Question, Help!


#1

Can anyone here explain to me, in plain English, if the author is saying that what was written about Jesus' supernaturalism, miracles, His own claims etc. in the early days when Scripture was being orally transmitted and later hand copied was true or if it was a form of embellishment, fabrication, or due to the evolution of new and false information over a period of time?

seandharmon.webs.com/index.htm

The Evangelists - Beyond Tradition

Criticism methodology

<<<<< .............Were the fantastic accounts of Jesus -- supernaturalism, miracles, his own claims, etc. -- which make up about 80% of the gospel traditions merely legend and theology that was invented in its evolution and infused into the traditions as they were transmitted? The theory of form and redaction criticism implies it was. Textual criticism says this is not the case, even though numerous variants exist, because modifications that are as radical as the ending of Mark are statistically nonexistent in comparison to the thousands of minor variants that we know occurred. It becomes clear when we understand and distinguish these theories why it's easy to use the argument of textual criticism to convince people, particularly those not really privy to the distinctions between the theories, that form and redaction criticism theories are just as plausible based on textual criticism, or that these so-called legends were gradual developments as the early traditions were orally transmitted over and over (assuming the telephone game here) and then later redacted and edited again as they were transcribed to written form. But now that we understand the difference between textual criticism and the hypothetical theories of form and redaction criticism, and that the former actually counters the latter, is form and redaction criticism still a plausible theory? >>>>>>>

Criterion of dissimilarity

<<<<<< But just because the movement was controlled by an apostolic authority doesn't mean this authority itself wasn't moved by its own prerogative to shape the traditions for their own self-interests or the interest of the church they themselves catered to. Once again, we're talking about Jews here who were overseeing these traditions and how they were being relayed to outsiders. But putting this aside, and putting aside chaos theory, how does the theory of form and criticism stack up against logic? Since 80% of the gospels contain something supernatural (miracles, claims of deity, divine intervention, implied supernaturalism and theology in the dialogue, etc.), the inevitable conclusion of a secular scholar and historian is to apply the theories of form and redaction criticism to explain this as a natural evolution of the Jesus-traditions. They argue that the traditions started simple, stories and rumors about a historical charismatic Jew named Jesus, which evolved into fantastic theological and legendary developments by his adherents and admirers as the movement grew and developed as per an oral form of doctrine, then into written form, which eventually become the gospels, the final works. Even though we examined some of facts that make this argument untenable, well put that aside for now and ask the question: is there actual proof that the early Judeo-Christians had these carefree embellishment habits, or instead is this view perhaps just assumption based on the presupposition that form and redaction criticism theory is true. Is the argument of form and redaction criticism begging the question and just circular reasoning, a case where presupposition of theory A -- the stories evolved -- presupposes theory B -- they consciously changed the accounts for specific reasons, and vice versa? Unfortunately there is no sure way to prove how the gospels developed outside of this circular methodology when it's based on speculation and hypotheticals.>>>>>>>


#2

Also, upon reading other pages in this site, I just realized that this is not a Catholic site. If you read other pages please skip over denominational differences and just stick to the formulation of Scripture and the NT.


#3

Faith,

I have to admit: after only one paragraph of the 'source' you cited, my head was spinning! His 'statements of fact' -- without attribution! -- make some serious assertions that fly in the face of historical fact! He also has delusions of grandeur: he "establish[ed] the fact that there are Jewish influences saturating the gospel works"? Really? (Scripture scholars of the past few centuries will be surprised that he's appropriated their work in this way! ;)) Having appropriated Scriptural scholarship of the 20th century, he finds it easy to jump to conclusions without any supporting evidence: "it would be ridiculous and unrealistic to assume that the early Christians, before and during the gospels were written, were not influenced by a least some, possibly even a good deal of good-intentioned propaganda or a natural fluidity to meet the needs of the church or even conform the traditions to their creedal and doctrinal beliefs that had evolved over time."

[quote="Faith1960, post:1, topic:349693"]
Can anyone here explain to me, in plain English, if the author is saying that what was written about Jesus' supernaturalism, miracles, His own claims etc. in the early days when Scripture was being orally transmitted and later hand copied was true or if it was a form of embellishment, fabrication, or due to the evolution of new and false information over a period of time?

