Reliability of the Gospels
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09-12-2012, 09:11 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(08-12-2012 09:19 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:Lost in Translation.
The Gospels were not originally written in Aramaic, or Hebrew, but in Greek, which was first translated into English in the early seventeenth century. To translate a language is difficult and always introduces subtle misunderstandings. These tales have been translated twice, so Yeshua’s words and the remembered reports of what he did include errors in translation. This important and undeniable fact is often overlooked when the supposed words of Jesus are carefully dissected looking for their true meaning.




John Wycliffe translated the bible into English around AD 1385. It was from his scholarship that the King James Version emerged.

Admittedly, bad translations do indeed exist, and many newer translations use the older translations for part of their scholarship. Also, with the development of the English grammar over the centuries we often see a capitalized "God" in place where a lower-case "god" should actually be. Many translations are the result of Christian biases and zeal.

Quote:Yeshua’s Words?

There is no evidence that Yeshua had chroniclers writing down his words as he spoke, so any recording of his remarks must have been reliant on the “oral tradition.” Yet Jesus’ lyrics are recounted in long passages in all the Gospels. For example, there is a monologue that goes on barely uninterrupted for almost ten pages in John 13–18, and there are similar lengthy lectures in Matthew. They must be fictitious.

In one sentence you say that the recording of the words of Jesus must have relied on oral tradition, and then dispute it because of the lengthy passages, then dismiss it as fictitious?

Although this appears to be a reasonable and logical train of thought, before it can be demonstrated as having any strong merit we should see if there are other examples where we have anyone else in antiquity that has no evidence of an on-the-spot chronicler and yet recited a long diatribe.


And indeed there are many examples. Here's just a few:

Muhammad’s Farewell Speech


The Third Philipic


Depart: Alexander the Great



These are just 3 that were easy to find, and none have an on-the-spot chronicler. Yet, here those speeches exist without a chronicler, so by using your train of thought should we conclude that these speeches are fictitious?



Using your method of reasoning should we therefore then conclude that anybody’s speech in ancient history should be considered fictitious just because we cannot name the chronicler?



Is that truly reasonable?



Quote:If you grew up Jewish outside a city, you were unschooled. It is highly unlikely that Jesus or any of his disciples could read or write.The Catholic Encyclopedia disagrees with the majority of historians about the literacy of those in Jesus’ circle: “We may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood.” They “suppose” that “most” of the apostles were bilingual, and could read and write in two languages! They can’t verify these absurd assumptions with evidence. I think they are implying that the apostles wrote the Gospels (in Greek), yet admit elsewhere they didn’t. Carefully chosen commentary is creating an incorrect impression.

I’m somewhat doubtful of the reasoning and validity of this assertion of yours that says Jesus or his disciples could not read or write for the following 2 reasons:

1. If you feel the Gospels are a total work of fiction as you have expressed here and elsewhere, then you have no evidence to support that assertion whatsoever. Therefore, you have no reference point to draw such a conclusion.

2. On the other hand, if you feel the Gospels do indeed record at least some of the things Jesus said, then we have evidence within the gospels that he could indeed read, as he recites dozens of Torah verses and reads in the synagogue. We also have evidence that some of his disciples could read and write as well, according to the NT.



Either way, your argument doesn't work, for how can you determine Jesus was illiterate according to the supposed uttered words of Jesus in the Gospels if you think the entire Gospel record is fictitious? Hence, you cannot use the "fictitious" Gospel record as a reference point to drawn that conclusion, and therefore you have no evidence to draw that conclusion from.


Quote:The so-called “oral tradition,” said to be how Jesus’ supporters remembered what he said, and then (somehow) later documented, is a myth. We have trouble remembering words from conversations five minutes ago, and our memories are very prone to suggestion, exaggeration, and confabulation. We forget, alter, and exaggerate details. Why would poorly educated peasants perform any better?



