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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)

Picking up where Bible expert Bart Ehrman's New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus left off, Jesus, Interrupted addresses the larger issue of what the New Testament actually teaches—and it's not what most people think. Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:

The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works

The New Testament contains books that were forged in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later

Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented fundamentally different religions

Established Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the trinity—were the inventions of still later theologians

These are not idiosyncratic perspectives of just one modern scholar. As Ehrman skillfully demonstrates, they have been the standard and widespread views of critical scholars across a full spectrum of denominations and traditions. Why is it most people have never heard such things? This is the book that pastors, educators, and anyone interested in the Bible have been waiting for—a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we face when attempting to reconstruct the life and message of Jesus."

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time magazine and has appeared on NBC's Dateline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, The History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

35 comments:

  1. I actually agreed with a substantial amount of what he said in the interview. Personally I think if you had all four gospel accounts and put them together you are not going to end up having a complete picture of what happened. This is because each gospel account was the result of different witnesses to the one event. Things might have happened that none of the four Gospels recorded. It depends pon the perspective of the Gospel writer as to what they thought was important so that they would decide to record it. It also depends how close you were as to what you heard Jesus and others say.

    I might add that the authors of the NT were in agreement with one another in regards to Jesus and how salvation worked. The NT has not been written by forgers, Jesus, Paul, Matthew and John all followed the one true God and the teachings of Jesus, the concept of the suffering Messiah is OT, hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the Divinity of Jesus was spoken of by Jesus before his death, and the trinity, although not named the 'Trinity' is a concept that we find as early as Genesis chapter 1.

    One thing you got right though. Bart is not the first to make these claims...pity he cannot back them up!

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  2. Dave,
    What do you think about Erhman? Is he honest, mistaken, right, wrong etc...
    You are making a lot of claims, but nobody here is challenging you back them up...

    Dave said..
    I think if you had all four gospel accounts and put them together you are not going to end up having a complete picture of what happened. This is because each gospel account was the result of different witnesses to the one event.

    The Bible claims that Jesus first appeared after his death to his disciples outdoors in the Kingdom Galilee (Matthew) and that he first appeared to his disciples indoors in the Kingdom of Judah (John, Luke). In Mark he did not appear after his death. How do you reconsiliate this as a complete picture? Gospels seem to argue that other Gospels are wrong.

    All Gospels claim different story what were the last words of Jesus. How do get a complete picture of that? Did three of the narrators got it wrong? Is it more likely that Gospels were fan fictions written in the 120s AD just like all other tens of Jesus Gospels?

    Dave said..
    although not named the 'Trinity' is a concept that we find as early as Genesis chapter 1.
    The writers of the text disagree with you. Can you point us the verses you are talking about?

    Dave said..
    Bart is not the first to make these claims...pity he cannot back them up!
    Are you suggesting that he is wrong? which part? Can you back up your claims that he is wrong?

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  3. Hi Peter...we meet again! Yeah, no body was challenging me to back up my statements, even though my comment, just like the post (I assume) was designed at getting a response. You ask many questions.

    I do not know if Erhman is mistaken or honest. As I said, I agreed with a lot of what he said, but I do not know his heart.

    Regarding the last words of Jesus, like I said, depending where you were you may well have a different take on what Jesus’ last words were, especially depending how loudly he said them. For example, the first three gospels all record what the centurion said about Jesus, that surely he was the son of God. I assume that he spoke loud enough for witnesses for all three gospels to hear. The centurions words, however, were not recorded in John. Is that because John did not hear the words of the centurion? Perhaps not (seeing he seemed to hear something that the other three witnesses did not hear, about Jesus being thirsty). Perhaps it was simply because John decided not to record the words of the centurion. Each witness account says what the witness witnessed. The fact that all four accounts are not written exactly the same tells us that they were not a collaboration, but are in fact genuine. This is what I agreed with in the interview. Each Gospel writer was trying to communicate what happened from his perspective, so he chose what to include, what to exclude, based on what he saw as important.

    With regards to Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection, Matthew’s account does not claim that Jesus had not appeared to the disciples earlier, indoors in Judah or for that matter perhaps after they went to Galilee they went back to Judah (probably less likely). The purpose of the Gospels was not to write a journal of the appointments that Jesus made and kept after his resurrection like a travel log.

    Regarding the Trinity...you said...”The writers of the text disagree with you.”

    Should I ask you to back that up? Not sure it you are talking about the writers of Genesis (in which case can you back it up? Or the writers of the post/book?)

    Anyway...Genesis 1:1-2 (especially when combined with John 1) introduces us to the concept of the Trinity. If you want to claim that John 1 is really late, then in Genesis you are still left with the concept very clearly that the godhead is plural, even if the number three is not clear (though it is there if you care to look).

    ”Are you suggesting that he is wrong? which part? Can you back up your claims that he is wrong?”

    Yeah, if Alan has accurately outlined in the post what Erhman has claimed scholars have ‘unearthed’. Everything that I said in my comment I can back up...I hope ;-)

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  4. Dave,
    yes, your comment was intelligently design to get a response. What do you think about Ehrman's book, the popular ones and the scholarly ones? All evangelicals seem to hate him.

    Re last words and appearances: To me it looks like what ever the contradiction is in the Bible the come up with these elaborate stories to explain those away. This is not what they do in other parts of their life.

    Re trinity: I meant the Jews who wrote Genesis did not write about Christian trinity. There is no doubt about that "the God is one". Ask Jewish scholars or check out non canonical OT texts. 600 BC Jews did worship several Gods but not the ones you claim.

    Dave said...
    Genesis 1:1-2 (especially when combined with John 1) introduces us to the concept of the Trinity.
    Genesis 1:1-2 (especially when combined with John 1) introduces us to the concept of the Trinity and that combined with the Book of Mormons show us that we all become Gods and will rule planets and that combined with Raelian writings Elohim is quite approachable ;-). Reinterpreting old text is popular but sorry I don’t think there is a Trinity in Genesis 1 or in John.

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  5. I have never read one of his books. I would like to read this one as it sounds interesting though it sounds like most of the arguments are old. Yes I imagine most evangelicals would hate him...even though they should love him!

    Peter, you said, ” Re last words and appearances: To me it looks like what ever the contradiction is in the Bible the come up with these elaborate stories to explain those away. This is not what they do in other parts of their life.” Sorry but I did not follow your point. I think you are saying that we use elaborate stories to explain away contradictions, but I am not sure how we are not relating this to other parts of our life. I might add that I did not think I had come up with an elaborate story, but rather simple common sense. If you want to find contradictions you will find them. If you want to see the truth...then you will.

    You said, ”Re trinity: I meant the Jews who wrote Genesis did not write about Christian trinity. There is no doubt about that "the God is one". Ask Jewish scholars or check out non canonical OT texts. 600 BC Jews did worship several Gods but not the ones you claim.”

    The whole idea of the Trinity is that God is one...but three.

    We know that down through history Israel was worshipping other gods...I do not deny that, nor does the OT!

    Genesis does write about the Trinity and we see it in Genesis 1:1-3. We see there is God (verse 1), the Spirit of God (verse 2), and then God speaks (verse 3) and things are created. When we understand that the eternal Word of God is Jesus, and that he was there in creation (that creation happened through him) it becomes very clear that god the Father (verse 1), God the Spirit (verse 2) and God the Son (verse 3) are all there. This is backed up in Genesis 1:26 when God says, “Let us make man in OUR image, in OUR likeness...”

