2010-05-31

Aw, gee, thanks guys

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by Neil Godfrey

I have the honour of gaining a mention in two of the biggest biblioblogs in the whole wide internet now. Aw shucks, and they both really do such a thorough job of analyzing my work and studying my personal psychology. I hope I won’t get a bill for their services.

Between “Dr” Jim West and Joel Watts I find I am:

a genuine flinger

a genuine flicker

utterly unacquainted with Crossley’s work

accuse Crossley of playing favorites when it comes to historiographically centered methodological questions (wow, I’m not sure what that means but it sounds like I’ve done something serious or important)

utterly bereft of insight

ramble on about absolutely nothing with such aplomb (irishanglican would no doubt agree with this assessment)

have taken on a stern taskmaster belief system

possibly have a personality defect

appear to be comforting myself in my denial of Jesus’ historicity

absolutely hate my former self

‘need’ Jesus not to be real for my own personal comfort

create conspiracy theories

have refused to acknowledge scholarship that once denied my view of faith
(Baptists? Methodists?

and now deny the same scholars who deny my rejection of faith

forget how history is formed

am angry (part of an angry mob to be precise)

profoundly need there to be no god

leap any logical boundary to this end

but what’s really interesting is my motive in all of this — I know that hell and damnation await me if there is a god!

And all of this on the eve of me birthday too! Well, thanks guys, a good belly laugh is the best way to start a new year! 🙂

Belly Laugh
Image by Tojosan via Flickr
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Neil Godfrey

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53 thoughts on “Aw, gee, thanks guys”

  1. Once again, you have completely misrepresented the posts.

    They are models of well-argued scholarship, quoting Crossley to show how you have misrepresented him.

    And not in the least random name-calling by abusive people who have no idea how else to refute your arguments, but know that you must be wrong because they must be right.

    Reading your post, you would almost get the impression that West and Watts are calling people names under the impression that they are engaging in civilised conversation.

    Watts cannot produce any arguments, and so links to McGrath posts which also had no arguments.

    This is ‘pass the parcel’ argumentation. Unable to produce evidence, simply pass the parcel and give a reference to something else that has no evidence.

    But, there is nothing in the parcel that is being passed around…..

    1. Yeah, I was thinking that — it’s all coz I keep asking just one pesky question: Is not every argument about the historical Jesus a mere circus ring without independent verification?

      But I’m a patient man. I suspect if I wait I will find the complete answer to this question in the new book exposing the wrongs of mythicism we have been told fifty times is to be published in a couple of years from now. It’s as suspensful as waiting through the half hour of silence in heaven before the seven thunders roar.

  2. Great Neil! Now if you can manage to piss off Ray “Banana Man” Comfort you’ll have a third stooge to add to “Dr” West and Joel Watts–a trifecta of stooges for your birthday!

  3. Actually Joel Watts does make some good points on his blog.

    ‘In other words, the record of sacred writings was the mirror of the Messiah. If the Messiah could not be said to be the personification of rare and obscure passages of the prophets, then the person was a fraud.’

    In the Gospels, the disciples just never seem to have any familiarity with the Old Testament.

    How could those highly-religiously motivated disciples not be constantly asking Jesus about Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, or relating what was happening to their knowledge of Scripture?

    It is simply one more example of the fact that the disciples are not presented as real people. They never behave like real people. They are literary characters, as real as the chorus in a Greek tragedy.

    If you try to put the Gospels in the culture of first-century Judaism, then the disciples do not fit.

  4. It is strange how people get angry when they are insulted by people with a doctorate from a prestigious photo-copying shop, accredited by Transworld Accrediting Commission

  5. It’s funny that those of us who are interested in examining the origins of Christianity on the basis of evidence and without any naive supernatural presuppositions are called ‘angry atheists’.

  6. What specifically do you find unbelievable Joel? Just name one thing and support your view with arguments (something the Jesus historicists have not been very good at on this blog).

  7. By the way Joel, have you started your masters degree? You mentioned a while back that you were considering a degree in South Africa. What has become of that?

  8. So Joel still cannot find a single word to show how I misrepresented him.

    And he has totally abandoned trying to show that his arguments do not lead people to conclude that the disciples are literary characters, who do not behave how Joel claims highly religious people did behave!

