The significance of the Greek verb ōphthē and the "visions" of Jesus

In the earliest reference to the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15.3-8, we read:

“For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

Paul includes himself in his list of those to whom the risen Jesus “appeared”. He makes no distinction, but in fact equates, the appearance of Jesus to him and the appearances to others. The Greek verb Paul uses for all these appearances he mentions is the same one – ὤφθη (Greek - ōphthē) meaning “appeared, was seen” – in each case.

“The choice of this word is significant because it does not necessarily imply the actual appearance of a person, but may only indicate an unusual phenomena…the use of the word ὤφθη in enumerating other visions in the Pauline lists…excludes such details as prolonged conversations, meals and resumption of ordinary life, on which the gospels dwell.” – Charles Guignebert, “Jesus” pg. 523

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (vol. V, p. 358) points out that in this type of context the word is a technical term for being “in the presence of revelation as such, without reference to the nature of its perception.” In other words, the “seeing” may not refer to actual sensory or mental perception. “The dominant thought is that the appearances are revelations, an encounter with the risen Lord who reveals himself…they experienced his presence.”
books.google.com/books?id=rkjytdtGRW0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA358#v=onepage&q&f=false

There are many instances where it’s used of spiritual “visions”. For example: Acts 16:9-10 “And a vision appeared (ōphthē) to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia…And after he had seen the vision (horama), immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia”

Is there anyone who actually thinks the Macedonian man’s body was actually standing in front of Paul when he “appeared” to him?

Same thing in Mark 9:4/Matthew 17:1-3, Moses and Elijah “appeared” (ōphthē) to Peter. Did they physically appear? Should we start looking for their empty tombs as well?

The word is used in the LXX (Greek translation of the OT) to describe how the Lord God appeared to the patriarchs (e.g., to Jacob in a dream, in Gen 31:13). In the LXX stories that use this word, the emphasis is more on the presence of God and on its power to reveal than on the “reality” of the experience. Even in Luke 24:34 “ophthe” is used as the verb for the appearance of Jesus to Peter.

“When Paul classifies the Damascus appearance with the other in 1 Cor 15:5 this is not merely because he regards it as equivalent…It is also because he regards this appearance similar in kind. In all the appearances the presence of the risen Lord is a presence in transfigured corporeality, 1 Cor 15:42. It is the presence of the exalted Lord from heaven. This presence is in non-visionary reality; no category of human seeing is wholly adequate for it. On this ground, the appearances are to be described in the sense of revelation rather than making visible.” - Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Vol. 5 pg. 359 books.google.com/books?id=rkjytdtGRW0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA359#v=onepage&q&f=false

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We know from the book of Acts, Paul’s description of his encounter on the Damascus road makes it clear that this was a vision – a light from heaven and a disembodied voice – not an encounter with a physically-revived former corpse returned to life.

Acts 9:3-8
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him….”

Acts 22:6-11
“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me….”

Acts 26:13-18
“About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions….”

Acts 26:19
“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.”

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We also know that the companions of Paul did not see or hear the vision/voice properly.

Acts 9:7
“The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.”

Acts 22:9
“My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.”

As far as the appearances go Paul makes no distinction, but in fact equates, the appearance of Jesus to him and the appearances to others in 1 Cor 15.
So if we’re to take the accounts Luke portrays in Acts 9:3-8, 22:6-11, 26:13-18 as accurate then the appearances mentioned in 1 Cor 15 were “visionary” in nature.

In the earliest manuscripts of gMark there are no resurrection appearances. Therefore, it follows that the physical appearances were later inventions by the early church which grew out of differing beliefs. These accounts were depicted later in the Gospels by Matthew, Luke, and John.

Have you ever read The Inner Touch by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Princeton)? The book explores experiences of the senses from a sort of historical/anthropological perspective–I would say showing that we need to rethink our usual categorization of these types of experiences.

Maybe so, but the context makes it clear exactly what Luke meant by that word:

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. [Luke 24:36-40]

And, similarly, from John:

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. [John 21:10-13]

That sounds like an actual physical presence to me. Visions don’t eat fish or feed people breakfast.

