Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
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29-06-2016, 11:06 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(29-06-2016 11:09 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(29-06-2016 10:28 AM)Doddia Wrote:  What did Philemon say and your opinion on that?

I don't know much about Philemon.

I used to think Jungian archetypes were woo, but now with epigenetics as a possible mechanism, I'm not so sure they are woo ... there seems to be an actual mechanism for the "collective unconscious".

That's a real stretch. I'm still calling it woo.

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29-06-2016, 11:10 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
Woo it is, then.
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30-06-2016, 07:13 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(29-06-2016 09:37 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And that's what we call misinformation.

No. That is critical thinking. If the bible proves the bible, then every religious tome for every religion must be true.

The Book of Mormon?
Scientology?
The Jehovah Witnesses?

But now this is an example of a lack of critical thinking. You are presenting the bible as if it were authored by a single person when it's a well known fact that numerous persons authored the various books within.

Then, you are attempting to compare a book comprised of multiple authors to a book (Book of Mormon) which was authored by a single person.

Furthermore, you then commit a non sequitur by attempting to compare a multiple authored book to 2 distinct religious bodies when that analogy is nothing short of a false comparison which cannot be fairly made.

Quote:All true because their holy books say they're true.

And that after all those logical mistake you made above, you then misrepresent my position by asserting that what you said above is something I would subscribe to.

And you want to believe that you can lecture me on critical thinking?

Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Any person with even a meager semblance of decent knowledge in religious studies knows that the bible was not always the bible. It is a collection of manuscripts assembled in part some 60 years after the death of Jesus, and amended as years went past until about 325 AD.

The Anglican Church uses the King James bible.
The Roman Catholics use the NRSV-CE
The Protestants have their own compilation
So does Greek Orthodox.
So does Roman Orthodox.
So does the Syrian Church.
And the Ethiopian Church.

A couple churches even have their own popes. Go figure.

And nothing you said here even remotely addresses the point of my post.

Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  If the Bible was a single author, you might have a point. But it is from multiple authors, and in regards to the NT, all these different authors agree that a man named Jesus did exist, and was crucified.

And anyone with even a meager semblance of biblical learning knows that "jesus" was a common name in that era. The Jewish nation was in a state of turmoil and doomsday prophets were running rampant. There were probably multiple jesuses crucified.

And virtually all well versed scholars agree that virtually all manuscripts available in regards to Jesus speaks of Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Now to demonstrate the holes in your position, I will ask you to do something that you will either ignore (typically) or attempt to circumvent:

Can you find me one other "Jesus" who was executed by Pontius Pilate and whom could possibly be at the centre of the Christian religion?

I just want you to find one other possible candidate.


Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Not everything is as black and white as you make it out to be. Not everything is 100% true or 100% false. What we look for is a commonality, and the commonality is that all these contemporary documents from multiple sources attest to the existence of Jesus.

The commonality is that they all agree on this man's existence, and that he was crucified.

Seriously? Christians are the ones running around shoving the holy word of god in everybody's faces. The holy inerrant word of god. That infallibility is why idiots are building an ark in Kentucky.

Mark was the first gospel. Matthew and Luke were based off of him. John was written decades later, last, and has the most extravagant miracles.

One account, two plagiarisms and one extremely different account do not make commonality.

Yet, the issue here is the commonalities between- not only those 4 gospels- but also the rest of the NT, and also the numerous other historical documents dating anywhere from some 60 - 90 years or less from the crucifixion.

You can't water this down to 4 gospel records alone, when the truth is known about all the other documents.

If that's the way you prefer to view this subject, there's really nothing I can do about it. Some people have a bone to pick with religions- militant atheists especially- and will intentionally apply irrationality to the critical thinking process in regards to this subject, for whatever reason.

Now, I am not some fire & brimstone hard-core Christian fundamentalist with some whacked-out agenda to preach a message to you just so I can get myself into the good graces of whatever may exist that is greater than I am. Not all people who believe in something greater than what is currently known to exist walk around thumping people over the head with a religious book.

Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And you know this how?

Because the "apostles" and jesus, spoke Aramaic.

And you know this for a certainty? What is your source for this?

Quote:They were probably illiterate in their own language, but if jesus was a rabbi, he could read Hebrew. Hebrew was not a spoken language, thus the whole Aramaic thing.

Again, your source for this assertion is where?

Quote:In any case, the four gospels were written in Ancient Greek by authors much more sophisticated then illiterate fishermen.

So where did you get the idea that they were being ascribed to illiterate fisherman?

Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Yet these very same "most scholars" almost universally agree that a man named Jesus, who is at the center of the Christian religion, once existed and was crucified.

You enjoy saying that. Even if a man named jesus was crucified, that doesn't make him a deity.

No one says it does, and that is non sequitur to the point. The point is that all available evidence indicates that the Jesus of the Christian religion once existed- at the very least as a mere human being- and was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  The only way you could determine this is by believing the Book of Acts, or what Paul says in his letters.

So are you saying to me that you believe that Paul didn't meet Jesus because Acts and the Letters indicate he didn't, and then you tell me that the Letters and Acts cannot be used to prove the existence of Jesus?

Are you cherry picking what works for what YOU believe, instead of seeing what is actually there?

Speaking of twists and turns. Paul starts out talking about his Damascus Road conversion. That's the core of his message and the reason behind his schism with the other apostles. Throw that out and you can throw everything out.

Which isn't a bad idea really...

I won this point, obviously.

Quote:
(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  You do not get to pick and choose what you believe to be true while at the same time admonish others for doing the same thing.

You're going to get dizzy, twisting like that.

If Paul starts out his ministry by admitting to experiencing a hallucination or seizure. He admits to never have met jesus while he was alive. To me, this seems like a valid point that Paul might not be telling accurate stories about jesus.

It's also interesting to note that Paul is responsible for much of the early theology and doctrines of the church. Interesting in that a man who supposedly got his start oppressing christians essentially took over their religion.

(29-06-2016 08:37 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And I am anything but a newbie on this topic.

On this side you are.

Firstly, prove to me where Paul says anything about his conversion on the road to Darnasus.

I want to see it in Paul's own words.
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30-06-2016, 09:36 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And you want to believe that you can lecture me on critical thinking?

Yes. Nothing you said had any relevance.

It does not matter that multiple authors wrote the bible. Were they not said to be the inspiration of your one god? In any event, the bible is treated as one book. The fact that other holy books had single or multiple authors does not matter in the least. That is a non-sequitur.

If you accept that the bible is true because the bible says it is true, then how can you discount the other religions whose holy books say the same thing?

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And nothing you said here even remotely addresses the point of my post.

My point was that all of those bibles have different books in them. None of them use the same collection of texts. Kind of odd for a compilation inspired by an omnipotent deity, don't you think?

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And virtually all well versed scholars agree that virtually all manuscripts available in regards to Jesus speaks of Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Since virtually all the manuscripts are of christian origin, this is not surprising.

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Now to demonstrate the holes in your position, I will ask you to do something that you will either ignore (typically) or attempt to circumvent:

Wait. Before I read any further, let me guess. You're going to shift the burden of proof...

