Author Topic: Dating the Gospels  (Read 875 times)

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Offline Swanny

Dating the Gospels
« on: May 02, 2012, 01:22:49 AM »
I just watched a on Youtube that attempted to legitimize the historical authenticity of the synoptic gospels. I am, of course, dubious of this.

The easiest way I can see to begin approaching this video is to date these gospels. He dated them earlier than the usual 70 AD, or the destruction of the temple. How do we normally date the gospels and where do they reference this destruction?

Sorry if I misunderstood something in my post. Also, Google did not help as much as I had hoped in finding these answers. Most of the sources were from blatantly Christian-biased sources.

Many thanks!
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 Add Homonym

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2012, 09:47:03 AM »
At 11:48, when he puts up the chart of early people who can authenticate the gospels, he's lying about JM (Justin Martyr) giving attestation of Mark and John, and in fact all of them. None of the prior ones really matter; they are just a snow-job.

Prior to JM, he relies on
Valentinus (gnostic)
Marcion (pffft, semi gnostic, who wrote his own Evangelion/"Luke" that we have no real record of)
Polycarp
Ignatius

Ignatius is controversial. He reads like Paul, and is recorded exclusively via Eusebius (300AD), who is a known faker.
Polycarp also reads like Paul. He has only fragments of Matthean concepts.

There is a bit of self-foot-shooting. Paul was supposedly a witness to the real Jesus, or people that knew him, and yet he can't quote Jesus. Ignatius and Polycarp are very like Paul, but they are dated much later (100AD), which means that the synoptic content still wasn't known by their time. There is definitely room to believe that their sayings which resemble Matthew, either created synoptic verses, or were just general mumblings of the church. That is, the gospels may have been derived from their thoughts, not vice versa. There is no way that they verify the existence of the gospels, since even JM (150AD) is quoting only fragments of differing texts.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

Christian fathers become thick and fast, after Iraneus, then Origenes and Tertullian start to do the heavy work, around 200AD. Origenes decided what the canon texts were. He would have picked them out of many versions, and may have done some edits himself.

It would be interesting to hear comments from the gallery, about what they think of the "undesigned coincidences" that he says could not have been created by dependence of one gospel on another. I think they are more likely to be "midrashic" explanations of previous faults.

« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 09:53:04 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Barcode

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 02:33:42 PM »
Where was the Epistle to Diognetus or mention of Clement of Rome?  Maybe I missed it, long video clip....

Anyway, the phenomenon of "free quotation of Synoptic material" (in my anthropological opinion, primarily due to emphasis on oral tradition during that time period) may give far more credence to the use of the Synoptic gospel tradition in the early church fathers writings, see:

http://books.google.com/books?id=9HweAAAAIAAJ&lpg=PA278&ots=iGYCb9jEMd&dq=Clement%20of%20Rome%20synoptic%20gospels&pg=PA278#v=onepage&q&f=false

If you are up for a bit of an academic read, I highly recommend Greg Boyd's The Jesus Legend.  He deals more specifically with the Synoptic Jesus tradition, but a broader few of gospel historicity can also be gleaned from his book.

Happy reading!
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2012, 02:48:45 PM »
here's a website you might find of interest.  http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/   
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Offline Iamrational

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 03:51:20 AM »
here's a website you might find of interest.  http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/
I was able to take away 2 important observations from that website.

1. In regards to Matthew it was interesting to learn that not only is Matthew not an eyewitness account, it is more or less an extrapolation of Mark. Furthermore, Mark is not even thought to be an eyewitness account. The scholar describe it as being at least once removed from eyewitness (talking about Mark here).
 So first, isn't it crazy to think that uneducated christian assume these are 2 separate eyewitness accounts of Jesus and his teaching? I think that is huge. Also, how much of this crap can you possibly believe when it is a hand me down of a hand me down? Think about how much crap could be embellished or just out right made up. Tha is directed towards the christian readers.

2. I believe it is Peter or Timothy that the scholar stated it is most likely not an eyewitness account because of a glaring contradiction. Eyewitness testimony would have known that Jesus and his crew were allowed into the synagogues. This author showed they were not an eyewitness by stating they were not allowed in, proving they were not there.

This is what I took from it in 10 minutes time. I can't imagine what else I would find if I looked through it for a couple of days. I can tell you which direction I believe it would head towards. The later the date the less I cared about looking through. Stories get filtered and sent through the gauntlet of hearsay so any of that is irrelevant to me.

