The Differing Resurrection Accounts


#21

WHAT THEY SAW
Matthew No mention of looking inside the tomb, just the angel telling them Jesus isn’t there and to tell the disciples that he has risen.
Mark: A young man in a long white garment stood on the right side
Luke: Two men in shining garments stood by them.
John: Mary wept and saw two angels in white where the body had been, one at the head and one at the foot.

I truncated your last post and last post.

Were there one or two angels or men in the tomb, and were they standing or sitting? (Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 16:2-7, Luke 24:1-8, John 20:11-13)

Matthew’s account of the angel rolling away the stone probably occurred while the women were en route to the tomb, so that only the guards saw the angel sitting on the stone. John’s account of Mary Magdalene and the angels is a separate event; Mary had likely gone back to get Peter and John before the other women encountered the angels.

Clearly there were two angels, as described in Luke and John. The second angel may or may not have appeared to the guards, but did appear to the women entering the tomb. It’s likely that only one angel spoke, hence Mark only mentions one angel. While Mark and Luke refer to men instead of angels, the men are wearing white or “dazzling apparel” (ESV) and their appearance causes the women to be greatly distressed, which is consistent with Matthew and John’s descriptions of the angels (as well as other descriptions in the Bible of people encountering angels, e.g. Dan 8:15-17, Lk 1:11-12, Acts 1:10-11, 10:30).

Were the angels standing or sitting? In my harmonization above, the angels appeared when the first group of women entered the tomb and were standing, but had seated themselves when the second group entered.

rationalchristianity.net/resur_harmony.html#angels

WHAT THEY DID
Matthew: They had fear and joy and ran to tell the deciples
Mark: They said nothing to any man for they were afraid
Luke: They told all those things to the 11 and all the rest
John: Mary left the sepulcar before going in and ran into Simon Peter and another disciple. All three then went inside the tomb.

Info:

Matthew (28:8) and Luke (24:9) indicate that the women went and told the disciples of the empty tomb but Mark (16:8) says they were afraid and said nothing. True but in the verses that follow in the appendix to Mark’s own Gospel (Mk. 16:10) Mary Magdalene does in fact tell the apostles. Rather than conflicting with the other texts, Mark may merely supply additional detail about the startled nature of the women, that at first they were startled and said nothing but soon after went on, as Mark in fact says, a did tell the apostles.

blog.adw.org/2010/04/making-sense-of-the-resurrection-accounts-are-there-discrepanices/

PROBLEM: Mark says that the women returning from the empty tomb “said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (16:8). But Matthew asserts that they “ran to bring His disciples word” (Matt. 28:8; cf. v. 9).
SOLUTION: In response, it should be observed that Matthew does not actually say the women told the disciples, but they went back with the intention to tell them. Also, since Mark reveals that they did not speak because “they were afraid,” it may be that at first they held their peace (as Mark indicated), and then later spoke up (as Matthew may imply). It is also possible that the women left the tomb in two groups at slightly different times, Mark referring to one and Matthew to the other.

hunterscreekchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Answering-Questions-About-Bible-Difficulties-Part-II.pdf


#22

I’ve clipped out the parts regarding the time of day. As I noted in an earlier post that of the discrepancies this one is minor. If the only point of contention is that, then there wouldn’t be much of a problem. But when considered with the other problems with the narrative then it’s one more item to throw on the pile to make one question the veracity of said narrative.

That makes no sense. Even if the author was writing from a different person’s perspecitve it still would indicate the people that were there. This apologist’s explanation withers even quicker in Matthew and Mark’s narrative’s which mention multiple people but not all of the people. If John only writes about Mary’s story then whose story is Matthew writing about when he mentions both Marys (but not Salome or the other women)? Whose story is Mark writing about when he mentions both Marys and Salome (but not the other women)?

The whole thing smacks of when a child tries to use very narrow and weaselly language to explain away a lie.
Mother: Why did you tell me you and she were at the library?
Teenager: We WERE at the library. I picked her up there so we could go the party.

Also since Mary Magdalene is the only one of the women that John has already familiarised us with in his book (see 19:25), it makes perfect sense to only talk about HER visiting the tomb, just like it would make perfect sense in any other book to talk about a key person visiting some place without mentioning others who went with him/her, whom the book hasn’t mentioned.

