Why should a Christian think the Bible is inspired? (Part 1)

Posted on 02/08/12 147 Comments

A reader sent me the following request: “I was wondering if you had an article … that talks about how we should approach the Bible and why we as Christians should view it as inspired?” For me it is as easy to write something new as dig up something old, so here goes.

The question is minimally how a person can rationally believe a particular canon of books is divinely inspired. More robustly, it is how they can know a particular canon of books is divinely inspired. To answer this question (or these questions) let’s begin by asking how a person can rationally believe a particular canon of books is uniquely inspiring. To address this question we’ll pop over to the English department.

Mortimer, a first year English student, is on his way to class when he runs into a fourth year student in philosophy who sneers at the Norton Anthology of Western Literature he has tucked in under his arm. “What makes you think those writings are inspiring?” she sneers. “Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, and the rest are just ‘dead white European males’ and colonial oppressors!”

Mortimer arrives to class chagrined. Is it true? Are these texts really no more inspiring than any other?

Let’s take a step back for a moment. How did Mortimer form his initial belief that a particular set of texts belongs in a uniquely inspiring literary canon? Well we know how he didn’t form it. He didn’t do his own study of western literature and arrive at these texts through a bottom-up empirical study. Rather, he was handed a list and told that this is the canon that is uniquely inspiring.

Is this problematic? Should Mortimer have taken the word of others as to what is inspiring? Or should he have been agnostic until he could conduct his own study?

The latter suggestion is an impossible one. Mortimer never could complete such a comprehensive survey. He would lack the time and skill to do so. And even if he had both, we would be requiring him to withhold any opinion on which books are inspiring for years, possibly for decades. (Think about it: when is a survey of past works comprehensive enough to warrant an inductive conclusion that this set of works is uniquely inspiring and thus the backbone of a literary canon? The task would be never-ending and thus would require Mortimer to postpone any commitment to the existence of such a canon in perpetuity.)

The fact is that we take the testimony of others all the time, and we are better for it. Imagine that Mortimer lives in a thatched hut deep in the Black Forest (it is there that he was raised reading the Brothers Grimm, a history which ignited his interest in literature). Mortimer’s mother taught him which plants to eat in the forest and which are poisonous. You can bet he takes her word for it. And Mortimer is still here today because he did so.

There is in fact an endless list of modes of classification that we adopt due to the trusted testimony of others. As Mortimer looks up at the night sky he can point you to a handful of bright pinpoints of light which are distinct from the other pinpoints of light in that they are planets rather than stars. And he didn’t need to view them through his own telescope before he could point them out. The testimony of others telling Mortimer which lights are stars and which are planets was sufficient.

So now we return to Mortimer holding his Norton Anthology in his sweaty palm, looking like Hansel after he just discovered the witch’s true intentions. “Mortimer,” I say. He looks up, startled. “Mortimer, what’s the problem boy?”

“How do I know this canon of literature is inspiring?” he asks.

I nod sympathetically. “Good question. Maybe I can respond by asking a couple questions back to you. How do you know which plants are poisionous?”

“My parents taught me.” Mortimer says.

“And how do you know which lights in the night sky are planets?”

“Some of the older gentlemen in the village taught me.” he replies.

“And how do you know which books belong in the literary canon?”

Mortimer looks at me intently. “My teachers taught me…?”

I nod approvingly. “That makes sense, doesn’t it?”

For a moment the clouds seem to depart from Mortimer’s countenance. But then almost as quickly it darkens again. “Yes, but a fourth year philosophy student challenged that canon as being an arbitrary list of dead, white European male oppressors. Does that mean I have to reject what my teachers taught me about the literary canon?”

I nod thoughtfully. “Yes, that could be a problem.”

Here ends Part 1

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  • Aden

    Hi Randal. Will you be explaining your various uses of the word “inspired”? I’m particularly interested in the differences between what it means to be “inspiring” vs. “uniquely inspiring” vs. “divinely inspired”.

    Thanks.

    • randal

      Clearly there are important differences between the three categories. However, the argument doesn’t require me to offer those definitions. Mortimer may not know all the qualities that distinguish “Paradise Lost” from the latest Stephen King novel. What he needs, minimally, is a rational justification to believe that there is something that separates “Paradise Lost” from the latest Stephen King novel, and thus which warrants us calling the former but not the latter uniquely inspiring. The same goes for terms like “planet” and “star”. These categories are actually fuzzier than people often realize. But we still can justifiably distinguish between Venus and Rigel.

      So to sum up, we need to distinguish two different issues: whether an individual can be justified in believing that x is inspired, and what it means for x to be inspired. The two issues are clearly related, but they are nonetheless different issues.

      • Aden

        Okay, if the definitions don’t matter to the argument then I guess my question is not about the argument. I’d still like to know your definitions, however, so I can know what exactly the issue/claim at hand is, i.e. what it means for something to be “inspiring”/”uniquely inspiring”/”divinely inspired”.

        • randal

          This is a stanard set of definitions:

          Inspired: to possess a superiority of quality which is detectable by capable perceivers.

          Uniquely inspired: a qualitatively superior exemplar of that which is inspired.

          Divinely inspired: to be uniquely inspired with God being the primary agent of that inspiration.

          I am not entirely sanguine about the divinely inspired definition here for some reasons that I’ll come to.

          • Aden

            Okay. I imagine I’ll have more questions as you develop your argument. Thanks.

  • Jag Levak

    The appeal to teachers’ authority might survive a challenge from a more senior student, but it seems like the analogy to other religions would be more on the order of entire competing schools of teachers, having similar credentials, teaching something incompatible. Perhaps the next installment will deal with that.

    • Walter

      That was my thought as well, but I am going to withhold further comment until I see part 2.

    • randal

      Jag, I have read Joe Stiglitz’s analysis of the 2008 crash and Obama’s inept handling of it. Having carefully considered Stiglitz’s testimony I believe he is correct: the stimulus worked but it was not large enough. In addition, Obama failed to institute the necessary regulatory reforms of the banking industry. Stiglitz is an unapologetic Keynesian. I know that there are economists who would disagree with Stiglitz, many of them of the Hayek mindset of free market deregulation and non-intervention. I haven’t considered their testimony in the same way that I have considered Stiglitz. Is that a problem for you? Do you think that in every case of disagreement among representative pundits in a particular field of discourse that we must withhold our own opinion until we’ve given equal time to all the experts?

      • Robert

        A perfect rational agent would gather as much evidence as possible (within whatever cost it deems reasonable) – including equal time to all experts.

        This does not mean that the agent will be completely uncertain until all the evidence has come in. No. The agent would update based on evidence as evidence is found and continue doing so (without anchoring or other bias) until the cost of getting new evidence exceeds the agent’s curiosity or instrumental values.

        So … back to (what I think is) Jag’s question.

        Is the inspiration of scripture any less certain given that there is disagreement among millions of informed people? Yes. A rational agent would see this as reason to discount (not entirely dismiss) the appeals to authority for any inspiration hypothesis.

        • randal

          “A perfect rational agent would gather as much evidence as possible (within whatever cost it deems reasonable) – including equal time to all experts.”

          Robert, there are only so many hours in the day. Do you think it is more rational for me to spend my evenings reading Alan Greenspan to balance out the perspective I gained from Stiglitz rather than spending that time getting informed on another topic, or perhaps driving my daughter to piano practice?

          • Walter

            There is a difference in being rational and being right. It is rational to defer to experts most of the time, but that does not mean that the experts are not sometimes wrong. I believe that a Christian (for instance) would be rational in concluding the resurrection occurred based on the expertise of NT scholars, but that does not necessarily mean that the majority of NT scholars are correct in their conclusions. A person living at certain time would have been rational to conclude that the earth was stationary and the center of the universe based on the conclusion of learned scholars. This person would rationally hold incorrect beliefs about reality.

            • randal

              I agree with everything you’ve said here. A rational belief by no means necessitates a true belief.

          • Robert

            Randal, Yeah, absolutely. A ‘perfect rational agent’ will not keep gathering evidence until the end of time. The point is to get enough where the cost of getting more would outweigh the utility of certainty. How’s that for technical mumbo-jumbo?

            • randal

              I agree with your mumbo-jumbo, broadly speaking anyways. If we got into details I’m sure a chasm would open up somewhere.

          • http://leadme.org Jeff

            I’m interested to see where this series goes, Randal, but don’t have much to say at the moment.

            But I would like to encourage you to check out a genuine alternative to Stiglitz. You’re not going to get any balance by reading Greenspan. He and Stiglitz are cut from different corners of the same cloth. Give Tom Woods one hour of your time, and agree with him or not, I guarantee he will at least catch your attention.

            • Jag Levak

              “I would like to encourage you to check out a genuine alternative to Stiglitz”

              Heh, a neo-Confederate Catholic libertarian. That would indeed be something different from Stiglitz.

              • http://leadme.org Jeff

                Tom Woods is a “neo-Confederate”?

                Jag, you sound like a zombie.

                • Jag Levak

                  “Tom Woods is a “neo-Confederate”?”

                  It seemed a fairly apt label for someone who endorses the Southern right of secession, who helped to found the the League of the South, who wrote articles for Southern Partisan, and whose Politically Incorrect history book downplayed the importance of the slavery factor in the Civil War, and denigrated and challenged the legality of the Fourteenth Amendment while presenting an apologia for the Black Codes adopted by southern states right after the Civil War. Woods may be correct that there is nothing inherently neo-confederate about his particular advocacy on the narrow issue of nullification, but that objection does not address the other respects in which he looks like a Confederate sympathizer.

                • http://leadme.org Jeff

                  Jag, I actually haven’t read his Politically Incorrect history book so can’t comment too much, but I will say that Woods is absolutely not a racist or a slavery sympathizer or any such ridiculous thing. And if you’ll allow me, I’ll sidestep that whole issue because I don’t really care. The main point I was trying to make is that Randal mentioned Friedrich Hayek, so I thought he might be interested in hearing a very clear, concise, thought-provoking, and even entertaining presentation of Hayek’s business cycle theory. Woods provides just such a presentation, hence the link. And I didn’t want Randal’s suggestion that Greenspan is some sort of Hayekian to go unchallenged.

                  • Jag Levak

                    “I didn’t want Randal’s suggestion that Greenspan is some sort of Hayekian to go unchallenged.”

                    My understanding is that Greenspan’s libertarianism traces back to being in Ayn Rand’s inner circle, and Rand and von Mises had that mutual admiration thing going on, and von Mises strongly influenced Hayek, but yes, Randal should not have suggested that Greenspan is some sort of Hayekian. Oh wait, he didn’t.

                    • randal

                      This is definitely an interesting side debate. In fact, the Jag/Jeff debate is to this article and thread what a Pixar short is to a Pixar feature film, and that’s high praise indeed.

                    • http://leadme.org Jeff

                      Greenspan flirted with Randian libertarianism in his youth, but to put Greenspan-as-Fed-chairman-and-beyond anywhere near Hayek in terms of their respective economic platforms is, well, laughable. A clear implication of Hayek’s business cycle theory is that a central bank chair who implements inflationary monetary stategy is public enemy number one. Greenspan absolutely fits that bill, as does Bernanke, and many of the past Fed chairmen.

                      Randal, if my suggestion that you suggested that Greenspan falls somewhere near Hayek is incorrect, then I’ll take Jag’s suggestion and withdraw my suggestion :)

                • http://leadme.org Jeff

                  The one quick, specific thing I’ll say in defense of Woods is that as an anarchist, of course he endorses secession.

                  • Jag Levak

                    That’s a defense?

                    • http://leadme.org Jeff

                      Any anarchist worth his or her salt endorses an unconditional right of secession, at any and every level of governance, and regardless of the specific parties involved (or at least, so it certainly seems to me). One need not be a slavery sympathizer to hold that the southern states were justified in seceding from the union. Just as one need not be a slavery sympathizer to hold that the American colonies (in most of which slavery was practiced) were justified in seceding from Britain. (Of corse, that war often follows on the heels of secession certainly complicates all the ethical considerations involved, but the raw right of secession remains intact regardless.)

                    • Jag Levak

                      “Any anarchist worth his or her salt endorses an unconditional right of secession, at any and every level of governance, and regardless of the specific parties involved (or at least, so it certainly seems to me).”

                      So as you see it, the South had a right to secede, individual states had a right to secede from the South, counties, parishes, and townships would have had the right to secede from any state, and individual plantations and homesteads would have had their own rights to secede?

                      Secession, it would appear, involves the right of groups within a nation to seize, remove, and take over portions of that nation’s territory. Presumably that would not be a right granted by that nation, so the obvious question is, where does this right come from? In the case of the South, did they acquire that right by dint of their ability to launch and wage war?

                      “One need not be a slavery sympathizer to hold that the southern states were justified in seceding from the union.”

                      True enough. But even so, there clearly are slavery sympathizers who justify Southern secession. I don’t know where Woods’ sympathies lie, but I would think that if he feels a group can be justified in launching a war in order to seize territory from another group, then by extension that suggests (if he is being consistent) that he would similarly defend the right of one group to exploit or oppress another group.

                      And if the right of secession does not rest on military power, where does it come from?

                    • http://leadme.org Jeff

                      Sorry, Jag, I have a habit of slow responses.

                      I’ll note first of all that the specific point I was arguing here is that I see no reason to think that Tom Woods is a racist or slavery sympathizer. Since you’re now saying that you don’t know where his sympathies lie, I’ll take that to mean that you would at least be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, pending further review. Cool. From what I’ve seen and read of Woods, he seems like a genuinely fun, intelligent, well spoken, compassionate guy (who, true, is not afraid to get a bit politically incorrect).

                      But anyway, to your peripheral questions about secession, and the property rights issues involved, my position (and Woods’, I believe) is that governments are necessarily parasitical institutions (they inevitably rely on theft and violence–or the threat of violence–for their existence) and therefore they can never hold legitimate property claims. In other words, then, the seceding party is always in the right, because the parent entity has no legitimate claim over it. If war or other violent conflict breaks out, the seceding party is the victim, and the party refusing secession is the aggressor. This is true at all levels of governance (national, state, local, etc).

                      So the logic of secession is the logic of voluntarism, which is the very same logic as that of slavery abolition. By contrast, it is government that relies on the logic of slavery. [I’ll reiterate that this is about voluntarism, not atomistic individualism.]

                      Of course, I’ve sketched that out very quickly and made a number of bare assertions. I’d be more than happy to chat about all this in greater detail, but that would be getting pretty far off topic. Check out Murray Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty if you’re ever interested.

      • Jag Levak

        “Jag, I have read Joe Stiglitz’s analysis of the 2008 crash and Obama’s inept handling of it.”

