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Author Topic:   Authorship of the Gospels
GDR
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Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 16 of 28 (877551)
06-18-2020 2:01 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by PaulK
06-17-2020 11:56 PM


Re: Authorship
PaulK writes:

Your willingness to write ridiculous falsehoods - as well as your rejection of evidence contrary to your views - is proof that your belief is not at all based on the evidence.

And Lewis’ awful apologetics shouldn’t convince any rational person. (Yes, I did read Mere Christianity and yes it is really, really bad)

This happens too much around here. When someone doesn't bow down to your superior atheistic wisdom you go into ridicule mode as a convincing argument. Cheers

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by PaulK, posted 06-17-2020 11:56 PM PaulK has responded

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PaulK
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Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 17 of 28 (877552)
06-18-2020 2:18 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by GDR
06-18-2020 2:01 AM


Re: Authorship
quote:
This happens too much around here. When someone doesn't bow down to your superior atheistic wisdom you go into ridicule mode as a convincing argument. Cheers

But of course what I say is true and I have supported it.

Your claim that authorship can be inferred from use of the third person is arrant nonsense. Many people are referred to in the third person in Matthew because that is the way to refer to everyone but the author and the reader. Thus use of the third person must be evidence that the person referred to is NOT the author.

Now maybe you simply have no idea what third person is or maybe you just haven’t thought about it, but it really doesn’t matter. Your claim was obviously false, anyone with enough knowledge of grammar to understand what “third person” is can see it is false. The arrogance is therefore all yours.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by GDR, posted 06-18-2020 2:01 AM GDR has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Phat
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Posts: 14148
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 18 of 28 (877557)
06-18-2020 8:25 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by PaulK
06-18-2020 2:18 AM


Re: Authorship
PaulK writes:

But of course what I say is true and I have supported it.

I think what GDR is saying is that you are supporting the wrong cause.

“The only way I know to drive out evil from the country is by the constructive method of filling it with good.”Calvin Coolidge
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
“As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.”-RC Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith

- You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
Anne Lamott
I Have Strong Arguments Which I Cant Say To You~CG

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by PaulK, posted 06-18-2020 2:18 AM PaulK has responded

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PaulK
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Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 19 of 28 (877558)
06-18-2020 8:36 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Phat
06-18-2020 8:25 AM


Re: Authorship
I think that GDR really needs to learn to think about what he says.

Referring to someone in the third person is not evidence that you are that person.

Even if we restrict ourselves to pronouns, the first chapter of Matthew refers to Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the third person. Is this meant to make us think that they wrote the Gospel?

If the author of Matthew wasn’t Matthew the tax collector would he refer to the tax collector in the first person? The second?

At best GDR has happened across an argument that claims that the use of the third person doesn’t prove that the author wasn’t Matthew the tax collector - and badly misunderstood it and refuses to even think about it.

If he doesn’t like having his arguments exposed as ridiculous nonsense he should stop talking ridiculous nonsense. Instead of attacking me.


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 Message 18 by Phat, posted 06-18-2020 8:25 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
PaulK
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Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 20 of 28 (877566)
06-18-2020 2:10 PM


Maybe I was too harsh on GDR...
So let’s discuss the evidence that Satan wrote the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 4:1-11

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will give his angels charge of you,’
and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,

‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

It’s clearly there! So I hope that everyone takes it with the seriousness it deserves.

Edited by PaulK, : Fix qs tag


  
a servant of Christ
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Posts: 1747
Joined: 01-12-2004


Message 21 of 28 (877569)
06-18-2020 3:27 PM


they'll never be able to understand how the four synoptic gospels perhaps miraculously line up in a cohesive narrative.

Replies to this message:
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Coragyps
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Posts: 5512
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 22 of 28 (877577)
06-18-2020 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by a servant of Christ
06-18-2020 3:27 PM


Yeah. Like how Judas died.

