Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Curried Chicken

In my discussions with Jason he's argued that early Christians were men of high moral standards, and thus we can trust them with regards to certain claims (such as Irenaeus claims about the authorship of the gospels) though not other claims for some reason (such as that Jesus lived to his 50's or Papias claim that Judas head swelled to the width of a wagon trail).

I'm wont to intercede in your dispute with Jason. Jason can, and has successfully defended himself in the past. I'd add that the words of P.H. Mell to Reneau apply equally as well to you and your fellow skeptics. I'd take them to heart if I were you. So, I'll get the ball rolling as it were, here, and let Jason chime in when he has time. I have family in town I've not seen in ten years and a class, ironically, in Nicene Era church history to teach Thursday, so I really do have better things to do with my time this week.

Of course, these are not claims by Jason are not made in isolation. More importantly, Ergun Caner is a living person. Eusebius is dead. You need a historical reason to declare Eusebius "dishonest." All you have is the evidence of history and the analysis of generations of historians. We have our personal eyewitness experience of this saga. What's more, some of us know these parties personally and have been privy to some of what has transpired.

I've already dealt with, for example, Iraneus claim about the age of Jesus, and you simply discard it. Iranaeus said what he said against the backdrop of refuting Gnostics with a doctrine of the atonement we know as the recapitulation theory. What you see, therefore, there is a reflection of that. It is an error attributed to a particular interpretation of a text in John's Gospel and is a product of his overall atonement theory. We can also trace his motive for saying it.
You, by contrast, make broad claims about Eusebius' history based on prejudicial, acontextual quotes, translated by one particular (hostile) person. No, Mr. Curry, these are not remotely the same.

I understand that LU is either the largest evangelical university or maybe the largest Southern Baptist University. I also understand that Jason was raised E-Free, so I assume he generally accepts E-Free theology. I'm not aware of any substantial difference in theology between E-Free and Southern Baptist. If that's true that would mean that the main representatives of Jason's denomination in education are wholly dishonest men. That's my conclusion as I've followed the arguments between the Caner's and White/Ascol. If these men can be dishonest, all the while extolling virtuous concepts, then extolling virtuous concepts does not show you to be honest. Hence we should not assume that the early Christians had high moral standards. And I think it's pretty obvious that they weren't, with rampant forging of documents, rampant modification of copies of canonical texts for theological motives, and later improvements on the gospel story from Mark to Matthew, Luke, and John. You shouldn't assume on the basis of the fact that a person is a Christian that you are dealing with someone more likely to have high moral standards. I don't see it.

Wow, there's just so much here that's wrong.

LU is not a "Southern Baptist University," and its size means nothing. If you can't get this correct, then what trust should we have in anything else you write.? LU began as an independent university, sponsored by TRBC. It is not supported by Cooperative Program dollars. You will not find an allotment for it in the SBC budget. You may find an allotment for it in the odd local church budget of churches in certain states, notably Virginia. You may find a budget item for it in one of the 2 state conventions in VA. That would, at best, make it a VA Baptist university, but not for the whole state. That's a far, far cry from "the largest SBC university" or even "an SBC university." What's more, there are a great many state Baptist colleges and universities. They range along a continuum in size and what they teach.

EFree theology and SBC theology...Well, SBC theology is all over the map. I assume you think EFree is all over the map as well. That is, again, a pretty fundamental distinction you apparently are too lazy to study for yourself.

If that's true that would mean that the main representatives of Jason's denomination in education are wholly dishonest men.


If these men can be dishonest, all the while extolling virtuous concepts, then extolling virtuous concepts does not show you to be honest.Hence we should not assume that the early Christians had high moral standards...
This, of course, undermines any appeal you make for yourself and your own honesty in the past, now, or in the future. That, in turn undercuts your own reliability. Hence, we not should assume that you have high moral standards based on, well, anything you say. In fact, we should, if we follow your own reasoning, believe you are dishonest. If your character undermines the alleged facts and evidence you present, then might I again thank you for supplying us a reason for dismissing what you say. This isn't my yardstick; it's your own.

And I think it's pretty obvious that they weren't, with rampant forging of documents, rampant modification of copies of canonical texts for theological motives, and later improvements on the gospel story from Mark to Matthew, Luke, and John.

Oh, goody, Jon Curry wants to make some claims about textual manipulation. Well, let's see them. To know this, you have to have a proper idea of the autographa in order to show deviation. It wouldn't be enough to trace backwards, you'd have to know what the autograph itself looked like. You need to know who changed the text and how it was changed and exactly why it was changed. So, let's see you justify this sweeping claim.


  1. Sorry for my delay Gene. It took a little time to compile an initial list. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about as far as improvements to the story by gospel authors and changes to the text by copyists for theological purposes. Both are indicative of dishonesty. My examples of gospel authors assume Markan priority.

    Improvements in Story by Gospel Authors

    1-Jesus' Baptism

    In Mark we see Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. This could cause some concerns. Is Jesus subjecting himself to John the Baptist? Why would a sinless person need a baptism of repentance?

