Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Supposed Lateness Of The New Testament Documents

Mike Licona recently posted a video relevant to the subject, in which he makes some good points that should be brought up more often. The amount of time between the events referred to in the New Testament and the time of the writing of the documents isn't as problematic as critics often make it out to be. We frequently see examples of that in our everyday lives. An especially significant way of illustrating that fact is to cite examples of the critics themselves relying on their memories and others' memories involving comparable amounts of time. Keep in mind, too, that many of the significant events in the New Testament occurred later than the timeframe covered by the gospels. A Pauline document referring to the miracles performed by Paul is referring to events more recent than those of the gospels. The latest events in Acts, including miracles (and ones the author refers to as having occurred when he was nearby), took place about three decades after Jesus' death.

10 comments:

  1. "relying on their memories and others' memories involving comparable amounts of time"

    Ehrman bringing up his college days in talks. He's 65, so if he's still doing that, it's certainly all myth and legend by now :p

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    1. Ah, one of the commenters on the video is a myther. On the one hand, many atheists will appeal to majority when attacking to the Bible in lieu of actually referring to any actual arguments...but then many atheists will also latch on to the handful of actual Jesus mythers, in spite of the fact we could count them on one hand. I wonder how much overlap there is between both groups.

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    2. Actually there is good reason to regard his supposed Christianity early in life as an apologetic addition to make his arguments more persuasive to believers.

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    3. Ah, yes, I see. The author invented his childhood Christianity to fulfill the expectations of his community. Reminds me of the blog post "arguing" that Richard Carrier doesn't exist.

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    4. Ehrman makes inconsistency an art form.

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  2. A relevant quote:

    "In my world men and women live for a considerable time -- seventy, eighty, even a hundred years -- and they are equipped with a thing called memory. In that world (it would appear) they come into being, write a book, and forthwith perish, all in a flash, and it is noted of them with astonishment that they "preserve traces of primitive tradition" about things which happened well within their own adult lifetime."

    A. H. N. Green-Armytage
    John Who Saw

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    1. Excellent. I think I might have to use that in a class I will take next year.

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  3. Mike Licona focused on 1 Corinthians 15, but I would like to get a little off topic and talk about Luke-Acts. I've noticed that a common argument for dating Acts in the early 60's is because it never records the deaths of Paul or Peter, which happened in the mid to late 60's, if I remember correctly. However, I feel like this is just an argument from silence. I understand dating Acts to the 80's doesn't undermine it's credibility, but I would just like to get your response on that point. Thank you.

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    1. Acts probably was completed no later than the mid 60s. See here, here, and here.

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