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Author Topic: "Who wrote the New Testament?" book  (Read 446 times) Average Rating: 0
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AustralianDiaspora
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« on: January 30, 2013, 03:33:48 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-New-Testament-Christian/dp/0060655186

Has anyone read this or knows anything about it?

Personally, I am generally dubious of works like this which seem to pop up from time to time, espousing some supposed scandal or another. I am no expert by any means but I find it so hard to believe that Christianity could continue the way it has for so many, many years and no one else (particularly Priests and monks/nuns) would've had the same ideas from their own studies.

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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 04:52:59 PM »

Don't you know? The Church has been working frantically throughout the ages to hide some big conspiracy from us that will redefine humanity as we know it. And it wasn't until heroes like Dan Brown and Brad Meltzer came in the 20th century to enlighten our minds to the truth that Jesus Christ was half alien, had a homosexual relationship with St. John and a fling with Mary Magdalene and joined the Freemasons, and that, once we have been made aware the truth, we will all rise to a higher gnosis as humans  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 05:08:36 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-New-Testament-Christian/dp/0060655186

Has anyone read this or knows anything about it?

Personally, I am generally dubious of works like this which seem to pop up from time to time, espousing some supposed scandal or another. I am no expert by any means but I find it so hard to believe that Christianity could continue the way it has for so many, many years and no one else (particularly Priests and monks/nuns) would've had the same ideas from their own studies.



Books like the one by Burton Mack are all over the place and reflect the spirit of rebellion that marks most modern Biblical scholarship. The current guru is an American professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bart Ehrman, who is in turn a disciple of the German theologian Walter Bauer (1977-1960). Basically, this school of writers think that early Christians were a very diverse bunch and that orthodoxy was imposed on them. I recommend that you read the following debunking of this theory by two Evangelical theologians, who incidentally have a very high regard for Fr. John Behr, the Dean of the Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary:

"The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity" by
Andreas J. Kostenberger and Michael J. Kruger. Paperback and Kindle editions.

The following review sums it up: ""The Heresy of Orthodoxy will help many to make sense of what is happening in early Christian studies today. It explains, critiques, and provides an alternative to, the so-called 'Bauer Thesis,' an approach which undergirds a large segment of scholarship on early Christianity. The 'doctrine' that Christianity before the fourth century was but a seething mass of diverse and competing factions, with no theological center which could claim historical continuity with Jesus and his apostles, has become the new 'orthodoxy' for many. The authors of this book do more than expose the faults of this doctrine, they point the way to a better foundation for early Christian studies, focusing on the cornerstone issues of the canon and the text of the New Testament. Chapter 8, which demonstrates how one scholar's highly-publicized twist on New Testament textual criticism only tightens the tourniquet on his own views, is alone worth the price of the book. Köstenberger and Kruger have done the Christian reading public a real service."
—Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 05:17:04 PM »

I read about half of it, though that was half a dozen years ago and I don't remember much from it. My general impression of it was negative, even though I was agnostic at the time and generally open to his point of view. I also remember finding it quite boring. If it's of any interest, here are some books on Scripture that I've read that I remember enjoying (or getting something out of):

Orthodox
The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective, Vol. 1: Scripture, Tradition, Hermeneutics, by Fr. Theodore G. Stylianopoulos. A good, fairly popular-level introduction to the subject(s).

Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church, by Fr. John Breck. Another good introduction, though he focused a bit too much on the chiasmus idea for my own tastes.

Scripture and Tradition, Archbp. Chrysostomos and Bp. Auxentios. The best introduction I've read from an Orthodox perspective, but sadly also by far the shortest.

Whose Bible Is It?: A Short History of the Scriptures, by Jaroslav Pelikan. Very popular-level overview of various topics related to Scriptural canonicity and claims.

Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, by Georges Florovsky. Scholarly and insightful, but perhaps straying a bit too far from what you're after.

Non-Orthodox
The Canon of Scripture, by F. F. Bruce. Pretty much about what the title says.

Holy Writings, Sacred Text: The Canon of Early Christianity, by John Barton. Probably my favorite book that details the early development of the canon, even if it is by a non-Orthodox author.

An Introduction to the Apocrypha, by Bruce M. Metzger. A popular level introduction to most of the deuterocanonical books.

Debate About the Bible: Inerrancy Versus Infallibility, by Stephen T. Davis. If memory serves, Davis argues for a distinction between the terms infallibility and inerrancy, and then argues that the Bible is infallible but not inerrant.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 05:18:09 PM by Asteriktos » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 05:18:58 PM »

A writer with skill and talent.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 05:19:44 PM by WPM » Logged
AustralianDiaspora
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 05:33:23 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-New-Testament-Christian/dp/0060655186

Has anyone read this or knows anything about it?