    All he can do is call people names to hide his inability to produce a refutation of what I said!

    Amazing! Come on Joel, produce the evidence which refutes mythicists!

    Aren’t you wearing any New Clothes?

  9. Yep, I wrote it, Steve, but you seem to be taking it out of context, on purpose, I suspect. Either that, you are you simply unable to comprehend what you read.

    Bill, I understand angry atheists – I don’t understand purposed self-deception based on little more than a good Dan Brown novel.

    1. Oh darn it! Has Steven gone and misrepresented another post again on my blog? I trust, Joel, you will do better than promise a book in two years to explain the misrepresentation. I beg you to please do so right here and now and put him straight. He’s always doing that sort of thing! I dunno . . . .

      1. So you mean you are another one who complains of misrepresentation but can’t figure out how to explain the misrepresentation? Didn’t Solomon say he can find one good man in a thousand, but not a single honest biblical scholar anywhere?

      2. Awww shucks, Neil, I figured it was just Steve being Steve. Why, I bet you are just writing this stuff to get hits. I mean, just between you mean and the fence post, how can anyone in their right mind believe some of the stuff you write, right? You are sure pulling the wool over these here folks, now ain’t cha?!!! Boy, that Steve, he is buying what you are selling hook, line and stinker…

      1. Well, actually, Bill, it is. And mythicists generally fall into the category of either Dan Brown readers or Twilight moms. Can’t really tell, because to the best of my knowledge, neither have a firm foot hold in reality.

  10. Joel’s blog is currently doing a series of literary analyses of the Psalms of Solomon.

    It is suprising how many Biblical historians are also skilled at literary analysis.

    It is almost as though being skilled at analysing the literary structures of Psalms qualified you as an historian, as though being able to analyse Shakespeare’s writing in Romeo and Juliet meant you had a skil letting you know if those people existed or not.

    Notice how Joel can read a passage and tell people that it happened, without even bothering to produce any evidence that it did.

    JOEL
    Finally, we take as evidence of this case, Jonah.

    But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mat 12:39-40 NASB)

    This is not a prophesy of the Messiah, and in no way was thought to point to the coming Messianic figure; however, Christ took history from the sacred writings, and applied it to Himself.

    CARR
    A perfect example of how totally circular the historical Jesus people are. No wonder they are enraged when asked to justify what they say, and resort to lashing out in frustrated anger at having their bluff called.

  11. Neil – the misrepresentation is seen if anyone visits the post. I don’t want to call Carr’s integrity into question, as there is no answer for Steve.

    Bill, tell me, did Aristotle exist? Socrates? Julius Caesar? Anyone, ever?

    Sorry, guys, the ‘angry atheist’ image is well deserved. Not all atheists are angry – just it seems those who were angry believers. See, they only replace one god with another, carrying with it the same cultic practices and psychological damage.

    1. Joel, you said you suspected Steve of purposely taking your words out of context. That is calling his integrity into question. You have a responsibility to support your accusation or apologize.

      It seems to me that you, like every other person who has claimed of misrepresentation on this blog cannot explain how there is misrepresentation. Calling people’s integrity into question and failing to supply any evidence in support seems to be second nature biblical scholars who visit this blog.

    2. So Joel cannot say how I misrepresented him by quoting what he said.

      Nor can he find a word to undermine my point that the disciples in the Gospels do not behave like highly religious Jews of the 1st century.

      All Joel can do is cast strawmen around by insinuating that mythicist arguments would lead to Julius Caesar not existing.

      Another person who cannot bring themselves to discuss things rationally with mythicists…..

      Go on Joel, wipe us out with arguments and evidence the way evolutionists wipe out creationists with arguments and evidence.

      McGrath couldn’t do it. You can’t either, which is why you link to McGrath’s failures, rather than think of your own failures.

    3. Joel, you did not address my question, so I’ll repeat it. What specifically do you find unbelievable?

      You ask me whether Aristotle, Socrates and Julius Caesar existed. You seem to be implying that if they existed then surely Jesus existed as well. You seem to be implying that the evidence is just as strong for Jesus as for these three. I disagree.