Actually an author would mention if other people were there even if they weren’t named, especially if it’s claimed (based on the two groups of women rationalization) that Mary Magdalene went with two other women.

Matt 28:1 probably only mentions Mary Magdalene and the other Mary because they were the ones that were bringing the spices to the tomb (Mark 16:1) and were perhaps separated by some metres from the rest of the women on the journey and the first to see the open tomb.

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it” - Deuteronomy 4:2
“Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” - Proverbs 30:6

It’s not right by the Bible’s own words to alter what it says, even it means to advance a pro-Bible narrative.

You’re naturally going to get division into separated groups and couples when more than three people (Luke 24) are walking somewhere.

Says who? And how separated do these groups have to be before someone writing of their travels only mentions one separated group from the others. Luke treats them as a single group while the others consider different divisions. It’s almost like the stories don’t add up.

Compare John 19:25 with 19:26 where we see that just because some names are mentioned as being at a certain place (verse 25) the list of names may not actually include EVERYBODY at that place (see verse 26). Alternatively the two Marys and Salome (Matt 28 and Mark 16) could’ve visited the tomb completely separately from the group in Luke 24. Luke could be speaking of different women, a different occasion and a different time of the morning (remember Luke 24:10 is only speaking about who TOLD the disciples, and is not saying that these women went all together) All in all there were at least six women that visited the tomb (Luke 24:10) whether partially together or completely separately, and none of the gospels discount this.

So allegedly the division between these two groups was wide enough that John, Mark, and Matthew only mention one group being told something (and it should be noted that each Gospel writer has a different list of who is in that group); but the division is narrow enough that Luke listed the groups as being told as one event. It seems far more likely that the stories aren’t complementary but conflict on numerous points.
Edited because some of my word choices were overly snarky.


#23

Were there one or two angels or men in the tomb, and were they standing or sitting? (Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 16:2-7, Luke 24:1-8, John 20:11-13)

Matthew’s account of the angel rolling away the stone probably occurred while the women were en route to the tomb, so that only the guards saw the angel sitting on the stone. John’s account of Mary Magdalene and the angels is a separate event; Mary had likely gone back to get Peter and John before the other women encountered the angels.

Read Matthew’s account again. It says the angel rolled away the stone, there was an earthquake, then he sat on the stone. The next sentence says the angel spoke to the women. It doesn’t say inbetween that the women arrived, or that the women went inside the tomb, or that the angel moved. It’s telling a story as one would, but then the apologist has to add several elements to have it (attempt and fail) to comport with the other Gospel writers. Besides that there is no mention of an earthquake in the other narratives, something that surely would be considered a sign on the Messiah’s resurrection. Read these tales horizontally instead of vertically exposes the various holes in these stories quite well.

Clearly there were two angels, as described in Luke and John. The second angel may or may not have appeared to the guards, but did appear to the women entering the tomb. It’s likely that only one angel spoke, hence Mark only mentions one angel.

I looked at the interlinear translation of Mark 16 and it said “eidon” which means “they saw”. It doesn’t mean “they heard” or “they listened to”. If I meet a group of two men together in an alley and only one is verbally threatening me I’m not going to tell the police that there was one man there. On top of that, these are angels, who are said to be so amazing in appearance that no one would ignore one. This apologist you quoted is trying his darndest to fit the squarest of pegs into the roundest of holes.

While Mark and Luke refer to men instead of angels, the men are wearing white or “dazzling apparel” (ESV) and their appearance causes the women to be greatly distressed, which is consistent with Matthew and John’s descriptions of the angels (as well as other descriptions in the Bible of people encountering angels, e.g. Dan 8:15-17, Lk 1:11-12, Acts 1:10-11, 10:30).

So the women were blinded by the garb of the angels so that they only saw one? That makes no sense because these very same women were said by other authors to have seen two angels. I don’t have much respect for this level of rationalization this apologist is giving.

Were the angels standing or sitting? In my harmonization above, the angels appeared when the first group of women entered the tomb and were standing, but had seated themselves when the second group entered.

Perhaps there were three groups, with Mary seeing two angels (one at the head and one at the foot where Jesus originally was), a second group that saw them seated, a third group that saw them standing next to them. Heck, let’s say there could have been eight groups since there are no limits as to what can be added to the Gospels here.

