Bible and false scholarship

To some, the human mind is the source of widom - the modern human mind. The Bible becomes that ancient book written by those ancient people that could not have known what we know now. But is anything we know now being sincerely applied to the Bible? Or is it more like the following quote from Christopher Hitchens referring to Biblical times: “If we knew then what we now know, would we have ever become religious?”

Apparently, being religious or not, depends almost entirely on knowing non-religious things. Had the ancient Hebrews our level of knowledge, they would never have written that Bible collection of books. No, they would have skipped over that terrible thing called religion and led relatively value neutral lives, content in the knowledge that, like other animals, all they had to do was live for a bit, perform a few behaviors, possibly reproduce and die.

Where does Jesus Christ and the New Testament fit into history? Apparently, even for some Catholics, they entertain the notion - a very vague notion - that He existed and died for them but that’s it. Apparently, the things He said and did have no real connection to the Old Testament. Jesus did say Moses wrote concerning Him. That He came in fulfillment of the scriptures. When people heard about Him after His ascension, they searched the Scriptures to see if those things were true.

Yet more books continue to appear to turn Sacred Scripture into this messy, inaccurate and even contradictory collection of stories. The following review illustrates what I mean.

biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/02/04/Interrupting-Ehrman-Critiquing-His-Latest-Polemic-Against-the-Faith.aspx

Peace,
Ed

Had the ancient Hebrews our level of knowledge, they would never have written that Bible collection of books. No, they would have skipped over that terrible thing called religion and led relatively value neutral lives,

I doubt it. When the Lord speaks to you personally, like He did to Moses, you’re probably going to live a religious life no matter how much you know. When someone rises from the dead like He predicted and then you see Him ascend in to Heaven, you’re probably not going to just dismiss it.

Well, I agree with you. But there are some who post here who rely on what they call scholarship.

Scholars, not the Magisterium of the Church which Holds the Deposit of Faith, can turn actual events into iffy propositions.

Peace,
Ed

Originally Posted by **StAnastasia: **wbarquez, you are essentially correct, although most scholars would see some core of historical truth underlying the Exodus and Sinai narratives. The creation and flood stories definitely have the character of myth.

Some may not like it, but this statement and the analysis that produces such statements is fully support by the magesterium in dogmatic documents and in many of the texts by “so-called scholars”, written under the imprimatur and nihil obstat.

Very few stories are dogmatically defind as “actual events” and the church encourages scholars to study such things as literary form and contemporary culture to help understand what is myth, legend, fiction, history, etc.

Were the miracles Jesus performed actual events? Was His ressurection an actual event? And on what basis would you say they actually happened?

Peace,
Ed

They might have been but since there is no independent witness, attestation, or evidence it is unknown. There is also the fact that numerous other Jewish holy men were reported to have performed very similar wondrous deeds around the same time period - thus the reports of Jesus’ miracles don’t really tell us much.

Was His ressurection an actual event?

The church requires us to believe that it was, so we do as a matter of faith. There is no independent attestation or evidence so as far as the historian is concerned there is no way of knowing.

And on what basis would you say they actually happened?

The miracles may have acutally occured as reported or they may have been included as literary devices to tell us who Jesus was. Both interpretations are valid with the church.

Many people saw the risen Christ. Many of those went to their deaths for testifying to what they saw. Would those early witnesses have gone to their deaths if the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t real? Saying “there is no way of knowing” is like saying there is no way of knowing if the Roman Empire ever existed. It’s not here now, we can’t see it, so there’s no way of knowing if it existed or not. Many people wrote about it, but they could have all been lying. There are artifacts of it, but they could be fakes. Nope, no way of knowing.

There are only very confusing and contradictory thIrd hand reports only mentioning a few of those who already followed him when he was alive. There is not a single independent witness or even a single first person account.

Many of those went to their deaths for testifying to what they saw.

No, some unknown number may have been killed for preaching a new subversive religion. We have no evidence anyone died for believing in the resurrection.

Would those early witnesses have gone to their deaths if the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t real?

