Redaction and editing of the Bible

Step by step. Precept upon precept.

"There is a significant amount of historical information written about Jesus. However, nearly all the early written evidence comes from Christian sources. This raises important methodological considerations about where the history ends and the theology begins in these texts. Regardless, most people agree that the historical record is quite strong on the following eight points.

  1. Jesus was born in ancient Palestine.

  2. He became known for his healing and teaching activities.

  3. He clashed with the religious establishment of Jerusalem and was crucified by the Romans.

  4. He was given a dignified burial.

  5. His tomb was found empty.

  6. Many people experienced visions of him after his death including his closest student Peter, ten of the other disciples, his brother James, and a large number of his other followers.

  7. He was worshipped as God soon after his death

  8. Belief about him as a divine savior who had been resurrected spread rapidly throughout the Roman empire. (Note that Paul writes of the resurrection in all of his earliest existing letters — I Thessalonians, Galatians and I Corinthians– which were likely composed in 50-53 CE.)"

lindsay whaley

“There was of course a unique reason for it. That time He was creating not simply a man but the Man who was to be Himself: was creating Man anew: was beginning, at this dive and human point, the New Creation of all things. The whole soiled and wear universe quivered at this direct injection of essential life— direct, uncontaminated, not drained through all the crowded history of Nature.”
Lewis in bypassing nature

Do I trust legitimate testimony or trust that the testimony in question is legitimate? If you are meaning the latter, this is circular. If you mean the former, which I hope, on what basis do you consider these birth narratives to be legitimate testimony while all the other ones are not?

Vinnie

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Points 4 and 5 are questionable. Many critical scholars do not accept the tomb story. But that is beside the point. Not a single thing you wrote has any bearing on the authenticity (historicity) of the infancy narratives. Even if Jesus was God incarnate, why do you think the birth narratives in the Gospels are historical while all the other ones are not? Why couldn’t Jesus been given a proper birth like countless other “gods” were? One might even suggest this was a convention of the times and expect it. I await your positive evidence for accepting the validity of the infancy narratives while rejecting all the other ones in antiquity.

Vinnie

Why? Because He was GOD.

That just does not follow. Why must a God who emptied himself to be like us in every way (but sin) be born of a virgin? Why are the Biblical infancy narratives credible while all other ones are not, in your opinion? Why can’t Matthew and Luke be adopting a common religious and literary convention at the time of ascribing a wondrous birth to your savior/god? Just like at times they utilize “imprecise citation” and “non-chronological narration” per the Chicago statement on inerrancy.

I await your positive reasons for the historicity of the Biblical infancy narratives.

Vinnie

Yes.

 

Well, unless you decide to share your multiple avenues of information and state why the testimony we are to accept is legitimate, there is nothing to discuss.

Vinnie

There is no direct parallel in the pagan virgin birth stories. Still, the nativity stories about Jesus are there mainly for theological reasons.

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Do you mean that they reject he got burried?What do they think happened to him?Cremated?The only logical and the only custom at the time was burial

You answered your question. He was like us, yet without sin. If He is GOD, He can be born however He would like. The sinful nature didn’t infect Him. Whether through the virgin birth or not, He was pure, free from the corruption of a sinful nature.
Why did He insist that the Baptist dunk him? Why did He have to die, shedding his blood to buy us back. Why does He love us so? Care about us at all? Why bother to create us? Why send strong deception? Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know.
If He can come into a person and break the chains of evil and set us free, and I think He can, my unanswered questions fade into insignificance

sure. come over. hey everyone. join us in the fun here

The alternative view is that part of the shame of crucifixion was being denied proper burial. Some scholars argue his body was lost, possibly being dumped in a shallow grave and left as food for wild animals.

Vinnie

Sure, God could be born anyway He chose. I am not disputing God’s power. I haven’t actually disputed anything. I merely asked you for evidence for your opinion. You stated that Jesus’s divine birth story is credible unlike all the others. All I am asking you for is evidence for this assertion. You keep raising other issues that are not addressing the topic. Do you simply not have any evidence Matthew and Luke weren’t writing theology and adopting a common convention at the time of ascribing wondrous births to their Savior/God?

Vinnie

It doesn’t need to be direct or equivalent to establish a common practice at the time and throughout the world of ascribing wondrous births to your God/gods. There were plenty of other alleged virgins as well. And yes, you are correct. The infancy narratives are theological. In Matthew’s case, the parallels to the Exodus from Egypt are painfully obvious. But I’m not interested in discrediting their historicity. I’m just asking that an assertion is defended. What makes the two gospel birth narratives historically credible while the other ones are not? I see clear parallels to taking Genesis literally with many other creation myths in existence in the case of also taking the birth narratives literally with so many others in existence.

Vinnie

Why do you believe what you read in the newspaper or see on the evening news? I think there is a field of philosophical endeavor called epistemology. No, there’s nothing to discuss.

The lineages could also be there to show levirate marriage and adoption and biological birth. A biological birth sets him up with the right bloodline while the “adoptive” lineage frees him from the blood curses associated with Coniah.

Tamar was on her second marriage.
Ruth was widowed and adored by her exes husband.
Bathsheba was on her second marriage.
Rahab was also problematics and dealing with multiple men.

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This answer serves to show you can provide no evidence whatsoever. You simply assume it is true by granting it the benefit of the doubt while affirming all other wondrous birth stories in antiquity are false or maybe demonic.

First, your benefit of the doubt argument does not work because we could apply it to every unfalsifiable and uncheckable divine birth story.

Imagine there are 100 newspapers in the world and you think without hesitation that 99 of them are filled with false information and made up claims. Why on earth would you look at the 100th and just grant it the benefit of the doubt?

Newspapers can also be fact checked. Do you believe everything you see on new stations like Fox/CNN? I don’t, especially when it’s political. Same with some newspapers. There are papers with a good reputation and high standards of research like the New York Times. We also generally know the purpose for which articles are written and they are intended to be factual. We don’t know this for the Birth stories. They may have been theological within ancient conventions and nothing more. There is no fact checking or external corroboration of the divine birth stories of Jesus. We have no idea where the information comes from. It’s just there at the end of the first century and missing from many other streams of thought. What we have is a very common convention in antiquity that spans the entire globe of ascribing a wondrous birth to your god/saviour. Even granting Biblical inspiration, which I do, I no more need to interpret the infancy narratives literally than I do the Garden story. So even granting the Bible the benefit of the doubt I still do not have to take this literally. Both stories fall well into the realm of conventional mythmaking. In other words, the genre of divine birth stories is not historical biography and they should not be interpreted as such. But maybe Jesus really was born of a virgin. I don’t deny the possibility. I am just asking for evidence these accounts are credible as history as was stated. I can be confident the Biblical infancy narratives use real people and places and nothing more. But that is explicable since we know Jesus was an actual person and the writers very much so wanted to show his actual lineage. Both of the authors, probably writing independently, had to jump through a hoop to get Jesus out of Nazareth and into Bethlehem. The infancy narratives actually provide confirmation Jesus was born in Nazareth in my eyes.

Vinnie

If Jesus was born by a man then he couldnt be man -God. Hense he either became divine during his baptism which in that case Arius which made the claim first is correct and Jesus is inferior to the Father,or Jesus isnt divine at all

As you know right well @Vinnie, it’s all about the peerless quality of the whole cloth claim. Admittedly we don’t need a virgin birth for the Resurrection to be pivotal. But we need it to explain the person of Jesus. Unless we go for lesser rationalizations: Jesus was just human but adopted pre-puberty, supernaturally informed and resurrected. That wasn’t His character’s understanding.

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