From : David Nicholls 2:440/27 21 Sep 92 15:30:00 To : All 24 Oct 92 03:46:30 Subj : Chris

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From : David Nicholls 2:440/27 21 Sep 92 15:30:00 To : All 24 Oct 92 03:46:30 Subj : Christian Claims This Christian god.......... ============================= The Bible presents an interesting picture of God, ie. a god who never changes (Malachi 3:6) but actually does frequently change his mind and even regrets what he's done ("repents") - Genesis 6:6,7, Exodus 32:l4, l Samuel l5:35, 2 Samuel 24:l6, l Chronicles 21:l5, Jeremiah l8:8,l0, 26:3,l3,l9, 42:l0, Ezekiel 24:l4, Joel 2:l3, Amos 7:3. Although it is to be noted that Numbers 23:l9 and l Samuel 15:2 say that God never repents. It states God is "spirit", ie. non-physical (John 4:24) and yet he is always called 'him' or 'he' as if he had a male body, and then it states that although spirit, he has feet (Psalm l8:9), arms (Jeremiah 27:5), wings (Psalm 36:7), hands (Job 27:ll), eyes (Deuteronomy 8:3), a mouth (Isaiah l:20), ears (2 Chronicles 6:40), nostrils (Exodus l5:8) and legs (Genesis 3:8). He also uses a razor - Isaiah 7:20. He also occasionally roars (Joel 3:l6) and sometimes he even whistles (Isaiah 5:26). Although he has never been seen (John l:l8), he has actually been seen (Isa 6:l), and he even revealed his rear to Moses (Exodus 33:21-22)....... The presence of evil ==================== Christians argue that it is through Adam's sin that evil exists and furthermore it is because of his transgression that all humans must die; this is clearly taught by Paul in Rom 5:12,17,18 and is the central theology of Christianity; however, this wholly contradicts 2 Kings 14:6, Ezekiel 18:20, Jeremiah 31:30 that state a person will NOT suffer for an ancestor's wrongdoing. If the God of the Bible is truly God, then there is a dilemma; for God to be God, he has to be omnipotent, responsible for the creation of everything; this includes evil; if he did not create evil, then he was not wholly creative, and therefore cannot be God. In fact the Bible does actually say God commits evil, eg. Exodus 32:l4, 2 Sam 24:l6, 1 Chron 21:l5, Jer l8:8, 26:3,l3,l9, Jonah 3:l0. Furthermore he sends lying spirits (l Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles l8:22) and deliberately deceives people (2 Thessalonians 2:ll). And not only this, he admits to being responsible for the creation of evil and misery - Isaiah 45:7, and that he has deliberately made people so he can destroy them - Proverbs l6:4. He condemns killing (Exodus 20:l3) but orders it (Exodus 32:27); he encourages wisdom (Proverbs 4:7) but condemns it (l Corinthians l:l9); he protects the righteous (Proverbs 12:21) but does not (Hebrews ll:36-37); he cuts off the wicked (Proverbs l0:27) but does not (Job 21:7-9); he commands respect for parents (Exodus 20:l2) but encourages hatred for them (Luke l6:9); he blesses peace (Matthew 5:9) but brings war (Matthew l0:34, Revelation l9:ll). It continues by saying God will keep the earth (Ecclesiastes l:4), but will destroy it (2 Peter 3:l0); is invisible and unseen (John l:l8, l Timothy 6:l5-l6) but has been seen (Amos 9:l, Deuteronomy 5:24); he lives in dazzling light (l Timothy 6:l5-l6), but lives in darkness (l Kings 8:l2)...... The Christian life =================== One example of Christian teaching not being dervived from the Bible is how Christians say a great deal of the Bible gives instructions regarding a happy married/family life. In reality, this is not so at all. As far as "Jesus' teaching about the 'sanctity' of marriage" or even family life, the Gospels say very little on this. Jesus' teaching regarding divorce arises in Matthew l9:3-l2 and Mark l0:2-12; Luke and John omit this passage. In Mark, Jesus speaks to his Jewish audience about a woman divorcing her husband - l0:12 - however no such thing was possible in Palestine ! Here the author of Mark betrays the fact that (i)he was not an eyewitness to the events he writes of (ii)that he was not a first century Palestinian Jew (who obviously would not make such an error) ie. Christians maintain the author of Mark is the same John Mark mentioned in Acts 12:12. However it is clear just from this that he was a Gentile, writing for a Gentile (Rome ?) audience. He makes numerous errors in his Gospel about Palestinian life, geography, customs and theology. (iii)the other Gospel writers freely adapted their material to emphasise the point they were trying to make. ie. their narratives are not reliable accounts, but rather editorial compositions/redactions with no basis in historical fact. Mark also allows no reason for divorce - l0:l2, but the author of Matt does have Jesus saying one reason was acceptable for divorce (ie. unfaithfulness) - ie. l9:9. Presumably by the time Matthew was written, Christians (particularly Gentiles) were finding Jesus' instruction in Mark impossible to follow, so Matthew's author introduced an escape clause. Matt's author omits the statement about women divorcing their husbands as he clearly realised what an error this was (he actually tidies up other errors in Mark). In 1st century Palestine, adultery was not a crime against the woman, but a crime against her husband (!!!). Mark is therefore wrong in l0:ll and Matt (in l9:9) therefore corrects this and omits the 'against her'. The statement that Christian life is the basis of a happy fulfilled family life, is certainly not based on Jesus' supposed teaching. In fact Jesus says very little on this subject. One of the occasions he does refer or rather, allude to family life is when he lists some of the Ten Commandments to the man asking about acquiring eternal life, and repeats the commandment of honouring parents. This appears in Matthew l9:l6-22 where the enquirer is a young man (l9:20) and in Luke l8:l8-23, but here he is a ruler. In Mark (l0:l7-22) he is clearly not 'young' as he recalls his youth in l0:20. This is a typical example of how the Gospels do not agree with each other. In Mark, Jesus lists off some of the Decalogue (l0 Commandments) including 'Honour your parents', but he also lists 'Do not defraud' (l0:l9) as one of the Commandments. However, this is not one of the Ten Commandments. (These are found in Exodus 20:l-l7, Deuteronomy 5:6-21). Note how Matt (l9:l8) and Luke (l8:20), correct this error in Mark (they correct others also elsewhere in Mark). This again is an example of how Mark's author was not a Jew (who would at least know the l0 Commandments). Furthermore, it clearly has Jesus saying things that could not have been said, and how the speech cannot be authentic; furthermore, it shows how Matt and Luke's authors freely changed Mark where they saw a mistake; their compositions cannot be reliable accounts either. There is also the factor that it is somewhat inappropriate for Jesus to preach about the honouring of parents when he also advocates, for example, hating one's family (Luke l4:26), that his purpose was to break up families (Matthew l0:34-36, Luke 12:51-53), not even burying them when they die (Matthew 8:21-22) and deserting one's own family (resulting in a reward) (Luke l8:29-30). Jesus' teachings ================ Although Christians maintain Jesus' teaching was very new and revolutionary (eg. Matt 19:3ff), this is just not so. Most of it is borrowed from the Old Testament and contemporary faiths. In this case, he is simply repeating the strict divorce ruling of Rabbi Shammai. The famous 'Golden Rule' of Jesus in Matt 7:l2 (Do to others as you would wish them to do to you) is also far from unique; this is found in various teachings predating Christianity and even found in its negative form in the Old Testament Apocrypha - Tobit 4:l5. Much of Matthew's 'Sermon on the Mount' (not found in Mark, nor John and broken into pieces and scattered through his Gospel by Luke's author) contains a good deal borrowed from pre-Christian religion, eg. Matt 5:9 is found in the pre-Christian Book of the Secrets of Enoch (52:ll) and Matthew 5:34-37 is also found there (49:l). In chap. 42 of this pre-Christian book, there are beatitudes which resemble the Gospel ones both in number and form. