Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"?

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:44 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:But looking at the evidence, starting by Plato, the origin of it, any fantasies about Atlantis fall to the ground very quickly.
Several of your own very, very specific beliefs about the subject are no less grounded in reality, but it doesn't seem to be a fruitful discussion to press the issue, regardless of how trivial or how seemingly-clear the leap of speculation taken may be.

Most of you overarching narrative ideas are indeed too mundane to fall into the same category of pablum often trotted out for book sales, so you do get points for that, sure.

Your work is most directly comparable to the 19th century lives of Jesus, like that by Renan, that were rationally dismantled for being overstretched and unscientific with the efforts of David Strauss and Albert Schweitzer. Most of it was pretty vapid, gospel-text-quoting, armchair psychologizing fare ... and completely impossible to demonstrate.
Where do you think I speculate without justifying my conclusions? A speculation ceases to be just that if you can "demonstrate" with evidence it is probably true.
You overplay your supposed hand, consistently. I guess I could wade in and quote an example.

http://historical-jesus.info/hjes1.html
1.2.4 Joseph's occupation and social status:
His father was a carpenter, according to Mt13:55. The Greek word for 'carpenter' is 'tekton' and can have three different main meanings, according to Strong:
- A worker in wood, a carpenter, joiner, builder
- Any craftsman, or workman
- A planner, contriver, plotter
Justin Martyr, a 2nd century Christian, wrote:
Trypho LXXXVIII "And when Jesus came to the Jordan, He was considered to be the son of Joseph the carpenter; ... making ploughs and yokes ...)"
Could Joseph have been a well-off master builder?
That would be denied by him & his family living in a small hilly village, and not in the nearby city of Sepphoris or even, less than two miles down the road, the walled town of Japha (mentioned in Josephus' Life, 45 & Wars, III, VII, 31).
"Luke" must have known Joseph & Mary were poor. In Lk2:24, the normal offering, a lamb, is not mentioned, just "a pair of doves or two young pigeons", according to:
Lev12:8 "... If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons ..."

"Next came the Artisans, about 5 percent of the population [in the Roman empire], below the Peasants in social class because they were usually recruited and replenished from its dispossessed members.
Beneath them were the Degraded and Expendable classes - the former with origins, occupations, or conditions rendering them outcasts; the latter, maybe as much as 10 percent of the population, ranging from beggars and outlaws to hustlers, day laborers, and slaves.
If Jesus was a carpenter [according to Mk6:3], therefore, he belonged to the Artisan class, that group pushed into the dangerous space between Peasants and Degradeds or Expendables."
John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (1994)
So I am supposed to believe that Jesus' father was a carpenter... why, exactly? Why is it oh so very probable?

Mt13:55

Mk6:3 [?]

Trypho LXXXVIII

Okay. So a few quotes. Great.

Just the first thing I saw to comment on in the first link I clicked. And by far the most common form of 'demonstrated to be probable' argument on the site.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:17 pm

to Peter,
Several of your own very, very specific beliefs about the subject are no less grounded in reality, but it doesn't seem to be a fruitful discussion to press the issue, regardless of how trivial or how seemingly-clear the leap of speculation taken may be.

Most of you overarching narrative ideas are indeed too mundane to fall into the same category of pablum often trotted out for book sales, so you do get points for that, sure.

Your work is most directly comparable to the 19th century lives of Jesus, like that by Renan, that were rationally dismantled for being overstretched and unscientific with the efforts of David Strauss and Albert Schweitzer. Most of it was pretty vapid, gospel-text-quoting, armchair psychologizing fare ... and completely impossible to demonstrate.
I do not think Renan was as critical in his analysis as I was. I did not read the work of Renan, but I got that from https://www.christiancourier.com/articl ... sus-christ:
"In a sentimental, rather theatrical fashion, Renan argued that the post-resurrection “appearances” of the Lord were merely the result of ardent expectations, combined with excited nerves, on the part of Jesus’ followers. He suggested that the slightest circumstances were bound to produce apparitions on subjects (e.g., the disciples) who already were susceptible to suggestion."
Well I did not write this kind of things. You can check me out on that.

