From: email@example.com (James W. Meritt)
Subject: Evidence That Demands a Verdict: section I
Date: 12 Feb 92 20:13:59 GMT
_Evidence_That_Demands_a_Verdict_ is aa book that presents "historical
evidences for the christian faith". It is produced by the Campus Crusade for
Christ, Inc and was prepared by a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Talbot
Since I'm a lot better with logic and the scientific method than
languages and history, I will primarily be concerned with the massive
logical flaws present, though I will include other items. The entire
text is rife with circular reasoning, attempts at incremental
confirmation, pleading to authority, and insufficient set definition, but
there are many other logical errors. Please do not assume that just because
it isn't mentioned here as an error I believe that it is correct. He also
made up his own outline format. I'm going to try to keep his organization.
Lines beginning with "}" are direct quotes taken from the book. The material
I present is either written by me, or by someone on USENET, a mailing list,
or email. Where appropriate, I asked their permission to quote. Look upon
them as "witnesses" for Josh's "verdict".
Since his title seems to indicate SOME judicial standpart, using
"verdict", I believe that this will show that it is either wrong, unconfirmed,
debateable, or biased. Thus, it "demands" no such thing. Given the wide
press this book gets, I expected better.
}SECTION I. THE BIBLE - I TRUST IT
} Chapter 1. The Uniqueness of the Bible (p 13)
} The bible is unique (p 15)
Michael L. Siemon points out:
"Any "uniqueness" in this nonsense is the same as someone's appearing in
the Guiness Book of Records for collecting a few more bottletops than
anybody else. Insofar as it is true, it is a ground for INCLUDING the
Bible as yet another (if in some respects a statistical outlier) of a
} in its continuity (p 16)
Very odd, considering that there are blocks that stick out like a sore
thumb. Ruth, for instance. And then there is:
>God good to all, or just a few?
PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are
over all his works.
JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fa-
thers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor
spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
>how many stalls and horsemen?
KI1 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his
chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
CH2 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and
chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the
chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
>folly to be wise or not?
PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and
with all thy getting get understanding.
ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that in-
creaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
1 Cor.1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."
} order of creation
Here is the order in the first (Genesis 1), the Priestly tradition:
Day 1: Sky, Earth, light
Day 2: Water, both in ocean basins and above the sky(!)
Day 3: Plants
Day 4: Sun, Moon, stars (as calendrical and navigational aids)
Day 5: Sea monsters (whales), fish, birds, land animals,
creepy-crawlies (reptiles, insects, etc.)
Day 6: Humans (apparently both sexes at the same time)
Day 7: Nothing (the Gods took the first day off anyone ever did)
Note that there are "days", "evenings", and "mornings" before
the Sun was created. Here, the Deity is referred to as "Elohim", which
is a plural, thus the literal translation, "the Gods". In this tale,
the Gods seem satisfied with what they have done, saying after each
step that "it was good".
The second one (Genesis 2), the Yahwist tradition, goes:
Earth and heavens (misty)
Adam, the first man (on a desolate Earth)
Eve, the first woman (from Adam's rib)
Ps.92:12: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree."
Isa.57:1: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart."
>years of famine
II SAMUEL 24:13: So God came to David, and told him, and said unto him, shall
SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE come unto thee in thy land? or will thou flee three
months before thine enemies, while they pursue. thee?
I CHRONICLES 21:11: SO God came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the
LORD, Choose thee. Either THREE YEARS OF FAMINE or three months to be destryed
before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;
>moved David to anger?
II SAMUEL 24: And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel,
and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Isreal and Judah.
I CHRONICLES 21: And SATAN stood up against Isreal, and provoked David to
>God be seen?
Exod. 24:9,10; Amos 9:1; Gen. 26:2; and John 14:9
God CAN be seen:
"And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts."
"And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his
friend." (Ex. 33:11)
"For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
God CANNOT be seen:
"No man hath seen God at any time." (John 1:18)
"And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man
see me and live." (Ex. 33:20)
"Whom no man hath seen nor can see." (1 Tim. 6:16)
>ascend to heaven
"And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (2 Kings 2:11)
"No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven,
... the Son of Man." (John 3:13)
Anyway, I can keep doing this for hundreds of lines. A 900+ line file
available on request.
Eric Rescoria writes:
"Hmmm....It's not really that continuous. Really kind of a grab bag of
stuff, inconsistent in a lot of places."
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" True, most of its text was well preserved -- after it had
achieved "canonical" status. But before the various texts got
"canonical", there is good reason to suspect a lot of rewriting,
though exactly what rewriting may remain forever obscure.
Other sacred literature can be traced back at least as far
back as the older parts of the Bible, which starts getting "reliable"
at about 1000 BCE. For instance, the Vedas were preserved by
professional chanters for many centuries; the oldest of them, the Rig
Veda, is estimated to date back (partly from linguistic grounds) to
about 1200 BCE.
