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Author Topic: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why  (Read 12274 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 14, 2005, 09:19:56 PM »

Has anyone read this book by the head of the UNC-Chapel Hill Divinity school? The author, Bart Ehrman, was a "born-again Christian" turned agnostic, who spoke today on NPR (Fresh Air I think) about this book of his. Any thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2005, 04:08:45 PM »

Sounds a lot like the Jesus Seminar/"How Paul Invented Christianity"-type stuff.  I didn't hear the "Fresh Air" interview itself, but I did hear a couple of promos.  What really struck me was the wording used, which was something like, "Erhman tells how the Gospels were changed by scribes, sometimes accidentally, but other times deliberately."  Not "alleges that," but "tells how." Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2005, 04:20:02 PM »

Are yo referring to "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The effect of early Christological controversies on the text of the New Testament" by Ehrman (1993, Oxford)... or is this a new one?

I just picked up the one I listed, but haven't read it yet...
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2005, 05:18:43 PM »

No, the book's title is the one for this thread.  Here it is:   http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=8I2erCTC3z&isbn=0060738170&itm=1.  Looking at the description on B&N's website, it sounds a lot like typical modern criticism (Surprise!  The NT didn't fall out of the sky immediately after Pentecost!). Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2005, 06:24:11 PM »

Surprise!ÂÂ  The NT didn't fall out of the sky immediately after Pentecost!

What!? Are you serious!? Wink

But yes, from what I know of the book, this seems to be the issue. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the canon being developed by the Church, but someone taught otherwise may be schocked to the point that they give up their faith entirely, still stuck under the lie that such a truth is incompatable with Christianity.
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2005, 06:36:50 PM »

I haven't been able to find any kind of critical response to this book-- Google is overwhelmed by the people trying to sell it and by the author's appearance on Diane Rehm.

And it's more than the usual modern criticism. He's claiming that the text has been deliberately redacted to make it more compatible with the scribe's theological predelictions.
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2005, 06:47:45 PM »

And it's more than the usual modern criticism. He's claiming that the text has been deliberately redacted to make it more compatible with the scribe's theological predelictions.   

This seems to be the tenor of both the book I referenced and the book in the thread's title: that along the way scribes and theologians have changed the text in order to respond to theological debates, personal beliefs, or just general incompetence on the part of the copier.

Of course, since I haven't had a chance to read either one yet, I have yet to read his "proofs" or whatnot that he uses to back the claims up.  But serious scholarship like this requires us to read and critically address the book, instead of just dismissing it out of hand.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2005, 08:31:39 PM »

I agree that we shouldn't just dismiss its serious "charges."  My comment was based on some of the explanatory material on the B&N page, which didn't sound all that new or shocking (yes, yes, there are indeed variants readings of many texts).  But to say that a scribe made a typo is one thing; to say a scribe, or abbot, or bishop decided to change the wording in order for it to better fit a theological position is quite another.  Like I said in my first message, what struck me was the use of the word "tells," and not "alleges" in the "Fresh Air" promo piece.  It was presented as pure fact.

If a person starts from the premise that the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with the establishment of the NT canon, it's easy to go this direction.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2005, 08:48:26 PM »

Or that the Holy Spirit is ENTIRELY the author of the script.  Wasn't there a guy...Montanus...who said something like that...didn't they condemn him as a heretic in the 1st century...ok enough sarcasm.   Tongue WinkTongue Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2005, 01:40:36 PM »

A good critique (well, more of a clarification and explanation, really) of Ehrman's views can be found here. To sum up the most relevant point, even Ehrman is capable of admitting that the corruptions in question do not inhibit an accurate, reasonable, and objective re-construction and understanding of Apostolic Christianity i.e. Apostolic Christianity was certainly not irreversibly corrupted.

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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2005, 03:51:45 PM »

I do think the critique does a good job of approaching Ehrman's work.  I may just end up printing it up and having it beside me when I actually get down to reading Ehrman's book(s).