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 Message 21 by a servant of Christ, posted 06-18-2020 3:27 PM a servant of Christ has not yet responded

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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 23 of 28 (877578)
06-18-2020 5:06 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Coragyps
06-18-2020 4:52 PM


And don’t forget that Papias, who GDR assures us is a reliable source, getting his information from eye-witnesses had yet another story of Judas which contradicts the others.

"Judas was a terrible, walking example of ungodliness in this world, his flesh so bloated that he was not able to pass through a place where a wagon passes easily, not even his bloated head by itself. For his eyelids, they say, were so swollen that he could not see the light at all, and his eyes could not be seen, even by a doctor using an optical instrument, so far had they sunk below the outer surface. His genitals appeared more loathsome and larger than anyone else's, and when he relieved himself there passed through it pus and worms from every part of his body, much to his shame. After much agony and punishment, they say, he finally died in his own place, and because of the stench the area is deserted and uninhabitable even now; in fact, to this day one cannot pass that place without holding one's nose, so great was the discharge from his body, and so far did it spread over the ground."

As quoted on Wikipedia


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GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 24 of 28 (878074)
06-25-2020 1:53 PM


Who wrote Matthew
PaulK writes:

Let us note that you admit that two of the Gospels were not written by eye-witnesses and those are - contrary to your claim - those we’re the traditional candidate is least unlikely to be the author.

I claimed that two were written by people directly connected to disciples of Jesus during His life time, and that two were actually disciples of Jesus with Matthew being less certain.
GDR writes:

Also, the fact that Matthew in the Gospel is referred to in the third person is actually additional evidence that it was Matthew the tax collector and apostle.

PaulK writes:

Do you want to actually try to defend this, this time? Don’t you realise that it is evidence that the author was not Matthew?

This is the same sort of error that fundamentalists make in trying to understand ancient writings in the same way that we understand something written today.
Here is a quote from the end of the Gospel of John.
quote:
John 21:20-24 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

It is clear that John is a participant in this event however, in the last line he writes that we can know that “his” testimony is true.
This of course raised the question of why John would write that “his” testimony is true. Actually this conundrum is confirming the authorship as being John, the beloved disciple. It was normal in antiquity to refer to yourself in the third person to indicate that you were an actual participant in the narrative. We can see this in the earlier works of Polybius, and in Julius Caesar’s the “Gallic War”. Josephus a contemporary of John often referred to himself in the third person to denote that he was an objective observer or participant in his account titled “The War of the Jews”. By referring to himself in the third person John is actually claiming that he was an objective observer of the event.

It is less clear in Matthew if that is the case or not. Irenaeus wrote this:

quote:
“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”

We can’t be sure that the Matthew that Irenaeus is Matthew the tax collector or some other Matthew. However, Matthew the tax collector is the only Matthew that we have a record of in the Gospels or in the other early church authors. If there was another Matthew responsible for the Gospel he would in all likelihood have been mentioned somewhere. It isn’t conclusive but it is highly likely that the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew the tax collector.

It is clear from the work of the early Christians that the authenticity of Gospel material was of the utmost importance. Clearly they would use material that could be relied upon to give an accurate representation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I see it as clear that they would use the writing of those that had trustworthy sources of information and that would require either first hand eyewitness knowledge as we see in John and most likely Matthew, or the work of those who compiled their work with direct access to those who were eyewitnesses. That is made clear in the writings of the early Christians such as Papias, Polycard, Irenaeus and Eusebius.

We know that Matthew is mentioned more often in the Gospel of Matthew than in any of the other Gospels, in spite of the fact that Matthew uses the Gospel of Mark as a major source of what he records. Also as Matthew was the most used Gospel of the early Christians it is unlikely that they would prioritize that Gospel if it wasn’t compiled by an eyewitness, namely Matthew the tax collector as they contended.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by PaulK, posted 06-25-2020 2:20 PM GDR has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 25 of 28 (878078)
06-25-2020 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by GDR
06-25-2020 1:53 PM


Re: Who wrote Matthew
quote:
I claimed that two were written by people directly connected to disciples of Jesus during His life time, and that two were actually disciples of Jesus with Matthew being less certain.