        Inept? The Wall St. gamblers were made whole, the toxic asset risks were floated off onto the taxpayers, trillions were pumped into the too-big-to-fail mega banks so that they could become even bigger, Obama kissed away the ouchies of the billionaires and wiped away their tears, and they happily went back to awarding themselves a flood of bonuses. To say accomplishing all that was ‘inept’ would be to say it was something other than what was intended–that it was just some amazingly well-coordinated set of accidents.

        “Having carefully considered Stiglitz’s testimony I believe he is correct”

        That he (and Krugman) saw the crash coming, correctly described how it would unfold, and did this years in advance lends a good deal of credibility.

        “I know that there are economists who would disagree with Stiglitz, many of them of the Hayek mindset of free market deregulation and non-intervention.”

        And we have a track record of how well their “theories” have played out.

        “I haven’t considered their testimony in the same way that I have considered Stiglitz. Is that a problem for you?”

        In comparing a school of thought (say, one which has a rational theoretical basis which is borne out by prediction and evidence) against another school of thought (say, one which slavishly served the desires and interests of its sponsors and led to catastrophic failures) I of course would have no problem with preferring the former over the latter. But that preference isn’t merely an arbitrary matter of taste. Rather, it is one ultimately backed up by sense, reason, and evidence.

        “Do you think that in every case of disagreement among representative pundits in a particular field of discourse that we must withhold our own opinion until we’ve given equal time to all the experts?”

        I think we can reasonably take the short cut of paying minimal attention to, and investing no trust in, any putative expert pundit until he or she has demonstrated some acumen and insight in the field, sufficient to provide explanatory and/or predictive power which is detectably an improvement over the status quo.

        Mortimer could see for himself that stars had fixed relative positions, while planets wandered about. If Mort’s mother told him a plant was poisonous, and he observed that no animal would touch it, that would have provided an independent basis for accepting her word. I think authorities can only become authoritative by having some independent means of checking and verifying their pronouncements. Even the most prestigious scientist in the world will find that he will always have to back up his claims with hard data and evidence. His prestige only means his claims will get priority attention over the claims of relatively unknown researchers, but the claims themselves are never exempt from analysis and independent verification.

  • pete

    With respect to other religions, I have read the Koran, and am now reading LDS scripture. I have also read a good chunk of the Catholic Apocrypha.

    Without getting into all the historical and evidential differences, one substantial difference is that I feel like a totally different voice is speaking from the pages (okay… laugh it up… no audio hallucinations going on… you know what I mean)

    Although the Bible does have some instances of hyperbole, it feels more like a “just the facts ma’am” book, while the others seem to exude a sales approach…. continuous narrative repetition of its features and benefits.

    Obviously I don’t think that the Biblical authors are not interested in giving benefit to the reader. Just that the message is able to speak for itself.

    But I do recognize that with all things, if a person is not pre-disposed to accepting a certain message, than they will have a radically different interpretation than I do.

    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

      Pete:

      1) The Koran is essentially poetic in its nature, reading in Arabic as reiterations of the same essential elements through saj’s.
      2) The book of Mormon has also been typified by scholars as exemplary of the narrative style out of which it emerged (18/19th century epic narrative). Compare it to something like Ulysses by Joyce.

      I point these out because we need to be careful when we’re reading that we don’t import our own cultural preconceptions to a work. Certain elements of the New Testament do read as authoritative – partially because they are epistolary discourse, and Paul was an authority in the early church – but also because the Gospels in particular wanted to be read that way. The challenge in reading the Gospels is understanding that what they are writing is not fact based history as we understand it today – but theological rhetoric based in the tradition of kreiai (Gk – useful), where the importance was not in getting details correct, but in translating the essential elements in a particular vein.

      There are facts in the Gospels, but the voice of “just the facts ma’am” is, I think, a misreading.

      • pete

        Jared,

        Your pointing out literary strengths in both the Koran and LDS is helpful, and counterbalances my previous statement, so I’ll modify it a bit. (Iron sharpens iron)

        What LDS and Koran potentially possess in literary strengths (epic and poetry respectively), they lose with theological and historical anachronism.

        Consider for instance, the opening of the Book of Mormon. The narrator recounts for a trip back to Egypt. This is a contradiction of Christian scripture, which states that the Israelites are not to “go back that way”. It’s a key feature in Solomon’s shame, and God’s children are consistently told not to return to Egypt… See the Book of Jeremiah.

        We are also told within an early narrative that King Zedekiah ruled within the span of 600-592 BC. Any historian will tell you that Zedekiah was taken in the final Jerusalem exile of 597/6 BC.

        For anyone familiar with the King James Bible, you can see how Joseph Smith played “purple-monkey-dishwasher” in his formation of BoM.

        Now as for the Koran, there again are many historical and theological anachronisms. A perfect example is the conversation of Pharoah (cf. exodus 1400’s BC) with Haman (cf. Persian conquest after 539 BC), who wants to build a tower to heaven (Genesis 11) to peer in on the God of Moses….

        Additionally the repeated “Jesus is not the Son of God” is pretty tough sledding for a religion that purports to be a continuation of the Old and New Testaments.

        My “just the facts ma’am” was geared more to the voice giving the theological message. Additionally, the narratives in both Old Testaments and New Testaments appear quite stripped down, in comparison to the other scriptures I cited (except the Koran, which does not contain any substantial narrative).

        Same goes for Mormonism. Like Islam, they masquerade as a continuation of Judeo-Christianity.

        Given Paul’s warning in Galatians 1:8, either Christianity is wrong or both Islam and Mormonism are wrong.

        And I respectfully think you are taking the liberty that NT authors purportedly used a bit too far. Greco-Roman biography allowed for some literary hyperbole, but they didn’t get to just bend the rules and eschew facts.

        Other than the contentious post-resurrection appearances of the dead saints in Jerusalem (possibly ghosts/possibly just hyperbole), I would be interested to see what exactly you think are other hyperbolic literary infusions within the Gospels.

        • http://www.retheology.net Jared

          Hey Pete

          Thanks for your points. In the spirit of iron shaprens iron, let me rephrase some of what I suggested:

          I’m not disagreeing with any of your reading of BoM or the Koran. Both of those books certainly need to be read with the same kind of close scrutiny that we read both the OT and NT with. I was merely attempting to point out that these are both examples of their respective genres. As are both the OT and NT.

          Just a couple of observations;

          – I take your point that the voice of the Gospels (especially Mark) is fact driven (given its narrative structure) and I suppose I should have been more generous in my response to that point. Yes, the synoptic gospels endeavor to portray a story “as it happened”. The question of whether it actually happened in this way is another ball game (probably better saved for another time on a more relavent post)

          – The Kreiai tradition is well documented in first century Greco-Roman studies. In fact archeologists have unearthed a Kreiai school present in first century Judea. So when you write “Greco-Roman biography allowed for some literary hyperbole, but they didn’t get to just bend the rules and eschew facts” that’s not entirely true. The Kreiai tradition actually mandated that to be a student you needed to be able to retell a story, change the facts but maintain the essential component. The emphasis for most of history has not been on historiography as we understand it, but on transmission of kerygma (central, essential truth).

          – I never actually suggested that the NT engaged in hyperbole, which I’ve already granted was your original point. But for evidence that the Gospels weren’t fact/history based as I’ve suggested, compare that the census in Luke 2 has no other historical record. Or that the two genealogies of Jesus (which both trace his lineage from David) are completely different. And this is only the synoptics … when you bring John into the mix, things get even weirder.

          Please don’t misread what I’m saying: I’m not suggesting that the events recounted in the Gospels didn’t happen. I think there is sufficient evidence for the resurrection. I think that the early church evidenced the working of the Holy Spirit by miracles; I’m simply suggesting that the Gospel writers weren’t writing the kind of history we think about today.

          • chris

            ” Or that the two genealogies of Jesus (which both trace his lineage from David) are completely different.”

            This is pretty simple really. Failure to understand, like many other issues stems from a failure to understand the OT. Numbers 27, Joshua 17 and Jer 22 is the key to it all.

            Matthew tells the story from Joseph’s perspective and has Joseph’s lineage which traces the ROYAL lineage. But this is not Jesus’ bloodline. It can’t be because of the curse in Jer.
            The genealogy only goes back to Abraham because it’s a jewish portrait written be a jew to a jewish audience and they only needed to trace the Christ to Abraham.

            Jesus was of course not of Joseph’s blood because of what happened in Jer 22. That blood line was cursed. It was assumed that the Christ would come from this line because it was the royal line, but that’s not what God promised. So when the curse came on this line you can just imagine Satan rejoicing! But God always has a plan!

            So then you need to understand Numbers 27 and Joshua 17 and the daughters of Zelophehad. Everything in the BIble is there for a reason and this event is no different. This is much like the brazen serpent that Moses lifted up – it really doenst make sense until it is explained in the NT.

            What we have happen is God making a special provision, long before it is needed for what will later happen in Jeremiah 22. It allows for a man to legally adopt his daughter’s husband as his legal son and pass the inheritance to him.

            So now God has a way around the blood curse from Jer 22 while still using the line of David and the seed of a woman promised in Gen 3.

            Next you look at Luke’s account and see that it is written by a gentile, to a gentile audience, and thus traces Jesus’ lineage all the way back to the first man. This is Jesus’ HUMAN lineage showing his humanity. It’s written from Mary’s perspective and gives HER genealogy which goes back to David but is not cursed. Jesus comes from HER blood, not David’s and in Luke 3:23 Joseph is declared the son of Heli because according to the very special provision given by God in Numbers, Joseph is in fact the legal son of Heli.

            So we end up with a double genealogy giving Jesus not only legal right to the throne of David and the genealogy to be the Christ via the Royal line through legal lineage but we also have Jesus as the Christ through his un-cursed (not a descendant of Jeconiah) blood line! God has confirmed it 2 different ways! God is so amazing.

            • chris

              ..

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              Interesting hypothesis. It’s actually the one inserted as an infographic in the opening of Matthew. The only problem is that particular interpretation isn’t entirely true to scripture alone. It’s the same case made for people who argue over “what were Jesus’ last words on the cross” or “who were the first witnesses to the empty tomb and how many angels were there”.

              I suppose it comes down to a matter of faith and how much the truth depends on a completely coherent picture in the synoptic gospels. Personally, I feel like it’s a bit of a reach to try and explain Matthews or Luke’s account away on the grounds that they weren’t speaking literally since neither account makes the adendum “this is the royal lineage of Christ”. I can agree to disagree with you on this though.

              My question is what about John? Every Biblical scholar is agreed that the Synoptics endeavor to paint the same picture – hence, synoptics. But John is a different ball game. In my view, John is simply painting a different theological picture of Jesus – one that never purports to be historical (compare the opening of the Synoptics: [Mt – lineage, Mk. Incipit, Lk. Prelude] to John – Broadly theological Hellenistic poetry. How does John fit into this view, particularly when he disagrees about what day Jesus was crucified on (day of preparation versus passover) and where in Jesus’ ministry the temple overturning took place (Synoptics it is the clincher for making them want to kill Jesus, John it happens right at the beginning). I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

              • chris

                “The only problem is that particular interpretation isn’t entirely true to scripture alone.”

                How so?

                “Personally, I feel like it’s a bit of a reach to try and explain Matthews or Luke’s account away on the grounds that they weren’t speaking literally since neither account makes the adendum “this is the royal lineage of Christ”.

                Im not sure I understand what you are saying.. I take both accounts very seriously ( I don’ like to use the term literally considering the 200+ figures of speech in the Bible) and I think in this case they mean exactly what they say. One account is the account of one “parent” and the other, the other. Pretty simple.

                particularly when he disagrees about what day Jesus was crucified on (day of preparation versus passover)”

                it isn’t quite that simple. I guess the first question to ask you is when you do think the crucifixion happened i.e. which day?

                “and where in Jesus’ ministry the temple overturning took place (Synoptics it is the clincher for making them want to kill Jesus, John it happens right at the beginning).”

                Why does it have to be the same event? There are many things Jesus did more than once and the only problem arises when one tries to harmonize 2 events that are the same. I need to re-study this one, but there are quite a few example of most people harmonizing accounts that are pretty clearly different and then the problems begin. A great example is the Olivet Discourse. A careful review shows that the Matthew and Luke’s are 2 different accounts….

                • chris

                  should read “when one tries to harmonize 2 events that are NOT the same.”

                  • chris

                    Craig Blomberg’s The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Inter-Varsity Press, 1987) gives (6) reasons why there were 2 temple events. I have not personally studied this enough to have an opinion on it, however #6 is a pretty strong point IMO.

                    1. The details of the cleansing given in John’s account are completely different from those given in the Synoptics (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke).

                    2. If Jesus felt strongly enough about the temple corruption to cleanse it once at the beginning of His ministry, it is not really too difficult to believe that He might do it again at the end of His ministry.

                    3. Since cleansing the temple was an overtly Messianic act, about which some of the Jews would have approved, it is not surprising that He could get away with doing this once at the outset of His ministry. However, when the Jews began to realize that Jesus was not really the sort of Messiah they were looking for, a second cleansing would have almost certainly sealed His fate (see Mark 11:18).

                    4. In the Synoptics, Jesus is accused of having said that He would destroy the temple and rebuild another in three days not made with human hands (Mark 14:58). But a similar comment by Jesus is only explicitly mentioned in John 2:19. Furthermore, since the witnesses in Mark’s gospel get the statement slightly wrong, and cannot agree among themselves (Mark 14:59), it may be a confused memory of something Jesus said two or three years earlier, rather than just a few days earlier.

                    5. Jesus’ statement in the Synoptics is more severe than that in John. Only in the Synoptics does He refer to the Gentiles’ need to pray at the temple, and only in the Synoptics does He refer to the Jews as “robbers”.

                    6. In John 2:20 the Jews refer to the temple rebuilding project having begun 46 years earlier. This would mark the date of the cleansing at around AD 27 or 28. But Jesus was almost certainly not crucified until at least AD 30. And it is most unlikely that John would have simply made up such a figure. Therefore, it is quite likely that John is describing a distinct (and earlier) cleansing from the one mentioned in the Synoptics.

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      In response to #6 – Consider this: We know that Pontius Pilate served in Judea from 26-36 CE; Matthew tells us that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (37 – 4 BCE); we assume (generally) that Jesus was ~33 when he died – meaning that his crucifixion actually had to be significantly before AD 30, and is at the latest, actually 30 is the latest date it can possibly be. This also puts it right in line for Jesus to be crucified at the start of Pilates work in Judea, which actually makes sense if you think about it – since who wants to tick off the people you work over at the start of your job. You’re much more likely to not care after you’ve been around for a little while. My point is, Blomberg has some fact checking to do.

                    • chris

                      ” which actually makes sense if you think about it – since who wants to tick off the people you work over at the start of your job. You’re much more likely to not care after you’ve been around for a little while. My point is, Blomberg has some fact checking to do.