Personally, I am generally dubious of works like this which seem to pop up from time to time, espousing some supposed scandal or another. I am no expert by any means but I find it so hard to believe that Christianity could continue the way it has for so many, many years and no one else (particularly Priests and monks/nuns) would've had the same ideas from their own studies.



Books like the one by Burton Mack are all over the place and reflect the spirit of rebellion that marks most modern Biblical scholarship. The current guru is an American professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bart Ehrman, who is in turn a disciple of the German theologian Walter Bauer (1977-1960). Basically, this school of writers think that early Christians were a very diverse bunch and that orthodoxy was imposed on them. I recommend that you read the following debunking of this theory by two Evangelical theologians, who incidentally have a very high regard for Fr. John Behr, the Dean of the Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary:

"The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity" by
Andreas J. Kostenberger and Michael J. Kruger. Paperback and Kindle editions.

The following review sums it up: ""The Heresy of Orthodoxy will help many to make sense of what is happening in early Christian studies today. It explains, critiques, and provides an alternative to, the so-called 'Bauer Thesis,' an approach which undergirds a large segment of scholarship on early Christianity. The 'doctrine' that Christianity before the fourth century was but a seething mass of diverse and competing factions, with no theological center which could claim historical continuity with Jesus and his apostles, has become the new 'orthodoxy' for many. The authors of this book do more than expose the faults of this doctrine, they point the way to a better foundation for early Christian studies, focusing on the cornerstone issues of the canon and the text of the New Testament. Chapter 8, which demonstrates how one scholar's highly-publicized twist on New Testament textual criticism only tightens the tourniquet on his own views, is alone worth the price of the book. Köstenberger and Kruger have done the Christian reading public a real service."
—Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary
It's funny you should mention this as I just read a chapter about the history of Christianity from Howard Zinn's 'A People's History', which made the argument that Christianity was like many other 'cults' of it's time but was intentionally manipulated to have mass appeal. This is given as an explanation as to why the NT is seemingly contradictory, though his knowledge of Christianity is so below basic it's hard to take anything he says seriously. For example, he states that Orthodoxy 'minimizes the problem of where evil comes from and when pressed, says this just shows how God's understanding is so much greater than ours'. Apparently this self-appointed expert hasn't heard of The Fall of Man or 2000 years of theological insight which is freely available in writing to anyone who cares to read it! It was a shame too because the argument that Christianity has gone from being a radical albeit small movement to an altered philosophy for mass appeal has some merit especially if you apply it to Catholicism.
/end rant Tongue
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 05:34:19 PM by AustralianDiaspora » Logged

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AustralianDiaspora
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 05:38:32 PM »

I read about half of it, though that was half a dozen years ago and I don't remember much from it. My general impression of it was negative, even though I was agnostic at the time and generally open to his point of view. I also remember finding it quite boring. If it's of any interest, here are some books on Scripture that I've read that I remember enjoying (or getting something out of):

Orthodox
The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective, Vol. 1: Scripture, Tradition, Hermeneutics, by Fr. Theodore G. Stylianopoulos. A good, fairly popular-level introduction to the subject(s).

Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church, by Fr. John Breck. Another good introduction, though he focused a bit too much on the chiasmus idea for my own tastes.

Scripture and Tradition, Archbp. Chrysostomos and Bp. Auxentios. The best introduction I've read from an Orthodox perspective, but sadly also by far the shortest.

Whose Bible Is It?: A Short History of the Scriptures, by Jaroslav Pelikan. Very popular-level overview of various topics related to Scriptural canonicity and claims.

Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, by Georges Florovsky. Scholarly and insightful, but perhaps straying a bit too far from what you're after.

Non-Orthodox
The Canon of Scripture, by F. F. Bruce. Pretty much about what the title says.

Holy Writings, Sacred Text: The Canon of Early Christianity, by John Barton. Probably my favorite book that details the early development of the canon, even if it is by a non-Orthodox author.

An Introduction to the Apocrypha, by Bruce M. Metzger. A popular level introduction to most of the deuterocanonical books.

Debate About the Bible: Inerrancy Versus Infallibility, by Stephen T. Davis. If memory serves, Davis argues for a distinction between the terms infallibility and inerrancy, and then argues that the Bible is infallible but not inerrant.