[/quote]

I think its' pretty clear that the answer is 'yes' -- he's saying both of these things -- that the 'fabrication' of the Gospels took place both before after the time of the creation of the Gospel stories. (Not that he proves these claims... he just asserts them, without attribution or proof!)

Criterion of dissimilarity

Since 80% of the gospels contain something supernatural (miracles, claims of deity, divine intervention, implied supernaturalism and theology in the dialogue, etc.), the inevitable conclusion of a secular scholar and historian is to apply the theories of form and redaction criticism to explain this as a natural evolution of the Jesus-traditions.

Wow: the mere existence of the assertion of 'supernatural events' proves that these events did not occur during Jesus' lifetime?

Sorry... this author masquerades as a scholar, but does a poor job of it. He makes assertions that he doesn't substantiate. He cites scholars, whom he doesn't identify. His screed is really just a series of poorly-reasoned assertions... :shrug:


#4

If you are at all familiar with the oddity of "eye witness testimony", you will find that two people standing either next to each other or 10 feet apart have a tendency to see the event from their own (mental) perspective. So, the Apostles each noticed specifically certain things, while another was struck by something else! That's human nature. Also, a lot of people outside Israel could neither read nor write. It is an established fact that people who are illiterate (the entire community) are extremely good at remembering exactly what is said to them, and recite it back word for word. That's how things were learned or passed on from generation to generation. They developed excellent memories for the spoken word. It is only since the larger part of the world learned to read and write that they depended upon reading, rather than memorizing exactly what they heard. I think the people who heard the Apostles speak were able to pass on those sermons word for word, until they were finally written down. Paul, for instance, as well as Luke, could write in both Greek and Latin (Paul was actually a Roman Citizen, born outside of Israel) and Luke was a Physician, possibly a former slave who gained his freedom, and fluent in both Greek and Latin. He may have had to learn Aramaic, but was obviously very intelligent. I think the words of the Apostles were passed down by word of mouth very accurately.

Authentic scholars always cite their sources, which can be checked. Apparently this man thinks he's a scholar, but has no citations for his sources.


#5

[quote="Gorgias, post:3, topic:349693"]
Faith,

I have to admit: after only one paragraph of the 'source' you cited, my head was spinning! His 'statements of fact' -- without attribution! -- make some serious assertions that fly in the face of historical fact! He also has delusions of grandeur: he "establish[ed] the fact that there are Jewish influences saturating the gospel works"? Really? (Scripture scholars of the past few centuries will be surprised that he's appropriated their work in this way! ;)) Having appropriated Scriptural scholarship of the 20th century, he finds it easy to jump to conclusions without any supporting evidence: "it would be ridiculous and unrealistic to assume that the early Christians, before and during the gospels were written, were not influenced by a least some, possibly even a good deal of good-intentioned propaganda or a natural fluidity to meet the needs of the church or even conform the traditions to their creedal and doctrinal beliefs that had evolved over time."

I think its' pretty clear that the answer is 'yes' -- he's saying both of these things -- that the 'fabrication' of the Gospels took place both before after the time of the creation of the Gospel stories. (Not that he proves these claims... he just asserts them, without attribution or proof!)

Wow: the mere existence of the assertion of 'supernatural events' proves that these events did not occur during Jesus' lifetime?

Sorry... this author masquerades as a scholar, but does a poor job of it. He makes assertions that he doesn't substantiate. He cites scholars, whom he doesn't identify. His screed is really just a series of poorly-reasoned assertions... :shrug:

[/quote]

I found the site while Googling for information about mythology and whether it influenced Christianity. He made it pretty clear that 1st century Jews wouldn't have followed pagan myths, so I read more.
Now m wondering if oral tradition and the earlier hand written copies of Scripture can be trusted as truth or were changes made, things not factual added on, embellishments etc.?


#6

[quote="Faith1960, post:5, topic:349693"]
I found the site while Googling for information about mythology and whether it influenced Christianity. He made it pretty clear that 1st century Jews wouldn't have followed pagan myths, so I read more.
Now m wondering if oral tradition and the earlier hand written copies of Scripture can be trusted as truth or were changes made, things not factual added on, embellishments etc.?