Point is you can't possibly believe (or at least be honest that you must be super super skeptical of the writing) these gospels when they are written 60, 70, or even 100 years after Jesus! I mean come on here. Throw me a bone. If I told you some dude turned water into wine 100 years ago and I was there, you would laugh at me.

Offline Nick

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 07:16:09 AM »
When you date the gospels should you pay for the dinner and movie or go Dutch treat? ;)
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 11:00:45 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Gospels

We've been taught to look at the synoptic problem and come away scratching our heads. I've peered at the mandala on the Wikipedia page, and have come up with the obvious solution:

First there was a purple book, called Proto-Synoptic 1
Someone grabs purple book, and adds blue stuff -> Proto-Synoptic 2
Mark grabs purple book and adds red stuff -> Mark
Matthew grabs Mark and Proto-Synoptic 2, and adds Matthew crap -> Matthew
Luke grabs Proto-Synoptic 2, and adds Luke crap -> Luke

Thus, at the very least, there are two successive versions that are unacknowledged: Proto-synoptic 1, Proto-Synoptic 2

In order to avoid this conclusion, biblical scholars have swallowed the idea that Luke deleted red+green stuff.

The only slightly perplexing thing left, is to explain why the 3% + 3% got deleted. This is such a small amount that it could have been deleted deliberately. It's not plausible that the red+green got deleted by Luke.


« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 11:34:45 AM by Add Homonym »
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Offline Swanny

Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 11:25:05 AM »
Okay, thank you, guys. I will check out that website extensively.

I watched the video in preparation for a Secular Student Society meeting with a highly educated evangelical Christian (Doctorate in Philosophy, has been around the world studying Religion, has been a professor at many prestigious schools, etc). There is one point with which I have trouble.

I have always considered the refutation to the Cosmological argument as saying God would also need a cause. He took a different approach and simply argued that something must be uncaused. Here was his model:

1. Something has a cause and could not exist, in the sense that they could be broken. (He used his glasses as an example, saying they were greater than the sum of their parts due to a glasses factory)

2a. The thing that created it also had a cause (stuck in a loop of infinite regression)
2b. The thing that created it did not have a cause.

He also discussed how the Big Bang/Rubber Band theory would be just an infinite regression of one causing the other, so it falls under 2a. He did not use this by itself to claim a god, but it effectively supports it.

Any thoughts?
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: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 11:52:31 AM »
Okay, thank you, guys. I will check out that website extensively.

I watched the video in preparation for a Secular Student Society meeting with a highly educated evangelical Christian (Doctorate in Philosophy, has been around the world studying Religion, has been a professor at many prestigious schools, etc). There is one point with which I have trouble.

I have always considered the refutation to the Cosmological argument as saying God would also need a cause. He took a different approach and simply argued that something must be uncaused. Here was his model:

1. Something has a cause and could not exist, in the sense that they could be broken. (He used his glasses as an example, saying they were greater than the sum of their parts due to a glasses factory)
ah, sounds like the irreducible complexity nonsense. 
Quote
2a. The thing that created it also had a cause (stuck in a loop of infinite regression)
What's wrong with a infinite regression? 
Quote
2b. The thing that created it did not have a cause.
  where's the evidence that anything (and he means only a actor that is acting conciously, nothing else, not 'anything' the usual disingenous lies of theist) needed to create the regression?  Where's evidence that anythign at all started everthing?
Quote
He also discussed how the Big Bang/Rubber Band theory would be just an infinite regression of one causing the other, so it falls under 2a. He did not use this by itself to claim a god, but it effectively supports it.

Any thoughts?
see above  :)
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Offline Poseidon

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 12:39:01 AM »
Aside from some chronological questions there are questions about authorship that leaves the garden variety xtian indignant and combative.  Bart Ehrman is very convincing with his pronouncements that the Gospels were not written by the character of their titles.

Offline Historicity

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 01:10:25 AM »
There is a bit of self-foot-shooting. Paul was supposedly a witness to the real Jesus, or people that knew him, and yet he can't quote Jesus.

Paul never said he met Jesus in the flesh.  He said he spent 3 years in Arabia having visions of Jesus.  As I put it, he channeled Jesus.

Paul DOES quote Jesus once.  He quotes him at the Last Supper but adds "in remembrance of me" which does not appear in Mark or Matthew.

Compare: Colossians 11:23+ and Luke 22:19+ versus Mark 14:22+ and Matthew 26:26+.

Paul insisted that his hallucinatory experiences of Jesus made him the equal of the apostles who had seen Jesus in life:

Quote
Colossians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

But they did not accept him and they eventually tricked him into going to the Temple where he was widely despised which caused his arrest.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 01:17:41 AM by Historicity »

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2012, 01:25:41 AM »

Compare: Colossians 11:23+ and Luke 22:19+ versus Mark 14:22+ and Matthew 26:26+.