The two Homeric epics also display great continuity; they
achieved their final form about 800 BCE. Their story of the Trojan War
appears to have been based on a real war over Troy at about 1200 BCE,
even if it did not quite occur as described (ten years of fighting,
chariots used only to get to the front, not to mention divine
intervention). In the _Iliad_, there is even mention of tower shields
and boar's tusk helmets, which go back to about 1500 BCE.
Interestingly, the Ten Plagues of Egypt in the Bible look suspiciously
like the great eruption of Thera at about that time, even if any
historical Exodus could not have happened at about that time, the
reign of the empire-builder Thutmose III.
All three sets of documents display internal evidence of
having been put together from multiple sources; though the details of
these sources have been intensively debated."
} in its circulation
That's nice, but you can go to almost any country on earth and eat at a
McDonalds and watch Mickey Mouse.
Ronald Ramage wrote:
"A notion I was once told of, that I'm fond of repeating - Alexander the Great
conquered all of the known world. (He would have gone further, but his army
refused to follow him.) As he conquered, he set up an administration that
functioned in Greek. (If you wanted something done, it was done in Greek.)
One of the reasons for the success of the obscure hebrew cult recycling the
life-after-apparent-death myth with an absent-but-all-powerful-father (Dionysis
in the rinse cycle) is that once the gospels got translated into Greek, they
spread along the administrative channels established by Alexander the Great in
Eric Rescoria writes:
"Well, it is the #1 selling book ever. However, considering that last time
I checked, Baby and Child Care was #2, I'm not sure how much this means to
me. Also, remember that Dianetics is pretty popular."
Matthew P Wiener wrote:
"Euclid's ELEMENTS is possibly the #2 best seller over history."
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" Baloney. Shakespeare and other Western literature have also
circulated widely, due to the cultural influence of Europe and its
Furthermore, this type of estimate discriminates against
genres of writing that do not have single canonical texts. If one was
to count the volume of these, such as the volume of science or history
or art books, they would far outweigh the Bible."
} in its translation
Mickey Mouse "speaks" many languages. So?
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" Due to zealous missionaries.
Other religions have not attached such a high priority to
translations. Islam teaches just the opposite; the only legitimate
version of the Koran is the canonical Classical Arabic text;
translations are commentaries at best."
Michael L. Siemon writes about circulation & translation:
"Points 2 & 3 (if this means simply scale of distribution
and number of languages translated into) may be marginally true, but
mostly as a consequence of two accidents:
- European colonization/influence over the last 250 years
- the specific evangelical program to make the text available
in every language (this is driven by one particular under-
standing of one "command" of Jesus. Success in achieving
this goal is very nice but is rather a strange criterion
for comparison with traditions that don't have that goal."
} in its survival
Funny thing, but one shelf over from where I bought McDowell's book is a
shelf talking about those nasty druids, the ancient foundations of New-Age
Loren Petrich wrote:
" The oldest "reliable" history in the Bible dates back to about
1000 BCE. But:
The Homeric epics date to about 800 BCE.
The Rig Veda dates to about 1200 BCE or so. This collection of hymns
was passed on for generations by professional chanters before it was written
The Bible is not alone in containing bits and pieces of older history:
The Ten Plagues of Egypt have a remarkable resemblance to the
after-effects of a major volcanic eruption: clouds of ash create darkness,
boils on cattle, etc. There is a natural disaster that qualifies: the
great Thera eruption of 1500 BCE, which made tsunamis and spread a big
cloud of ash over its Eastern Mediterranean neighborhood.
The historical Trojan War occurred about 1200 BCE, if it had actually
happened; Homer's _Iliad_ refers to tower shields and boar's tusk helmets,
which had gone out of circulation at the time, but which were current at
about 1500 BCE.
Looking at general cultural features, comparative mythologists have
reconstructed some of the culture of the speakers of Proto-Indo-European;
among their findings is the worship of a god named "Father Sky" (the original
Heavenly Father?) and a three-level class system of sovereigns, warriors,
and common people. The most plausible archeological candidate to date is
the Kurgan culture of about 4500-2500 BCE in the South Russian steppes,
which is easily older than most of the content of the Bible.
Probing further, Marija Gimbutas has dared to attempt to reconstruct
cultural features of the European Neolithic societies; she identifies several
kinds of deities whose worship had persisted into historical times. These
include a Bird and Snake Goddess (Brigit, Athena, etc.) and a Goddess of
Death and Regeneration (witches like Baba Yaga). These societies go back
at least 8500 years; Dr. Gimbutas is willing to probe into the Paleolithic,
to about 30,000 years ago. She concludes that the "Venus figurines" were
statuettes of a Mother Goddess whose fatness symbolized pregnancy. Thus,
if her cultural reconstructions are anywhere close to correct,
Mother-Goddess worship is at least 30,000 years old, about ten times older
than the oldest "reliable" history in the Bible."
Eric Rescoria writes:
"Well, it did survive, but I think that the Bhagavad Gita and the
Mahabarata(sp?) are older."