[/quote]

Faith: Read my post on how oral and written stories about Christ were passed on. Just because we, nowadays, cannot quote an entire Homily word for word, does not mean that the earlier illiterate peoples had this "block". They were extremely good at memorizing at one hearing. The Apostles themselves had minimal education, just enough to quote the Torah and the Laws of Moses, but they had those memorized. They could probably read the old Torah Scrolls in the synagogues in their villages, but were not well-educated. The very poor could not read at all. So, they listened very closely, and memorized everything they heard spoken in a speech or sermon from Rabbi's and from Jesus and from the Apostles.


#7

[quote="Gorgias, post:3, topic:349693"]
Faith,

I have to admit: after only one paragraph of the 'source' you cited, my head was spinning! His 'statements of fact' -- without attribution! -- make some serious assertions that fly in the face of historical fact! :

[/quote]

Like what?


#8

[quote="Faith1960, post:2, topic:349693"]
Also, upon reading other pages in this site, I just realized that this is not a Catholic site. If you read other pages please skip over denominational differences and just stick to the formulation of Scripture and the NT.

[/quote]

This reminds me of the "Jesus Seminar" group. You can have two equally well-credentialed scholars, using the same methods of criticism, coming up with polar opposite positions. Many of these folk begin with an anti-supernatural bias, and have no intention of straying from it.


#9

[quote="Faith1960, post:5, topic:349693"]
...Now m wondering if oral tradition and the earlier hand written copies of Scripture can be trusted as truth or were changes made, things not factual added on, embellishments etc.?

[/quote]

Yes you can trust Scripture as truth -- because your trust is not in the human authors but in God the Holy Spirit who inspired their writings. There is no surer trust than trust in God. He is all powerful and well able to oversee and ensure that what got written and included in Sacred Scripture would conform to the truths He wanted conveyed to us, His children.


#10

[quote="Faith1960, post:2, topic:349693"]
...Now m wondering if oral tradition and the earlier hand written copies of Scripture can be trusted as truth or were changes made, things not factual added on, embellishments etc.?

[/quote]

"*Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” *

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." Jn 20:29-31

(Signs in this sense=miracles)

I you do not have faith you will be move by any wind that blows contrary to what is written in the Bible. Now a days even I have found Catholic priests that do not believe in miracles!!
Not so with us. Have faith because things will happen that people will have very hard time to believe. The coming of the Two Witnesses with great power from God to stop the rain and bring plagues, will show you that we are not believing in a fantasy or a chimera, miracles are part of the promise which Christ had bestow on His followers. Do not be deceived. His promise is true:

"And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done." Mt 21:21

"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." Jn 15:7

But also

"If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father." Jn 15:24

You know Faith, if you start to doubt about these things, your faith will collapse and your lost will be great. Just have in mind that the very one who wrote the Gospel of John is the very one who wrote the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Apocalypse). And a lot of miracles are described in both of these works.

And all this business of saying that the miracles were invented. So also in the Old Testament?? Not worth to listen to someone like this...

In the love of Christ and His Church,
Gloria

.


#11

[quote="Faith1960, post:1, topic:349693"]
Can anyone here explain to me, in plain English, if the author is saying that what was written about Jesus' supernaturalism, miracles, His own claims etc. in the early days when Scripture was being orally transmitted and later hand copied was true or if it was a form of embellishment, fabrication, or due to the evolution of new and false information over a period of time?

[/quote]

Scripture was not orally transmitted.

The Old Testament Scriptures existed at the time of Christ. These were written and taught in the Synagogues. Jesus himself would have learned from the Hebrew Old Testament as a child.

The teachings of Christ and the events of his life, as well as the events around the growth of the early Church (Acts of the Apostles) were orally transmitted until some of it was written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These became the New Testament Scriptures when they were written.

-Tim-


#12

He does have source references at the bottom of the page .