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" In sum, there is nothing unique about Jesus' teachings, the record of his life is historically doubtful through the dishonesty and incompetence of the first Christian evangelists and leaders, and the claims made about Jesus by present-day Christians are false. David (This is published in the interests of fundy-bashing) From : David Nicholls 2:440/27 21 Sep 92 16:25:04 To : All 24 Oct 92 03:46:30 Subj : Virgin Birth-1 컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴 Christians have always argued for Jesus' virgin birth, but also argue he was descended from David. Nevertheless, this overlooks that if virgin born, Jesus' 'father' Joseph, albeit descended from David, would have had no connection with his conception, and his only human connection would have been through/by/with Mary; however she was of the Aaronic line (ie. she was related to Elizabeth who was of Aaronic descent - Luke l:6, l:36). As Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, but David was of Judah, then Jesus, if virgin born, could therefore not be of Davidic descent and could not therefore be the messiah which demanded Davidic descent. Furthermore, this would contradict all the New Testament statements that Jesus was a descendent of David - Matthew l:l, 12:23, 15:22, Mark l0:47, Romans l:3, Revelation 5:5. NB. Jesus didn't take on 'David's line' through Joseph being his 'adoptive father' as Rom l:3 makes quite clear, ie. "descended from David according to the flesh". So there is a problem; Jesus was either of David's line - but that means he wasn't virgin born (ie. Joseph having to have been responsible for his conception), or he was virgin born, but that precludes him being of the Davidic line (because only Mary was involved in his humanity and she was not of the Davidic line) - so he couldn't have been the Messiah/Christ as the New Testament teaches. The virgin-birth story is only found in two of the twenty-seven New Testament writings, and in Luke, the style of writing indicates the part that relates the story, was written after the following 22 chapters by a different author, and added on to the beginning of Luke afterwards. Furthermore the Catholic Jerusalem Bible admits that Matt most likely had its virgin birth story added to it also. In fact Luke conflicts sharply with Matthew, eg. (i) Luke has the birth in the time of the governor Quirinius (Luke 2:2, 3-7), whilst Matthew has it in the time of Herod, but the rule of these two never coincided or overlapped. The Christian "explanation" for this involving the Ramsay inscription regarding Quirinius as dummvir, is futile. Both Luke and Matt have other major differences, eg. Matthew says the family fled from Judea immediately to Egypt after the birth (2:4-l4) to avoid Herod and stayed there until he was dead and even on returning, they avoided Judea in the south. However according to Luke, after the birth, the family calm went to Jerusalem in Judea and then up to Galilee (2:21-22,39). It is worthwhile noting that the only census known about (Luke has the journey to Bethlehem because of this) as one in 6 AD. Long after Herod died, and indeed long after Christians claim Jesus lived. The only reason that Matthew's author seems to have the virgin-birth story is because he misunderstood an O.T statement (Isaiah 7:l4) that he read as messianic (which it isn't) and referring to a virgin birth (which it doesn't). With regard to Isa 7:l4, it is simply the story of Isaiah saying to king Ahaz of Judah that by the time that a young girl had conceived and her baby was born, the present threat from Syria would be over - 7:l4-17. There is NOTHING messianic about it at all. As, in this, the child was to be called Emmanuel which means 'God with us', but the name 'Jesus' (actually, this is Greek for the Hebrew Jehoshua) means 'Yahweh is salvation', Jesus was therefore not called by the name Emmanuel and did not fulfil this 'prophesy'; however Matt's author misunderstood this. As Isa 8:3-4 says how Isaiah went immediately and impregnated his wife, and the prophesy is again made saying that before the child could even talk, Syria would by smashed by Assyria, it appears the Isa 7:l4 prophesy relates to Isaiah's own wife/child and does not have any messianic connotations. In reality there is nothing miraculous in Isaiah's saying; he is only saying a woman (or in the Greek - a virgin) would conceive. It doesn't take too much to realise what has to happen for a virgin to conceive a child. He doesn't say that a girl who would give birth to the child would still be a virgin after conception. The author of Matthew was using the Septuagint 'LXX' - the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible compiled in the second century BC for the Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora - ie. living outside Palestine. It is generally accepted that some parts are very good, but in others it is faulty, eg. Daniel is such a poor translation in the LXX, the Jews wouldn't even use it. The Hebrew word in Isa 7:l4 for the woman/'virgin' is "almah" and means NOT a virgin, but a young woman; it is in the LXX that it is rendered 'virgin' and there is the additional fact that in the Greek the root doesn't even necessarily mean a girl who has not had sex, but 'denotes fullness or the like - fully developed". The word actually used here has nothing to do with the virgin state. As the Gospel writers used the LXX, they could not have been Palestinian Jews (ie. the apostles as stated in the Gospels) or they would have obviously used the Hebrew text and not made such errors. Matt's author couldn't have been the apostle of that name as he wasn't a Palestinian Jew (nor either an eyewitness as he had to use Mark as a source to write his Gospel). He also makes other errors, eg. in 27: 9-l0 he says he is quoting Jeremiah but in fact he's quoting Zechariah ll:l2-l3. It is very apparent that the Gospel writers were NOT Palestinian Jews, but either Jewish Christians of the Diaspora or Gentile-Christians. In the case of Mark's author there has to be doubt whether he had even set foot in Palestine in view of the historical, chronological, geographical and theological errors he makes about first cent. Palestine. But this is where it continues to be manifestly absurd. Jesus was supposedly a true Jew - a direct descendent of Abraham through David (Matthew 1), the Jewish Messiah, the Son of David (Matt 21:9), the 'lion of the tribe of Judah' (Rev 5:5) and yet whenever he quoted the Old Testament, according to the Gospels that is, he quoted the GREEK LXX version ! Furthermore, in some cases the Hebrew original of the LXX text he is quoting would not support the argument he is making, ie. because of the LXX's inaccuracies. In Mark 7:l-23 Jesus does this; although it would seem the LXX would support the point Jesus is making to the Pharisees, the Hebrew original in fact would not. So we are asked to believe that Jesus - a true Hebrew Jew - chose to use the Greek translation of the Old Test. and furthermore, was unaware of the fact that he was using a passage that in reality was faulty and in the original would say something completely different, and be quite inappropriate for his argument, but according to the Gospels, he floored his orthodox Jewish opponents with this - a mistranslation of their own scriptures - and they did not challenge this ! The same applies with James (supposedly Jesus' brother and leader of the Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem) in Acts 15 - he uses the LXX to support his argument, although the Hebrew original says something quite different and would not support his argument, and yet all the Jews in the audience didn't comment on this !!! Obviously as the writers of the Gospels & Acts were not Palestinian Hebrew-speaking Jews, they had to use the LXX but didn't realise the errors they were making. Therefore, the bad news is that firstly the virgin birth is disproved by the Bible itself, and secondly, there is no written eyewitness testimony for Jesus' supposed life. The situation is adequately summed up by Professor Fuller, Professor of New Testament, Union Theological Seminary, New York. (A Critical Introduction to the New Testament):- "Of the 27 books of the New Testament only the authentic Pauline epistles are, strictly speaking, the testimony of an apostolic witness. And even Paul...was not a witness of the historical Jesus. Since the earliest witnesses wrote nothing...there is not a single book in the New Testament which is the direct work of an eyewitness of the historical Jesus..." (page 197). From : David Nicholls To : All 24 Oct 92 03:46:30 Subj : Dating Paul - 1 컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴 The date of Paul's conversion, as suggested in the "infallible inerrant Bible" indicates he saw the risen Christ before Christ even died. Using Acts and Gal together, the following is arrivedat:- (1)Paul's conversion (Acts 9:3ff, Gal 1:16)---------31 AD. (2)1st visit to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26, Gal 1:18). This was 3 years after conversion (Gal 1:18)-------------------------------34 AD. (3)2nd visit to Jerusalem (Acts l5:2-4, Gal 2:1-10). 