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Can you find me one other "Jesus" who was executed by Pontius Pilate and whom could possibly be at the centre of the Christian religion?

I just want you to find one other possible candidate.

Yep. Shifting the burden of proof. Speaking of typical.

So, you want one other "jesus" who was executed by Pontius Pilate and who could be the focus of the christian religion...

Jesus Pantera who grew up two streets over from Jesus of Nazareth. They went to school together and their identities got mixed up all the time.

Prove me wrong.

Now, if you're done dreaming up pointless tasks?

Oh, if you've read the entire thread, I've already stated that I'm ambivalent about the whole mythicist position. I think that it has merit, but I also think that there is enough evidence that jesus did exist, at least partially as depicted in the bible.

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Yet, the issue here is the commonalities between- not only those 4 gospels- but also the rest of the NT, and also the numerous other historical documents dating anywhere from some 60 - 90 years or less from the crucifixion.

You can't water this down to 4 gospel records alone, when the truth is known about all the other documents.

Don't strawman. I'm not watering it down to the gospels. I already mentioned Paul's letters and their authorship.

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  If that's the way you prefer to view this subject, there's really nothing I can do about it. Some people have a bone to pick with religions- militant atheists especially- and will intentionally apply irrationality to the critical thinking process in regards to this subject, for whatever reason.

Are you assuming I am a militant atheist?
Because I ask questions?
Because I raise issues with the holy texts?

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Now, I am not some fire & brimstone hard-core Christian fundamentalist with some whacked-out agenda to preach a message to you just so I can get myself into the good graces of whatever may exist that is greater than I am. Not all people who believe in something greater than what is currently known to exist walk around thumping people over the head with a religious book.

Yet you are here, aren't you? You definitely aren't interested in hearing our ideas. Before you object, we've heard your arguments before, from other theists.

Now, I will say that you are much nicer about it than some, so that counts for something.

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:Because the "apostles" and jesus, spoke Aramaic.

And you know this for a certainty? What is your source for this?

Bart Erhman. Read "Misquoting Jesus".

However this is probably a better link:
wiki

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:They were probably illiterate in their own language, but if jesus was a rabbi, he could read Hebrew. Hebrew was not a spoken language, thus the whole Aramaic thing.

Again, your source for this assertion is where?

amazon - link

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:In any case, the four gospels were written in Ancient Greek by authors much more sophisticated then illiterate fishermen.

So where did you get the idea that they were being ascribed to illiterate fisherman?

The gospels state that they are "according to" the apostles, most of which were fishermen. At least one of them straight up said he was "unlettered". Additionally, literacy rates in those days were pretty much nil. And before you ask, Erhman and the other scholars talk about that too.

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  No one says it does, and that is non sequitur to the point. The point is that all available evidence indicates that the Jesus of the Christian religion once existed- at the very least as a mere human being- and was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Excuse me? No one says jesus was the son of god?

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  I won this point, obviously.

I'm sure you think that. Pointing out inconsistencies does not amount to cherry-picking.

(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Firstly, prove to me where Paul says anything about his conversion on the road to Darnasus.

I want to see it in Paul's own words.

Paul says he saw jesus:
1 Corinthians 9
1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?


Paul says he saw jesus after the crucifixion:
1 Corinthians 15
15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.


Except he didn't see him, but was struck blind:
Acts 9
9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.


Are you testing me or did you seriously not read this stuff?

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30-06-2016, 09:51 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(29-06-2016 11:06 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(29-06-2016 11:09 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I don't know much about Philemon.

I used to think Jungian archetypes were woo, but now with epigenetics as a possible mechanism, I'm not so sure they are woo ... there seems to be an actual mechanism for the "collective unconscious".

That's a real stretch. I'm still calling it woo.

It has been proven that epigenetics can transfer information from one generation to the next ...
http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/epigene...dchildren/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgenera...nheritance
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/e...pi_learns/
http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/epigene...dchildren/

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30-06-2016, 09:54 PM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2016 09:58 PM by Chas.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-06-2016 09:51 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(29-06-2016 11:06 PM)Chas Wrote:  That's a real stretch. I'm still calling it woo.

It has been proven that epigenetics can transfer information from one generation to the next ...
http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/epigene...dchildren/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgenera...nheritance
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/e...pi_learns/
http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/epigene...dchildren/

And that is a far, far cry from any kind of "collective unconscious". Unless you are redefining the term.
"Jung suggested that there are archetypes (images and memories of important human experiences) that are passed down from generation to generation. These archetypes can be common designs, shapes, colors, and figures seen over and over again throughout time. "

It's woo, Buckster.

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30-06-2016, 10:00 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
Quote:All 4 Gospels are 1st century.

There is no evidence of them until the second century. Sorry. But there it is.

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30-06-2016, 10:05 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  If that's the way you prefer to view this subject, there's really nothing I can do about it. Some people have a bone to pick with religions- militant atheists especially- and will intentionally apply irrationality to the critical thinking process in regards to this subject, for whatever reason.

You don't know that. You have addressed NONE of the calm and rational points made in ANY of the presentation of Dr. Carrier presented above. He has a PhD in History. You have nothing. You said you were not a "newbie". Prove it. Take on his arguments ... now.

Quote:and will intentionally apply irrationality to the critical thinking process in regards to this subject, for whatever reason.

Prove it. Assertion with no support or evidence. THAT is an example of the biased irrationality, of which you speak. The reason is rational skepticism. The Church Fathers admitted they were liars, and approved of "pious fraud". All of the NT is built on the OT. The Hebrew god came straight out of Babylonian mythology. That makes all of the Christian religion preposterous, if all of the OT is basically false.

All of "Christian history" is highly warped, and lied about. Why would (St.) John Chrysostom have to tell his Christian congregation to stop going to their synagogues in the year 400 CE, (we have a copy of the sermon, delivered on Christmas day that year), if the history your cult claims as true, really is true ?

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30-06-2016, 10:08 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
I think we got us a True Believer here, Buck.

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30-06-2016, 10:13 PM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2016 10:53 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(30-06-2016 07:13 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Paul says he saw jesus:
1 Corinthians 9
1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?


Paul says he saw jesus after the crucifixion:
1 Corinthians 15
15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Totally false ... mistranslations. Obviously you know no Greek, GoingDown.

The Gospel of Mark originally had no resurrection. They added it later.
http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily...ifference/
http://www.religioustolerance.org/symes01.htm

Christian seminary professor, Dr. Bernard Brandon Scott. (NOT a "militant atheist"), wrote "The Trouble With Resurrection".
Translated correctly, and in the context of Jewish Apocalypticism, the texts mean nothing like you claim.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-look

"In the English language, when we say "rise", or "to rise", or "risen" in general, it means something or someone "gets up", or "moves up", from a lower to a higher position, or "rises" from sleep, or "goes up" as in a "loaf of bread rises".
The normal use does not usually include, in normal usage, that a human "rises up" after their own death has occurred. The normal, everyday use of the word, does not include, "getting up from the dead", or that someone has "gotten up" from the dead. Humans never "get up" when they are dead. In human history, there is not one documented case and anyone ever "getting up" after dying. There is not one proven action, or artifact having been formed or changed, by a dead human. Dead humans are "beyond the reach" of those who exist in a time which is later than the time of the death of the person who is said to be dead. They have no continuing biological activity.

