Sleeper, I truly appreciate you following up with me. Of course the Resurrection is a very important topic to discuss, anyway onwards...
Actually, it is known to be a hymn/creed precisely because it is not Pauline in its source. Did you even read what I wrote???
I spent a considerable part of yesterday reading every last word of what you wrote, and more than just that, I performed occasional background research along the way to help verify/understand your words before replying.
As far as whether your creed should be considered a source, it really seems irrelevant to the current discussion we are having (which you've already redefined, and I'll get to that momentarily). That is why I discussed it in a paragraph labeled "a side note", so at this point let's avoid a debate on the acceptance of oral tradition as a source via the historical method. You'll note I did say:
If I did count Mark and the creed, I would arrive at 8. What was the 9th?
I see no answer to this question. You seem very disinterested in clarifying your response to me.
Actually, I did not at any point say I wouldn't appeal to the New Testament...
Actually, at one point, which I quoted already, you did:
Did you miss the part where I said there is verifiable historical data that does not appeal to the Church or the New Testament?
It was at this point that I said:
Are you saying that the Bible is entirely absent from the argument? If this is true then let's hear your "verifiable historical data".
You ignored this question, while I continued to make it clear in my posts that I was personally interested in hearing the data you have found in all of your studies that does not appeal to either:
Here in this very thread he has just recently claimed that he found concrete, verifiable evidence that stands on its own outside of the Bible and of Church authority, but refuses to even give us a single such example.
You are the very one who himself just said in this very thread that there is verifiable, extra-Biblical evidence in support of the resurrection. I have said a couple of times now that if you presented any examples that held water you might gain some traction.
The reason I want to hear this kind of evidence is because it would stand apart from the usual arguments that ultimately rely on the New Testament as a non-fiction, fully verified source. Remember what I originally said in the first place? For starters, you will ultimately rely on a non-verifiable interpretation of scripture to justify your interpretation of scripture.
...but that I would be treating the New Testament as any other historical work from antiquity, granting only those passages that the vast majority of scholars would classify as "historically reliable." I'm not appealing to the authority of the Church nor to the New Testament as an inspired or somehow "special" document.
I think I'm the one who's missing something...
First, if any of your evidence relies in ANY way, uninspired, non-special, or otherwise, on the New Testament then (per all the above) you are not addressing my actual request.
Apparently you either didn't understand my real request, or you thought I wouldn't notice if you went ahead and redefined the discussion (moved the goal posts).
Nevertheless, moving on... Whenever you cite the New Testament as evidence for anything, you are necessarily regarding the cited portions as fact. So you do ascribe "specialness" to it -- the quality of being non-fiction. So when you tell me that these claims only require that I regard the Bible as a work of ancient literature, you are being disingenuous. These claims require that I regard the portions highlighted as being wholly factual.
If you'd care to back this assertion up, that would be nice.
Back what up, everything you already laid out for me yourself? Sure, why not? To whom do you turn in asking me to accept the relevant parts of scripture as fact?
1) Paul - An author of that very scripture! An eyewitness of his own visionary claim (which he curiously never bothered to describe in any detail himself), but only an indirect witness of the visions of the rest. "I saw a UFO, these other pals of mine say they did too!"
2) An oral creed - Taken from that very scripture (or do you have other record of it?)! Recorded by Paul! And what would it's ultimate source have been...the very pals Paul refers to!
3-6) Authors of Gospels - More authors of that very scripture! Who the majority of scholars today agree were not themselves the original eyewitnesses! More indirect reports of what Paul's pals believed!
7) Clement - More indirect reports of what the original eyewitnesses believed! From a guy who was allegedly ordained by one of them to propagate their beliefs!
Polycarp - Again with the indirect reports of what the original eyewitnesses believed! From another guy who, according to Irenaeus, was ordained by one of them to propagate their beliefs!
So you have one eyewitness, Paul, with his own agenda, who never even recorded the details of his experience firsthand. The only other ultimate source hiding behind the rest is the same group of original eyewitnesses whose own records of their accounts remain suspiciously absent from the New Testament. The rest are just people saying "uh huh, yep, I talked to them, they sure believed they saw somethin'!"
And yet you insist these are all "independent sources". Sources of what, repetition of hearsay? In that case, who cares?
And so, by these sources you ask me to accept that "they sure believed they saw somethin'!" Great, I can imagine that, now what? What they believed they saw, an actual description of it in their words, and when and in what order they saw it, is pretty important in my opinion, but you sweep all that under the rug and say it's not.All you think is important is that they thought they saw something and later endured strife because of it, which you claim means that their interpretation of what they saw must be so entirely true (yet we have none of them, save Paul, even giving us their interpretation directly) that we must call it "knowledge" and not "belief".