Matthew (28:8) and Luke (24:9) indicate that the women went and told the disciples of the empty tomb but Mark (16:8) says they were afraid and said nothing. True but in the verses that follow in the appendix to Mark’s own Gospel (Mk. 16:10) Mary Magdalene does in fact tell the apostles. Rather than conflicting with the other texts, Mark may merely supply additional detail about the startled nature of the women, that at first they were startled and said nothing but soon after went on, as Mark in fact says, a did tell the apostles.

Why would they go and tell the 11 (as Matthew and Luke say) if supposedly Mary Magdalene had earlier told Simon Peter and another disciple?

In Luke 24:10 it says, “It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.” yet in Mark 16:10-11 it says Jesus appeared just to Mary Magdalene and she (not “they”) told the disciples that she saw and spoke to Jesus.

Compounding the trouble is that what the apologist calls the “appendix” to Mark’s gospel is an addition that wasn’t in the earlies manuscripts. It’s as though it was added to try and smooth over a contradiction between the Gospel narratives.

PROBLEM: Mark says that the women returning from the empty tomb “said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (16:8). But Matthew asserts that they “ran to bring His disciples word” (Matt. 28:8; cf. v. 9).
SOLUTION: In response, it should be observed that Matthew does not actually say the women told the disciples, but they went back with the intention to tell them. Also, since Mark reveals that they did not speak because “they were afraid,” it may be that at first they held their peace (as Mark indicated), and then later spoke up (as Matthew may imply). It is also possible that the women left the tomb in two groups at slightly different times, Mark referring to one and Matthew to the other.

The apologist is trying to say that Matthew doesn’t say that the women spoke to the disciples, but that ignores Luke 24:10 which specifically says that they did. His explanation (such as it is) falters under the mildest of scrutiny.

Edited because some of my word choices were overly snarky.


#24

The Gospels were not meant to be historical accounts of the actual events as they took place. That’s not the way ancient semitic authors wrote.

The Gospels are not investigative journalism. To say that the narratives are not accurate because they don’t match each other in historical detail completely misses the point of the Gospels.

Completely, 180 degrees out of phase, wrong side of the planet misses the entire point of their existence.

-Tim-


#25

The most striking part about the Gospels here to me, is that all insist that the first witnesses to the Risen Christ were women. Perhaps one got there first, was followed by others later but no doubt the witness was a woman.

In first century Palestine a woman could not testify in a court of law as a witness to something she saw. If the Gospel writers were trying to come up with a dramatic fake story about a phony Resurrection they picked the worst possible witness, either that or another reason that I believe they are committed to tell the truth as best as they know. Even though a woman’s testimony is worthless, Jesus appeared to a woman FIRST so that is what they wrote down.

Also, stepping back we have Joseph of Arimathea who purchased the grave for Jesus. It was the Sanhedrin who were responsible for wanting him put to death, if you are making up a story, why have a member of the Sanhedrin step forth as a “hero” to donate an expensive grave? You probably wouldn’t, so therefore I believe the writer was inspired to write what was known to him to be true.

I would ask you, out of curiosity only what would a writer of the Gospel stand to gain by making up lies? Papyrus was expensive, writing lies about a man and spreading a false faith would take a great deal of time and energy. Doing this for what? To live in poverty and to be put in prison and be tortured and put to death? Generally people manipulate and lie to others for financial gain or prestige. I know that people lie, people lie everyday but you just don’t see people being willing to be put to death for something they know is a big phony story they sat around and concocted up sitting around for fun. Pick apart the errors in the sentences of the Gospels all you want, the biggest proof of their truth I believe, is the blood of the authors spilled on the ground insisting the words are true.


#26

The catechism says that the scriptures are true in either a literal form or one of three non-literal forms. Not partially true, or mostly true, but fully true. That means we can’t discard those pieces of the story that don’t fit because of the difficulties that they present.

Why would the Holy Spirit (through which these scriptures were said to be written) allow for such conflicting elements? If these conflicting elements are not literally true then what do they mean in a non-literal sense? The attempts by these various apologists to stitch a patchwork narrative together are only convincing to those who are ravenously hungry to believe that the narrative is true. From a neutral perspective what these apologists give are not explanations but excuses.