    In John 1 we are once again confronted with more than one person in the Godhead. John 1:1-3 strongly echoes the creation account (especially in the original languages). When you get down to verse 14 we see that this Word that was God and was with God (through which the world was created) is the Son of the Father. Book of Mormon is not mentioned! Though it is interesting that what the Mormons believe at that point is not that far from the NT (and OT) truth that we are heirs of God who will one day rule with Christ.

    As always Peter, it has been a pleasure! I prefer this to evolution!

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  6. Dave,
    Ehrman's book misquoting Jesus was pretty good but aim for lay audience (easy reading). I just got the his lost Christianity book, but I haven't read it yet. His The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot has new stuff (obviously) and was quite good if that topic interest you, but again it is not a scholarly work. If you are interested in heavy critics of Ehrman, James R. White for example has a lot of audio tapes (Feb-Mar09):
    http://www.aomin.org/articles/webcast.html

    Re stories: For Jesus last words, all Gospels give a different version. I would say that most simple answer is that writers did not know those and made them to fit their theology, just like in any other holy book.

    Re Genesis 1: Why do you think is so much like earlier mesopotamian creation account?

    I'm not sure what you meant by "Book of Mormon is not mentioned!" Jesus' account and prophecies flow nicely from NT and OT to the Book of Mormon.

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  7. Thanks for that Peter. I will have a crack at ‘Misquoting Jesus’. I have read the Gospel of Judas (as in the gospel, not Ehrman’s book about it. I was not very impressed with the gospel of Judas. It seemed like a bit of a waste of time, so not sure what Ehrman’s book is about regarding it?

    You said, ” Re stories: For Jesus last words, all Gospels give a different version. I would say that most simple answer is that writers did not know those and made them to fit their theology, just like in any other holy book.”

    I do not think your solution is the simplest. For starters, what theology has been driven from the different ‘last words’ of Jesus? I cannot think of anything significant at all. Surely the simplest explanation is that different witnesses would have heard different things, and they would have each made a decision as to what they saw as important to record. I really do not see this as complicated...just logical and simple!

    You asked, ” Re Genesis 1: Why do you think is so much like earlier mesopotamian creation account?”

    I think I answered this in a previous thread. It follows simple logic. The Genesis account of creation is correct, and has been handed down as oral tradition through Noah and his boys through to when it was written down. The mesopotaniam account was derived from the early oral tradition. Now I know you can say that it is just as likely that the Genesis account was derived from the other...but I guess that is where I believe the confidence that Jesus showed in the OT was well founded!

    You asked, ” I'm not sure what you meant by "Book of Mormon is not mentioned!"
    This was just because you mentioned the book of Mormon with a ;-) in the earlier comment. I was just picking up on this. I do believe I have mentioned that the Book of Mormon does not flow on from the OT and the NT...but I guess we can agree to disagree!

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  8. Dave,
    Ehrman's "The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot" is more of a story of how they found the manuscript, how it was bought/sold/restored/translated and how they realised that it contained four different manucripts. It goes a little bit in to his opitions of that Gospel, but if you actully read The Gospel of Judas, it is propably not worth reading. (BTW do you already have "Misquoting Jesus"?)

    Re last words: I think we both agree that all other religious holy books are man made and made up theology.That is why I think the simplest solutions is that also Christianity (all 10000 denominations) is the same. If the Holy Spirit guided the process of NT writings, something went wrong with Jesus last words.

    Re Genesis 1: We know from the archological records Mesopotamian creation stories predate that biblical ones. So my point is that when you stated that "Genesis 1:1-2 (especially when combined with John 1) introduces us to the concept of the Trinity" You should have started the chain from Mesopotamian accounts. There was no Noah's flood again if there was one it was Gilgamesh's flood which was the original story. Again like the creation account, what would falsify your view of the Noah's flood?

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  9. Peter, I do not yet have 'Misquoting Jesus'.

    Re Genesis 1, when you say, "We know from the archological records Mesopotamian creation stories predate that biblical ones" what you mean is that we have a written record that predates the Genesis written record. The truth is that even the Gilgamesh story appears to be an adaption from earlier flood accounts, and even then the oldest written record is dated later than the actual flood was supposed to have happened. Just because it was written before the Genesis account does not mean that there was not an oral history of the genesis flood account the predates the Gilgamesh flood. Nor does it mean that they are not talking about the same flood. I mean why do so many cultures have a flood story, including Indigenous Australians?

    When it comes to the concept of the Trinity, I was responding to Alan's comment that the doctrine of the Trinity came about after the Bible was written (there is a sense that he is correct, doctrines are man made, not Biblical). I was simply saying the concept was in the Bible, in fact from the beginning of the Bible. I do not believe I have to go back earlier than the Bible to illustrate my point!

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  10. Dave,
    You correctly pointed out that the Gilgamesh flood story is based on even earlier Atrahasis Epic. The Bible stories seems to be based on Gilgamesh story so I don't understand how you think the Noah story is the original version. The bigger problem is that there is not evidence of the world wide flood.

    Dave said..
    I mean why do so many cultures have a flood story, including Indigenous Australians?
    Water was the most precious resource in the ancient times. Great flood stories were common among the desert and island people, people along the rivers (Nile Eufrat, Tigris, Yangtze) had river flood stories. People in the desert and great plains area where you can see the land horizon had Great God stories, people in a forested areas where you can not see far had generally polytheistic stories. People in the artic circle area had stories about great warm time and have hell described as a cold place. Most cultures have had superheroes concuring the death stories. Many cultures have a cosmic egg creation story. They are just stories in their cultural environment.

    Re Trinity and Jewish beliefs: I meant to say before that orthodox Jews 600 BC worship several Gods as we can see from the Elephantine Temple and Dead Sea scrolls for example. Later the other orthodoxy won. I don't think Early Christians or Jesus were Trinitatians. Jesus was promoted only several hundred years later and the Holy Spirit got the nod to the full divinity in the late 4th century. Ehrman points out in "The Lost Christianites" that early Christians believed in one/30/365 Gods. Intolerant monotheism just won out in the end.

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  11. Peter, I am constantly told about all the evidence there is for evolution that has been buried in the ground which we are uncovering. The problem is that evolution is one answer to the evidence. A global flood is another answer. There is a LOT of evidence for a global flood if you care to look.

    You said, ” The Bible stories seems to be based on Gilgamesh story so I don't understand how you think the Noah story is the original version.”

    You cannot prove which is based on which. All I am suggesting is that they are both related and a reference to the same flood. You can explain away why there are UNIVERSAL (not just local!) flood stories in different cultures, but you have failed to really get to the bottom as to why and how they came about.

    ” Re Trinity and Jewish beliefs: I meant to say before that orthodox Jews 600 BC worship several Gods.”

    And the OT still agrees with you. It does not say that they should have. In fact this is what half the OT is about. They worshipped other gods, and they should not have. Finding it hard to see your point. As I have not read Ehrman yet I cannot comment on his angle, but of course the early Christians believed there were other gods. I believe there are other gods. It is possible to read into the NT that Paul believed in other gods. It is not that monotheism won out a couple of centuries later. Early Christians knew there was only one true God...after all they followed the OT scriptures which stated this very fact very clearly, as you have noted in regard to the trinity!