I don’t doubt that Luke believed in a physical bodily resurrection. Perhaps I shouldn’t have included that part. The problem is that Luke was probably writing about 30-40 years after Paul and 40-50 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. John was written even later than that. That’s why I ended my post with “the physical appearances from Matthew, Luke, and John came later.” What’s in question here is what the language from Paul entails and what the earliest Christian beliefs were, not what developed decades later.

I’m currently reading Dale Martin’s “The Corinthian Body” to get a better grasp on what Paul meant by spiritual body “pneumatikos” in 1 Cor 15. I think it’s pretty clear that Paul experienced a “vision” of some sort. That is if we take what Acts has to say as accurate.

You make a few assumptions here, without giving voice to the fact that they’re only assumptions.

First off, you presume Markan priority; not all Scripture scholars would agree. If Mark wasn’t the first account compiled (NB: compiled, not written), then you have to ask the question “why were the appearance stories removed in Mark?”.

Secondly, you presume that Luke’s description of his project is in error – either deliberately or through his neglect. Luke asserts that he went back to the relevant sources and verified their stories and re-presented them in his Gospel. Is this a lie? Or, was Luke lied to, and either didn’t realize it or didn’t care? (The former says that he wasn’t familiar enough with the older accounts and the latter says that his description of his project is (at best) a tall tale.)

Thirdly, your conclusion presumes fabrication, without considering any other possibilities. Is it possible that the author and/or editor didn’t consider appearance stories to be part of the Gospel message? Is it that he didn’t think that it was necessary to include them in his Gospel?

You conclude ‘later fabrication’ without considering any other possible alternative. Could it be that you’re simply passing off as fact what you believe to be true? :hmmm:

Why ignore the majority of my post and only focus on the last sentence? Could it be that I made a few good points that you can’t refute?

Markan priority and the two source hypothesis is almost universally accepted among critical scholars.

“When one compares the synoptic parallels, some startling results are noticed. Of Mark’s 11,025 words, only 132 have no parallel in either Matthew or Luke. Percentage-wise, 97% of Mark’s Gospel is duplicated in Matthew; and 88% is found in Luke. On the other hand, less than 60% of Matthew is duplicated in Mark, and only 47% of Luke is found in Mark.” - Stein, “Synoptic Problem” pg. 48

The scholarly consensus places Luke/Acts between 80-90 CE. There were probably no living eyewitnesses at that point so Luke couldn’t verify the material. He just worked with what he had and wrote for what the churches needed at the time. We now know from critical scholarship that Luke was heavily influenced by the traditions about Elijah. The ascension scene is basically modeled after Elijah’s assumption into heaven.

As far as trusting ancient authors in regards to miracles Tacitus wrote about Vespasian’s miracle “Persons actually present attest both facts, even now when nothing is to be gained by falsehood.”

“In the months during which Vespasian was waiting at Alexandria for the periodical return of the summer gales and settled weather at sea, many wonders occurred which seemed to point him out as the object of the favour of heaven and of the partiality of the Gods. One of the common people of Alexandria, well known for his blindness, threw himself at the Emperor’s knees, and implored him with groans to heal his infirmity. This he did by the advice of the God Serapis, whom this nation, devoted as it is to many superstitions, worships more than any other divinity. … And so Vespasian, supposing that all things were possible to his good fortune, and that nothing was any longer past belief, with a joyful countenance, amid the intense expectation of the multitude of bystanders, accomplished what was required. The hand was instantly restored to its use, and the light of day again shone upon the blind. Persons actually present attest both facts, even now when nothing is to be gained by falsehood.” (Histories, IV, 81)

This miracle is also attested by Suetonius and Cassius Dio. However, I still don’t believe in Vespasian’s miracle and I would guess you don’t either.

The evidence clearly shows a story growing in the telling. Paul - visions, Mark - empty tomb, Matthew - bodily appearances, Luke - the physical body is emphasized with “many proofs”, John - Jesus is just an all out superhero! My guess is the Gospels put emphasis on the physical body in order to combat the primitive ideas that would later develop into gnosticism and docetism.

I’ve read some of Dale Martin’s other books, but not this one. I’m sure it’s productive reading.