14 years after lst Jerusalem visit-------------------------------------48 AD. (4)Paul visits the churches (through Syria and Cilicia to Derbe and Lystra, through Phrygia and Galatia to Troas and Macedonia, through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica (3 weeks-Acts 17:2), to Beroea, then Athens and onto Corinth (Acts 15:40-18:1). Say 1 year---------------49 AD. (NB. This is known as "Paul's second missionary journey"). (5)Paul arrives in Corinth (Acts 18:1); after l.5 years (Acts 18:11) he then appears before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:12-16) (NB. Paul leaves Corinth in Acts 18:18)----------------------------------Summer 51 AD. NOTES:- (N1). With regard to (5), an inscription from Delphi includes a letter from the emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) and in this there is a ref to Gallio as proconsul; the date is the 26th acclamation of Claudius and as the 22nd, 23rd and 24th were all made in 52 AD and the 27th was before August 52 AD - the 26th would therefore be in Spring/Summer 52. The term of office as a proconsul was just one year - beginning in the late Spring or early Summer; therefore as Gallio's time is factually known, the Acts story in chapter 18 can be located in Spring/Summer 51 or 52 - most likely 51. Therefore in dating Paul's life up to Acts 18, it leads up to this specific date as it is absolutely definite. No one disputes this. (N2)In 18:2, Paul meets two Jews who had been expelled from Rome; this edict of banishment was in 49 AD and supports the date given in (4). (N3)Taking Acts and Gal as being accurate, yet more problems arise:- (a)Is the 3 years of Gal 1:18 to be dated from Paul's conversion or his returning to Damascus ? (b)How long did the missionary work in (4) take ? The above includes a year. (c)When does the 14 years in Gal 2:1 begin - his conversion (his starting point in the passage) or the 1st Jerusalem visit mentioned just before ? Therefore, it appears from the above table that Paul's conversion took place in the year after Christ died and yet much was supposed to have occurred between these events, ie. all that is included in Acts 1:1 - 9:1. Furthermore the minimum times possible have been allowed in the above so there cannot be any accusation that it has been formulated in a way to presuppose anything, or deliberately cause problems. For example, in (4) - it would be most unlikely all this travelling could be done in just one year. If it was (say) two years because there is a fixed point (ie. (5).) as 51 AD which is known to be correct and can't be altered, the starting point has to be moved back to fit in the extra year into the schedule and Paul's conversion is then dated as 30 AD. However that would mean Paul was converted by seeing the risen Christ before he even died. The same applies with Gal 1:18 - if the 3 years begins from Paul returning to Damascus and not the conversion, there would have to be time also included for Paul's antics in Arabia (Gal 1:17) and being included in the time before 51 AD would again would push Paul's conversion back to something like 29 AD. In fact some Christians do state Jesus' death was 33 AD and this would mean Paul was converted by seeing the risen Christ (ie. 29 AD) before Christ had even started his three-year ministry (30 AD) let alone had died and risen. Dating Paul's conversion as 31 AD and Christ's death in 30 AD creates many problems, ie. it is known that the Jewish Passover (8th April - the Jewish 15 Nisan) fell on a Saturday in the year 30 AD; but the Synoptics make it clear that Jesus was crucified on the Passover but the following day was Saturday and they therefore date the Passover as a Friday. The Passover began on Thursday evening (the Jewish day begins the previous evening) and ended Friday evening - ie. Mark 14:l2 to 15:42. In sum, the different narratives cannot be reconciled and appear to be divorced from historical fact. It should also be mentioned that with regard to working out when Paul was converted, that whilst just 1 year for Paul's 2nd missionary journey was given, others say it was longer, eg. the evangelical New International Version (Bible) in its schedule of Paul's life says it was 2 years (ie. this then makes Paul's conversion 30 AD). Furthermore they date the time between Christ's ascension and Paul's conversion (ie. Acts l:l-9:l) as SEVEN YEARS. If this figure was used above then it would make Paul's conversion remain as 31 AD (this cannot be changed or made later), but Christ's death/ascension would be 7 years earlier, ie. in 23 AD. However, this cannot be so as Luke (3:1) states that Christ's ministry began in the fifteenth year of Tiberius and as there is no doubt about the time of his rule, the l5th year is definitely 28-29 AD. Therefore using the information that the Bible itself supplies, the accounts given of Christ's death and/or Paul's conversion, etc, are shown to be ficticious. Furthermore one question that must be asked is why the New Test writers appear to have this amazing difficulty in locating Jesus in achronological setting if he really existed ? From : David Nicholls 2:440/27 21 Sep 92 21:13:00 To : All 24 Oct 92 03:46:30 Subj : Jesus' Historicity-1 컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴 The historicity of Jesus (1). It appears that the Christian writings that give Jesus a historical place only appeared in the closing years of the first century and even these took quite some time to be established and accepted. Therefore with regard to Jesus of Nazareth being some kind of historical person, surely one is justified in asking why there appears to be so little said by this figure that is original; for example, a good deal of the Sermon of the Mount goes back to the Old Test or lst cent BCE apocryphal writings, eg. the Book of the Secrets of Enoch. Secondly, why there is the astounding silence over biographical - or chronological - details about Jesus' life until ca. 90 CE. Paul, in the period before this time, never invokes his words when they would be invaluable in supporting his argument, and this is not only with Paul, but elsewhere, eg. l Peter. The authors of Romans l3:l-3 and l Peter 2:l3-l4 certainly couldn't have been aware of the story of Jesus appearing before Pilate in view of what they say. This silence continued over into the end of the lst century; in fact when the author of 1 Clement wrote, he seems to suffer from the same problem as Paul and others - total ignorance about Jesus and the Gospels; obviously as is so clearly demonstrated, Christians always used scripture or suchlike to support any argument they were making, so is it somewhat bizarre that Clement does not do this. In chap. 3-6 he lists Abel, Joseph, Moses and David as examples of people who suffered through jealousy - but surely Jesus would have been the ideal example of this - Matt 27:l8/Mark 15:l0 ??? When he speaks about people preaching repentence in 7-8, he uses Ezekiel and Isaiah as examples - but again surely Jesus would have been the ideal example to use - Luke 13:3,Matt l8:3 ? In 9-l2 he lists examples of faith - but yet again they're all Old Test and fails to give any Gospel example that would be more fitting. In l6 he refers to Jesus' humility and one would expect a reference to his humble birth in a stable,but instead he quotes from the Old Test again (Isa 53). In chap l7 he speaks about those dressed in animal skins who annou -nce the coming of Christ. Surely John the Baptist (Matt 3:4) ? however he lists the Old Test prophets Elijah and Ezekiel. And so it goes on...... It is very clear that although the Gospels emerged in the last decade of the lst century AD, they took a long long time to be circulated and/or accepted which is strange if they are accurate reports of Jesus' life. With regard to the eyewitness testimony for Jesus' existence, there is certainly a problem. It is amazing that anything up to 70(100 ?),000 people saw Jesus, but no one made an eye-witness record of it. Mark was obviously not an eyewitness due to his host of errors concerning chronological, historical, geographical and theological matters in lst. cent Palestine. The writers of Matt and Luke have to use Mark as their source (which they obviously wouldn't have needed to do if they were eyewitnesses); in the case of John,this has always caused problems for the church as the Jesus it speaks of is so different from the Synoptics. Also, it details events that could not have happened, eg. eg. Jesus' speech about drinking blood to a Jewish audience in John 6; it has to be rejected if the Synoptics are accepted as it conflicts with them, eg. his dating of the Temple-clearing and the last supper etc in relation to the Passover. He also reports situations eg. expulsions from the synagogue (l6:2) that didn't occur until after 90 CE (ie. Rabbi Gamaliel II's official cursing prayer of