We cannot make this comparison between a modern culture and an ancient culture without committing the Historian’s Fallacy. We cannot impose the modern mindset with all its distractions, plus our modern recording devices with could promote memory laziness, onto an ancient culture which would be far more dependent on memorization than we would be. Nor can we compare our modern westernized cultures with such an ancient people. If you are going to draw any kind of comparison then in all fairness the comparison must be relative to the ancient culture.



For example, even in our modern civilization we still have backward cultures that do not have nearly any of the modern conveniences that we take for granted. Take a look at some of the Islamic tribal communities in the outskirts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many of their children have memorized the entire Qur’an verbatim by the age of 12, and then by merely reciting it, they teach it to others.



Therefore, we do know for a fact that when it comes to religion many of followers of their so-called prophets will indeed memorize verbatim whatever their prophet has said, and the oral tradition can in fact remain verbatim for tens of centuries, as evidenced by the followers of Muhammad from ancient times and even up to today.


Now that's a good example of a fair comparison that is totally relative.

The occupation of "Hafiz" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafiz was an established skill, in Islam, and maybe for epic Greek poetry.
There is no way of knowing that what they memorized was actually a "farewell speech" or something made up and presented as such by the followers of those named above.

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10-12-2012, 08:14 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(09-12-2012 09:11 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(08-12-2012 09:19 PM)Free Wrote:  



John Wycliffe translated the bible into English around AD 1385. It was from his scholarship that the King James Version emerged.

Admittedly, bad translations do indeed exist, and many newer translations use the older translations for part of their scholarship. Also, with the development of the English grammar over the centuries we often see a capitalized "God" in place where a lower-case "god" should actually be. Many translations are the result of Christian biases and zeal.


In one sentence you say that the recording of the words of Jesus must have relied on oral tradition, and then dispute it because of the lengthy passages, then dismiss it as fictitious?

Although this appears to be a reasonable and logical train of thought, before it can be demonstrated as having any strong merit we should see if there are other examples where we have anyone else in antiquity that has no evidence of an on-the-spot chronicler and yet recited a long diatribe.


And indeed there are many examples. Here's just a few:

Muhammad’s Farewell Speech


The Third Philipic


Depart: Alexander the Great



These are just 3 that were easy to find, and none have an on-the-spot chronicler. Yet, here those speeches exist without a chronicler, so by using your train of thought should we conclude that these speeches are fictitious?



Using your method of reasoning should we therefore then conclude that anybody’s speech in ancient history should be considered fictitious just because we cannot name the chronicler?



Is that truly reasonable?




I’m somewhat doubtful of the reasoning and validity of this assertion of yours that says Jesus or his disciples could not read or write for the following 2 reasons:

1. If you feel the Gospels are a total work of fiction as you have expressed here and elsewhere, then you have no evidence to support that assertion whatsoever. Therefore, you have no reference point to draw such a conclusion.

2. On the other hand, if you feel the Gospels do indeed record at least some of the things Jesus said, then we have evidence within the gospels that he could indeed read, as he recites dozens of Torah verses and reads in the synagogue. We also have evidence that some of his disciples could read and write as well, according to the NT.



Either way, your argument doesn't work, for how can you determine Jesus was illiterate according to the supposed uttered words of Jesus in the Gospels if you think the entire Gospel record is fictitious? Hence, you cannot use the "fictitious" Gospel record as a reference point to drawn that conclusion, and therefore you have no evidence to draw that conclusion from.





We cannot make this comparison between a modern culture and an ancient culture without committing the Historian’s Fallacy. We cannot impose the modern mindset with all its distractions, plus our modern recording devices with could promote memory laziness, onto an ancient culture which would be far more dependent on memorization than we would be. Nor can we compare our modern westernized cultures with such an ancient people. If you are going to draw any kind of comparison then in all fairness the comparison must be relative to the ancient culture.



For example, even in our modern civilization we still have backward cultures that do not have nearly any of the modern conveniences that we take for granted. Take a look at some of the Islamic tribal communities in the outskirts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many of their children have memorized the entire Qur’an verbatim by the age of 12, and then by merely reciting it, they teach it to others.