I'm not familiar with it, no. Do I need to make anything of it? I try to take things on a case by case basis, so I'm not sure what relevance this would have to the Resurrection...
The reason I wonder what you make of the Hopkinsville Goblins Case is that it is a more contemporary example of a situation which I immediately recalled as being similar to your Fact Two situation:
Similarities to the Resurrection story:
- Multiple eyewitnesses to an event they could only describe as otherworldly.
- Secondary sources (indirect witnesses) attesting to the fact that the eyewitnesses truly believed what they saw.
Differences from the Resurrection story:
- The original eyewitnesses have actually provided, in their own words, descriptions of what they saw.
From what I have read, there seems to be as much (actually, more) reason to believe they saw what they claimed than to believe what the disciples and Paul saw what they claimed. There seems to be far better definition of what it was they claimed to have seen. They certainly seem to have endured strife (but admittedly not death) for claiming it, yet continued to claim it. They seem to have "known it to be true".
I suppose I wonder, would you consider this "fact" equally as meaningful as your "Fact Two", or do you require death over belief for said belief to achieve apparent/relevant truthfulness? And, I wonder, if you did know about it, what you might offer as counterpoint against its truthfulness because then I might be able to better understand why you would place the disciple/Paul claims at a higher level of truthfulness. If you have no interest in reading about it I suppose these wonders will remain wonders.
At any rate, my logic was missed by you somehow, because again, you're asserting I claimed something that I didn't claim. I'm not saying we should believe the Resurrection because these people said they had experiences.
Again, you're missing my logic. I'm not demonstrating their belief for the reasons you think I am. Please, go back and read it again.
I did read it. And I read it again just now. Allow me to expand my previous quotation of your post:
Extreme acts do not validate the truth of their beliefs, but willingness to die indicates that they regard their beliefs as true. But there is an important difference between people like this and the Apostles. Modern martyrs act solely out of their trust in beliefs that others have taught them. The Apostles on the other hand, died for holding to their own testimony that they had personally seen the risen Jesus. Contemporary martyrs die for what they believe to be true. The Apostles died for what they knew to be true, from their own experience (whether true or false).
This seems to be what you spend the majority of Fact Two building up to! A distinction between strife resulting from belief in first-hand experience, and strife resulting from belief in in what others have said. You quite clearly imply this assigns additional truth to their beliefs (and yet you curiously continue to grant that what it was they experienced first-hand is vaguely defined and up for questioning).
If this is not the reason you think that granting their belief is an important, relevant fact, then what is the reason? I need clarification because I can't find it.
I've never researched the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. I'm not interested in it, so I don't think I ever will. It's pretty much irrelevant to the Resurrection. At any rate, I'm guessing the same logic would apply though. There is a difference between dying for something you believe and dying for something you know, even if it's true or not. I can die for my belief that the world will end tomorrow. That is not the same as dying because I saw the risen Christ.
It is not irrelevant to your argument for the resurrection
by any means. Are you at least aware that Joseph Smith claimed to have had first-hand, visionary, God-driven experiences on which his beliefs were founded? And that he endured much strife and was allegedly killed for adhering unflinchingly to those beliefs, according to the LDS church? If I replaced "Joseph Smith" with "Paul", and "LDS church" with "Orthodox church" in the above, there would be no difference. But yet I imagine you would tell me there is a difference because clearly you do not believe Smith's claims to be true while you do believe Paul's to be true. I'd like to know, for the record, what that difference is as you see it -- to help me understand the distinction you are trying to make between different types of martyrs.
I'm not speaking of the time that has lapsed from then until now.
Neither am I.
I'm speaking of the time that had lapsed from Jesus death/Resurrection to the time the Apostles made the claims.
I'm speaking of the time that lapsed from Jesus's death/resurrection to the time any pieces of it were recorded and accepted into the New Testament.
If you're implying that it's the claims of the Apostles themselves that have evolved over time, then I'd just have to hope you're comfortable going against the vast majority of scholarship on the subject. Again, I'm only allowing those pieces of data that have very wide support as historically authentic.
From what I have read, there is no wide scholarly support today, if you are truly including all biblical scholars, for the idea that the twelve apostles, or any of the others to experience visions before Paul, actually recorded their visions themselves (moreover, Paul never personally detailed the nature of his vision). Did Habermas claim as much? So I am implying that by the time anybody got around to writing it down (20...50...70...however many years later) there had been ample time for evolution of the supporting story--any amount of modification to the who/what/when/where of these visions could have occurred. You've shown no data nor logical thought process which opposes that proposition, that I can find. If you contend that you have you are going to have to clarify it for me.
How in the world is quoting the New Testament or a Church Father an "appeal to Church authority"? I'm not asking you to consider them because of their source. I'm asking you to consider them because a great deal of historical inquiry and research has been put into these sources and I'm only using that which finds a vast amount of support amongst historians.
