Author Topic: Embarrassment  (Read 944 times)

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Offline Shiny

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Embarrassment
« on: September 25, 2011, 03:46:54 AM »
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The criterion of embarrassment, also known as the "criterion of dissimilarity", is an analytical tool that Biblical scholars use in assessing whether the New Testament accounts of Jesus' actions and words are historically accurate. Simply put, trust the embarrassing material. If something is awkward for an author to say and he does anyway, it is more likely to be true.[30]

The essence of the criterion of embarrassment is that the Early Church would hardly have gone out of its way to "create" or "falsify" historical material that only embarrassed its author or weakened its position in arguments with opponents. Rather, embarrassing material coming from Jesus would naturally be either suppressed or softened in later stages of the Gospel tradition, and often such progressive suppression or softening can be traced through the Gospels.

The evolution of the depiction of the Baptism of Jesus exhibits the criterion of embarrassment. In the Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus is but a man (see Adoptionism) submitting to another man for the forgiveness of the "sin of ignorance" (a lesser sin but sin nonetheless). Matthew's description of the Baptism, adds John's statement to Jesus: "I should be baptized by you", attempting to do away with the embarrassment of John baptising Jesus, implying his seniority and the entrance of Jesus into his cult. Similarly it resolves the embarrassment of Jesus undergoing baptism "for the forgiveness of sin," the purpose of John's baptising in Mark, by omitting this phrase from John's proclamations. The Gospel of Luke says only that Jesus was baptized, without explicitly asserting that John performed the baptism. The Gospel of John goes further and simply omits the whole story of the Baptism. This might show a progression of the Evangelists attempting to explain away and then suppress a story that was seen as embarrassing to the early church.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_criticism

Interesting what to make of it? Especially the last bit.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 04:12:49 AM »
This is based on the Ebionites-were-the-real-Christians hypothesis that holds no water.
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Offline jewish voice

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 04:41:27 AM »
Wow who ever wrote this has no idea of history at all on Baptism

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2011, 04:45:10 AM »
The main problem I have with this kind of argument is that there was plenty of "embarrassing" stuff left in there. Why not take out the stuff about Jesus praying to God before the betrayal? Or continually depicting the disciples as dense? Or Jesus name calling and losing his temper? And so forth. If they were gonna try to clean things up, why didn't they go the whole way? And if Christians were worried about explaining away embarrassing things, then why did they choose to include the earlier Gospels in the canon? If things are as the argument says, and Christians tried to rewrite the story to wipe away potentially embarrassing stuff, then why did they put the first version of the story right next to the supposedly modified ones?
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Offline JLatimer

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2011, 09:02:08 AM »
If it were an embarrassment, why would we commemorate it with one of the biggest feasts of the year?

And isn't the Crucifixion more "embarrassing"? But that's in all four Gospels.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 04:44:35 PM »
Wow who ever wrote this has no idea of history at all on Baptism

I am surprised you would say this...
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2011, 07:48:03 PM »
The main problem I have with this kind of argument is that there was plenty of "embarrassing" stuff left in there. Why not take out the stuff about Jesus praying to God before the betrayal? Or continually depicting the disciples as dense? Or Jesus name calling and losing his temper? And so forth. If they were gonna try to clean things up, why didn't they go the whole way? And if Christians were worried about explaining away embarrassing things, then why did they choose to include the earlier Gospels in the canon? If things are as the argument says, and Christians tried to rewrite the story to wipe away potentially embarrassing stuff, then why did they put the first version of the story right next to the supposedly modified ones?

Thread pwned.
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Offline mike

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 10:54:18 AM »
The Jewish off-topic was moved to the Religious Topics.
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Offline gzt

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Re: Embarrassment
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 12:07:44 PM »
I think you should take the conclusions with a grain of salt, but I think there is something to the argument when you're sorting through the Gospels vs non-canonical accounts. Consider, for instance, that a number of the non-canonical accounts say that Judas was switched with Jesus on the cross - and many Muslims hold to this account!