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  #26  
Old September 26, 2003, 04:10 AM
Chris H.
 
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And thanks to you for your indepth replies to my indepth replies. ;->

Let me begin by addressing something you mention several times in your latest posts -- namely that your preceding posts were only to be taken in reference to the Gospel of Thomas (or "GTh") and nothing further. In my explanation for why GTh was never "removed from the Bible", I commented on the fact that GTh included Gnostic ideas/teachings. I thought that comments on Gnostic teachings in general and their incompatability with orthodox Christian doctrine flowed naturally from this. Also, your comments that the Church and/or Church Fathers do(es) this or that and bringing up the books by Gardiner and Baigent et al. and reading works about other religions seemed to broaden the discussion, as well.

That was my thinking, anyway. If I inferred too much or expanded the subject(s) under discussion too far, my apologies. I thought they were relevant. Regardless, my thanks for continuing on with the discussion.

Regarding dating of the Gospels...

> This is an interesting point because
> according to the gnostic library website,
> Thomas' Gospel is considered the older.

> Which adds another element to it. Instead of
> disagreement about content. There is
> disagreement about age.

Yes, conservative theologians generally date the Synoptic Gospels to the AD 60's thru about AD 70. I understand that liberal theologians (e.g., H. Koester, J. Robinson, the Fellows of the Jesus Seminar) typically date the Synoptics at AD late-60's to late-90's, whereas they put GTh & some other Gnostic texts at AD 30-60. (I think most liberals & conservatives agree that the Gospel of John was written in the 90's.) To use your own words, "according to the opinions of those who have a vested interest." It works both ways.

Btw, I came across more info on the relative dating of GTh, which I may post on later.

> Hang on. When judged according to: standard
> of ancient historiography IN TERMS OF date
> & reliability on ISSUES THAT CAN BE
> COMPARED to other known data. Say what?

> This is saying... based on the tiny bit
> written over there... and when compared to
> other tiny bits in the same compiled work,
> we see similarities.

> This means nothing. It's almost circular
> logic. All of it must be true because that
> tiny bit there matches some other tiny bit
> from the same place and time.

> Of course there is not going to be other
> works. Third party works. Commenting on what
> happened in someone else's
> "locale." They write about things
> that happen to them in their areas.

Now, hang on with your hangin' on and accusations of circular logic. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that there are no third-party works that comment on the historicity of Jesus Christ & His teachings. Aside from non-NT Christian sources (which you, no doubt, would discount), there are extra-biblical, non-Christian sources for information that supports biblical statements about a) Jesus' living at a certain time in history, b) circumstances around his trial/crucifixion/burial & the empty tomb, c) culture & customs of the time, and d) early Christian beliefs & practices, which reflect Jesus' teaching.

Ancient historians like Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, and Thallus give us several historical facts. There are statements by government officials like Pliny the Younger, Emperor Trajan, and Emperor Hadrian. Information can be gleaned from other Jewish sources (The Talmud, Toledoth Jesu) and Gentile sources (Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion). Some support can even be found in Gnostic texts like GTh, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, and Treatise on Resurrection. Finally, there are references to lost works like the Acts of Pontius Pilate and writings of Phlegon, both of which were said to have recorded data that corroborated Christian claims.

Oh, yes, there are also archeological finds such as the burial grounds of Caiaphas the Jewish high priest, Yohanan the crucifixion victim, the Nazareth Decree by Caesar, and evidence for the census mentioned in Luke.

> Give me a break. This is no proof of
> anything. All four Gospels could easily have
> been written based on one singluar other
> work.

Hmm, I may address this in a separate post, too.

> Details in narrative? The whole Bible is a
> narrative. It relies on details. Without
> details there is no narrative.

Since when is the Bible all narrative? Take a look at Psalms & Proverbs, for example. Or instructions for building the Temple. Or genealogical passages.

In regards to narrative, some details are essential while others are considered minor or incidental, and yet others may have bearing on the story (or on the case, to give it a legal spin) but not be considered crucial.

> No. A resonable person would find it strange
> that four people told the same story
> exactly.

> But that's is just it. The stories are
> different. BUT only selective stories are
> presented as "common knowledge" of
> the events.

Alright, I'm confused. Would you be more skeptical of the truthfulness or reliability of a story told *exactly* the same, to every detail, by 4 different people? (I would, though perhaps less so if by, say, investigative journalists or police detectives.) Or, of 4 accounts that were essentially the same, obviously of the same event, but differed in some of the details? Would that make you more reasonable, or less so?

> Sure. I'll pick two. You explain them.

I'll follow up with these tomorrow.

To be continued...
 


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