps ... (followed by a random guess). Get the basic start to the story like some guy built a boat, and then you have the device for saving animals, treasures, etc. You have a reason to make an excuse the gods destroyed humanity because they were loud and noisy. You have a flood you can make cover the entire planet (even when you thought the earth was flat).

The creation story, the tower story, and the flood story come from Assyria and Babylonian myths once attributed to Enlil and As now being attributed to Yahweh and El Elyon and other canaanite deities. Some stories apparently has god open his windows and another it simply rains for a really long time. On one version it rains for 40 days and 40 nights and in another he forgets Noah is riding on a boat until 150 days later. Combine these stories and you get the biblical narrative about Noah and he turns out to just be another Utnapishtim in a region that wasn't even affected by the flood that originated the myth.

This is just Noah, but the majority of the other characters I said don't exist are based on these types of things. If there was some guy, he wouldn't know the stories were about him. He might have a different name and he is completely unrelated to anything he is said to have done. This is the same way with Jesus, even for those who hold onto a minimal historicity based on what they ambiguously determine to be reliable evidence such as a brother, a death, and his hometown being Nazareth because of the hoops the gospel writers had to jump through to make a Nazarene born in Bethlehem in Matthew and Luke. For minimal mythicism, my position, these bits of information are unreliable and you can create many rational versions of Jesus ambiguously determining any of it to be reliably accurate at referring to a guy who existed. This is how Bart Ehrman comes to him being an apocalyptic preacher and how others have determined that he was an exorcist, a lunatic, a failed military leader, one of the various minor prophets mentioned by Josephus. Any of these could have existed and there were definitely people in every group. What makes Jesus different is that, unlike them, he is portrayed as a person performing many miracles in front of large crowds of people, yet nobody ever mentions him until 40 years after he died and the people who mention a figure by the same name before that they talk about a hidden message, revealed scriptures, divine revelation, and a guy who is coming soon implying he didn't come yet. This Jesus makes sense and so does some random insignificant human being and neither of them support the mythology attributed to him in the gospels, making the religion a man made invention based on old testament human fabrication updating a dying religion to fit the time period. If it wasn't for the Romans establishing it as the state religion it would have completely died off and we probably wouldn't have any of the other religions like Islam or Baha'i.

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. If Jesus was still discussed we'd have dozens of versions of him like we had almost 2000 years ago and we wouldn't have people considering any of them to be historically reliable.

My conclusion still stands, that all of these religions, as with every other are human invention to describe the unknown based on fables, falsehoods, and unsupported assumptions. When these religions gained enough popularity they were used to control societies of people who didn't know any better, and even some early church leaders said that the Jewish scriptures are allegorical but should be preached as literal truth because the common person is too stupid to understand metaphor.
Sister Toy
 

Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:05 pm

> what do you think it says about the giants?

"Nephilim" possibly means "giants" (a translation derived from the Septuagint and the Vulgate), but that translation is dubious. The term possibly comes from the root *npl*, means "to fall upon," i.e., invaders, tyrants. Various other meanings have been suggested, such as warriors of strength and prowess (cf. Num. 13.33). The Numbers verse suggest that they were a taller people, like the Dinka or the Tutsi of Africa, which has caused some to translate the term as "giants." It's more likely that they were heroic warriors, as the rest of the verse (Gn. 6.4) says.

> A global flood that killed everyone

Yet another reason to consider that the Bible doesn't require the flood to be global. How could the Nephilim survive if no one survived?

In Gn. 41.57 (same book, same author), we read that "all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe in all the world." Was Brazil experiencing famine? Did the Australians come to Joseph? No. "All" means the countries of the immediate vicinity in the ancient Near East.

Also, Deut. 2.25 (same author): "I will put the...fear of you on all the nations under heaven." Did that include the Mayans? The people of Madagascar? I don't think anyone would argue that this refers to more than the nations of Canaan, and perhaps a few others.

