Author Topic: A Psalm passage to which I have no response  (Read 2174 times)

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Offline Swanny

A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« on: January 11, 2012, 03:35:28 PM »
Hello everyone, it has been a while since I have posted.

I am the only atheist in my class about Biblical translations, so I am here to ask the only question I haven't been able to answer thus far. Today, someone cited the Dead Sea Scroll version of Psalm 22:14-18. It reads:

"I have been poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away in my breast. My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue melts in my mouth. They have placed me as the dust of death. For dogs are all around me; a gang of evildoers encircles me. They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all of my bones; people stare and gloat over me. they divide my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothes."

The caves at Qumran were unknown at the (theoretical) time of Jesus, so Mark would have not been able to reference this as a basis for his story. Also, the scroll itself dates back to well before Jesus and was not discovered until (I think) 1947. This seems to be a prediction of the crucifiction - how do I explain this?

Many thanks,

Swanny
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Vger

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 03:56:53 PM »
Hello everyone, it has been a while since I have posted.

I am the only atheist in my class about Biblical translations, so I am here to ask the only question I haven't been able to answer thus far. Today, someone cited the Dead Sea Scroll version of Psalm 22:14-18. It reads:

"I have been poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away in my breast. My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue melts in my mouth. They have placed me as the dust of death. For dogs are all around me; a gang of evildoers encircles me. They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all of my bones; people stare and gloat over me. they divide my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothes."

The caves at Qumran were unknown at the (theoretical) time of Jesus, so Mark would have not been able to reference this as a basis for his story. Also, the scroll itself dates back to well before Jesus and was not discovered until (I think) 1947. This seems to be a prediction of the crucifiction - how do I explain this?

Many thanks,

Swanny
Very interesting. Will also be interesting to see what people on here come up with.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 04:00:51 PM »
Were the physical Dead Sea Scrolls themselves the only existing copy of their ideas/contents?
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Offline monkeymind

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 04:10:14 PM »
Off the cuff...I think crucifiction was around at David's time. And one can read into the older text.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 04:12:51 PM »
Well, the Psalms were known at the time the author wrote about Jesus.  They aren’t limited to the copies found in Qumran.  They are a collection of things not one book written at one time.  No one even really knows who wrote them. Some believe that David did many of them and that even Moses did #90, but again, no evidence.

The version of this in all of the bibles I’ve seen is pretty much exactly like the one you have. Being from the scroll doesn’t look like it makes a bit of difference.

Jews for Judaism has this explaining how it’s a mistranslation: http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=76:what-is-the-translation-of-kaari-like-a-lion&catid=44:crucifixion&Itemid=489 

Also, one can just read the psalm in context.  JC had no reason to claim he could count all of his bones (assuming being skeletally thin is what is mean in the Psalm). The author claims he calls out for gods help day and night. JC didn’t.  He sais he is despised by everyone, JC wasn’t.  It only sounds like a prophecy because it’s taken out of context and it does seem to be mistranslated.  The other problem is that the gospels don’t agree on what JC said when he died (the my god, my god why have you forsaken me comes from this psalm too). Also, people did take other people’s clothes when they died. Nothing suprising there, just a observation of the culture. 
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Offline Omen

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 04:29:21 PM »
The caves at Qumran were unknown at the (theoretical) time of Jesus, so Mark would have not been able to reference this as a basis for his story

False.. This is in Psalms.. it existed well before the time Mark was written.

This isn't even Jewish messianic prophecy.  This is EXACTLY one of the kinds of examples where christians claim 'prophecy' that really isn't prophecy, which totally ignores actual judaic messianic prophecy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_eschatology

In the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)

Most of the textual requirements concerning the messiah, what he will do, and what will be done during his reign are located within the Book of Isaiah, although requirements are mentioned in other prophets as well.