None of them gave first person accounts as witnesses. And many people have gone to their deaths for much crazier ideas that we just laugh at,

Saying “there is no way of knowing” is like saying there is no way of knowing if the Roman Empire ever existed. It’s not here now, we can’t see it, so there’s no way of knowing if it existed or not.

That is ridiculous - there are mountains of physical evidence and countless written records of everything connected to the empire - from both insiders and outsiders, But you are correct, the study of history is mostly about probablilities and is seldom certain.

Many people wrote about it, but they could have all been lying. There are artifacts of it, but they could be fakes. Nope, no way of knowing.

That is true but the real evidence is overwelming. Historians have spent centuries debating the things we are not too sure of. For the life of Jesus, all you have is a very few third person documents written long after the events by writers who were all insiders and none of whom were eyewitnesses, We don’t even have original copies of any of them and we don;t have a single shred of corroberating independent attestation to any of the supernatural events.

All historical research works this way - you look for independent attestion and weigh the available evidence, always looking for more. If there was any way to be nearly certain about the resurrection from an evidence point of view, every history text would clearly state that a man rose from the dead 2000 years ago.

However you look at it, it is ALL a matter of faith,

All a matter of faith? Why should anyone want to be Catholic then? I have heard that reasonable people need good reasons for joining this or that Church. Can you suggest good reasons for joining the Catholic Church?

For me, the line of descent from Peter is clear. The Church has recorded various miracles to which there were eyewitnesses. The Lord has sent Our Lady at Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe and elsewhere. The modernist desire to put religious truths into a ‘believe only’ box denies the work of God happening today. The Church is waiting on miracles to be attributed to Pope John Paul II. That is how a person is elevated to sainthood today – two miracles. The work of God.

Peace,
Ed

Ah yes, if the Bible were true - all the history books would say so. Pope Benedict XVI, in Jesus of Nazareth, goes beyond the historical-critical method. He says about the second temptation of Jesus:
We are dealing here with the vast question as to how we can and cannot know God, how we are related to God, and how we can lose him. The arrogance that would make God an object and impose our laboratory conditions upon him is incapable of finding him. For is already implies that we deny God as God by placing ourselves above him, by discarding the whole dimension of love, of interior listening; by no longer acknowledging as real anything but what we can experimentally test and grasp. To think like that is to make oneself God. And to do that is to abase not only God, but the world and oneself, too. p. 37

So, God is required to meet our standards of proof, or else He is judged to be a myth and dismissed. The Bible, the inerrant Word of God, reports many people seeing and interacting with the risen Jesus. It reports the martyrdom of St. Stephen for proclaiming the crucified and risen Christ - the first of many martyrs. St. Peter was martyred in Rome - crucified upside down. If he knew the resurrection had never really happened, would he willingly accept such a fate? Those who witnessed the risen Christ evangelized and taught the next generation of Church Fathers - who all in their writings passed on what they had been taught - that Christ was crucified, died, and was buried, and on the third day he arose again. Church Tradition has proclaimed this from the very beginning.

I really don’t know and that’s probably the reason the vast majority of Catholics were born into the church, not converts. What would it take for you to change your core beliefs and join a church whose followers claimed divine origins? One heck of a lot of evidence I would say.

How often do *you *read material that tries to persuade you that your reli­gious beliefs are wrong and that other beliefs you reject are true? Unless you are yourself an apologist scouting the opposition, the chances are that you’ve never studied an apology to which you were an outsider. If apologies are actually intended for outsiders, they have to be judged colossal failures.

In the few cases when outsiders do read or listen to apologies, they seldom take them seriously. Outsiders approach apologies with caution, for the simple reason that apologies ask them to change their beliefs. Most outsiders assume that apologies are strongly biased, that they tell only one side of the story. The very few outsiders who read apologies almost always do so out of curiosity, or out of a desire to figure out how to refute them**.**

[FONT=Arial]While insiders and outsiders may read the same stories, they will use very different standards in evaluating their histor­ical reliability. Imagine that another religion had a story about how God had worked mighty miracles that demonstrated the truth of that religion. Imagine also that there were several versions of this story and that these ver­sions had numerous discrepancies, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Wouldn’t you, a Christian and thus an outsider to this religion, point to those disparities as evidence for the unreliability of these stories? People are naturally more charitably inclined to their own stories than they are to those of outsiders.[/FONT]

For me, the line of descent from Peter is clear. The Church has recorded
various miracles to which there were eyewitnesses.