Thank you for the recommendations! Are any of these books written by atheists? The reason I ask is that although I trust the work of the faithful more than that of atheists for obvious reasons, I don't want to deliberately avoid view points that differ from my own. What I find perplexing about athiesm these days though, is that these authors go to such a huge effort to disprove the religion they speak of. If they are so convinced, why bother? What is their motivation? Perhaps the non-Orthodox writers listed here are agnostic? Tongue
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 05:39:23 PM by AustralianDiaspora » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 05:51:20 PM »

That's understandable Smiley Regarding atheists and their motivations... maybe I'll let that one for another thread  Grin  But so far as I know, the authors were...

Fr. Theodore G. Stylianopoulos - Orthodox priest
Fr. John Breck - Orthodox priest
Archbp. Chrysostomos and Bp. Auxentios - Bishops in an old calendarist jurisdiction
Jaroslav Pelikan - Orthodox scholar (post-conversion)
Fr. Georges Florovsky - Orthodox priest
F. F. Bruce - Evangelical protestant
Fr. John Barton - Anglican priest
Bruce M. Metzger - Presbyterian minister
Stephen T. Davis - Evangelical protestant
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 08:54:08 PM »

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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 09:00:45 PM »

For example, he states that Orthodoxy 'minimizes the problem of where evil comes from and when pressed, says this just shows how God's understanding is so much greater than ours'. Apparently this self-appointed expert hasn't heard of The Fall of Man or 2000 years of theological insight which is freely available in writing to anyone who cares to read it!

I've read "a lot of it" and frankly he is rather correct on the matter.

I would like to know what satisfying account for the "problem of evil" you have found.

Really I don't find it to be a problem as such, but I also don't bring a lot of the same assumptions to the table that many of the weak apologists I've read do.
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 09:28:21 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-New-Testament-Christian/dp/0060655186

Has anyone read this or knows anything about it?

Personally, I am generally dubious of works like this which seem to pop up from time to time, espousing some supposed scandal or another. I am no expert by any means but I find it so hard to believe that Christianity could continue the way it has for so many, many years and no one else (particularly Priests and monks/nuns) would've had the same ideas from their own studies.



Books like the one by Burton Mack are all over the place and reflect the spirit of rebellion that marks most modern Biblical scholarship. The current guru is an American professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bart Ehrman, who is in turn a disciple of the German theologian Walter Bauer (1977-1960). Basically, this school of writers think that early Christians were a very diverse bunch and that orthodoxy was imposed on them. I recommend that you read the following debunking of this theory by two Evangelical theologians, who incidentally have a very high regard for Fr. John Behr, the Dean of the Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary:

"The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity" by
Andreas J. Kostenberger and Michael J. Kruger. Paperback and Kindle editions.

The following review sums it up: ""The Heresy of Orthodoxy will help many to make sense of what is happening in early Christian studies today. It explains, critiques, and provides an alternative to, the so-called 'Bauer Thesis,' an approach which undergirds a large segment of scholarship on early Christianity. The 'doctrine' that Christianity before the fourth century was but a seething mass of diverse and competing factions, with no theological center which could claim historical continuity with Jesus and his apostles, has become the new 'orthodoxy' for many. The authors of this book do more than expose the faults of this doctrine, they point the way to a better foundation for early Christian studies, focusing on the cornerstone issues of the canon and the text of the New Testament. Chapter 8, which demonstrates how one scholar's highly-publicized twist on New Testament textual criticism only tightens the tourniquet on his own views, is alone worth the price of the book. Köstenberger and Kruger have done the Christian reading public a real service."
—Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary
It's funny you should mention this as I just read a chapter about the history of Christianity from Howard Zinn's 'A People's History', which made the argument that Christianity was like many other 'cults' of it's time but was intentionally manipulated to have mass appeal. This is given as an explanation as to why the NT is seemingly contradictory, though his knowledge of Christianity is so below basic it's hard to take anything he says seriously. For example, he states that Orthodoxy 'minimizes the problem of where evil comes from and when pressed, says this just shows how God's understanding is so much greater than ours'. Apparently this self-appointed expert hasn't heard of The Fall of Man or 2000 years of theological insight which is freely available in writing to anyone who cares to read it! It was a shame too because the argument that Christianity has gone from being a radical albeit small movement to an altered philosophy for mass appeal has some merit especially if you apply it to Catholicism.
/end rant Tongue

Howard Zinn is not a good source on Christianity, let alone history in general. It would be fair to say that he was  a leftist ideologue, who described himself as ""something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist",[54]

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Zinn#Socialism
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AustralianDiaspora
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 04:07:42 AM »

For example, he states that Orthodoxy 'minimizes the problem of where evil comes from and when pressed, says this just shows how God's understanding is so much greater than ours'. Apparently this self-appointed expert hasn't heard of The Fall of Man or 2000 years of theological insight which is freely available in writing to anyone who cares to read it!

