The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
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19-06-2011, 12:03 PM
 
The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
Hello everyone. Before we start things off,I want to clarify that I'm not defending Christianity .I just simply want everyone's opinon on all the evidence Christianity has to back it up.I wish to be free of the religion,but I keep running across all this evidence for it,like the prophecies in the book of Daniel.I read somewhere that it's all in the dead sea scrolls,which means it was written earlier than skeptics thought.The popular theory,at one point,was that the prophecies where written during the Maccabean wars.With the discovery of the dead sea scrolls,this theory seemed debunked due to the fact that there wasn't a sufficient amount of time alotted between the wars and writings of the scrolls for the book to be canonized,which supposedly took a long time. So the only other dating I've seen is the dating which corresponds to when it was written in the Bible.The prophecies in Daniel are pretty dang specific too.

Things like this keep me holding on to the religion.
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19-06-2011, 03:36 PM
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
Hey, just wanted to tell you this post isn't being ignored. I'm currently reading through the book and looking for the specific prophecies. But I just want to throw out some of the basic traps that biblical prophecies fall into.

1. The prophecy must be proven to be written before the fact. Occam's Razor is a rule of thumb stating that the explanation that requires the least presumptions tend to be correct. If we have a prophecy written at an unknown time that has come true, it requires less presumptions to say it was written after the fact than before it.

2. It has to be specific. No, "Where the two river meet there will be bloodshed", or "During the reign of a man a kingdom shall fall". In order for a prophecy to be a prophecy, it has to tell the future. you cannot look back in history and say the prophecy was filled here, but look into the future and say that "This will happen within this time frame".

3. If you want to claim a divine relational for a prophecy, it can't be something predictable. Anyone can accurately predict "There will be wars" because wars are common. Or if someone prophesies that a new ruler will to power, that of course will com true. Heads of nations come and go all the time.

4. More or less a side note, many times when you hear someone talk about an incredibly accurate prophecy, it's their interpretation of the prophecy that make it so accurate. Always read the actual source and judge for yourself what is being said.

I'm not sure if the prophecies fall into any of these categories, but they are good questions to ask about any prophecy. Here is a video on prophecies to tide you over until I'm done.



I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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19-06-2011, 04:21 PM
 
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
(19-06-2011 03:36 PM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  Hey, just wanted to tell you this post isn't being ignored. I'm currently reading through the book and looking for the specific prophecies. But I just want to throw out some of the basic traps that biblical prophecies fall into.

1. The prophecy must be proven to be written before the fact. Occam's Razor is a rule of thumb stating that the explanation that requires the least presumptions tend to be correct. If we have a prophecy written at an unknown time that has come true, it requires less presumptions to say it was written after the fact than before it.

2. It has to be specific. No, "Where the two river meet there will be bloodshed", or "During the reign of a man a kingdom shall fall". In order for a prophecy to be a prophecy, it has to tell the future. you cannot look back in history and say the prophecy was filled here, but look into the future and say that "This will happen within this time frame".

3. If you want to claim a divine relational for a prophecy, it can't be something predictable. Anyone can accurately predict "There will be wars" because wars are common. Or if someone prophesies that a new ruler will to power, that of course will com true. Heads of nations come and go all the time.

4. More or less a side note, many times when you hear someone talk about an incredibly accurate prophecy, it's their interpretation of the prophecy that make it so accurate. Always read the actual source and judge for yourself what is being said.

I'm not sure if the prophecies fall into any of these categories, but they are good questions to ask about any prophecy. Here is a video on prophecies to tide you over until I'm done.



Thanks you so much for putting in the effort to actually go through and look for me.The certain prophecy I'm talking about ,at least in my point of view, is pretty specific. It's chapter 8.I had to go back and look at which chapter it was or I would have replied earlier.I'm trying to save you some time:)And your right about all the stuff you said above. People can conjour up so many different meanings with prophecies or anything in the Bible for that matter.I've learned to always look for myself.This one though gives names of actual kingdoms,and if I'm remebering correctly four different kingdoms really did rise up,and Alexander the great was the superior one that the chapter talks about.Idk,I dont have the best knowledge of ancient history.This is just stuff I've read on the internet.This one thing I cant really reserach myself.I'm still in high school so I really dont have that many resources.
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19-06-2011, 05:03 PM
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
I'll help when I can but it's been a busy day glad Ashley's already on it.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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19-06-2011, 05:13 PM
 
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
(19-06-2011 05:03 PM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I'll help when I can but it's been a busy day glad Ashley's already on it.

Alright,thank you! I am too.
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19-06-2011, 10:38 PM
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
I've been digging around a lot, trying to find an answer to the puzzling questions of early manuscripts of Daniel. I can't say I'm done, but I've found an interesting collection of essays of the topic here. The full book costs a hundred dollars or so, but a 137 page sample should be more than enough to read. I've skimmed it and I'll read more tomorrow and relate my understanding to you, but if you feel like reading directly from the source ahead of time, here it is.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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20-06-2011, 09:27 PM
 
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
(19-06-2011 10:38 PM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  I've been digging around a lot, trying to find an answer to the puzzling questions of early manuscripts of Daniel. I can't say I'm done, but I've found an interesting collection of essays of the topic here. The full book costs a hundred dollars or so, but a 137 page sample should be more than enough to read. I've skimmed it and I'll read more tomorrow and relate my understanding to you, but if you feel like reading directly from the source ahead of time, here it is.