Michael L. Siemon writes:
"Of roughly equal age
and influence to the oldest parts of Hebrew scripture, and with equal
"continuity" and "influence on literature" one could cite the _Iliad_,
the Vedas, the _Mahabaratha_, The _I Ching_ and _Book of Odes_ and maybe
Michael I Bushnell writes:
"We have almost no idea what happened to the OT before the Septuagint
or so. There just aren't any manuscripts. So, there is no reason to
say that "the Bible is practically 99% the same" as the original
texts. This is a claim which has nothing to back it up."
Charles Hedrick writes:
"I don't know about the OT. For the NT here's what I know: The
earliest complete manuscripts are from the 4th and 5th Cent. However
we now have papyrii from much earlier. While there are gaps in them,
taken all together they take us back to the 3rd Cent. for much of the
text, and give cross-checks back into the 2nd Cent. E.g. we've got a
copy of most of Paul's letters that was made around 200, and most of
John from 175-200."
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" Lots of Classical Greek and other ancient literature have
survived. See above.
The Bible itself contains some survivals of older stories like
the Mesopotamian Flood Story, which goes back to about 2000 BCE -- or
Going back before the invention of writing (or at least
writing we have been able to interpret) requires interpreting
archeological finds, and extrapolating backward from historically
documented times, which can be rather tricky. But some have been
willing to do just that, and there are numerous discussions of
Proto-Indo-European culture, for example. For instance, the
Proto-Indo-European speakers worshipped a god named "Father Sky" (in
IE, of course), which may be the ultimate inspiration for what kind of
god the God of the Bible is -- a patriarchal sky god. The likely age
of this concept? The age of the Kurgan culture, which dates back to as
far back as 5000 BCE. Other Indo-European conceptions survive; one of
them is that of a warrior-god battling a monstrous snake or
snake-monster. Thus, Thor kills Midgard, Indra kills Vrtra, Zeus kills
Typhon, Apollo kills Python, and Perseus kills Medusa. In later times,
we learn of many heroes who kill dragons, and saints who exorcise the
Loch Ness Monster and the snakes of Ireland (It is worth noting that
other cultures have different attitudes; the Chinese consider their
dragons very friendly).
Can one go back even further? The eminent archeologist Marija
Gimbutas has been daring enough to do exactly that. She concludes that
one can trace backward a Bird Goddess, a Snake Goddess, a Mother
Goddess, a Goddess of Death and Regeneration, a Vegetation God, and a
Master of Wild Nature back into the Neolithic, which started in the
eastern Mediterranean about 10,000 years ago. She has even interpreted
those Paleolithic "Venus figurines" as a Mother Goddess; these go back
at least 25,000 years. Burials with red ocher (a symbolically-colored
substance) go back even further. True, Mother Goddesses have fared
poorly in Western society since Christianity was established as the
official religion (the early Christians had to create a cult of the
Virgin Mary just to compete :-), but the continuity to previous times
seems very evident."
} in its teachings
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live
Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you. every one
that defileth it shall surely be put to death...
....and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: then they shall
bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of the
city shall stone her with stones that she die...
26:10 The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool,
and rewardeth transgressors.
25:27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of
hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and
fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among
25:28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to
drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye
shall certainly drink.
20:12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war
against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: 20:13 And when the LORD thy
God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male
thereof with the edge of the sword: 20:14 But the women, and the
little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the
spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the
spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
Eric Rescoria writes:
"Not really. A lot of the early Christian documents say similar things.
The OT looks much like a lot of other Ancient Near Eastern literature of
the time. E.g. Baal, Kirta.
Also, the NT is quite similar in teachings to, say the Tao Te Ching."
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" The Bible contains a mishmash of different teachings, some of
them with little precedent in other sources, and others very
commonplace. Exclusive monotheism (as opposed to syncretist
monotheism) has been independently invented only a couple times -- by
Akhnaton and by Zoroaster, for example (if these examples are valid).
On the other hand, there are curious similarities between parts of the
Sermon on the Mount and the _Tao Te Ching_ (to take one example).
One supposed support for the Bible is its criticism of
misbehaving Israelite kings. But the critics were apparently priests
at odds with these kings, so the criticisms are not surprising.
Furthermore, Greek and Roman historians include lots of critical
Michael I Bushnell writes:
"Some of the teachings of the Bible are unique to
Christianity, some are unique to both Christianity and Judaism, and
some are quite common world-wide. Any text probably expresses some
things that are unique and some that are not, so the some of the
Bible's teachings are unique, but that is not (depending on your
definitions) a characterstic the Bible possesses uniquely."
Michael L. Siemon writes:
"As to "teachings" it is preposterous to attempt a measurement here; but
something like the Lotus Sutra or Confucian Analects are quoted mindlessly
by as many people as Biblical verses, while the tragic outlook and human
individualism of the _Iliad_ are arguably more important teachings in the
West than *anything* in the Bible (I don't necessarily believe that, but
the argument is not trivially dismissible.)"
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" The Bible has a very mixed record; some teachings are rare outside
the Bible, while others are very common.