When the words are used in language to signify that the human who people think of as "Jesus of Nazareth" *rose from the dead*, it is a very special and unique use of the words, and language. It *signifies* something which is out of normal human experience.

In 2014, when the words are spoken or thought *Jesus rose from the dead*, it also rests in our cultural assumptions of what we *think* the Bible teaches about humans.
In other words we assume it *flows* from a context in which those words make sense, or might have made sense, and that we understand, what we *think* the humans who said them actually meant the same thing we understand them too mean, when we hear them today.

These assumptions are entirely unfounded in this case. I shall examine the reasons for this.

If I say, "Babe Ruth has achieved immortality", we all understand that means he achieved a certain pre-eminent status in his sport. It does NOT mean he is actually physically alive, or still playing baseball. (Some people may actually *think* his "soul" exists, but that's not a part of the content of that statement, normally.) The normal use, is not a special religious use. It is a statement about his status with respect to his sport. If I say "Babe Ruth, during his career, *rose* to *immortal* status, it does not mean he actually is playing baseball today. It means we, live humans, *remember* him, as a great baseball player.

Our brains have become accustomed to automatically *convert* or translate or move into an "alternate mode" of meaning, when we use and hear the words about Jesus' resurrection. It is a very specific learned response. Why is that and where does that response come from ?

We will look here at some of the assumptions, and fallacies underlying that learned response, and why they are incorrect.

When we hear or say today that someone is a "son" of someone, in normal usage, we mean a biological son. When we say someone is a "Son of Norway", our brains instantly convert or translate that to understand, what is meant, and that it is metaphorical. In the same way, when a Jew in Jesus' day, said someone was a "son of God" the culture of that day, used the term in general to mean the person was a "righteous person". It was applied to many people : politicians, generals, famous military heroes , and other cultural "good"guys". It did NOT mean, that a person was actually physically generated, in any way by the deity, In some instances it could mean that a human had. (just as Babe Ruth), *attained* that status. Yahweh had become a monotheist god by the time of Jesus, and ANY meaning of "divine as equal" status to Yahweh was unthinkable, to a Jew. Even with the Doctrine of the Trinity, just the name "Father", as opposed to "Son" *IS* a hierarchical relationship, which is inescapable. If not, why not just say "Brothers", if they really are equal ? It was unthinkable for a Jew of the day of Jesus to claim equality with Yahweh. Anyone claiming that would be stoned on the spot. Even if Yeshua claimed sonship, (which we don't know), it does NOT mean he claimed equality. There were other offenses for stoning also, but that certainly was one. Any other use of that term with a DIFFERENT meaning would have to be proven in it's context. When Hebrews heard the phrase "Jesus was a son of god" it meant he was a "righteous man". Later, the use of that word became an issue of great contention in Christianity, as it grew to mean something else, and there were large fights over the meaning in the Councils of early Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filioque , and how it relates to what developed into the Doctrine of the Trinity. In Jesus' day, he was not thought of as a being with a "divine" nature. Also those with "divine" natures, (the "heavenly host") were not necessarily considered equal to Yahweh. (see below). So the use of words, and what they mean was, and is very important in Christianity, and its' history.

Matthew 28:5 Do not be afraid. I know that you are seeking Jesus, the crucified one. He is not here. For he has been raised, just as he said.
....28:7 ....He goes before you to Galilee.

Matthew 28:17 : "When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted". They did NOT really believe that they were seeing a "risen" human corpse.
Not "some doubted". Not "Thomas doubted". They ALL doubted,. THAT late, JUST before the "great commission". In Galilee. That's what Matthew says. It's in the text.
By then, wouldn't they be used to seeing the "shade" ?

Luke : Luke 24:37 But they were startled and terrified, and thought they were seeing a "shade". (NOT a modern day "ghost"). They did not recognize him. Even after he said "Peace be with you".

John.20:19-24 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.... But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
There were only 11 at that point. Oops. If they just "called it "numerical Twelve". even though one was missing, finding another would NOT be important. If Having 11, and one was missing, then there were really 10, and they should have called themselves '"The Eleven". If, having one missing, and STILL calling themselves The Twelve, talking about the missing one would be irrelevant. If calling themselves "The Twelve" with only 10 present, and Eleven in the group, they don't know how to count. If "The Twelve " is just a "title", and they didn't mean 12, then nothing about this is reliable.

The Road to Emmaus, they saw him, talked with him, walked with him, yet did not recognize him.
Whatever it was that rose, it was not the body of Yeshua ben Josef. This time whatever they saw, was not a "shade" but resembled a human enough that they were not afraid of it.

This subject is a fascinating one. It employs all the skills a Biblical scholar can muster, and bring to bear on a topic. I'm an amateur here. My specialty is NOT these texts. I find the older texts more interesting, and more of a puzzle, and challenge. I've never really had much interest in the Christian writings. (They all presume a content in Genesis, which is absent, yet which is foundational to "salvation", thus whatever all this is all about is simply moot. Genesis is not really about sin and disobedience, and there is no immortality in Hebrew culture.) But it's a fun exercise in scholarship to tackle, as it pulls together so many themes and topics.

When Gary Habermas stands in front of his small audiences and *pretends*, with a degree in History, (from Michigan State), that somehow he is competent to examine the context, meanings, and truthfulness of the resurrection stories, and that that degree enables him to comment on religious texts from the ancient Near East, it is preposterous. The real scholars of Ancient Semitic languages think he's a fraud. He would be thrown out on his ear from gatherings of the field he pretends to speak for. He has the contempt of the academic community. The gymnastics he pulls on the stage, about Paul, is laughable. It's why he's relegated to Liberty University, as they all are. The academic backwaters. The same goes for William Craig, and Edward Feser. Third rate schools is the best they can do. Presuppositionsalists all. Also the fact that in the Habermas spiel, he uses Paul, as his dates are earlier, he doesn't even get it, that the gospels were placed first, as the gospels had primacy. He ignores that, as he wants dates.

They are like the Ugly American. They are the Ugly Christians. They do not really serve their own cause. They are not really academics. They are "plastic" *what passes for* fake versions of real academia, and what it is like, and what is done with a subject, such as the resurrection of Yeshua ben Josef. He is no more qualified to discuss this subject than his friend, the JOURNALIST-with-no-training-in-the-subject, Lee Strobel, who thinks interviewing people with favorable attitudes toward a view, is somehow evidence for the view. THAT is not even good journalism.

So that said, let's look at the resurrection. Where to start ? The Letters of Paul. They were the earliest Christian documents that exist today.

Much of what we see in Paul's texts, we see through the lens of a 21st Century reader. It's hard to jettison our automatic pre-judgements about what words mean, and what the value is, of dropping our prejudices, at all. For a "person of faith", is an honest "search for truth" even possible ? For the Presuppositionalists, (Craig, Habermas. Feser, Licona and Co.), apparently it is not. If you don't come out at their predetermined outcome, it's because you have a moral failing. and you just "don't understand" correctly. There is only one outcome that is legitimate. If you read the mission statement of Biola University, http://offices1.biola.edu/hr/ehandbook/1.3/ , for example, the search is not about the search for truth. The "truth" is presumed to be "their truth", (and only their truth). Thus for them, if the truth were to lead away from their presupposed truth, they would reject it, because they did not ALREADY believe it.