  12. Steve, Neil, you’ll have to excuse my contempt at your position in which you seek to misrepresent mine. Take a look at the entire post – you know, all of the evidence. I challenge your readers to do the same.

    1. So Joel is impotent to say where I misrepresented him.

      I quoted exactly what he said, and drew a logical conclusion from what he said.

      A logical conclusion that it seems Joel is helpless to demonstrate is illogical.

  13. Bill – I am applying at a few places now and considering attempting two MA’s at the same time. Bill, I am suggesting that extreme fundamentalism is a mental illness and that if the same criteria for historicity which is applied by pseudo-scholars is applied to some of the ancient figures, we might find that only our parents existed.

    Dohtery who? Anyone ‘scholar’ who claims the things that you say he does is not worth refuting, really. Not even worth a wiki page, if you ask me.

    Steve, you are the master of taking things out of context. The context is written down for the world to see. No need to explain what is clear.

    1. Joel, for the third time: What do you find unbelievable?

      Extreme fundamentalism is a mental illness? Hmmm, I admit that I find extreme religous fundamentalism disturbing, but it’s not a mental illness. At least I haven’t seen that one in DSM IV classification. I don’t think there’s really such a thing as atheist fundamentalism – how can the acceptance of reality (i.e. the realization that there really is no God) be fundamentalist? I wouldn’t even call Dawkins a fundamentalist (just a guy who is fed up with all the religious nonsense in the world).

      It is clear to me by what you write that you do not understand why Jesus mythicists think it likely there never was a historical Jesus.

      Good luck with your MAs

    2. So Joel still can’t say how I misrepresented him.

      Not can he refute my arguments.

      His original post did not apply his statement to the disciples in the Gospels.

      If he had thought of doing that, who knows what insights he may have had into why the Gospels do not portray the disciples as real people.

  14. Joel, if I thought you were serious I would actually bother to point out to you difference between knowing certain people exist today, and believing certain ones existed in ancient times.

    It’s nothing but an old canard that the evidence for Jesus is comparable to the evidence for Julius Caesar or Socrates. People who parrot that claim simply don’t know the facts.

    We have an abundance of primary and related evidence for Julius Caesar. We have very substantial secondary evidence for Socrates. And yes, we can prove Washington and others existed.

    We have zilch evidence for Jesus — unless you want to argue in a circle that we know a story is true because it is true.

    ETA: The old argument that “Jesus” is the only way to explain the rise of the church is just as fallacious — it assumes that the NT story has historical basis, and is just as circular.

    Nor is this hyper-scepticism. It is merely applying normal common sense, basic logic, and the way historians handle evidence in nonbiblical historical studies.

  15. “How could those highly-religiously motivated disciples not be constantly asking Jesus about Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, or relating what was happening to their knowledge of Scripture?”

    They did, in the Gospel of Thomas. To which they received a smackdown.

    Which does not, in and of itself, make the mythologies of the christological figure true or; they are meant to be allegories, and denying this, is what has put the world in peril for three thousand years.

    That’s my take on it anyway.

  16. sorry guys, I stepped out to take a swim. Looks like you guys weren’t the only one in over their head today. Because people do not know how to read things for themselves – or I would have at least expect more comments from Steve’s link, I am going to post my entire post here. Makes it easy if I just restate what I stated. Oh, and let me remind you guys that Dr. Maurice Casey will have a work in two years which will show good reason – Reason, something people should have – why the jesus-mythers are little more than modern day flat-earthers

    Rob Reid and Paula Fether have burst unto the scene, or seen?, with a conversation concerning prophecies. He would:

    “like to engage in a scholarly dialogue about whether in fact there are hundreds or any direct messianic prophecies in the “Old Testament” (ironically, such a term is pejorative on its face!). Thus, I would like anyone who holds similar beliefs to articulate exactly what was predicted and where in the Hebrew Bible and then argue for how exactly “hundreds” of these were fulfilled. I am eliciting a hermeneutical query. I have no intention on entertaining whether or not Jesus was/is the Messiah. I personally believe he was. However, that is not to say that he is found under every nook and cranny of Hebrew Bible texts.”