Exclusive monotheism is perhaps shared with two sources independent
of the Bible: Akhnaton and Zoroaster.
Forbidding murder, theft, and other such mischief is practically
universal among legislators; the Ten Commandments are hardly distinctive
} in its influence on literature
Jim Perry wrote:
"In the specific case of English, the "King James" translation of the
Bible is one of the greatest and most influential works in the English
language, not least because of the time at which it happened to be
written, coincidentally the same time Shakespeare was writing. It is
arguable which of these two had the greatest impact on the subsequent
English language and its literature, but both were immensely
important. It is probably the case that the works of Shakespeare
could be as easily reconstructed from secondary material as the Bible;
it is also true that of the many phrases which have entered everyday
speech from these two sources, few speakers can consistently tell
which of the two they came from."
Loren I. Petrich writes:
" Absurd. Lots of other literature has influenced other
literature. As Mike Siemon pointed out, the Koran set a standard for
Classical Arabic, by being a canonical text (if nothing else)."
Michael I Bushnell writes:
"The Quran is also unique. No other book has so thoroughly affected a
language the way the Quran changed Arabic forever. The Quran is also
written as a direct message with God speaking to humans in first
Books that have had wide influence but are not unique are generally
*not* classified as "holy books" by anyone, Plato, Shakespeare, etc.,
all have nothing about them to characterize them as unique in the
sense above, but have had tremendous impact nontheless."
Matthew P Wiener wrote:
"6 has been fairly low in
terms of direct influence: Andrew Marvell "The Definition of Love" and
Edna St Vincent Millay "Euclid Alone" comes to mind."
} Chapter 2. How was the Bible prepared? (p 25)
This chapter covers the usual writing materials of the time and says
that they were used. I'm not sure what this is suppose to prove.
} Chapter 3. The Canon (p 29)
} meaning of the word "Canon"
} tests of a book for inclusion in the canon
} is it authoritative
i.e. did it come from the hand of God. Now, how the heck
can you tell that?!?!? Not to mention the minor detail that
there are a number of references in the bible to things that
the prophets apparently though fit the description that
wasn't included. For instance:
Much of what below is below is gotten from editor's notes for the Jerusalem,
Anchor, Oxford, and New American Bibles.
EXO 24:6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons;
and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
EXO 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the
audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath
said will we do, and be obedient.
Note: This refers to the Words of God.
This refers to the "book of the covenant" which Moses reads aloud
to the people after coming down from Mount Sinai. From context,
this book seems to consist of the words that Yahweh told him
while on the Mount, which he writes down in verse 4. But the
previous 4 chapters tell us what these words are; hence, this
isn't an extrascriptural reference. It is, however, treated
as the word of Yahweh.
NUM 21:14 Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the
LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,
Note: This refers to the wars of God and his actions.
This verse precedes a fragment of a song from the "Book of the
Wars of Yahweh", evidently a collection of old Israelite war
songs. The collection is now lost. The Numbers writer was
obviously familiar with it, and quotes it as part of the
account of the Israelite journey, but nothing in the context
suggests that the writer considers it anything more than
a memorable and historic song.
JOS 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until
the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this
written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the
midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
note: More stories much like those of the Judges.
Joshua 10:11-13 and the last half of 2 Samuel 1 are both taken
from "the Book of the Just" ("the Book of Jasher" in some
translations). This is another lost collection of epics about
early Israelite heroes like Joshua (here) and David (in the
Samuel excerpt). The Joshua quotation includes the "sun stood
still" lines. The writers seem to regard the Book of the Just
as faithfully recording the stories of these leaders.
> 1 Kings 11:41
KI1 11:41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he
did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts
Note: There are other chapters which DO include Solomon
This verse appears at the end of 9 chapters recounting the
story of Solomon, and refers the reader to the "Book of the Acts
of Solomon" for more details about his life. Again, this
work is now lost, but some scholars think it was one of
the sources for the account in 1 Kings.
> 1 [Chronicles] 29:29
CH1 29:29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, be-
hold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the
book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,
Note: The works of prophets and seers.
This verse at the end of 1 Chronicles reports that all David's deeds
can be found in the histories of the prophets Samuel, Nathan, and
Gad. All of these prophets figure in the two modern books
of Samuel. Because we don't know how the "books of Samuel"
were originally compiled, it's not clear whether this verse
refers to material which is now part of those books, or
material which didn't make it into our present compilation.
> [2 Chronicles] 12:15
CH2 12:15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not
written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer
concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and
Note: words of prophets and seers.
Reports that the acts of Rehoboam "as is well known" are recorded
in the annals of the prophets Shemaiah amd Iddo.
> [2 Chronicles] 13:22
CH2 13:22 And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and
his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
Note: words of prophets.
Reports that Abijah's acts are recorded in the midrash of the
prophet Iddo. This verse and 2 Chron. 24:27 (talking about
the midrash of the book of kings) are the only two verses in
the OT referring to midrashes (studied commentaries on earlier
> [2 Chronicles] 33:18-19
CH2 33:18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer
unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the
name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the
book of the kings of Israel.
