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HolyGround >> Historical Jesus, New Testament studies


1/9/13 11:45 AM
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Ogami Itto
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Dammit, typed a big post and it got deleted somehow. So, FRAT version:

-Ever study historical Jesus and New Testament studies? I'm reading a lot on it now.

-Seems to me a lot of people that study this end up losing their faith, but for others it strengthens their faith.

-Still others go full Jesus Seminar, which is just stupid.

-But basically, I think when you study historical Jesus, Gospels and history a lot of people think, "Well I can't believe in the resurrection" but they will always have doubts, because they've never been able to kill this story through historical study - no alternate hypothesis to the resurrection quite fits.

-On the other hand, when you study it, you think, "Resurrection must be the most reasonable explanation" but you'll always have niggling doubts.

-Could be this is just one of those things.
1/9/13 11:46 AM
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Ogami Itto
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Am reading: Darrell Bock, Craig Evans, Luke Timothy Johnson.
1/9/13 6:57 PM
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Mortal
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Have you tried to read what has been written by people in the Jesus Seminar?
1/10/13 12:22 PM
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Ogami Itto
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Mortal - Have you tried to read what has been written by people in the Jesus Seminar?

Yes. I'm an armchair scholar and even I can see how bad the scholarship is. Am reading a fantastic book right now by Luke Timothy Johnson excoriating the Seminar.
1/15/13 5:15 PM
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zealot66
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Do not discout John Dominic Crossan's work, the Historical Jesus.

1/15/13 5:28 PM
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Ogami Itto
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zealot66 - 

Do not discout John Dominic Crossan's work, the Historical Jesus.


Luke Timothy Johnson, William Lane Craig, Darrel Bock, would disagree with you.
1/16/13 3:40 PM
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zealot66
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I don't really care what any of them have convinced themselves of including Crossan. I find that Crossans work that I referred to was one of the best books I've read concerning putting Jesus in the socio political context of the first century. I've been at this game for 20 years and I will tell you that these things boil down to issues of faith. Give me facts, I'll decided what my religious commitments will be. You really need to read both spectrums to get an idea of what you are talking about and reading one book by the 'opposition' doesn't do it. 

And notice I didn't mention the rest of the Jesus seminar most of whom are more interested in finding a place to be relevant in scholarship rather than searching for the truth. I don't find that so much with Crossan, especially after reading his biography. 

1/16/13 6:46 PM
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zealot66
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Also, I want to qualify something about these scholars. Is each one has a special angle. Mr. Johnson may have similar interests such as the political social situation of the first century like Crosson but the approach it and highlight things in a different way. I have a degree in Ancient History and I built my program around early Christianity so that was my starting point to really be able to read these scholars and understand what they are doing and how they research and what 'trajectories' they take. 

I hate to sound snobbish because I'm not, I'm just honest. Unless you are literate in biblical scholarship and devote alot of time to basics all they way up you are studying a book in a vacuum. I think a good person who can intermingle with both crowds is NT Wright mainly because he was also a minister.

1/16/13 8:43 PM
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Ogami Itto
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Isn't Crosson the guy that insists Jesus' body was eaten by dogs?

The Jesus Seminar represents a very small, fringe body of New Testament scholarship. If I wanted to read more widely in the field I wouldn't continue there.
1/16/13 8:44 PM
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Ogami Itto
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But, I apologize, I do appreciate your input and would love to hear anything you have to say.
1/17/13 9:47 AM
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770mdm
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Unless you are literate in biblical scholarship and devote alot of time to basics all they way up you are studying a book in a vacuum.

Agreed! Phone Post
1/17/13 4:56 PM
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zealot66
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Edited: 01/17/13 7:39 PM
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770mdm -  Unless you are literate in biblical scholarship and devote alot of time to basics all they way up you are studying a book in a vacuum.

Agreed! Phone Post

 

Again, taking one piece of what Crossann believes 'might have happened' is to not look at the exposition of Jesus's life. Crossan pulls heavily from Josephus , whom I studied for about 5 years, and paints the setting in which Jesus and contemporaries like John the Baptist grew up and into. 

