2011-06-03

Doherty’s chapter 7 (1): McGrath’s attack of transient global amnesia

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by Neil Godfrey

Reviewing James McGrath’s “review” of Doherty’s chapter 7. McGrath begins:

Chapter 7 of Earl Doherty’s book Jesus: Neither God Nor Man turns attention to other characters in the Gospels and events that are not mentioned about them (sic) in the epistles: Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, for starters.

Presumably the first thing to note it that the latter completely undermines Doherty’s argument. Paul refers to encounters with Peter – a real historical individual – and thus if he can be a real individual without stories from the later Gospels appearing in the epistles, then clearly so can Jesus.

This makes no sense. Even the Gospels themselves refer to undoubtedly real people such as Pilate. They also refer to real cities, like Jerusalem. Ancient fiction is also known to include real people and places. The historical Persian King Artaxerxes and his wife Statira appear in Chariton‘s Chaireas and Callihroe, as does the historical general Hermocrates.

So even if we do accept Peter as a historical person known to Paul, this simply does not inevitably force us to conclude that a later narrative that includes Peter must be historical in all its details or other characters.

McGrath continues:

Beyond that, it seems as though Doherty thinks that recent events should have had the same status for members of this Jewish sect as their Scriptures did. Otherwise, it isn’t clear why recent events should have been chosen to illustrate points when Scripture carried more weight.

Not clear? It should be. Doherty did, after all, explain that it was not simply a matter of recent events OR scripture at all. And where there is reference to Scriptures, does McGrath really, seriously believe that a reference to Esau as an arch-betrayer would outshine Judas in a Christian community to the point that no reference to Judas would ever arise at all?

Yet before [Judas] appears to fill his treacherous role in Mark’s passion story, no ghost of Judas haunts the Christian landscape. He is notably missing from the above passage in Hebrews [Hebrews 12:15-17 using Esau as an example of one who betrays for reward], where the selling of the Lord himself for 30 pieces of silver by a man embittered, jealous and deceitful, would have been a far more apt symbol of the bitter, poisonous weed that arises unchecked within the community of the holy.

Nor would the reference to Judas have been out of place in Paul’s own presentation of his Lord’s Supper. Here he is criticizing the Corinthians for their behavior at the communal meal. He speaks of rivalry and “divided groups,” of those who “eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily.” If anyone had been guilty of such things, it was surely Judas at the very first Supper.

The writer of 1 Clement also deals with the theme of jealousy, but to his list of Old Testament figures who suffered at the hands of jealous men, he fails to add Jesus himself, betrayed by the perfidious apostle in his own company.

McGrath finds an ad hoc rationalization in order to dismiss a very curious omission of Paul’s if there were any historical basis to the Gospel narrative of Peter’s denial of Jesus:

As for why Paul doesn’t accuse Peter of denying Jesus three times (a question Doherty raises), presumably Peter could have responded with “and how many times did you persecute Christians?” If they were inclined to have that conversation, it is entirely possible that they had got it out of their system before Galatians was written, and that Paul thought better about starting it up again.

Seriously? The moment Paul “met” Jesus he was prepared to suffer persecution all the way, unlike Peter even after being with Jesus three years. McGrath overlooked the fact that (as Doherty pointed out) Paul was not so shy of attacking Peter’s sins at all, and was quite prepared to “show outbursts of anger and disdain toward Peter and others of the Jerusalem group (as in Galatians 2), but never does he bring up a denial of the Lord by Peter to twist the knife.” Further,

Earlier in the story, the favored three of Peter, James and John had slept through their Master’s agony in the Gethsemane garden, . . .  Paul never mentions it. Nor do any of the other epistles, which often deal with situations in which Christians are in danger of falling away from their resolve and devotion. (p. 72)

Where Doherty discusses seven early Christian documents, McGrath chooses to select but one for his criticism without leaving readers aware that this really but one of seven:

Doherty mentions Q and the Gospel of Thomas as sources that show no awareness of Jesus’ death, and seems to think that this too is evidence for mythicism. We may leave Thomas to one side given the ongoing debates about it’s date and interpretation, but as for Q, unless one is adopting the Christian view that the risen Jesus taught the apostles after Easter, then precisely what sort of discussion of his death should we expect in a source that preserves Jesus’ teaching?