the 'Minim' in ca. 90 CE). In the case of Paul, he gives virtually no detail about Jesus' earthly life, other than he was a descendent of David, was crucified and was raised by God. If Romans, a genuinely Pauline letter, and the longest, is examined to discern Paul's reference to Jesus' earthly life, the silence becomes most apparent:- (l)Jesus was a Jew/descended from David (l:3, l5:8,12); (2)Jesus was human (8:3); (3)His blood was shed (3:25, 5:9); (4)Jesus suffered/died/was crucified (5:6,8,10,l5, 6:3,4,5,6,8, 8:l7, l4:l5); (5)Jesus rose from the dead (l:4, 4:24,25, 6:4,5,9,l0, 8:ll,34, l0:7,9, l4:9): As can be seen, the same few details are repeated over and over again; in the letters that are genuinely accepted as being written by Paul there is no specific reference to the parents of Jesus, and certainly not a virgin birth; his place of birth or the area in which his ministry took place is not mentioned either; 'Of Nazareth' is never used; the details Paul supplies give no indication whatsoever of the time or place of Jesus' earthly existence. Paul never refers to Jesus' Roman trial, and in fact he does not appear to even know who crucified Jesus - in l Cor 2:8 he refers to the death of Christ by 'rulers of the age' - this hardly fits a tinpot prefect called Pilate; this term really denotes supernatural spirits - 2 Cor 4:4, Col 2:l5 *. Paul never refers to Jerusalem as the place of Jesus' execution and never mentions John the Baptist, nor Judas, nor Peter's denials (This would have been quite pertinent in combatting Cephas/Peter at Antioch - Gal 2:ll-l7. Paul's position was apparently being threatened by Peter and despite calling him a hypocrite, he does not allude to his three denials of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, eg. Mark l4:30 par). The only chronological reference to Jesus in the Pauline corpus is in l Tim 6:13 and this letter is widely accepted as post-Pauline. Furthermore it appears to be a non-Pauline insertion from a (* Although some say Paul's ref in 1 Thess 2:l4-l5 shows he knew the Jews crucified Christ (which is in- correct - the Romans did), this clearly refers to God's vengeance on the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE - therefore it has to be an interpolation as 1 Thess was written ca. 55 CE; however insistence that Paul did write this statement originally would preclude Paul being the author as it would have to be after 70CE, but Paul died before this date. Paul also fails to mention any of the miracles Jesus is reported to have accomplished in the Gospels; Paul suggests that miracles might be expected wherever a Christian mission went, for he includes the working of them among 'the gifts of the Spirit' (l Cor 12:l0,28) and himself claimed to have won converts by 'the power of signs and wonders' (Rom l5:l9). Among the signs of a true apostle, he lists 'signs and wonders and mighty works' (2 Cor 12:12); the striking feature is that he fails to mention that Jesus is reported as having done on an extensive scale in his earthly life. Another striking feature is that whilst the Synoptic Gospels portray Jesus as an ethical teacher, there is no suggestion of this in Paul's letters; Paul is certainly not indifferent to ethical problems and on several occasions his letters contain a sizeable amount of ethical instruction. On only one occasion does he represent Jesus as having made an ethical injunction and this is in l Cor 7:l0 when Paul discusses the subject of divorce. The Gospel 'parallel' to this is Mark l0:ll-l2 (Matt is simply following Mark), but there is a difficulty even here as some reject this is authentic as Jesus refers to women divorcing their husbands - something that was not possible in Palestine. Some say the statement was assigned to Jesus through Paul quoting a Christian prophet (himself ?) through whom the risen Lord was speaking and it was then utilised by the author of Mark who placed it in the mouth of Jesus whilst on earth, but was careless in not realising that its context was Gentile rather than Palestinian. It is clear from such early Christian writings as the Didache that as late as the end of the first century Christian prophets were viewed as being channels of communication for the risen Lord. Paul was content to suffer weakness, insults, humiliation, persecution and hardship (2 Cor l2:l0) adding that he entreated the readers by the 'meekness and gentleness of Christ' (2 Cor l0:l). He stated that he imitated Christ (l Cor ll:l) and that his whole existence was 'to know nothing....except Jesus Christ and him crucified' (l Cor 2:2) and then goes on to say he was with his readers in 'weakness, much fear and trembling' (l Cor 2:3). If this is Paul's 'imitation' of Christ, then it is a far cry from the Jesus of the Gospels and particularly the picture of Jesus portrayed in John. It appears Paul thought Jesus led a humble inconspicuous life that went completely unnoticed by the world. Other situations arise in Paul's writing that suggest knew very little about Jesus' supposed earthly life. He clearly was unaware of Jesus' command not to go to the Gentiles (Matt l0:5) in Rom ll:l3, and in Rom 8:26 he states 'for we do not know how to pray as we ought' suggesting he knew nothing of Jesus instructions of how to pray in Matt 5:7-l3, Luke ll:l4; the instructions regarding baptism by Jesus in Matt 28:l9 were also apparently unknown to Paul (l Cor l:l7). The person of Paul was that of someone who believed that God was now revealing secrets or mysteries; these term arise frequently in Paul's letters, eg. l Cor 2:7, l3:2, l4:2,, l5:51, with 'revealed' or similiar arising frequently also, eg. Rom l:l7,l8, 8:l8, l6:25, l Cor 2:l0,l3, 3:l3, 2 Cor 12:l. Paul believed that he had seen the risen Jesus (l Cor l5:8) and he had spoken directly to him (2 Cor l2:8-9); he had experienced ecstatic states (2 Cor l2:l-4, l Cor l4:l8) and God was now revealing previously-hidden information (1 Cor 2:l0,12-13, 7:40). A question therefore arises, did Paul's rather scant knowledge about Jesus arise through his belief that the risen Lord was now communicating with and through him, alongwith other Christian prophets, or from information gleaned from earthly companions and eyewitnesses of the earthly Jesus. One passage in which Paul clearly refers to a historical event in Jesus' earthly life, ie. the last supper, is 1 Cor 11:23-26. However even this passage begins "For I received from the Lord...." and again, suggests this information was transmitted directly from the risen Christ, rather than from the apostles. The inevitable question arises, ie. why this should be as Paul had met the apostles (Acts 9:27, Gal 1:18-19, 2:2,9) and would have been given this information by them - that is of course if these "apostles" had in fact accompanied the earthly Jesus rather than being as Paul, ie. Christians receiving information direct from the risen Lord, but that is what the situation appears to have been. Reference to Jesus' resurrection, rather than his earthly life appears in l Cor l5:3-8, when Paul lists the resurrection appearances (apparently in chronological order); these bear no resemblance to the Gospels and reference to an appearance to 'all the 12' whilst Matt report Judas' suicide again suggests lack of information; his mention of an appearance to five hundred brethren at one time (l5:6) is quite extraordinary as it would be inexplicable for the Gospel writers to have omitted this event if they had known of it. The empty tomb, nor Jerusalem itself is ever mentioned by Paul; his several visits to Jerusalem, recorded in both Acts and Gal. surely would have brought him into contact with the empty tomb. The failure of Paul to mention the empty tomb, which surely would have had great significance for Paul due to his preoccupation with Jesus' death and resurrection, may have been due, unlike the Gospels reporting a physical resurrection, to a belief in Jesus being raised as a spirit (l Cor l5:44,45,50). The l Cor l5:3-8 passage does not link Jesus to any specific historical time; it simply reports that he died, was buried, was raised, and had appeared to a number of people alive in Paul's time. There is no suggestion whatsoever that these appearances occurred immediately after his death/resurrection. Whilst the Gospels have Jesus appearing as a resurrected physical human being to his apostles and Acts having Jesus appearing in a totally different form to Paul (ie. after his ascension), there is no such suggestion here; Paul does not differenciate in any way between the earlier appearances in l Cor l5:3-7 and the one to him (l5:8). It appears from this that he believed all those listed in l5:3-7 had experienced the same vision as he had done - they are certainly not