In Greek, Hebrew and English for that matter, there is such a close connection between verbs of seeing and knowing: “Oh I see what you’re saying…” And people have all sorts of visions that they can’t really describe in terms of their “realness” or their materiality. But the earlier vision stories do seem to have this quality in that they are revelatory.

John’s in a whole other category, IMO. He’s in one sense both trying to reconcile Semitic ideas with Greek ones (logos/demiurge) but also strongly resisting Platonist ideas–ones that do indeed show up in various forms of Gnosticism. The world isn’t something that one needs to eschew and escape (Timaeus) but rather, God LOVES the world, takes on flesh, etc. Most good Gnostics would have found such ideas horribly repugnant.

Nope. I focused on your last sentence because it was your conclusion, and because it made assertions that you hadn’t backed up. :wink:

Markan priority and the two source hypothesis is almost universally accepted among critical scholars.

Which is a far cry from saying that it’s a proven fact. Joseph Fitzmyer, a pretty darn respected critical scholar, famously wrote, “the history of Synoptic research reveals that the problem is practically insoluble. As I see the matter, we cannot hope for a definitive and certain solution to it, since the data for its solution are scarcely adequate or available to us.”

The scholarly consensus places Luke/Acts between 80-90 CE.

Yep, although it could’ve been closer to the fall of Jerusalem.

There were probably no living eyewitnesses at that point so Luke couldn’t verify the material.

Not from first-hand observers, but certainly from those whom they taught. Would that hold up in a court of law? No, but that’s not the only standard used in historical analysis. Besides, Luke doesn’t make the claim that he spoke to the eyewitnesses; just that he verified the accounts. That’d be pretty straightforward – he verified that what had been written down was what had been taught. No verification possible? You’re overreaching. :wink:

The evidence clearly shows a story growing in the telling.

That’s one take on it.

My guess is…

This is the most valuable thing you’ve written here: it’s simply “your guess”. And yet, you present it as if it were fact. That’s what I’m taking you to task for doing… :wink:

Is it really fruitful to second-guess someone’s statements 100 generations later?

BTW, thank you for the reference to The Corinthian Body.

ICXC NIKA

I’d really like to hear your reasoning why Mark would leave out the virgin birth, bodily appearances, and the Sermon on the Mount? Do you think he found those bits unimportant?

By definition that’s hearsay. If you consider the genre of Gospels as biography, you should realize that Greco-Roman biographies, like Greco-Roman histories, were not sober accounts of historical fact, but often contained myths, supernatural stories, rumors, and hearsay. jstor.org/discover/10.2307/41211237?sid=21106273361373&uid=3739936&uid=2483316273&uid=60&uid=2134&uid=3739256&uid=2483316283&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3
So you would have to have quite the faith in the author of Luke. Furthermore, we don’t even know who the author of Luke is. That name only became attached to the Gospel in the 2nd century.

Disagreeing with what most scholars think is hardly “taking me to task.” It’s fine to disagree but if you wish to overturn the scholarly consensus you’re going to need some really good arguments and evidence.

The Gospels are pretty explicit about saying that they intend to recount the stories of eyewitnesses. The arrangement of the stories is according to Hebrew and Greco-Roman literary styles, but the actual stories themselves are supposed to be straight from eyewitness oral history.

It’s also clearly not a case of the story “growing as it’s told,” but of separate tellers being more interested in different matters; and in some cases, of giving extra details to help people when it turns out that a short version of the story was too short to answer some people’s questions.

If you read the Gospels that don’t explicitly say Jesus showed up as a real physical person, they don’t say anything that contradicts a real physical person being there, albeit He’s clearly a real physical person with divine powers.

Car wreck fallacy. Read pages 7-9. books.google.com/books?id=kJIhXqNwIIUC&lpg=PP1&dq=scripting%20jesus&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false

Um, no. Ωφθη isn’t the verb, but a particular inflection of a verb: the 3rd person singular of the aorist passive. The verb is οραω, and it denotes all kinds of seeing, including “ensure that this happens” (Mt 8:4), “understand” (Ac 8:23), and “visually perceive a physical thing” (Col 2:1). It is frequently in the LXX for seeing physical events (Gen 8:1), seeing people (Jdg 16:1), and for being aware of merely mortal matters (Ps 63:6 (64:5)). While it is sometimes used for seeing God, it is used for so many other things that a claim that it indicates a spiritual vision “by default” just makes no sense: ωφθη is roughly “he/she/it was seen”, literally or figuratively, as the writer chose.