This is a strange comment to make: McGrath here spends more time discussing Q than Doherty ever does in this context, and manages to miss the significance of Q altogether despite Doherty explaining it. Q is more than a “teaching-only” document. It is the document that forms the basis of the Galilean Tradition itself. Doherty merely notes here that it “contains no concept of a Jesus who suffered and died, let alone one who was resurrected” and leans toward Burton Mack’s argument that this tradition was eventually combined with another tradition that did focus on the death and resurrection, the Pauline one. Doherty discusses Q across 100 pages in a later section of the book, but McGrath is not interested in taking any of that into account here.

But McGrath’s criticism here is especially curious because Doherty only makes passing reference to Q and Thomas while naming five other “significant pieces of [early] Christian witness” that are lacking any knowledge of the death of Jesus and his resurrection: Didache, Shepherd of Hermas, Odes of Solomon, the epistle of James and (without any clear indication of knowing a resurrection) the epistle to the Hebrews. Some of these Doherty does discuss in more depth, pointing to where there were clear occasions to refer to the death and resurrection in order to make their arguments, but where they are curiously silent.

McGrath then leads his more knowledgable readers to suspect he is too rushed to recall Doherty’s explanations of his discussion in this chapter:

If, in his book, Doherty were trying merely to show that the Jesus of today’s popular Christianity is not the historical Jesus, some of his points might carry some weight – and would agree with mainstream scholarship. But time and again he seems unaware of one essential point: You cannot disprove or even intelligently discuss the existence of the historical Jesus unless you adopt historical methods. Let me give a few examples of the kinds of things Doherty addresses in a manner that ignores relevant scholarly or historical considerations:

He mentions the absence from the epistles of Jesus’ words from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” apparently unaware or unconcerned that that saying is judged on text-critical grounds to be unlikely to be an original part of Luke, to say nothing of whether any disciple could have heard anything Jesus said on the cross. The words attributed to Jesus on the cross may have been felt by the Gospel authors to be appropriate to the person and the occasion, but a historian will have serious doubts about their authenticity. Doherty discusses in much the same fashion the trial of Jesus, Pilate’s hand-washing, the earthquake, darkened heavens and the torn veil (pp.74-75). Even some relatively conservative historians have recognized that there are reasons to question the historicity of such details. If Doherty is not going to apply the insights and methods of historical criticism, or at least engage the arguments of historians that these are likely to be legendary and symbolic details, how can he possibly expect anyone to take his arguments seriously as history?

McGrath here has simply forgotten what Doherty explained about what he is covering in this chapter, and why, and the evidence Doherty does give that he is very aware indeed that much of modern critical scholarship does not accept the historicity of many of the Gospel details.

Many of the elements in the Gospel story have been rejected by modern critical scholarship as unhistorical. But our purpose is to examine all of them, to show that the Gospels are unreliable as an historical record, or as providing any basis for supporting the historicity of Jesus. This survey will also demonstrate that Christian documents outside the Gospels, even at the end of the 1st century and beyond, show no evidence that any traditions about an earthly life and ministry of Jesus were in circulation. Even in regard to Jesus’ death and resurrection, to which many of those documents refer, there is no earthly setting provided for such events.

We will look at the epistolary silence on the Gospel story in two chapters . . . the second [chapter 7] the passion scene of trial and crucifixion. (p. 57, my emphasis)

So McGrath’s criticism can be explained as an attack of transient global amnesia.

To be continued. . . .

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Neil Godfrey

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  • Steven Carr
    2011-06-03 22:10:06 GMT+0000 - 22:10 | Permalink

    MCGRATH
    Even some relatively conservative historians have recognized that there are reasons to question the historicity of such details. If Doherty is not going to apply the insights and methods of historical criticism, or at least engage the arguments of historians that these are likely to be legendary and symbolic details, how can he possibly expect anyone to take his arguments seriously as history?

    CARR
    You have to admire McGrath’s determination to refute charges of the Gospels being myths by explaining that they contain legendary and symbolic ‘details’.

    And that if mythicists point out the legends and symbols in the Gospels, then they are to be cast into the wilderness as not fit to discuss history.

    McGrath sounds very like the fundies who castigated Bart Ehrman when he said the text had been corrupted, by telling their readers that scholars already knew there were variations in the ‘details’.

    Apparently the trial of Jesus is a ‘detail’….