My Colossians only goes  to 4.

I catch your drift that Paul can quote the gospel of Luke. How clever of him to predict what Luke would write. Bloody mind reader.

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Offline kcrady

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2012, 08:08:30 AM »
I have always considered the refutation to the Cosmological argument as saying God would also need a cause. He took a different approach and simply argued that something must be uncaused. Here was his model:

1. Something has a cause and could not exist, in the sense that they could be broken. (He used his glasses as an example, saying they were greater than the sum of their parts due to a glasses factory)

2a. The thing that created it also had a cause (stuck in a loop of infinite regression)

Infinite regress is not actually a problem.  This is because "infinity" is only an abstraction.  No matter how far back you go in an infinite timestream, as soon as you pick any actual starting point, it is a finite temporal distance away from the present.  In other words, there is no "infinity ago" where you can start a temporal sequence and from whence it is impossible to reach the present.  Even if there was such a thing, as long as you also have an infinite amount of time to get here from there, the infinities cancel one another out.  Example: the set of real numbers.  No matter how far "back" you go into negative numbers, there's always a larger negative number beyond it.  And yet, we are somehow able to count to four without bewailing the infinite regress of numbers less than four.

Furthermore, "God" is not immune to infinite regress.  Theists usually present "God" as a thinking, emoting, talking person.  If this is so, and "God" is also unchanging (it did not evolve from some simpler arrangement of "God-stuff" or come into being somehow) then it must have always been thinking, emoting, etc.  The moment before creation, it would have thought, "I'm going to create my Cosmos--now!"  Before that: "I'm going to design this Cosmos I want to create."  Before that: "I think I'll create a Cosmos."  And so on.  So, either: "God" had a "First Thought" before which it was not a thinking entity, or it has an infinite regress of thoughts (emotions, experiences, etc.).

Since "God" is equally subject to the problem of infinite regress, either infinite regress is not a problem, or it is as fatal to "God" as it is to a Universe of infinite duration.

Or:

2a.1: Universe is finite but unbounded in time.  Think of the surface of a sphere.  It is finite in area and diameter, but if you walk around it you will never find a "beginning."

2a.2: Time is cyclical.  The moment "after" the "Big Rip" (when cosmic expansion and particle decay has swept away all matter/energy leaving an omnisymmetric and ultimately simple "nothing") is identical to the moment "before" the Big Bang.  Rinse, lather, repeat--again, and again, and again....

2a.3: Our Cosmos is only one of many in a larger spacetime manifold, and due to the physics of its Big Bang, it is temporally discontinuous from events "before" the BB in the spacetime manifold.  So it looks like this: (1, 2, 3, 4....n)(1, 2, 3, 4....n)(1, 2, 3, 4....n)(1, 2, 3, 4....n)(1, 2, 3, 4....n)...  ...where each set of parentheses encloses a Big Bang Cosmos, from its Big Bang until whatever ultimately happens to a Cosmos.  The temporal sequence within each set of parentheses is finite, though incredibly vast.  Where two opposite parentheses meet: )( is a Big Bang temporal singularity.  In this model, time cannot be counted back past the singularity because the equations that model time break down under the conditions that exist in a singularity.

2b. The thing that created it did not have a cause.

Since a "God" is equally vulnerable to infinite regress, and is also vastly (in fact, infinitely, if the god is supposed to be an omnimax) more complex than an omnisymmetric spacetime manifold, the latter is a far more parsimonious candidate for "First Cause."  Physicists have equations that can model how a Cosmos can emerge spontaneously from a spacetime manifold.  Theists have nothing comparable for their "God" model. 
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Offline Swanny

Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 07:26:58 PM »
@kcrady

Okay, let me see if I understand what you are saying in abridged terms. Sorry if I misunderstood, but doing my best to understand.

So you are saying that the Universe does not necessarily exist in the lateral sense of time as we know it, but rather may be cyclical in nature; a circle has no point of origin and thus no cause. Also, I do not understand 2a3. Can you reword it please?

Is that essentially right? Sorry if I butchered your message.

Many thanks!
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 kcrady

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 07:17:47 AM »
@Swanny:

Sorry it took me so long to reply. 

Okay, let me see if I understand what you are saying in abridged terms. Sorry if I misunderstood, but doing my best to understand.

So you are saying that the Universe does not necessarily exist in the lateral sense of time as we know it, but rather may be cyclical in nature; a circle has no point of origin and thus no cause.