    Paula self-identifies as one who believes that:

    “Jesus is the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament, as proven by hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, his miracles, and his bodily resurrection from the dead.”

    I cannot stay away from a good conversation – so I want to input a tiny part of the dialogue. I agree with the statement that Christ is the Messiah expected through the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Usually, we think of prophecies as something which is foretold, something hidden in mystery, and shroud in secrecy; however, not once in the Gospel do we find the word προφητεία (prophecy) applied to the signs pointing to Christ as foretold by the Hebrew Prophets. This is our definition of them, and indeed, several times, such as the apocalyptic passages in the Hebrew Bible and the book of Revelation, words fall into our neat category; however, I believe that the early followers of Christ understood the overall sayings of the Prophets in a much different way. Further, if foretelling was acknowledged, it was generally in accordance with the people (apostate Israel) who challenged Christ (cf. Matthew 15.7). Additionally, Christ was encouraged from time to time to prophesy, therefore it is safe to say that the writers of the Gospels knew the word as they employed it in our sense. For them, it was not about foretelling, but retelling.

    The Virgin Birth is a historical and vital sign that Christ is the Messiah promised by God. Indeed, it is the first sign mentioned in Matthew:

    Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

    “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Mat 1:22-23 NASB)

    While the word ‘prophesy’ was in use, this was never the phrase used to signal a completion of the words of the Prophets. The phrase which I wish to briefly examine is, ‘γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθη (took place to fulfill).’ It signals the reader to a passage from the prophets which is about to be completed. Just as Herod did, they began to look for different connections between the here and now to the words of the prophets. This is different from a prophecy about what will happen. Literally, we could translate the phrase as ‘in order to complete.’ The event in the past serves not as a direct foretelling of the thing(s) to come, but as something more like a measuring tool. Isaiah was not prophesying about the Messiah, but his words found completion in the Messiah. It might be better said that events, instead of actual words, were the center of Messianic signatures.

    Before we move further, we should note that the office of a Prophet was rarely used to tell the far distant future. Instead, the person acted as a messenger of God for that moment.

    Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. (Amos 7:14)

    In Hebrew, the word prophet is ‘נָבִיא’. If we remove the theological language, it would simply be spokesperson, not a fore-teller of things to come. Rarely in what is commonly identified as prophecies do we see an instance of something on the horizon. (Note, 1st Samuel 9.9 indicates an ancient shift between the role of seer and that of the office of prophet.) If you read the Twelve Prophets, they deal primarily with the abuses of Israel and Judah to the covenant, calling for justice for this group or that group, while attempting to at once turn away the wrath of God and warn of the wrath of God. Essentially, they – both men and women – brought a current message.

    Let us examine another passage, this time with minimal influence of the Divine (By that, I mean the lack of miracles). In the second chapter of Matthew, we find two markers of the Messianic, both including dreams. First, the Magi and Herod, with a dream from God not to return. Second, we find a dream given to Joseph which drove him to Egypt:

    Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.” (Mat 2:13-15 NASB)

    While the matter may be semantics to some, I must force the difference. First, a prophecy, as used in apocalyptic writings is a foretelling wrapped in language meant to be hidden. We find here Messianic signs which are going to be used to judge the Messiah – yet, rarely if ever applied to Messianic Expectation writings.

    The above marker comes from Hosea:

    When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. (Hosea 11:1 NASB)

    This is a passage written to rest squarely on Israel as a whole, much like the Servant’s Song found in Isaiah 53. It does not stand out as a prophecy or a cue to something hidden within the meaning, yet, Matthew felt compelled that indeed, this was a sure sign that this Jesus was the Messiah because of His family’s departure from Egypt. This refers to no one but Israel as the Son of God – and would not, unless relayed by Matthew, stand as anything remotely related to the coming Messiah.

    It can be reasonably said that Israel did not always expect a Messiah. Further, we can see a progression through the prophets of the understanding of God’s justice, revealed by the prophets, and then the need of a Messianic figure to liberate Israel – not of spiritual bondage, but of physical bondage, and began to be fully recognized in the ‘inter-testamental’ period. Second, the Messianic figure would be one to establish God’s kingdom on earth, with Israel as the center. But again, this was not really seen in the Hebrew Prophets – until the coming of Christ.