Also, things that Renan wrote, which I do not agree with, not even a bit:

“His [Christ’s] perfect idealism is the highest rule of the unblemished and virtuous life . . . . The foundation of true religion is indeed his work” (220).

“Jesus will ever be the creator of the pure spirit of religion; the Sermon on the Mount will never be surpassed. Whatever revolution takes place will not prevent us attaching ourselves in religion to the grand intellectual and moral line at the head of which shines the name of Jesus . . . . The faith, the enthusiasm, the constancy of the first Christian generation is not explicable, except by supposing, at the origin of the whole movement, a man of surpassing greatness” (221).

“Let us place, then, the person of Jesus at the highest summit of human greatness” (222).

“Marcus Aurelius and his noble teachers have had no permanent influence on the world. Marcus Aurelius left behind him delightful books, an execrable son, and a decaying nation. Jesus remains an inexhaustible principle of moral regeneration for humanity” (223).

“The great originality of the founder [of Christianity] remains then undiminished; his glory admits of no legitimate sharer” (225).

“This sublime person, who each day still presides over the destiny of the world, we may call divine … in the sense that Jesus is the one who has caused his fellow-men to make the greatest step towards the divine” (226).

“In him was condensed all that is good and elevated in our nature … all the ages will proclaim that among the sons of men there is none born who is greater than Jesus” (227).

And from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Renan: Renan claimed Jesus was able to purify himself of Jewish traits and that Jesus became an Aryan, his Life of Jesus promoted racial ideas and infused race into theology and the person of Jesus, he depicted Jesus as a Galilean who was transformed from a Jew into a Christian, and that Christianity emerged purified of any Jewish influences.

It does not look my reconstruction can be compared with the one of this romantic era marginal ebionistic & racist Christian. Just because both of us were/are historicist, that does not mean I should be put in the same bag than Renan and others in the same period.

Sorry if my description of earthly Jesus appears too mundane, but the evidence, starting by Paul's letters, describes him as such. Maybe not spicy enough to be interesting & controversial for most, but that's the way it it.
Do you know of any attempt of explaining the beginning of Christianity which is scientific? I do not know any. And I do not think my reconstruction is overstretched either, because I kept only a backbone of the Jesus character, after having, with evidence, taken away from him: itinerant, teacher, parable teller, doer of extraordinary miracles (and all other Christian stuff), no trials, with disciples who never believed he was more than a dead prophet, etc.
So I am supposed to believe that Jesus' father was a carpenter... why, exactly? Why is it oh so very probable?
Maybe I made a mistake here. Jesus is said to be a carpenter in gMark, but in gMatthew, it is his father. Maybe both were carpenters, and I would trust gMark more than, come later, gMatthew. I can modify my passage with a "OR or BOTH".
Anyway, if Jesus had been human (as again according to Paul's epistles), he had to have a job (and his father also) and low paid carpenter is as good as any. It is very much probable (OR or BOTH) but not absolutely proven. But according to the kind of evidence we have, what can be totally proven?
Once again, I did not pretend to have written THE reconstruction, but only A reconstruction, avoiding non-sense but fully documented, however comprehensively explaining the beginning of Christianity (without God).

I just noticed the footer. This is misleading because out of context. By "books", I meant "books on the historicity of Jesus". Certainly, I do not think that reading dozens of novels (or books on different topics) is going to dull anyone mind. Please do not blackmail me on that at my local library: they might revoke my membership :D
BTW, I forgot to tell you that I did read a good dozen of books about the historicity of Jesus from my city libraries, well before I started to write my website (with a clear mind!). This is what I wrote long ago here: http://historical-jesus.info/author.html
"At first, borrowing study bibles from the public library and, some time after that, critical books, I became very confused about the mess I was involved in: nothing made sense."