#27

Do you believe that you are more enlightened, intuitive, educated, incisive, intelligent, rational, perceptive or otherwise plain old observant than the Apostles, the early Church fathers, the Saints, the 33 Doctors of the Church, the 266 Popes, the multiple thousands of Bishops, the million or so Priests, astrophysicist Fr. Georges Lemaitre (father of the big bang theory), the world’s greatest mystics, philosophers, scientists, educators, and billions of faithful, each and every one of which saw coherence in the scriptures over the last 2,000 years?

Or, could it just be that you are attempting to force an atheistic template over a situation that atheism cannot comprehend or explain, and is utterly incompetent to judge?


#28

First of all, as you noted the women were allegedly the first witnesses; but they were not the only alleged witnesses. On top of that, the narrative that some of the apologists are trying to give is that the women weren’t the first witnesses, but that Mary Magdalene first got Simon Peter ant the other apostle before going inside.

Second, you’re presenting this argument as though it would be impossible for someone to make up a story that involved women as being the first witnesses. Even if you were to say that a story about female witnesses who later have their claims verified by men is unlikely (a claim we’d need some proof on), that in no way means it can’t possibly be a made-up story.

Third, it’s possible that there are elements of truth to the story and the real elements involve women going to a grave. As the story expands to various levels (which as we see involve contradictory events and events that only occur in 1 of 4 tellings) it keeps the fact that it started with women.

Also, stepping back we have Joseph of Arimathea who purchased the grave for Jesus. It was the Sanhedrin who were responsible for wanting him put to death, if you are making up a story, why have a member of the Sanhedrin step forth as a “hero” to donate an expensive grave? You probably wouldn’t, so therefore I believe the writer was inspired to write what was known to him to be true.

Having an honorable person within a dishonorable organization is a common enough writing trope and something that also happens in real life. See here. Also someone mourning the loss of an opponent is also both a writing trope as well as something that happens in real life. See here.

And again you’re presenting this in such a way that you think that because someone making up a story wouldn’t use unlikely events that it couldn’t have been made up. And as above perhaps there are true elements to the story, like someone in the Sanhedrin donating a grave, but then the items about angels, and resurrections, and earthquakes aren’t true.

I would ask you, out of curiosity only what would a writer of the Gospel stand to gain by making up lies? Papyrus was expensive, writing lies about a man and spreading a false faith would take a great deal of time and energy. Doing this for what? To live in poverty and to be put in prison and be tortured and put to death? Generally people manipulate and lie to others for financial gain or prestige. I know that people lie, people lie everyday but you just don’t see people being willing to be put to death for something they know is a big phony story they sat around and concocted up sitting around for fun. Pick apart the errors in the sentences of the Gospels all you want, the biggest proof of their truth I believe, is the blood of the authors spilled on the ground insisting the words are true.

Wouldn’t Die For a Lie, huh? You’re assuming that the authors of the gospels were the actual followers of Jesus and not others who wrote decades after the fact. You’re ignoring the possibility that the gospels may not detail true events but that the authors may have been simply writing down various versions of the exaggerated story that had picked up unique and contradictory events. You don’t seem to believe that people will tell certain less-than-truthful stories as a way to bolster either the troubled faith or to give worth to the time and effort invested in a cause. You are not equating the idea that someone may add elements to a story to gain attention for being a part of that story (or more succinctly, you wouldn’t count that as prestige – which is one of the items you mentioned why someone tell something other than the whole truth).

I’m curious who you think spilled blood insisting the words were true, and how that differs from people from other faiths and causes who did the same thing.


#29

I’m not quite getting the point of your question. Yes, there were many smart people who were Catholic.

You know who else had some smart people? The Jews, who tend the find Christianity’s misstatements as to who the Messiah would/will be as greatly mistaken and thus don’t see coherence in much of said scriptures that Christianity touts. They also feature a great many Nobel Prize winners and authors and educators and the like.

You know who else had some smart people? The Muslims, the Greeks, and the Hindus. They don’t see much coherence in the Christian scriptures. They have had some of the greatest mathematicians and scientists in history.

You know who else had some smart people? Atheists. There are plenty of atheists who are the tops of varying fields of knowledge. That is not to say that there aren’t a ton of scientists, educators, and the like today who are also believers – because there are plenty of those. But there are a great many brilliant atheists doing amazing work, and it would be unfair to merely point out smart Catholics and assuming non-Christians including non-believers haven’t also made astounding contributions in science and education. It should also be noted that all of these groups (including Christians and atheists) feature their fair sure of not-so-fine people.