    The evidence suggests Jesus and the first Christians believed there was more than one person in the godhead. Jesus prayed many times to the Father, and also talked about sending the Holy Spirit so that God would be with us in his absence. If you care to read the grace (end of 2 Corinthians) or any of the many benedictions at the end of the NT letters it is clear that they believed in three persons in the godhead. The only thing going for the argument that they were not Trinitarian is that they did not have the term ‘trinitarian’ at the time. This term came about later.

    When I was at Bible College I never looked at Ehrman, but we studied heaps of people who brought up these ideas. I have said it before, but it came clear to me that some people only look for reasons to doubt. They often ignore the most natural explanation for things so they can hold to some type of conspiracy theory with the formation of the canon, or the development of doctrine etc. Don’t get me wrong, I have said this before as well, Christians have made such a mess of following Jesus for 2000 years. Religion has come into Christianity and made a further mess. At the same time, a pursuit of truth means an openness to other alternatives. I need to apply this to myself, and so I have been thinking about what it would take for me to believe in evolution, or not believe in the flood. I think if evolution (not the yeast cell type little stuff, but the type of evolution required to truly develop and enhance life was observed), then I would believe. The flood one is harder, though I guess you would have to first deal with all the stuff that I see as evidence of a global flood. Proving evolution would go some way to doing this.

    But what about you? What would cause you to believe in God, the God of the Bible?

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  12. Dave said...
    There is a LOT of evidence for a global flood if you care to look
    Could you please mention couple of your favorite evidences?

    Dave said...
    You can explain away why there are UNIVERSAL (not just local!) flood stories in different cultures
    Those are not all universal floods, but you can pick and choose:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html
    And I don't know why flood stories. Water was very important. Maybe people remembered the possible Black Sea rapid filling circa 5600 BC or Minoan eruption mid second millennium BCE causing possible a 100m high tsunami or other Tsunamis round the world. These could have given plenty of ideas for flood stories, but I don't know. Rhetorical question; why are they so many alien abduction stories or ancient stories about astrology.
    BTW: which Indigenous Australians flood story did you mean? Several source claim that these stories were influenced and collected by Christian missionaries, so how do we know this is not the case?

    Dave said...
    All I am suggesting is that they are both related and a reference to the same flood
    I think this is a Christian reading. Flood like Gospel stories contradict each other, so why doyou think they refer to the same flood?

    I tried (poorly) to point out the Judeo-Christian God(s) concept has change so many times that why do you think you got it right now? Jesus read the OT like it is found in the Dead Sea scrolls and you can read there that Elohim was the father of Yahwew (Deut 32:8-9), so Jesus must have believed that. Modern Christians do not believe that. Jesus did not seem to have been a Trinitarian and modern Christians disagree with Jesus (bar JWs, Christadelphians...). And the modern form of trinity was not the first Christians form of the Trinity either (see Theophilus of Antioch in "To Autolycus"), this concept was again revised later.

    Dave asked...
    What would cause you to believe in God, the God of the Bible?
    I would believe in an theistic God(s) if there were clear evidence to me. Here are couple of ideas I think would probably convince me:
    - If we would unearth some religious/magical objects like bottomless oil jar, ark of the covenant or Paul's healing apron.
    - If praying to that God would work better that a chance.
    - If the holy book and/or the followers would have/make accurate and regular preditions about the future
    - If the holy book would contain accurate scientic information that was not know at the time of writing. And the book would not contain false scientific information.
    - God knows what I would need as an evidence, but he has not wanted to provide it to me so far.

    Many modern religions have also aspects that I really don't like making me almost count it against the possibilities of any divine guidence.

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  13. A couple of my favourite evidences for a global flood would be...fossils and erosion.

    You asked, ”Flood like Gospel stories contradict each other, so why doyou think they refer to the same flood?”

    I guess because of the similarities. It seems that whenever you find a contradiction you want to dismiss the whole idea. It seems only natural that over thousands of years contradictions would appear...Chinese whispers!

    To say that Jesus read the OT like the Dead Sea Scrolls, and then use the Dead Sea Scrolls to undermine what Jesus said is simplistic and not entirely logical. If you want you can do the same with the Septuagant!

    Thanks for the list of things that you think might convince you regarding God. They sound fair enough. I personally would love a bottomless jar of oil (my old Landcruiser goes through a fair bit of oil). I hope you do not mind if I make a comment or two about your other points.

    Logically I am not sure why praying to God should work better than chance, unless you expect God to give you what you ask for most of the time. The Bible does mention that God does not answer the prayers of some because they ask from their own selfish desires. It seems that the more in tune with God that we are the more we ask for things that are a part of his will.

    I know you have given reason not to believe in certain predictions that are in the Bible, but the death of Jesus was predicted, the rise and fall of various nations was predicted through Daniel, among other predictions. Have you found reasons to reject them all? There are some that are very hard to deny.

    I think your next point is great and is one that as you probably know has caused much debate. I believe the Bible is not a scientific text book, and some things are given from a human perspective (e.g. it says the sun rises in the sky...which we know scientifically is not true, but true from our perspective). But then the Bible makes comments on certain things that we suddenly find scientific evidence to support, from the nature of the rib bone to evidence of a global flood!

    I am sorry that religion has painted such a negative picture for you. I hope God gives you the evidence you need and I hope I have not offended you with my comments.

    I am half way through Ehrman. If you are interested I will let you know my thoughts at the end.

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  14. Dave said...
    A couple of my favourite evidences for a global flood would be...fossils and erosion.
    Could you maybe expand a little bit because people also claim that fossils and erosion are evidence that there were no flood.

    If you theory is Chinese whispers changed the story over the thousands of years why the late version of it found in the Bible is the correct one? Why isn't the Australian one the correct one?

    Dave said...
    To say that Jesus read the OT like the Dead Sea Scrolls, and then use the Dead Sea Scrolls to undermine what Jesus said is simplistic and not entirely logical. If you want you can do the same with the Septuagant!

    My intention was not to undermine Jesus' words, sorry if it came across like that. My intention was to undermine the word of the author who modified Deut 32:8-9 to it's modern form. I also wanted to undermine the current NT text where Jesus is misquoted. Most people agree that for example "adulterous woman" story was added to the NT very late. Or Jesus quoting Isaiah 29:13 from Septuagant not Hebrew text is extremely unlikely considering Jewish attitude towards it. Can you please then explain why Torah from Dead Sea Scrolls teaches that Elohim is the father of Yahweh, yet Rabbi Jesus (Mark 9:5) would not teach it?

    Dave said...
    Logically I am not sure why praying to God should work better than chance, unless you expect God to give you what you ask for most of the time.
    This is not logical. If praying works equally to chance, the prayer does not work at all. If you pray an event where there are only two possible equal outcomes and your prayers are "answered" 60% of the time, God only changed 10% (not 60%) of the outcomes (the rest would happen anyway). So if God would answer the prayers only rarely we would see a huge change in outcomes. Jesus very clearly promised many times “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24) and “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). Jesus did not put the caveats you claim there are and I don't see Jesus' claim happening even to most unselfish prayers.

