The author of the Bread From Heaven blog wrote a post recently trying to suggest that there is some historical credibility for the myths contained in the New Testament by comparing it to other ancient documents. Following is my discussion with BFHU in the comments section of his or her blog.
Cameron Reilly, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:47 am Said:
The main difference between the NT and the other documents in the table is that the other authors (except, of course, Homer, and it’s well understood that The Iliad is a myth) claimed to be documenting the life of a supernatural being with superhuman powers. The more ridiculous the claims of ancient documents, the more skeptical any intelligent person is likely to be. Especially when those claims aren’t supported by a single eyewitness or any other evidence. And, let’s face it, the NT is full of ridiculous claims.
bfhu, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:04 pm Said:
The New Testament claims ARE supported by eye witnesses. As for “ridiculous claims” all I can do is quote St. Paul:
I Cor 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Cameron Reilly, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:28 pm Said:
@bfhu – so who are these eye witnesses that support the NT? Name them.
bfhu, on September 11th, 2009 at 7:43 am Said:
The names of some of the eyewitnesses:
All of the disciple of Jeus:
1. Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),
2. James, the son of Zebedee, and
3. John the brother of James
9.James the son of Alphaeus, and
11. Simon the Zealot;
12. Judas Iscariot
13. Mary, Jesus’ mother
And many others named in the various Gospels and letters that make up the NEW TESTAMENT.
St.Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the early history of the Church in his book of Acts. He consulted eyewitnesses in order to make an accurate account of the events surrounding the life of Jesus and later the Church He founded.
1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
Luke again in Acts 1
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Of the disciples of Jesus, who were the closest eyewitnesses to all that Jesus did, who wrote a book or letter preserved for us in the New Testament: Peter whose memoir was written down by Mark in the Gospel of Mark. Also, Peters two letters, I & II Peter. The apostle John in his Gospel and three Letters.
1 John 1
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
Walking in the light
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light;
Revelation 1 (John)
1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—
Cameron Reilly, on September 11th, 2009 at 5:59 pm Said:
Can you find anywhere in Luke where he says that he spoke directly to those people? I think you’ll find he doesn’t. All you have in Luke is a document written by an anonymous author (the name “Luke” was given to it by Papias in the mid 4th century), who, although claiming to have spoken to eyewitnesses, in fact copied in large part from earlier works, namely “Mark” and the Q Source. At least, that is the dominant hypotethis in biblical scholarship currently. How much credibility can we give an author who makes false claims? Very litte, I’d say.
bfhu, on September 11th, 2009 at 6:48 pm Said:
That is your opinion and the opinion of he so called higher textual criticism which I do not accept. And neither do many other scholars. Those who do not want to accept the ancient faith and would rather debunk it have found an excuse with the faithless, doubting German higher criticism. This is the fruit of Luther’s Rebellion. Thanks for your comments but they are unconvincing.
Cameron Reilly, on September 11th, 2009 at 8:11 pm Said:
And therein lies the problem with your argument that there is some kind of historical evidence for Jesus. Your evidence falls apart at the slightest inquiry. You choose NOT to accept the position of historians and instead choose to “accept the ancient faith”. You are unable to provide any critical evidence to support the claim of an historical Jesus.
Comparing the New Testament or Old Testament documents to other ancient documents that are equally unsupported by evidence only serves to lead us to the conclusion that the Bible documents are EQUALLY AS UNRELIABLE as the other documents. We should be skeptical of all of them, especially though of the documents that claim to be a testimony of supernatural persons.
For example: an historical document that says “John went down to the shop and bought a loaf of bread today” is probably more reliable than a document of the same age that says “John waved his fingers in the air, muttered a secret incantation to the God Ba’al, and 12 loaves of bread appeared in a flash of light in front of him.”
So, for that reason, the NT and OT are likely to be MUCH less reliable historical documents than other ancient documents that make more reasonable claims.