    The Sanhedrin will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)
    Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4)
    The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)
    He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8–10)
    The Moshiach will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with "fear of God" (Isaiah 11:2)
    Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)
    Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)
    He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)
    All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)
    Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)
    There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)
    All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)
    The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)
    He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 53:7)
    Nations will recognize the wrongs they did Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5)
    The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
    The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)
    Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)
    The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot
    He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)
    He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13–15, Ezekiel 36:29–30, Isaiah 11:6–9)
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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 04:54:47 PM »
Yeah, the Psalm came before the writing of the Gospels and would have been known to the writers of the Gospels.  The Gospel writers were increasingly clever at putting in these bits of pseudoprophecy, and you can't blame them, because it makes good fiction.  If you compare the narratives of Jesus with other 1st century writings, you have to give the writers credit, it's pretty good stuff by the standards of the time. 

Also, if you consider the bit about piercing hands and feet as a reference to crucifixion, you have to remember that the Romans crucified thousands of people...it was their equivalent of the electric chair.  At the time of Jesus, there were a lot of Jewish rebels, and the Romans were executing them to beat the band.  That's one of the reasons the story of Jesus had traction when first published.

So even if the writing 'prophesied' a crucified Messiah, it doesn't give a name, DOB, or address.  There were a lot of prophets running around the area at the time, just as there are a lot of prophets running loose in the USA today. 

You would think that an entity capable of creating a whole universe would at least be competant regarding the clues to his existence he leaves lying about for his followers. 

Then of course, you might also note that archeologists have found at least 1 victim of Roman crucifixion, and it was actually his wrists and ankles that were nailed to the cross...the bones of the hand will not support the weight of an adult.  So writing about the hands being nailed is not true, strictly speaking. 

This class you are taking...do what you have to, to get a good grade...but for heaven's sake, don't mistake it for true scholarship and don't mistake your instructor for anything more than an idiot or a liar. 

Offline Vger

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 05:01:42 PM »
Yeah, the Psalm came before the writing of the Gospels and would have been known to the writers of the Gospels.  The Gospel writers were increasingly clever at putting in these bits of pseudoprophecy, and you can't blame them, because it makes good fiction.  If you compare the narratives of Jesus with other 1st century writings, you have to give the writers credit, it's pretty good stuff by the standards of the time. 

Also, if you consider the bit about piercing hands and feet as a reference to crucifixion, you have to remember that the Romans crucified thousands of people...it was their equivalent of the electric chair.  At the time of Jesus, there were a lot of Jewish rebels, and the Romans were executing them to beat the band.  That's one of the reasons the story of Jesus had traction when first published.

So even if the writing 'prophesied' a crucified Messiah, it doesn't give a name, DOB, or address.  There were a lot of prophets running around the area at the time, just as there are a lot of prophets running loose in the USA today. 

You would think that an entity capable of creating a whole universe would at least be competant regarding the clues to his existence he leaves lying about for his followers. 

Then of course, you might also note that archeologists have found at least 1 victim of Roman crucifixion, and it was actually his wrists and ankles that were nailed to the cross...the bones of the hand will not support the weight of an adult.  So writing about the hands being nailed is not true, strictly speaking. 

This class you are taking...do what you have to, to get a good grade...but for heaven's sake, don't mistake it for true scholarship and don't mistake your instructor for anything more than an idiot or a liar.
Of couse you would not take your instructor for anything more than an idiot or a liar , based on what someone you don't know tells you on an internet forum.  :? Just don't forget to think for yourself given the evidence that is put before you.

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 05:25:27 PM »
Oops! Vger's right...I got carried away! 

What I mean is that your instructor has an agenda.

Offline Swanny

Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 05:39:52 PM »
What I meant when I said that it wasn't available to Mark referred specifically to the Qumran excerpts, though. The Masoretic version that was available was different. I understand Mark (I am just assuming the other Gospel writers used him as the main source, which is more or less true) referenced the Hebrew Bible for much of his work, and have no qualms attributing Jesus' fulfillment of the prophecies to this. All that gets me is that he wouldn't have known the passage about "pierced hands."

My own NRSV says (Psalm 22:16), "For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled." This is much closer to what would have been available at the time. It is entirely possible I just have a gap in my knowledge, but I know of no references to crucifiction in the Hebrew Bible. Omen's examples didn't include any.