    Dave said...
    I know you have given reason not to believe in certain predictions that are in the Bible, but the death of Jesus was predicted, the rise and fall of various nations was predicted through Daniel, among other predictions. Have you found reasons to reject them all?
    I don't see the clear prediction of Jesus Death. Sure Jews know the suffering Messiah would die, they believed in bodily resurrection and Gabriel revelation show the expectation of someone raising in three days even before Jesus time. But when Christians tell me about Psalm 22:16 and have not studied the old manuscripts I tend ignore the claims as it shows that prophesies are written, not fulfilled, in the NT. Daniel is the same. Why does Book of Daniel have Greek loan words before the time of Alexander the Great? Why does Josephus refered Daniel 8 as the things that happen around 170 BC? It seems that the book of Daniel was finalised around 167 BC and again made to look like prophecies have come true.
    I don't know if I have investigated all prophecies or if I need to. Whenever I challenge Christians to disprove the Book of Mormon Jesus prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite or how Quran predicts the water cycle before it was scientifically shown Christians seem ignore my questions. But to be fair if you have a good fulfilled prophecy I'll promise to investigate it.

    Dave said...
    But then the Bible makes comments on certain things that we suddenly find scientific evidence to support, from the nature of the rib bone to evidence of a global flood!
    What is the rib bone thing you refer to? And note if there was a flood it would give evidence to most religions not only to Christianity. Every religion would claim that their religion is right because of the flood story in their culture.

    I'm interested to hear you comments about Ehrman's book, especially the disagreements. We atheists are often too bias to read Ehrman critically and I also think I might be blind to the weakenesses of his arguments.

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  15. Sorry this took so long Peter. Big weekend (for a Christian!).

    Peter said...

    ”Could you maybe expand a little bit because people also claim that fossils and erosion are evidence that there were no flood.”

    Although the evidence can be argued for evolution, it can also be argued for a global flood. For fossils to be formed the body needs to be covered quickly, before decay or scavengers damage/destroy it. We have fossils of large numbers of animals that have been covered together, fossils of large dinosaurs that would have survived most ‘local’ floods. We find marine fossils on the top of mountains. Erosion (such as the Grand Canyon) could have occurred over billions of years, or relatively quickly from a huge flood.

    ”If you theory is Chinese whispers changed the story over the thousands of years why the late version of it found in the Bible is the correct one? Why isn't the Australian one the correct one?”

    My ‘theory’ was simply to explain they could be linked...not which one is correct.

    ”Can you please then explain why Torah from Dead Sea Scrolls teaches that Elohim is the father of Yahweh, yet Rabbi Jesus (Mark 9:5) would not teach it?”

    I have not seen the Dead Sea Scroll version of that text. I will try and track it down.

    ”This is not logical. If praying works equally to chance, the prayer does not work at all. If you pray an event where there are only two possible equal outcomes and your prayers are "answered" 60% of the time, God only changed 10% (not 60%) of the outcomes (the rest would happen anyway). So if God would answer the prayers only rarely we would see a huge change in outcomes.”

    But are you not working on the premise that God always answers ‘yes’ to you prayers to claim he has answered them with this logic?

    ”Jesus very clearly promised many times “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24) and “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). Jesus did not put the caveats you claim there are and I don't see Jesus' claim happening even to most unselfish prayers.”

    The caveat that I claimed did not come from Jesus, but James. Also lets not take Jesus out of context, for example the Matthew 18:19 one speaks about two people on earth deciding. This actually suggests the caveat I mentioned earlier. The caveat in Marks gospel is that your faith must be great enough...which relates to my earlier caveat!

    I am looking into Psalm 22 and Josephus’ reference to Daniel. I gave you reasons for why the book of Mormon does not flow naturally on from the NT (just so you know I did not ignore you!). Personally, I do not see what in Samuel the Lamanites prophecy you have been referring to. If you want to explain, please do. If you want to give me your reference in the Quran I would love to look at that too.

    The rib bone thing came from an article I read (about 6 years ago...so not sure if I can find it) that was written by a medical doctor about the use of the rib bone in bone grafts. Apparently the rib bone can pretty well regrow itself, unlike any other bone in the human body. I found this interesting as it means old Adam was probably only a rib short for a little while! Of course you might like to research it yourself (I recommend you do!).

    Hoping to get back to Ehrman today, but will send you something when I have finished.

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  16. Dave,
    I hope you are aware the reasons why scientists say there are marine fossils on the top of mountains (plate tectonics) and "fossils of large numbers of animals that have been covered together" (in Australia there are couple of caves animans have fallen, fossilised and now look like they have died together).

    Josephus reference to Daniel is in his Antiquities 10 and 12 (available online)
    Josephus believed Daniel's prophecies were written 600BC. I just noticed that both Christians and non-Christians use him as an evidence for their view. I should have realised this...

    For the Deut 32:8-9 look for scroll 4QDeutj (and 4QDeutq) also some LXX manuscript and ESV Bible has it. More:
    www.thedivinecouncil.com/DT32BibSac.pdf

    Quran and water cycle:
    http://www.islamweb.net/ver2/archive/article.php?lang=E&id=134578
    has also the Quran references.

    Sorry, you did comment Samuel the Lamanite, so you can ignore this. It is from the Book of Helaman 13-15 (Jesus' birth prophesy 14:2-8), the fulfilment Third Nephi 23:7-10.

    Re ribs: Wikipedia seems to debunk the idea, but I found couple of PubMed articles that seem to support the idea:
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16047208?dopt=AbstractPlus
    I don't think the rib periosteum was removed because it was for scoliosis patients.
    The second one was facial reconstruction:
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/279636?dopt=AbstractPlus
    It does not say if periosteum was removed or not, but states "Spontaneous rib regeneration was found where ribs had been removed one year earlier." It would be interesting to know if a rib with periosteum is fully removed would it grow back but either way, there seem to be reasonable evidence to support your claim. I thought this was a creationist hoax, but I was wrong. Thanks.

    Dave said...
    My [flood] ‘theory’ was simply to explain they could be linked...not which one is correct.
    Yes, I realise this, but to have a good solid theory you should try to debunk it and find the strengts and weaknesses in it. If anyone finds a major flaw in you theory, maybe you should abandon it and try to find a better one.

    Dave said...
    But are you not working on the premise that God always answers ‘yes’ to you prayers to claim he has answered them with this logic?
    No, it does not matter if God would say "yes" or "no" to answer the prays, any answer would do. If he would say "no" more often than "yes" we could easily detect it. In a 10 option test even if God would say "yes" or "no" once every thousand prays it would be easy to detect. BTW is you James caviet James 5:16? Every Christmas billion Christians pray unselfishly for world peace, why does that not work?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Peter,

    You said, ” I hope you are aware the reasons why scientists say there are marine fossils on the top of mountains (plate tectonics) and "fossils of large numbers of animals that have been covered together" (in Australia there are couple of caves animans have fallen, fossilised and now look like they have died together).”

    As I said, the evidence can be used both ways, so I am aware of these things.

    ”For the Deut 32:8-9 look for scroll 4QDeutj (and 4QDeutq) also some LXX manuscript and ESV Bible has it. More:
    www.thedivinecouncil.com/DT32BibSac.pdf”


    From memory we got onto this because you felt the verse was suggesting that ”Elohim was the father of Yahwew.” I only skimmed the pdf, but I am happy with his interpretation, but I am not sure if he concludes that ”Elohim was the father of Yahwew”! By the way, most Christians believe that God the Father ‘fathered’ Jesus. I am just not sure what your point is.