I disagree. The Luke you think wrote the Gospel was a follower of Paul who was never a disciple of Jesus. I don’t think that having met a few of the disciples years before writing really counts as a connection.

quote:
This is the same sort of error that fundamentalists make in trying to understand ancient writings in the same way that we understand something written today.

Unfortunately for you third person is used in pretty much the same was in ancient and in modern writings.

quote:
It is clear that John is a participant in this event however, in the last line he writes that we can know that “his” testimony is true

As you know, I dispute that attribution and I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary. However, even if you were right it would only show that authors could use the third person in speaking of themselves. Yet we know that they did use first person (e.g. Luke 1:3) and of course we know that they used third person to speak of others.

quote:
This of course raised the question of why John would write that “his” testimony is true. Actually this conundrum is confirming the authorship as being John, the beloved disciple. It was normal in antiquity to refer to yourself in the third person to indicate that you were an actual participant in the narrative. We can see this in the earlier works of Polybius, and in Julius Caesar’s the “Gallic War”. Josephus a contemporary of John often referred to himself in the third person to denote that he was an objective observer or participant in his account titled “The War of the Jews”. By referring to himself in the third person John is actually claiming that he was an objective observer of the event.

Even if you are correct, how do you do distinguish that use of third person from the more common use - to refer to people other than the author or the reader? Surely you must already know that the person spoken of is the author - and therefore use of third person cannot be evidence that the person referred to is the author.

quote:
We can’t be sure that the Matthew that Irenaeus is Matthew the tax collector or some other Matthew. However, Matthew the tax collector is the only Matthew that we have a record of in the Gospels or in the other early church authors. If there was another Matthew responsible for the Gospel he would in all likelihood have been mentioned somewhere. It isn’t conclusive but it is highly likely that the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew the tax collector.

No, because the document we call the Gospel According to Matthew was almost certainly written in Greek, and therefore Irenaus is either misinformed or speaking of another - lost - document.

quote:
It is clear from the work of the early Christians that the authenticity of Gospel material was of the utmost importance.

No, it really isn’t. It is clear they wanted to claim that but it isn’t at all clear that they really did much to ensure it. John’s Gospel is expressly written to promote belief, none of the Gospels clearly identify their authors or the sources for any of their claims.

quote:
We know that Matthew is mentioned more often in the Gospel of Matthew than in any of the other Gospels, in spite of the fact that Matthew uses the Gospel of Mark as a major source of what he records

The author may have had a particular interest in Matthew, or asource which spoke more of Matthew, but his use of Mark makes it very unlikely that he was an eye-witness. Now maybe he had a translation of the Hebrew Gospel supposedly written by Matthew but we can’t know that. It would, however, explain the evidence better than the idea that he was Matthew.

quote:
Also as Matthew was the most used Gospel of the early Christians it is unlikely that they would prioritize that Gospel if it wasn’t compiled by an eyewitness, namely Matthew the tax collector as they contended.

Or the attribution to Matthew was intended to justify the use of it, and preferring it over Mark. Certainly the attribution is questionable and there doesn’t seem to have been much evidence even back then.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by GDR, posted 06-25-2020 1:53 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by GDR, posted 06-25-2020 3:56 PM PaulK has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 26 of 28 (878103)
06-25-2020 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by PaulK
06-25-2020 2:20 PM


Re: Who wrote Matthew
Paul writes:

I disagree. The Luke you think wrote the Gospel was a follower of Paul who was never a disciple of Jesus. I don’t think that having met a few of the disciples years before writing really counts as a connection.

I agreed he was a disciple of Paul. However we read this in Acts.
quote:
Acts 21:17-18. When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present.
So as a disciple of Paul he also spent time with the disciples in Jerusalem
Paulk writes:

Unfortunately for you third person is used in pretty much the same was in ancient and in modern writings.