    MCGRATH
    The words attributed to Jesus on the cross may have been felt by the Gospel authors to be appropriate to the person and the occasion, but a historian will have serious doubts about their authenticity

    CARR
    And how does McGrath know when the authors stopped putting words into the mouth of their Jesus?

    And nature and religion abhors a vacuum. Why does Paul not mention any of the legends that would have sprung up about a Holy Man? Apart from Paul claiming Jesus had been with the Jews in the Exodus.

    McGrath would answer that these ‘legendary and symbolic details’ sprung up later than Paul’s writing, although McGrath also tells his readers about the possibility of Mark’s Gospel being written in 40 AD – something he does not believe, but it is a handy stick to hit Doherty with.

    ‘Whatever one makes of his arguments, in the present context what is important is that it is not impossible that Mark’s Gospel dates from a time before Paul wrote, while the whole mythicist scenario Doherty requires a date for the Gospels that is significantly later.’

    So how does McGrath turn around now and say that it is unimportant that these ‘legendary and symbolic details’ are not mentioned by Paul, Hebrews, James, etc etc, when he used early dating of these ‘legendary symbolic details’ as a convenient stick to hit Doherty with?

  • 2011-06-03 23:07:57 GMT+0000 - 23:07 | Permalink

    Nice attempt at misrepresentation, but I never claimed that a text that has historical details is therefore historical in all it’s details. No serious historian would claim that, and you know it. what Doherty does is try to argue from the non-historicity of some details to the non-historicity of the person about whom those details are offered. All I did was show that that reasoning doesn’t work.

    • Evan
      2011-06-03 23:58:19 GMT+0000 - 23:58 | Permalink

      Let’s try to figure out how we logically arrive at this statement, shall we?

      Major Premise: If a book contains a reference to a historical character, then no other character in that book can be ahistorical … Any historical novel disproves it … no that won’t work

      Major Premise: If a book contains a reference to a historical character, then some other characters in that book are historical … The Watchmen disproves it … no that won’t work

      Major Premise: If a book contains a reference to a historical character, this does not assert the historicity or lack thereof of any character in it … no this really doesn’t prove the point

      Major Premise: If a book contains a reference to a historical character, then no serious historian would try to argue from the non-historicity of some of the details to the non-historicity of the person about whom those details are offered … yes that seems opaque enough to sound plausible.

      Certainly no historian would reason from the implausibility of the plot-line of Chariton’s Chaeras and Callirhoe that Chaereas was not a historical figure. Perhaps Dr. McGrath can point us to the historical Chaereas researches that he is aware of.

      Reading about the historicity of Chariton’s novel is like reading through a looking glass at HJ reasoning. The authors of critical scholarship on Chariton rule it out as historically accurate over a little thing like dates not matching up. Since Hermocrates wasn’t alive during Artaxerxes’ reign, these people throw the baby out with the bathwater and assume that this story can’t have any historical basis, even though we know there was a historical Hermocrates and a historical Artaxerxes. Cueva in The Myths of Fiction puts it this way:

      “Chariton used more historiographical than mythological elements in his novel (see Chap 1). The historical parameters of his work, however, did not constrain his inventiveness, but rather supplied him with a framework within which he could develop his plot. In other words, Chariton uses history but is not bound to follow it: he conflates all his historical information.”

      So mainstream scholars of antiquity are quite comfortable looking at a text that purports, within the text itself, to be historical and judging by the elements within the text itself and the lack of external historical attestation that any historical character who appears within the text does not, by itself, establish anything regarding the historicity of the text. They are quite comfortable assigning texts to the category of fiction when they rely on elements that are primarily narrative devices like dramatic reversals of fortune, crucifixions, empty tombs and resurrections, seemingly real or seemingly imagined.

      In NT scholarship, since John the Baptist didn’t die until 36 CE, this proves that he was a historical person who baptized Jesus, or something, even though Jesus is postulated to have died in 30 CE and the gospels clearly show him dying second.

      • 2011-06-04 08:43:39 GMT+0000 - 08:43 | Permalink

        You’re not being fair to the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Evan. You know very well he has confessed he does not understand arguments structured around formal logic.

