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The Historical Reliability of Scripture

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The Historical Reliability of Scripture
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WenlokUser avatarPosts: 23Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:55 pm Gender: Time Lord

Post The Historical Reliability of Scripture

Greetings,

Recently i have come across an apologetics articles about the reliability of biblical witnesses.
The article deals more in the subject of legal reasons and court methodology in which i dont have alot of expertise in.

I would like for someone to look over this paper and give me their feedback on it.

https://www.jashow.org/articles/guests- ... scripture/

Thank you.

Edit: Pot—->alot
Ordo Lucis~Order of Light
Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:15 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2458Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The Historical Reliability of Scripture

My feedback: it's long! :D

Is there anything specific?


I guess we can look at the 10 'facts'?


Fact One: The existence of thousands of Greek and Latin manuscripts, with the papyri and early uncials dating much closer to the originals than for any other ancient literature;

This is rather dissimulative because the early Christians actively destroyed a lot of earlier pagan works. Many such works only survived because they were held in monasteries in the near East, the old Greek world, and never saw the heavy editing of the homogenizing soon-to-be Catholics.

Also, it seems to be arguing that because the texts themselves are abundant, that the content therefore must be true. We also have the Iliad and the Odyssey which predate any and all parts of the Bible by centuries, but Christians don't suppose that this means that Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon etc are all real just because their actions are included in this ancient text.



Fact Two: The lack of proven fraud or error on the part of any New Testament author;

Seems more than a little irrelevant when we have little information about any of them outside of the New Testament. It's hardly likely the heavily selected and edited NT text is going to include any evidence intended to call into question the honesty of its own writers.



Fact Three: The writings of reliable Christian resources outside the New Testa­ment;

Not from the time itself, but from centuries later. So what element here is 'reliable'?



Fact Four: The existence of a number of Jewish and secular accounts about Jesus;

Most scholars think it likely that Jesus was a real person, and he was obviously Jewish not Christian, so at best this would represent corroboration of Jesus' existence, not of the validity of the content of the NT. Secondly, none of the Jewish sources are contemporary, written at least a generation later than Jesus was said to have died. Finally, there's really not that many at all - Josephus?



Fact Five: Detailed archaeological data concerning the New Testament;

Of which there's really not very much, and nor is it exactly 'detailed'. Interestingly, when you look at the following paragraphs talking about this, rather than actually argue this point, they argue that many of the events in the NT are archaeologically supported rather than there being archaeological support for the NT's story.



Fact Six: The existence of many powerful enemies of Jesus and the apostolic church who would have proven fraud or pointed out other problems if they could;

Except, of course, the church became one of the world's most powerful institutions, perfectly able to control, manipulate and murder those who pointed out problems. Given the NT as seen today is a product of the 4th century council of Nicaea, and given that Christianity was already the religion of both the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines) and the previous Western Roman Empire, the supposed 'powerful enemies' really don't seem to exist.



Fact Seven: The presence of living eyewitnesses to the events recorded;

Not really, because the supposed living eyewitnesses are recorded only in the NT - circularity.



Fact Eight: The positive appraisals by conservative and even some liberal au­thorities bearing on the issue of the genuineness of traditional authorship and the early date of the New Testament books;

Whether the NT's authors were 'genuine' or not says nothing about whether the content of the NT is factual or not.



Fact Nine: The consistent scholarly, factual reversals of the conclusions of higher criticism that undermine its own foundations and credibility; and

This is just abject nonsense. It gets worse when the writer expands on this:

If 200 years of higher criticism of the biblical text reveals anything, it is that the higher critical methods are untrustworthy, not the Bible.


So talking about apologetics, he then employs apologetics to argue for the rectitude of apologetics, and everything else must be wrong, even though supposedly he's arguing that the criticism of apologetics both corroborates the NT and is itself untrustworthy. This is just 2nd hand car salesman bollocks.



Fact Ten: Legal and other testimony as to New Testament reliability.

Which is wholly irrelevant.