While this model is EXACTLY the way that communities in the ancient Near East accepted or rejected a gospel text, ie : did it "fit" with their presupposed common idea of what the truth was about the Jesus Event, and thus used as a gospel text, it's no good in helping us with the texts of Saul of Tarsus, since they were not used as "proclaimed faith" documents in liturgical services, in their original intent. They were just letters. This difference is maintained to this day. They are not gospels.

Always, there exists the problem of translation. All translation involves at least some interpretation. Presumed attitudes, and unseen premises abound, at every turn, unless one is very careful. For this discussion, I won't get into this much except to point out the common errors. I will explain sources for translations, if anyone is interested.

So ok. in 2016, no one can say or read the word *resurrection* and not have their brain cells associate that word, at least subconsciously with the resurrection of Jesus. I do not presume that Jesus may have been a person, a conflation of two Jesuses, or a total myth. All the usual historical references to the "historical" Jesus, are either forgeries, (such as Josephus 18), or references to Christians. Never Jesus as an historical person. I admit there was a "something" .. or "somethings". To me the proof is mostly that the growing cult argued about the meaning of the event. Why would a growing cult mention the fight s at all, if they were just making up something. They would white-wash it all, if there was nothing.

Also I will presume, for the moment "good faith". in Saul. There are good reasons NOT to do that, That's a discussion for another day. That's also why I will continue to say "Saul". He well may have had an ulterior motive. He changed his name to honor a Roman emperor.

Resurrection. The word has a few meanings.
1. An event in time, in which a previously live biological entity, after (clinical) death, resumes it's actual previous live biological processes . A secular meaning. This has never been observed. For this to happen, would involve so many problems with the science, (*see the below scientific discussion) I can't even begin to discuss the implications. It's not one miracle. It's billions, and trillions, if not more, of miracles.
2. The event in Christianity, which, without further definition, or further examination, just means the (supposed) event, in time that happened on Easter Sunday, early in the morning.
3. As a shutout to my friends up in Hollywood, I guess I can give you a Zombie definition also. Tongue Don't say I didn't do ya no favors.

So, imagine yourself as Saul of Tarsus. It's 50 CE. No gospels, No Mark, no John, no telephones, no TV, no records of any kind, no way for anyone to check anything. Only letters, but 95 % of the population are illiterate. Not only are they pre-scientific, with all that means. It also means they they have many Apocalyptic preachers who do miracles, and some are said to come back to life. You're on your own baby. How are you going to impart your message, and try to keep the adherents to your religion in line. You write them letters.

In "The Problem with The Resurrection", Dr. B. B. Scott does a brilliant comparison to Humpty Dumpty. Tell yourself that rhyme. Then ask yourself, what actually happened in that rhyme. If you tell me, "oh an egg fell off the wall, and smashed" ... I say nuh-uh. Nowhere does it say an egg fell. How do you KNOW an egg fell ? You presumed an egg fell. It's the same with the resurrection. Because of all the pictures, and picture books you've seen, you presume it was an egg.

So lets look at some words. "Resurrection" in English is defined above. Saul's letters were written in Greek In the second chapter of Luke, verse 34, the author has Simeon say, (to Mary and Joseph), "For this child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel. The Greek word used, is "anastasin". The Greek word here, is used, as anyone would normally use it in Greek, as in the "rising of the sun", would mean to us. LATER, after cultural and historical overlay, when "anastasin" is used, (just as in the Humpty Dumpty examaple, ), the word's meaning has TWO different meanings. A normal one, and a religious one. So there is an intra-gospel example of the post event cognitive change. There also is a good example we know of from Saul, and the Gospel of John. When Jesus gets up from the table, at the Last Supper, he (in the Greek), is said to "egeiretai", he "gets up". (For those who know Latin, the similarity is obvious.) When Saul uses this SAME verb in 1 Corinthians, 15:12, it's translated "For if our message is that the Anointed has been raised, how can you possibly be saying there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead". Thus without the later religious overlay, the phrase SHOULD be translated,as "he is gotten up from among the dead". This "gotten up" is equivalent to the way a Greek would have said "I *got up* this morning". (ie got up from a bed). It DOES NOT mean, I "rose from the dead" this morning. It's a raising of (relative) "position" with respect to a previous position.

We all think of the resurrection, the way we do, because of past Easter bunnies, and Easter church, and the way we have seen countless pictures of crappy sentimental art with pretty Caucasian Jesuses. So before, we even start, we have to agree, the only objective way to examine this question, is without cultural overlay.

Before we get to the Historical and Biblical aspects, it's necessary to look at two ideas.

The Egyptians believed in an after life. They had for thousands of years. The concept of a "soul" as distinct from the body, and surviving the body, was called the "ka". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egy...f_the_soul They speculated about what it would be in the Book of the Dead.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Dead

The Sumerians talked about it in the Epic of Gilgamesh. While there are obvious things appropriated from Sumerian texts, in the Bible, they did not import content about an after-life.

Almost all the surrounding cultures of ancient Israel DID believe in some sort of afterlife. Israel was an odd exception to this. It has perplexed scholars. Why Not ? I will propose my personal explanation for this later. There is both a positive, and negative case for this. It is important. Israel was not concerned with a personal afterlife. Genesis 3:19 says, "For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return". God breathed life into the man, not a soul. While there are examples of exceptions to this, in 1 Samuel 28:15, Saul calls the Witch of Endor, and she conjures up the shade of Samuel, who is angry to be disturbed. He was in a "dormant" state". not a "blissful" state. Conjuring shades was forbidden. Apart from the magic, there was just no cultural content of the ideal of an individual ("happy", or "sad") state of immortality. That does not mean immortality was not present. We'll look at that later.

Psalm 39 :
"Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart, and am no more"

Psalm 115 :
The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any that go down into silence".

However ALL the dead, both good and bad, were thought to go to an underground region called "Sheol". And Sheol is referenced in mostly the Wisdom texts. It's certainly NOT where God lives.
Psalm 6 : "For in death there is no remembrance of you, in Sheol, who can give you praise ?"