                      You apparently know very little about the situation in Judea at the time and the position that Pilate was in at this point in his career. Pilate was already in a lot of trouble both with Rome and he was hated by the Jews because of the stunts he had already pulled there.

                      And when you start trying to force things into the equation that are not biblical, thats when the problems start. There is no substantial reason to say that AD 30 is the latest date it can possibly be.

                      I don’t mean to be rude but I would take your own advice and do some fact checking. For starters the actual years are generally accepted as being messed up and it just goes downhill from there.

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      There is substantial reason: the dates don’t work otherwise. If Jesus is 33 when he is crucified AND born during the reign of Herod – the latest that can be is the year 30. That’s math.

                      I know enough about the situation in Judea to have three degrees in it. You say Pilate was in trouble with Rome – an idea based primarily on 1960s ‘The Robe / Ben Hur’ era scholarship when we now know more about the particularly strong relationship between Herod Antipas and the Augustus & Tiberius. We now know that Judea was a prime placement for prefect – sure the Jews were a rowdy bunch historically, but they didn’t send the dregs there like we used to think.

                      Have you ever worked in management? Early on you’re way more willing to be congenial than after you’ve been there for a while and get jaded. That’s human nature. It’s not Biblical and I can’t prove that’s the case – but I think it’s a fair assessment.

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      If you’re going to say we have no idea when Herod was born, we know that, and we have documented records of his death in 4BCE, measured by a pre-christian calendar that was still in use in Jericho during the first few centuries of the common era. So… the only dates that might be off are when the Gospels think Jesus was born.

                    • Chris

                      Jared,
                      In regards to Pilate and the treatment of the Jews, all the evidence we have (which is little) is that his treatment of the Jews was very harsh. You asking if I’ve ever worked in management is nowhere near analogous. We have no reason to believe that Pilate started out treating the jews nicely when the little evidence we have says the exact opposite.
                      Fact is Jesus was “about” 30 when he started His ministry. The text could have affirmed that he was exactly 30, but it doesnt.
                      So trying to reject Bloombergs conclusion based on you being set on Jesus absolutely positively having to have been crucified no later than a certain date is rediculous.
                      It’s more likely based on the dating I’ve seen that it was 32. And this would continue to keep up the OT parallels with 38 years of wanderings of the Israelites after disobedience and 38 years before the destruction of Jerusalem after the Jews rejection of the Messiah.

                • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                  “The only problem is that particular interpretation isn’t entirely true to scripture alone.”
                  How so?

                  Let’s look at the two passages (mt 1:2-17, Lk 3:23-38)
                  1) Matthew can’t count – he says 14 generations each when its actually 15 and 13 … but that’s not my point, just a fun bit of trivia.
                  2) In Matthew Jacob is the father of Joseph; In Luke, Heli – the lineages are different. Both claim to be the father of Joseph. Neither claims to be tracing the lineage of Mary. Therefore, suggesting that one of them is not actually tracing the lineage of Joseph when it directly purports to be is not staying true to what the scripture says. In fact it is directly importing something extra into the text to make it coherent to a particular mindset of reading.

                  Im not sure I understand what you are saying … One account is the account of one “parent” and the other, the other. Pretty simple.

                  To me, this in argument on par with the Catholic doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity defending against the openings of Jude and James by saying that “Brother of Christ” means “half brother” or “cousin”. it is possible that it can mean that, but which is the more likely interpretation? If you want to defend the doctrine of perpetual virginity because you know in your soul that it is Truth, then by all means, but know that to most of us it seems like a stretch. That’s all I’m saying.

                  I guess the first question to ask you is when you do think the crucifixion happened

                  Does it matter which day? Doesn’t it matter that Jesus was crucified and that he overcame it? In all honesty, I have no clue which day I think he died on because John and the Synoptics disagree. Gun to my head I won’t die for my conviction that Jesus was killed on a specific day, though I would for my conviction that he WAS crucified. Consider this though – John might be making a theological point: The first declaration of Jesus divine character is expressed by John the Baptist “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World” (something not in any other gospel) and then climaxes with Jesus being crucified on the day of Preparation – when the preists in the temple would be sacrificing and spilling the blood of the sacrificial lambs who take away the sin of the people. Seems like a significant coincidence. But Matthew Mark and Luke make pains to tell us that Jesus ate the passover meal and instilled into it the new significance of the covenant grace that we know as Communion today. Also a significant theological coincidence. So which day was he killed on? Your guess is as good as mine. What seems to be important is that it means something.

                  Why does it have to be the same event? … A great example is the Olivet Discourse. A careful review shows that the Matthew and Luke’s are 2 different account

                  I’d be curious to see some research on this point. Most scholars who support the multiple source hypothesis have no trouble reconciling that these discourses were part of the transmitted sayings of Jesus and Matthew and Luke fit them into their gospels in different places because there seemed to be no concrete place to put them.

                  I will concede that all of these things are possible. Impossible things happening really is the bedrock of our faith. But I think that seeking after God with our whole mind means that we have to ask ourselves which is more likely: that scholastically unlikely events are repeated, thereby ensuring that our reading of the Gospels simply reaffirms what we believe to be true – or that the Gospel writers weren’t trying to write history like we think of it today (since history didn’t exist until the 18th Century). I think it’s more likely that the Gospels present a different picture of the same story with differences because they were told by different people in different places and for different reasons.

                  What doesn’t change is the Key elements. Jesus died and rose again. That and the Baptism of Jesus are the only things that a plain reading of the four Gospels certainly agree on.

                  • chris

                    :2) In Matthew Jacob is the father of Joseph; In Luke, Heli – the lineages are different. Both claim to be the father of Joseph.”

                    And I’ve shown you, using scripture, how BOTH are true. According to God’s ruling’s in Numbers, BOTH Jacob and Heli are considered the father of Joseph. Do you have some significant reason for rejecting this?

                    Neither claims to be tracing the lineage of Mary.
                    You’re right, both gospel writers claim to be tracing the lineage of Jesus. And they do this through his legal (paternal) bloodline and through his maternal bloodline.

                    You quote me saying: Im not sure I understand what you are saying … One account is the account of one “parent” and the other, the other. Pretty simple.

                    “To me, this in argument on par with the Catholic doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity defending against the openings of Jude and James by saying that “Brother of Christ” means “half brother” or “cousin”

                    1. Why is it so strange that Jesus’ genealogy be traced through both of His parents? The 2 different Gospels tell 2 different stories from 2 different perspectives….

                    2. I do not believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine.

                    Im truly curious as to your reason for rejecting this explanation?

                    • chris

                      Therefore, suggesting that one of them is not actually tracing the lineage of Joseph

                      Its the lineage of Jesus Christ, not Joseph. Joseph is the legal father, not the blood….

                      The only roadblock to truth is your preconceived notions..

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      You said: One account is the account of one “parent” and the other, the other. Pretty simple.

                      Okay. So, who are Jesus’ parents: depending on interpretation, Mary and God or Mary and Joseph. The one common factor is Mary – and neither claims to be tracing Jesus’ lineage through her. So is your argument that Jesus is the son of Joseph and God?

                      Why do I reject it? Because it doesn’t happen in the scripture. We have no evidence of any of the people that come onto the scene between Malachi and Matthew. You are reading something onto the Biblical text that is not there in order to make it fit your particular schema.

                      You also said above, that everything happens in the Bible for a reason and mentioned the serpent which gets interpreted in John 3. So is it your belief that these had no meaning until Jesus came – and specifically until John wrote about it? Or did Jesus simply give new meaning to the Old Meaning… just curious.

                      Also, Numbers 22 makes no such provision, as you have claimed, for adopting a son. Here’s what God says: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter … [then the] nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it.’ So Mary gets, what … This assumes that Mary had no brother- which we have no idea about. Again, you’re adding on.

                      So if I understand: you’re suggesting that Heli is the father of Mary, who apparently adopts Joseph (even though we don’t hear about it ever) so that Jesus can be both the blood relative of the reigning king, without the curse? I hear what you’re saying, but still feel like it’s a stretch

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      Joseph cannot have two fathers. period.

                    • chris

                      Joseph cannot have two fathers. period.
                      That’s pretty silly! He has a biological father and a father-in-law. In Jewish custom the difference with the father-in-law is that in some instances the son-in-law was legally the recipient of the inheritance and considered grafted into the family.

                      If you reject this explanation, then how do you explain Jesus being a descendant of David? Scripture is clear this is so.

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      “Neither claims to be tracing the lineage of Mary.”
                      You’re right, both gospel writers claim to be tracing the lineage of Jesus. And they do this through his legal (paternal) bloodline and through his maternal bloodline.

                      Do you see how this is confusing, and how you contradict yourself. By necessity, the lineage of Mary must also be the maternal lineage of Jesus. Yet neither Matthew nor Luke actually mentions Mary.

                      I do not believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine.
                      I don’t expect you to, nor would I assume that you did. I was simply pointing out a corollary to your mode of argument. Let me ask you: why do you reject that Roman doctrine? It is perfectly plausible that the term brother doesn’t mean literal brother… so it is possible that Mary remained a Virgin for her entire life. Moreover, Paul uses the exact same word to refer to people who aren’t his actual brothers, so there’s another reason to accept the Roman Catholic doctrine of perpetual virginity if you’re okay with reading between the lines.

                      Im truly curious as to your reason for rejecting this explanation?
                      As I’ve pointed out, I think it is a stretch to think that Numbers 27 makes allowances for the adopting of a son. It actually does nothing of the sort but is rather the theological ground for the law of Leviritie Marriage – but even if it did, we have no record of that actually happening in any Gospel. My point is that you have imported ideas to make the the Gospels fit into your worldview rather than reading them in the context of the worldview they were meant to be read in: first century Evangelistic material more concerned with presenting kerygma (core truth) in Chreiastic (useful) terms. I cannot stress this enough: this is not history as we think about it. No one in the first centuries wrote history. It didn’t exist for a millenium.

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      “Yet neither Matthew nor Luke actually mentions Mary.” – should read;

                      Yet neither Matthew nor Luke actually mentions Mary as the starting point of the geneology

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      “If you reject this explanation, then how do you explain Jesus being a descendant of David? Scripture is clear this is so”

                      How do you explain John the Baptist being the new Elijah? Scripture is clear that it is so.

                    • chris

                      How do you explain John the Baptist being the new Elijah? Scripture is clear that it is so.

                      I don’t have any problems with this. Jesus explains it. Matthew audience would have gotten it as soon as the description of John was given.

                      But I’m curious to know your explanation of Jesus being of the lineage of David. Either God is a liar, or Jesus is a seed of David.

                  • chris

                    1) Matthew can’t count – he says 14 generations each when its actually 15 and 13 … but that’s not my point, just a fun bit of trivia.

                    Not sure but I think it’s you who have the counting problem, or a reading comprehension problem…? When I read it as the author explains it, it’s exactly as he says it is….
                    (And I don’t say that to be an ahole, just a brotherly jab :) )

                    Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David fourteen generations:

                    Abraham1
                    Isaac 2
                    Jacob 3
                    Judas 4
                    Phares 5
                    Esrom 6
                    Aram 7
                    Aminadab 8
                    Nasson 9
                    Salmon 10
                    Booz 11
                    Obed 12
                    Jesse 13
                    David 4

                    Ok so that one is solved.

                    Matthew 1:17 …and from David unto the carrying away into Babylon fourteen generations:

                    David 1
                    Solomon 2
                    Roboam 3
                    Abia 4
                    Asa 5
                    Josaphat 6
                    Joran 7
                    Ozias 8
                    Joatham 9
                    Achaz 10
                    Ezekias 11
                    Manasses 12
                    Amon 13
                    Josias 14

                    Matthew 1:17 from above “and from David unto the carrying away into Babylon fourteen generations:” tells us that this list of 14 closes at Josias per Matthew 1:11:

                    ‘And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon. ”

                    So Jechonias starts the next list as he is in the Babylon group with Matthew 1:17 says “..and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”

                    Jechonias 1
                    Salathiel 2
                    Zorobabel 3
                    Abuid 4
                    Eliakim 5
                    Azor 6
                    Sadoc 7
                    Achim 8
                    Eliud 9
                    Eleazor 10
                    Matthan 11
                    Jacob 12
                    Joseph 13
                    Jesus 14

                    I surely don’t have 2 graduate degrees, heck I don’t a single degree, just the Holy Sprit indwelling for the last 2 years and a couple thousand hours of Bible study and yet this was pretty self explanatory…

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      David 1
                      Solomon 2
                      Roboam 3
                      Abia 4
                      Asa 5
                      Josaphat 6
                      Joran 7
                      Ozias 8
                      Joatham 9
                      Achaz 10
                      Ezekias 11
                      Manasses 12
                      Amon 13
                      Josias 14

                      Sure. Sorry I wasn’t clear – I meant to include this (1 Chronicles 3)

                      [David] 1
                      Solomon 2
                      Rehoboam 3
                      Abia 4
                      Asa 5
                      Jehoshaphat 6
                      Joram 7
                      Ahaziah 8
                      Joash 9
                      Amaziah 10
                      Azariah 11
                      Jotham 12
                      Ahaz 13
                      Hezekiah 14
                      Manasseh 15
                      Amon 16
                      Josiah 17

                      Wait … how many generations from David to exile? Nope… not 14. Matthew can’t count. Or read … pick one I guess.

                      Maybe do some study other than with people who just affirm what you already think you know and you might actually learn something new and awesome.

                    • chris

                      I didn’t read anyone else opinion as I don;t need to! I open the Scripture and there it is!

                      It obvious that Matthew is not recording every single generation! He is talking about within the context of HIS writing!

                      But you know what, you are probably right. MAtthew was just an idiot who didn;t know or choose to ignore the record in Chron and he probably just assumed that even though he was writing to a jewish audience that they either woulnt care or wouldn’t notice his errors. And the fact that there ARE 14 generations in HIS genealogy, in the same breakdown as he gave them, its probably just a coincidence. Are you freaking kidding me?

                      And on top of that now you are changing your very own argument !!!

                      You said and I quote

                      its actually 15 and 13 … but that’s not my point, just a fun bit of trivia.

                      And I just showed you that it is in fact 14 and now are you trying to twist and contort and bring in the chronicles account and say its 17. Thats pretty sorry. Shame on you!

  • http://www.atheistmissionary.com/ The Atheist Missionary

    randal, in this case you are the teacher.

    What facts and/or authority do you rely on to ask your students to accept that Leviticus, Job and Acts are divinely inspired while the Gospel of Thomas and the Apocalypse of Peter are not?

    • randal

      TAM, you’re jumping the gun. I’m in the midst of presenting an argument as to how a person can rationally believe a particular set of writings is inspired. That’s a very different question than what you’re asking. But sit tight and wait till the argument sees the light of day and then present your query again or, as the case may be, reformulated.