So, again, I’m not sure what you’re driving at. Are you saying that because there are and have been a lot of Catholics that somehow Catholic doctrine and dogma is immune from criticism from non-Catholics? Is there a reason why we can’t say the same for faiths which differ (sometimes greatly) from Catholicism despite also having a great many followers and also having made great contributions to society? I suspect special pleading is the answer to that.

Or, could it just be that you are attempting to force an atheistic template over a situation that atheism cannot comprehend or explain, and is utterly incompetent to judge?

It’s not an “atheistic template” it’s assessing the value of alleged facts at hand. It doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t take a masters in theology to say so. I recommend two episodes of “Law & Order” or one episode of “Columbo” to see how one judges tales told by witnesses to show that in this case the four narratives don’t mesh into one. The one thing atheism “cannot comprehend” is how so very often the alleged solution to problems with Biblical tales has to rely on “The Bible says that, but really means this. Trust us.”


#30

I think the Gospels often make more sense if thought of as linked dramas - the spreading of the new religion being not through text/reading but by performance. The women in the resurrection accounts are not ‘witnesses’ but theatrical narrative: ‘enter women, moaning, centre stage left’ etc.


#31

[quote=Mike from NJ]From a neutral perspective what these apologists give are not explanations but excuses.
[/quote]

From a neutral perspective there is a possibility for there to be a harmony between the Gospels. From a hostile doubting perspective their explanations are excuses. Don’t get too infatuated with your own opinion. It could be wrong. :wink:


#32

No. You don’t know what you are talking about.

The Catechism does not say that the “scriptures are true in either a literal form or one of three non-literal forms.” It does not say that anywhere in the Catechism. You are either making it up or are pulling information from a very poor source.

The catechism says that there are four senses of scripture - the literal sense and three spiritual senses.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s1c2a3.htm

See 115 through 118.

The literal sense is simply what the audience would have understood when they heard or read the words. “Pay the last penny” for example, refers to debtor’s prison. That’s the literal sense, how the audience would have understood the words at the time they were written.

Catholics have a literal interpretation, not a literalist interpretation. A literal interpretation understands that scripture is literature. A literalist interpretation believes that scripture is exactly true word for word. Catholics understand that scripture is not news or court testimony but literature.

-Tim-


#33

From post #22

From post #28

So which is it? Would an author’s intent be something we can predict and expect or not? You can’t make the argument both ways. Hypothesis’ start to unravel with inconsistencies.

From Post #29

Witnesses do not remember things the same way. People see different details depending on a huge variety of reasons; What angle did they see it from? What were they focusing on at the time? What were they thinking about at that moment?

And, one important point to remember: NONE of the gospel writers claim to have been there when the women discovered the tomb empty. So NONE of them were actual witnesses to how many women were there and who they all were. All were recounting the story as it was told to them. Even the same speaker will tell the story differently each time it is told. What if Mary told the first person she saw “I went to the tomb and He was gone!”? Then when she calmed down a bit she told the next person “Some of us women went to the tomb and found it empty!” and that guy asked “Who? Who was with you?” What if somebody else told the story to the third guy and one of the others to the fourth? You would never expect those stories to line up point by point.

I suggest that perhaps in reviewing those TV shows, you will find that one of the first things that causes the detectives to doubt a story is when all the witnesses describe the same things, in exactly the same way. “Sounds rehearsed to me lieutenant”.

The truth of the Gospels is not in the detail by detail description. The point is, there were witnesses to the resurrection. We believe it. You don’t have too. You will not convince us that we are wrong. We believe. I’m guessing we won’t convince you that you are wrong either. My question to you is; Why does it matter? Why spend so much effort to refute our beliefs?

And just a thought, If you’re right, nobody will ever know it. But just in case we’re right, well, we’d like to err on the safe side.

God bless…

.


#34

Ironically, SOME atheists claim that the gospels sound TOO much alike and they view this as evidence of collusion on the part of the evil Catholic Church. Others claim that the differences prove that the gospels can’t be reliable.

So, which is it, skeptics? You can’t have it both ways.

:wink:

When the survivors of the Titanic sinking were interviewed, some said that the ship broke in two before slipping beneath the surface. Others disagreed. You’d think that everyone could have gotten this right.