 

Where 'true believers' go wrong is that they find something that reinforces their beliefs and do not delve into the field itself. The Historical Jesus field is a whole discipline in and of itself. If you just pick and choose what you want to read for self edification in views you already believe, then that works for you but it isn't serious attempt at scholarship, neither is taking someone elses critique of another individaul. You have to read for yourself. Are you willing to put in the time to study Greek, extra biblical studies, the church fathers, roman literature from the time period, the Mcabees, Apocalyptic literature from the time, (Not just Revelation) etc.

These brilliant evangelical scholars are making money and finding stardom as scholars because they are preying on empty minded people. When simply biblically educated people read something scholarly and heady, they find some kind of fufillment as a psuedo intellectual,

But I wouldn't start there either, I've been down that road......

And FWIW, no amount of these brilliant evangelicals can come up with one shred of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ nor can any straight faced scholar tell you that all the stories don't contradict each other much less the Gospels. Don't worry, I know the arguments on both sides and I'm not moved. There are contradictions that could make the historical credibility of the Gospels crumble as bona fide historical documents in the manner that we view history. That is why there are the synoptics and Oh, Johannine studies. We'll leave that out of our study of the Gospels. The simple reason and Crossan does and excellent job of explaining that Christianity is a religion of faith. There is the Jesus of Nazareth that we can glean history from and the Jesus Christ that the church has come to believe in. The Christ of faith. Perhaps it was meant way. No matter how you slice it, all the scholarhsip aside, evangelicals reside on faith in the resurrection. Others, find a beautiful faith in Jesus as he presents himself to us through history. 

Think about this, what is the difference between Jesus and Buddha if there is no crucifiction or resurrection. Christians have to have a risen saviour to distinguish between other religious teachers.  Some are happy where things are. You may not undertand it but I am not bound to understand evangelicals faith either.

1/17/13 4:59 PM
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zealot66
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Oh and the reason that the 'Jesus Seminar' is a tiny seciton of the NT study field ( I do not think that most of them are any thing but spectacles trying to cash in on theories just like people searching for the holy grail come out of the woodwork about every 15-25 years ). 

The reason they represent a small section of NT scholarship is the overwhelming majority of people who dedicate themselves to biblical studies are evangelical christians. 

1/17/13 10:29 PM
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Ogami Itto
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So, I haven't read one book. I just listed, what, four authors? I'm into several books now. Even so, I don't think I'm going to take up Greek. If you think that disqualifies me from having a well-formed opinion, I don't know what to tell you. And by the way I don't think most of the authors I am reading count as evangelicals, or perhaps not the way you think of them. I think the authors I am reading have made a very good assessment of the Jesus Seminar's methods. As someone who had studied history himself but not specialized in New Testament studies I agree, the Seminar's methods are not good history. But I guess since I don't read Greek I can't contribute to this discussion? Shouldn't have made the thread in the first place?
1/17/13 10:41 PM
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RoidsGracie
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zealot66 - 

Oh and the reason that the 'Jesus Seminar' is a tiny seciton of the NT study field ( I do not think that most of them are any thing but spectacles trying to cash in on theories just like people searching for the holy grail come out of the woodwork about every 15-25 years ). 

The reason they represent a small section of NT scholarship is the overwhelming majority of people who dedicate themselves to biblical studies are evangelical christians. 


I always got the feeling that most academics in religion departments at universities were actually atheists and agnostics - people who at one point who had faith but lost it. However they were so deep into their Biblical studies they had to somehow make a living from it so they ended up getting positions at universities that were either secular or only had a vestigial tie to a denomination. I'm thinking of guys like Robert Price and Bart Ehrman.
1/18/13 6:15 PM
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zealot66
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Ito, you are more than qualified to have an opinion but what I was trying to illustrate is the depth to which this subject goes. Its much beyond what appears on the surface. It takes years to take it all in. And good for you that you are doing it. It did alot for me. Just don't be too flattered or attached to an opinion based on reading a couple of books, be prepared to dig in.