#13

[quote="judynurse, post:4, topic:349693"]
If you are at all familiar with the oddity of "eye witness testimony", you will find that two people standing either next to each other or 10 feet apart have a tendency to see the event from their own (mental) perspective. So, the Apostles each noticed specifically certain things, while another was struck by something else! That's human nature. Also, a lot of people outside Israel could neither read nor write. It is an established fact that people who are illiterate (the entire community) are extremely good at remembering exactly what is said to them, and recite it back word for word. That's how things were learned or passed on from generation to generation. They developed excellent memories for the spoken word. It is only since the larger part of the world learned to read and write that they depended upon reading, rather than memorizing exactly what they heard. I think the people who heard the Apostles speak were able to pass on those sermons word for word, until they were finally written down. Paul, for instance, as well as Luke, could write in both Greek and Latin (Paul was actually a Roman Citizen, born outside of Israel) and Luke was a Physician, possibly a former slave who gained his freedom, and fluent in both Greek and Latin. He may have had to learn Aramaic, but was obviously very intelligent. I think the words of the Apostles were passed down by word of mouth very accurately.

Authentic scholars always cite their sources, which can be checked. Apparently this man thinks he's a scholar, but has no citations for his sources.

[/quote]

Regarding Christianity being truthfully written about Jesus rather than copies of myths, wouldn't this guy be correct, here?

.
<<<<<<>>>>>>>

seandharmon.webs.com/index.htm


#14

Also, I just had two books delivered today, The Gospel and The Greeks, by Ronald H. Nash
and Shattering The Christ Myth, by James Patrick Holding. In reading from both books this afternoon and evening, I’m thinking that neither will be helpful to me.

I thought the links I provided last night and a few minutes ago would help me learn how the Gospels came to be and what Judiasm was like in Jesus’s day.


#15

[quote="judynurse, post:6, topic:349693"]
Faith: Read my post on how oral and written stories about Christ were passed on. Just because we, nowadays, cannot quote an entire Homily word for word, does not mean that the earlier illiterate peoples had this "block". They were extremely good at memorizing at one hearing. The Apostles themselves had minimal education, just enough to quote the Torah and the Laws of Moses, but they had those memorized. They could probably read the old Torah Scrolls in the synagogues in their villages, but were not well-educated. The very poor could not read at all. So, they listened very closely, and memorized everything they heard spoken in a speech or sermon from Rabbi's and from Jesus and from the Apostles.

[/quote]

Do you have anything to link me to about that, that I can read?


#16

I do not have an Internet link to the studies on this. Search the library for texts on: Sociology of Ancient Peoples; Oral Histories of Peoples from 1000 BC - 100 AD, those will lead you to similar books by following the references. You need good, historical texts by recognized scholars with citations and from acknowledged Universities, particularly in Europe. There are quite a few that were done from Oxford University and published in textbooks, some are written for "lay" readers, rather than for peer review. I first learned about them in texts when I was in college in the 1960's, and have followed some articles from Archeology and Paleontology sources, as well as articles in Natural History, National Geographic and studies on Peoples of the Middle East in early times. There is quite a large number of texts as well as more popular books published, most from Europe and Egypt as well as Israel, Arabia and Persia (Persian texts from the 1950's to the early 1960 - 1962 were very good during that period, but were primarily about the Persians, who had a written language shortly after or during the building of the Pyramids). Books on India are also interesting, although Sanskrit is the oldest written language known, the common peoples of India were not literate and learned through memorization. The same was true in Europe up until nearly modern times -- around 1300 to 1500 or so. Before the 1600's the majority of peoples in Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland did not read, although the Priests and many Abbesses could do so, and some of the nobility as well. The average farmer or worker could not, and memorized what was said, including their local history, culture and long messages on one hearing once their brain was fully developed at about age 12 - 13. I think you'll be surprised at how much they knew, and how easily they memorized before everyone became dependent upon writing and reading. To learn to read and write competently requires at least 6 - 8 years of schooling at a minimum for most people. If you went to work at age 6 or so, and never went to school, you had to learn in another manner -- memorizing stories, tales, history and speeches, which they all did, in both the Middle East and in Europe.


#17

“all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican.” (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus deus, 20)


#18

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