However, ....
The Biblical texts were written, (assembled) by the upper-class priests. In Canaan , ancestors remained powerful, after death, and had to be fed, and placated. Because of it's threat to monotheism, shamanism and witchcraft had to be suppressed. The fact it had to be suppressed, means it was widespread, and perceived as a threat. Saul expelled the mediums and the wizards. When the Witch of Endor conjures Samuel's "shade", Saul asks the witch, "What do you see". She answers, "I see a DIVINE being, (the word is "elohim"), coming up out of the ground. (Only the witch could *see* or perceive the shade). Saul asks "What does he look like ?". She describes him. And the text then says, (just as the text in the New Testament does, (ie describes *recognition*) about the "Road to Emmaus" incident), "So Saul knew it was Samuel...etc" because of the description. The DEAD SHADE'S IDENTITY HAD TO BE INFERRED. In Hebrew culture, the dead did not have recognizable human shapes. or appearances. Read that again, please. The identity of dead shades was not apparent. The "shade" of Jesus also was not recognized, when they said they saw it. Next, if a shade is a "divine being", it speaks volumes about what that means to them. If a dead human's shade is of the SAME essential nature as other divine beings, (and there were many, in the polytheistic Hebrew culture), then it calls into question our notion of "supernatural". In our culture a "god" is perceived as "up there", watching from above, powerful from on high, riding the clouds of heaven. Obviously from the Samuel's shade remark we see that was not true of the Hebrews. Instead of saying "super-natural", it would be more correct to say "other than normally natural", as it denoted an equal, or equivalency of power and status. There is no hierarchical paradigm implied.

Historically there is a long, very interesting historical set of occurrences, in which the Greek, and Roman, and Seleucid empire's forces are battling for ascendancy in the Near East) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes. Suffice it to say the Greeks purchased the High Priesthood in Israel, and Jason, (Greek equivalent name of Jesus), imported Hellenistic ideas, even more than they had been already, as recounted in 2 Maccabees, which drove some changes in the Hebrew culture, and it's assumptions. The famous "abomination of desolation" resulted from the interaction of the forces from these days, when the desolate temple, was associated, with not allowing Jews to perform their ritual practices arose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abomination...solationry involved Unfortunately it would lead us too far afield here, to do all the history involved here, but as a result of persecution in the Maccabeean period, there arose the idea of "Martyrdom". Martyrs were important as we shall see. Their status was "raised up" as a result of their heroic actions.

In the Book of Daniel, in chapter 12, for the first time the idea of rising from the dead appears in the Old Testament. Interestingly enough, it also involves a redemptive aspect.
Thus we know that before that date, there was NO concept of general, or individual immortality, in Hebrew culture. The author of Daniel had to try to make sense of the horrific experience of the Exile and the trying times they were experiencing. Thus he had the "trial in lions den", etc, which symbolized the horrible time in Babylon, and the invasion of the Maccabean period. How would he make sense of the awful experience. Daniel 12:3 "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars, for ever and ever." They get rewarded for suffering. And immortality is born.

A few years post Exile, we have Isaiah saying:
Isaiah 26:19 "Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
O dweller in the dust, awake and sing for joy !
For your dew is a radiant dew, and the Earth will give birth to those long dead."

The first text in the Bible to be written was the Book or Torah of Job, was also an attempt to ask why, and make sense of the experience of "exile".

So, just as with everything else in Hebrew culture, the horror of the Exilic period, gives rise to it's MOST important changes, and ideas. Religion had to rationalize how an absent god could allow his chosen people to undergo such a horror. Who cares, if you live forever, and there was another life after this one ?
So something clearly changes here. This is when and how the Hebrew's prophets and priests, added the notion of an afterlife to a culture which had none, previously. The culture was ready for this new addition, for another reason, as you will see below. However, these men, in no way say everyone rises, or that eternal life is for everyone, or where the resurrection takes place, or how exactly how this is made manifest.

There is a transitional period, as always. In Maccabees 2, there is the famous set of speeches of the seven sons of Hannah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_with_seven_sons
Each of the sons gives a speech before they are martyred for refusing to eat pork, (an "abomination of desolation"). In the speeches, they refer to SOME people being given eternal life, but not all. Saint Paul STILL had this "some" idea. Only the saved have eternal life, in the Pauline literature.

Saul of Tarsus thought the apocalypse was next week. The end-times were immanent for him, just as for Jesus. The Thessalonians were worried that the dead would be disadvantaged when the end-time came, Saul had to convince them otherwise. He told them "the living will not be given preference over those who have already fallen asleep", and goes into great detail how the end-times will play out. (1 Thess 4:13-18).

Alright, so that's a very simplistic background. A human being who says, "I believe that Jesus rose from the dead", or "I have seen the risen Lord", is saying the linguistic equivalent to "I think I have experienced the risen Lord". Two are active, one is passive. They are all equivalent with respect to an empiric truth. As we have seen above, the content of the words is 100 % dependent on cultural context.

There is a lot of razzle-dazzle among apologists, concerning where Saul got his message and authority to preach. It's all irrelevant. He told us he made it up, and how he felt about himself :
"Let me make it clear, friends, the gospel I announced does not conform to human expectations. I say this because it was NOT transmitted to me by anyone, nor did anyone teach it to me. Rather it came to me as an insight from God, about Jesus as God's Anointed." ...... "I went WAY beyond most of my contemporaries in my observance of Judaism"..... I would proclaim God's world-transforming news to the nations." Galations 1

Isn't he just special. The REASON he changed from being a self-righteous Jew to an Apostle, was he was an insane megalomaniac, and he found a better way to express it. He goes so far as to invoke Jeremiah, ABOUT HIMSELF, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". (Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 49:1).
"However when God who designated me before I was born, and commissioned me through his grace ..." Gal 1: 11-17.

One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone, and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul. After the introduction of Saul ends in Acts 9:30, the text is silent on him, and leaves him abruptly in Tarsus, The Saul, from Damascus Road disappears from Acts, and is not seen again, until much later. Acts 9:31 says that now, before the next Saul appears, the church was at peace. It says nothing more about a Saul, who, BTW, IS STILL being called SAUL, in the text. until, out of the blue, without explanation, a man also named Saul, is spoken of, in words that *could* be seen as saying it was another man, in Acts 13, but he is now in Antioch. . Acts introduces him all over again, without saying it was the SAME man which was spoken of earlier. If we hadn't been culturally told they were the same, we would have no way of knowing it WAS the same guy. Despite many opportunities, the new Saul does NOT refer to any conversion experience. in Acts 13, until much later. Why would an historical "look back" point of view not call him, consistently "Paul" ? In Acts 13:9, it says "But Saul, also known as Paul". We are NOT told it happened at the conversion. Why would the writer, all of a sudden choose to explain this fact HERE, if it's not a new actor in the text ? "Paul" is a "Romanized" name which means "small". Is this some sort of joke in the text, or does the name refer to Saul's "abnormal from birth" comment ? Was Saul abnormally short ? There are 3 times Acts recount the conversion. After the first one, Saul continues to be called "Saul". In the first one, when the god calls Ananias to baptize him, clearly the author wants the hearer to remember the Moses story when Moses was called from the burning bush, as Ananias, being called by the god, says "Here I am Lord". It happens in a dream. Clearly it's allegorical. Saul is NOT "baptized" here. It's a "laying-on" of hands. In Act 22:16 he IS baptized, AND it says "his sins are washed away". This is a HUGE paradigm shift. "Washing away of sins" is NOT a Hebrew idea. I shall deal with it below. In this second account, his name is changed but not explained. In the third account before Agrippa, the name change is not mentioned. Also too long for here is an examination of the Essene roots of Jeebus, except I would mention the Essene Book of Jesus, http://www.thenazareneway.com/essene_gos...ok_two.htm , says EXACTLY the SAME thing, as the Gospel of John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.".