Also, I agree flapdoodle - about the references he could have made. I don't yet see how those include this one, though. I am not trying to defend Christianity (believe me, that is the opposite of my agenda).

Azdgari, you are on the same page as me. I don't know of any other texts that include this passage, but that doesn't mean none existed around the time of the gospels. Maybe it was just a lost work.
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Omen

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 06:03:19 PM »
What I meant when I said that it wasn't available to Mark referred specifically to the Qumran excerpts, though. The Masoretic version that was available was different. I understand Mark (I am just assuming the other Gospel writers used him as the main source, which is more or less true) referenced the Hebrew Bible for much of his work, and have no qualms attributing Jesus' fulfillment of the prophecies to this. All that gets me is that he wouldn't have known the passage about "pierced hands."

And you are WRONG.

Quote
My own NRSV says (Psalm 22:16), "For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled." This is much closer to what would have been available at the time.

This is simply not true; there are even loads of christian apologist that try to answer Jews who point out that Psam 22:16 has nothing to do with Jewish Messianic prophecy, the christians of course totally ignore that and instead concentrate on the notion that the word being quoted is some misinterpretation of lion or pierce.

"This verse, which is Psalm 22:17 in the Hebrew verse numbering, reads ???? ??? ????? ("like a lion my hands and my feet") in the Masoretic Text. The syntactical form of the Hebrew phrase appears to be lacking a verb, and this is supplied in the Aramaic targum which reads "they bite like a lion my hands and my feet". The Septuagint has ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ("they have dug/pierced my hands and feet"), evidently taking the Hebrew to be based on the root ????, supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hahal Hever (5/6Hev1b f8_9:12) ???[? ]??? . 'Dig' has been understood in the sense of 'pierced' (as in Psalm 40:7/6), hence the rendering in the Syriac ("they have pierced my hands and feet"). Aquila, a convert to Judaism, undertook two translations of the Psalms from Hebrew to Greek. In the first, he renders the verse "they disfigured my hands and feet"; in the second he revised this to "they have bound my hands and feet". Jerome, translating the Psalms for the Latin Vulgate also made two versions. The earlier, from the Hexaplar Greek, reads "they have dug my hands and feet"; the later, made directly from pre-Masoretic Hebrew texts, reads with Aquila "they have bound my hands and feet"."

Clearly, this variation of interpretation WOULD have been available to Mark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_have_pierced_my_hands_and_my_feet

You simply have your information wrong.
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Offline Swanny

Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 06:40:23 PM »
You simply have your information wrong.

Many thanks, Omen. A convenient mistranslation for the Christians, then. :D
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline Omen

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2012, 06:55:55 PM »
You simply have your information wrong.

Many thanks, Omen. A convenient mistranslation for the Christians, then. :D

Well Jews originally claimed it means something else and that Christians misconstrue the interpretation to fit their narrative, but Christian apologist themselves cite older sources like the Septuagint in order to back up their own claims.  It really doesn't matter, because it has nothing to do with Judaic Messianic Prophecy, but clearly before the time Mark was written there would been sources available that interpreted it in this manner.
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Offline onesteward

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2012, 07:10:32 PM »
You simply have your information wrong.

Many thanks, Omen. A convenient mistranslation for the Christians, then. :D

 There are others who don't think it's so open and shut.One site from a very short search:

http://messianicart.com/chazak/yeshua/psalm22.htm

 Just another case of dueling experts?
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when sorrows like sea billows roll;
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it is well, it is well with my soul.

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Offline Omen

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2012, 07:19:06 PM »
There are others who don't think it's so open and shut.One site from a very short search:

http://messianicart.com/chazak/yeshua/psalm22.htm

 Just another case of dueling experts?

You're not even posting information relevant to the discussion.  This page doesn't even make a credible argument, it just quotes someone pointing out that it is not interpreted to be prophetic then asserts that it is.   The later citations don't even credibly back up the assertion, its just blindly cited for no apparent reason.  Later it just re-emphasizes the interpretation disagreement about lion and pierce.