made to be companions of Jesus in his earthly life and Paul appears to think of the others who are listed as experiencing a supernatural vision as he had done. The reason for Jesus now appearing was apparently because of the approaching end which was imminent (l Cor 7:29, l5:23-24, l Thess 4:14-17, etc, etc). Examples of Paul's failure to invoke Jesus' words are:- Rom 2:l,l4:l3/Matt 7:l, Luke 6:37 Rom l2:l4,l7/Matt 5:44, Luke 6:38 Rom l3:9,Gal 5:l4/Matt 22:39-40, Mark l2:31, Luke l0:27 Rom l3:6/Mark l2:l7 Rom l4:l4/Mark 7:l8-l9 l Cor 6:7/Matt 5:39-40 l Cor l5:35-55*/Mark l2:25 l Thess 4:9/John l5:l7 (* In l Cor l5, Paul uses the O.T. rather than Jesus' statements in the Gospels ie. l5:45 (Gen 2:7), l5:54 (Isa 25:8) and l5:55 (Hos l3:l4). Paul argues that the 'spirits of this age' will be put down at Christ's second coming (l Cor l5:24-25) - he appears to be ignorant of the fact that spirits were overcome by Jesus in his earthly life (eg. Mark 3:ll) and furthermore this was when Satan himself was judged and cast out (John 12:31). Furthermore there seems to be no pagan evidence for Jesus' existence either. Reference to his existence doesn't occur until well into the second century and even then the writers seem to be merely repeating Christian statements about Jesus (eg. Tacitus in 120 CE). What is really striking is that thee same ignorance about Jesus' earthly life is found in most other N.T writings, eg. in l Pet, readers are told to love one another, have unswerving faith and put away malice - but the writer never quotes Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount - instead he quotes the Old Testament. With regard to Paul and the origins for Jesus, it does seem that Jesus' 'teachings' overall were borrowed from the O.T. and occasionally elsewhere. It does also seem that messages received 'from the risen Lord' by Christian prophets in trance were fed back into Jesus' earthly life. The Didache, a Christian writing of ca. lst century (probably from Syria) writes of Christian prophets; "Welcome them as the Lord...Every missioner who comes to you should be welcomed as the Lord....While a prophet is uttering words in a trance, you are on no account to subject him to any tests or verifications - this is the sin that shall never be forgiven.......They exhibit the manner and conduct of the Lord.....". Here it can be seen these prophets were treated with the same respect as Jesus himself; what they said was treated as coming direct from Jesus and was not to be questioned. Furthermore this feature is found elsewhere, eg. B.E.Beck (Senior Tutor and Methodist minister, New Testament Studies, Wesley House, Cambridge), in his Reading the New Testament Today, "....Sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels were used by Christians without acknowledgement, but the possibility cannot be ruled out that the reverse process has occurred - maxims in general use, from whatever source, have been mistakenly attributed to Jesus, eg. Matt 6:34, 7:6. Apparently Christian prophets spoke in the name of the risen Lord, that is, on his behalf. Were such sayings treasured as those of the earthly Jesus ? Was any real distinction made between them when both were felt to express the mind of the Lord who had now risen and was still acting through his church ?............ If the distinction was not sharply drawn, what was to prevent a saying of the Lord, delivered through a prop- het, being attributed to the Lord in his earthly minis- try ?...". Much the same thing is said by Ernest Best (Professor of Divinity and Biblical criticism, Univers- ity of Glasgow) in his book, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. As Paul and indeed other N.T. writers say little or nothing about Jesus' earthly life and Paul's knowledge of him appears to have come directly through revelations and ecstatic states (See 2 Cor ll:1, Gal l:12); at the end of the day it appears that Paul and a few others* believed there were getting messages from the crucified and now-risen Christ who had lived on earth 'sometime in the past' and was now revealing himself as the close of the age dawned (See l Cor 7:29, l0:11). * Note how the post-resurrection appearances listed in l Cor l5:5-8 (which flatly contradicts the Gospels) does not differentiate between the appearances to those listed in l5:5-7 and the one to Paul, but in fact the Gospels and Acts have Jesus' appearances to some of those in l5:5-7 in a physical body and before his ascension, but to Paul it was a wholly different experience, ie. a blinding vision (eg. Acts 9:3-5). However, the way in which the 1 Corinthians l5 list is worded certainly suggests, as some have noted, that Paul believed the others who had seen the risen Lord experienced it in the same way he did - ie. by direct revelation. He seems to know nothing of any idea that they had ever seen the earthly Jesus. It is necessary to comment on the argument that proposes that as Josephus and Tacitus, both non-Christians, refer to Jesus, this surely proves he was a historical personage. These references are very brief fleeting statements concerning a Jesus by (1)Josephus (XVIII, 3.3), ca. 95 CE and (2)Tacitus (anals. xv, 44) ca. 120 CE. However with regard to these, it must be asked, (1)Josephus. (i)Why do no Christians up to the 4th cent. refer to Josephus' priceless remark that 'Jesus was the Christ' ? (ii)Why does the Christian apologist Origen (l85-254 AD) state categorically that Josephus did NOT believe that Jesus was the Christ in view of the statement that calls Jesus by this very title ? (iii)How could a strict Pharasaic Jew make such a statement ? (iv)Why is it written in the same style as Luke ? Surely this suggests rather than being written by Josephus it was taken from this Gospel ? (v)Why does it look like an insertion in the narrative and appears to interrupt the flow, not following on from what is said before and not leading into what is said afterwards ? (vi)Why doesn't Josephus say more about Jesus if he did really believe 'he was the Christ' ? (vii)How it is that a whole host of eminent Christian theologians/scholars who firmly believe in Jesus' historicity reject the passage ? (viii)Why should this be genuine when other copies of Josephus's Antiquities have been discovered that are heavily interpolated with Christian references ? (ix)The very fact that it does appear to be a Christian interpolation surely suggests there was a problem, as why should Christians feel there was a need to even do this ? (2)Tacitus. It is never clear why this is even referred to; this was written nearly a century after Jesus' supposed existence - it is hardly 'contemporary'. If he is quoting a historical fact, then why does he make the same error that Christians also made about Pilate, ie. calling him a procurator when really he was a prefect. Trilling - an orthodox Christian - comments that Tacitus was saying what 'could have reached him from any educated contemporary' and 'is no more than what could be learned anywhere in Rome'. In fact when Pliny wrote to Trajan (ca. 117 AD) he admits that his information about Christians came through actually questioning Christians - not by using any historical record or common knowledge. Tacitus is undoubtedly doing the same. Tacitus does not refer to Jesus as 'Jesus' but 'Christ' - ie. the title ('Anointed/Messiah') that Christians gave Jesus. He could have hardly found this reference in any records he consulted (which would have therefore read:- 'We executed the Christ today' !). Again it is obvious he is only repeating what he had heard Christians believed. Therefore, despite the feats supposedly accomplished by Jesus according to the four Gospels, apart from there being no eyewitness account about him by any Christians there is none by any non-Christian also, and furthermore there is not even a mention of him by any non-Christian until well into the second century. Somewhat strange if he live, and lived the life as Christians teach. In sum, there is no eyewitness account of Jesus' supposed life, belief in him apparently arose from a small group of messianists who believed the Christ had lived an incon -spicious life, and died sometime in the past and was now, as he was about to shortly return to usher in the end of the age, revealing himself to them; only by the close of the first century, was this person's life set down as in the 30's and then given a chronological, geographical and historical setting. "Of the 27 books of the New Testament only the authentic Pauline epistles are, strictly speaking, the testimony of an apostolic witness. And even Paul...was not a witness of the historical Jesus. Since the earliest witnesses wrote nothing...there is not a single book in the New Testament which is the direct work of an eyewitness of the historical Jesus..." (page 197). (Professor Fuller, Professor of New Testament, Union Theological Seminary, New York. A Critical Introduction to the New Testament, p.197) From : David Nicholls 2:440/27 22 Sep 92 15:43:06 To : All 24 Oct 92 03:46:34 Subj : New Testament-1 컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴 I find it rather amusing that the vast majority of Christians, demonstrating their well-known ignorance, appear to believe that when Jesus ascended into heaven, just before he left, he turned to his disciples and said, "Here lads- your 27 writings. This is your New Testament. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!". And off he went - never to be seen again (fortunately.........) In reality, the fact is that what constitutes the New Testament today took hundreds of years to sort out. Secondly it is rather "odd" that present-day Christians reject writings that the early Christians did use, and in contrast, they do not accept writings that the early Christians did (Who presumably were in the best position to choose ?). Thirdly, the fact that as the church selected the New Testament canon, it simply selected those writings that agreed, and did not conflict with its already established (manmade) doctrines. Fourthly, if the New Testmaent is the word of God, why did it take God over 300 years to get the right writings accepted ? In sum, the Church and the New Testament are entirely manmade and lacking any sign of any divine origins. The following relates to the composition of the New Testament amd as always dear friends, is published in the interests of the noble art of fundy-bashing.......... David The New Testament Canon. For Paul any question was decided by a 'word of the Lord', eg. 1 Thess 4:15; in 1 Cor 9:9,13f he places alongside scriptural proof, the instruction of the Lord. In 1 Cor 11:23f he describes the words of Jesus at the eucharist as the norm for such celebration in the church. A further development arises when Paul is forced to make a decision himself; here he appeals to the fact he has been 'commissioned by the Lord' and possesses the Spirit (1 Cor 7:25,40). Paul even presupposed his letters would be read in the churches and be exchanged (1 Thess 5:26f, 2 Cor 13:12, Rom 16:16- Col 1:1, 4:16). Side by side the church had the scriptures and the words from the prophets, as well as those from the apostles. Ignatius designates as authorities the 'prophets, but above all, the Gospel' (Sm 7:2); the cross was a voice above the written word (Phil. 8). There is no agreement whether 1 Clem or Ignatius knew of a written Gospel - the letters do not say this; as time passed and the voice of the apostles faded, a search began for the written word. The collection of writings most likely began with Paul's - Marcion (ca. 140) did this and 1 Clem originating in Rome uses Rom, Heb and refers to 1 Cor. Ignatius knew of a collection also. In 2 Pet 3:15f there is a ref. to Paul's letters. It has been suggested that the collection arose in Asia Minor and this effec- ted more letter-writing (eg. Rev). In fact, it is not known when this first collection took place. Kummel points out that Ignatius does not refer to any written source and has no knowledge of written Gospels - the idea that the 4 Gospels were brought together at the beginning of the second century 'cannot be proved'. Towards the middle of the 2nd cent, the situation appears to have changed. Tatian then later composed his Diatessaron ('harmony') of all four Gospels. However during this time there was still use of apocryphal gospels and oral Jesus-traditions; there is no evidence the Gospels were read in worship. The main section of the letter of Polycarp uses Gospel material and Paul's letters and 1 Peter. A little later in 2 Clem, the apostles are placed as living authorities alongside the O.T. Barnabas (4:14) gives a saying of Jesus (Matt 22:14) and it is introduced by 'It is written' (ie. Scripture), although the situation is unclear how this arose. In Polycarp's letter (Phil 12:1), there is a quote from Eph 4:26 which is referred to by the expression he uses for the O.T and it seems that he intended to refer to the O.T, although is is possible, though unlilkely, he is referring to Eph in this. About the mid-2nd cent, Justin refers to the service of worship when the 'memoirs of the apostles' were read. Corresponding to this, there are frequent quotes from the synoptics; he stresses these were written by the apostles or their disciples; he includes Mark and Luke in this category. It is not known if Justin knew John although there is an echo of John but this may come from tradition. It is even possible some of the Gospel quotations are from oral tradition. Despite this, he places the Gospels on the same level as the O.T. The Pauline letters are not quoted but he mentions Rev. Marcion in ca. 140 AD, produced a canon of 10 Pauline letters and Luke. This were altered to remove Jewish references. He had a prologue to these letter which attacks the false apostles who taught the Jewish law. It is argued that Marcion took his canon from a church canon already existing, but Harnack believed Marcion was the first to promote the idea. Marcion's canon did not force the canon to be made, but he certainly furthered it. In fact the church adopted the Marcion text forms (Roms doxology) and the Laodiceans, which was rejected by the Muratorian canon as a Marcionite forgery, ie. it is found in some 6th cent Latin Bibles. The next stage was Tatian who was a disciple of Justin. In ca. 170 AD, he constructed a harmony of the four Gospels and showed there was now 4 accepted Gospels. The apologist Athenagoras (ca. 180 AD) cited both Gospels and the O.T. and treated them the same. At this point Paul's writings and the Gospels were being treated as having equal value, although they may not have achieved full equality. One further event assisted the formation; this was the Montanist sect; one result of this sect was the 'Alogi' who threw out John and Rev which they attributed to the Gnostic Cerinthus. Bishop Serapion of Antioch (ca. 200), allowed the Gos of Peter to be read although he later withdrew permission for this. Irenaeus (180 AD) stressed the acceptance of all 4 Gospels which were expanded by Acts; he also adds thirteen letters of Paul. However at this time there was still no fixed canon. Tertullian (220 AD) recognised the 4 Gospels, but the acceptance of the apostolic writings was still fluid. He accepted Acts, the 13 letters of Paul, 1 Pet, 1 John, Jude and Rev. He does not mention the Catholic epistles, 2 and 3 John, James and 2 Pet. He called Hebrews the epistle of Barnabas; at one stage he accepted Hermas also. Clem. Alex (190 AD) accepted the 4 Gospels and 14 letters, incl- uding Heb, of Paul and Acts and Rev. However he used the Gos. of Hebrews and Egyptians and also regarded the Rev of Pet, Kerygma of Peter, Barnabas, 1 Clem, Didache and Hermas as scripture. The canon was therefore still very much open at the beginning of the 3rd century and still undecided/unsettled. It appears that at this time the 'canon' was 4 Gospels, the 13 letters of Paul, Acts, 1 Pet, 1 John and Rev whilst the other writings were still disputed. The Muratorian frag. attests to this fact. This is an 8th cent Latin MS and came from a Greek text from the end of the 2nd cent. The beginning is missing and goes on to list the accepted writings; the role of the eyewitness is here emphasised. Wisdom and Rev of Peter were also accepted. Hermas was being read, but not publicly. It lists the writings to be received and details some rejected. 