Police investigating a crime expect differences in eyewitness testimony. You can read more about this at J. Warner Wallace’s site. He writes:

Jurors are cautioned about discrediting the testimony of eyewitnesses just because there may be an apparent discrepancy between the accounts:

[INDENT]“Do not automatically reject testimony just because of inconsistencies or conflicts. Consider whether the differences are important or not. People sometimes honestly forget things or make mistakes about what they remember. Also, two people may witness the same event yet see or hear it differently” (Section 105, Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions, 2006).[/INDENT]

Taken From:

You Can Trust the Gospel Accounts, Even If They Don’t Agree
coldcasechristianity.com/2016/you-can-trust-the-gospel-accounts-even-if-they-dont-agree/


#35

:nope:

The overwhelming majority of serious historians (skeptics and believers alike) do not view the gospels as works of fiction.


#36

My harmony:
Mary of James Salome and Magdalene go to tomb with Joanna and others.
Angel of Lord rolls away stone and guards become dead men.
Magdalene sees empty tomb and runs to tell apostles.
Mary of James and the other women see two angels, one of who is the young man in white and the other who rolled away the stone.
The women tell the apostles and Peter and John go to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene sees two angels and Jesus.
The other women meet up with women on the way back and Jesus appears to them.


#37

There are numerous reasons for believing that the gospels are historically reliable. These are:

The four gospels have been accurately delivered to us (meaning we know what they wrote).

[LIST]
*]Nearly 6,000 copies of the New Testament can be studied using textual criticism.
*]The Telephone Game analogy and all attempts to claim distortion via oral tradition are bogus.
[/LIST]

The authors wrote early (meaning it was possible that they were actual eyewitnesses).

[LIST]
*]Silence regarding the Destruction of the Temple (AD 70) and the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul) (AD 64-65) suggest an early date.
[/LIST]

The authors recorded eyewitness accounts (meaning they either were or had access to actual eyewitnesses).

[LIST]
*]All of the early sources attribute the gospels to the traditional authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The synoptic gospels are not attributed to major figures such as Peter, James or Mary; instead, they are assigned to a tax-collector (Matthew), a lesser character who may not have been present (Mark), and a gentile (Luke). This is one example of how the gospels meet the Criterion of Embarrassment.
*]Matthew was an apostle, and may have been chosen specifically because of his record-keeping skills which were needed to make contemporaneous records of Jesus’ teaching and deeds.
*]Luke interviewed people who were present. This may have included Mary for the nativity account.
*]Mark was the companion of Peter, the leader of the apostles.
*]John was an apostle.
[/LIST]

The authors wanted to write accurate accounts (as opposed to pious fiction).

[LIST]
*]Luke and John specifically state that they are writing so that others may know the truth.
*]The disciples believed they were passing on the words of God – a responsibility they took seriously.
[/LIST]

The authors wrote accurate accounts which are verified and corroborated.

[LIST]
*]Jewish and Roman accounts corroborate the basic story. This satisfies the criterion of Enemy Attestation.
*]Verifiable external evidence suggests that the authors had intimate knowledge of the geography, architecture, religious and political leadership, religious customs, language of the day, etc. Even the names of the people appear in the correct percentages.
*]Unintentional internal corroboration provides additional evidence that the gospels are accurate.
*]Accuracy regarding these details adds to the impression that the authors are credible.
[/LIST]

The authors were accountable to other eyewitnesses – both supportive and hostile.

[LIST]
*]Many eyewitnesses were still alive at the time the gospels and epistles were written. Anyone disagreeing with a gospel could have easily refuted an erroneous account.
*]The Jews did not deny the tomb was empty; they offered alternative explanations for why it was.
[/LIST]

The authors had no ulterior motive.

[LIST]
*]What did the authors of the gospels gain from their work? The three classic motives are: power, money, and sex. Not only did Christianity reject these things in general, but the authors were persecuted and killed.
[/LIST]


#38

I agree that there is a possibility it could be true, but I never claimed it’s impossible. What I am saying is that the narratives are not convincing when read horizontally, and that it doesn’t square with the idea that the Bible authors were guided by the Holy Spirit or the idea that the Bible is always true in one sense or another. I go into further detail on this in my response to Michael Hager.