1/21/13 4:09 PM
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figure four
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Jesus is not God.
1/21/13 4:39 PM
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Ogami Itto
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zealot66 - 

Ito, you are more than qualified to have an opinion but what I was trying to illustrate is the depth to which this subject goes. Its much beyond what appears on the surface. It takes years to take it all in. And good for you that you are doing it. It did alot for me. Just don't be too flattered or attached to an opinion based on reading a couple of books, be prepared to dig in.


Right on. Sorry to get on my hind legs. Well, that's where I was going with my OP. It seems to me a lot of academics or lay people that get into study of the historicness of Jesus end up with a complicated faith, probably because they learn in depth all the ways the messages from the first century can get screwed up, and how fallible were the people involved (what Gracie was describing). I really think most of the Jesus Seminar is poorly done history after reading critiques of it (Johnson, Wright, Craig, Wills, Evans). But the Seminar is only one vestige of this type of scholarship.

Johnson is the guy that most interests me right now. I'm into his 12-lecture series on Paul from The Great Courses and will tackle his interpretation of the New Testament next. I will put some effort into Crosson per your recommendation.
1/21/13 6:50 PM
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zealot66
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Nah, you arent on your hind legs, its just a subject I spent a lot of time and years with. Its a really exciting thing to get into because you wont hear sermons or many preachers sharing this kind of info with its church. Which is a shame and really repels me from wasting my time at church when I feel like I'm in kindergarten learning stories about big bird and stuff.

Now THAT soounds arrogant I know but if I am going to spend my time at church, the teacher better be able to teach me something. I live a moral life so there isn't any secret sin or way of life that he is going to redeem me from. You try to discuss this type of stuff and you get blank stares. I was part of a mens group several years ago and I tried to discuss some stuff and was accused of being on a theological hobby horse. I gave up at that point because the reality is it was over their head and nothing they wanted anything to do with. They were talking about beinga  better man. But really,

If you proclaim the faith of Jesus Christ, wouldn't you want to know about him. Its an epidemic of low information voters , christians, parents etc. I won't be chastised by leaders in a church who think that I am going down the wrong road by studying Jesus or the NT in a scholarly way because just like elections, it has consequences. Most people like to live in ignorance because it makes life easy. Kudo's to you for taking that extra step in learning about the man you proclaim to follow.. 

1/21/13 8:26 PM
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Ogami Itto
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So, Zealot, in terms of your view of Jesus, where are you in his divinity? Do you believe in, say, a de-mythologized Jesus, a prophetic Jesus, a divine Jesus, a "we just don't know" Jesus? Personally, after wading into some of this stuff I am starting to be of the opinion that if I'm in a pew next to a guy that thinks Jesus was not God but is still trying to follow Jesus, that guy is my Christian brother even though I may disagree with his Christology.
1/25/13 5:30 PM
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zealot66
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I would probably fall into the category of the guy next to you in the pew. It's not that I don't believe in the divinity Jesus, Its that I don't understand what that means, we admit that the trinity is a mystery, how am I supposed to affirmatively understand it ? Besides Buddhism, which I believe is more of a philosophy than a religion, I have no other faith and am not looking for one. The Divinity of Jesus? The conversation remains ongoing.

2/13/13 10:00 AM
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boooring
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zealot66 - 

I don't really care what any of them have convinced themselves of including Crossan. I find that Crossans work that I referred to was one of the best books I've read concerning putting Jesus in the socio political context of the first century. I've been at this game for 20 years and I will tell you that these things boil down to issues of faith. Give me facts, I'll decided what my religious commitments will be. You really need to read both spectrums to get an idea of what you are talking about and reading one book by the 'opposition' doesn't do it. 

And notice I didn't mention the rest of the Jesus seminar most of whom are more interested in finding a place to be relevant in scholarship rather than searching for the truth. I don't find that so much with Crossan, especially after reading his biography. 


http://www.amazon.com/Will-Real-Jesus-Please-Stand/dp/0801021758

2/13/13 10:01 AM
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boooring
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw9jvJp_nAo

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