    Returning to the idea that statements about a personified Israel can be placed on Christ, we find the Servant’s Song in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 in which we read of the punishment for sins as a near destruction to the body of the Servant.

    Throughout Isaiah we find the phrase עֶ֫בֶד (my servant) used in relation to historical figures, such as David, or even the prophet himself.

    “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. (Isa 41:8-9 NASB)

    The phrase – unless referring to the examples above – refers to the Israel of Isaiah’s time. Yet, we know that it was transferred to the body of the New Testament Jesus.

    As a final example we read the mother’s appeal in Matthew 20.20-23:

    Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” (Mat 20:20-23 NAU)

    Arguably, the question of canon faced not only the Church, at a later date, but the Jews as well. One of the discarded books by the Jews, and held in reservation by the early Church was the book of Great Wisdom (of Solomon). In it, we find a hint at the Messianic anticipation of the mother:

    For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones. (Wis 3:4-9 RSV)

    The reason I use this is to set the example – Messianic Expectation included not the idea that the Hebrew prophets foretold Christ in an apocalyptic manner with prophetic language, but that communities expected the Messianic figure to exemplify, to personify, the words of the Hebrew Prophets found in various writings considered sacred by the sects. In other words, the record of sacred writings was the mirror of the Messiah. If the Messiah could not be said to be the personification of rare and obscure passages of the prophets, then the person was a fraud.

    Only later did certain segments become more prophetic in understanding, such as the Balaam’s star (Numbers 24.17-19) and Bar Kochba. It is worth mentioning that with the mention of the star in the East in Matthew, this was not connected to Balaam’s star. We know that apocalyptic communities later focused on the star in Numbers and connected to the Messiah – yet, we do not find this connection in the Gospels; however, do find it in pseudepigraphical writings of the period, including the Testament of the Patriarchs, which came to the final conclusion in the 2nd century after Christ.

    And after this there shall arise for you a star from Jacob in peace. And a man shall arise from my posterity like the sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men in gentleness and righteousness, and in him will be found no sin. And the heavens will be opened upon him to pour out the spirit as a blessing of the holy Father. And he will pour out the spirit of grace on you. This is the shoot of God most high; this is the fountain of life of all humanity. Then he will illumine the scepter of my kingdom, and from your root will arise the shoot, and through it will arise the rod of righteousness for the nations, to judge and to save all that call on the Lord. (Testament of Judah 24.1-6)

    Further, we see it earlier in the Qumran Community,

    And the star is the seeker of the Law who came to Damascus, because it was written A star has came forth out of Jacob and a scepter has risen out of Israel. The scepter stands for the prince of the congregation. At his coming he shall break down all the sons of Sheth. (Damascus Document 7.18-21)

    A meditating time frame, we find the Targum Onkelos (c.110), which does connect Balaam’s Star to the Messiah,

    I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh. When a king shall arise out of Jakob, And the Meshiha be anointed from Israel, He will slay the princes of Moab, and reign over all the children of men; (Num 24:17)

    I note that by it was during the period which saw the development of the Testament of Judah was finalized and the writing of the Targum Onkelos, Simon Bar Kochba (c132) was declared Messiah, nicknamed ‘son of the Star’ and led the Jewish people into final defeat against the Romans. For many of the later commentators, the star in Numbers is a key sign to Christ – yet, nothing of it is found in the Gospels.

    The Gospel writers and the early apostolic communities in the Jesus Way began to see the entire corpus of sacred writings as pointing to Christ – not just segments of obscure language, and not in a foretelling sense, but all of the writings, especially of the prophets. For them, everything the prophets said could be said to be incarnated into the person of Christ. This is highlighted in the words of Christ,

    “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; (John 5:39 NASB)

    Christ was not merely speaking of certain prophecies, but of the proto-canon – it all testified of Him. Further, we see from different authors ques connecting the life of Christ to the story of Israel – not the blatant ones, but ones such as

    who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure (ἔξοδον exodus) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9.:31 NASB)

