Re: Applying the Art of Lie-detecting to the Resurrection Accounts
What practices are used by investigators who must sift through numerous eyewitness accounts of an event
Jon - do you believe we have numerous eye-witness accounts to Jesus?
In fact - we do not have ONE single authentic claim to have met a historical Jesus.
Here are my notes on the subject :
Who claimed to have met a historical Jesus ?
It is frequently claimed that we have multiple eye-witnesses who claimed to have met Jesus.
This is probably why believers respond with cries of "why would they die for a lie?" "how could it all be a hoax?" "that's just a conspiracy theory" when a sceptic claims the Gospels are not true history.
Because - believers are convinced we have numerous reliable claims from identifiable people that they met Jesus - thus if Jesus did not exist, then all those eye-witness claims must have been a "hoax". If Jesus was not historical, the claims to have met him must have been a "lie", If Jesus never lived then all those multiple claimed eye-witnesses must have been involved in a "conspiracy".
So, let's examine the evidence -
How many : * identifiable people * claimed to have met Jesus * in authentic writing. ?
Paul Paul never met a historical Jesus, and never claimed to. He did claim to have had revelations "thru Christ" etc. He did claim to have had a vision of Christ. And others (Acts) claim Paul had a vision of Christ.
It is worth noting that Paul does not place Iesous Christos in history : * No places - Paul never mentions Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Calvary, etc. * No dates - Paul never places Iesous Christos in time. * No names - Paul never mentions Mary, Joseph, Pilate, Judas, Nicodemus, Lazarus etc. * No miracles - Paul never mentions the miracles/healings of Jesus * No trial/tomb - Paul never mentions the trial or the empty tomb etc. Paul's Christos is a heavenly being, not a historical person.
the 500 Paul claims 500 others had a vision of Christ. The Gospels do not mention that, no other writer mentions that, and we have no names or evidence for any of the 500. Even IF it happened - they had a VISION like Paul - nothing historical.
G.Mark The author of this book never identifies himself, and never claims to have met Jesus. According to traditon, Mark was a secretary of Peter and never met Jesus. This Gospel, like all of them, started out as an un-named book.
G.Matthew The author of this book never identifies himself, and never claims to have met Jesus. According to tradition it was written by an apostle - but it never says so, and it mentions Matthew without the slightest hint that HE was writing it.
G.Luke The author of this book never identifies himself, and never claims to have met Jesus. According to tradition it was written by a follower of Paul.
G.John According to tradition this Gospel was written by the apostle John, and the last chapter says : " This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true." This is part of a chapter that was added to the Gospels, and it is clearly someone else making a claim for the book. It most certainly does not even come close to specific claim that anyone personally met Jesus.
Jude This letter contains no claim to have met Jesus.
Johanines 1 John contains this passage : That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our[a] joy complete. Some believers assert this is a claim to have met Jesus. What did he see and hear? He certainly never says it was Jesus. He just had a spiritual experience and wants to tell everyone about it - "God is light". Nothing here about any historical Jesus at all.
James There is no claim to have met Jesus in this letter - supposedly from Jesus' BROTHER ! Yet it contains NOTHING anywhere about a historical Jesus, even where we would expect it. It is clear this writer had never even HEARD of a historical Jesus.
Revelation No claim to have met Jesus.
the Petrines 2 Peter has this passage : 1.16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. Here we see Peter directly claim to have witnessed Jesus' transfiguration. The ONE and ONLY such direct personal claim in the entire NT. But - 2 Peter is the very latest and most suspect book in the whole NT - scholars agree it is a forgery, so do many Christians, ancient and modern. A late and deliberate forgery that claims NOT to be based on "cunningly devised fables" - probably in direct response to critics claims. THAT is the one single book that contains a claim to have met Jesus.
Clement Never claimed to have met Jesus or anyone who did.
Papias Does not claim to have met Jesus or anyone who had. He did claim to have met Presbyters who told him what some disciples had said. Discusses two books of Matthew and Mark , not called Gospels, not quite like modern Gospels.
Polycarp Never claimed to have met Jesus or anyone who did. Irenaeus claimed Polycarp met discples who met Jesus
Ignatius Never claimed to have met Jesus or anyone who did.
Justin Never claimed to have met anyone who met Jesus. Discusses UN-NAMED Gospels not quite like ours.
So, the entire NT contains only ONE specific claim to have met a historical Jesus - from the most suspect forgery in the whole book.
There is NOT ONE reliable claim by anyone to have ever met Jesus.
But - there is a vast body of CLAIMS by later Chrsitains - claims that are NOT supported by the earlier books, or by history.
So, If Jesus wasn't historical, there is NO LIE, NO HOAX and NO CONSPIRACY required at all - because there are NO actual claims to have met Jesus to be a hoax or a lie or a conspiracy in the first place.
Just later books and claims, and claims about books.