There are plenty of other references like this throughout the Bible (Acts 17.6; 19.35; 24.5; Rom. 1.8). We have to give serious consideration that quite possibly "all" doesn't mean "global".

> The wickedness of mankind and the angels having sex with the daughters of men creating giants were the two reasons for the flood to take place which would last 40 days and 40 nights.

Genesis 6.1-2 are notorious difficult to translate and interpret, and scholars have yet to figure it out. The most reasonable explanation I've heard is that it is royal heroes of antiquity. Even in Israel sometimes kings are termed "sons of God." In the ancient Near East kings were commonly understood as having a filial relationship to deity, and were often considered to have been engendered by deity. Many cultures believed in the divine descent of kings. The concept shows up in many inscriptions. Gilgamesh is portrayed as 2/3 god and 1/3 man (1.48) and “flesh of the gods” (9.49). It is common for kings to be portrayed as having divine parentage, but there's also the possibility that it's speaking of royal elites.

The interpretation that it's angels having sex with man women doesn't hold water. The New Testament teaches that angels don't marry (Mt. 22.29-30; Mk. 12.24-25; Lk. 20.34-36). That interpretation also creates the problem of humans being punished for the sins of angels, which is not just. In addition...

    * Cohabitation between angels and humans has no immediately obvious connection with the purposes of Genesis.
    * An angelic intrusion is out of place in this sequence of episodes recounting the advance of human sin.
    * Prior to this text, no mention is made of angels—not even of their creation.
    * The NT indicates that the angels do not function as sexual beings.
    * Judgment comes on men, not angels, even though this interpretation would make them (angels) the perpetrators.
    * Angels are never called “sons of God” anywhere in the Pentateuch.

So it's not likely talking about angels having sex with human women.

> Noah finds himself atop a mountain releasing three birds (because he couldn't just look over the side to see if there was any water beside him)

The birds have specific purpose. The raven (Gn. 8.5-7) lives on carrion. He was not expecting it to return. If it does, there isn't habitable land anywhere yet. The dove has a limited ability for sustained flight, in contrast to the raven. It's a low-flying bird. It will only perch on places that are dry and clean. It requires plants for food. As long as it returns, there is no landing place. Ancient navigators were known to use birds to find land, but Noah is not trying to find land, he's already on it. He needs to know if there is habitable land nearby.

> It seems odd that they all seem to talk about the same event, which we know wasn't global.

I agree that it wasn't global. The story is characterized by several hyperbolic devices (the extent of the flood, the size of the boat).

> This type of story is mythical in nature

The biblical story isn't mythical, and differs in significant ways from the Atrahasis and Gilgamesh Epics, though they are probably all telling their version of the same historical occurrence. The Babylonians and Mesopotamians put it in the mythological context, while the Bible puts it as a theologically-interpreted historical event.

> The creation story

The biblical creation story shares almost nothing (or completely nothing) in common with the ancient mythographies. In those the earth and human come from the wars and sex of the gods.

> the tower story

The tower story relates the conquering of Sumer by the Babylonians in the 2nd half of the 2nd millennium. It's a historical event.

> his is just Noah, but the majority of the other characters I said don't exist are based on these types of things.

That's not good enough. The patriarchs and prophets of the old testament are nothing like the mythographies of the surrounding cultures. Though you've pointed out some similarities between Sargon and Moses, I've shown that similarity doesn't mean derivation, and that the common elements of the two stories are practices so common in the various ancient cultures that there's no reason to think the two are related. Jimmy Carter was wealthy and became an American president. Donald Trump was wealthy and became and American president. Therefore Donald Trump's story is just a copy of Jimmy Carter's? Of course not.