...but, the accounts are inconsistent, and actually contradict each other.

1. In Galatians 1, he says he was "anointed", by his "Anointed One". His authority comes straight from "God the Father, who raised him from the dead". THIS is THE first report of a "risen lord in the New Testament, and it comes in a statement by Saul, proclaiming his self-appointing of his own authority. The "Saul event" is just as mythological as the resurrection. Saul does not say it happened on the Road to Damascus in this first account. If you compare the Pauline literature from the letters, with the later account in acts, a number of additional factors have appeared. There is nowhere a horse he fell from. Where did THAT come from. Later art work. There is no horse. In the letters Saul never says it happens on the Road to Damascus. In Acts, it says after the Damascus Road event, he went into Damascus and was taught by them. In Acts 22:10, it says he was told to get up, go into Damascus, and there he would be TOLD what to do. So Acts contradicts the letters with regard to the transmission of the message. This idea made Saul really mad, and he kept repeating he got it straight from God.

2. In Acts 8:1 it says : "Now Saul, was consenting to his execution", with respect to the execution of Stephen, the proto-martyr. Steven, in acts goes through the ENTIRE history of the Hebrew history, WHICH WE NOW KNOW WAS ALMOST ENTIRELY MYTHICAL. Thus the ENTIRE Book of Acts is now suspect, and the entire Hebrew Patriarchal history is impossible, historically, and Stephen re-asserts the falsehoods. But that's not the problem here. In Galatians 1:22, Saul asserts "I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea". That could not possibly be true, if he was a leader of the opposition in Jerusalem, and played a major part in the execution of Stephen. In the letters, Saul uses the Greek word "dioken", with respect to what he did to the church. That does not mean "persecute". It means "harass". The story is changed in Acts. Saul doesn't report himself as murdering Christians. He is much more lenient on himself, than Acts. He does this in the context of talking about his "zealotry", which at that time had no negative connotation.

Back to "experiencing" the "risen Lord".
Saul is THE first human in the Christian literature to actually write down that he had experienced a risen Lord. Acts were written many years later. The Paul in acts, is not Paul of Tarsus, or anyway, they are different "enough" to question one of them. We can accept that there IS a Saul of Tarsus, as his ideas are "Greeky", even while Jewish, and are non-Jewish enough that we know he was not from Israel. There are substantial underlying assumptions about Reality in the two Pauls, but it's too long for here. I'll post a link to a video about this subject at the end.

In Numbers 25: 6-13, Phinehas was zealous, don't cha know. Phinehas was "zealous for the Lord". The ends justify the means. Violence, and whatever is needed to achieve an outcome is valued, as the ULTIMATE value. Thus in his culture, "pious fraud" was 100 % acceptable. It was seen as a great thing to be "zealous for the Lord". You could do whatever you felt was necessary to get the outcome you *thought* your deity wanted accomplished. Saul was a Zealot. A Zealous Pharisee.

So why did they make such a big deal about Saul's change, (conversion), if he just stayed the same, essentially. He was already a Jew. He already believed in Yahweh. There IS no Christianity yet to convert to, Christians are NOT yet called Christians. (Acts 11:26 is NOT proof of anything, as Acts was written MUCH later), he continued to think of himself as a Jew. He STILL thought women were to be "under the law", He is NOT in need of "moral conversion", (from before his Damascus Road experience). He says he was "As to the Torah, blameless" : Phil 3:6.

So WTF IS going on here ? It's a mass of contradictions.
So next we will look at what Saul actually says about his "resurrection experience".

Scholars think the next earliest reference in existing written form to a risen Jesus, is a rather strange "hymn" or poem which we see placed in the beginning of the 2nd chapter of Philippians. Just as in the Old Testament, a "hymn" may be the oldest fragment, placed into another text. In Philippians 2: 6-11, there is a poem called the "Carmen Christi". The name comes from a letter of Pliny the Younger, in which he tells the Emperor Trajan, about (111-112 CE) what he found in the Provinces of Pontus and Bithynia, in Asia Minor. The Christian sect was being accused of various crimes, and he could find nothing especially seriously wrong about them. He didn't really know what to do. He says in Latin, "carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum invicem"..or "they chant verses alternately among themselves, in honor of the Christ, as if to a god". That's all he could find. Nothing especially bad. But that's why the hymn is called the "Carmen" Christi.. it's a (probably) chanted hymn. (I personally think he heard the chanting of alternate verses of psalms, but I have no proof, as they were done that way also). This hymn has been studied to death, by scholars. By the 1990's the "hymn" status was even being questioned, but whatever it is, ( a Greek "encomion" ? ), it doesn't really fit with Saul's known writing style. So he got it from somewhere. We know Philippians was a combo job, because, among other things, the author says "finally" more than once, (3:1, 4:8), and more importantly, the tone of the text does not match the surrounding text. Some think from 4:10 on, is yet a third author. Some think the hymn may have come from inside the community at Phillipi, and Saul approved of it, so he included it. In any case, the hymn says Jesus was "super-exalted", after being humbled. What does that mean, exactly ? The academic examination of this poem is extensive, but an interesting part, is in the Greek, the form of preposition and verb compounding, called a "hyperypsosen". It's a linguistic element used which intensifies the verb. "Super-exalted", or "extra-exalted" are just made-up English words which attempt to translate the meaning, as there is not an English equivalent. Anyway, the "high" position is used to intensify the difference from the "humbled" of the low position. Anyway, Saul KNEW the context, and that the Romans would hear of this, and/or, it would be "heard" in a cognitive sense, as a shocking insult. A pathetic criminal, whom the Romans had executed, now was "raised" to a very high position. It was the equivalent to a (political) "obscenity". It would be the same as an American "wacko-preacher" telling HIS audience, in a US military setting, that Osama bin Laden had been raised to the highest place in heaven. There is a VERY strong anti-Imperial "ring" to the last part of the poem. So the first citing of the resurrection theme, can be seen in a striking political context. If you wanted to get the Romans mad at the Christians, or justify Roman anger toward Christians, you would use such a poem.

2. The most extensive passage in the NT about the resurrection, is in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15. If the gospels are not the first mention of the event, why is it the accounts in Saul's letters not looked at more carefully, or first ? Scholars know why. They were, capriciously put in the canon in the order they are in, for no particular legitimate ordering reason. No one has ever claimed "ordering" was important, or that it enhanced legitimacy claims, or inspiration claims. Opening the NT, one just comes to Mark first. Paul is less well known, also as he is used in liturgy less, in the sense that the gospel stories are used more often, than any one Pauline passage is used. Lastly, the artistic legacy, depicts the gospel story frequently. So visually we *think* of a "risen lord* the way we do. Ask yourself, "When I think of the resurrected lord, what do I think of ?". Probably a Caucasian, adult male around 30 years old, with long hair, and pleasant features". THAT is NOT what the gospels said they saw. The gospels all say they did not recognize him, and they were afraid of what they saw. Our thought has been determined by our culture, not the facts. Next what are the best known stories you remember ? Probably Mary Magdalene being told not to touch, and the doubting Thomas story. If Thomas DID recognize Jesus, why would he HAVE to put his fingers into the wounds ? The problem is not faith, it's "recognition". They do NOT know who or what they see. If it WAS the actual body of Jesus, they would recognize him. We will return to that. The accounts in Paul are brief, and our brains fill in the gaps, with our cultural assumptions. We know the *real* 1 Corinthians is missing, as the letter referenced in 1 Cor 5:9 is unknown. 1 Corinthians is a combo job. The section in 1 Cor 14:33-36 was likely added by a scribe who liked Timothy and Titus.