Reading the extended passage, it's all just an appeal to authority except that the supposed authority is this list of famous people were 'great legal minds' (citing no legal experts at all) who were then supposedly convinced by the historical evidence. The argument makes no sense at all, which is typical in an appeal to authority, but this is a rather stellar example of poor reasoning.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:04 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: The Historical Reliability of Scripture

I currently don't have the time to read the article, so I will just make the following comment for now.

There is no reliability in the Gospels. All of the Gospels are reliant on Mark, which was written at least a few decades after Jesus was supposedly executed. All of them contain historical errors, and miracles. Nothing in them is corroborated in other sources.

They are about as unreliable as they can get.

Edit, having said that though if you look at them in the right way you can learn about early Christianity. But as historical witness accounts, well, that's really a non starter because they aren't that.
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Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:22 am
WenlokUser avatarPosts: 23Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:55 pm Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: The Historical Reliability of Scripture

Greetings,

I appreciate the response, but i guess my question was more about if the arguments made anout accprting the bible as a legal witness is actually true in court? Especially regarding the witnesses which certainly existed.

To me, even if the witnesses were accurate, it will only prove they witnessed Jesus exist, not him do miracles as those are not corraborated outside the bible.

Again, thank you.
Ordo Lucis~Order of Light
Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:37 pm
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2681Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: The Historical Reliability of Scripture

Wenlok wrote:Greetings,

I appreciate the response, but i guess my question was more about if the arguments made anout accprting the bible as a legal witness is actually true in court? Especially regarding the witnesses which certainly existed.

To me, even if the witnesses were accurate, it will only prove they witnessed Jesus exist, not him do miracles as those are not corraborated outside the bible.

Again, thank you.



I would not want to live with a legal system where scripture was accepted as legal witness.

I could not imagine this being the case. I'm pretty sure it's not the case were I live.

With the US, I'm... not so sure, tbh.
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


The horse is a ferocious predator.
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:04 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2458Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: The Historical Reliability of Scripture

Wenlok wrote:Greetings,

I appreciate the response, but i guess my question was more about if the arguments made anout accprting the bible as a legal witness is actually true in court?


I don't know of any actual examples, but I can well imagine this at least being possibly true in the Dark Ages to early Medieval Period. Today, absolutely not.

Eye witness testimony may be used as circumstantial evidence, but it cannot alone be used to convict in most nations, although I believe Gnug's expression of uncertainty may well be correct for the US. It can, however, be used more powerfully in defense in terms of an alibi - if the accused was seen elsewhere at the time of the crime, for example. By and large, though, even in the US pathetic half-baked and provably erroneous techniques are used to 'test' the value of the testimony, it's not just taken as granted. The notion that the asserted eye witness testimony of someone from the past and unavailable to be questioned could be considered ample by courts is just nonsense, though.


Wenlok wrote:Especially regarding the witnesses which certainly existed.

To me, even if the witnesses were accurate, it will only prove they witnessed Jesus exist, not him do miracles as those are not corraborated outside the bible.

Again, thank you.


There's essentially a set of stacked problems here.

Firstly, did the witnesses actually exist? Some of the supposed witnesses to particular events we only 'know' of their existence because the NT says they existed, and says they witnessed the events, so in those cases it's circular.

As for the various assumed authors of the NT, many of them weren't even offering first-hand accounts but reporting what they'd heard others say. Some of them weren't even present during Jesus' life, writing decades later. And the records were selected, edited, and amended by hundreds of years of hand-me-downs before being finally selected, edited, and amended by a council of self-declared interpreters of the correct and appropriate NT. Who knows what they chose to leave out?

I don't see any reason to doubt that there was a Jewish reformer/rebel named Jeshua - from what we know of the period, there were plenty of this type of 'performer of deeds' characters running round the region. I also expect that a lot of the central thread of Jesus' life was true but heavily embellished trying to redraw him as the prophesied Messiah. But I don't think we can really place much trust in the factuality of any of the events aside from saying whether such an event was likely in the contemporary political and social climate.

One thing the article almost says, but can't really because it needs the NT to be special, is that it is a fantastic historical record in terms of giving a window into the minds, beliefs, and world of the people of the region during that time period.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:44 pm
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