Thanks for the link EA.
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2006, 01:51:26 AM »

What the author fails to consider is that while the Greek text has changed over time, the Aramaic Peshitta has remained relatively unchanged and uncorrupted. Of course, one wouldn't expect too much from a Westerner in finding the original Eastern text.
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2006, 02:18:54 AM »

Yes, thank the goddess that we have easterners, and the holy spirit, to keep us on track. Oh look, there's an easterner being guided by the holy spirit right now!

"The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John; the Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke the Evangelist; seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul; the Revelation of John the Evangelist; the Canons of the holy apostles, by Clement." (emphasis mine) - John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4, 17

Gee, you'd think by the 8th century... . .

Anyway, the texts were changed by scribes. Anyone who says that they weren't are blowing hot air. Even John Chrysostom, Jerome, etc. discuss the fact that different texts say different things (e.g., the Fathers were aware that entire passages were in some manuscripts and not others). The Orthodox (e.g., the Orthodox Study Bible) sometimes attribute an error to Augustine because of a bad translation in Romans. Etc. etc.
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2006, 02:20:35 AM »

Orthodoxy is based on consensus rather than one particular church father.
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2006, 02:29:31 AM »

Is it now? And who determines what the concensus is? Majority rule? What the majority of Church Fathers say? Who determines who the Church Fathers are? What the Councils say? Who determines which Councils count, and what weight is given to each? Who determines which parts of each council is authoritative, and which part is merely opinion? Who determines who gets to determine this stuff, and how do you verify any of this.

How do you verify any of this.

How do you verify any of this?

You can't. You won't. It's the epistemological pitfall that Doubting Thomas has brought up more than once on this forum. It's the problem of circularity. It's especially the problem with dogmatism generally, and claims made by revealed religions. I don't expect too much from anyone Matthew, westerner or not. People, as a general rule, take the quickest intellectual route to their desired goal, caring very little for the truth. That's why people usually rationalize away any evidence against them, rather than thoughtfully considering it. As evidence of this, I submit your last two posts on this thread.


PS. What kind of God would let his bride/Church read a corrupted text, considering that the majority didn't have access to this supposedly-nearly-uncorrupt Peshitta? Oh yes, now I remember, the same God who would let entire parts of Europe live in semi-Arian "heresy" for hundreds of years. Thank goodness the part about the Gates of Hades only applied to those that it applied to, and not those it didn't!

PSS. I've only read one book by Bart.. it was engaging enough, though not particularly any more helpful than other books of the same type.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2006, 02:34:09 AM »

It's the problem of circularity.

It's the problem of whether or not you believe that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church to all truth.

That's why people usually rationalize away any evidence against them

This is what most Western scholars do in taking the Greek text for granted, rather than even considering the possibility that the Aramaic is the original.
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2006, 02:44:31 AM »

Is it now? And who determines what the concensus is?

Your spiritual father will tell you all you need to know. As long as he is in good standing with his bishop, and his bishop with the rest of the Church, there's no need to fret about Church doctrine.
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2006, 08:33:26 AM »

Your spiritual father will tell you all you need to know. As long as he is in good standing with his bishop, and his bishop with the rest of the Church, there's no need to fret about Church doctrine.

Good response.

Seems the Deceiver is rubbing his paws in glee thinking "I got another one!".

Even Mr. Spock finally had to admit that "Logic is only the beginning of Wisdom".

I can't fault Asterikos' agnosticism - I had my own years of it until He yanked me back to the True Path (and not too subtly either); felt like Saul of Tarsus, I did.
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2006, 10:40:27 AM »


This is what most Western scholars do in taking the Greek text for granted, rather than even considering the possibility that the Aramaic is the original.

The Church says the Greek is the original. There are puns in the text that are not possible in Aramaic.  The Greek text is the inspired text, and no other (that goes for the Old Testament, too).

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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2006, 12:01:14 PM »

I read his book Lost Christianities and found it very interesting. Based on that book, I don't feel that he is a "Jesus basher" at all. His findings basically show that Christianity and its theology evolved, and the Church directed that evolution. The Church decided what was truth and what was heresy. Don't all Orthodox agree with that?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195182499/sr=8-1/qid=1153756598/ref=sr_1_1/104-3458410-1156742?ie=UTF8
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2006, 02:08:50 PM »

I read his book Lost Christianities and found it very interesting. Based on that book, I don't feel that he is a "Jesus basher" at all. His findings basically show that Christianity and its theology evolved, and the Church directed that evolution. The Church decided what was truth and what was heresy. Don't all Orthodox agree with that?