Awesome source! I haven't read all of it,but I didnt know most of the stuff I did read.Good find.
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21-06-2011, 07:56 AM
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
Well, from what I read, I'm inferring that Daniel was written gradually, with new additions being added often. This would explain why it would already have wide-acceptance long before the 2nd century BCE, but still have the "prophecies", which were added later. Wikipedia claims this is the consensus among experts, and cites this book. And I did a brief check on the authors. John J. Collins is a lawyer, but Peter W. Flint is an expert in this field.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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21-06-2011, 11:41 AM
 
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
(21-06-2011 07:56 AM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  Well, from what I read, I'm inferring that Daniel was written gradually, with new additions being added often. This would explain why it would already have wide-acceptance long before the 2nd century BCE, but still have the "prophecies", which were added later. Wikipedia claims this is the consensus among experts, and cites this book. And I did a brief check on the authors. John J. Collins is a lawyer, but Peter W. Flint is an expert in this field.

Ahhhhhh that makes total sense. Gah The Bible is such a tricky thing. Thanks for your help.It's much appreciated.
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21-06-2011, 12:54 PM (This post was last modified: 21-06-2011 01:06 PM by myst32.)
RE: The Historical and Archeological evidence for Christianity
(19-06-2011 12:03 PM)The Man Wrote:  Hello everyone. Before we start things off,I want to clarify that I'm not defending Christianity .I just simply want everyone's opinon on all the evidence Christianity has to back it up.I wish to be free of the religion,but I keep running across all this evidence for it,like the prophecies in the book of Daniel.I read somewhere that it's all in the dead sea scrolls,which means it was written earlier than skeptics thought.The popular theory,at one point,was that the prophecies where written during the Maccabean wars.With the discovery of the dead sea scrolls,this theory seemed debunked due to the fact that there wasn't a sufficient amount of time alotted between the wars and writings of the scrolls for the book to be canonized,which supposedly took a long time. So the only other dating I've seen is the dating which corresponds to when it was written in the Bible.The prophecies in Daniel are pretty dang specific too.

Things like this keep me holding on to the religion.

A couple things about biblical prophecies...

First, they are "for their own time". The authors were not talking about 3000 of 4000 years in the future. For example, all the prophecies from Jesus second coming have to do with "the son of man"... Jesus thought he and his followers would be alive for the end times ( Mark 9:1). Only later, after all the apostles were dead, was this "re-interpreted" to be his second coming.

Second, the bible has a dismal record of prophecies coming true. Look at Isaiah 19:5-7 for example... he states the Nile would dry up... this has not happened... Should we still consider it valid? In 5000 years if the Nile dries up should we say "Wow, Isaiah was correct!!"?

Since you are interested in Daniel specifically here is what Paul Tobin from his book "The Rejection of Pascal's Wager" (worth the $$$ you should get it) has to say about the book of Daniel and when it was written.. All his work is referenced but to keep it short I left them out, get the book if you want more info. I placed in bold the part that contains the evidence that it was written around 167 BCE....



DANIEL: PROPHESYING THE PAST

The book of Daniel consists of twelve chapters of which only the first half, the narrative portion, concerns us here. Like the book of Jonah, its pretence at being an historical work is foiled by the author’s poor knowledge of history. The book of Daniel is so filled with historical errors and inaccuracies that most mainstream biblical scholars now conclude that Daniel was written very much later than the period it pretends to be (6th century BCE). Let us look at some of these mistakes:


Mistake # 1

Daniel 1:1-2 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Jerusalem, and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

The passage is filled with historical errors and anachronisms.

• The name of the reigning king of Judah during the siege is wrong. II Kings 24: 8-13 showed that it was during the reign of Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son, that Nebuchadnezzar laid siege on Jerusalem.

• The third year of Jehoiakim’s reign would be 606 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar was not yet king of Babylon at that time! Nebuchadnezzar only become king in 605 BCE, the fourth year of Jehoaikim’s reign.

• The use of the term Shinar is an anachronism. The name was used to refer to Sumeria during the time of Abraham. During the exilic period, around the time the book of Daniel was supposed to have been written, the correct term was Chaldea, not Shinar.

• The correct spelling for the neo-Babylonian king was Nebuchadrezzar. We noticed that books that were actually written during the exilic period such as Jeremiah (25:9) and Ezekial (26:7) got this spelling right at least some of the time. Daniel always incorrectly spells the name with an “n” rather than “r”.


Mistake # 2

Daniel 5:1-2 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, might drink from them.

This innocent looking passage is simply loaded with historical errors.