    ”Quran and water cycle:
    http://www.islamweb.net/ver2/archive/article.php?lang=E&id=134578
    has also the Quran references.”


    One minute Muslims are telling me I cannot understand the Bible unless I read it in Arabic, next minute they are telling me what it says in English! I really cannot see any evidence here for advanced thinking. They forgot to tell you the Quran also says the sun goes to sleep in a swamp each night! Jesus suggested that the people could read and understand the seasons...

    Regarding my flood ‘theory’, I never termed it a ‘theory’, that was you! I just think it is logical that the different flood stories could be linked. It is then an extension of the discussion to debate whether Christianity is the ‘right’ one. To do that you should probably first accept there is a global flood, then it will be relevant to discus why the Biblical version is correct!

    ”No, it does not matter if God would say "yes" or "no" to answer the prays, any answer would do. If he would say "no" more often than "yes" we could easily detect it. In a 10 option test even if God would say "yes" or "no" once every thousand prays it would be easy to detect.”

    How could you detect a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ if you cannot tell if it was by chance, or a yes, or a no? I cannot see how you can identify the once in a thousand answer.

    James 5:16 contains the same caveat, but I was thinking of James 4:3.

    ”Every Christmas billion Christians pray unselfishly for world peace, why does that not work?”

    This question demonstrates exactly why you cannot always tell when God has answered your prayers. God has answered this one. He even answered in the positive. He has even done it. It is simply that we still wait for the full realisation of it, which will happen when he returns!

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  18. Dave,
    Re:Elohim was the father of Yahwew. My point was that that is what Jesus' Torah read and what he must have believed, but modern Christians have moved from this position. So how do you know your God concept is correct as it not the real biblical one?

    Dave said...
    "They forgot to tell you the Quran also says the sun goes to sleep in a swamp each night! Jesus suggested that the people could read and understand the seasons"
    And Jesus said he is the door. Quran suggested that the Allah is source of all wisdom... Muslims would claim that you don't understand Quran and visa versa. If there is no outside test everyone can be "right" (and claim "it is poetry")

    Dave said...
    To do that you should probably first accept there is a global flood, then it will be relevant to discus why the Biblical version is correct!
    This is a fallacy. If I hear three stories:
    - Earth rest on four elephants
    - Earth rest on four elephants which rest on a turtle
    - Earth rest on four elephants which rest on a turtle which rest on a invisible pink unicorn's horn
    I don't need to accept any of those, but I can see that those stories are possible linked and I can see which one of them is the least plausable one.
    Same with the God. I don't have to accept that there is a God(s) to discuss which one could be correct.

    Dave said...
    How could you detect a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ if you cannot tell if it was by chance, or a yes, or a no? I cannot see how you can identify the once in a thousand answer.
    Write a computer program to randomly selects a number from 1 to 10. Each number represent a charity you will donate money. You pray for number/charity 6, run the program ~100million times/day and check the occurance of each number, repeat for 100 days. It should be fairly easy to see if God changed the outcome more that once per thousand that you have significantly more/less 6s.

    Dave said...
    This question demonstrates exactly why you cannot always tell when God has answered your prayers. God has answered this one. He even answered in the positive. He has even done it. It is simply that we still wait for the full realisation of it, which will happen when he returns!
    So your claim is that a biblical promise of working prayer is fulfilled by another biblical prophecy which is not fulfilled yet, but this proves that biblical prophecy is true. That is an interesting self-recursive fallacy.
    What would prove (or be an evidence) to you that a prayer does not work? So how about if people would pray for end of kids dying for hunger? Is that prayer also already answered?

    BTW James 4:3 says "You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reason-for your own pleasure." All my examples have been honest and sincere Christians praying for the good to other people not for their own pleasure, so I don't think your caveat is applicable as you claimed.

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  19. Peter, you said,

    ”Re:Elohim was the father of Yahwew. My point was that that is what Jesus' Torah read and what he must have believed, but modern Christians have moved from this position. So how do you know your God concept is correct as it not the real biblical one?”

    I think the reason Christians have ‘moved’ (I don’t think they have really moved at all) is because Jesus’ Torah does not say what you are claiming it says.

    ”I don't need to accept any of those [stories, about elephants and turtles and stuff], but I can see that those stories are possible linked and I can see which one of them is the least plausable one.
    Same with the God. I don't have to accept that there is a God(s) to discuss which one could be correct.”


    True Peter, but we are straying a long way from the original conversation here. I was simply asking, ‘do not the number of global flood stories in the different cultures and religions suggest there just MIGHT have been a global flood?’ You do not seem to want to answer the question!

    ”Write a computer program to randomly selects a number from 1 to 10. Each number represent a charity you will donate money. You pray for number/charity 6, run the program ~100million times/day and check the occurance of each number, repeat for 100 days. It should be fairly easy to see if God changed the outcome more that once per thousand that you have significantly more/less 6s.”

    I really am not following this Peter. It seems like you are trying to turn chance into certainty. Although the odds are less of it happening, it is possible that you could run your program like this for a 100 days and it might only land on a 6 once. This could happen by CHANCE – unlikely but possible. But even then, your program ‘theory’ has not taken into account the fact that no one would rely on God to tell them through a program to donate their money to a charity and you have in fact set up an ‘experiment’ so removed from what people do when they pray that is makes little sense. You have tried to remove the variables which you cannot. Also, the all knowing God might decide not to play your game (he might choose to mess with your head!), after all, your prayers have been set up to test God, not do things from a righteous heart!

    ”So your claim is that a biblical promise of working prayer is fulfilled by another biblical prophecy which is not fulfilled yet, but this proves that biblical prophecy is true. That is an interesting self-recursive fallacy.”

    No, that is not my claim at all. My claim was that the prayer for world peace by Christians at Christmas time has been answered (as indeed the prayer for no more starving children). I believe the Biblical promise of working prayer has to do with more than this...but we can talk about that in a minute...

    ”What would prove (or be an evidence) to you that a prayer does not work?”

    Difficult question, since a negative response, or one that I have to wait for, from God still is an answer, just not the one I wanted, and yet it can look like an unanswered prayer. I guess that is why they call it faith, and I guess time will ultimately show with many prayers how they were answered.

    ” All my examples have been honest and sincere Christians praying for the good to other people not for their own pleasure, so I don't think your caveat is applicable as you claimed.”

    And as I have said, your example God has answered...he has even acknowledged these things and promised that these things will change. I understand that you do not believe this...but you are not a Christian. You do not have to accept the fact that God has answered these prayers...but I choose to!

    But if we were to think of an example which might be a bit more relevant to the here and now, rather than when Jesus returns, it might help us understand the caveat and not just see it as a cop out for Christians!

    This example is a true story...someone prays that their faith in God might grow (very unselfish and righteous prayer!). What happens next is that things at work go pear shaped, they resign, they are subject to gossip and they start the long road to trying to be self employed. It probably seems that God has not answered the prayer! About 3 years later they find themselves, not in a better work position before everything went pear shaped, but in a better place with their faith in God, so much so that it has made a profound and life changing difference to them and they are fulfilled in ways they never thought possible. The prayer took nearly 4 years to be recognised as answered, and for the following 10 years has shown a continued journey of growth in faith that all started from everything going pear shaped.

    My experience is that this type of thing happens all the time, and once again, although not answered in the how and when that we might expect, an answer is given – in the affirmative.