Stephen Hawking talks about this in his book A Brief History of Time.  As I recall, he was talking mainly about the idea of a "singularity" at the Big Bang, saying that such a thing didn't necessarily have to exist.  Instead of a singularity as a point of cosmic origin like the point of a cone, from which the cone emerges and spreads out (in physics the term "light-cone" is often used to denote the part of the Cosmos that has been able to share mutual light-signals since the Big Bang), he uses the analogy of the surface of a sphere.  To say that "time is cyclical" in this sense doesn't necessarily mean that every event repeats over and over again.  Rather, it is talking about the physics of the Cosmos as a whole going through a cycle of Big Bang expansion leading to some other process, which ultimately leads to another Big Bang, and so on.  Until fairly recently, the idea that the Cosmos would stop expanding, then start collapsing into a Big Crunch, followed by a new Big Bang was a popular interpretation. 

Since (IIRC) 1995, when observations of distant nebulae indicated that Cosmic expansion was accelerating rather than decelerating, the currently predominant view (as I understand it) is called "the Big Rip."  In this model, the Cosmic expansion continues to accelerate until (after inconceivably vast eons of time and decay of even stable particles like protons) everything has decayed into radiation that has become so spread out that nothing is inside anything else's light cone anymore, and the Cosmos has reverted back to an omnisymmetric, irreducibly simple "flat" spacetime such as it was prior to the Big Bang.  However, as physicists like Lawrence Krauss and Victor Stenger put it, this sort of "nothing" is unstable, and prone to spawn a new Big Bang.  At no step in this process is any sort of supernatural intervention necessary.

Also, I do not understand 2a3. Can you reword it please?

One of the weird things about a singularity, such as what might exist at the center of black holes, or might have existed at the Big Bang, is that spacetime[1] is warped to such a high degree that time grinds to a halt and the equations of physics break down.

So, if there was a singularity at the Big Bang, it represents a temporal discontinuity with any "previous" events (if it is even meaningful to use the term "previous" in relation to a Big Bang).  So, in 2a.3, there is not one single arrow of time leading from either a First Cause or an infinite regress to the present, but multiple "times" separated from each other by singularity barriers.  Each Big Bang Cosmos is like a bubble in a foam.  The foam itself would be eternal, but each individual bubble would begin and end as a natural process, perhaps spawned from a "parent" Cosmos as in Lee Smolin's fecund multiverse cosmology.

I hope that explanation makes more sense. :)
 1. In the physics of relativity, space and time are interrelated dimensions.  Distort one, and you distort the other.  Mass warps space, analogous to the way a bowling ball distorts a trampoline--another ball rolled toward it can be caught in the warp it causes and drawn to it, just as gravity draws masses together.  This warping of space also slows time.  GPS satellites have to compensate for the relative slowing of time for us at the bottom of Earth's gravity well vs. the less slowed time for them in geosynchronous orbit in order to calibrate the signals they use to locate points on Earth.
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Offline gonegolfing

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Re: Dating the Gospels
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2012, 09:43:27 AM »

The easiest way I can see to begin approaching this video is to date these gospels. He dated them earlier than the usual 70 AD, or the destruction of the temple. How do we normally date the gospels and where do they reference this destruction?


Many thanks!

In general, one can only be astonished and saddened by the current frenzy in our world with which religionists are trying to prove the god idea and their respective holy books, to be authentic.

Who in their right mind, would ever believe that by dating an ancient book and confirming its author, at the same time confirms the truth of the content of said book !! ??

Why would anyone trust a book to be completely true that has not one single extensive contemporary document or book of support from the more than 2 dozen known historical writers of the early 1st. century ??

How do multiple writers completely miss the life and ministry of the supposedly most popular and influential character in all of history, and not one of them journeys to investigate, and none of them witnesses with their own eyes, the tremendous events that were claimed to have been done by the powerful man ??  How is it that this group of contemporaries somehow neglect to inform the world of a man whose fame was throughout the land and was worthy of their time and efforts to construct multiple volumes of text that could verify this individual and his life and works ??

When would an entire group of historians ever neglect to thoroughly investigate a miracle worker ??

But no, none of it is to be found.

But of course, the rational mind is concerned only about where jesus is today. Where are his works today ? Where is his power demonstrated today ? If jesus is alive, as the gospels say he is, then where is he or his presence to be found ?

The ancient Testament promises that jesus is alive, as we speak, and that his miraculous works and power will be evident for us to see, and even more-so than in his own era ......Then where are they ?? ......... let the mental acrobatic games begin !  ;)   
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