  • Ian

    Mortimer seems to be quite a gullible fellow, doesn’t he. All it takes to deflate his starry-eyed (and entirely misplaced) trust in his anthology is one sneer from a random fellow student. Why does he give so much weight to her testimony? She isn’t even an English major.

    I think you’re exaggerating the difficulty of conducting one’s own study. Mortimer doesn’t need to scrutinize the entire canon of literature in order to trust that it is uniquely inspired. All he needs to do is study a few samples. If, after conducting his study, he has no idea whether the works are qualitatively superior or sententious crap, then he probably doesn’t need to be an English major. If he finds that the samples he studied tend mostly toward being qualitatively superior, then he is justified in inferring that the canon of literature is at the very least inspired, and that given more time to develop his skill in literary criticism, he may be able to confirm that it is indeed uniquely inspired.

    Although we trust the testimony of others, it can work out to our detriment as easily as to our benefit, and provide us with false information as readily as true. For instance, in reference to Mortimer trusting his mother on what is good to eat, consider the epidemic of obesity in America. Think of how many children were raised trusting the testimony of their Paula Dean-emulating mothers on what is good to eat, only to find themselves diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before they graduate high school.

    I have to say, this is not a very auspicious beginning to a pitch for Biblical inspiration.

    • Jag Levak

      “Why does he give so much weight to her testimony?”

      He’s thinking with the wrong part of his body.

      • Ian

        Silly Mortimer, she’ll eat you alive.

  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

    (Chris – the above thread was getting long so i’m starting fresh down here)

    I don’t have any problems with this. Jesus explains it. Matthew audience would have gotten it as soon as the description of John was given.

    So John isn’t really the return of Elijah? … even though that was an explicit promise of the coming Messiah. You’re making a typological argument to stand in place of John but you don’t allow that to carry when we talk about Jesus. That’s inconsistent. Why is God a liar in one instance but not the other?

    But let me ask another question:

    What rights does an adopted son have in the New Testament world? Paul makes adoptionistic claims about the Christian church being grafted into the people of God with full rights and privileges therein. Isn’t it therefore possible that Jesus was not a literal descendant of David but adopted into the family (through Joseph) which therefore makes it actually theologically significant that not both Mary and Joseph be literal descendants of David. Why can’t an adoptionist theology of Jesus within the Davidic line be the hermeneutical principle you’re looking for to fill the gaps in your theology?

    • chris

      Assuming you are referring to Malachi, I don;t believe this has been completely fulfilled yet. It goes hand in hand with Is 61 which Jesus intentionally did con complete, leaving out ” and the day of vengeance of our God and to which Malachi speaks : Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD

      I believe the the literal Elijah will be on of the 2 witnesses spoken of in Revelation who come to earth and witness, before the great and terrible Day of the Lord, which has yet to happen.

      Isn’t it therefore possible that Jesus was not a literal descendant of David..

      Not according to God. He is very specific in the Davidic Covenant that it will be David’s seed , just like with Abraham. There is no room for allegorization here unfortunately. But I find it interesting that you very adoptionist argument you are denying you are now trying to use to justify your interpretation… And by your comments it appears you really don’t understand the implications of the Numbers 27. And yes, there is evidence that Mary had no brothers or male relatives, only a sister.

      I cannot stress this enough: this is not history as we think about it. No one in the first centuries wrote history. It didn’t exist for a millennium.

      I appreciate your interpretation of scripture, but it is just that – your interpretation. My previous statement continues to stand: The only hinderance to truth is the presupposition you already hold.

      • http://www.retheology.net Jared

        Likewise, I appreciate your Biblicism. Much better than grasping at straws the on the other end of the spectrum.

        But I think you highlighted something of our hermeneutical disparity. I don’t take Revelation literally at all – and I’m certainly not a Millenarian like you are. The day of the Lord alluded to in books like Daniel has already been fulfilled apolitically in my view.

        I do believe in the promised bodily return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom – but I take Revelation as apocalyptic literature, not as a predictor of future events. I can give you reasons why, but this post has gone on long enough I think …

      • http://www.retheology.net Jared

        And for the record, you’re absolutely right that this is just my interpretation – just like yours is yours. I have no problem with that.

        • Robert

          Jared, all interpretations are not equally plausible.

          So when someone says “this is just my interpretation” it looks like they are trying to level the playing field of all interpretations (which is a mistake) or they just don’t want to bother with all those pesky details of one interpretation versus another.

          • http://www.retheology.net Jared

            Fair enough. The interpretation that Jesus was an alien is probably invalid.

            But the challenge of reading, indeed the challenge of the entire Reformation – was that interpretation of scripture is not a closed science.

            For the record, I hold two graduate degrees in the field of Biblical studies – so while I understand that not everyone is equally competent, I feel that I can be taken credibly in this matter.

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              Sorry – I didn’t mean that to sound like an appeal to authority, but it was. My bad, again – apologies.

              I simply meant that I am considering the full scope of evidence in making my assessments.

      • pete

        Chris,

        I’m interested to know how you interpret Numbers 27 et. al to support the legal message that Luke was trying to paint.

        I agree with you on most of what you write, however Numbers 27 et. al appears more to me to explain why the 12 tribes are disctinct (ie. they can’t intermarry and their lands are secure in their own ancient boundaries/ other pre-monarchy concerns) vs. any Christological import.

        I think one issue that we forget is the presence of telescoping in the genealogies. Whether Jacob or Heli was the actual father of Joseph, it can easily be reconciled by exchanging the word “father” for “ancestor”, as this is a common practice in OT genealogies.

        I think it is clear Matthew is more concerned with the fact that Jesus is both the royal Son of David (Messiah) and Son of the Promise (as per Abrahamic covenant)as per Matthew 1:1… the rest appear to be supporting details.

        As for “whose line is it anyways”, we see the dovetail at David. Matthew follows Solomon’s line, while Luke follows Nathan’s line. I’m not really sure how this all relates to Mary, as she also appears to have some Levitican affilliation (Elizabeth and Zechariah).

        If someone can explain how Mary fits in, that would be super. I hear it often, but I don’t see the evidence.

        And as for “the Elijah to come”, Jesus was pretty explicit that he was John the Baptist — Matt. 11:7-15

        Jared: As for Revelation as merely apocalyptic literature / Day of the Lord already being fulfilled, why do you believe this?

        Paul gives pretty clear discernment points within 2 Thess. 2:1-12 as to why this day has not yet come.

        Blessings my brothers

        • chris

          Pete,

          Numbers 27 is the “ace in the hole” that God uses after cursing Jeconiah’s line in Jeremiah. Nobody from Jeconiah’s line could sit on the Davidic throne – Jer 22:30:

          …. for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.

          In Luke 1:32 Mary is told: “He (Jesus) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David

          So somehow God has to have Jesus come from David’s line, but not the line of Jeconiah.
          So we take what we have and put it all together.

          Mary and Joseph are both from the same tribe. If Mary has no brothers then Joseph can marry her and he would inherit the family line of Mary’s father. We know Mary had a sister. There is no mention of a brother. John 19 and other places, based on Jewish custom at the time indicate that Mary had no living male relatives at that time(true a brother could have died).

          It ultimately does not matter who was the father of Joseph or his genealogy goes because the Christ to be the SEED of David and the SEED of a woman. The genealogy in Matthew is not a blood genealogy because Joseph is not his biological father. And Matthew’s gospel narrative is told from the perspective of Joseph.

          In Luke the narrative is told from Mary’s perspective. The is the woman of whom the seed comes from. This genealogy is the one that is untainted by the blood curse on Jeconiah. Therefore this CAN be the bloodline of Christ. In Luke 3:23 Jesus is said to be (as was supposed) the son of Joseph. Luke uses the word nomizo to indicate the it was supposed He was his son, but not really.
          And then it goes to say that Joseph was of Heli, NOT that he was his son. And this can easily be explained by taking what we know from Numbers and looking at the evidence we have about Mary and the fact that they are both of the same tribe which would allow for the provision of Numbers and would allow Jesus to be the blood relative and David as well as a legal son of David.

          Now this is only one explanation. There are early church fathers who support this. But there is also another very good explanation that dates to the second century and considering the people living at the time could also very well be true. Africanus has explained this and it is recored by Eusebias I believe. I can pull it up for you, but essentially it is similar in that it uses the levirite marriage to explain things.

          What it all comes down to for me is that whenever you find a paradox in the scripture, its a great opportunity to dig deeper. The least wise thing to do is just assume that the text is wrong. Considering the Bible has been vindicated time and time and time again by every type of evidence imaginable, the worst thing to do is just assume its a contradiction without digging deeper or trying to deny the inspiration of scripture or appeal to method of writing that doesn’t value the facts, especially when the into to Luke’s Gospel makes his purposes of establishing exact detailed facts the sole purpose of his writing.

          • pete

            I agree with you that apparant contradictions are ususally signs that we can find an answer if we look.

            But how do you get that Mary had a sister and no brothers?

            However you do make a good point about inheretance. I just think the purpose of the the inheritance of Zeloaphad’s daughters speaks more to the formation of Israel.

            And we don’t have to appeal to the daugthers of the Manesseh tribe as a precedent, as Jesus’ legal claim to the Davidic line is satisfied in Jesus as the legal son of Joseph.

            However, it may explain why we have the division at Nathan/Solomon, and the Numbers principle may very well be at play in Joseph adopting the inheritance of Mary…. I would just like to see more evidence confirming that Mary had no brothers.

            But then again, Paul tells us endless debates over endless genealogies is useless anyways ;)

        • http://www.retheology.net Jared

          Hey Pete

          Can you give some examples of this kind of telescoping? I’d be curious to see. That could be a valid reading but I’d argue that the structure might dictate otherwise. The form of repetition we see in both genealogies is typically designed to create a rhythm. Like we do with the alphabet song, when we want to think what letter comes before O, we sing through the song until we get to that point.
          The same was true of the Biblical writers. But if there is other evidence of the kind of telescoping that you suggest, then it may well be a valid reading.

          Matthew’s chief interest is tying Jesus into the lineage of the OT. That’s why there are echoes of the exodus in reverse (flight to Egypt from a despot going on an extreme infanticide) and why there is more quotations (as a percentage) in Matthew than any other Gospel. Luke has different interests, primarily (I believe) validating the credibility and work of Paul.

          So as for John the Baptist; yes, Jesus was explicit that John was Elijah. So unless we’re importing a kind of Christocentric reincarnation, then we must be talking about a typological reference. If there is a third way I’m curious.
          If then, John can be a type of Elijah, cannot Jesus be a type of David? He would no more be required to be a genetic David than John a genetic Elijah.

          As for Revelation, I’ll admit – this is a troublesome book to have a concrete hermeneutic on. Let me tell what I do know:
          It opens with the declaration that this is an apocalypse, literally apocalupso in Greek, which when translated through the Vulgate becomes “a revealing”, hence Revelation – which we actually know is a stage word and was present at the start of every Greek play: it means, literally, “to pull back the curtain”. There are two important points to make in this respect:

          1) We have a number of these kinds of literature emerging out of the dead sea scrolls and the communities at Qumran. This is an increasingly well documented form of turn-of-the-common-era Judaism, which has in turn revealed a great deal to us about the book of Revelation.

          2) The Jews were not fatalistic; we know this because there is an overwhelming tendency in the material towards personal accountability, integrity and action. In essence, it is strongly covenantal theology in practice that says you need to act a certain way in order to receive the blessings of God (or as the DSS tends to phrase it, to be “children of light” … again, an overwhelming trend in metaphor).

          3) Fatalism and the idea that the future was fixed was consistently and outright rejected by the Jews in Qumran. They viewed it as an import of pagan hellenism, and not to be trusted. If these scrolls had been uncovered during the enlightenment, Calvinism would have evolved very differently.

          4) You can argue that it is ironic that the Jews refused to see history as fixed, but were steadfast that their God was going to win out in the end

          5) Therefore, Revelation (being part of this apocalyptic genre) is not laying out a series of events to unfold in the future, but rather a pulling back the curtain and revealing (the apocalypse) what is happening in the unseen world all around us. It sheds more light on what Paul talks about in Ephesians in reference to the powers of Darkness controlling this world. But chiefly, when read in the present tense, Revelation spells out that Jesus is victorious right now. That He is in Heaven glorified, magnified, and being worshipped by all of creation (whether we see it or not).

          I think that what Paul is talking about, and what other New Testament writers allude to is the time when these two worlds (seen and unseen) collide. When the Kingdom of God is established once and for all and “every tear is wiped away from their eye” on earth as it is in Heaven. That’s my reading of Revelation in a nutshell.

          • pete

            As for genealogies, its not so much rythm (which is not a feature of Hebrew poetry), as much as it is attempting to establish a legal claim.

            But just compare Matthew and Luke. There certainly is a numerical difference.

            Also take for example Exodus 6:18 and Numbers 26:58. In the former, Amram is called the son of Kohath. In the latter, Kohath is called the ancestor/forefather of Amram.

            Also note the principle of the exposition of the “wicked line” within Exodus 6. In vv. 21 and 24 we see the development of Korah, who was destroyed by the LORD later in Numbers 16.

            As for a consistent hermeneutic in Revelation, it needs to be noted that it replete with OT imagery and symbolism. I recently wrote on Revelation 13, and noted each of the 18 verses have at least one or more reference to the Old Testament.

            As far as a temporal retrojection, I respectfully don’t think it works. It is both polemical against Rome and the emperor cult of Domitian (a significant minority still date it to Nero).

            We are also talking about an Christian author who is ministering in Gentile Asia Minor. Whatever concern you have about “what Jews would have wrote” probably doesn’t apply here.

            This area was largely evangelized by Paul (with the help of Hellenized Christians, although there were some Jewish Christians who helped).

            The main themes involve God’s total conquest over evil, the Return of Jesus to earth, final eternal judgement, and the New Heavens and Earth.

            You also conflate the Jews of Qumran (Essenes most likely, who actually were quite apocalyptic… doesn’t help your argument), with Jewish/Hellenized Christians.

            In short, despite the apocalyticism of the Essenes (who went out to Qumran in anticipation of the end) and late 1st century Christians, eschatology was on the minds of all followers of Jesus, as this is what he promised and taught on ad infinitum.

            Revelation is most certainly future oriented. That is what the author is telling us. Whether you think it will happen that way is another story. But it shouldn’t stop you from understanding that the future return of Christ is what John himself was talking about.

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              Rhythm is very much a feature of Hebrew Poetry. Song of Songs is replete with it; but it is most prominent in the Genesis accounts of creation.

              I’ll take your point of the numerical generation differences between Matthew and Luke – and offer three possible interpretations: 1) Telescoping is going on 2) Jospeh and Mary are simply ‘cousins x number of times removed’ 3)Matthew and Luke are not working from the same source material

              As for Revelation, you are right – it is loaded to the gills with OT imagery. But don’t overly Hellenize Revelation; Christianity through the first three centuries was still heavily Jewish. If John was writing for a primarily non Jewish audience, why bother making the connections to the OT? Moreover, why would he go out of his way to connect it to the OT if that wasn’t a signficant portion of what his audience was familiar with?