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  20. Dave said...
    Jesus’ Torah does not say what you are claiming it says.
    The first century Deuteronomy which Jesus would have studied said:
    "Elyown gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the people according to the number of the sons of God. “For the Yahweh portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance.” Deut 32:8-9 (DSS before 70AD) Why is my claim wrong and how do you see it? This actually really interests me so could you please present your position.

    Dave said...
    I was simply asking, ‘do not the number of global flood stories in the different cultures and religions suggest there just MIGHT have been a global flood?’ You do not seem to want to answer the question!
    Sorry I did not meant to dodge a question. The answer is: yes it does.
    That is why we investigate this truth claim. Just like many various cosmic egg creation stories. Just like universal Jeti/big foot stories and people raising from the dead or miraculously healing of sick stories.

    Dave said...
    My claim was that the prayer for world peace by Christians at Christmas time has been answered (as indeed the prayer for no more starving children)....You do not have to accept the fact that God has answered these prayers...but I choose to
    This is one of the reasons why I'm not a Christian. If tomorrow's newspaper tells me that couple of wars have started or that there is a world peace, both seem to show that prayers for the world peace have been answered. I seem to live in a different reality where Christians live.

    Dave said...
    This example is a true story...
    My hindu friend told me a similar story and I think my muslim friend can also tell me similar stories. Praying for any god(s) seem to work equally for people. I think we can agree that some people must be interpreting the reality in a different way. Somebody is delusional.

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  21. Peter, I have been enjoying our chat...though it is good to be talking on less fronts now!
    You said,
    ”The first century Deuteronomy which Jesus would have studied said:
    "Elyown gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the people according to the number of the sons of God. “For the Yahweh portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance.” Deut 32:8-9 (DSS before 70AD) Why is my claim wrong and how do you see it? This actually really interests me so could you please present your position.”

    I guess I still need to understand what you are saying before I can respond. I have said I accept the wording of the verse should be ‘sons of God’, but can you explain to me how the passage actually says that Elohim was the father of Yahwew. I just do not see it, though I understand there is always confusion about the phrase ‘son of God/man’. Alternatively, if you just want me to tell you what I think the verse means I can try and do that.

    ”This is one of the reasons why I'm not a Christian. If tomorrow's newspaper tells me that couple of wars have started or that there is a world peace, both seem to show that prayers for the world peace have been answered. I seem to live in a different reality where Christians live.”
    I assume we live in the same reality! I know there are wars. One of the things that you accept when you accept that evolution is true is that time has played a factor. Evolution requires time. When it comes to answered prayer you do not seem to want to factor in time. Theologians refer to it as the ‘now, not yet’. World peace has been won...it is a reality, but it is yet to be fulfilled.

    ”My hindu friend told me a similar story and I think my muslim friend can also tell me similar stories. Praying for any god(s) seem to work equally for people. I think we can agree that some people must be interpreting the reality in a different way. Somebody is delusional.”
    I guess it comes down to what is a profound and life changing experience. I am happy to expand on this, but I guess I have had profound and life changing experiences in my own life, but none compare to the way God has changed me as I have grown closer to him. I do not know as much about the Hindu faith, but the Muslim faith simply offers possible reward for submission. This is no different to the way society or the world operates, and so I fail to see how a profound and life changing experience can be found in Islam that cannot be found in life outside of and religion.
    I have finished Bart and written a couple of pages, but they are very confused thoughts still. I will send them when I get a chance. I would like to read his next book though!

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  22. Dave,
    Re Deut 32:8-9: I think this is from the period Jews believe in multiple Gods (time of Jesus) How do you see the meaning of this also considering Psalm 82 and Job 1:6? And why was it changed if your theory is right?

    Re ‘now, not yet’: This is the bit I don't understand in Christianity. In my reality events which have not happened can not be used as proof of prophecies. Would you accept that in the future evolution will be proven so this means evolution is true?
    I think you use a false analogy fallacy stating "When it comes to answered prayer you do not seem to want to factor in time." We can look back in time to observe evidence of evolution; your proof of prayer working is a claim that the future even prove something. If you want to convince non-Christians show that prayer was answered in the past.

    Re other religions: Pretty much all religions claim "life changing experiences" even ones that do not exist anymore. I can imaging that once somebody has life changing experience with Osiris or Tammuz they can not understand now other religions can have similar experiences.
    Everyone think they found the one and only right one. Science will find the answers to these
    from our brain...

    Can't wait to see your Ehrman comments...

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  23. Sorry it has taken so long Peter, but here I am. I really do want to get to the bottom of the Deut passage, but I am still having difficulty understanding the issue. Your references now to the Psalm and to Job have not helped me understand the point (probably confused it a bit).

    You said, ”I think this is from the period Jews believe in multiple Gods (time of Jesus)”

    What evidence is there of the Jews at the time of Jesus believing in more than one God? I am also more confused because I am not sure what this has to do with the question about Elohim being the father of Yahwew. With the Deut passage I do not understand whether your issue is with the phrase, “the sons of God, or with “For the Yahweh portion is his people.” Personally I do not understand how you come to the conclusion that the passage is saying Elohim is the father of Yahweh.

    If I could trouble you to outline one more time what you are saying that would be great. I assume that what is blocking my understanding of the issue is my own paradigm that I view scripture through, so I think I just need help understanding the way you are seeing it so I can recognise the issues. Sorry!


    You said, ”In my reality events which have not happened can not be used as proof of prophecies. Would you accept that in the future evolution will be proven so this means evolution is true?
    I think you use a false analogy fallacy stating "When it comes to answered prayer you do not seem to want to factor in time." We can look back in time to observe evidence of evolution; your proof of prayer working is a claim that the future even prove something. If you want to convince non-Christians show that prayer was answered in the past.”


    Please understand that I am not trying to use an event that has not happened to prove a prophecy. Nor am I trying to convince a non-Christian of anything! I believe that what I was trying to do was simply demonstrate that it is possible that God has answered prayers, when we claim he has not. Perhaps if I put it this way...how can we be sure that God has not answered a prayer when his answer might not be revealed for some time. IAs a kid I could ask Santa for a present, but I had to wait till the stocking was filled to see if he had heard and responded to my request (I cannot believe I just used a Santa analogy to explain prayer to God!)Personally I do not think this ‘proves’ anything. I am just saying that you cannot prove God does not answer prayer simply because you have not yet seen the answer.
    As it happens I have seen prayers answered (in the past). This, however, is not going to help us because you seem to want the God (that you do not appear to believe in) to do something miraculous so that you will believe in him. God might choose to give you what you want, but I am not sure if this would fit the caveats spoken about earlier! At the same time, we are told that those who seek will find. I guess this leads me to say that I have been very confused by you Peter. Are you really seeking the truth, or are you seeking to prove God does not exist? (There might be a difference!)

    ”Science will find the answers to these from our brain...”
    Do you really think so? :-)

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  24. Today I skimmed over Ben Witherington's scathing review of this book @ benwitherington.blogspot.com.

    Keep in mind that Witherington is an expert in this field, whereas Ehrman (a textual critic, not a theologian or exegete) is not. It was quite illuminating seeing Ehrman exposed for his faulty methodology. I recommend you check it out.

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  25. Dave,

    RE Deut 32: I tried to explain my view but could you please explain your view what those verses mean and what is the relationship with Elyown and Yahweh?