CH2 33:19 His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and
all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built
high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was
humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.
note: words and sayings of seers from those spake of the Lord.
Two of several references through Kings and Chronicles to
the "chronicles of the kings of Israel", "the chronicles of
the kings of Judah", or just "the history of the seers".
Some of this must refer to histories not in the current
OT compilation, since we're told about certain details
of the stories mentioned in these chronicles
which aren't mentioned anywhere in Kings or Chronicles.
CH2 34:30 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and
all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the
priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small:
and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the
covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
Note: words of the covenant from the house of the Lord.
EZR 7:11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Ar-
taxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of
the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to
Note: commandments of the Lord.
> Matthew 2:23
MAT 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall
be called a Nazarene.
Note: spoken by prophets.
In this verse, Matthew says that Jesus fulfilled what was
said through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazorean".
But that quote cannot be clearly identified with any Old
Testament passage. Some scholars have tried to guess what
Matthew's referring to; proposed verses have included the
reference to Samson as "nazirite" in Judges 13:5, a similar
sounding word for "branch" in the "branch from the root of
Jesse" verse in Isaiah 11:1, or even a "nsr" consonant
combination somewhere in Jeremiah. Others consider "Nazorean"
to metaphorically refer to Jesus' mission to both Jews
and Gentiles, alluded to in Isaiah 66 and elsewhere.
(Nazareth is supposed to have had a mixed Jew and Gentile population.)
Considering the uncertainty of all these proposals,
it's quite possible that Matthew was referring to something
else entirely, which we no longer have.
> Col 4:16
COL 4:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it
be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye like-
wise read the epistle from Laodicea.
note: similar to other letters from Paul to various churchs.
Here, Paul instructs the Colossians to trade letters with
the Laodiceans after they're done reading the one they have. Paul doesn't
say which letter the Laodiceans have, but since his letters
circulated from city to city, it could be any previous letter
he'd written. If it was one of the letters we have now, it
was probably Ephesians, in the opinion of most of the editors
> Jude 1:14
JUD 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of
these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his
note: more words from a prophet.
This verse is particularly interesting, since it refers to a document
which we _do_ have, both in Greek translation and in various
Aramaic fragments found at Qumran. Jude here quotes what he calls
a prophecy from "Enoch, who was of the seventh generation descended
from Adam." The Book of Enoch, from which he quotes, is a work
of apocalyptic literature which most scholars think was written
in the second or first century BC. It isn't in the canons of
either Judaism or Christianity, but Jude seems to treat it as
In short, the Bible does refer to nonbiblical sources from time to time,
even presenting some of them as prophetic. The Bible may contain
inspired information "sufficient for salvation", as some Christians
assert, but it evidently doesn't contain _all_ inspired information.
Explainations by: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Ockerbloom)
} is it prophetic
i.e. written by a Man of God. As I've just shown, there
are a LOT of things that fit the test that just weren't
} is it authentic
Love this. And how can you tell? Because it says so!
This is called circular logic. And if you care about how
well it corresponds to reality:
The bat is not a bird.
LEV 11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination
among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomina-
tion: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
LEV 11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
LEV 11:15 Every raven after his kind;
LEV 11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and
the hawk after his kind,
LEV 11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great
LEV 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
LEV 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapw-
ing, and the bat.
DEU 14:11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
DEU 14:12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the ea-
gle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
DEU 14:13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his
DEU 14:14 And every raven after his kind,
DEU 14:15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and
the hawk after his kind,
DEU 14:16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
DEU 14:17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cor-
DEU 14:18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the
lapwing, and the bat.
>Rabbits do not chew their cud.
LEV 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth
not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
'Gerah', the term which appears in the MT means (chewed) cud, and
also perhaps grain, or berry (also a 20th of a sheckel, but I think
that we can agree that that is irrelevant here). It does *not* mean
dung, and there is a perfectly adequate Hebrew word for that, which
could have been used. Furthermore, the phrase translated 'chew the cud'
in the KJV is more exactly 'bring up the cud'. Rabbits do not bring
up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again.
The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate, and that's that.
Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and
chew on it.
> Insects do NOT have four feet.
LEV 11:21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing
that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to
leap withal upon the earth;
LEV 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his
kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after
his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
LEV 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four
feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
>Snails do not melt.
PSA 58:8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass
away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see
JOB 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the
earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
}JOB 26:11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at
} is it dynamic
And how do you measure this?
} was it received, collected, read and used
Matthew especially seems REAL bad at misquoting scripture.
Look elsewhere in this file for numerous examples where he says
something fulfills what such-n-such a prophet said, when examination
shows that it was some other prophet that said ALMOST that.
} Old Testament canon
} factors determing need of old testament canon
} the Hebrew Canon
} Christ's witness to the old testament canon
As can be seen many times (especially as recorded in Matthew),
they are more likely to misquote it than witness to it.