Even in Luke 24:34 “ophthe” is used as the verb for the appearance of Jesus to Peter.

And in Luke 23:49, the same verb, in its feminine nominative plural present participle form (ορωσαι), is used for the women physically watching the events of the Crucifixion.

Paul’s use of οραω in 1 Co 15:5 for his vision of Christ does not tell us whether that vision involved some physical perception of a material object (as Paul uses οραω in Col 2:1), or for some sort of mystical apprehension of an immaterial event (which use I have not been able to find in Paul’s writings). To put it simply, the Greek verb is just not that specific.

In the earliest manuscripts of gMark there are no resurrection appearances. Therefore, it follows that the physical appearances were later inventions by the early church which grew out of differing beliefs.

That does not logically follow. The fact that the oldest currently-existing manuscripts of Mark do not include the appearance of the resurrected Jesus (Mk 16:9-20) tells us only that those manuscripts do not have that narrative now. This could be because Mark’s gospel never had it. Logically, it could also be because Mark’s gospel had it, but it was lost (accidentally cut off, burnt off, or misplaced, a fate to which the last pages of a text are especially vulnerable).

If we were to make an inferential leap and to assume that Mark’s gospel never had it, and to make another leap and assume that the other gospels were later, we should consider the idea that the narrative of the Resurrection could have been added to Mark and included by the others because that belief post-dated Mark’s writing. Logically, we should also consider that it could have been included by the others because the writers felt that a fairly significant portion of the story had been omitted from an account of the gospel written by someone who did not witness any of the events, and was then added to Mark to bring Mark into line with them.

When multiple possibilities exist, the assumption that one of them must be true is fallacious (the fallacy of the excluded middle).

Um, yes. The point is the word was also used to describe subjective “visions” such as the Macedonian man, Moses and Elijah and the appearance of God to Jacob in a dream. Again, did their physical bodies actually appear to Peter and Paul? Of course not.

That’s why I included the relevant verses from Acts that describe Paul’s experience as a “heavenly vision.” Seems you completely ignored that part.

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (vol. V, p. 358) points out that in this type of context the word is a technical term for being “in the presence of revelation as such, without reference to the nature of its perception.” In other words, the “seeing” may not refer to actual sensory or mental perception. “The dominant thought is that the appearances are revelations, an encounter with the risen Lord who reveals himself…they experienced his presence.” books.google.com/books?id=rkjytdtGRW0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA358#v=onepage&q&f=false

Why are you ignoring what Acts says? Do you not consider it an accurate portrayal of the events or are you purposefully avoiding it because you know I’m right? It says it was a “heavenly vision” involving a blinding light and a disembodied voice in which the companions “saw no one” and didn’t hear the sound properly. The description is clearly of a subjective “vision.” Paul does not say “Oh, but the later appearance to me was a vision only, whereas these earlier appearances are different in that they entailed a revivified corpse that later flew to heaven.” That distinction is never made. With the use of ōphthē, Paul is equating his Damascus Road experience with that of the appearances to Peter, James and the apostles.

Actually it does. My conclusions follow inductively from the premises and are a simple straightforward inference to the best explanation without conjuring up ad hoc excuses.

Or dogs ate it, or it was just unfinished, or the author of gMark has the women specifically “tell no one” about the empty tomb because it would be a perfect explanation for why Mark’s readers had not heard the story before. If there really was no such tradition of an empty tomb prior to Mark, and the author invented the story for literary/theological purposes, how could he explain to his audience why they had never heard the story before? Because the women ran away in fear and told no one! Hence why the story was just now being heard.

I can speculate too but the fact remains, the original manuscripts of gMark do not have any resurrection appearances and it is considered to be the earliest gospel.

Not really assuming much. Just following the scholarly consensus.