Read other books of his and you'll find he believes that early Christianity had a mix of equally valid viewpoints before orthodoxy won out by sheer accident. In his Loeb edition of the apostolic fathers, he suggests that Marcion and the Gnostics were unfairly condemned.
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2006, 03:15:37 PM »

Even the Peshitta has Greek loan words, and untranslated Greek idiomatic phrases that 'don't play' so well in a Semitic language. And, the 'smoking gun' - the mass of Apostles and other Disciples with Greek names (the nerve it takes to write an entire culture, Helleno-Judaism, out of history though the witness and evidence is massive - particularly as it applies to Early Christianity!)

Of course, there is also the Jerusalem Center for the Study of the Synoptics, whose members have claimed the New Testament has a Hebrew source original for most of its books.

Peshitta - the 'simplified' text (a 3rd century East Syrian reordering and editing of texts for Babylon.)
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2006, 03:26:16 PM »

Read other books of his and you'll find he believes that early Christianity had a mix of equally valid viewpoints before orthodoxy won out by sheer accident.

And if you look at these viewpoints by the number of followers you will see that from an historic perspective he was correct. And reading his book certainly does not give one the idea that orthodoxy won out based uopn "sheer accident". He documents the specific attacks that were made on these other beliefs (many of them outright lies) to discredit them. There was a specific campaign by the Church to destry these beliefs. It was no accident.

In his Loeb edition of the apostolic fathers, he suggests that Marcion and the Gnostics were unfairly condemned.

They were. As I said above, many of the thing said/written against these "sects" were untrue - and the fathers knew that.

Christianity would be better off if a portion of Marcion was left in. The OT should have been completely rejected.


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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2006, 03:27:47 PM »

The Church says the Greek is the original.

"The Peshitta, lightly revised and with missing books added, is the standard Syriac Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syrian Catholic Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, the Mar Thoma Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshitta

Out of these, how many would hold that the Peshitta is the original text?

There are puns in the text that are not possible in Aramaic.ÂÂ  

There are puns in the text that are not possible in Greek. There are also mistranslations and split words due to the Aramaic's translation into Greek.
http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Peshitta_Dummies_FirstEd.pdf

The Greek text is the inspired text, and no other (that goes for the Old Testament, too).

Do you have evidence for such an assertion?

Peace.

(edited by Anastasios as a test to eradicate the nspb problem--no content was modified.)
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2006, 03:30:18 PM »

Do you have evidence for such an assertion?

Yes. In the back is written, "Hey! This is the real deal! With Love, God" .......in Greek!
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2006, 03:44:08 PM »

Quote
Do you have evidence for such an assertion?

No, that is just the common teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church. What you are asking is akin to asking, do you have any evidence that Orthodox accept prayer to Mary?  Look at the texts of the Church, they all come from the Septuagint, heck, even Jesus quoted from the Septuagint, the Septuagint is just what is used in the Orthodox Church, period.

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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2006, 03:59:36 PM »

No, that is just the common teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Appeal to authority.

Look at the texts of the Church, they all come from the Septuagint, heck, even Jesus quoted from the Septuagint, the Septuagint is just what is used in the Orthodox Church, period.

The Aramaic New Testament quotes the Aramaic Tanakh, not the Septuagint, and the Aramaic Tanakh was written before the Septuagint. 

The oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament is the Aramaic Peshitta:
"Among the treasures on view by the public when the renovated QCC Art Gallery reopens in October will be the Khaburis Codex. The Khaburis Manuscript, according to Reverend Deaconess Nancy Witt, PT, MSW, MSJ and Abbott Gerrit Crawford, PhD, MSJ of the Western-Rite Syrian Orthodox Church in America, is a copy of a second century New Testament, which was written in approximately 165 AD (internally documented as 100 years after the great persecution of the Christians by Nero, in 65 AD). Carbon dating has found this copy of the New Testament to be approximately 1,000 years old. Given its origins, this would make it a copy of the oldest known New Testament manuscript. It was scribed on lamb parchment and hand bound between olive wood covers adorned with gold clasps, hinges and corner-brackets. The scribe would have been in ancient Nineveh (present-day Mosul, Iraq), according to the Colophon signed by a bishop of the Church at Nineveh. In the Colophon, the bishop certified (with his inverted signature and seal) that the Khaburis was a faithful copy of the second century original. Of particular interest, is the fact that the Khaburis is written entirely in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus of Nazareth... "
http://www.qgazette.com/news/2004/0804/features/001.html

Peace.
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2006, 04:10:49 PM »

Quote
Appeal to authority.

Of course it is. That's how Christianity works.ÂÂ  We accept an authority and we appeal to it. This isn't a debate class or one where "scholarship" should come into play.

It would make sense that the Aramaic NT, which is a later translation, would nevertheless refer to Aramaic Tanakh.ÂÂ  It's the same thing as if I translated a work which featured biblical quotes into another language--I would refer to their most common translation and not make up my own to keep things consistent.

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« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2006, 04:29:43 PM »

Of course it is. That's how Christianity works.ÂÂ  We accept an authority and we appeal to it. This isn't a debate class or one where "scholarship" should come into play.

You should provide evidence to show that the Greek church is more reliable in its assessmant than the Syriac or another church.

It would make sense that the Aramaic NT, which is a later translation, would nevertheless refer to Aramaic Tanakh.ÂÂ  It's the same thing as if I translated a work which featured biblical quotes into another language--I would refer to their most common translation and not make up my own to keep things consistent.

One cannot use the Greek's quoting of the Greek as an argument if the Aramaic, the language which Jesus and the Apostles spoke, quotes the Aramaic.
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« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2006, 04:35:51 PM »

Anyway, the texts were changed by scribes. Anyone who says that they weren't are blowing hot air. Even John Chrysostom, Jerome, etc. discuss the fact that different texts say different things (e.g., the Fathers were aware that entire passages were in some manuscripts and not others). The Orthodox (e.g., the Orthodox Study Bible) sometimes attribute an error to Augustine because of a bad translation in Romans. Etc. etc.

Intriguing. Would it be possible if you could provide me with some quotes from the fathers you mention (St Chrysostom, Jerom, etc.) that would substantiate such a discussion over different texts/different things? I would greatly appreciate it.

Peace,
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« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2006, 04:39:13 PM »

There is no Aramaic Tanakh - you mean Aramaic Targums, which are a Judeo-Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament) which predates the Latin Vulgate translations from the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (as well as the Old Latin - which was direct from Greek LXX.) The notable issue with the Aramaic Targums (as with the Syriac traditions with the New Testament texts) is the free reign given to the 'translators' who combined, simplified, and often paraphrased rather than a literal translation. The Aramaic Targums, however, post-date the LXX (and of course, the postulated 'Old Greek' text). For that matter - our oldest Hebrew or Aramaic OT texts are newer than our oldest Greek texts (the Qumran/Dead Sea scrolls material points to a Hebrew tradition as well that bolsters the Greek translation, as well as texts that agree with neither the LXX nor the Masoretic/Targum tradition.) The Peshitta Old Testament texts are considered the *last* of the Old Testament texts to derive from the Hebrew (far younger than the Greek, and younger even than the Latin.)

For New Testament: the Khaburis Codex is not complete as it is missing 5 books found in the Western Syriac Peshitto. We have contemporary records from China that describe the list of books in the East Syriac Peshitta some three hundred years previous as having the full canon. Carbon dating has placed the Khaburis Codex at only about 1000 AD. However, the oldest New Testament fragments we have date to 125 AD, and are the Gospel of St. John in Greek (papyri from Egypt.) The dating of the vagantes mentioned in the article is a bit off. The Aramaic and Syriac texts *do* bear translated quotes from the LXX recension of the Old Testament, as well as Semitic approximations of Greek names born by the Apostles and other Disciples of Christ. We have Greek texts for every text of the New Testament by the year 300, many of them with older examples from Egyptian papyri (the Pauline Epistles no younger than 200 AD.) So, the claim for an East Syrian text as the oldest has little more than an appeal to authority by the Assyrian Church of the East (the same one's who claim Nestorius didn't influence them, though they pray a good part of the year with his anaphora.) I believe that there is only solid theory behind a Semitic language original for the Gospel of Matthew, and possibly the Epistle to the Hebrews (the latter most scholars don't agree with, and that the letter was composed to the majority Greek speaking Jews.)