} extra-biblical writers' testimonies
yeah. In the prolog, that was written by
the author's grandson.
This guy is extensively discussed elsewhere
in this file.
Right. Definitively supports his
contentions: Tosefta Yadaim 3:5 reads "The
books of Ben Sira and whatever books have
been written since his time are not
} the New Testament witness to the Old Testament
} as sacred scripture
Wrong. Not by McDowell's tests. See above.
} the council of Jamnia
OhBoy! A group to decide on Political Correctness!
} the Old Testament Apocryphal literature
} why not canonical
} "They abound in historical and geographical
inaccuricies and anachronisms"
That they could catch. But since the sources
(in many cases) are the same as the rest, I would
be hesitant to say that others did NOT exist.
} The New Testament Canon
} tests for including a book in the New
} Testament canon
} the New Testament Canonical books
} Chapter 4. The Reliability of the Bible (p 39)
} part 1 - confirmation of the historical text
} the reliability and trustworthiness of scripture
As shown above, physically and biologically it does no such
thing. And historically, there are things that just don't fit.
Herod's actions, geneologies, and rulers are discussed elsewhere
in this file. Here is another:
et's look at the Biblical dates. I Kings 6:1 says that 480 years
passed from the start of the Exodus to the start of construction on the
first temple by Solomon. Gal 3:17 says that 430 years passed from the
cevenant with Abraham to the delivery of the Law to Moses. The chapters of
Genesis after the Flood accound give the periods in years that passed
between the births of various individuals from Noah to Abraham, giving a
period of 390 years from the Flood to the covenant with Abraham. Thus,
according to the Bible, the Flood took place 1300 years before Solomon began
construction of the first temple.
a) This is a clear, direct, falsifiable claim. These are clear,
unambiguous statements that a period of X years elapsed between
b) The event itself (a global Flood that wiped out all but 8
humans) would be pretty hard to miss or gloss over.
c) Because there were any number of literate cultures in the
near East, who recorded dynastic lists, raised monuments
giving dates and length of reigns, and sent ambassadors to each
others' courts, we can pretty reliably construct chronologies
for near Easter history, particularly for Egypt, and without
reference to (but supported by) dating methods such as carbon-14
with corrections from tree-ring sequences.
d) The upshot of which is that the building of the first temple
can be dated to 950 B.C. +- some small delta, placing the Flood
around 2250 B.C. Unfortunately, the Egytians (among others) have
written records dating well back before 2250 B.C. (the Great
Pyramid, for example dates to the 26th century B.C., 300 years
before the Biblical date for the Flood). No sign in Egyptian
inscriptions of this global flood around 2250 B.C.
e) Therefore, either we have to reject the historicity of the
Flood account; accept the historicity of the Flood account,
but explain away the clear Biblical dating of the event; or
accept the Biblical account and chronology, and reject the
massive amount of written and archaological evidence estab-
lishing the chronology of history in the near East.
} the New Testament compared with other works of
Why? I have not noticed that Homer claims to be THE
ETERNAL, UNCHANGING TRUTH.
And as s seen from the textual contradictions, it doesn't
even compare favorably with itself!
} chronology of important new testament
} manuscript reliability supported by various versions
So? There are numberous versions of Aesop's fables. So
should the bible be viewed as another collection of fables?
} manuscript reliability supported by early church
Of course! One would expect nothing else. This
would not disallow anything that these earlier people
(who had custody) changed/deleted.
His first reference on this is an encyclopedia!
} manuscript reliability supported by lectionaries
} the bibliographical test for the reliability of the
} Old Testament
} the Talmudists
James J. Lippard writes:
" In the Palestinian (or Jerusalem) and Babylonian Talmuds are further
references. The Talmud is in two parts: the Mishnah, a codification of Jewish
law with explanatory reminiscences (completed around 220 C.E.); and commentary
on the Mishnah known as the Gemara. There is one Mishnah, but it was studied
in Palestine and Babylonia, which each produced their own Gemara. While the
Mishnah contains no explicit references to Jesus, some believe a passage (Jeb.
IV, 13) which says that Rabbi Shim'on ben 'Azal (who was active near the
beginning of the second century) found a roll of pedigrees in Jerusalem which
told that "a certain person" was of illegitimate birth refers to Jesus.
The Gemara claims that Pappos ben Jehuda, who lived in the second century,
was the husband of the mother of Jesus (Shabbath 104b). Jesus is also said to
have been persecuted by King Alexander Jannaeus (Sanhedrin 107b), who reigned
from 103 to 76 B.C.E.). It describes Jesus' activities by saying that he
"practiced magic and led astray Israel" (Sanhedrin 43a). These widely varying
dates indicate that these were merely concocted accounts produced around the
third century to counteract the spread of Christian beliefs."
} The Massoretic period (AD500-900)
} Quotations and Observations on the reliability of the
} Old Testament
Things like creation, Noah's flood,.... Give me a break.
} The Hebrew Text
The earliest mentioned is from AD895: well after the event.