Therefore, we do know for a fact that when it comes to religion many of followers of their so-called prophets will indeed memorize verbatim whatever their prophet has said, and the oral tradition can in fact remain verbatim for tens of centuries, as evidenced by the followers of Muhammad from ancient times and even up to today.


Now that's a good example of a fair comparison that is totally relative.

The occupation of "Hafiz" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafiz was an established skill, in Islam, and maybe for epic Greek poetry.
There is no way of knowing that what they memorized was actually a "farewell speech" or something made up and presented as such by the followers of those named above.


This may be true, however using that reasoning we can not know for certainty that any kind of speech that was made in ancient times of which we have text can ever be demonstrated as being 100% accurate, or even 0% accurate.

But the one thing we do have as far as evidence is concerned is the text itself. The point I am making is that it is entirely possible- as has been demonstrated by Muhammad's followers- that the memorization of things that have been spoken by a highly revered person can in fact be memorized verbatim.

And since Muhammad was a religious figure somewhat like Jesus, the comparison I make and the reasoning supported by evidence makes a very good case for "oral tradition" being very credible and dependable.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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10-12-2012, 09:50 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 08:14 AM)Free Wrote:  The point I am making is that it is entirely possible- as has been demonstrated by Muhammad's followers- that the memorization of things that have been spoken by a highly revered person can in fact be memorized verbatim.


Really? There is absolutely no proof that the words of Muhammad were memorized verbatim.

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10-12-2012, 11:02 AM (This post was last modified: 10-12-2012 11:06 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 08:14 AM)Free Wrote:  
(09-12-2012 09:11 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The occupation of "Hafiz" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafiz was an established skill, in Islam, and maybe for epic Greek poetry.
There is no way of knowing that what they memorized was actually a "farewell speech" or something made up and presented as such by the followers of those named above.
This may be true, however using that reasoning we can not know for certainty that any kind of speech that was made in ancient times of which we have text can ever be demonstrated as being 100% accurate, or even 0% accurate.

But the one thing we do have as far as evidence is concerned is the text itself. The point I am making is that it is entirely possible- as has been demonstrated by Muhammad's followers- that the memorization of things that have been spoken by a highly revered person can in fact be memorized verbatim.

And since Muhammad was a religious figure somewhat like Jesus, the comparison I make and the reasoning supported by evidence makes a very good case for "oral tradition" being very credible and dependable.

That's right. There is no way of knowing if any ancient speech is accurate. And there is nothing comparable, and there was no "memorization" job/function in Hebrew culture. The "text" itself is evidence of nothing. The only way it would tend to lead credence would be if, as in Islam, we know that there was a specific skill in the culture for memorization of texts. The Greeks memorized epic poems, not speeches. There was no such thing in Hebrew culture at all, as they wrote everything on scrolls. There were no "oral traditions" in Hebrew culture, traditionally passed on, and there are no examples of other "memorized" texts and speeches from the time of Yeshua.

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10-12-2012, 02:28 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(10-12-2012 08:14 AM)Free Wrote:  The point I am making is that it is entirely possible- as has been demonstrated by Muhammad's followers- that the memorization of things that have been spoken by a highly revered person can in fact be memorized verbatim.


Really? There is absolutely no proof that the words of Muhammad were memorized verbatim.


As atheists, when we speak about the Qur'an, we are speaking about the words of Muhammad.

And those who have memorized the words of Muhammad are estimated to be in the the tens of millions. This practice of memorization has been recorded for centuries.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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10-12-2012, 03:03 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 02:28 PM)Free Wrote:  
(10-12-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  Really? There is absolutely no proof that the words of Muhammad were memorized verbatim.


As atheists, when we speak about the Qur'an, we are speaking about the words of Muhammad.