As far as whether my perspective is hostile, obviously I might be biased on that question :wink: but I’m sure I would have the same perspective (and level of “hostility”) if other faiths gave similar accounts. In fact, I’d suspect that more than a few Christians would be equally as “hostile” if another faith gave a narrative with such conflicting details and people trying to stitch a tale that seems to run counter to what the words say


#39

Apart from using the generic word “form” instead of “sense” what I stated was quite accurate, no?

See 115 through 118.

The literal sense is simply what the audience would have understood when they heard or read the words. “Pay the last penny” for example, refers to debtor’s prison. That’s the literal sense, how the audience would have understood the words at the time they were written.

Catholics have a literal interpretation, not a literalist interpretation. A literal interpretation understands that scripture is literature. A literalist interpretation believes that scripture is exactly true word for word. Catholics understand that scripture is not news or court testimony but literature.

The example you gave, “pay the last penny”, is an idiom like “raining cats and dogs”. Is anything said in the verses that I quoted an idiom? If not an idiom is there some figure of speech that can say one equals two, as in two angels is the same as one angel? Is there some way of speaking where if a group is listed you can assume that they broke into two groups, or you can say that if one person went somewhere there is no problem in saying he or she went with several others? You mention “would have understood” in the use of certain phrases. Would someone reading Matthew “have understood” that the group going to the tomb weren’t there when the earthquake happened? Would they “have undersood” that despite one sentence saying the angel moved the rock and sat upon it, and the next sentence the angel speaks to the women that the angel went inside?

Too often the explanations for errors in the Bible come off as a demand to just ignore the pieces that don’t fit. If there’s a contradiction, that doesn’t count – we’ll explain what it really means. A story doesn’t have to be perfect to be true but it needs to make sense and not be riddled with nonsense that takes rationalization after rationalization.


#40

Two very different things. The first one is about whether what really happened can differ greatly from what is written. In this we are told to believe one woman can be three women who can also be six or more women who can be one group of women who can be two groups of women who can tell the 11 who can not tell anyone because they were afraid.

The second is to dispute Monicad’s notion that one can judge the veracity of a story based solely on how unlikely the events are.

The first one has nothing to do with intent, which the second one does. The first one is all about basic storytelling. I can write a story with all sorts of different intents, but no matter the intent if I want to relay that there was more than one person at a place I wouldn’t say there was one person there.

Hypothesis’ start to unravel with inconsistencies.

Indeed, and thus I’m not a Christian :wink:

From Post #29

Witnesses do not remember things the same way. People see different details depending on a huge variety of reasons; What angle did they see it from? What were they focusing on at the time? What were they thinking about at that moment?

True. I mentioned in an earlier post minor variants can occur. If two people are the victims of a hit and run they may disagree on the make, model, and color of the car that hit them; but one person isn’t going to say they got hit by a car and the other saying they got hit by a horse.

And, one important point to remember: NONE of the gospel writers claim to have been there when the women discovered the tomb empty. So NONE of them were actual witnesses to how many women were there and who they all were. All were recounting the story as it was told to them. Even the same speaker will tell the story differently each time it is told. What if Mary told the first person she saw “I went to the tomb and He was gone!”? Then when she calmed down a bit she told the next person “Some of us women went to the tomb and found it empty!” and that guy asked “Who? Who was with you?” What if somebody else told the story to the third guy and one of the others to the fourth? You would never expect those stories to line up point by point.

Does this game of telephone allow for false items or events to be presented? Can we then allow that other portions of the Bible might be only partially true and recounted incorrectly from witnesses who told other who told others who decades later wrote everything down?

I suggest that perhaps in reviewing those TV shows, you will find that one of the first things that causes the detectives to doubt a story is when all the witnesses describe the same things, in exactly the same way. “Sounds rehearsed to me lieutenant”.

Lt. Columbo would have gotten David to admit what he did to Uriah the Hittite long before Nathan did :smiley: But seriously, when it comes to the “sounds rehearsed” issue it’s often more than just the details but also the eerie sameness in language used to describe those events. There’s a large breadth between rehearsed witnesses and witness with major conflicts in story.

The truth of the Gospels is not in the detail by detail description.

That sounds like you are allowing for false details or someone to add in numerous details to make it all jive together.

(continued in part 2)


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