Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
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10-02-2015, 07:35 AM
Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
Calling on people who know more about history than me!

I frequently hear arguments that the New Testament must be true because several of the founding Christians were killed for their beliefs, and why would they have died for a lie? Now, I know the Bible tells about some of these deaths, but are there any sources outside of the Bible that tell about the deaths of the apostles? If so, do we know when they were written (i.e. are they contemporary)?

I'm wondering, because if there aren't any sources outside of the Bible, this obviously becomes using the Bible to prove the Bible.
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10-02-2015, 07:54 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
Check this out. It's a very extensive review of the claims made regarding the apostles.

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.co.../12/18/48/
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10-02-2015, 07:55 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
(10-02-2015 07:35 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Calling on people who know more about history than me!

I can't answer the question but I'd like to know more as well. I've heard the same claims but haven't yet looked into the details at all.

What I do know is that even if they could show that those people likely lived and were killed for their beliefs it would not prove anything. 19 hijackers died for their beliefs on 9/11; suicide bombers die for their beliefs all the time; the people in Jonestown died for their beliefs; etc.

The best they can show is that people believed and believed strongly. That is not unbelievable at all but it provides exactly zero support that the belief is in anything that is actually true. The claim is often presented as "people wouldn't die for a lie" and, while there are possible counter examples to that, it should be more honestly presented as "people wouldn't die for what they think is a lie".

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10-02-2015, 07:59 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
(10-02-2015 07:54 AM)JakSiemasz Wrote:  Check this out. It's a very extensive review of the claims made regarding the apostles.

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.co.../12/18/48/

Skimmed it and will have to go back later when I have time to read it all. Looks like a good reference.

I love this: “Where else would the Yellow Brick Road lead, if not to Emerald City?”

That sums up so many theistic arguments so well

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10-02-2015, 08:24 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
(10-02-2015 07:54 AM)JakSiemasz Wrote:  Check this out. It's a very extensive review of the claims made regarding the apostles.

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.co.../12/18/48/

Thanks. I'll take a look at that.


(10-02-2015 07:55 AM)unfogged Wrote:  What I do know is that even if they could show that those people likely lived and were killed for their beliefs it would not prove anything. 19 hijackers died for their beliefs on 9/11; suicide bombers die for th

I almost included Muslim suicide bombers as well, but it isn't quite an apt analogy. The Christian apologetic claim on the matter is the founders wouldn't have died for a religion they knowingly created, whereas the Muslim extremists are dying for something they've been taught and believe to be true.

That being said, there is still room for the founders to have created a religion that isn't true, but to have still believed it themselves. I could particularly see this as true for someone like Paul, if he believed in a divine revelation from a spiritual god without ever having met the physical Jesus (or believing Jesus was solely spiritual). It's also possible the people were so moved by the preachings of heaven and hell from some upstart Rabi that they were willing to die for it, even without having seen miracles.

So, it's not like I think a few contemporary, extra-biblical sources would prove Christianity by this line of thinking, but I'm mostly curious if there even are sources.
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10-02-2015, 08:30 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
(10-02-2015 07:54 AM)JakSiemasz Wrote:  Check this out. It's a very extensive review of the claims made regarding the apostles.

https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.co.../12/18/48/

Oh, yeah. I first read Κέλσος on the 42/10 apologetic. Great stuff! Thanks for the link!
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10-02-2015, 10:47 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
(10-02-2015 08:24 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I almost included Muslim suicide bombers as well, but it isn't quite an apt analogy. The Christian apologetic claim on the matter is the founders wouldn't have died for a religion they knowingly created, whereas the Muslim extremists are dying for something they've been taught and believe to be true.

Great point, I hadn't considered that angle and will have to give it some thought.

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10-02-2015, 11:54 AM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
(10-02-2015 10:47 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(10-02-2015 08:24 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I almost included Muslim suicide bombers as well, but it isn't quite an apt analogy. The Christian apologetic claim on the matter is the founders wouldn't have died for a religion they knowingly created, whereas the Muslim extremists are dying for something they've been taught and believe to be true.

Great point, I hadn't considered that angle and will have to give it some thought.

Again, note that they are not correct because of that distinction. I still think there is a lot of room for people who believed in it, yet that were ultimately wrong.
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10-02-2015, 12:20 PM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
The only accounts of any fucking disciples/apostles that are not in the bible are in xtian writings which were not accepted by the holy committee for inclusion into the bible.

I always regarded the "disciples" as sort of like the Chorus in Greek plays. Their job was to say "Holy Shit, Lord" every time he did something...as if they had no collective memory of the last trick their godboy performed!

Robin Hood's Merry Men are more believable.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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10-02-2015, 01:01 PM
RE: Extra-biblical accounts of apostles
Reasonable Doubts did a three-part series on martyrdom in early Christianity. The material most relevant to your question is in part 2, but the all three parts are good.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Bob Seidensticker at the blog Cross Examined did a two-part series on the "who would die for a lie?" argument, which he recently updated.

Part 1

Part 2

I'm just thinking out loud.
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