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:08 pm

You're (obviously) not exactly like Renan. Well done taking down the strawman. That's just the closest comparison I can find in history to explain the kind of 'death by a thousand cuts' in speculative ideas that I feel when reading your work. And it's not because of any of the things you said about Renan (or other 19th century lives of Jesus). It's because of the methodology involved in 'finding the history' -- mostly just quote a little text, do a little armchair 'thinking' about it, and come up with one possible answer.... elevate it to probability or fact or whatever and just keep on chugging along! Call it choo-choo history, the more 'train cars' of assumptions linked up behind us the better.

You're hardly the only person to do this, even in the contemporary scene, but I find it hard to find any one contemporary scholar (not including "devotional" scholars) that writes like this about the subject and who thinks like this about the problems involved in establishing historicity. Which is to say, who mostly does not think about the very, very hard problem of establishing historicity for things in the Gospels. Who is comfortable with transitioning directly from "introduction" to "quotation" to "hypothesis about Jesus when he was a kid with his dad and mom," etc.

This kind of history-making is pretty common when people are working with "source" documents that they feel more justified (whether truly justified or not) as simply "sources" for the 'paper-and-scissors' history (the 'paper and scissors men' was the pejorative that late 19th and early 20th century historians came up with to explain their dislike of this approach, which neglects dealing with the problems and nature of the sources 'used'--they're still often ignored).

The difference in this subject is that most people are very, very uncomfortable with just jumping into bed with the idea of the Gospels as "historical sources." They at least feel that you need to warm up the reader to that idea--bribe them with sweet, crunchy historical criteria or ply them drunk with excessive prose about the virtues of a particular explanation for these texts that surpasses above all others--or just go straight for the hard liquor and convince the audience that the Gospels are from eyewitnesses (only some people will fall for this trick...).

Okay so this weird analogy is leading to the conclusion that your website has no or very little 'seduction' when it comes to the bits it claims to be historical (there's quite a bit of literary analysis inbetween which is merely bad or actually good). Which is really to say, that it is not based on rational demonstration, to put it back into literal terms. (I expect to have all of this turned into some kind of proof of the website's brilliance... maybe its raw access to the data and avoidance of speculation [!?!???]... or all the other things that you don't ever get around to demonstrating in any kind of satisfactory way.)
low paid carpenter is as good as any
But according to the kind of evidence we have, what can be totally proven?
only A reconstruction, avoiding non-sense
Jumping on this fallacy--we do not know, therefore we must say that we know (or do some weird polka dance walk of pushing some very particular ideas while simultaneously claiming not to do so whatsoever)--would surely earn many historians a few years in purgatory in a Catholic universe.

The problem? Your statements are intellectually debased. You proceed with ease from only "as good as any" and not "proven" with "the kind of evidence we have" to... fuck it! If I just avoid "non-sense," that's good enough, right? That's the only way to describe this approach. Somewhere in the middle is some kind of step labeled "fuck it!" ("I don't really, truly care about being rational anymore, in this subject") and then stuff that wouldn't pass muster (rationally) starts flying everywhere.
I just noticed the footer. This is misleading because out of context.
I'll remove it. Not sure when though. :cheeky:
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by gmx » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:19 am

**(Unless... if your point is that there has to be an actual, written, separate Q in antiquity ... along with a written and separate "special M" source and "special L" source, with the same absence of reasoning showing why ... that would just be some kind of strange assumption, instead of empty definition-shifting rhetoric.)
My view, and as you pointed out its not a view original with me, that several factors support earlier written sources:
* Luke's reference that "many have undertaken"
* the fact that many early Christian writings are lost, such as those of Papias
* the testimony that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, even though gMatthew was written in Greek, meaning the Hebrew Matthew is lost
* the argument that in the double tradition, sometimes Matthew, sometimes Luke, seems to retain an earlier tradition than the other
* the fact that all proposed synoptic solutions have fairly major weaknesses seems to indicate it's not just a three fold problem

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by gmx » Mon Sep 07, 2015 3:52 am

Peter Kirby wrote:
Bernard Muller wrote:Also, let's notice here, in gMark, the "tribulation" in the one happening "in those days" (of Jerusalem destruction)

Mar 13:17 And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!
Mar 13:18 Pray that it may not happen in winter.
Mar 13:19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be.
Mar 13:20 And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

But in gMatthew, the "great tribulation" is not associated to the prior "in those days" (of Jerusalem destruction), but instead, subsequent of the events of 70.