    οἳ ὀφθέντες ἐν δόξῃ ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ, ἣν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ. (NA-27)

    Here, we find Luke sees the soon death/departure as a sign of the Exodus – which should have brought to the mind of his readers the release from slavery after the Passover. (Also see the use of ‘ἐδόξαζον τὸν θεὸν’ as a queue by Luke to the Hebrew Scriptures.) For the primitive followers of the Messiah, they were not so concerned with ‘prophecies’ such as those of His returning (which are true prophecies) but of connecting His life and work to the collected writings of the prophets. They didn’t look for foretellings, but retellings. Comparing Him to Moses, Solomon, Jonah, and David was not unheard of in the Gospel. While they were the shadow of things to come, He was the archetype.

    Finally, we take as evidence of this case, Jonah.

    But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mat 12:39-40 NASB)

    This is not a prophesy of the Messiah, and in no way was thought to point to the coming Messianic figure; however, Christ took history from the sacred writings, and applied it to Himself. No one can easily say that Jonah prophesied about Christ, yet his sign was completed, incarnated, in Christ. It is not that the Gospel writers and the primitive communities of believers backwards wrote the Messiah, but it was only through history that Christ was identified as the Messiah. As Luke recounts,

    Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luk 24:45-47 NASB)

    Written where? In one specific passage? Not hardly, but written in the entire corpus of Scripture. It was not minute passages of prophetic material which pointed to Christ, but the entire recognized work. He did not fulfill prophecy, but completed the Hebrew Prophets.

    I am sure I have left out a key to the argument somewhere, or perhaps made no argument at all, so feel free to bruise and crush me as you see fit. For those who would desire to see me torn apart and laid upon the altar of pseudo-academia, please remember I bruise easily and I’ve been known to cry if my feelings are hurt.

    1. In other words, your claim that Steve misrepresented what you wrote was false.

      What you did not like was that he took your words and drew conclusions from them that you do not agree with.

      That is not misrepresentation. That is expressing another point of view.

      Accusing another point of view of being a misrepresentation of your own is, well, . . . (others can fill in the blank here)

  17. Bill, Dawkins is the worse of the bunch – although I do agree with many of the New Atheists that religion needs to be knocked off the high horse it has in society. Define a fundamentalist – it has nothing to do with God, but an absolute inability to grasp modern scholarship, science, etc… instead seeing great conspiracies in those things. They have set themselves up as their own final arbitrator of the truth.

    Thanks. Maybe if I am in Scotland, we can meet up for a cup of what you guys consider coffee and I can introduce you to Christ. 🙂 (I know, I know…)

  18. Steve, I am honored that you think I a ‘historian’ and that I can do a literary analysis. Wow. That makes me feel good – you still get it wrong, as that is not what I am doing, but hey, I take whatever praise I can get.

    Oh, and just because you don’t understand what the gospels are about, doesn’t make them any less real. You are as bad as many evangelicals and ‘Christian Nationists’, the birthers and the deathers, who create their own little world, build strawmen and ask others to debunk them. Sorry, got better things to do with my time than play scholarly footsy with a man who could be convinced that neither Caesar, Christ, Socrates, or his own great-grandfather existed.

    Steve, to be honest, expect for some writings of yours which may or may not come from you, I am not sure you actually exist. Can you prove that you do? Or that Bill Warrent does? Can you prove that George Washington did? Caesar? Pliny the Elder and Younger? Anyone, Steve? Or, are we all just a figment of Neil’s imagination?

    Tisk, tisk, Steve.

  19. Joel wrote:

    Oh, and let me remind you guys that Dr. Maurice Casey will have a work in two years which will show good reason – Reason, something people should have – why the jesus-mythers are little more than modern day flat-earthers

    We have been threatened with publication in two years many times now, Joel. It sounds a bit like historicists are saying, “You just wait till my big brother comes and gets you!”

    But I can understand historical Jesus proponents using this tactic. I have seen nothing but circular arguments and, yes, insults, in defence of their position so far. Not one of their arguments till now has stood up to any test I can think of.