        • Evan
          2011-06-04 13:13:43 GMT+0000 - 13:13 | Permalink

          Seriously Neil, I look at it again and again, I can’t see how it works. We can even rework Cueva’s quote and it works just fine:

          “Luke used more historiographical than mythological elements in his gospel. The historical parameters of his work, however, did not constrain his inventiveness, but rather supplied him with a framework within which he could develop his plot. In other words, Luke uses history but is not bound to follow it: he conflates all his historical information.”

          How is this any different than what mainstream scholarship suggests? One could almost as easily substitute Mark there.

          • 2011-06-04 15:16:33 GMT+0000 - 15:16 | Permalink

            We also have the Alexander Romance. If that were all we had about Alexander then we would be entirely justified in denying the historicity of Alexander. The only way one can argue for the historicity of Alexander is to bypass the obvious fiction and not even give it a second glance.

            The problem is familiarity with the NT narrative. If we are so used to thinking of a story as having a historical basis then I wonder if nothing short of a generational change will be needed to open up the logical fallacies for all to see clearly.

      • 2011-06-04 17:00:50 GMT+0000 - 17:00 | Permalink

        McGrath: “Paul refers to encounters with Peter – a real historical individual – and thus if he can be a real individual without stories from the later Gospels appearing in the epistles, then clearly so can Jesus.”

        I think he means:

        1. Paul wrote about meeting Peter. (Or is Cephas really a different person from Simon Peter?)

        2. Peter was a real person. (Debatable.)

        3. The epistles contain no stories about Peter.

        4. Hence, the lack of stories about Jesus shouldn’t surprise us.

        The problem, of course, is that Peter is just a disciple. He might be the most important disciple, but he is not the Great Teacher, the Messiah, the Son of God, etc.

        McGrath: “What Doherty does is try to argue from the non-historicity of some details to the non-historicity of the person about whom those details are offered.

        I think that’s an overly simplistic summation of the argument. The problem has to do with Paul’s failure to show any familiarity at all with the basic stories found in the written gospels. It’s funny how NT scholars will talk about the “rich and vibrant” oral tradition that permeated the early church on the one hand, and then on the other, make all kinds of excuses as to why Paul does not appeal to that tradition when arguing points of Christian doctrine.

        The simplest explanation for Paul’s silence simply this: The stories of the healing, teaching, demon-chasing Galilean Jesus were unknown to Paul. And Paul was not alone, for they were later inventions. Consider the long and tortured argument Paul makes about Abraham being justified or made righteous by his faith. How easy would it have been for him to have concluded by quoting Jesus? “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” “[B]lessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

        The greater, overarching argument is that the sayings and deeds were attributed to Jesus well after his supposed death. In fact Christians kept inventing them well into the second and third centuries as gospels (gnostic or not) continued to be written. The farther back we go, the less we know. Once you peel away the layers of the onion, you have either a real historical person whom we know absolutely nothing about — or a myth.

        • Evan
          2011-06-04 23:44:01 GMT+0000 - 23:44 | Permalink

          Gerd Ludemann:

          “In short, Paul cannot be considered a reliable witness to either the teachings, the life, or the historical existence of Jesus.”

    • Steven Carr
      2011-06-04 00:06:21 GMT+0000 - 00:06 | Permalink

      ‘Nice attempt at misrepresentation, but I never claimed that a text that has historical details is therefore historical in all it’s details. ‘

      In other words, McGrath has no evidence for historicity and is resorting to claims that some of it might be true, even if the first Gospel looks like myth and legend, and doesn’t even look like history.

      DOHERTY
      But our purpose is to examine all of them, to show that the Gospels are unreliable as an historical record, or as providing any basis for supporting the historicity of Jesus

      CARR
      McGrath disputes the premise that if the Gospels are unreliable as historical record, then this undercuts their providing a basis for supporting the historicity of Jesus.

      Just as he would dispute anybody who claimed that if the Book of Mormon is unreliable as a historical record, then this undercuts it providing a basis for supporting the historicity of the characters in it.

      According to McGrath ‘No serious historian would claim that…’ the unreliability of the historical record of the Book of Mormon is a basis for doubting the characters in it ‘..and you know it.

      Or do the Gospels get a special ‘Could be historical’ card that other books do not get?

      • 2011-06-04 01:08:39 GMT+0000 - 01:08 | Permalink

        Steven: “Or do the Gospels get a special ‘Could be historical’ card that other books do not get?

        God forbid. That would be an unfair burden. The Gospels get a “Must Be Historical” card that other books do not. Turning the burden of proof on its head, they assume anything plausible is therefore likely until proven otherwise.