As for the 'Aramaic puns' - what is read in this case is present in the Greek, as the Greek is rather a Judeo-Hellenic Greek - the Semitic turn of phrase is in the oral language, preserved literally in the new language (Greek), and recovered when paraphrased back into a Semitic language. Others (such as the gamal/gamla argument) aren't enough to base a theory of a complete 'pure Semitic' text for the whole New Testament. However, the political influence of the Persian Empire to be anti-Western (anti-Roman, anti-Greek, etc.) does offer an explanation as to the imperfect attempts to purge the East Syrian consciousness of the multi-lingual "border" quality of the 1st century Christians in Palestine - a situation which the Church in Jerusalem and environs retained through the days of the pilgrim Egeria, and possibly even after Theodore Balsamon. (How much modern anti-Establishment philosophy plays into this as well - being anti-Indo-European language is a sort of radical embracing of the 'common man', Marxist principles, "Black theology" and identification of Latin, Coptic, Greek and West Syriac as 'oppressor languages' and East Syriac as the 'oppressed language' - which probably explains the fascination with East Syriac Peshitta and Nestorian theology for post-hippie Middle Class Westerners.)

Greek, of course, is the 'other language' that Christ and his Apostles spoke. Only Judas Iscariot (being the lone Judaean) had the possibility of being a monolingual Aramaic speaker. Galilee, however, was a bastion of Hellenic speaking Judaism. Monolingual Jesus (and Apostles) is simply a bad theory (for that matter, we can be pretty sure Jesus also spoke Coptic besides Aramaic and Greek... and possibly even proto-Arabic and other languages.)
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« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2006, 10:33:55 PM »

There is no Aramaic Tanakh

For all practical purposes, I'd rather use the term "Tanakh" than "Old Testament."

"The earliest manuscript of this Syriac Vulgate is a Pentateuch dated A.D. 464; this is the earliest dated Biblical manuscripts; it is in the British Museum."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09627a.htm

The dating of the vagantes mentioned in the article is a bit off.

It seems that the date given, like that of the Turin Shroud, is dependent upon the personal bias of the observer.

The Aramaic and Syriac texts *do* bear translated quotes from the LXX recension of the Old Testament

Please give some examples.

As for the 'Aramaic puns' - what is read in this case is present in the Greek, as the Greek is rather a Judeo-Hellenic Greek - the Semitic turn of phrase is in the oral language, preserved literally in the new language (Greek), and recovered when paraphrased back into a Semitic language.

Are you familier with the examples given of Aramaic words that have been mistranslated in the Greek text?

Greek, of course, is the 'other language' that Christ and his Apostles spoke.

What evidence do we have that Jesus and the Apostles spoke fluent Greek? That seems to be taken for granted by the Western mind, but I would prefer hard evidence.
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« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2006, 10:57:58 PM »

You should provide evidence to show that the Greek church is more reliable in its assessmant than the Syriac or another church.

No. I don't feel like it. If you want to know the Eastern Orthodox position and why it is so, do some research (not on wikipedia or self-published material).  I don't have to defend commonly accepted teachings all the time.  If I did, discussion would be exceedingly difficult.

Quote
One cannot use the Greek's quoting of the Greek as an argument if the Aramaic, the language which Jesus and the Apostles spoke, quotes the Aramaic.

You're right on that point.

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« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2006, 12:32:20 AM »

Amazing...I have not missed much...well I'll have another Boston Lager...thank you !