} The witness of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the reliability
} of the Hebrew Scriptures
} The Septuagint substantiates the genuiness of the
} Hebrew Text
} The Samaritan Text
} The Targums
} The Mishnah
} The Gemars
AD20 at the earliestPalentinian, AD500 for the Babylonian.
} The Midras
Claim is for 100BC to 300AD, but then says that it is
substantially Massoretic (which is 500AD to 900AD). There
seems to be an inconsistency here in his statements.
} The Hexapla
This was a prepared harmony of the gospels and originated
NOTHING but was identified as a hackup job.
AD185 for the earliest.
} Internal Test for the reliability of the Scriptures
} Benefit of the Doubt
Josh should read Josh. If he did, he wouldn't believe himself.
} Primary source value
} "They write as eyewitnesses or from first-hand
Michael I Bushnell writes:
" Most of the authors of the Bible were *not* eyewitnesses. Paul
*never* know Jesus when he walked the earth. So much for most of the
New Testament. The Pentateuch wasn't written by eyewitnesses, the
histories weren't written by eyewitnesses, almost none of it was
written by eyewitnesses."
} competent primary source material
This sections contains the assertion that it MUST
be used as one, but no evidence as to why.
} external evidence test for reliabiality of scripture
} substantiating authenticity
} "Do other historical materials confirm or deny the
} internal testimony provided by the documents
To look at the flood, Herod's actions, census
data,... they deny it. Next?
} supporting evidence of extra-biblical authors
In ecclesiastrical, and he got it from:
who got it from:
who got it from John. Maybe. NONE of
this list has ANY direct knowledge even by Josh's own words!
} Clement of Rome
James J. Lippard writes:
"The anonymous epistle known as 1 Clement (attributed to Clement of Rome) makes
repeated references to Jesus, but does not put him in any historical setting.
It is dated at 96 C.E. on the basis of internal evidence (assuming that its
references to persecution are to that of Domitian). This work also cannot be
considered independent historical testimony."
AD70-110, a desciple of Polycarp who was a desciple of John
three times removed and a century later.
} Elgin Moyer
Who wrote about Ignatius in 1968. This is historical evidence?!?!?
} Flavius Josephus
Charles Hedrick writes:
"Josephus (a Jewish historian) in Jewish Antiquities, finished ca.
93-94. Refers briefly to the trial of James, "the brother of Jesus
who is called Messiah". There is another and longer reference to
Jesus in this document, containing a brief description of Jesus, as "a
doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people", crucified by Pilate,
and source of Christianity. However because it has an explicit
acceptance of Jesus as Messiah and of his resurrection, almost all
scholars believe that this passage is a Christian interpolation.
There are some scholars who believe that the core of it is original,
and Christians added only the parts acknowledging Jesus as Messiah and
the reality of resurrection. There is virtually no doubt about the
passage referring to James. (source: John Meier, Bible Review, June
This guy didn't originate ANYTHING, but just "harmonized".
And the date was given as AD170, centuries later.
} part 2 - confirmation by archeology
This entire section does not consist of fact one, but
is entirely opinions of various authority figures.
} evidence from archaeology.
James J. Lippard writes:
"On p. 73 (chapter 4, part 2, 2D, 1E in McDowell's outline, New Testament
examples of archaeology confirming the New Testament), McDowell writes
"It was at one time conceded that Luke had entirely missed the boat
in the events he portrayed as surrounding the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-3).
They argued that there was no census, that Quirinius was not governor
of Syria at that time and that everyone did not have to return to his
ancestral home. ... we find evidence that Quirinius was governor of Syria
around 7 B.C. This assumption is based on an inscription found in
Antioch asribing to Quirinius this post."
The facts of the matter:
Luke 2:1-2 claims that Caesar Augustus (27 B.C.E. to 14 C.E.) decreed a
census during the time that Quirinius was governor of Syria and while Herod
was still king of Judea (Luke 1:5, also Matthew 2:1). Herod, however, died in
4 B.C.E., and Quirinius was never governor of Syria during his reign. The
governors of Syria during the end of Herod's life were Titius (10 B.C.E.),
Sentius Saturninus (9-6 B.C.E.), and Varus (6-4 B.C.E.). Varus had to
suppress a revolt which broke out in Palestine after Herod's death so was in
office beyond the end of Herod's reign. Quirinius was governor of Syria in 6
C.E., and possibly earlier, but not during Herod's reign.
Thus Tertullian attempts to correct the error by claiming Jesus was born
during a Judean census conducted by Sentius Saturninus in 8 B.C.E. This still
is not correct, as a Roman census in Palestine under Herod would have been
very unpopular, as Herod still held title and authority of the land from
Caesar and the Senate. Josephus also makes no mention of a census under
Herod, but states that the first census of the area was taken in 6 C.E. under
Quirinius shortly after Judea was converted into a Roman province, which
resulted in a Jewish revolt under Judas, the Gaulonite of Gamala.