        If you were a “serious historian,” you’d know that.

        • Steven Carr
          2011-06-04 03:36:33 GMT+0000 - 03:36 | Permalink

          Mind you, even if things are proven fabricated, that will not stop ‘Serious Historians’

          ‘Serious Historians’ know that ‘ Even fabricated material may provide a true sense of the gist of what Jesus was about, however inauthentic it may be as far as the specific details are concerned.’

          While McGrath says Doherty is not even doing history, when Doherty points out the ‘..the arguments of historians that these are likely to be legendary and symbolic details’, a certain James McGrath triumphantly proclaims that these ‘details’ will give a true gist of Jesus, ‘however inauthentic they may be’, and if you were a serious historian, you would know that.

          • Evan
            2011-06-04 13:14:39 GMT+0000 - 13:14 | Permalink

            Yes, Steven, just like fabricated material about Clark Kent can tell us loads of things about Harold Lloyd.

    • 2011-06-04 08:27:45 GMT+0000 - 08:27 | Permalink

      McGrath writes: “Nice attempt at misrepresentation, but I never claimed that a text that has historical details is therefore historical in all it’s details. . . . what Doherty does is try to argue from the non-historicity of some details to the non-historicity of the person about whom those details are offered.”

      Neil: I even quoted Doherty to show what Doherty IS in fact doing, and that demonstrates that your absurd accusation that he is trying “to argue from the non-historicity of some details to the non-historicity of the person about whom those details are offered” is patently false, but the evidence does not faze you one bit.

      McGrath, it is plain to all that you are so emotionally anti-mythicist that you assume all arguments for it must be either ignorant or dishonest or incompetent, so much so that you simply cannot read the plain evidence before your eyes to the contrary. Doherty explains what he is doing in black and white and you cannot read it or will simply imply he is lying.

  • Steven Carr
    2011-06-04 00:13:51 GMT+0000 - 00:13 | Permalink

    ‘Beyond that, it seems as though Doherty thinks that recent events should have had the same status for members of this Jewish sect as their Scriptures did. Otherwise, it isn’t clear why recent events should have been chosen to illustrate points when Scripture carried more weight.’

    You have to love McGrath’s claim that events in the life of Jesus carried less weight for followers of Jesus than events in the life of Esau….

    • Hjalti
      2011-06-04 01:49:08 GMT+0000 - 01:49 | Permalink

      Yes, that’s quite odd.

    • KevinC
      2011-06-05 18:16:49 GMT+0000 - 18:16 | Permalink

      Yeah, I find it hard to believe that this is the kind of powerful argument upon which a solid consensus of professional scholars can rest. If the Jewish scriptures trumped Jesus in the minds of early Christians, why did they diverge from Judaism in the first place?

  • KevinC
    2011-06-05 17:51:44 GMT+0000 - 17:51 | Permalink

    This discussion on how McGrath reads Doherty makes me think of the way historicists seem to read the Christian sources themselves:

    PAUL: Christ Jesus existed before the foundation of the world. All things were made by him, and through him, all things hold together. He was crucified, then raised in glory, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    HISTORICISTS: Paul doesn’t tell us much about the obscure Galilean peasant he was describing, but we can pick out a few facts about Jesus’ life, such as his crucifixion.

    GOSPEL WRITERS: Jesus was conceived miraculously by God himself, and grew into a superhero with amazing powers! He cast out demons, healed lepers and the crippled, he walked on water, controlled the weather, said some nice things about the poor, then, in fulfillment of ancient prophecy, he, the Chosen One, was crucified and raised from the dead, shut off the Sun for three hours, teleported into locked rooms, and finally ascended into Heaven vindicated as the Son of God.

    HISTORICISTS: The Gospels don’t tell us much about the obscure Galilean peasant they were describing, except that he said some nice things about the poor, and was crucified.

    In other words, I think it could be argued that historicism depends heavily on ignoring the Jesus the NT writers actually wrote about and saying, in effect, “What you guys really meant to write about was this, regardless of what you actually wrote. And with you as our sources, we have an invincible, ironclad, 100% certain case for a historical Jesus, comparable to the theory of evolution vs. creationism.”