              In regards to temporal retrojection, I’m not entirely sure what you mean, but I agree – I think it is very polemical against the cult of Rome – but if anything that only serves my point that it is present oriented rather than future.

              You’re right in your assessment of the main themes of Revelation. But they are always spoken of in the present tense, happening right now, in Revelation. I will admit, this is not a defeater on either side of this issue since both futurists and present readers will assume the present tense when talking about Apocalypse.

              There were Essenes in Qumran, but they were not all Essenes. What they wrote tells us what they believed and gives us an understanding of the contemporary culture of apocalypticism present at the time John was writing Revelation. It is absolutely crucial to understanding Revelation that we understand the mind of the people who were writing the same kind of material. Just like when we read the Gospels we see it as a type of literature predominant in the Ancient World and we read it as such. Apocalyptic literature should be no different.

              Yes, apocalypticism was rampant. Jesus himself seemed to think that some of the people hearing his message would see the promised end. Now either a)he was speaking metaphorically, b)people hearing him really did see the day of the Lord, c)he was lying / wrong, or d)someone from that time is still alive today. Which of these is most likely?

              I’m not saying Revelation doesn’t point to the future – it does; it ends with a fantastic portrait of hope where the world unseen invades the world we see around us and the Lords prayer is finally fulfilled – “on earth as it is in Heaven”. Revelation has been building up to this point by telling us what Heaven looks like right now.

              But it calls us to live in the reality of what God has already done and that the glory of God is all around us whether we choose to see it or not. It begs the question: do you live as though Jesus has already won, or do you live as though he is yet to? In my reading, I choose to claim the victory now.

              • pete

                Jared,

                When you say rhythm, do you mean meter, or parallelism of thought? If the latter, I agree with you. With respect to Genesis we have the “tahu wabohu” literary structure which frames the first 6 days of creation. Other than that, there is really only poetic structure in Genesis 1:27.

                If you mean rhythmic poetry as an English audience would understand, I disagree.

                But I will provide one thought on your statement:

                “If John was writing for a primarily non Jewish audience, why bother making the connections to the OT? Moreover, why would he go out of his way to connect it to the OT if that wasn’t a signficant portion of what his audience was familiar with?

                Perhaps the vision was a legitimate vision that he faithfully recorded? Perhaps he wasn’t trying to make a connection, but actually saw what he saw…..

                Jews would have been familiar with Zechariah and Daniel, and I think the 430 years of Yahweh’s silence/no prophets was the impetus for the Jewish Pseudapigrapha known as the “Apocrypha”. All that is to say that I think that God inspired Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation, while the others were not… althought they are useful for study.

                And as for God’s victory, I take it with you now…. but I also await its ultimate consumation when Christ comes back to curb stomp all evil and suffering.

                Righteousness will then reign forever unopposed with the Triune God as King.

                • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                  Thanks for helping me clarify; I did mean parallelism, repetition and chaistic structure. But I think more than that when we look at the repetition, especially through the Pentateuch (seen most clearly in numbers and Leviticus) there is a syllabilic consistency in between repeating Hebrew phrases. I’m not sure what to classify that as, but it reads to me like a kind of rhythm. Maybe you know a better classification.

                  You’re point is well taken too – that John very well could have been describing exactly what he saw; I actually believe that to be the case. My skepticism creeps in when I think that a God who is outside of time seems to be constrained by the technological limitations of that time (lamp-stands, swords, scrolls etc.). It seems to me more plausible that John is describing what he saw in the best terms that he had available to him, which means one of two things: God limited his revelation to what was accesible at the day, or John used imagery that would be familiar to the people to whom he was writing to describe what he saw. I don’t have an answer for which is the more likely option.

                  Again, I very much appreciate your points here. I absolutely read Revelation differently and as part of the whole word of God but not so with pseudepigrapha or other apocalyptic. texts. Revelation is the genuine article for any person of faith. So Amen brother, together with the whole church we wait the day when ‘now but not yet’ just becomes now. Amen and Amen.

                  • pete

                    I make the same observation about repetetive structures, not only within the Pentateuch, but also throughout the Deuteronomic History down to Kings.

                    Note that Genesis 38 (Genealogy of Judah and Tamar, ending in Perez) doesn’t make much sense on its own until we read Ruth 4….. David’s direct line.

                    For this reason, and many others, I believe that Genesis through Kings was written by one exilic author, using the Book of the Covenant, Book of the Wars of the LORD, Book of Jasher, and Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

                    I have to agree with Martin Noth, but for different reasons/and taking it a step futher to include Genesis through Numbers in the Deuteronomic History. I certainly reject critical fragmentary approaches to the Penteteuch.

                    I guess you can call it “an Evangelical Documentary Hypothesis”. The author is concerned with telling Covenant Israel with its origins, exodus, and exile.

                    So I get to both aggravate conservatives (who will hopefully see my logic) and liberals, whose 200 years of scholarship I am using to flush their critique of the truth of the Bible down the tubes ;)

                    • pete

                      and I echo your Amens about Jesus’ return and rule.

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      An Evangelical Documentary Hypothesis … very, very interesting. Honestly, I’m not familiar with it, but it sounds like something worthy of some research. Probably still some kinks to work out (like if it was all written by one exilic author – and wow, that would be an undertaking … – there are still some bumps to iron out [different accounts of creation / flood, interchanging uses of Elohim, El, Yahweh, Adonai] to iron out – but those don’t seem like major hurdles.

                      But definitely , but you’re absolutely right that the historical critical method can actually be a great unravelling for liberal scholars.

                      Like a mentor once told me “it’s usually in the middle of the road that we find the most roadkill”

                      Cheers brother!

                    • chris

                      Pete,

                      Hows does Jesus’ ascribing the Torah to Moses in no less than 14 different places figure into your hypothesis?
                      In Mark 7, Matthew 8 and 19 Jesus specifically ascribes Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy to Moses.

                      Do you think Jesus was wrong about the author?

                  • pete

                    … and maybe the God outside time is not constrained by menorahs, time frames, places, or locations.

                    Maybe he is just more gracious than we sometimes give him credit for, in communicating to us in our own times and places.

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  • Ed Babinski

    Didn’t the early church canonize the long ending of Mark — an ending that scholars today claim was added later?

    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

      Yup. Most decent Bible translations include it as a footnote (similar to the one in John 8) that these don’t appear in the earliest original manuscripts. But scholars on both sides of the theological spectrum (Craig A Evans to Bart Ehrman) maintain that there was probably an oral tradition present during the first century of the resurrection.

      Some scholars have suggested that (along with a dating of Mark at 70CE) the absence of a resurrection narrative was intentional and designed to coincide with the destruction of the Temple wherein a cataclysmic loss of identity is written into the Gospel narrative.

      That it ends with a note of utter loss and desperation is made as a theological point.

      • http://www.retheology.net Jared

        It’s supposed to say

        John 8 … not John 8)

      • randal

        A colleague of mine is of the opinion that because the longer ending of Mark is not in the autographa he will not preach on it. (The same goes for the Johannine woman-caught-in-adultery pericope.)

        • http://www.retheology.net Jared

          if only there was another place he could get the story of Jesus resurrection from … ;)

          I do wish fewer people would preach on John 8. I get annoyed when people think they can figure out what he was scribbling on the ground …

          • pete

            I agree we shouldn’t speculate on the scribbling.

            However, the story seems in keeping with Christ’s character, nature, and teachings.

            I’m inclined to preach on it as I think it is a legitimate event, that was preserved by memory, and later added.

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              And I think there is still good news in it too. And at the very least it’s an opportunity to teach a congregation about how the Bible came to be.

          • randal

            “I get annoyed when people think they can figure out what he was scribbling on the ground …”

            Of course it was the Ten Commandments.

            Or maybe it was just a happy face.

    • chris

      There is actually pretty substantial evidence that it was in the original.

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  • pete

    Chris (sorry I couldn’t reply above)

    I don’t doubt for a second Moses was the prophet who had the revelation from God of the Law at Sinai and on the plains of Moab.

    I just don’t conflate the Law/Torah with Genesis through Deuteronomy.

    The author of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy recorded that God gave the Law to Moses.

    But do you think that Moses wrote the genealogy of Judah/Tamar – Perez, only for another author to just pick up on the issue in Ruth 4, or is it more likely that one consistent author wrote all of it, recorded the Law that was given to Moses, and had a concern with establishing the Royal genealogy at a later point?

    For the same reason conservative scholars reject that Joshua wrote the Book of Joshua, I think that we should reject that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.

    We should not reject that Moses wrote the Law/Torah… big difference.

    As for Jared’s concerns about the interchange between El (generic name for “god”); Elohim (generic name and angels are also called “Elohim” in the OT) Yahweh (covenant name for our God), its not a big issue. Just like we say “God” when we refer to the Trinity; we sometimes also say “LORD”; we also sometimes say “Jesus”.

    As for creation, I think that can be reconciled also. Just compare the “sea” (read primevil chaos) imagery in Genesis creation, and in the Book of Daniel.

    Daniel also would have been an eyewitness to the provisions given to Jehoiachin in 2 Kings 25. Daniel also has a well defined polemic against the diviners of Babylon, just like Exodus does.

    We also sometimes get arrogant about history. We have lots of histories of the church (I am reading Justo Gonzalez right now) which encompasses a 2000 year history world wide.

    I think Daniel would have been capable to do a 1200 year history from Abraham to exile, and using the ANE myth genre to polemicize creation over and above competing pagan ANE myths.

    Again, I’m not saying that there aren’t going to be legitimate objections to my theory, and I’m also not saying that there isn’t way more work to do (like learning Hebrew for starters).

    I’m just saying that it makes a lot more sense to me, taking the whole counsel of scripture into account, given the concerns of the author, and the audience he was addressing…. an obstinate Israeli nation asking, “how the hell did we get here?”

    I think Daniel is saying “well let me give you the total rundown”…. and he cited his sources also!

    Again, I could be wrong, and I don’t hold my hypothesis dogmatically. I welcome criticism, and especially from the conservative camp to which I belong.

    • chris

      Pete,

      Actually Genesis 38 is a really amazing section of scripture. It’s one of the finest examples of the Holy Spirit’s authorship!

      Starting with the wedding toast in Ruth 4:12 we see that apparently shameful toast: “ And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.

      Considering the circumstances of what happened there its a pretty rude statement, to say the least. Plug in the law in Dt 23:2-3 it’s really a low blow. But upon further investigation it’s actually an amazing prophecy.

      There is something amazing to be found in Gen 38.

      David’s genealogy is actually encoded in chronological order in Genesis 38 in an equidistant letter sequence of 49 (7×7 of course) letter intervals! In order is Boaz, Obed, Jesse and then David, in order, without having to contrive anything, and Ruth is even in the middle of Boaz and Obed.

      Check it our for yourself:

      http://www.khouse.org/articles/2004/569

      Moses, Daniel nor anyone else would be able to write this out without Divine assistance.

      • http://www.retheology.net Jared

        Seriously? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. Count the letters – there’s no pattern. There aren’t 49 characters between all of those letters.

        So what, you just parrot anyone who agrees with you without actually looking into it for yourself?

        Nevermind that Biblical Scholars categorically reject Biblical codism. Present that at the SBL and you’ll get laughed off the floor.

        If I pull random letters out of your previous posts I can make you say just about anything too.

        • chris

          Maybe you should check your counting again. There are exactly 49 letters dividing each letter of each name. It is David’s genealogy, in chronological order, using a 7×7 patter. If you can’t count them I suggest you go find yourself a rabbi or messianic rabbi and have him show you.

          True equidistant letter sequencing has been known about and spoken of by Rabbis for hundreds of years.

          Yes, I agree, you can take a segment of writing and make it say just about anything you want if you torture the data long enough, but you can’t make a genealogy, inside a genealogy using a 7×7 pattern in chronological order.

          I could care less what the majority of biblical scholars think. The majority have been wrong since before Jesus’ time, and especially the “biblical scholars.” And If Jesus’ own parables and teachings are correct than only 25% at best are actually saved anyway, and when it comes to “scholars”…. I won’t even get into that argument.

          • http://www.retheology.net Jared

            Here’s my analysis:
            Some caveats:
            1) The scan is horribly degraded and pixelated and it is hard to discern what some letters are.
            2) It also includes vowel placements which are a modern Hebrew construct and not present in hebrew texts predating the Masoretics. These were not counted.
            3) It includes punctuation which is a modern construct as well and not present in Semitic languages until the Enlightenment. This was not counted.
            4) I did each count twice. If you disagree, please let me know what you found. Again, because of the degredation of the low quality of the text it is difficult to get a completely accurate count. And because I’m doing this for a blog and not SBL or a grade, two is sufficient.

            Boaz
            Zain -> Ayin: 52 characters (first count) 49 characters (second count)
            Ayin -> Bet: 43 characters (first count) 44 characters (second count)

            Ruth
            Hei -> Vav: 46 characters (first count) 47 characters (second count)
            Vav -> Reish: 47 characters (first count) 46 characters (second count)

            Obed
            Dalet -> Bet: 49 characters (first count) 47 characters (second count)
            Bet -> Ayia:46 characters (first count) 48 characters (second count)

            Jesse
            Yod -> Shin: 49 characters (first count) 48 characters (second count)
            Shin -> (I can’t even make out what letter that is: 45 characters (first count) 44 characters (second count)

            David
            Dalet ->Vav: 50 characters (first count) 48 characters (second count)
            Vav -> Dalet: 47 characters (first count) 48 characters (second count)

            I will grant that the proximity of the numbering is intriguing – and maybe on a better text I would be able to get a more accurate count – but the number seldom came out to the purported 49.

        • pete

          that’s how the Catholic church came up with their pantheon of angels.

          • http://www.retheology.net Jared

            Maybe Chis is a secret Catholic

            *shrug*

  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

    I should point out then Chris, that you counted David twice but not Josias twice. It can’t be both ways. If he was in utero at the time than he doesn’t count above or below. You need to pick one and stick to it.

    But regardless, you’re right. In Matthew’s genealogy 14 is the number. If you remember though, the whole discussion started because you said that Matthew was writing history as it actually happened, just the facts ma’am (to paraphrase Pete). Now you’re saying that he’s not: that he’s either twisting history to include 14 generations – or he’s wrong about how many generations there were. Again, you need to pick one.

  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

    I love how none of this has anything to do with what the original post was about anymore.

    • chris

      I should point out then Chris, that you counted David twice but not Josias twice. It can’t be both ways. If he was in utero at the time than he doesn’t count above or below. You need to pick one and stick to it.