    Dave said...
    Do you really think [that Science will find the answers to these from our brain]?
    Yes, I am sure of it. For example the number of serotonin receptors in our brain is linked how spiritual one is.


    Trav said...
    Keep in mind that Witherington is an expert in this field, whereas Ehrman (a textual critic, not a theologian or exegete) is not. It was quite illuminating seeing Ehrman exposed for his faulty methodology.

    This is just nonsense. Read Ehrman's and check out his resume and you'll see that he knows a thing or two about theology or exegete. Christians like you just want to attack Ehrman because he is not a Christian. For example notice how Ben Witherington tells Ehrman about Psalm 137; "In the first place this is a song, and so should not be treated like a theological or ethical treatise.", but how many Christians use Psalms whenever needed. If I had a dollar everytime I'm told me Psalm 14:1...

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  26. Welcome Trav!

    Peter, you said,
    ”RE Deut 32: I tried to explain my view but could you please explain your view what those verses mean and what is the relationship with Elyown and Yahweh?”

    I understand what your view is (Elohim being the father of Yahwew) but you have not explained how you come to have your view. But so that we can move on, and as you have expressed a desire to know my view on these verses, here it is!

    If we start at verse 4 it will give us a bit of context...
    Verse 4 – God is a rock – he is cool.
    Verse 5 – God’s people are not rocks, they are not cool.
    Verse 6 – Is this the best way to relate to this great God, has he not been really cool to you, making you and all?
    Verse 7 – Instead, remember the good ole days!
    Verse 8 – When God sorted out who had what in his heavenly counsel.
    Verse 9 – And God (amazingly) choose his people for himself.
    I think that is the essence of the verses...though verse 8 could be rendered number of ways, depending on your understanding of ‘sons of God’.

    ”Yes, I am sure of it. For example the number of serotonin receptors in our brain is linked how spiritual one is.”

    And yet experts cannot agree on what causes depression, brain chemistry, environment, winter, relationships or genes. I think the truth is that we are a bit more complex than simply what goes on in our brains. But hey, I guess we cannot rely on something that might be proved in the future as proof for something now (not that that was what you were trying to do, I just could not help having a go)! ;-)


    ”Christians like you just want to attack Ehrman because he is not a Christian.”

    Now I am not sure if I am a Christian like Trav, but the author I have respected most of the books I have read recently is an Atheist (not Ehrman but the author of ‘Infidel’ Hirsi Ali). I might add that I have never liked Witherington, but that is mainly because his name ends with ‘the third’! At the same time I thought some of his critique was well founded, and Witherington is an expert in this field, and Ehrman strayed into it (from what I gather, I have not read that book). What I did not agree with was this scholarly idea that you have to have written a number of papers etc in an area before you can be taken seriously. I would prefer to just take Ehrman on what he says. Where I did agree with Witherington, in that I thought Ehrman was guilty of it in Misquoting Jesus, was the use of hyperbole. I think Ehrman talks up his own arguments in a way that for me undermines their credibility.

    Getting back to Psalm 22, Peter, I could find no reason why Psalm 22 would not be considered a part of the original text. You seemed to suggest that Christians use it to point to Jesus, but you suggested they shouldn’t. I find no reason why they shouldn’t, and in fact take it as a prophecy that came true in Christ...could you expand on why you think we should not take it that way?

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  27. Peter, I have to take you to task on this one:

    This is just nonsense. Read Ehrman's and check out his resume and you'll see that he knows a thing or two about theology or exegete. Christians like you just want to attack Ehrman because he is not a Christian. For example notice how Ben Witherington tells Ehrman about Psalm 137; "In the first place this is a song, and so should not be treated like a theological or ethical treatise.", but how many Christians use Psalms whenever needed. If I had a dollar everytime I'm told me Psalm 14:1...

    Now, it's fairly obvious that this book is about theology. From the Amazon blurb:

    Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:


    -The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works

    -The New Testament contains books that were forged in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later

    -Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented fundamentally different religions

    -Established Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the trinity—were the inventions of still later theologians.

    Claims 1 and 3 are entirely theological, so it's fair to summise that this book would contain a lot of theology, correct?

    As I've already noted, Ehrman is a historian and text critic, not a theologian. Look up his list of books and you'll see what his specialties are- he's only started writing about theology recently since he got into the limelight. I refer you to some other comments made by Witherington in April 2008: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/04/ehrman-vs-wright-on-problem-of.html (In the comments section, NOT the body of the blog post). Some points he makes:

    - Ehrman has not yet provided any solid evidence that he is a serious exegete at all.

    - Ehrman has never written any NT commentaries, or serious theological works at all.

    Therefore, my statement that Ehrman isn't an expert in this field is entirely accurate.

    This alone doesn't discredit his views at all, it simply makes it far less surprising when someone who is actually an expert (witherington) points out the flaws of his writings.

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  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  29. Dave said...
    "Verse 8 – When God sorted out who had what in his heavenly counsel.
    Sorry I don't see it. To me it looks like sons of God got their tribes. Jewish tribal god was Jahweh.

    Experts can not agree on many things, but our knowledge is continuously increasing and science has the habit to find answers in a long run. BTW we do know what causes winter.

    Re Psalm 22: Jewish scholars have pointed out that the originally the text does not talk about piercing of hands and feet. The textual reading is "kaari", "as a lion my hands and feet;". So this can not point to Jesus, Gospel writers had a corrupted copy...


    Trav,
    I agree that Ehrman's books contain theology and exegesis. It's impossible to be a textual critic without doing any of that. (For example: was Jesus angry or compassionate in Mark 1:41?; which one glorifies Jesus more?)

    First you said that Ehrman is not a theologian or exegete expert, now you said he has not shown it yet because he has not written about it. I know plenty of IT experts who have not written anything and couple of the have no formal IT education, even Jesus did not write anything ;-)

    What makes someone an expert in Theology? Are Mormon, JW or Muslim theologians experts? If I write a book about north Scandinavian Seita spirit theology, am I an expert then? Who is the judge of that?

    So again why is Ben Witherington attacking Ehrman when there are thousands of Christians with less experience than Ehrman writing books about theology? Is he attacking Ehrman because he is not a Christian? So to summarise. You made the accusation. Now please show/quote that Ehrman is not an expert in exegesis or theology.

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  30. Hey Peter! You said,

    ”Sorry I don't see it. To me it looks like sons of God got their tribes. Jewish tribal god was Jahweh.”

    Sorry, I don’t see this, though now I finally understand where you are coming from! But the Jews never believed they had their own ‘tribal’ god, they believed they had the one true God, a point that you have highlighted yourself in the past when talking about the trinity! ‘Sons of God’ is a term that was often used to refer to us...people. Check out Psalm 8 and Hebrews 1. The rendering I gave (which I said could alter slightly depending on your understanding of ‘Sons of God’) was because I took it from the textual variant, not ‘Sons of Man’, but rather ‘Sons of Angels’, sometimes thought to refer to God’s heavenly counsel.

    ”BTW we do know what causes winter.”

    I was not suggesting that we did not know what caused winter...I was saying that winter is thought to contribute to depression, and so even climate contributes to depression, as do the other examples I gave, brain chemistry, environment etc. I can see now I look back at what I wrote that this was not clear!

    ”Re Psalm 22: Jewish scholars have pointed out that the originally the text does not talk about piercing of hands and feet. The textual reading is "kaari", "as a lion my hands and feet;". So this can not point to Jesus, Gospel writers had a corrupted copy...”