An inscription found by the archaeologist Sir William Ramsay in Antioch is
often cited as proof that Quirinius was indeed governor of Syria during
Herod's reign [Cheney 69, p. 224], [Habermas 84, p. 153], [McDowell 72, pp.
72-73]. The inscription in fact demonstrates no such thing, but reads as
follows (Ramsay's own translation): "To Gaius Caristanius (son of Gaius of
Sergian tribe) Fronto Caesianus Julius, chief of engineers, pontifex, priest,
prefect of P. Sulpicius Quirinius duumvir, prefect of M. Servilius. To him
first of all men at state expense by decree of the decuriones, a statue was
erected." [Ramsay 15, p. 285] This inscription states only that Quirinius was
elected "duumvir" of the Roman colony of the Pisidian Antioch in Galatia.
Ramsay argued that this honor could have been conferred for playing a
prominent part in a certain war against the Homonadenses. He showed that this
war occurred in Herod's lifetime, and argued that Quirinius must have been
governor of Syria when it was fought, since the only nearby Roman legions were
in Syria. This does not follow, however, as Augustus could quite easily have
entrusted a Syrian legion to someone who was not the governor of that
province. The Homonadenses territory was north of Syria but south of Galatia
and Pamphylia. Ramsay himself admitted that the war was fought on both
fronts. A.N. Sherwin-White [Sherwin-White 78, p. 165] points out that
Galatia was a more likely base for a war with Homonadenses.
Another inscription is also cited as evidence that Quirinius was twice
governor of Syria. This inscription (dated some time after 14 C.E.) found in
Tivoli indicates that some anonymous consular conquered a kingdom or tribe,
conquered or restored a king, was proconsul of the Asian province, and was
legate (governor) of Syria. The use of the word "iterum" (meaning "again") in
this inscription is controversial, it is uncertain whether it applies merely
to "governor" or to "governor of Syria". In any case, Quirinius is not the
most likely candidate. He is not known to have been proconsul of Asia, and
the war with the Homonadenses did not involve a king (assuming that he did in
fact fight in that war). More likely is that the inscription refers to
someone such as L. Calpurnius Piso, who is known to have received the rewards
mentioned in the inscription, or Varius Geminus, who is described in another
inscription in similar language as being governor of an unnamed province
[Sherwin-White 78, pp. 162-171]."
Robert Low writes:
"On the archaeological confirmation of the patriarchal narratives:
the point of view proposed here, that archaeology showed that
the patriarchal narratives fit uniquely into the period
about 2000-1700 BCE, was thoroughly demolished in the mid-seventies
by van Seters (Abraham in History and Tradition), and Thompson
(The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives).
} old testament examples of archaeological
(concerning Josh's statements concerning Babel)
Rich Alderson writes:
"The current *scientific* information on this is that a few linguists in the old
Soviet Academy of Sciences believe that they can reconstruct a super- family of
languages that is ancestral to the Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic, and Kartvelian
families, but their methodology is highly suspect.
There has been work done from time to time (highly suspect work) on the
reconstruction of the original language of human beings, but it is not even
clear that there ever was a single original language. None of these attempts
is taken seriously by mainstream linguists."
Loren Petrich writes:
" Our species has several adaptations for generating and
interpreting language, which appear to be present in all racial
groups. This circumstance might seem to support the Punctuated
Equilibrium hypothesis of macro-evolution, in which major changes
happen in small populations that then proceed to spread out over
larger areas. That way, one has all the features present, instead of
some overlapping patches in different racial groups. [No, I haven't
seen this argument anywhere]
According to PE, our species had originated from a relatively
small population in which genes could easily spread. This would mean
that these people spoke only one language or some closely related
dialects. Thus, PE > a common language.
However, the time of origin is not 4000 years ago but about
100,000 to 200,000 years ago, and the place of origin is almost
certainly not Mesopotamia but somewhere around Eastern or Southern
} new testament examples
Robert Low writes:
On archaeological confirmation of Luke's census of Quirinius:
the work of Ramsay purporting to show that Quirinius held
a position of responsibility and held a census in Judaea
in about 4BCE has not been accepted by most historians.
(A good review of the problem can be found in Fitzmeyer's
comentary on Luke in the Anchor Bible series.)
The inscription he relies on does not actually have a name on
it, and Josephus is pretty clear that the census of Quirinius
in about 6 CE was the first that the Romans had inflicted
on Judaea; it resulted in widespread rioting and insurrection.
(Sanders and Davies, in "Studying the Synoptic Gospels"
suggest that Luke has confused two periods during which
there was a good deal of civil unrest, namely round
about Herod's death, and the occasion of Quirinius's
McDowell decides it is historically trustworthy. An odd
conclusion given the evidence presented...
His unbiased evaluations contain material from "the bulletin of the
evangelical theological society", the encyclopedia britannica, scripture
press publications, jewish publications society of America, the harvard
theological review, christianity today, Presbyterian and Reformed publishing
co., the king's business, revelation and the bible, the biblical
archaeologist reader, and a lot from Moody Press. Guess what kind of
conclusions you are likely to get from these?