None of Jesus’ miracles have eyewitness accounts.

The modernist desire to put religious truths into a ‘believe only’ box denies the work of God happening today. The Church is waiting on miracles to be attributed to Pope John Paul II. That is how a person is elevated to sainthood today – two miracles. The work of God.

I wish this was so obvious but the lack of emphasis by the Church severly dimishes any belief in the reality of these “supernatural” events.

There are forms of truth other than “historical truth”. I have just been talking about what we know as historical truth. To go beyond that is certainly possible (as indicated by the Pope) BUT that requires faith.

So, God is required to meet our standards of proof, or else He is judged to be a myth and dismissed.

I didn’t say that.

The Bible, the inerrant Word of God,

That is purely a statement of faith…

…reports many people seeing and interacting with the risen Jesus.

None of these are eyewitness reports and all were written long after the event by people who were already insiders (unknown insiders).

It reports the martyrdom of St. Stephen for proclaiming the crucified and risen Christ - the first of many martyrs. St. Peter was martyred in Rome - crucified upside down.

Even that is a legend of the church.

If he knew the resurrection had never really happened, would he willingly accept such a fate?

This is a third hand retelling - we have no way of knowing what the author actually knew about what each martyr actually thought. The stories are obviously meant to inspire us with the zeal of the martyr - but without any corroborating evidence, how are we to know it is anything other than a literary device to do that? Did George Washington throw a dollar across a river or chop down a cherry tree? Was Alexander the Great born from the interaction of a god with his mother?

Those who witnessed the risen Christ…

We have no reports from any witnesses…

…evangelized and taught the next generation of Church Fathers - who all in their writings passed on what they had been taught - that Christ was crucified, died, and was buried, and on the third day he arose again. Church Tradition has proclaimed this from the very beginning.

Yes, that is the tradition. To believe it requires a tremendous amount of faith.

I suggest you pick up a copy of the book Unspeakable by Os Guinness.

God bless,
Ed

The blurb on Amazon makes the book look interesting but I didn’t see anything related to why someone would become Catholic or why modern scripture scholarship is “false”. Anyway, I’ll try to locate it. I see the local library doesn’t have it but I’ll look around.

I suggest you pick up a copy of “Biblical Fundamentalism, What every Catholic Should Know” by Ronald Witherup S.S. and “And God Said What? An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms” by Margaret Ralph.

patg
None of Jesus’ miracles have eyewitness accounts.

Really? That’s like saying that there were no eyewitnesses to Christ!

His miracles “were so frequent, the eyewitnesses so numerous, and the evidence so stark, that not even Christ’s enemies disputed the fact of their occurrence. Instead they ascribed them to the power of the devil, or defied Him to perform another one in His own favour.” (See Mt 12:24; 27:39-42; Jn 11:47). Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Sheehan/Joseph, Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 104].

The miracle of the sun at Fatima had many eyewitnesses, as a fact of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin attesting to the reality of her Son, Jesus of Nazareth, and His Church.

There is much false scholarship over our Scriptures, but it is from dissenters, not from Christ’s Church. Archaeological discoveries all show the historicity of the Scriptures. The vast majority of New Testament “scholarship” is “all theory and little or no confirmation….the ‘facts’ become a fiunction of the theory, viewpoint, ‘insight’ or hermeneutical stance adopted.” Reasons For Hope, Christendom College Press, 1982, ed Dr Jeff Mirus, p 74].

No, its not - it is saying that we have no written accounts from eyewitnesses. The gospels are all third hand summaries written long after the events by unknown authors.

His miracles “were so frequent, the eyewitnesses so numerous, and the evidence so stark, that not even Christ’s enemies disputed the fact of their occurrence. Instead they ascribed them to the power of the devil, or defied Him to perform another one in His own favour.” (See Mt 12:24; 27:39-42; Jn 11:47). Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Sheehan/Joseph, Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 104].