      Actually neither of us get to pick who is counted how many times if we want to stay true to the original authors intent. He says
      Abraham to David – these are the end caps.
      David to the last generation before captivity – the end caps.
      First generation in captivity to Jesus – the end caps.

      This is the outline given by the author and when his outline is applied to his genealogy, everything fits.
      IF you want to complain about whether his has been truncated then that is another subject.

      the whole discussion started because you said that Matthew was writing history as it actually happened

      Yes, but that does not mean the author does not have the right to exclude people from the story, especially when it’s a genealogy.

      I love how none of this has anything to do with what the original post was about anymore.

      Yes. I’m done with this for now and maybe Randal will start with part 2.

  • pete

    Chris,

    And when this conversation comes up again, can you please interact with the following 2 points:

    1) How do you account for the genealogy of Genesis 38 picking up in Ruth 4? Since Genesis is traditionally attributed to Moses and Ruth is certainly well after his death, how do you reconcile this to Mosaic authorship of Genesis?

    2) Is the Book of the Covenant the same thing as the Pentateuch?

    3) To track this conversation back to the original post, how does Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch support, hinder, or remain neutral for the question of Biblical inspiration and infallibility?

    Based on a literary analysis of Genesis through Kings, I do not think Moses wrote the Pentateuch, but I believe the whole Bible is fully inspired and fully inerrant.

    I appreciate as much critique as possible, since I want to make sure my hypothesis can withstand it.

    If I am correct, I think the liberal-critical historic-fragmentary approach might just go the way of the do-do bird.

    • pete

      sorry I can’t count: I meant “3” points.

      And now a fourth: Does early dating (Moses circa 1400’s B.C.) or late dating (Daniel circa 600’s B.C.) of the Pentateuch have any bearing on inspiration or infallibility?

      I don’t think it does. And the history it does record remains untouched.

    • chris

      Pete,

      Im not sure I understand question 1. Could you explain? Sorry.

      2) Is the Book of the Covenant the same thing as the Pentateuch?

      I think it may depend on the timeframe you are talking about. This is something I have not at all studied and I really don’t know. If I recall correctly they put the Book of the Covenant in the Ark, indicating that it does not include the entire Pent.

      3) To track this conversation back to the original post, how does Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch support, hinder, or remain neutral for the question of Biblical inspiration and infallibility?

      Im not sure of this either. I only know that Jesus attributes the Pent to Moses and He attributes 3 or the 5 individual books to Moses.

      And now a fourth: Does early dating (Moses circa 1400?s B.C.) or late dating (Daniel circa 600?s B.C.) of the Pentateuch have any bearing on inspiration or infallibility?

      I think Jesus’ statements from my point above answer this question?

      • pete

        but Jesus doesn’t say the Pentateuch was given by Moses. He also doesn’t say Moses gave any of the individual books.

        He says the law is given by Moses

        • chris

          but Jesus doesn’t say the Pentateuch was given by Moses.

          I really have to question the integrity of that statement.. You’re not serious are you?
          The Jews refer to the Pent as the books of Moses or the Law. It’s synonymous. You want to take things out of historical context?

          The Hebrew OT was divided into the Law, the prophets and the poetry/psalms or whatever they called it, Im having a brain fart.
          But you already know this…

          What do you think Jesus was referring to in John 5:46 ?

          Matthew 19:3-8 does a pretty good job of pointing to Mosiac authorship

          So does Mark 8:4. What do you think Jesus is referring to here?

          Mark 10:3, 10:4

          Luke 16:31 ??

          Luke 20:28 Jesus does not reject Mosiac authorship and the jews surely believed Moses wrote it.

          The evidence that Jesus attributed the Pent to Moses is overwhelming.

          • pete

            Chris,

            I understand that the traditional assertion is that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.

            Your reference to 19:3-8 is actually referencing two things: a) the Book of Genesis… and b) The Book of the Covenant.

            The Pentateuch often gets conflated with the Book of the Covenant. Let me show you the best reason why they are not the same thing:

            Deuteronomy 31:24: “After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD: “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.””

            A major portion of the Pentateuch is God giving Moses the Law. Deuteronomy 31:24 shows that the narrative of the Pentateuch is concerned with this Book of the Law. The quotations that you provided me affirm that Moses wrote the Book of the Law…. and I agree with you.

            If you want to support your argument, you need to provide a good reason why the Pentateuch and the Law are the same.

            In doing so, you will have two major problems:

            1) Genesis 36 is the account of the tribal chiefs and Kings of Edom (read “judges” and Kings of Edom). 36:31 mentions that the kings ruled before “any Israelite King ruled”. Israel did not have a king until Saul around the 11th century BC… well after Moses died (1400’s BC)

            2) Genesis 38 records the genealogy of Judah. It ends with Perez (means something to the effect of “a nation broke out”). This doesn’t make too much sense on its own until we see this genealogy picked up again in Ruth 4, ending with the birth of David…. David is then introduced in 1 Samuel.

            If you haven’t noticed, where one book of the OT leaves off, the next book begins (Genesis through Kings anyways). Is this just a coincidence to you? This spans a period of over the known 1200 years of history we can be assured that it records (ending in 2 Kings)

            Have you ever noticed how the “toledoth” (“this is the account of”) genealogy structure continues past the Pentateuch?

            Have you noticed the similarity between Genesis 19 and Judges 19?

            Have you noticed the progression of the “Angel of the LORD” narrative starting in Exodus 23, and going through Numbers, Joshua, and Judges?

            Have you noticed the recapitulation of contemporary Deuteronomic History in Judges 2 and Samuel 12?

            And time does not permit me to note multiple futher literary structures repeated (ex. Jacob, Moses, Samuel complaint “have I ever stole a donkey?”)

            And to cap it off, you are hoisted by your own argumentative petard in the facile way you have used NT quotes to appeal to Moses as author of Pentateuch.

            John 7:22

            “Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath.”

            Abraham received the covenant, which Moses codified…. do you see the difference?

            Moses was given the Law, which he wrote down in the Book of the Covenant, which the Historian narrated…. do you see the difference?

            With all respect, I can see why this may be dissettling. But for me it futher strengthens the unity and purpose of the OT Deuteronomic History:

            Telling Israel their history of Origins to Exile, and reminding them that they got there by worshiping idols and the demons that they represent…. and forsaking our Father Yahweh.

            It then leaves open the possiblity of a great restoration, that is only filled in Jesus Christ.

            If I am wrong, please show me. Your proof texts did not do the job, as they did not support your position and only supported Mosaic authorship of the Law (to which I agree). Let the Christian readers judge between you and me.

            How am I wrong logically or theologically?

            • pete

              …and although modern Jews may say that the Pentateuch and the Book of the Law are the same thing, they have one important difference than you and I:

              They don’t believe Jesus is Messiah or God, and hence don’t believe their own scripture.

              You already cited text which agreed with me on that point.

              They aren’t a valid authority to refer to on this point.

              • chris

                Pete,

                As I had mentioned this is a very weak area for me, and my initial thoughts were that the Book of the Covenant and the Pent are not the same (at least not at the time it was put into the arc).

                I am by no means married to my position that Moses wrote the entire Pent(obviously excluding the closing) but I do believe that to be the case, at least at this point.

                Now there is surely a possibility that that a later author gathered the Pent and the later books and made a more cohesive product, but I have not investigated that possibility at all.

                You’ve given me some great points to investigate. Thank you. I will go through them individually and reply as I go through each one. Im flying out of town in 3 days for my brothers wedding and I have a lot I have to do to get ready (work, classes etc etc) so this is down a little ways on my list, but at the top of my recreations list. I will surely at least get started.

                Please do one more thing for me.. define the difference between the Book of the Cov/Law and the Pent – so that I can try to see if from your perspective.

                • pete

                  Chris,

                  The Book of the Covenant contains the revelation of law that God gave to Moses:

                  1) at Sinai (initially narrated in Exodus, and strictly laid out in Leviticus)

                  2) Various laws given during the “Wandering Years” accounted for in Numbers.

                  3) “Deuteronomic” repetiton and confirmation in Deuteronomy.

                  4) After Moses’ death, in the Book of Joshua, once the land is somewhat settled after the curb-stomping of the Caananites, Joshua again confirms the Coveneant at Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal. Joshua then records the convenant confirmation in “The Book of the Law of God” (Josh. 24:26)

                  The big thing to remember is that the covenant history in Genesis to Kings is valid, despite a late dating. Biblical scholars point out that the covenants recorded in the Deuteronomic History reflect a 2nd millenium BC suzerain-vassal treaty, vs. a 1st millenium BC suzerain-vassal treaty.

                  As such, we don’t have to worry about a late date being used against conservative scholarship as some sort of “see I told you the Bible isn’t credible” approach by Bible critics.

                  The late date would actually serve to enhance the credibility of the historian, who faithfully recorded customs removed from his own time period.

                  But I admit my hypothesis is nascent, and I am taking a literary approach to the text, as opposed to one informed by ANE language and scribal tradition (areas where I am currently weak)

                  Have a blast at your brother’s wedding!!!

                  Blessings

                  Pete

                  • pete

                    oh and sorry….

                    As for the Pentateuch, it is simply the first five books of the Bible, which serve to inform the Israelites (read that I think that they an exilic audience), or their humble origins, forced bondage in Egypt, glorious rescue by God, continued rebillion, and glorious taking of the Promised Land.

                    This Origins-Exodus-Promised land narrative was God’s sovereign choosing of Israel, which was mediated through 3/4 main servants: Abraham, Jacob/Joseph, and Moses.

                    It is concerned with establishing the chosen lines of the godly servants: Seth/Noah/Shem; Abraham; Isaac; Jacob; Joseph (minor concern); Judah (unfulfilled major concern); Levi (complementary concern).

                    We also see the wicked/non-elect lines of Cain/Lamech/Ham; Ishmael (not wicked, but not chosen); Esau; and Korah.

                    The concerns take us from Origins to Promised Land, and get seamlessly picked up in Joshua’s concern with settlement of the Land, and inheritance of the Nation of Israel/solidifying of the 12 tribes.

  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

    Chris,

    You’re right – we have very little evidence about Pilate’s treatment of the Jews. Just like we have very little evidence of any other prefect in the ancient world. They were middle managers in the empire (another reason why a management analogy actually might work) and so there weren’t exactly scribes clammoring to take down what we know about them.

    Actually the four Gospels write enough about Pilate that we know he is actually our most well documented prefect in history (fun fact!). But what we do know is that they were all brutal in their treatment of subjugating non romans. Pilate wasn’t particularly bad or anti-semitic or psychotic. He was just like every other Roman prefect.

    So saying he was brutal in treatment isn’t quite the clincer you seem to think it is. The fact is that he was clearly contemplating letting Jesus go with just a beating. But he chose not to. If he was just a brutal dictator he either wouldn’t have contemplated letting Jesus go – or would have done it. But instead we see a person very much influenced by what the crowd thinks about what he’s doing. (again, why the management analysis works)

    Now here’s something worth pointing out:
    Yes, but that does not mean the author does not have the right to exclude people from the story, especially when it’s a genealogy.
    So it is Matthew’s genealogy? Not Jesus’? If that’s true then I’m with you. Or do the authors of the gospels have an agenda they want to pursue regardless of the facts in their way? If that’s the case then I’m with you. But it has to be one of those two.

    Or, you know, you can just keep digging that hole…

    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

      Secondly, you’re right – the Bible says “about 33″ when he died.

      Theologians and Biblical scholars always need to ask the question of ‘why is this in here? What purpose does it serve?” If Jesus was dramatically different from that age, the Bible would probably refelct that. “He was about 38 … 42 … 12″ So what we have to do is take that as our starting point and be as generous and the Biblical text will allow us to be. Maybe he hadn’t had his Birthday yet. Maybe he was almost 34. The point is that we’re told an approximate age, probably because the Ancients didn’t have a notion that you could be 33 and a half.

      So here’s what we know: in order to be baptized and enter into the Malchizedek priesthood he had to be between 30 and 50 (Num. 4:3). We also know that somewhere between 1 and 3 separate passover meals are spoken of in the Gospels. SO you can fudge the dates one way or the other, but not too far. So the latest he could have been born, being really liberal (literarily, not theologically or politically) in our interpretation the date could maybe be pushed a year – but that still doesn’t help Blomberg’s (yours?) assertion that he was “But Jesus was almost certainly not crucified until at least AD 30″. AD 31-32 could be the latest it was then. If we’re generous.

      And all this assumes Jesus was born in 4 BCE … if it were any earlier (which it well could have been) Blomberg is still probably wrong.

      • pete

        Jared,

        On Pilate, John 19:8 is pretty clear that Pilate was afraid of the Jews.

        John 19:12-16 shows why Pilate was afraid of the Jews: They were pitting Pilate against Caesar… why do you think the Jews sought the release of Barrabas the insurrectionist? Insurrection was an issue.

        Furthermore, Matthew 27:19 gives us another reason why Pilate didn’t want to crucify Jesus: Pilate’s wife’s dream.

        I’m not sure how this plays into your discussion with Chris, but I wanted to point it out anyways.

        Blessings

      • chris

        Secondly, you’re right – the Bible says “about 33? when he died.

        Im not aware of the Bible ever giving an approximate age as to when He died. I’m only aware of the round number of “30”.
        But your are the one with 2 degrees so I guess you know better than I.

        • http://www.retheology.net Jared

          You’re right. I mis-spoke, trying to pull the verse from memory. You can take the point if you want it.

          But if nothing else it actually only makes my point better. So thanks.

          • chris

            “About” thirty could be 29, 30, 31, 32..

            The point is that we’re told an approximate age, probably because the Ancients didn’t have a notion that you could be 33 and a half.

            That’s ridiculous. 33 and a half is still 33. Based on the accounts we have they both rounded years and gave years and months.

            Stop with the eisegesis.

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              As you pointed out above, the number was 30 – so let’s deal with that.

              You’re just reiterating my point: about 30 can’t be much more than, say, 32. Which still discounts Blomberg’s assertion. Jesus needed to be about 40 when he died for Blomberg to be right.

              That’s not eisegesis. That’s logic.

              • chris

                Maybe Im missing something here.

                Blomberg:

                In John 2:20 the Jews refer to the temple rebuilding project having begun 46 years earlier. This would mark the date of the cleansing at around AD 27 or 28. But Jesus was almost certainly not crucified until at least AD 30.

                You:

                You’re just reiterating my point: about 30 can’t be much more than, say, 32. Which still discounts Blomberg’s assertion. Jesus needed to be about 40 when he died for Blomberg to be right.

                So we take it all together.
                Herod dies in 4BC. Say Jesus is 2-3 when that happens making Him born in 6BC. Using your age of 32 when He starts his ministry, that would be AD 27 when He starts His ministry and EXACTLY what Blomberg said above for the date of the first temple cleansing at the beginning of His ministry.
                So why does Jesus need to be about 40?

                • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                  I’m not debating the date of the cleansing. Think long and hard about how this started: You said there were two cleansings, I said one – and it happened in 27, not 27 and 30. We’re agreeing on that point.

                  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                    But let’s assume that Jesus is born in 6BCE

                    5 he is 1
                    4 – 2
                    3 – 3
                    2 – 5
                    1 – 6
                    1 (CE) – 7
                    2 – 8

                    24 – 30 (starts ministry)
                    25
                    26 (Pilate starts his job)
                    27 – Cleanses the temple and is crucified

                    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                      ergo, Jesus would have had to be 36 to be crucified in AD 30.

                      That’s not anywhere close to 33. He is wrong.

                    • chris

                      As we already discussed – 33 is not in the bible. At best its an assumption based on an assumption!

                    • chris

                      C’mon dude check your math.

                      If you’ll correct your numbers you’ll see you’ve proven yourself wrong about at AD27 death..


                      5 he is 1
                      4 – 2
                      3 – 3
                      2 – 5
                      1 – 6
                      1 (CE) – 7
                      2 – 8

                      See the error?

                    • chris

                      And even using your numbers to get an AD 28 death, Jesus would have to be born in the spring (pre passover) of 6BC to have a 3+ year ministry and be crucified in 28 on passover.
                      But I believe the overwhelming majority of scholars figure He was born in the fall, which would then push the crucifixition forward to 29 to keep with a 3+ year ministry.

    • chris

      You’re right – we have very little evidence about Pilate’s treatment of the Jews. Just like we have very little evidence of any other prefect in the ancient world.

      But we do have much more than you are letting on to…
      Both Philo and Josephus document his brutality, including having soldiers hiding in the crowd to slaughter protesters…
      Additionally they record his blatant antagonism and disrespect at the very beginning of his tenure there, absolutely contradicting all the arguments you have given using management analogies.

      So when you take the gospel accounts and the Philo and Joesphus accounts, we have a pretty coherent picture. And it’s absolutely nothing like you are trying to portray and quite contradictory.

      • http://www.retheology.net Jared

        Bear in mind these things:
        1) Philo didn’t write anything about Pilate while he is still prefect; as an argument, that’s not particularly pertinent, but we do know that he was very biased in his writing elsewhere. In Embassy to Caligula, Philo includes a letter by Herod Agrippa to Caligula, where Caligula’s attempt to have his statue erected in the Temple is compared to Pilate’s attempt to have shields with pagan inscriptions placed in his Jerusalem palace. According to Agrippa, Pilate was corrected by the emperor Tiberius, whose behavior is presented as exemplary. To present Tiberius as a virtuous ruler, Pilate had to be presented as a despot.

        Besides, it should be noted that Agrippa wanted to become king of Judaea; a negative portrait of Roman government could convince the emperor that there was a real need for his accession. (The letter served both purposes; Caligula backed down and Herod Agrippa was made king of Judaea.)
        (For more see livius.org)

        Philo wrote with a purpose, so removing that purpose actually reveals that we have little to no reason to believe his assessment of Pilate.

        Josephus is another matter. his picture is actually one of incredible respect for the Jews, oh I don’t know, because that’s what Josephus was trying to accomplish in Rome. Here’s what he writes:
        “Finding themselves in a ring of troops, three deep, the Jews were struck dumb at this unexpected sight. Pilate, after threatening to cut them down, if they refused to admit Caesar’s images, signaled to the soldiers to draw their swords.
        Thereupon the Jews, as by concerted action, flung themselves in a body on the ground, extended their necks, and exclaimed that they were ready rather to die than to transgress the law. Overcome with astonishment at such intense religious zeal, Pilate gave orders for the immediate removal of the standards from Jerusalem.”

        That’s not the picture of a brutal despot. It’s actually the one of a guy who’s worried about what his image looks like to the people he rules over.

        Check your sources.

        • chris


          That’s not the picture of a brutal despot. It’s actually the one of a guy who’s worried about what his image looks like to the people he rules over.

          Or a guy who’s already stepped over the line several times and is in trouble with his supervisors and acting out again had his card pulled by the Jews who didn’t hesitate to die for their beliefs and they got the better of him as he knew he had to keep the peace…which accords perfectly with the annual releasing of a prisoner in the middle of his career to try and keep things cool because of his previous missteps, according with the gospel accounts…

          • http://www.retheology.net Jared

            Except we’re told this is at the start of his career. Romans didn’t care about killing Jews, or anyone else as long as the Pax Romana went unchecked.

            Take another example: Pilate minted coins that show the staff of an Italian seer and on the reverse a bunch of grapes, which is the usual picture on any Jewish coin. Pilate thus combined an inoffensive pagan and an inoffensive Jewish symbol, which reflects a policy of equal rights to Jews and pagans. He would not force the Jews to lay down their ancestral ways; he invited them to be Rome’s equals.

            The point is that we have no idea where any of these stories do come into play, because we don’t actually know what year Jesus was crucified in. But working just from the math that we do know, Jesus (born on or before 4 BCE) was between 29-31 when he started ministry and ministered for somewhere between 1-3 years. This means that Jesus was crucified somewhere as early as 24 or as late as 31 CE.

            These dates are still in the first half of Pilate’s career, and we see a pattern emerging from the historical record of his unwillingness to cheese off the Jews.

  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

    You’re right – I missed 4.
    So he’s crucified in 28

    Let’s revisit what you wrote:

    6. In John 2:20 the Jews refer to the temple rebuilding project having begun 46 years earlier. This would mark the date of the cleansing at around AD 27 or 28. But Jesus was almost certainly not crucified until at least AD 30. And it is most unlikely that John would have simply made up such a figure. Therefore, it is quite likely that John is describing a distinct (and earlier) cleansing from the one mentioned in the Synoptics.

    1) We don’t actually have any idea when the construction started. We think it was 19BCE but could have been earlier.
    2)Blomberg himself writes that the cleansing, and then the crufixion could have taken place in 28
    3)Blomberg is flat wrong about Jesus being crucified after 30 CE
    4) John has no historical reason to fix a timeline (as we’ve already seen with the crucifixion dates he is more concerned with theology than dates) – so it is perfectly likely that if it served his purpose he would make something up about dates.

    therefore it is unlikely that the cleansing John described is different than the one in the synoptics unless John got the number wrong in 2:20. If this is at the start of Jesus ministry, which we have to assume is sometime between 24-26CE – then John got the number wrong.

    Putting it another way: If Jesus is crucified in 28(ish) after a 1-3 year ministry then the overturn at the start of the ministry had to take place somewhere between 25-27. If you’re going to hold onto your number 27, that means that Jesus only ministered for 1 year and all the other times that Passover gets mentioned is referring to one event? That seems unlikely.

    • chris

      We don’t actually have any idea when the construction started. We think it was 19BCE but could have been earlier.

      Which is it, we have no idea or we think it was 19BC ? Actually Joesphus gives us 2 conflicting dates and accounts, apparently saying a commitment was made in 19 and the actual building started later. Compare his 2 accounts in the 2 records.

      4) John has no historical reason to fix a timeline (as we’ve already seen with the crucifixion dates he is more concerned with theology than dates) – so it is perfectly likely that if it served his purpose he would make something up about dates.

      I think your accusation about John ” that if it served his purpose he would make something up” pretty much ends our discussion.

      • http://www.retheology.net Jared

        I’m sorry Chris – I think you missed my point. I’m not suggesting that John is making things up to be deceitful or dishonest. He’s telling a story with theological significance.
        So do I assume that you think Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation (john) ? Then when the synoptics talk about him eating the passover meal, they’re the ones who get it wrong – or change the date to add theological significance to the passover meal.

        You’re trying to hold on to Biblical inerrancy, and it just does not hold up.

        Let’s recap:

        Matthew and Luke disagree about who Joseph’s father was. (yes, I know, you think one means father in law, and the other actual father but neither text says “father of Mary” or gives any allusion that he is not the biological father of Mary.

        Matthew gets the genealogy wrong compared to Chronicles. There are two options: either there were not 14 generations between (ie, there were more) (or he made up the number 14 because it has theological significance.

        John’s own admitted dating puts the temple overthrow, which seems to have happened at the start of the ministry, at the year that Jesus was probably crucified. The dating only works if Jesus was crucified when the temple was overturned.

        Finally, John has Jesus crucified on the day of preparation, and the Synoptics after eating the passover meal. It cannot be both.

        Inerrancy does not work. The Bible never claims it either.

        Here’s where I stand: The Bible is the infallible (never failing) word of God. It is not a science book, it is not a history book. It is God’s message of Good News to all people in all places and at all times. I’m sorry if I’ve sounded like a jerk – or that I’ve been a jerk. That may have been my intent, but I did so out of anger, and for that I apologize. My suspicion is that we share more in common than we do apart.

        • chris

          Jared,

          I’m sorry Chris – I think you missed my point.

          I think the true point here is that your 2 degrees in Biblical whatever appear to be almost worthless. They’ve led you to speak as if you are an authority, leaning on conjecture, flatly calling others wrong based upon your own observations that contradict the majority of scholars and then leading you to not only make, but authoritatively make ridiculous claims!

          It’s pretty obvious that you have no understanding of the jewish side of Christianity. It’s not possible to understand the scriptures if you do not understand judaism and jewish tradition. John’s gospel, as well as Revelation is very jewish with loads of jewish imagery and customs. For example 99% of people are lost at John 2:1 when he says “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:” This follows the closing of John 1 with absolutely nothing to give “the third day” any relation to. Everyone wonders – third day from what?
          If you do not understand that Jewish weddings were always on a Tuesday because of the double blessing in Genesis and Tuesday is the third day, you have no idea what John is talking about when he says “on the third day” immediately after closing out chapter 1 and with nothing else fixed to determine what it meant by “the third day”. This isn’t that big of a deal but the truth is that without understanding the jewishness of Christianity and the scriptures, there is no way to understand MUCH of the scriptures.

          You’re following assertion proves my point:

          He’s telling a story with theological significance.
          So do I assume that you think Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation (john) ? Then when the synoptics talk about him eating the passover meal, they’re the ones who get it wrong – or change the date to add theological significance to the passover meal.

          You make it obvious that you have no understanding of either the scriptures or the jewish holiday. The synoptic gospels, yes all 3 of them, make it VERY clear that Jesus was crucified on the Preparation day. If you do not understand this holiday you won’t be able to understand/calculate the date of the triumphal entry or much else of the significance of the weeks activities, nor will you be able to determine which day of the week He was crucified.

          So lets see what the synoptics say about Jesus crucifixion and the Preparation day:

          Luke 23:52-54
          This [man] went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
          And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

          That one seems pretty clear that the day of Jesus crucifixion and burial was the preparation. Let’s see what Matthew says:

          Matthew 27:60-63
          …And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

          So again its clear that Jesus was crucified and buried on the Preparation. Then the following day the Pharisees sought a guard. Unless you want to try and assert that the Pharisees let Joseph take him down and bury him and then they left his tomb unguarded for the entire next day and then asked for the guard the following day…

          Lets check Mark 15:40-45

          There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;(Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling [unto him] the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.And when he knew [it] of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

          So I think it’s pretty clear that ALL 4 GOSPELS present Jesus as being crucified on the Preparation Day. What’s also obvious is that you do not understand the Jewish holiday of Passover. So instead you keep forcing your eisegesis into the text to make it say something that it clearly doesn’t.

          • http://www.retheology.net Jared

            So, where did you learn about Judaism? From the hacks you parrot?

            Of course Jesus cannot be understood apart from Judaism. It’s not so simple to just pick up the Bible and “there it is” as you suggest. By your own admission, you need to read the Bible through educated lenses.

            Having degrees behind my name doesn’t make me an authority, and it certainly does not make me perfect. You and your ilk can continue to contort the Gospels to make them read as something that they are not, but you can’t do it honestly.’

            So Yes. Let’s look and see what the Gospels do say.

            Matthew:
            17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
            20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. 21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

            *Note* Here’s something you apparently don’t know about Judaism; they mark their days, sunset to sunset. So in v.20 when it says It’s actually the next day, that is, the day AFTER passover

            26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

            So it’s the next day That’s why Jesus waits until sunset to make this declaration about the bread and wine.

            Mark actually flushes it out more.

            Mark 14
            12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

            So here, Mark clearly spells out that on the day of preparation the passover lamb is killed. The next day Jesus is.

            17 And when it was evening, [that is, the next day]he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

            Now it’s Luke’s turn.

            7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” [Another important note: In order to complete the ritual of passover, a full day of preparation is required. So the passover is eaten the day after the day of preparation] 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
            [Another important note: In order to complete the ritual of passover, a full day of preparation is required. So the passover is eaten the day after the day of preparation]

            14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.


            So in Matthew: It’s after passover
            Mark: Day after passover
            Luke: The Day after Passover

            Before we talk about John, let’s deal with your passages:

            Jesus is crucified on Friday, and the Jewish Sabbath started at Sundown on Friday – so, that makes Friday the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Luke makes it clear that they couldn’t let the body hang on. You were so close on this one, but you just didn’t highlight enough. Read a bit further Chris and you’ll see what Mark says:

            because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath (v. 42)

            Good try though.

            Now let’s look at what John says, and I’ll make this as clear as possible:

            you’ll also notice, and this was new to me, that Mark and John disagree on when Jesus was anointed in Bethany (John says 6 days before passover, Mark says 2 days before) Another nail in the coffin of inerrancy.

            Synoptics Jewish Calendar John
            Triumphal entry [unknown] “passover near” (11:55)
            – 9 Nisan “6 days before passover” (12:1)
            – 10 Nisan “Triumphal Entry” (12:12)
            (Mk. 14:1-2 ) 13 Nisan –
            – 14 Nisan “Before Passover” (13:1)
            – ” Night (13:30) garden
            – ” later (18:2-11) Arrest
            – ” dawn Peter’s denial
            – “morning (18:28) Trial
            – ” Noon (19:14) Trial concludes
            (Mk 14:12) * Crucifixion

            I’m going to take a pause here to point out that this is when the passover lamb is being crucified in the temple. Direct contradiction to the Synoptics. But let’s finish.

            – 14 Nisan before sunset Burial (19:38)
            Last Supper 15 Nisan (Evening) –
            Garden ” Night –
            Arrest ” Midnight –
            Peters Denial ” predawn
            Sanhedrin ” Dawn
            Trial ” Early Morning
            Crucifixion (15:25) ” 9am
            Darkness (15:33) ” noon – 3pm
            Death (15:34) ” 3pm
            Burial “before sundown

            I will apologize if the formatting doesn’t take, but unless your mind is completely closed you’ll see that this is all backed up with scripture, and it just does not work out.

            Sorry. But before you call my degrees worthless, get one yourself. Or at least read a book… anything other than just parroting. For the love of God, use your brain.