Why would you say that when I gave you several examples where that is not the case. It is a literary technique that is still used occasionally but more often by the ancient writers. It is called”illeism” When the writers wanted to indicate that they were personally involved they would often write themselves into the account in the third person. Josephus in the “War of the Jews” uses this illeism extensively.
PaulK writes:

Even if you are correct, how do you do distinguish that use of third person from the more common use - to refer to people other than the author or the reader? Surely you must already know that the person spoken of is the author - and therefore use of third person cannot be evidence that the person referred to is the author.

The authors were known by their original audience. It is often used for emphasizing personal involvement.
PaulK writes:

No, because the document we call the Gospel According to Matthew was almost certainly written in Greek, and therefore Irenaus is either misinformed or speaking of another - lost - document.

The early church followers clearly say the Matthew was originally written in Aramaic and the very early on translated, probably by Matthew, into Greek. There are no remaining copies of the Aramaic text.
PaulK writes:

No, it really isn’t. It is clear they wanted to claim that but it isn’t at all clear that they really did much to ensure it. John’s Gospel is expressly written to promote belief, none of the Gospels clearly identify their authors or the sources for any of their claims.

John’s Gospel is written to give a biographical/historical account of his experience. Luke does claim that he is the author of his Gospel. We have to determine the authorship of the 2 remaining Gospels by what others have written.
PaulK writes:

The author may have had a particular interest in Matthew, or asource which spoke more of Matthew, but his use of Mark makes it very unlikely that he was an eye-witness. Now maybe he had a translation of the Hebrew Gospel supposedly written by Matthew but we can’t know that. It would, however, explain the evidence better than the idea that he was Matthew.

As I say we have less evidence for Matthew than the other Gospels but no disciple was with Jesus all of the time so it would be normal to take the first Gospel written in order to provide information on individual events that he wasn’t present for.
PaulK writes:

Or the attribution to Matthew was intended to justify the use of it, and preferring it over Mark. Certainly the attribution is questionable and there doesn’t seem to have been much evidence even back then.

In that case you are attributing a motive of falsifying the information that they had. All of the early church fathers such as Papias and Irenaeus are very clear that the credentials of the authors were of utmost importance. Also much of this was happening within the lifetime of those who lived to a ripe old age and had been young followers of Jesus. We know that Polycarp was executed by the Romans at age 86 for an example of someone who live a long life although born after the resurrection of Jesus.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by PaulK, posted 06-25-2020 2:20 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by PaulK, posted 06-25-2020 4:25 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 27 of 28 (878107)
06-25-2020 4:25 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by GDR
06-25-2020 3:56 PM


Re: Who wrote Matthew
quote:
So as a disciple of Paul he also spent time with the disciples in Jerusalem

Some time, years before writing. As I said, I wouldn’t really call that a connection.

quote:
Why would you say that when I gave you several examples where that is not the case.

Because of the far more numerous examples where the third person is used to speak of people other than the author - and because even some modern people have referred to themselves in the third person.

quote:
When the writers wanted to indicate that they were personally involved they would often write themselves into the account in the third person

Which is not at all adequate to support your claim. Unless you wish to assert that the third person is not widely used to refer to people other than the author and the reader - which would amuse me - you must accept the fact that a large majority of third-person references are not to the author.

Moreover the article illeism you cite gives an entirely different reason for the use:

Early literature such as Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico or Xenophon's Anabasis, both ostensibly non-fictional accounts of wars led by their authors, used illeism to impart an air of objective impartiality, which included justifications of the author's actions. In this way personal bias is presented, albeit dishonestly, as objectivity

Note also, that the article refers to modern usage.

quote:
The authors were known by their original audience. It is often used for emphasizing personal involvement

Which is no help at all to you. Indeed, the fact that you do need to know who the author is independently of the third-party reference destroys your case.

quote:
The early church followers clearly say the Matthew was originally written in Aramaic and the very early on translated, probably by Matthew, into Greek. There are no remaining copies of the Aramaic text.