Mat 24:19 And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!
Mat 24:20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath.
Mat 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
Mat 24:22 And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
Thanks for this, though. This is actually a useful contribution.
Hmmm. I don't perceive the disconnect here. Mark has "for in those days there will be such tribulation", and Matthew has "for then there will be great tribulation", where then seems to be logically connected with the in those days of Matt 24:19. I'm not sensing what differentiates the two accounts.

And while we're here... does Matthew add or on a sabbath for his Jewish audience, or does Mark remove it for his Gentile audience?

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:28 am

to Peter,
You are obviously an ultra-skeptical fellow, doubting or rejecting everything which look historical in the early Christian writings. "Nothing can be proven" does not mean we must be dealing with total pure fiction. More so when only a few mundane bits extracted from these early writings can be stringed together in order to provide a comprehensive and simple way to explain the development of Christianity (without any God).
My website is long because I made a lot of effort about explaining why I was taking away feature after feature of the rosy christianized Jesus and what follows after his death. I just did not use "scissors" arbitrarily.
BTW, I never said the gospels were written by eyewitnesses.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Adam » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:14 am

No, Peter and Bernard,
I'm the one who says that. That's "seven written eyewitness of Jesus wrote sources within the four gospels", got it?

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:19 am

Hmmm. I don't perceive the disconnect here. Mark has "for in those days there will be such tribulation", and Matthew has "for then there will be great tribulation", where then seems to be logically connected with the in those days of Matt 24:19. I'm not sensing what differentiates the two accounts.
gMatthew has "For then there will be great tribulation", indicating that great tribulation started after "those days" of the summer of 70.
gMark has "in those days there will be such tribulation", with those days being the summer of 70.
Both gospels have the Kingdom (and the second coming) happening (but did not) soon after these tribulations.
Furthermore, the internal evidence in gMatthew indicates it was written when Pharisees were turning into rabbis, and became esteemed teachers & leaders of the Jews (marking the end of the great tribulation, caused after the center of Judaism, the Temple & Jerusalem, were destroyed), which happened sometimes before 93, according to Josephus' Antiquities, but after 78, according to Josephus' Wars.
That's in accordance with: gMark has teachers of the law more prevalent than pharisees, but that's reversed in gMatthew:
"Pharisees"/"teachers (or experts) of the law": Mk = 12/20 as compared with Mt = 28/19 & Lk = 19/20

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Peter Kirby » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:33 am

Bernard Muller wrote:You are obviously an ultra-skeptical fellow
Throwing this label at someone who insists on rationality and evidence (meant to normalize their own approach of credulity) is the degenerate, dishonest refuge of the New Testament "historian." :roll:

The phrase "ultra-skeptical" advertises your dislike of reason and skepticism ... and your laziness preventing you from even trying to get better at being reasonable.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: Markan priority: an "assured result of modern criticism"

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:47 pm

Throwing this label at someone who insists on rationality and evidence (meant to normalize their own approach of credulity) is the degenerate, dishonest refuge of the New Testament "historian."
I also insist on rationality and evidence. Obviously you don't like New Testament "historian". So be it.
The phrase "ultra-skeptical" advertises your dislike of reason and skepticism ... and your laziness preventing you from even trying to get better at being reasonable.
I don't dislike reason & skepticism and I am very reasonable.

And still this quote of mine in your footer, which you admitted was out-of-context: on this matter, is your attitude reasonable?

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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