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              Nope… didn’t format properly. I’ll retype it and put it in a handy table that you can look at.

            • chris

              There are so many problems in this post Im not even sure where to start. But you have made it obvious that you, in your own mind, are the absolute authority and cannot learn anything, so I won’t waste my time. It;s a shame for you because using about 75 scripture references it can clealy be demonstrated each and overt day where Jesus was and what he did, what day it was etc etc.. But you already know everything so..

              Again you have the problem of trying to harmonize events that are not the same i.e. the 2 anointing of Jesus. Try writing down all the details of the events

              Where Jesus comes from,
              Where He is,
              Where he goes next
              Who is there,
              Who does the anointing
              How the anointing is done
              What is said by others and the responses
              What is said by Jesus and the responses.

              If you can’t see these are clearly 2 different events then…

              Your next problem is the Friday crucifixion.

              Maybe you should go spend some time with some messianic Jews or even orthodox Jews..

  • http://www.retheology.net Jared

    I’m not even going to get into the Bethany thing because I’m tired of telling you you’re an idiot. If you think there were two separate instances of travelling to Bethany within days of each other, and that that is the more likely scenario than that, broadly, the Gospels aren’t trying to communicate the history you think they are, then you’re just as closed minded as the rest of you.

    The Friday crucifixion is the point.

    All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon, that the women rested on a Saturday, and that the empty tomb was discovered early on a Sunday morning. However, the Gospels differ as to whether the Feast of Passover was on Friday or on Saturday in the year Jesus was killed. That’s the disagreement.

    John says Friday was on the 14th of Nisan, The Synoptics think it was 15th.

    Again, I need to spell it out for you?
    John says Jesus is in Bethany 6 days before Passover (12:1)

    Since we know Passover is always on 15th of Nisan, that makes this 9 Nisan

    The triumphal entry is the next day (12:12) – the 10th of Nisan (call it P -5)

    Evening of the 14th of Nisan (Since it is before passover – 13:1) Jesus eats the last supper – which is explicitly different than the synoptics who say that the last supper was Passover

    The rest of the 14th of Nisan is Jesus arrest and Trial, and 19:14 tells us that it was the 6th hour (since sunrise – that is, noon) when the trial concludes and Jesus is handed over to be crucified.

    This is important because 14th of Nisan, at the 6th hour – that is, noon, is when the sacrifice of the lambs takes place.

    HOWEVER This is compared with Mark 14:12-16 where we’re told again, explicitly, so as not to confuse you that they are eating the passover meal “when they sacrificed the passover lamb”

    Plain and simple, it cannot be both.
    Either the Synoptics are wrong, John is wrong, the gospels aren’t history, or you’re schizophrenic.

    Those are the only four options.

    • http://www.retheology.net Jared

      Here’s the synoptic breakdown, you know, for comparison.

      14th Nisan (Mark 14:12) – The disciples prepare the last supper
      15th Nisan (14:17) – The passover meal is eaten in the evening (the start of the 15th)
      The rest of the 15ht is spent in the arrest and trial – and Jesus is crucified at the 3rd hour (that is, 9am) and dies at the 6th hour (noon) on the day of passover
      Sundown brings us to the 16th, which is the Sabbath (15:42)

      • chris

        Why don’t you take the time and read the research done by someone else using the greek, hebrew and aramaic words instead of trying to prove your point over and over by the use of the word “passover”. Ive shown you that every single gospel specifically tells us that it was the day of preparation. Every single one explicitly says it.

        Maybe you need to see it explained form another person.

        Im not going to take the hours it would take to recreate this, but if you truly care, if you truly are a seeker of truth, then read the following pt 1, 2 and 3 and then tell me I’m the idiot.

        http://ad2004.com/prophecytruths/Articles/Yeshua/lastsupper.html

        • http://www.retheology.net Jared

          I’m tired of this. We’re not going to convince each other – so I’m not going to bother responding. I read it. I disagree; and I know enough scholars smarter and more proficient in the languages than I who disagree – and so I stand on their expertise. Not muy own, and certainly not the goecities-esque “prophecy truths”.

          Like I said, inerrantists tire me out. Twist the Bible as much as you want so you can sleep at night.

          • chris

            I’m tired of this. We’re not going to convince each other – so I’m not going to bother responding.

            Agreed.

            I read it. I disagree; and I know enough scholars smarter and more proficient in the languages than I who disagree – and so I stand on their expertise. Not muy own, and certainly not the goecities-esque “prophecy truths”.

            Thank you for your latter comments. They demonstrate that if you did read (all 3 parts, however unlikely) that you already dismissed it a priori.

            This guy is a scholar amongst scholars and not some random goecities-esque blogger.

            He absolutely slaughters your assertions using a variety of arguments, in addition and without the need of the verses I gave you that explicitly contradict your conclusions.

            If you really wanted to know the truth and weren’t so absolutely certain you had already found it, you would have at least the acknowledged the validity of the arguments he made, instead of the cheap shots….

            Your comments bring to remembrance two uncanny quotes:

            The first in commentary to Matthew 2:4

            “The scribes had no desire toward the person of the Christ, whereas the wise men truly were truly wise, in that they sought the person of Him of Whom the scriptures spoke, and were soon found at His feet.
            Head-knowldge without heart-love may be used against Christ. ”

            And

            “The only hinderance to truth is your preconceived notions”

            May He open your eyes.

            • http://www.retheology.net Jared

              I’ll admit, Prophecy Truths doesn’t scream “credible site” and the pink sidebar, doesn’t help.

              I printed and read all three parts, and have my own notes, and things that, honestly, I don’t know how to answer because I am not an expert . I could have easily pointed you back to http://errancy.org/supper.html – which tackles a number of the same issues, and links to both Prophecy Truths and other sites at the bottom. One of which (http://www.cin.org/users/james/questions/q060.htm) points out how it is wrong.

              The fact is that neither of these sites are credible experts. If they were, they would publish the material they have somewhere other than the internet. Which leads me to assume that this material doesn’t carry weight when presented in front of credible experts in this field.

              The reality is, that until you or I are experts on this subject, we are obligated to defer to real experts.

              —–

              That being said, here is what I do know:

              Part 1

              1) He draws a false dichotomy between Azumos and artos. The same way we talk about ‘bread’ in general to mean rye, pumpernickel, sartos is the generic term for ‘bread’.

              2) Azumos ALWAYS appears in the genitive case, indicating that it is not an adjective, but a noun.

              3) artos is used in Paul’s institution of the Lord’s Supper the same way poterion gets translated ‘cup’ but we understand it to be wine. Or another example, in Greek
              oino literally means ‘of the vine’ and gets used to refer to both grape juice and wine, but we understand it to be wine in the New Testament. Artos is a generic term for bread.

              4) On the same point, bear in mind that Paul is writing 1 Corinthians before any of the gospels are written. And he is writing to an entirely Gentile audience who has no familiarity with the passover story – or at least not much of one. In his letters when he does mention Azumos as a slander in chapter 5, he is clearly juxtaposing it over and against the concept of yeast (5:6).

              [So at this point, let’s consider what’s happened .. all of these points above aside: He is attempting to reconcile that, in fact none of the gospels suggest Jesus to actually be eating the passover meal, which I can’t believe you won’t admit seems like theological jumping jacks. He is assuming that we are going to make that leap for him and he provides no evidence to actually contradict this reading of the synoptics – at least not at this point … I will get to that]

              Let’s look at his evidence.

              He says:
              Evidence Area #1: From John 13:29, we know that the bread and wine ceremony and supper were already completed; and that when Judas Iscariot left, the disciples speculated that he was going to buy supplies for the upcoming Passover meal.

              Actually, what we know is that this is the day before the passover (13:1), but moreover, that on Passover night the doors of the Temple were opened at midnight (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18:29f) and a crowd of poor people gathered to receive alms. Thus it was a custom to give alms to the poor at night on Passover, but night time alms were in no way customary at other times, meaning Jesus’s direction to Judas would not have been so understood by the apostles if it were given at any time other than Passover evening. ergo, it was a seder.


              Evidence Area #2:The Peshitta Aramaic and Greek New Testament manuscripts are in 100% agreement on every text in the NT covering the bread and wine ceremony; that the bread used in the bread and wine ceremony was regular bread and not unleavened bread.

              Yes, they are. But what they agree on is that Matthew, Mark and Luke are talking about a high holy day (hence, the Genitive case), not the actual bread itself. Moreover, this only substantiates that the meal was in fact, the Passover Seder.

              ——

              Part 2:

              A summary of his argument:
              He believes that Jesus bis breaking from the formal structure of the seder and therefore it is not a seder

              1) His outline of the seder ritual is good. No problems with that. Again, he draws a false dichotomy (that is, it has to be one or the other) between the synoptic mentions of bread and Azumos (but we’ve already seen above that this is not necessary, as Artos is well documented as being a generic term) .
              [This is actually the hinge of his argument. I think anyone will admit, that’s not a good base]

              What he suggests is that because a blessing took place out of turn, it cannot be the seder.

              1) Every seder leaves food over and serves an extra portion (for elijah). he points out that the ritual of bread and wine takes place ‘After they had eaten’ – which is fair. But doesn’t actually establish anything, except that there was food left over (like at a seder!)

              2) Here mentions the foot washing and final discourse (neither of which are recorded in in the Synoptics) as not part of the Seder, but again, that’s not actually an argument. But in doing the foot washing Jesus is instituting a new covenant in Johanine fashion. Note no instance of the kind of blood covenant that we get in the the Synoptics. THe final discourse is richly theological in its action, culminating in the divine Logos, through whom all things were made, God HIMSELF, on his knees washing feet. This is a theological point and it happens after supper. John is not concerned about the Lord’s supper so much as he is holing out the theology we see in Philippians 2 that was so central to the early church: Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking on the very form of a servant.

              3) Now he finally starts to tackle the Synoptic problem, that is, that they claim he eats the passover in the upper room. This is, by far, his WORST arguing in the entire essay. Here’s what he says:
              Verse 14 says, ” ….Where I may eat the Passover with My disciples.” Jesus didn’t say He would eat it with them, but that the upper room they were to obtain was the place they could eat it.

              We don’t accept this kind of shoddy logic anywhere else,

              Let’s look at 3 other verses where this happens
              Mark 1:38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” DId Jesus think there was a chance he wouldn’t preach there? Of course not. The word may or might almost categorically indicates the aorist tense, which infers not uncertainty, but immediate and indefinite future action.

              May does not imply uncertainty.

              John 9:36 – He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
              Again – the aorist tense is present. Moreover, this man doesn’t show any unwillingness to do what he is inquiring about. And 2 verses later does so. May is about permission.

              John 10:17 – For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
              Again, here the aorist tense is used and it does not imply uncertainty or unfamiliarity, but simply indefinite future activity. Here, however, we see Jesus making a Divinity claim about his own life indicating that may implies and imputes to him a kind of authority.

              So to recap: may, as it is used in the aorist term (like in the Synoptic accounts of the last supper) does not ever mean there is a possibility that the opposite might come true. It can denote permission, authority, and/or certainty.

              Again, these facts are not in dispute by anyone. Except maybe you.

              Again here is what he says:
              The word epethumhsa … is in the Greek aorist tense which indicates a one-time action in the past. It should be rendered, “at one time in the past I strongly desired to eat this (coming) Passover with you before I suffer.”
              That’s an awful translation.
              Quick Greek lesson: Greek has no definite articles (The). The article to use is inferred from the case and tense used in the verb/noun agreements. In this case.

              Here’s what it says in Greek

              kai – “And”
              eipen – “he said’
              pros – “toward”
              auotos – “them”
              epithumia epethumhsa – “to desiring I desire”

              epithumia is a dative (‘to’), singular, noun
              epethumhsa is 1st Aorist, Active, 1st person singular (I desired)

              (This is a noun verb construct, to which he alludes, designed for repetition to increase the affect of the desire. Like through the Gospels when Jesus says “Amen Amen” (truly truly) – that isn’t a perfect example though because they are both adverbs, where this is a noun/verb.)
              This however, is not the troubling part of his translation.

              What is troubling is that he conflates 1st and 2nd Aorist when it comes to eating.
              Let’s continue:

              touto – “this”
              to pascha – “the passover” (accusative singular – ‘the’ is inferred from the the tense of ‘to’)

              the presence of touto is HUGE Jesus is connecting it to this present activity that is happening all around him. The author of the essay missed this entirely.

              phagein (2nd Aorist, Active, Infinitive) ” to eat”
              not, I am going to eat or might eat. It is simple. He completely misrepresented this point. Look up any Greek verb chart and tell me I’m wrong.

              This is the nail in the coffin of his second point. Jesus says, in the indefinite aorist tense, that he was going to eat, and that HE ATE The passover meal.

              If you’re still reading this, prove me wrong. Please.

              Here’s my translation
              “And he said to them, enthusiastically I fulfilled my desire to eat this passover with you before I am to suffer”

              A very different read on that verse. Caveats; I didn’t use aramaic – since the only word in Aramaic in the whole thing is pascha, which has been hellenized and is well known. Plus, I don’t know Aramaic.

              ——————————-

              Part 3:

              Again, he sets up the straw man of artos, which we’ve already dealt with. (It’s amazing how much of his argument hinges on this point).

              His points:
              1) Jesus is the bread of Heaven, and uses artos. In the LXX, the manna is spoken of as Artos, not Azumos. This is the connection Jesus is trying to make; not unleavened bread.

              2) We’ve already touched on this, but he mentions 1 Corinthians 15, the only use of Azumos as a verb. But as we’ve already seen, paul is using ist juxtapositionally against the already outlined idea of leaven (yeast). This means little to nothing.

              Then his argument becomes theological, and is beyond the scope of what we are trying to ascertain here.

              You asked me to read his stuff critically, and I did. He’s letting his dogma drive the data.
              The more I study this, the more inerrancy just falls apart as shoddy theology.

              “The scribes had no desire toward the person of the Christ, whereas the wise men truly were truly wise, in that they sought the person of Him of Whom the scriptures spoke, and were soon found at His feet.

              Head-knowldge without heart-love may be used against Christ. ”

              And

              “The only hinderance to truth is your preconceived notions”

              Both of these may well apply to you as well.

              • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                If you do read this, please keep your comments to the work I’ve done. Thanks.

              • http://www.retheology.net Jared

                If there was an edit button – my translation notes would say this (I realize I didn’t explain it well)

                phagein (2nd Aorist, Active, Infinitive) ” to eat”
                not, I am going to eat or might eat. It is simple – the infinitive form of the verb connects to the aorist voice of the action. He completely misrepresented this point.

    • http://twitter.com/davidstarlingm davidstarlingm

      “All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon, that the women rested on a Saturday, and that the empty tomb was discovered early on a Sunday morning.”

      Eh, I take exception to this bit. Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday afternoon.