    Matthew softens it a little. He puts in the mouth of the Baptist the statement "I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?" to which Jesus responds to just do it to "fulfill all righteousness."

    So Matthew is implying that Jesus is superior to the Baptist. But in the Gospel of John, John really puts a stamp on it. He's got the Baptist saying "I am not even worthy to untie his sandals" and he "has surpassed me because he was before me." And the (supposed) Apostle John doesn't even bother saying that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. So now there's nothing to be concerned about. No mention of the baptism so nobody could suggest Jesus is subject to John or that he needs a baptism of repentance. And clear statements from the Baptist himself that he is inferior to Jesus.

    2-Jesus' Knowledge

    Mark 13:32—“But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father.”

    Matt 24:36- “nor the Son” deleted

    3-Jesus' attitude and control during passion and crucifixion

    For Mark's Jesus things are sort of out of control. Jesus is rejected by the leaders. One follower betrays him, another turns him in. He’s mocked by both thieves. He’s silent before his accusers, and completely silent on the cross until he says “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So he’s in complete agony and almost in doubt.

    For Luke Jesus isn’t silent. He sees women and says “Don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves.’ While nailed he’s not silent, but says “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” One robber mocks him but the other supports him, and he tells the robber he will be with him in paradise. Rather than talking about God forsaking him he says “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” So for Luke Jesus is in complete control, for Mark Jesus is in anguish and shock.

    4-Jesus' impressive appearances.

    In Mark there are no appearances. Luke has impressive appearances, but he initially appears to the eleven. John had a dramatic re-appearance to Thomas. To accomplish this John has to remove Thomas from the initial appearance so as to accomplish the second dramatic appearance to Thomas which include the dramatic proofs of his physicality.

    5-Jesus' strength in carrying his cross

    Who carried the cross of Jesus? As per John Jesus went out carrying his own cross. The first 3 gospels have Simon carrying the cross. John has Jesus as strong and powerful throughout. He doesn't get arrested. He hands himself over. Nobody would dare arrest him because they just fall back if they approach him. With John, since Jesus is so strong throughout, there is no need for Simon. Further, there are people today that believe perhaps Simon was crucified in his place. So John answers this objection by emphasizing Jesus went out carrying his OWN cross. Not just that he went out carrying his cross. He went out carrying his OWN cross. In this way nobody can respond with the objection that either Jesus was weak or Simon was crucified instead of Jesus. So we can see that later writers are improving on the original story.

    Note that in every one of these examples Jesus is more and more impressive, and this tracks with the dates of the gospels. As you get further and further along in time the hero becomes more and more impressive. This is exactly what you expect with legendary development.

    Unethical modifications by copyists for theological purposes

    1-Is Jesus angry or compassionate?

    Mk 1:41: A man with leprosy[f] came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." 41Filled with compassion(anger in some early manuscripts), Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"

    Likely the harder reading is original. Copyists don't change from what is easy to what is difficult.

    2-Post resurrection events

    Mk16:9-20 is a complete fabrication as pretty much everybody knows.

    3-Did Jesus really suffer?

    For Luke, Jesus in the garden is calm and in control, except for two verses where he prays before his arrest. Some manuscripts “He went into great agony and sweated drops of blood, and an angel came down to minister to him.” This is incongruent with Luke’s portrayal, which has Jesus in complete control. Earliest manuscripts do not have these verses. Later copyists may have added these texts to demonstrate that Christ really did suffer. This was a controversy that was going on at the time these copies were created.

    4-Anti-semtic influences of copyists

    Luke has the prayer for forgiveness “Forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.” Early Christian interpreters thought he was praying for the Jews. This became a problem for Christians because they came to believe that the Jews were not forgiven by God and God was punishing them as “Christ killers.” So some manuscripts in the 2nd and 3rd centuries (at the time of this controversy) omit this prayer.


    At Luke 11 we have the Lords prayer. This prayer is the shortened one, Matthew gives a longer version. Over the years scribes would change Lk to make it sound more like Mt to provide for harmonization.

  2. Readers may recognize some of the arguments Jon Curry has used in this thread, since he used them elsewhere. I've already responded to much of what Jon is arguing here. He ignored a lot of what I said then, and this latest post of his continues to do the same.

    Jon isn't just assuming Markan priority. He's also assuming an order for the other gospels. And he's ignoring examples he's been given about material in allegedly later documents being less developed than material in the allegedly earlier documents. He's also assuming that added details or a different focus in one document than in another is equivalent to error and "dishonesty". He makes a lot of assumptions that he doesn't justify.

    Notice, also, that he's using arguments that have been popularized by Bart Ehrman. In fact, Jon has named Ehrman as one of his sources in the past, though he didn't say whether he had read Ehrman himself. But see what I document in the following article regarding the contrast between Ehrman's conclusions and Jon's:


    Ehrman refers to how most New Testament scribes were honest. Jon often cites the behavior of a minority of alleged Christians, behavior that was condemned by the mainstream. I've given Jon examples of how he would reject the same sort of reasoning if it was applied to other groups or applied to him. He continues to use the same fallacious logic, even after being corrected repeatedly.