When Saul first talks about the resurrection, other than himself as a "revealed" thing, he says that he "appeared to Cephas". The word "appeared", is an ok translation but not exactly correct, in context. The Greek word is "ophthe". It has a *passive* element. In English it is an intransitive verb. "Appeared" is a word which means "to become visible", or "was made visible", or "became apparent". The Greek verb is the past tense of the passive verb "horao", "to see", ("was seen"). The passive translation is "The Anointed has been seen by Cephas". HOWEVER, normally a Greek translation of "by whom" would be translated in Greek using the "hypo" (preposition), to indicate "agency". THAT is not here, in the Greek. It really should be translated as "The Anointed has been seen FOR the advantage of Cephas or to BENEFIT Cephas, or for Cephas' *advantage*". It does NOT mean "Cephas saw the Anointed". It means the "Anointed was made manifest for Cephas' advantage". That begins to look very different, than Cephas seeing something. It's more like Saul's vision. There are many examples of these kinds of misuse, and mis-translations, due to assumed cultural overlay, which when translated correctly, make the entire picture look very very different, especially in terms of the many "sightings" of various beings, and mysterious things, in both the Old and New Testaments. The most famous of these "shifts" is the sighting of Moses of Yahweh in the burning bush, where the angel shifts into the bush and is also "seen for" Yahweh, when Abraham moves from Ur, (which Philo of Alexandria talks about around 20-50 CE, in "On Abraham". There is NO physical "seeing". The correct translations all mean "seeing in the mind". It's a MENTAL change. Guess what ? SAUL's "blinding", and the "new seeing" is an EXACT correlation of these prior Biblical "manifestations", and any Jew or Christian, or Greek of the day would conflate these various "manifestations", "blindings", "and then seeings" as METAPHOR, for a mental attitude change. The same verbs, and words are used. Sauls blinding and then seeing" was equated, as Abraham's "vision", where his "mind saw again with it's recovered sight". Just like Saul. Saul "saw" with a different "sight". It was NOT a physical thing. It was a metaphor for a mental change. THAT is how he "*saw* the Anointed One". It like we say, "oh, ok, I get it, now". He did not intend to say he physically "saw" the Anointed One. It means "I have come to understand the Anointed One". In 1 Corintians 9:1-2, in defending his apostleship, he appeals to his new "seeing". "Have I not seen the Lord". That means that a requirement for apostleship, one has to have "seen the light.... Lord". But here he changes the passive past tense, to active verb. He means the "seeing" has an ONGOING present continuing "influence". It's all missed in translation, usually.

So just to emphasize here : Saul's "re-seeing", or "recovery from blindness", (ie THE "conversion event") WAS for him, personally the SAME thing, as the resurrection for him. For him "resurrection" was "re-seeing" the same set of events he already knew about, just "seeing" them in a different light. THAT is what he thought of the same thing as "Have I not *seen* the risen lord" It's metaphor, for a different understanding of events he already knew about. It's NOT a physical resurrection. It means "Have I not come to understand that Jesus was exalted as the anointed one" ?

There are countless other contradictions, and interesting tidbits, in Saul's letters, and how the wordplay is used, and later referenced by the gospels.
For example at the end of Romans, he says to greet the Apostle Junia. Junia was a WOMAN !!! Even (St.) John Chrysostom talked about how shocking that was, but says she was worthy of it. (On The Epistle to the Romans). John Chrysostom is full of interesting clues to the early church, including the fact they were still Jews, as late as 400 CE, (see the Christmas Sermon).

So what exactly did they mean they saw ? In 1 Corinthians 15:35, Saul says "How are the dead raised ?" He calls those who deny it "stupid man" (15:36). In Greek culture, the idea of immortality is as convoluted as Hebrew culture. The Greeks were Dualists. Body/soul was not a unity. But in Philippians 1:20, apparently Saul rejects this dualism, "the Anointed will be exalted, by my life, whether I live or die", or in SV translates it as "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death". To Saul, to deny the resurrection is the same as saying "You don't think, what you (actually) now really think". When Saul *saw* things in a different light, of course he saw them in a different light. To say otherwise, would make one a "stupid man".

Next we look at what actually was seen to have arisen. There are two aspects to this. The Pauline understanding, and the questions raised in the gospels.

As we have seen, in Hebrew culture there was no immortality, except metaphorical immortality for martyrs. In Greek culture, to which Corinthians was addressed, there also was no immortality, early on, but it changed. In the Homeric period, and in Sophocles, there is no physical immortality. In the Apollo speech in Aeschulus' "Eumenides" he says "...once he is dead, there is no return to life". However, by Plato's time, he has Phaedo saying "shall we assume two kinds of existence, one visible, and one invisible". (Dialogues of Socrates and Cebes). Dualism had developed. In Plato's dualism, there is an "essence", or soul which breaks free of a body, and joins a "divine' realm at death. Thus for the Corinthians, in Plato's dualism, the SOUL is immortal, but there is NO physical resurrection. So this solves nothing. The Corinthian Christians (1 Cor 12) believed that they HAD ALREADY been raised. In Colossians 2:12-13, Saul says "When you were buried with him in baptism, through faith in the power of God". BUT HE DENIES THIS view in 1 Tim 2:18-19, and says it's heresy. "Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that resurrection has already taken place. " There is a huge lengthy corpus of theological discussion here, for many years, about what exactly Saul's understanding of dualism actually was. Rudolf Bultmann had the position that Saul's thought was that there was no dualism, and that humans did have *have* a soul, ("soma"), but actually *was* a "unity", (body+soul). This would be fine, but it fit's in neither Greek or Hebrew culture. So what did he mean ? He said "the Anointed will be exalted by my life, whether I live or die". Thus Bultmann's position is refuted, as if it's BOTH it is not the "unity", if the body is dead, and ONLY the soul remains. Then Saul says "Don't you know that your bodies are parts of the BODY of the Anointed". (1 Cor 6:15) So here we see that WHOLE thing has metaphorical meaning, and is not a literal discussion, in any way, in Saul's mind. In 1 Cor 15:40 he says "There are also heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies". There are mountains of other discussions in this subject with respect to Pauline understanding of nature, and whether they are Hebrew or Greek. Inevitably, they lead to the fact that Saul thought that was raised, was not a physical body but a "new body", that is based on a divine "breath". THAT is NOT a physical body. Saul of Tarsus did not believe in a physical resurrection of the dead. Whatever he did think, it was not a physical body. It's all over his letters.

So enough of Saul, and his "re-seeing". On to the gospels.