When you cite the New Testament, you unavoidably ask me to accept some interpretation of the citation to be correct. The interpretation, and especially in these cases where you are counting up "independent sources", requires consideration of authorship. From what I can tell, your Church still holds the authorship conclusions of the Church fathers with respect to the gospels to have been correct, am I right? This, in the face of the majority of contemporary scholars who have concluded otherwise. If you tell me we can count authors of the evangelist gospels as eyewitnesses in the argument for Fact Two, you are thus appealing to Church authority, are you not? So, are you telling me that?
Still, maybe I have been loose with the term "authority" because of its special meaning in the phrase "argument from authority". But you have been loose with it as well--in the second assertion you made that contributed to my request (which I already quoted but will quote again here) you dropped the word altogether:
Did you miss the part where I said there is verifiable historical data that does not appeal to the Church or the New Testament?
As the Church fathers you mentioned were of course members of the Church and crucial in establishing its sense of authority, and since you seemed to equate "appeals to the Church" with "appeals to Church authority" yourself, perhaps you can forgive me for also equating them in my evaluation of your response.
Yet if we replace "authority" with "fathers" in my post it does not make any of your facts any more relevant to my original request for extra-Biblical, non-circular evidence because no fathers are anything other than indirect witnesses with their own agenda of establishing the church. The words you cited of theirs offer no new testimonies of the nature, sequence, or distribution of visionary experiences outside of the Bible -- just mere secondary parotting that experiences were had and beliefs were thus held.
In other words, what you're trying to do here is say, "Hey! You can't use that because I don't believe in the New Testament and the Church's authority means nothing to me!" And what I'm saying here is that you could go talk about these sources to the scholars who specialize in them and you'd basically get laughed at because their own research has overwhelmingly concluded that the information is historically authentic and reliable. If that means nothing to you then of course my line of reasoning isn't going to work. But you'd have bigger problems than that...
You have presented no evidence for Jesus’ resurrection except that which appeals to Church authority and the New Testament. Feel free to try again, or, if you like, revoke the original claim in question.
I'd actually like to ask you to try again because you so obviously did not follow my line of reasoning. How in the world you could finish reading that and think that I appealed to Church authority in any way, completely baffles me. But I also can't say I'm surprised.
What I've ultimately said, perhaps more clearly now, is that I don't see the relevance of these sources, or of your 5 facts supported by them, to proving the resurrection actually occured as described or interpreted by you. I stand by the conclusion that you have yet to offer any compelling extra-Biblical evidence for your interpretation.
As for your "miscellaneous" thoughts, if you were in any way actually interested in this topic, I'd refer you to the painstakingly researched "The Resurrection of the Son of God" by N.T. Wright. If you had any doubts that a literal, bodily resurrection was indeed the exact and only thing claimed by these people, they would be completely obliterated.
I'll investigate Wright's book and consider adding it to my reading queue (which I'll admit is pretty long, and which I seldom have time to progress through). Meanwhile here is a relevant portion of a review I just found (2nd search result in my search for the book) by Robert M. Price, whom I've come to admire a bit. Maybe you can read the quote and provide some counterpoint to help convince me to read your book.
Hopefully you don't find Price to be a "militant atheist" or I'm afraid you are going to have to belittle me again. By the way, I see you made no attempt to back up the accusations you made about me before, as I requested. I suppose now you will just use this post-accusation pasting exercise I am about to engage in as your sole example in support of those claims, but oh well.
Here is the relevant portion of Price's review:
Part of Wright’s agenda of harmonizing and de-fusing the evidence is to smother individual New Testament texts beneath a mass of theological synthesis derived from the Old Testament and from the outlines of Pauline theology in general. He is a victim of what James Barr long ago called the “Kittel mentality,” referring to the approach of Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, in which articles on individual New Testament terms and words synthesized from all uses of the term an artificial and systematic semantic structure, leading the reader to suppose that every individual usage of the word was an iceberg tip carrying with it implied reference to all other references. In other words, each article in the TDNT composed a “New Testament theology,” topic by topic. In just this manner, Wright first composes a streamlined Old Testament theology of historical and eschatological redemption (akin to that of Von Rad, without the latter’s understanding that much of it was based on fictive saga rather than history); then Wright synthesizes a Pauline Theology, then a New Testament theology, then an early Christian theology; and finally he insists that the synthetic resurrection concept he has distilled must control our reading of all individual gospel and Pauline texts dealing with the resurrection. In short, it is an elaborate exercise in harmonizing disparate data. The implications of 1 Corinthians 15, for example, with its talk of spiritual resurrection, are silenced as the text is muzzled, forbidden to say anything outside the party line Wright has constructed as “the biblical” teaching on the subject.http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/rev_ntwrong.htm
Your move Sleeper