1 Pet is missing and so is Heb, James and 3 John. What becomes clear here is that a writing is not accepted on its content but rather, whether it was written by an apostle or through one. Whilst rejected writings are now known, the apostolic part was still in flux. The Christian apologist Origen (220 AD) had 3 classes of writings - (1)Those uncontested - the 4 Gospels, the 13 letters of Paul, 1 Pet, 1 John, Acts and Rev. (2)The doubtful- 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Heb, James and Jude. He cited Hermas and the Didache but does not appear to have accepted them into the canon; he does list Barnabas within the N.T though. (3) Those that were rejected. The view o 'accepted writings' was more open-minded in Alexand- ria; different areas did not necessarily agree with others. In the Codex D, Phil, 1 and 2 Thess are missing - no doubt through oversight, but so are the 7 Catholic letters, Rev, Acts and Heb. However Hermas, Acts of Paul, Rev of Peter are included. Methodius of Olympus, an opponent of Origen, quotes all the N.T writings as canonical but also the Rev of Peter, Barnabas and the Didache. Eusebius (330 AD) had three classes of writing - accepted, disputed and those completely rejected. The first set was the Gospels, Acts, l4 letters of Paul (ie. Heb included), l Pet, l John, and 'if one will' Rev. In the second class, this is broken into two groups - the first set that are still esteemed - James, 2 Pet, 2 John; the second group included the Acts of Paul, Rev of Pet, Hermas, Didache, Barnabas and 'if one will' Rev. He says that some accepted the Gos of the Hebrews. In Eusebius' day, the Catholic letters were still disputed and so was Rev. Cyril of Jerusalem, ca. 350, in the 59th or 60th canon of the synod of Laodicea (after 360) and Gregory of Nazianus (d. 390) there are 26 writings - Rev being omitted. In 367 Athanasius issued his Easter letter and lists 27 writings as the only canonical ones; in addition to these and rejected writings, he mentions a 3rd group - those that could be used in instruction - Didache and Hermas. Athanasius was the first to name this collection as the 'kavwv'. Athanasius' authority was such that the canonicity of the 7 Catholic letters was rapidly established although Rev was still disputed. A number of leading Christians did not accept it. There is a list from the 9th cent that omits it and in reality, it was only from the 10th cent that the number of 27 prevails in the Greek church. The Greek influence on the West in deciding about Heb is discernible. The Latin church did not view it as Pauline and Tertullian attributed it to Barnabas. Hilary of Poitiers (d.367) quoted Heb, James and 2 Pet as did others. Doubts remained about it but it was was gradually accepted. Variations continued, eg. Laodiceans is found in MSS of the Vulgate. However it does appear the N.T was settled for the Latin church from the 5th century. *The following deals with the acceptance of two specific books - Hebrews and Revelation - into the canon. Whilst there were a number of books received into the canon, with little or no hesitation, and at an early date, there were several writings that remained on the fringe and were viewed with doubt and only received after a considerable length of time; two such writings were Hebrews and the Revelation. In the case of Heb, there were a number of problems; there is no introductory form that would be found in a letter and it almost appears to be a sermon; early Christian preaching has certainly been identified within Heb, and as its style is reminiscent of the Hellenistic synagogue preaching, as presented for example by Philo of Alexandria, it is not surprising that its unusual style created doubts about its suitability for the canon. One of the principle problems concerning Heb was authorship; the writing is quoted as early as l Clement (17:1, 36:2-5); although the West did not accept Heb as Pauline until the fourth century, the church in the East did; it was through the influence from the East that the West did finally accept it as a Pauline writing. Attributing Heb to Paul inevitably created problems; the language and style of Heb is quite different from that of Paul; there are some 124 words within Heb that are not found in the Pauline writings. The language of Heb corresponds to a sophisticated Hellenistic Greek and manifests a regular carefully rounded sentence structure unlike Paul who sometimes even failed to complete his sentences. One noticeable feature in Heb is that quotations from the O.T are never introduced by the formulas usually used by Paul, eg. 'it is written', 'the scripture says', etc. The unusual features in Heb also distinguishes it from Paul's writing; the title of high priest is frequently attributed to Jesus in Heb, but this title is never used by Paul; unlike Paul's stress on Jesus' resurrection from the dead, Heb is more concerned with his ascension into heaven and his activity there. The problem over authorship is illustrated by the list of 'possible authors' supplied by early Christian writers, eg. Clement of Alexandria (200 AD) believed that Luke could have translated Heb from a letter written by Paul in the Hebrew language; Origen (220 AD) was acquainted with the idea that Clement of Rome had written Heb; since the time of Tertullian (220 AD) ,the person of Barnabas has been suggested as a possible author; Apollos was also suggested. Despite all these suggestions, the authorship is unknown, and it has, traditionally, remained a letter written by Paul. Therefore the obvious problems that Heb created, not only by its unknown authorship, but the contents within it, delayed its acceptance into the canon for a lengthy period of time. It was not recognised as canonical by the West before the third century. In the case of Rev, this was undoubtably written for a specific period of time, ie. the beginning of state persecution in the closing years of the first century. The author identifies himself as 'John' (1:1,4,9, 22:8) and this later led to Rev being attributed to the apostle John. However there is no indication that the writer had seen the earthly Jesus and in fact virtually nothing is said about Jesus' life. Some statements in Rev conflict with Jesus' teachings as in the Gospels (eg. Rev 6:10 when the martyred saints cry for vengeance, with Matt 5:44, when Jesus teaches that persecutors should be loved and prayed for). The realised eschatology of John's Gospel is missing in Rev; instead, there are a number of events to occur before the final climax when Jesus returns and the present system, including the earth itself, is ended (Rev 20-21). The contents of Rev therefore, not surprisingly, led to discussion and dispute about whether it should be received into the canon. Its attitude to the church's enemies was viewed as 'sub-Christian' and its stress on God's wrath eclipses any suggestion of God's love. Doubts about Rev are very clear from early Christian writings; it is omitted in several lists of 'received books' and as early as the third century, some Christians even thought it appropriate to question Rev's authorship in writing; Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria challenged the belief that the apostle John (who he believed had written the Gospel and the three Johannine letters) could have also written Rev; he deals with the differences in style, vocabulary and ideas. In the case of Heb, Dionysius did use this and furthermore, he did view it as a Pauline writing. The Muratorian fragment which is a Latin translation of a Greek canon list usually dated ca. 180-200 AD (although some date it as a century later) lists the accepted writings in Rome, and Rev is included in this; although it mentions writings to be rejected, it does not mention Heb. Irenaeus (180 AD) used most N.T. writings, but he did not use Heb; in the case of Tertullian (220 AD), he used Rev but did not accept Heb. Clement of Alexandria (200 AD) quoted extensively from the N.T writings and although he used Heb, he also quoted from pagan writings, so Clement is not an ideal guide to the church's view towards certain N.T. writings. In the region of Antioch, the canon did not include Rev and even after doubts about the seven 'Catholic' letters had been cleared up in the fifth/sixth centuries, doubts about Rev still continued. Although doubts continued over certain N.T.writings, one significant event in the church's history in relation to settling its canon was Athanasius' Easter letter of 367; in this he lists the twenty-seven writings as those that were to be received; despite this, doubts did however still linger on. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem in the mid-fourth century omitted Rev (Catech. IV.36) as did Gregory Nazianzen, bishop of Constantinople in the latter part of the fourth century. Philastrius, bishop of Brixia shortly afterwards omitted Heb from his list. Other Christian leaders, eg. Chrysostom and Theodoret, also rejected Rev. The fourth cent. Codex Sinaiticus has all twenty-seven writings, but it also has 1 and 2 Clement. The fourth century historian Eusebius of Caesarea stated that Heb had been rejected by some as it was not seen as being written by Paul (H.E. III.3.1-5). In H.E. 25.1-7, he lists the accepted writings, but with regard to Rev, this was accepted only 'if it seems right'. He also lists Rev under the category of those writings deemed 'spurious' (ie. doubts about authorship), and adds that Rev was accepted by some, although others rejected it. According to H.E. III.39.12, Eusebius clearly had doubts about Rev himself. In H.E.IV, he comments on Origen's view of accepted writings and states it was unlikely that Heb's author was Paul, but it was possibly Clement bishop of Rome, or Luke. Origen had also classed the different writings into groupings, ie. those to be accepted (he included Rev in this), the doubtful (which included Heb), and those that were rejected. Jerome (ca. 347-420 AD), who was responsible for the Vulgate translation of the Bible did include Heb in his N.T, but was aware of the doubts that had been raised about it. In the same period, Ambrose did not view it as a Pauline letter. The Codex Claromontanus, which is dated ca. sixth century, and apparently of Western origin does include Rev and 'an 'Epistle of Barnabas' which some feel may be Heb. Although it is dated ca. sixth century, some believe that it reflects a view that existed in the third/fourth century. With regard to the formation of the canon, J.N.D. Kelly in Early Christian Doctrines, states, "For example, Hebrews was for long under suspicion in the West, and Revelation was usually excluded in the fourth and fifth centuries where the school of Antioch held sway...." The Stichometry of Nicephorus, usually dated as mid-ninth century omits Rev. The 'Catalogue of the Sixty Canonical Books', transmitted in several MSS, reflects the view of the Greek church at a later date - this however also omits Rev. Therefore even at this late stage in the church's history, it appears some did not accept Rev into the canon. ================================================================= Errors that arose in manuscripts. Examination of different MSS shows the variants which have occurred in the time of copying. In 1707 some 30,000 variants were listed from Greek MSS by John Mill; early this century von Soden printed evidence of some 45,000 variants that he had found in N.T MSS. There are a number of reasons for these variants, eg. (1)If the eye skipped over a word, letter, word or line(s), the error is 'haplography' ("single writing"); (1a) If it was a case of seeing something twice, the error is termed 'dittography' ("double writing"). One example of this can be found in 1 Thess 2:7 - the difference between 'we were gentle' and 'we were babes' (as per RSV footnote), is whether one or 2 'n's' belong in the Greek. In Matt 27:17, the insertion of 'Jesus' before 'Barabbas' in some MSS may arise through repetition (dittography) of the last two letters of the Greek word 'for you' which in fact was the regular abbreviation for 'Jesus'. In contrast to this, it may in fact be a case of haplography where 'Jesus' has been omitted. (2)If the confusion is due to similiar endings on two words or lines, so the intervening words are omitted, this error is termed 'homoeoteleuton' ("similiar ending"); if it is the case of omission due to a similar beginning, it is termed 'homoeoarcton'; an example of this arises in the O.T, ie. 1 Sam 14:41 where several clauses have dropped out in the Hebrew between 'Israel' - the LXX and the Vulgate however preserve the correct reading. (3)A cause for another type of error was the copyist mishearing; if a letter was being dictated, a scribe could mishear things; such a situation appears to have arisen in Rom 5:1 - 'we have peace' and 'let us have peace' (RSV Footnote) which sounded the same in first cent. Greek. This error was possible in N.T copying but not for the O.T -there are no rabbinic references to a practice of reading aloud to a copyist. (4)There were also errors through poor judgement. A copyist might misinterpret the abbreviations that were often used in MSS, especially for 'God' and 'Christ' which were frequently abbreviated. The variants found in 1 Tim 3:16 undoubtably involved this point. On occasion a copyist would have to divide a word; as Greek uncials were written continuously, without a break, a scribe introducing his own word divisions would have to decide upon the position of the word-break. It is was not always clear where a sentence ended; Rom 9:5 is a good example of this and is important as some believe Paul calls Christ 'God' here (although unlikely). (5)Liturgical instructions also appear to have been added in some cases, eg. Acts 8:37 (RSV footnote) which most likely reflects the baptismal confession in the church of the second cent. copyist. 1 Cor 4:6 is a good example of the errors that could arise when notes were added in the margin or under the text; the phrase 'to live according to the scripture' is literally 'not above what is written'; it is suspected that a copyist made an error in the first verses of l Cor 4, then made a note for the next copyist not to repeat this error, but instead, the next copyist not only did this, but also included the instruction which had been left for him. (6)Deliberate alterations also occur in the text; this is due to a number of reasons. Copyists made changes for theological reasons, eg. to remove what appeared to be a contradiction, to expand upon something that he felt was important, to change the meaning to suit his own viewpoint, or changing the statement simply to clarify the meaning. On occasions the copyist might simply make changes to supply a more familiar word, eg. the unusual verb in Mark 6:20 when Herod was 'perplexed' was changed in later MSS to 'did'. Clarification of a verse can be seen by Mark 14:12 ' be forgiven them' becomes in certain MSS 'their sins should be forgiven them'. In John 5:3b-4 (RSV footnote), there is an insertion to explain the conversation that follows. When Matt (27:9) quotes an O.T passage which is mostly from Zechariah but it is attributed to Jeremiah, some MSS show that a copyist has attempted to remove this. In Mark 1:2, two statements are brought together, one from Isaiah and the other from Malachi, but Mark attributes both to Isaiah; again some MSS omit 'Isaiah' to try and remove this error. In time, some copyists felt it would be useful to add further details, eg. in one Old Latin MS, the two thieves being crucified with Christ are given names in Mark 15:27. In Matt 24:36 Jesus states that even the Son did not know when the parousia was to occur and obviously some copyists felt this impugned Jesus' omniscience, and in some MSS 'nor the Son' is missing. It is suspected a copyist's marginal protest note has been included in Luke 16:16-18. In v.16 Jesus states that the law and the prophets were only until John, and in v.l8, Jesus forbids divorce (against the Deut 24:1-2 ruling), but in v.17 he states that not one dot of the law will pass away. Some feel this is a marginal protest against 16:16 (and possibly v.18) by a Jewish-Christian copyist that has been incorporated into the text and hence the apparent contradiction. The view of the copyist towards Jesus' status is reflected in the MSS; in John 1:18 'the only Son' becomes 'the only God' in some MSS; therefore the Christology of the copyist sometimes led to changes being made on occasion. Heb 1:8 has two different renderings and one of these has the Son being addressed as 'God'. The personal view of the copyist could sometimes result in word changes that drastically altered the meaning of the sentence; in the Western text, the Jews 'act evilly' when crucifying Jesus, but in the Codex Vaticanus, the Jews merely act 'in ignorance'. In Acts 2:17 when Peter explains about the prophesy of Joel - that the spirit would be poured out on all flesh - the Codex Bezae has the noun for flesh in the plural to stress that this promise was for all nations and peoples, and not just the Jews. In Vaticanus, the wounded side of Jesus, as detailed in John l9:34 is also introduced at Matt 27:49. One of the most significant additions to N.T writing is Mark 16:9-20; here the abrupt ending of Mark has been continued to include post-resurrection appearances by Jesus to his disciples. The critical time for this was most likely ca. 70-ca. 150 AD; at this time Christian writings were not seen as 'Scripture', but 'guides to Christian living' so there was no real difficulty in making changes. Later on, Origen condemned copyists who made deliberate changes for their 'depraved audacity' and Jerome reported to pope Damascus that 'numerous errors' had arisen through attempted harmonisation by copyists. One rule adopted by those endeavouring to ascertain the original reading is to choose the reading that (a)is the most confused (ii)contradicts or is least likely to agree a statement in another N.T. writing (iii)is shorter. It was usual for a copyist to change a statement to make it clearer, or if it contradicted another passage, or if it could be made to support another passage; a longer passage is therefore most likely the one that has been changed as a copyists would tend to lengthen it to include an explanatory note. The general rule is 'Lectio difficilior probabilior', ie. it affirms the more difficult expression as the one to be regarded as more likely the original. ===============================================================


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