I'm assuming a reader knows what the Q source document is. Fundamentalists say about the Q document, "It's just a theory", much as Evolution deniers say "Evolution is just a theory". It's an established explanation, for which there is almost no evidence for refutation. There is no alternative explanation. The reconstructed Q document contains NO mention of any resurrection. Neither does the original Gospel of Mark. In Q there is no passion, and no salvation. In Mark there is no salvation, but there is a passion. In Q, Jesus is lined up with the prophets, and in the pattern of Deuteronomy, and he is rejected by the people. By the time Mark is written, the passion has been added. The pattern in Q is the same as in The Wisdom of Salomon, where it talks about the "Righteous One", who is taken up, and will sit in judgement. There are many Hebrew assumption/ascension myths. Jesus is unique, as he died first.

So why does the author of Mark leave his gospel with no resurrection ? Well, actually it's not an omission. Maybe it's there after all, in it's own way. It's actually purposeful, the way we see it, with no resurrection story. How can that be ? The theme of the gospel of Mark is the hidden nature of the Jesus event, and that "real understanding" is revealed later. In Mark 4:10, it says "And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. The answered them, "The mystery of the kingdom of God, has been granted to you. But to those OUTSIDE everything comes in parables, so that 'they may look and SEE, but not perceive, and hear and listen, but not understand..' ", (quoting Isaiah 6:9, "They may look with eyes wide open, but never quite see, and may listen with ears attuned but never quite understand". Only the insiders "see with insight". In this gospel, a physical resurrection would have been superfluous. No matter what they *see*, they don't necessarily "see with understanding", or "see with insight". They could have "seen" ANYTHING, but still would not have *understood*. So adding a resurrection would have been totally unnecessary, and actually refute the thesis of this gospel, if the observers understood the event they observed. Seeing for Mark is *insightful understanding*, not seeing a physical event. So Mark is not really missing anything. It was corrupted later when the "non-understanding" editors later added a non-intended ending. I ask you, "why is it, there is not one famous painting of a silent empty tomb ?" Think about that. In mMark, "the coming to see or understand" is very similar to Paul.

Gospel of Matthew :
There is an odd contradiction which is interesting in Matthew. In the Hearing at the house of Caiaphas, (the High priest), two men come forward and say "This man said 'I can destroy the temple of God, and rebuild it within three days' ". In fact Jesus NEVER says that in public in Matthew, only in private to the Apostles. Pilate refuses to post a guard, and the Jews do it themselves. This obviously was a part of the attempt to shift the blame for the death to the Jews, and exonerate the Romans. This theme of Roman exoneration, and that Christianity was no threat to Rome clearly was one of largest disasters of all time. Mathew likes earthquakes. During the time of the Roman occupation, there were historians in the Near East who recorded every earthquake, and major natural event. They did not record either the death earthquake, nor the resurrection one. The resurrection said, "there was a *strong* earthquake. Hmm. Could this be metaphor for a cosmic event ? The "anointing" mission of the women in Mark is changed to "inspection", and all kind of things are added. In Matthew it's become a major production. The soldiers just happen to faint, so they can't witness the event. The women don't run away afraid, as in Mark. Now there's a dazzling angel, wearing white clothes.

Matthew adds a few more things which are not in Q, or any of the other gospels, and are quite startling. Back in Matthew 27:53 he says that after the resurrection the "bodies of many saints who had 'fallen asleep' were raised. And coming forth from their tombs AFTER his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many". He also says that when Jeebus died, the veil of the curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom, the earth quaked, and rocks were split. (Clearly this was metaphor, but for the literalists we shall look further at this). There were at the time Roman historian s who recorded every major natural event, and their year and date. Neither this earthquake, nor the one on the Sunday to follow were recorded, and no one else ever mentions a "major quake", or any of it's ramifications, or any damage. None of the Jewish historians record a rending of the temple curtain, or any reason why it would have been seen to have been torn "miraculously". It simply didn't happen, no "unnaturally" split rocks were ever seen, or proposed, and if a zombie army had suddenly appeared in Jerusalem, the Romans would have talked about it, and taken some sort of action, and someone would have mentioned it. No one says anything.

If the Jewish authorities and Romans had gone to all the trouble to arrest and try and crucify him, why was there never once a search-party assembled to find him and take care of him, if he posed enough of a problem to go to all the trouble to do away with him on Passover weekend.

(remains incomplete ... a work still in progress Summer 2014.)
why no immortality
why immortality developed - family disruption


To end with :
I present to you a series of events that occurred in what is now, one of the United States of America.

The Governor of the state in question became involved.
A court was established.
Witnesses were carefully examined and cross-examined, by the best experts of the day.
Evidence was gathered.
Many people confessed in public to the officials of the court.
The entire proceeding was documented with thousands of sworn affidavits, court documents, interviews and related proceedings.
Sufficient evidence was established by intelligent men and women of good faith, that the declarations of the witnesses were true, and that these declarations should in all reasonableness result in the established legal consequences that reasonable good adult men and women thought were perfectly legitimate.

What evidence did they have that the assertions concerning what they said they saw and were convinced of were really true ?

1. Hundreds if not thousands of people were involved in concluding that what they said they saw and concluded was actually true.
2. The witnesses provided sworn testimony in court, sworn affidavits which we can look at today, and affirmed they were completely utterly convinced that what they were saying was totally completely true.
3. The witnesses came from all social strata, and every diverse background, including the most highly educated of the day.
4. These witnesses included judges, magistrates, the governor of the state, and family members of those about whom the assertions were made.
5. Many involved had much to lose if the assertions were to be found true. The consequences would impact many in very personal ways, if found to be true, thus had no conflict of interest, or reasin to lie. Many could lose beloved spouses and family members and friends about whom they cared a great deal.
6. The proceedings were thorough, exhaustive investigations. They deliberately gathered evidence. They made every effort to sort out truth from fallacy. They went to every possible length to actually discern the facts.
7. There are numerous artifacts from the time, and many documents from the proceedings we can review in person today.
8. These proceedings happened, not 2000 years ago, but a mere few hundred years ago. The literacy rate was far far higher than in ancient Israel.
9. For claimed events from 2000 years ago, there are no actual original documents of any kind. None at all. Only copies from centuries later.
10. For the events in question we have sworn documented court testimony, not just word of mouth transmission.
11. A truck full of documents from the proceedings exist at the University of Virginia Library. You can go see the testimony of the eye-witnesses for yourself, today.
12. By any measure or method, the quantity and quality of the evidence for the events in question FAR FAR FAR outweigh the quality of the evidence for the events in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.
13. Anyone who claims they have good evidence to support belief in Jesus, his death, and resurrection, or any miracle thought to have happened today, IF they are in any way a consistent, honest, logical and a reasonably thoughtful person, they MUST also accept :

That of the 250 people accused, 19 women in Salem Massachusetts, including Sarah Goode, and Rebekah Nurse, The Witches of Salem, really were actually witches, and were justly condemned and executed for performing demon magic.

BTW, Bart Ehrman is no "militant atheist". He latest book; "How Jesus Became God, the EXALTATION (same idea as presented here), of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee." (not "resurrection" ... or bodily *rising )

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid162714

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid160188

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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