    I’m using a few dollops of hyperbole here, but it seems to me that historicism does have to engage in some mental gymnastics to turn the divinized superbeing all of the early Christian writers are talking about into an obscure Galilean peasant who was a Cynic sage/apocalyptic prophet/Essene dropout/Zealout Messiah claimant/proto-Gandhi (I’m not sure which one).

    The distinction is the rule-set under which a “Jesus” becomes credible. If you take the NT writers “straight,” then the Jesus they’re talking about is clearly a myth, as McGrath himself implicitly concedes in the first sentence of the last paragraph of his quoted above. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which is simply not present in the case of “Jesus.”

    But if you’re talking about an obscure, non-miraculous peasant who manages to aquire a tiny group of followers before getting himself executed by the Romans, the evidential requirements go way down, so that just about any mention of such a person by any ancient source is sufficient to warrant historical acceptance of his existence.

    Given the vast gulf between the “Jesus” of the NT and the “Jesus” of historicist scholars, does it make much sense to consider them the same person? In the case of a historical figure with supernatural accoutrements like Alexander, it’s possible to strip away the miraculous birth stories, the apparition of Serapis, etc. and still have a coherent narrative about a Macedonian king and general who conquered most of the known world of his day. OTOH, if you take away the supernatural from Jesus, what’s left is a completely different character. If there was such a person, wouldn’t it be more accurate to call him something like “a source of the Jesus myth” or “an influence on the literary character of Jesus” rather than “the historical Jesus?”

    Neil’s Popeye analogy seems (to me) to fit here. “Popeye” was clearly based on a stereotype of crusty sailors who got in brawls, maybe even on a particular man the author knew. That doesn’t make that man (or any sailor the author might have observed getting into fights over a woman) “the historical Popeye.” Rather, he is an influence on the author in the creation of the Popeye character.

    • Steven Carr
      2011-06-05 18:20:34 GMT+0000 - 18:20 | Permalink

      Popeye was based on a real person.

      McGrath doesn’t even keep up a pretence he has evidence for the existence of Judas, Thomas, Joseph of Arimatheam, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene etc etc, just as there is no evidence for the existence of Bluto, Sweepea, Olyve Oyl etc.

      McGrath’s Jesus has no more evidence for him than Popeye.

      But McGrath is one of these new scholars who are pioneering new methods. While historians in other fields rely on – I quote- ‘instinct’, McGrath has replaced their methods with ‘precision’ – ie he now writes that even fabricated material is useful, however inauthentic it may be.

      This new methods is based on the Sherlock Holmes method – if you remove the impossible from the Gospels, then whatever is left, no matter how improbable , must be true.

      Or perhaps it is the Reimarus method – simply remove the supernatural and you are left with history.

      As Neil points out, this method of doing history simply destroys the Gospels , meaning they can never be understood, as apparently all the Gospel writers knew that they were writing about an obscure person who had a handful of followers, which is simply not what they are writing about.

    • 2011-06-05 19:12:26 GMT+0000 - 19:12 | Permalink

      The Popeye analogy is Steven’s (not mine). The observation that when one removes the miraculous from the stories one only destroys stories and does not come closer to historicity at all – that observation is borrowed from Thomas L. Thompson who uses it in his criticism of the old Albrightian types of biblical scholars attempting to find historical underlays in the stories of the Old Testament. (Thompson also criticizes historical Jesus scholars, by the way, for the same unsupportable methodologies.)

      • mike Wilson
        2011-06-06 07:22:24 GMT+0000 - 07:22 | Permalink

        So we must accept Alexander the Great fought dragons and Vespasian could heal the blind?

        • 2011-06-06 07:38:25 GMT+0000 - 07:38 | Permalink

          If you showed any interest in wanting to engage in a serious discussion and were not simply playing ego games by ridiculing and insulting others (I know, McGrath and his fans do not set you are very good example) then I might be tempted to be patient enough to explain, once more, why we don’t accept the miraculous and mythical stories attached to historical characters, while we do accept the historicity of the persons themselves, and why this is consistent with rejecting Jesus altogether.

  • Jon
    2011-06-06 01:01:35 GMT+0000 - 01:01 | Permalink

    Steven Carr wrote:

    “Apart from Paul claiming Jesus had been with the Jews in the Exodus.”

    Where does Paul make this claim?

    • Evan
      2011-06-06 01:47:46 GMT+0000 - 01:47 | Permalink

      1 Cor 10: For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

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