Then why doin’t we have any eyewitness accounts? The church states that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts.

There is much false scholarship over our Scriptures, but it is from dissenters, not from Christ’s Church.

It would be interesting to know who the dissenters are.

Archaeological discoveries all show the historicity of the Scriptures. The vast majority of New Testament “scholarship” is “all theory and little or no confirmation….the ‘facts’ become a fiunction of the theory, viewpoint, ‘insight’ or hermeneutical stance adopted.” Reasons For Hope, Christendom College Press, 1982, ed Dr Jeff Mirus, p 74].

But none of these discoveries confirm what the scriptures are about or that they are the inspired word of God. Do you think some archaeological discovery will show that Jesus died for our sins or turned water into wine or walked on water? Confirming that some city mentioned in the bible happened to have existed isn’t exactly a heavy duty revelation about salvation history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abu
Really? That’s like saying that there were no eyewitnesses to Christ!

No, its not - it is saying that we have no written accounts from eyewitnesses. The gospels are all third hand summaries written long after the events by unknown authors.

Quote:
His miracles “were so frequent, the eyewitnesses so numerous, and the evidence so stark, that not even Christ’s enemies disputed the fact of their occurrence. Instead they ascribed them to the power of the devil, or defied Him to perform another one in His own favour.” (See Mt 12:24; 27:39-42; Jn 11:47). [Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Sheehan/Joseph, Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 104].

Then why doin’t we have any eyewitness accounts? The church states that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts.

Quote:
There is much false scholarship over our Scriptures, but it is from dissenters, not from Christ’s Church.

It would be interesting to know who the dissenters are.

Quote:
Archaeological discoveries all show the historicity of the Scriptures. The vast majority of New Testament “scholarship” is “all theory and little or no confirmation….the ‘facts’ become a fiunction of the theory, viewpoint, ‘insight’ or hermeneutical stance adopted.” [Reasons For Hope, Christendom College Press, 1982, ed Dr Jeff Mirus, p 74].

But none of these discoveries confirm what the scriptures are about or that they are the inspired word of God. Do you think some archaeological discovery will show that Jesus died for our sins or turned water into wine or walked on water? Confirming that some city mentioned in the bible happened to have existed isn’t exactly a heavy duty revelation about salvation history.

:thumbsup:

:thumbsup:

Faith is a gift. Though knowing more about the historical context in which the Bible apeared is very useful IMO, faith doesn’t require historical proof unless faith is not enough for me to believe.

“You believe because you see me, don’t you? Happy are those who have not seen and believe” John 20,21

“Faith is the way of holding onto what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see. because of their faith our ancestors were approved” Hebrews 11,1-2

What did Paul say to the people? “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins.” [1 Corinthians 15:17] In other words, if Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, for real, you’ve got nothing. How long before people understand that a real, historical Jesus lived, performed many miracles, suffered, died and rose again?

Why are some people Catholic? Who will judge you when you die? No one? The Bible tells us that the same Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. The same Jesus is alive right now. God sees and knows everything. And God knows I’m not perfect but no Catholic should be vague about what Jesus Christ did on earth.

No one should say, Naw, God can’t do that. Or did Jesus not raise Lazarus from the dead?

Peace,
Ed

patg
The church states that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts….written long after the events by unknown authors.

Such fantasising is quite false – no faithful Catholic, or Christian, would subscribe to such obvious error – no scholarship of any kind there. Why should we have anyone posing as “Catholic”, spouting irresponsible falsehoods with not a skerrick of evidence?

Not only are the facts of Jesus miracles recorded by His own Apostles who were present – Saints Matthew and John were companions of Christ, and Saints Mark and Luke lived in constant contact with His contemporaries.

Even Adolf von Harnack, a rationalist historian of high repute among Rationalist and Protestants, wrote that the Synoptic Gospels were written before 70 A.D. – before the fall of Jerusalem, and accepted the tradition that St Luke derived his information on the infancy of Jesus from Mary His Mother. [Theologische Quartalsch, Tubingen 1929, IV, p 443-4].

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