Whether a direct eyewitness, an indirect report drawn from direct eyewitnesses, or a fabricated account, we can still use the same techniques—applied to the accounts themselves—to determine the likelihood of each one being true given the degree of variation we see across all the accounts.
There were NO eye-witnesses. The stories were fabricated from OT episodes, the stories grow over time, the authors changed the stories to suit their theological agendas, the stories are wildly different, the stories conflist with known facts.
The likelihood has ALREADY been determined (what do you think NT scholars have been doing for these years and decades) ? The resurrection did NOT happen.
As you may have noticed, I've made no attempt to determine the reliability or trustworthiness of the gospel writers as eyewitnesses;
Yes we have noticed that you avoid the subject that we have NO eye-witnesses. Meanwhile, NT scholars HAVE determined that NOT ONE of the NT books was written by anyone who ever met a historical Jesus. You seem to be trying to avoid the subject entirely, and then pretending that there WERE eye-witnesses after all.
So, like I've said before, matters of primary and secondary source material aren't overly relevant to determining the truth or falsehood of an account—the reliability and trustworthiness of the narrator, yes, but not simple veracity.
There is NO primary material at all. We have STORIES - stories fabricated from OT episodes, stories that grow over time; the authors changed the stories to suit their theological agendas, the stories are wildly different, the stories conflist with known facts. This is why we know the resurrection did NOT happen.
To determine the truth of an account we can do only one thing: examine the account against physical evidence
We've DONE that - the resurrection is impossible.
and check for corroboration in other accounts.
We've DONE that - the stories are different, and came from the OT anyway.
In the case of the gospels, we've got nothing of physical evidence, and so must rely solely on corroboration criteria; likewise, this method—which is textual criticism—is readily applied to both primary and secondary sources with identical results.
There are NO primary sources at all.
All we have is later STORIES by unknown persons who never met Jesus - stories lifted from the OT, filled with magic and supernatural events and divine intervention.
This story did not happen in history. The only people who believe it did are BELIEVERS.
Agreed. So what? Even if we find the credibility of the reporter lacking, even if we think the account hard to believe; we can still examine the report itself both against physical evidence and against other reports in order to discern the veracity of the account.
We HAVE examined it ! The Gospels are the most analysed books in history. But you act like they fell out of the sky yesterday, and that you're the FIRST to suggest we analyze them.
Our findings in such an investigation will not be absolute; our findings will likely not even be too specific or detailed. But, this should not keep us from trying.
Our findings ARE certain - the resurrection did NOT happen. Even you AGREE it didn't happen :
So what? The purpose of this thread is not to argue back and forth whether it happened or not
What? First you say you are trying to determine whether it happened, then you agree it didn't happen, then you say you're NOT interested in whether it happened, then you say you're interested in seeing if they were fabricated ! Frankly, I have NO IDEA what your point is any more - your flop around like a wet fish.
I'm interested in looking at the accounts themselves to see whether there are signs of fabrication or not
Pardon? But you just said you were NOT interested in arguing whether it happened or not! After admitting it did NOT happen.
Anyway - It HAS been done already ! The Gospels HAVE been analysed. The result is clear : The reports did NOT happen. The resurrection did NOT happen.
But this is not important here; we can still apply techniques of textual criticism to help determine the historicity of an account.
We HAVE done so! But you act like the Gospels arrived yesterday. In fact - we HAVE determined that the resurrection did NOT happen - like you agreed.
The throw-our-hands-up-in-the-air-and-fuggedaboutit approach gets us nowhere.
Pardon? What are you talking about? Who did that? Not me - nor any historian either - I have, and many historians have, investigated the Gospels - NO-ONE used this : "throw-our-hands-up-in-the-air-and-fuggedaboutit approach" ! You just made that up it seems. The Gospels are the most analysed books in history. They have been examined and investigated for MILLENIA. The jury is in : the resurrection did not happen, the accounts are NOT historical.
And we can evaluate their accounts, or the second-hand reports of their accounts to determine whether they fabricated the stories or not. Even if the claims are clearly false (for the obvious reason mentioned), we can still figure out whether or not the stories are fabricated.
There are NO "reports". There are merely religious stories. We know the stories did NOT happen. But you still ask whether they may or may not have been fabricated ? We KNOW they did not happen. It's already been determined.
So even if we have good reason to doubt their stories, we should not be so quick to assume that they are necessarily lying.
Lying? No-one said anything about lies here at all. May I suggest you pay more attention to what people write. You seem to believe there are exactly two types of claims : * truth * lies This is complete nonsense - Is Shakespeare a lie? Is Tolkein a lie? is J.K. Rowling a liar? Is the book of Job a lie? Of course not - a book can be untrue without being a lie. The Gospels are NOT true. We know that. You agree the resurrection did not happen.
Your belief or disbelief is not the topic of this thread.
Wow! I didn't say ANYTHING about MY belief ! You don't actually seem to read or comprehend what people write - what a waste of time this turned out to be. I doubt I will be wasting any more time on you, Jon.