It’s hard to understand why the author of Mark would not include the bodily appearances if he knew about them. I provided an explanation above as to why the author has the women “tell no one” which I think is more feasible than the ad hoc explanation you’ve provided.

The story grows in the telling.

Paul - visions
Mark - empty tomb
Matthew - bodily appearances
Luke - the physical body is emphasized with “many proofs”
John - Jesus is all out God in the flesh superman!

None of the Gospel authors witnessed any of the events, by the way. The authors are in fact, anonymous.

Just because many possibilities exist that doesn’t mean they are all equally probable. My explanation is a simple and straightforward inference to the best explanation and I see no reason given here to conclude otherwise. In order to weasel out of my argument you had to ignore the majority of my original post. Try reading it again and consider the “heavenly vision” in Acts.

Irrelevant. We’re talking about being able to prove Markan priority; which, of course, we can’t. Just as you can build a story about progressive accretions to the Gospel stories, one can build a story about molding one’s Gospel to the particular audience, and choosing episodes that meet his editorial goals. My point is simply that, if you base your conclusions on Markan priority, you can’t prove them, inasmuch as you can’t prove Markan priority. :shrug:

By definition that’s hearsay.

And your point is…? We’re talking about historical analysis, not a Perry Mason episode. Statements in 2nd-person accounts – especially when they’re explicitly claimed to be an attempt to faithfully record the testimony of the eyewitnesses - are a valuable part of the historical record, and are useful in scholarly analysis, especially in antiquity!

If you consider the genre of Gospels as biography

Strictly speaking, they’re not. They’re disciples’ attempts to tell the story of Christ to believers and converts.

So you would have to have quite the faith in the author of Luke.

Are you arguing this from a Christian perspective, or merely from the perspective of a disinterested historian?

Furthermore, we don’t even know who the author of Luke is. That name only became attached to the Gospel in the 2nd century.

Not quite sure what your point is. This Gospel has been part of the Christian tradition since ca. 80 AD. The author was trusted by the Christian community, and his work became part of their Church tradition. What does a contemporary lack of knowledge of the author’s name have to do with his ability to have verified the testimony of the apostle(s)?

Disagreeing with what most scholars think is hardly “taking me to task.”

I’m not “disagreeing with what most scholars think.” I’m refuting your assertions that seem to be claiming certainty, based purely on the opinions of scholars. Is it possible, from a purely scholarly perspective? Yes. Have you proven the case you think you’re making? No.

And the lack of the virgin birth, bodily appearances, and Sermon on the Mount are evidence that Mark is the earliest Gospel. Markan priority will be assumed unless you wish to overturn the consensus of modern scholarship.

So we should believe Tacitus, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio when they attest to the miracle of healing a blind man by Vespasian? Seriously? Historical analysis prefers firsthand contemporary accounts. The Gospels are not firsthand contemporary accounts. They’re written in third person by anonymous authors decades after the supposed events and the authors of Matthew and Luke just copied Mark so that means you have one account not three.

For once we agree. They’re kerygma or preaching literature.

From the perspective of someone who is interested in the truth of Christian beginnings.

So you would trust an anonymous non-eyewitness who claimed to have verified testimony that the person on trial is guilty of murder? Seriously?

Nothing has been refuted. I’m claiming that my conclusions are inductive or most likely true. We can’t prove anything in history with absolute certainty.

Unless, of course, you recognize that the stories of the virgin birth are only relevant to an audience who knows Jewish traditions – not the (Roman) audience of Mark. Bodily appearances were part of the Markan manuscript as early as the 2nd century; the abrupt ending of earlier manuscripts might point to the loss of the conclusion of the earliest scrolls. The sermon on the mount addresses Jesus’ modification of traditional Jewish teachings which, again, aren’t part of the context of the Roman audience of Mark’s Gospel.

Keep 'em coming, Contrarian… your objections are good (albeit old hat), and don’t prove your case. :wink:

the authors of Matthew and Luke just copied Mark so that means you have one account not three.

Except that there are passages found in Matthew and Luke that aren’t in Mark. ‘Copies’? Hardly…

From the perspective of someone who is interested in the truth of Christian beginnings.