No, they say that Matthew wrote a Gospel in Aramaic. They do NOT say that it is the document that we know as the Gospel of Matthew.

quote:
John’s Gospel is written to give a biographical/historical account of his experience. Luke does claim that he is the author of his Gospel. We have to determine the authorship of the 2 remaining Gospels by what others have written.

Your claim with regard to John is questionable - indeed it begs the question. The author of Luke does not give his name. The only claim to be a companion of Paul is his use of the first person - not third - in Acts.

As I say we have less evidence for Matthew than the other Gospels but no disciple was with Jesus all of the time so it would be normal to take the first Gospel written in order to provide information on individual events that he wasn’t present for.

I do not think it would be normal to make no distinction between material copied from another source and personal reminiscence. Nor do I think you can show that the copied material is restricted to the scenes where Matthew was absent. And, of course there is material where Matthew was absent that is not covered by Mark.

quote:
In that case you are attributing a motive of falsifying the information that they had.

I’m not suggesting that they did anything worse than you’ve done. Indeed your own attempts to attribute the Gospel to Matthew are highly motivated and not really justifiable by the evidence you possess.

quote:
All of the early church fathers such as Papias and Irenaeus are very clear that the credentials of the authors were of utmost importance.

And yet we have no record of those credentials being established. As such this represents more of a motive than it does support for your claim.


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 Message 26 by GDR, posted 06-25-2020 3:56 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16320
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 28 of 28 (878481)
06-30-2020 4:24 PM


Taking a serious look at the 3rd person argument
The original assertion was:
Also, the fact that Matthew in the Gospel is referred to in the third person is actually additional evidence that it was Matthew the tax collector and apostle.

The obvious problem with this is that pretty much everyone in the Gospels is referred to in the third person. The author is one of the few people who might not be. Furthermore, the author need not appear - it is agreed that neither the authors of Luke or Mark appear in their respective Gospels.

Indeed, If Matthew were not the author he would be referred to in the third person. How then can it possibly be considered evidence otherwise? And if a third person Reference is considered to be evidence of authorship are we supposed to take a first person reference as evidence against authorship ? The use of the first person plural in Acts is taken as evidence of the author’s presence.

So, on the face of it the claim is obviously false.

An attempted defence was:

It was normal in antiquity to refer to yourself in the third person to indicate that you were an actual participant in the narrative. We can see this in the earlier works of Polybius, and in Julius Caesar’s the “Gallic War”. Josephus a contemporary of John often referred to himself in the third person to denote that he was an objective observer or participant in his account titled “The War of the Jews”.

This assertion only makes sense if the author can be identified independently of the third person reference - the use of third person does nothing to single out any person, because it is so ubiquitous. Josephus, for instance, introduces himself in the preface to The Jewish War and identifies himself as one of the Jewish leaders. If only the author of Matthew - or any of the Gospels - had done the same the debates might continue, but on different grounds.

Even if we assume that the argument was solely attacking the assertion that third party references were evidence against authorship it would still fail. The first person is still an option for the author - as seen in Acts. Thus it is more likely that the author would use the third person for other people than they would for themselves.

Considered as an argument that a third person reference is evidence of authorship the logic completely fails. “If the author referred to himself, he would use the third person” does not mean “if an author uses the third person he is likely referring to himself”.

Paulk writes:

Unfortunately for you third person is used in pretty much the same was in ancient and in modern writings.

Why would you say that when I gave you several examples where that is not the case. It is a literary technique that is still used occasionally but more often by the ancient writers. It is called”illeism”

Unfortunately the use of illeism does little to dispute the original assertion. Illeism is and was against the usual conventions - and the article cites the modern example of Richard B Hays. This is not a major difference, and even if it were it is insufficient to support the original claim, as has already been demonstrated. The important issue is the frequent use of the third person to refer to others - and illeism does not address that at all.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


  
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