I've read "a lot of it" and frankly he is rather correct on the matter.

I would like to know what satisfying account for the "problem of evil" you have found.

Really I don't find it to be a problem as such, but I also don't bring a lot of the same assumptions to the table that many of the weak apologists I've read do.
Anything you find regarding The Fall of Man will contain an examination of the cause of evil. Whether or not you find the current beliefs and ideas satisfactory doesn't change the fact that they exist, and you would be hard pressed to find any collections of works written by a Saint that didn't contain their own unique insights. Howard Zinn suggested that this issue isn't dealt with at all whereas I would argue that it is at the heart of our theology.
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 04:08:54 AM »

Howard Zinn is not a good source on Christianity, let alone history in general. It would be fair to say that he was  a leftist ideologue, who described himself as ""something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist",[54]

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Zinn#Socialism
I thought the name was familiar  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 04:10:28 AM »


LOL!! <3 this meme!
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2013, 09:50:52 AM »

For example, he states that Orthodoxy 'minimizes the problem of where evil comes from and when pressed, says this just shows how God's understanding is so much greater than ours'. Apparently this self-appointed expert hasn't heard of The Fall of Man or 2000 years of theological insight which is freely available in writing to anyone who cares to read it!

I've read "a lot of it" and frankly he is rather correct on the matter.

I would like to know what satisfying account for the "problem of evil" you have found.

Really I don't find it to be a problem as such, but I also don't bring a lot of the same assumptions to the table that many of the weak apologists I've read do.
Anything you find regarding The Fall of Man will contain an examination of the cause of evil. Whether or not you find the current beliefs and ideas satisfactory doesn't change the fact that they exist, and you would be hard pressed to find any collections of works written by a Saint that didn't contain their own unique insights. Howard Zinn suggested that this issue isn't dealt with at all whereas I would argue that it is at the heart of our theology.

Your statements stand in some contradiction. Either he said the issue isn't dealt with at all or that the problem is minimized and that is boils down to God's understanding being greater than ours.

Again, I ask which account of the problem of evil do you find satisfying within the tradition? It's OK if you don't have one. But I wouldn't suggest others to be foolish for not having found one either.
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AustralianDiaspora
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 01:29:22 PM »

For example, he states that Orthodoxy 'minimizes the problem of where evil comes from and when pressed, says this just shows how God's understanding is so much greater than ours'. Apparently this self-appointed expert hasn't heard of The Fall of Man or 2000 years of theological insight which is freely available in writing to anyone who cares to read it!

I've read "a lot of it" and frankly he is rather correct on the matter.

I would like to know what satisfying account for the "problem of evil" you have found.

Really I don't find it to be a problem as such, but I also don't bring a lot of the same assumptions to the table that many of the weak apologists I've read do.
Anything you find regarding The Fall of Man will contain an examination of the cause of evil. Whether or not you find the current beliefs and ideas satisfactory doesn't change the fact that they exist, and you would be hard pressed to find any collections of works written by a Saint that didn't contain their own unique insights. Howard Zinn suggested that this issue isn't dealt with at all whereas I would argue that it is at the heart of our theology.

Your statements stand in some contradiction. Either he said the issue isn't dealt with at all or that the problem is minimized and that is boils down to God's understanding being greater than ours.

Again, I ask which account of the problem of evil do you find satisfying within the tradition? It's OK if you don't have one. But I wouldn't suggest others to be foolish for not having found one either.
You're misconstruing what I said.

Howard Zin states that the Orthodox only deal with the concept of the origin of sin by the following;

- Ignoring it, and when that doesn't work
- stating that this simply shows how little we know in comparison to God.

There is no contradiction. He says the issue isn't dealt with AT ALL apart from to dismiss it by saying, "God knows, we don't", which is to say not dealing with it in any real, meaningful way. Perhaps the problem you're having is semantic, but this is pretty clear. Re-reading your post I suspect that is exactly what this is, and I wonder what the value of semantic arguments even is when the point I was making is pretty clear.

And how does Orthodoxy actually deal with the origin of Sin? The most obvious starting place is The Fall of Man, which as I already said, is central to Orthodox theology.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 01:31:38 PM by AustralianDiaspora » Logged

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