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« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2006, 02:44:22 AM »

I don't have to defend commonly accepted teachings all the time.ÂÂ

I assume, that at some point, you have taken a class in logic. Furthermore, I would hope that though you are reluctant to provide evidence, you sought evidence in favor of the Eastern Orthodox position before accepting it.
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« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2006, 03:32:48 AM »

I assume, that at some point, you have taken a class in logic. Furthermore, I would hope that though you are reluctant to provide evidence, you sought evidence in favor of the Eastern Orthodox position before accepting it.

LOGIC?   Huh

I haven't read a lot of logic in your assertions either.
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« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2006, 08:11:24 AM »

I assume, that at some point, you have taken a class in logic. Furthermore, I would hope that though you are reluctant to provide evidence, you sought evidence in favor of the Eastern Orthodox position before accepting it.

I established in my mind that Orthodoxy was the true Faith using evidence. After that, I accepted all its precepts.  If I were engaging in scholarship, I would use footnotes.  I'm not. Besides, in a scholarly journal, if you write that Jesus lived in Palestine in a paper, you don't have to add a footnote--it's commonly accepted information.

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« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2006, 03:38:28 PM »

Speaking as the mathematician around here, I immediately start rolling my eyes when people start waving around these "accuracy" arguments. No variation in accuracy is enough to account for the sizable variations in theology that people like, oh, Bart Ehrman are trying to base on the variation.
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« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2006, 04:16:17 PM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7782.msg129028#msg129028 date=1153812768]
I haven't read a lot of logic in your assertions either.
[/quote]

It is logical to believe that a book written by Aramaic speakers, for Aramaic speakers, and about Aramaic speakers would be written in Aramaic.
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« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2006, 04:38:44 PM »

Ah, with such good Aramaic names like Phillip, Andrew, Peter, Didymus ... not to mention those like Aristobulus (the father of James and John). Three centuries of Greek civilization in Palestine, including Greek Jewish texts during that period - and only the Pharisees were known as puritans for Semitic language (and, it wasn't Christianity that descends from that group.)

Also - nothing practical about a neologism like "Aramaic Tanakh". We already use the term Tanakh solely for the Hebrew Scriptures. Tanakh is a Hebraism -  not an Aramaic term. Neither the Old Syriac Vulgate (more perfect than the East Syriac Peshitta), the Aramaic Targums, nor the East Syriac Peshitta are "Tanakh". If it isn't in Hebrew, it isn't a Tanakh.

And a side note about quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia - what one gets in that case is state of the art 19th c. English "zealous
convert" Roman Catholic polemic. Sure, much of it is reliable - for a century ago. The articles, however, are full of dismissals of evidence
in other cases, or value judgements without support. Go ahead, use the Catholic Encyclopedia - but one should always qualify - that article was written before the discovery of the Isaiah texts of Qumran (our oldest Old Testament texts, which agree with LXX), or the discovery 60 years ago of the oldest New Testament text - the Greek St. John papyri - P52 IIRC.)

And now to the heart of the matter.

The use of logical fallacies (themselves a product of the Greek disciplines of logic and rhetoric - Semitic philosophy is not so linear nor produced any such classifications) is applicable to academia and matters philosophical. However, it doesn't really apply to matters of belief. Some might want to call that a 'cop out" (which would be a "cop out" of their own in dealing with the bases of religion and faith.) What is the basis of religion? Revelation - a revealed thing is not something that can be deduced from logic, nor induced from observation. That quality of religion, Christian religion to be precise (which is True religion) is that it reflects God - it is something that must be revealed, as he is without Creation. Thus the importance of Tradition. The appeal to Tradition is the basis of religious belief and practice, as it is the only way that one may partake in a revealed thing - Tradition being the continuity of a revelation. Appeal to authority and appeal to Tradition are different things. Arguments over appeal to authority in religion make as much sense as appeal to Tradition in things not covered by revelation. Logic and rhetoric are not useful (or necessary) for the salvation of mankind. Same way the Revealed Tradition won't help one design embedded inertial dampers for rotary-wing blade lag damping. The sorriest approximations of Christianity are those based upon an attempt to derive their faith and praxis from philosophy (and its "appeal to authority" - cult following of academics and psuedo-academics like George Lamsa.)