    I predict that when/if Casey’s book does come out, people like yourself will be happy to say, “See, there! Your arguments are defeated.” They won’t bother engaging the mythicist arguments any more than they do now. They will simply use Casey’s book as another Goguel or whoever and say mythicism hasn’t a leg to stand on and it’s all been rebutted by Casey. They won’t know much about what Casey’s arguments actually are, and they certainly will remain wilfufully ignorant of mythicist replies to those arguments. I predict if they do encounter a mythicist reply, they will turn the deaf ear to it and merely parrot, “Read Casey”.

    It is interesting that Casey apparently chooses not to risk testing any of his arguments before the publication of his book. That wouldn’t help sales now, would it.

    1. Joel Watts makes a good point.

      If we applied sceptical principles to history, we would not be able to prove whether or not Q existed.

      Fancy that! Biblical historians would start to dispute the existence of Q, if they applied sceptical principles like asking for outside confirmation of things, rather than just reading the Gospels and doing literary analysis on them.

      You would think that Biblical historians would have learned a lesson by their impotence to agree whether or not Q existed.

      Instead, they lambast people as lunatics for applying the same sceptical principles to Jesus that they laud as praiseworthy when applied to the existence of Q.

  20. Well, what a surprise!

    Joel came with claims of misrepresentation and has refused to apologise for this malicious slander.

    How Christian of him!

    And then despite taunting, he came up with zero evidence, despite his claim that we are flat-earthers.

    You would think a professional like him would have some evidence to refute flat-earthers.

    What does he do to deserve his money?

  21. Well there ya have it folks. That’s the end of the fight. Sorry the challenger chose to withdraw before the first round started. We can accept no responsibility but be assured all ticket holders will be fully refunded.

    Joel Watts, the latest challenger, has apparently cowered at the first signs that those whom he contemptuously labels “flat earthers” do indeed rely on a little more than just Dan Brown for their arguments, and have some acquaintance with basic logic and the methodology of historians of nonbiblical subjects, and has withdrawn from the contest. Presumably Watts has no answer for the initial salvos demonstrated in the pre-publicity material.

    He sadly joins the ranks of James McGrath who labelled mythicists creationists, yet dodged and feinted at every curb and chair on the way to the ring until he eventually withdrew before entering the ring also.

    These can be added to the Hall of Shame heroes who go back to ChristianCadre and James Patrick Holding or whatever his name is. Although we must acknowledge that ChristianCadre did have the guts to get into the ring and last it out a few rounds. But none has managed it since then. One can scarce mention Crossley who only popped in once or twice before beating a hasty retreat.

    But we await, as we’ve been reminded once again, that, if Jesus does not come in the meantime, there will be a book published by Dr Maurice Casey that will demolish all the arguments you ever heard come within a cooee of mythicism.

    1. Oh yes, we cannot forget, can we, that this latest would be challenger also left after accusations he could not substantiate, bully-boy mockery, and another tired routine of insult, logical fallacy and ignorance. Perhaps Sheffield or Butler can offer him an honorary doctorate.

      Shame, Joel, shame.

      1. *tiptoeing in, approaching the ring after the fight that did not happen, gingerly stepping over and around sundry specters of feinting and Dan Brown and Socrates and flat earthers, no less*

        A belated Happy Birthday to you, Neil.

        *tiptoeing out, trying to retrace my steps around the mélange of mockeries, wondering if a real contender will appear before two years from now, at which time a new challenger is supposed to obliterate the cobweb-infested ring altogether – the suspense is killing me…*

  22. To be fair to Joel, he is a Christian, and is aware that his Saviour teaches him that outsiders are to be compared with dogs and swine. What he treasures as pearls he needs to guard for fear they will be exposed as nothing more fanciful than Lucy’s diamonds in the sky.

  23. Steve, Neil, sorry guys, but I have better things to do than to play games with you guys. I’ve watched it happen on other posts, with other commentators. Too bad, really, that your little world is filled with so deception and sheer stupidity.

    Neil, I still think you are pulling a Poe’s Law – no one in their right mind could so twist things and ignore simple facts. Wait, are you a Republican?

  24. Steve, you are the best ego-booster ever. A ‘professional.’ That has made my day. It is telling, but I’ll pretend that you know what you are talking about and take it as a compliment. 🙂

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