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Author Topic:   Reconstructing the Historical Jesus
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1482 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008

Message 3 of 560 (462654)
04-06-2008 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Grizz
04-06-2008 10:03 AM

The Four Gospels
You definitely make a rational and well-thought-out point, Grizz: it's likely that verbal storytelling causes stories to be exaggerated or innocently mistaken over the years.

I think the strongest support of the veracity of Christ's story comes from the Four Gospels. Each one tells essentially the same story as the others, with several parts different here and there (John says a lot of stuff that nobody else does, though). What's interesting is that each Gospel tells the same stories in different words, even quotes Jesus differently, thus comfirming your assertions that verbal storytelling tends to distort the details. However, the strong convergence between the Gospels is good evidence that the Gospels were recorded before the major distortions you alude to occurred.

If we assume that the Four Gospels were written independently*, they would serve as four independent witnesses. Therefore, whatever the four have in common is most likely to be most accurate; whatever three have in common is next most likely, etc. You could also see which of the four has the most parts in common with the other three, and thereby decide that that Gospel is most likely the most accurate of the four.

However, like I said, you'd have to prove that they were truly independent documents. You'd also have to demonstrate that the way John retold the story hadn't influenced the way Luke told it, etc. How you would do that, I have no idea.

*I don't think the Four Gospels were told independently: the Gospel of Luke, for instance, is a secondhand account (Luke probably wasn't converted before Christ's Resurrection).

I'm Bluejay

Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Grizz, posted 04-06-2008 10:03 AM Grizz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by PaulK, posted 04-06-2008 4:38 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded
 Message 5 by Percy, posted 04-06-2008 5:31 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded
 Message 6 by Grizz, posted 04-06-2008 7:28 PM Blue Jay has responded
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1482 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008

Message 7 of 560 (462677)
04-06-2008 10:05 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Grizz
04-06-2008 7:28 PM

Re: The Four Gospels
Thank you, Grizz (and PaulK and Percy) for that enlightenment. I suspected as much, but I didn't have the historical background to prove it: I just had a lifetime of Sunday School.

Grizz writes:

It is incorrect to assume that Early Christianity was a united community.

I think the letters of Paul are a good testament to this. E.g. 1 Corinthians 3:3-5:

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Grizz writes:

For centuries, Christians have been seeing Jesus through the filtered lens of the Synoptic gospels.

I guess I can't deny that: it is a general teaching of my religion, after all. My religion has the Book of Mormon as an additional account of Christ after His resurrection (He made a brief visit to the people of the Americas, some of whom we claim were related to the Hebrews), and we put less emphasis on the Bible (because we believe it to have been corrupted over the centuries of translation and retelling). We believe the Book of Mormong to have been written by a series of prophets spanning 600 BC to AD 420 (roughly), and to have been translated only once, from its original language to 19th century English (by Joseph Smith)--thus, it's quite a bit easier to understand than the Bible, too.

However, we don't have an archaeological evidence pointing to the historicity or actual timeframe of the Book or Mormon, so I guess my bringing it up here is kind of a moot point.

AbE: {My religion's viewpoints are often very different from traditional Christian perspectives, and the Book of Mormon account is one big reason why. The BoM is a lot more direct and uncompromising in the stances it takes, and says things in a very clear, descriptive manner.

Christ is also depicted in the BoM repeating much of the Sermon on the Mount (among other bits of Bible doctrine) to the Americans. This isn't telling the same story as the Gospels, but we hold it as support for them.}

Grizz writes:

Based on life expectancy and the fact that tradition indicates many disciples were martyred early on, it is highly unlikely a Judean would have had the time or available resources to learn the language of the gentile - Greek.

Luke was Greek, and a physician (i.e. educated). Maybe this is a reason why we attribute that Gospel to him? Also, as far as I know, my church still holds on to the traditional view that the Gospel of Matthew was first written in Aramaic before the Greek.

Edited by Thylacosmilus, : Addition

I'm Bluejay

Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Grizz, posted 04-06-2008 7:28 PM Grizz has not yet responded

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