…from the outside, not from a perspective of Christian belief. Got it. :thumbsup:

So you would trust an anonymous non-eyewitness who claimed to have verified testimony that the person on trial is guilty of murder? Seriously?

Again, apples and oranges. We’re not talking about jurisprudence or the rules of evidence thereof. Your questions are just as irrelevant as asking for empirical evidence or mathematical theorems in order to ‘prove’ the Gospels… :wink:

That’s ok I’ve still got the scholarly consensus on my side and no reason given by you to doubt it.

Yeah it’s called “Q” (sayings of Jesus) and there is material unique to both M and L but the empty tomb comes from Mark. Since they copied it that means we only have one account not three. Therefore, the empty tomb does not pass the criteria of multiple attestation.
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-source_hypothesis

“When one compares the synoptic parallels, some startling results are noticed. Of Mark’s 11,025 words, only 132 have no parallel in either Matthew or Luke. Percentage-wise, 97% of Mark’s Gospel is duplicated in Matthew; and 88% is found in Luke. On the other hand, less than 60% of Matthew is duplicated in Mark, and only 47% of Luke is found in Mark.” - Stein, “Synoptic Problem” pg. 48

From a “Christian perspective” do you mean you approach it as everything is literally true and divinely inspired no matter what evidence or reason tells you? Circular reasoning is just substituted for rationality? If so, then no I don’t approach it from a Christian perspective just like you don’t approach the Koran as if everything in it is literally true.

The point is you wouldn’t trust an anonymous person in a murder trial but you trust an anonymous author from 2,000 years ago whose writings ended up in a book that was chosen to be in there by a committee of biased men…yeah makes perfect sense…

Please go away. My argument still stands unblemished.

LOL! My reply was all about providing potential scenarios that allow for your assertions to be called into doubt! If they don’t even spur you to address them, then it’s clear you’re here not for discussion, but only to proselytize. Have fun with that. :wink:

Yeah it’s called “Q” (sayings of Jesus) and there is material unique to both M and L but the empty tomb comes from Mark. Since they copied it that means we only have one account not three.

You’re not making sense here. If there’s material unique to Matthew and Luke, then it’s clear they’re not simply copies of Mark; therefore, we have three accounts, which share material (and have unique material) in a variety of ways.

Therefore, the empty tomb does not pass the criteria of multiple attestation.

When someone points out the error in your logic, move the goalposts. Nice try. You didn’t say that it was simply a matter of the empty tomb narrative – you claimed that Matthew and Luke were simply copies of Mark. :shrug:

From a “Christian perspective” do you mean you approach it as everything is literally true and divinely inspired no matter what evidence or reason tells you? Circular reasoning is just substituted for rationality?

No, but I do recognize that these accounts – which were part of the Church from its earliest days, and written down in the first generation of believers of the Church – were accepted by those who were eyewitnesses and spread to new believers. If they were lies, where’s the proof?

The point is you wouldn’t trust an anonymous person in a murder trial

No… the point is, this isn’t a murder trial. It’s a discussion of writings from antiquity. Do you hold to the same standard for all writings from antiquity? If so, you must discount all of the writings that aren’t first-person accounts. Know how many of these we have? You’d be surprised at the paucity of such accounts…

but you trust an anonymous author from 2,000 years ago whose writings ended up in a book that was chosen to be in there by a committee of biased men…yeah makes perfect sense…

And there we have it. You’re predisposed against the Gospels, because they’re ‘biased’. I’ve got news for you, Contrarian – all history is written by people with opinions, bias, or an agenda. Yet, you seem only to want to use this criterion against the Bible. Screed much? :rolleyes:

Please go away.

What an odd statement for a discussion forum. Oh, that’s right… you’re not interested in discussion…

My argument still stands -]unblemished/-] unproven.

There you go… fixed that for ya!

In all seriousness, though: you’ve done a reasonable job parroting some of the scholarly research out there, but your conclusions don’t follow from the assertions you’ve quoted. You refuse to mention other possibilities, and don’t even bother entertaining them or even attempting to refute them when mentioned. You’ve chosen your user name well… :rolleyes:

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