And those who have memorized the words of Muhammad are estimated to be in the the tens of millions. This practice of memorization has been recorded for centuries.
No none is disputing that the Hafiz did a good job memorizing things. I assume what Chas meant was that the claim that the content of the memorized texts actually was something that (supposedly) the angel dictated to Mo was the same thing that came to be in the Qur'an was actually something that Mo said is unverifiable. In fact, the multiple external identifiable strands of Arabic poetry in the Qur'an, (just like the gospels), leads one to think, that whoever wrote it, (even if it was ole Mo), got it from somewhere else. In fact one of the claims that Islam uses to say it's origin is "divine", is that it's "unique" in terms of "beauty", and "uniquely scientific", etc etc. That's simply not true. It fits quite neatly in with the rest of the literature of the time. Maybe we should either go to the Islam thread, to continue this, or ask Free to criticize what we already discussed in the "ask a Muslim" thread, (before he joined us), and leave this thread for the gospels. The Mullah dude apparently got scared away by the multiple proofs that what he was saying about his Christian fundie inventing the idea that Islam was not an Abrahamic was actually not true, and pre-dated him. (Morley). However it's one of the most popular threads, (for external hits) on TTA.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...k+a+muslim

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10-12-2012, 03:55 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:That's right. There is no way of knowing if any ancient speech is accurate. And there is nothing comparable, and there was no "memorization" job/function in Hebrew culture. The "text" itself is evidence of nothing. The only way it would tend to lead credence would be if, as in Islam, we know that there was a specific skill in the culture for memorization of texts. The Greeks memorized epic poems, not speeches. There was no such thing in Hebrew culture at all, as they wrote everything on scrolls. There were no "oral traditions" in Hebrew culture, traditionally passed on, and there are no examples of other "memorized" texts and speeches from the time of Yeshua.

Excellent reasoning, and a good point.

However the one thing I do disagree with is regarding the ancient Jews. Although the ancient Hebrews relied solely on texts, when the Hebrews broke off into sects the Pharisee did indeed practice oral tradition. The Sadducee had no respect at all for oral tradition, and were strictly a "by-the-book" sect.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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10-12-2012, 06:32 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 02:28 PM)Free Wrote:  
(10-12-2012 09:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  Really? There is absolutely no proof that the words of Muhammad were memorized verbatim.


As atheists, when we speak about the Qur'an, we are speaking about the words of Muhammad.

And those who have memorized the words of Muhammad are estimated to be in the the tens of millions. This practice of memorization has been recorded for centuries.
The Koran wasn't collected until many decades after Mohammed and from multiple sources and adjudicated as to what was real and what was not.

And your going to tell me you have confidence that it accurate?

Seriously?

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10-12-2012, 06:50 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 06:32 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(10-12-2012 02:28 PM)Free Wrote:  As atheists, when we speak about the Qur'an, we are speaking about the words of Muhammad.

And those who have memorized the words of Muhammad are estimated to be in the the tens of millions. This practice of memorization has been recorded for centuries.
The Koran wasn't collected until many decades after Mohammed and from multiple sources and adjudicated as to what was real and what was not.

And your going to tell me you have confidence that it accurate?

Seriously?
The Qur'an was assembled as a single book 19 years after Muhammad died. It's chapters and verses had been spread around Arabia and further, but since many of Muhammad's earliest followers had memorized it, they convened a committee in 651 AD to reaffirm the verses and compile into a book that is precisely the same Qur'an we have today.

It's a matter of Islamic history, which is also confirmed in both the Sunnah and aHadith.

So yes, I have confidence in it's integrity.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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10-12-2012, 07:02 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(10-12-2012 06:50 PM)Free Wrote:  
(10-12-2012 06:32 PM)Chas Wrote:  The Koran wasn't collected until many decades after Mohammed and from multiple sources and adjudicated as to what was real and what was not.

And your going to tell me you have confidence that it accurate?

Seriously?
The Qur'an was assembled as a single book 19 years after Muhammad died. It's chapters and verses had been spread around Arabia and further, but since many of Muhammad's earliest followers had memorized it, they convened a committee in 651 AD to reaffirm the verses and compile into a book that is precisely the same Qur'an we have today.

It's a matter of Islamic history, which is also confirmed in both the Sunnah and aHadith.

So yes, I have confidence in it's integrity.


I am skeptical.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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