However - in this case, in discussing Church History and Christian origins, the evidence is not of an pure Aramaic society later Hellenized. The evidence is for the society (Second Temple Judaism) already being multi-lingual and diverse in cultural/religious experience inside the "HaAretz Yisrael" before the birth of Early Christianity. This is the mainstream academic view as taught around the world (such as at the University of Durham.) It *also* happens to be that which has been passed down by the Church (which gives it authority and reliability.)
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« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2006, 04:49:02 PM »

It is logical to believe that a book written by Aramaic speakers, for Aramaic speakers, and about Aramaic speakers would be written in Aramaic.

But it would not be logical to believe that the book was written for Aramaic speakers! The books were written as tools for evangelism, after all, and therefore it would be natural for them to be written in Greek. There's even internal evidence of this.

It wouldn't hurt you, M777, to assume that other people might have considered your ideas and then rejected them.
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« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2006, 04:54:14 PM »

The books were written as tools for evangelism, after all, and therefore it would be natural for them to be written in Greek.

At the time, Aramaic was the standard language of the Middle East.

There's even internal evidence of this.

Please provide this internal evidence.
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« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2006, 05:04:02 PM »

Ah, with such good Aramaic names like Phillip, Andrew, Peter, Didymus ... not to mention those like Aristobulus (the father of James and John). Three centuries of Greek civilization in Palestine, including Greek Jewish texts during that period - and only the Pharisees were known as puritans for Semitic language (and, it wasn't Christianity that descends from that group.)

In the Aramaic, Jesus names Simon, "Kepa." As for the other names, it was common for Greek names to be used among non-Greek speaking people. Think of today, how Americans who don't understand a word of French will still give their children French names.

We already use the term Tanakh solely for the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Aramaic Old Testament is commonly referred to as the "Aramaic Peshitta" or "Peshitta Tanakh," even by translators.

However, it doesn't really apply to matters of belief.

Belief without evidence is delusion, even in matters of the spiritual. As Orthodox Christians, we believe in the Biblical God because of His incarnation in the historical person of Jesus Christ. Had Jesus not confirmed His power over death in the resurrection, and instead remained a lifeless corpse, we would have no reason to believe in Him.

This is the mainstream academic view as taught around the world (such as at the University of Durham.)

More specifically, in the Western world. It is taken for granted that in first-century Galilee, Jewish people spoke Greek. I would like actual evidence for such an assertion.
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« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2006, 05:05:51 PM »

And a side note about quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia - what one gets in that case is state of the art 19th c. English "zealous convert" Roman Catholic polemic. Sure, much of it is reliable - for a century ago. The articles, however, are full of dismissals of evidence in other cases, or value judgements without support. Go ahead, use the Catholic Encyclopedia - but one should always qualify - that article was written before the discovery of the Isaiah texts of Qumran (our oldest Old Testament texts, which agree with LXX), or the discovery 60 years ago of the oldest New Testament text - the Greek St. John papyri - P52 IIRC.)

I agree 100% with this evaluation of the CE-- plus it loves a show of erudition and is prone to discussing the fine points at length without addressing more basic (and often disputed) issues.

Saying that the DSS "agrees" with the LXX is a bit of an overstatement; most of the LXX's deviancies from the MT are just transaltion errors. But the pattern of LXX/DSS/MT variation does indicate that the LXX represents an earlier generation of Hebrew texts and is not just a tradition unto itself.

My recollection on the St. John papyri is that the 52AD date is rather extrapolative. They do however strongly support early dates. In any case the window for substantial modification of the gospel texts does not appear to be that large. I also wonder whether there is actually any evidence that anyone ever did signifcantly modify any such text. The one case I know about (the Secret Gospel of Mark) is widely thought to be a modern forgery.
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« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2006, 05:08:03 PM »

At the time, Aramaic was the standard language of the Middle East.

Of course, by that time Paul had been all over the empire, so that observation isn't germane.

Quote
Please provide this internal evidence.

Please. If you knew the bible at all, you would already be aware of the various spots at which the gospels include quotes from the Aramaic.
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