> yet nobody ever mentions [Jesus] until 40 years after he died

The majority of writings from the era have been lost. We have only half of Tacitus's work. All but a fragment of Thallus's *Mediterranean History* is gone. The writings of Asclepiades of Mendes are gone. Nicholas of Damascus (the secretary of Herod the Great) wrote his *Universal History* in 144 books: none have survived. Papias's work is lost. Josephus's originals are gone (except for what we have through Eusebius). Quadratus wrote to Emperor Hadrian—all lost. That our lack of extra biblical references about Jesus is evidence against him is disingenuous at best and plain false at worst.

> If it wasn't for the Romans establishing it as the state religion

Another mistake. Rome didn't establish Christianity as a state religion. In the Edict of Milan Emperor Constantine allowed tolerance for Christianity in the Empire, but he (nor any future emperor) never established Christianity as the state religion.

> My conclusion still stands

You have yet to substantiate any part of your thesis.

    * You haven't presented a case proving Jesus to be fictional. I have presented a case from Roman and Jewish historians evidencing that he was.
    * No one has any evidence for (except for the Bible) or against Elijah's historicity. You haven't substantiated your case there.
    * David. The Tel Dan Stele gives evidence of a historical David. You have given nothing in rebuttal.
    * Solomon. There is no evidence for him, nor any against. You haven't substantiated your case.
    * The judges. The least known period of Canaan. No one has any evidence here, you included.
    * Moses. I've given some questionable evidence for him, you've given nothing to substantiate your case.
    * Abraham. There is no evidence for him, no evidence against him. You haven't substantiated your case.
    * Noah. Neither of us believe in a global flood. The records we have from the ancient Near East could easily indicate the historical occurrence of a massive flood, a boat, and animals. You haven't substantiated your case that it couldn't possibly have happened.

Your conclusion doesn't stand. You haven't supported your thesis.
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Re: The patriarchs and prophets never existed

Postby Sister Toy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:54 pm

The whole thing about jesus being an angel I also found on Bart Ehrman's blog ... a person who pushes for the historical Jesus being an apocalyptic preacher. It is a passage that is growing in popularity across all sides. Jesus was considered an angel, but perhaps the head of the angels, like the archangel Michael. 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. Jesus seems to replace Michael in nearly every way early on and then in the gospels he replaces John the Baptist and gains attributes of other lesser failed messiahs and 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.

The third option for the translation is that they received Paul as a messenger of God, the supreme messenger, Jesus Christ. It doesn't necessarily mean he is a cherubim, nephilim, ophilim, or any of those other types of angels but he is an angelic being who is unknown to all until the apostles reveal the gospel that has been revealed to them. Even if they talk about him as a man, they are still talking about a message that nobody on Earth gave to them. They got it through scripture and revelation and they reference scripture and revelation when it comes to the epistles and the gospels. They don't pretend to be first hand accounts or even second hand testimony from humans who knew these things first hand. Paul is highly revered because he has a lot of information that drives theology forward.

Now that doesn't automatically imply there wasn't some guy, but it does imply the way they describe him isn't in historical context leaving the two most rationalized options. 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. With a historical guy you might speculate about why they had to make him born in Bethlehem even though he was from Nazareth, but with a fictional character you might have to wonder why he was supposed to be from Nazareth in the first place. 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. The gospels that come after that one don't bother to get rid of that location in the three in the modern canon. It seems odd, but not unheard of to keep a fictional story mostly in tact just to spice it up.

This is where the problems with historicity arise. 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. If we had something beyond the myths or he was described in the stories like he was an ordinary person then we wouldn't have any reason to doubt. It is probability. The majority of people described in the same way never existed - Harry Potter, Darth Vader, Elijah, the archangel Michael, superman. A few regular people are described in the same way - Julius Caesar, Sargon of Akkad, Imhotep, George Washington. The ones who we know for sure existed have statues, pictures, money, books they wrote, and contemporary literature describing them as ordinary people. The others just have a bunch of myths. Jesus might have existed but there isn't any real way to be certain and he is described just like people who never existed so it is reasonable to think people made him up.
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