• Belshazzar, or more correctly Bel-shar-utsur (“Bel, Protect the King”) was never a king. He was a crown prince but never became king of Chaldea, for the kingdom collapsed during the reign of his father.

• Nebuchadnezzar was not the father of Belshazzar. In fact there is no family relation at all between the two. Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 BCE leaving the kingdom to his son Amel-Marduk. Amel-Marduk, in turn was murdered by his brother-in-law Nergal-ashur-usur two years later. Nergal-ashur-usur reigned for only four years. After his death in 560 BCE, his son, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Labashi-Marduk became king. There was a revolt, and Labashi Marduk was dethroned. The new king was Nabu-naido (“Nabu is glorious”), or in its Greek form, Nabudonius. Nabudonius was not related at all to Nebuchadnezzar. He was the last king of the Chaldean Empire, and Belshazzar was his son.

Mistake # 3

Daniel 5:30-31 In that night Belshazzar the Chaldean King was slain. Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Again, another statement that is historically false.

• In the first place the Chaldean Kingdom, fell not to the Medes but to the Persians (in 538 BCE). The King who conquered Chaldea was Cyrus the Persian.

• There was no historical Darius the Mede who conquered Chaldea! However, there was a Persian named Darius who became king in 521 BCE, seventeen years after the fall of Babylon. Darius was a renowned king in antiquity and it is obvious that the author of Daniel erroneously thought he was the conqueror of the Chaldean Empire.

Mistake # 4

Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans

Now, if he is referring to the historical Darius (the Persian) this is another false statement. The father of Darius was Hystaspes. Ahasuerus, based on Ezra 4:5-6, can be correctly identified with Xerxes I. But Xerxes I was the son of Darius, not his father!

Mistake # 5

Daniel 6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

This verse forms a fitting “tribute” to the author of Daniel’s monumental ignorance of history. The passage above clearly shows that he believed that the Chaldean empire fell first to the Median Empire and this, in turn, fell to the Persian. This is clearly unhistorical. History tells us that the Chaldean and the Median empires existed together and both fell to the Persians.

Dating the Book of Daniel

We mentioned above that scholars now know that the book of Daniel was written much later than the time it pretends to be. Indeed, the date of its composition can be quite certainly placed between 167 and 164 BCE. How do we know this? Let us sum up the evidence:

• First, as we have shown above, the book could not have been written in the 6th century BCE because it made errors that anyone living during that time would know to be false.

• Second, is this revealing statement from Daniel 9:2: I was studying the sacred books and thinking about the seventy years that Jerusalem would be in ruins, according to what the Lord had told the prophet Jeremiah.

The prophet Jeremiah lived during the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE. He was, therefore, a very near contemporary of Daniel. The time of the supposed Daniel was simply too soon for the book of Jeremiah to be considered scripture (which is another word for “sacred books”). In fact we know that the book of Jeremiah was only canonized, i.e. widely considered as “scripture”, around 200 BCE. Daniel could not have been written earlier than that.

• Daniel was very accurate in “predicting” events leading to and including the desecration of the Jerusalem temple by Antiochus in December 167 BCE.2
After this Daniel starts to go wrong again. Daniel 11:45 predicted that Antiochus IV would die “between the sea and the mountain on which the temple stands”, i.e. between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea. Yet Antiochus IV died in Persia in 164 BCE.

To summarize, he made errors regarding events in the distant past (6th century BCE), was remarkably accurate in describing details of the events leading to the desecration of the temple in 167 BCE and then made errors about events after that. It is obvious that Daniel must have been written at a time after the temple desecration but before the death of Antiochus IV; in short between 167 and 164 BCE. These discrepancies in the book of Daniel have been pointed out by skeptics almost 2,000 years ago. Around the end of the third century CE a pagan critic named Porphyry called attention to the fact that Daniel’s prophecy stopped being accurate for events after the year 167 BCE. He rightly concluded that Daniel must have been written around that time. When Christianity became the dominant power in the Roman Empire, the “Christian thing” was done: Porphyry’s books were burned. It was only around the 19th century that biblical scholars began to accept Porphyry’s views as the correct one. So Daniel is a book written late in 2nd century BCE that tries to “dress itself up” as a work written four centuries earlier. Why did it adopt this pretence? The book pretended to be written in the 6th century BCE for a simple reason; by the time it came to be read many of the so-called “prophecies” would have already been “fulfilled”. This would lend credence to the book and add more weight behind the prophecies yet to be fulfilled. In a nutshell, the author of Daniel tried to fool his readers into believing that the book is of an ancient origin in order to have them believe his future prophecies.
The summary below on the book of Daniel, made by Robin Fox is apt:

"The book [of Daniel] has the familiar ingredients of a biblical success story: its hero probably never existed; he was credited with visions he never saw and actions he never did; ...while its dates and kings are incorrect and its setting is a fiction, posing as history. In short, the author of Daniel is a fraud."

Tobin, Paul (2011). The Rejection of Pascal's Wager


Hope this helps....

myst

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” Orson Welles
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