Moreover, it totally ignores the complete lack of scriptural basis for other problematic prophetic christian claims, such as the idea of the 'second coming' which there exists no appreciable pause in Jewish eschatology for a Messiah to appear.. then disappear only to reappear later.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2012, 12:55:09 AM »
meh, the messiah came and went like a thief in the night. We are the doomed remnants. This is hell and we are alone.


so what


if I choose to exist for the sake of others

instead of myself, nothing has been gained


or lost
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Offline Astreja

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2012, 01:03:56 AM »
I actually think it's a poet-king imagining his own death on a battlefield.

As an aside, the first time I ever heard this psalm was at the end of the Guess Who song "Hang On To Your Life" (the album version on side 2 of Share the Land, not the single).  At the time, I thought it was someone describing a particularly nasty LSD trip.  I found it was the 22nd Psalm when I kept hearing mention of the 23rd Psalm, went to look it up, and happened to glance up the page a bit.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 01:06:05 AM by Astreja »
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Offline Astreja

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2012, 01:04:43 AM »
(Duplicate - Please disregard.)
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Offline Swanny

Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2012, 01:19:06 AM »
Well Jews originally claimed it means something else and that Christians misconstrue the interpretation to fit their narrative, but Christian apologist themselves cite older sources like the Septuagint in order to back up their own claims.  It really doesn't matter, because it has nothing to do with Judaic Messianic Prophecy, but clearly before the time Mark was written there would been sources available that interpreted it in this manner.

Sorry, I am just having comprehension issues here. By this do you mean that it just shouldn't be associated with the Messianic Prophecy and the translation is essentially irrelevant?
The most basic fact of life is that there has to be a creator and to deny this no matter how many phd's u have mean you are still at the most elementary stage of true knowledge.

Offline velkyn

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2012, 10:18:44 AM »
there's no reason to think it should be considered a prophecy at all. There's no reason to think that any of it is saying "this will happen and this is how you'll recognize someone".   As Astreja said, why not simply take it a a lamentation of one man?  What is there that says this is any foretelling of the future at all?
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Offline Omen

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2012, 10:29:01 AM »
Well Jews originally claimed it means something else and that Christians misconstrue the interpretation to fit their narrative, but Christian apologist themselves cite older sources like the Septuagint in order to back up their own claims.  It really doesn't matter, because it has nothing to do with Judaic Messianic Prophecy, but clearly before the time Mark was written there would been sources available that interpreted it in this manner.

Sorry, I am just having comprehension issues here. By this do you mean that it just shouldn't be associated with the Messianic Prophecy and the translation is essentially irrelevant?

Ambiguity is the nature of prophetic claims, there are only very few verses that explicitly state that a messiah is going to do something and traditionally this verse has nothing to do with Judaic Messianic Prophecy.  Christians cherry pick around the obvious claims of what the Judaic Messianic Prophecy claims literally, then sweep the rest under the rug of the 'second coming'.  This isn't to say that Judaic Messianic Prophecy claims are not ambiguous either.  There certainly is no basis for the 'second coming' in Judaic Messianic Prophecy, nor even in the old testament to be construed in any shape or form.  The same with many theological concepts in christianity that are not shared in Judaism.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2012, 12:13:48 AM »
Just a general comment on this matter, sort of related: I actually find it more authentic that the gospel accounts have variations in detail and what events are and aren't recorded. If they were all the same it would be much more suspicious as a fraud
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Offline velkyn

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2012, 10:26:06 AM »
Just a general comment on this matter, sort of related: I actually find it more authentic that the gospel accounts have variations in detail and what events are and aren't recorded. If they were all the same it would be much more suspicious as a fraud

this argument has been used before.  Christians can't seem to agree that the mistakes make it more "real" or that the bible is totally true and inerrant.  That might work if this wasn't supposed to be a magic book inspiried by your god. Why does it allow its book to be pointed at as such a screwed up piece of work?   