    Why is it in the Jewish Bible then? Besides that, take out the reference to pierced hands and feet and it still points to Jesus. There is no doubt that some Jewish scholars would like us all to think it is corrupted, but it is still there in my Hebrew Bible.

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  31. Dave said...
    the Jews never believed they had their own ‘tribal’ god, they believed they had the one true God
    This is wrong. They worshipped other gods in the Elephantine temple and archeological findings show Yahweh hanging out with other gods. Are you denying the evidence and just rewriting the history to suit your theology?

    Dave said...
    ‘Sons of God’ is a term that was often used to refer to us...people.
    "Sons of God" (like "Son of Man") is used for many things. That is why I pointed out verses Psalm 82 and Job 1:6 where it is used in a similar context and not refer to us...people.

    Dave said...
    Why is [piercing] in the Jewish Bible then?
    Because you Jewish Bible is printed by a Christian organisation. Here is a link to Jewish version:
    www.hareidi.org/bible/Psalms22.htm

    Dave said...
    Besides that, take out the reference to pierced hands and feet and it still points to Jesus.
    Sorry, I don't see it. Jews were still looking for their messiah after Jesus...

    Dave said...
    There is no doubt that some Jewish scholars would like us all to think it is corrupted ... [Agnostic] Ehrman use of hyperbole...
    You seem to indicate that there is non-Christian conspiracy to undermine Christianity, yet Christians themselves have made theological changes to their holy books. Does anyone have the truth?

    Dave asked earlier...
    Are you really seeking the truth, or are you seeking to prove God does not exist? (There might be a difference!)
    I try to seek the truth and I don't really care if the truth leads to God or not. As you have seen I have admitted having had wrong facts about human ribs and I changed my opinion when I found new evidence showing that my previous opinions were wrong. I don't have a problem admiting being wrong and changing my opinion if the evidence shows I'm wrong.

    Christian ministers and apologists seem to have a Bible given agenda to defend the Christianity. These people never present all sides of the issues and rarely admit being wrong after shown the evidence. This creates the conflict between the truth and defending their agenda, and often they are too close to see objectively the truth. Would you ask your barber if you need a hair cut?

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  32. Greetings Peter...you said...

    ”This is wrong. They worshipped other gods in the Elephantine temple and archeological findings show Yahweh hanging out with other gods. Are you denying the evidence and just rewriting the history to suit your theology?”

    We have been through this one before...the OT makes it very clear that the Israelites worshipped other gods...I am not trying to change history. The OT also makes it clear that the other gods were false gods and not the one true God.

    ”Because you Jewish Bible is printed by a Christian organisation. Here is a link to Jewish version”

    But hang on, are you expecting me to now go with the Masoretic text? Before you said I should be going with the Septuagint, the one Jesus used? The one that was written at least 100 years before Jesus lived – before the Maesoretic text we have was written? The Septuagint refers to piercing (or at least an acceptable equivalent when translated), and that is the one that some (not all) Greek speaking Jews accepted, and is quoted in the NT. Which text would you prefer I use Peter? Because the Septuagint would tend to suggest a prophecy that has come true!

    ”Sorry, I don't see it. Jews were still looking for their messiah after Jesus...”

    Psalm 22 has the words Jesus spoke on the cross, he was scorned, he was mocked and insulted, he was born of a woman (as we all are!), he was surrounded by Gentiles (dogs), they cast lots for his clothing, ... but I am guessing you will tell me Ehrman has shown we cannot trust the Gospel accounts...so the Gospels have been written to match Psalm 22? My response to this would be, who had that great idea? Psalm 22 is only considered Messianic because of what the Gospels record as having happened to Jesus and what he said. You are suggesting they corrupted the oT to match the NT. This is clearly not the case, but they certainly did not make up the NT to fit an obscure OT passage that would not have been considered as having anything much to do with the Messiah at the time.

    ”You seem to indicate that there is non-Christian conspiracy to undermine Christianity, yet Christians themselves have made theological changes to their holy books. Does anyone have the truth?”

    Probably the biggest thing to undermine Christianity has been the church, I would not give non-Christians that much credit! I gave you examples of Ehrman’s arguments that he uses in Misquoting Jesus that are exaggeration to make a point. Perhaps it would be good to address my points rather than suggest I am going for a conspiracy theory. Ehrman alone does not equal a conspiracy, but rather someone who has an agenda.

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  33. Now please show/quote that Ehrman is not an expert in exegesis or theology.


    Peter, I already have. Let me repeat: Look up Ehrman's works, both scholarly and/or popular. They are almost all mainly relating to text criticism and history. Sure, he may know a bit about theology, but it's not his special area of expertise, so he's definitely not an "expert" like Ben Witherington or NT wright, for example.

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  34. Dave said...
    The OT also makes it clear that the other gods were false gods and not the one true God.Sure. But earlier archeological evidence shows a different story like part of the OT. Remember "I am the Lord your God" not "I am the Lord the only God". Nobody worshipped false gods, but Jews did worshipped many gods in their Elephantine Temple. Early Jews/texts believed in many gods later beliefs/text were re-interpreted/written, just like your latest trinity interpretation. The God story keeps on changing and changing.

    Dave said...
    are you expecting me to now go with the Masoretic text? Before you said I should be going with the Septuagint, the one Jesus used?
    In General we should use the oldest and most difficult manuscripts like Dead Sea Scrolls. If Jesus existed he would have used Hebrew version of the OT (~DSS), but Gospel writers put Septuagint words in his mouth because they had Septuagint (not the Hebrew text) in front of them.

    We don't have 100BC Septuagint text/manuscript either like you might have implied. For example we have couple of Septuigint versions of Deut 32:8-9, so theology has corrupted that a bit too. That's why more difficult reading should be often considered.

    Dave said...
    The Septuagint refers to piercing ...and that is the one that some (not all) Greek speaking Jews accepted, and is quoted in the NTOrthodox Jews did not accept Septuagint and I think that's why Christianity had started in a Greek community who could re-imagine the OT.

    Dave said...
    Psalm 22 is only considered Messianic because of what the Gospels record as having happened to Jesus and what he said. You are suggesting they corrupted the oT to match the NT. This is clearly not the case, but they certainly did not make up the NT to fit an obscure OT passage that would not have been considered as having anything much to do with the Messiah at the time.I think they had the corrupted text (I don't think they changed it). Dead Sea Scroll word there is meaninless "kaaru" which itself was possibly corrupted and translators had to choose between "karu" and "kaari"...
    Note:
    "Psalm 22 is only considered Messianic because of what the Gospels record as having happened to Jesus"
    and because it happened to Jesus it considered fulfilled prophecy. I think it is somewhat circular.

    I think we better wrap this up...



    Trav,

    So far you have only made accusation, not shown example where Ehrman's theology is incorrect. So please answer my previous questions.

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  35. Trav,

    So far you have only made accusation, not shown example where Ehrman's theology is incorrect. So please answer my previous questions.
    The only accusation I made is that Ehrman is no theology expert, and I've amply justified the truth of that accusation. I'm not required to show examples where Ehrman's theology is incorrect, as I was only recommending a review (By Ben Witherington) where Ehrman's theology and methodology is shown up. So if you want to know how and why Ehrman's theology is weak, I suggest you go read that review.

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