We have four gospels that disagree on quite important things, especially around the one most important event in your religion the cruxifiction and resurrection.  The whole humanizing moment of gesthemane is ignored in John with JC being all "bring it on" about the cruxifction.  Was Judas just a patsy needed by your god to be possesed by Satan or was he just human?  The time things occured, who said what when (what did JC say last?), who was at the tomb and what they did.  Then we have after the resurrection where the gospels can't decide if the apostles are hiding in fear for their lives or celebrating in the temple or if JC goes right back to heaven or wanders around for months doing more miracles. 

MM, have you read the bible completely?  Many of us here have, ex-Christians(I for one), agnostics, and atheists alike. Many Christians have not.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2012, 10:51:57 AM »
Just a general comment on this matter, sort of related: I actually find it more authentic that the gospel accounts have variations in detail and what events are and aren't recorded. If they were all the same it would be much more suspicious as a fraud

this argument has been used before.  Christians can't seem to agree that the mistakes make it more "real" or that the bible is totally true and inerrant.

Right.  Or, put another way: if the gospels agree with each other, this proves that it is the word of God.  On the other hand, if the gospels do not agree with each other -- this also proves that it is the word of God.  Which is, of course, remarkably convenient for the believer.

I first encountered this little sleight-of-hand when George K. Smith explained it in "Atheism: The Case Against God".  It's very easy to win an argument if all opposing evidence is defined out of existence.
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Offline Samuelxcs

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2012, 11:12:40 AM »
If you are an atheist, why take a class about biblical translations?  :o
"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."
-Thomas Szasz

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2012, 12:28:14 PM »
A lot of the case here is based on the idea that the Dead Sea Scrolls can be exactly dated, which they can't.  Maybe they are 100 years prior to the crucifixion, maybe 100 years after.  If they were written afterh the crucifixion, then it is a retroactive prophecy.  And it they were transcribed prior, then you still have to address the possibility that the verse was carried in oral tradition in places where the gospel writers lived. 

Of course, the psalm doesn't talk about crucifixion per say, it just talks about piercing someone's hands and feet to torture him, then casting lots for his clothes...interesting, but not very conclusive. And nothing about being betrayed by a kiss, or the Easter Bunny, or anything else relevant.

Carl Sagan was fond of this quote: 'Extradordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.' 

The idea of an ominipotent invisible sky wizard siring a demi-god and then torturing him in public so as to demonstrate the sky wizards's love for humanity is, IMO, an extraordinary claim. 

It would seem that such a claim requires a bit more than some coincidental 2000 year-old doggeral to substantiate it.   

Which leads me back to a recurrent question: if god wants us to believe in him, why did he give us such weak and dubious evidence?  Why did he allow so many liars and frauds become head of his churches? Why is the earth and history full of so much evidence that contradicts and disputes the Bible?  Is it the desire of a perfect and ominipotent being that his creations spend their lives playing these holy head games and trying to convince themselves of impossible things? What kind of being spends eternity doing such things?

Offline velkyn

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2012, 12:54:30 PM »
What kind of being spends eternity doing such things?

The Squire of Gothos, Q.... star trek has a lot of very powerful but not very nice beings who would fit the bill  ;)
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Offline 29A

Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2012, 11:34:34 PM »
"I have been poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away in my breast. My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue melts in my mouth. They have placed me as the dust of death. For dogs are all around me; a gang of evildoers encircles me. They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all of my bones; people stare and gloat over me. they divide my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothes."

I honestly fail to see how this is a prophecy for Jesus. This whole passage is completely vague and provides no specific information. I admit, I have not read it in context, but if the passages preceding or following do not mention Jesus or even the son of god, this means absolutely nothing. This could just as easily be applied to someone like Matthew Shepard or anyone else who has been unfortunate enough to have been attacked by a group of people.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: A Psalm passage to which I have no response
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2012, 01:19:07 AM »
Yes, I have real the bible in its entirety. For me, the more I read it the more i am convinced I am reading God's word. It's hard to argue against my own convictions ( and they are MY convictions - despite the fact I was also raised in a Christian environment ).

And the authenticity to me is increased by the differences, not weakened.
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