samedi 18 mars 2017

Carrier on Tacitus

Creation vs. Evolution : Richard Carrier Refutes Certain Evolutionists · somewhere else : Carrier on Tacitus

I am here continuing my reading (partly perhaps sloppy, but I am dealing with things that catch my eyes too much for me to misconstrue them, not with article as a whole), of Richard Carrier's article.*

Thus, that Tacitus should mention a Gospel claim about Jesus (if in fact he ever did) is already 100% expected on the existence of the Gospels, regardless of whether Jesus existed or not. That reference in Tacitus thus has no effect on our final probability of historicity. That’s how dependent probability works. And ironically, here it’s Christian apologists who typically don’t grasp the point that Fishers of Evidence is making: that the probability the extrabiblical sources would mention Jesus, even if he didn’t exist, is dependent on the Gospels having already done so (and their Christian informants subsequently relying on the Gospels, as we know they did).

That Tacitus mentioned a Gospel claim about Jesus is not 100 % expected on the existence of the Gospels.

It could be he never laid eyes on them and therefore would not mention Jesus.

Also, his having read a Gospel is not 100 % expected on his having referred to a Gospel claim, since he could have it, directly or indirectly from a Christian.

But it is if evidence he knew the Gospel claims as in Gospels at least evidence the Gospel already existed in his time, and that Christians already believed them OR it is evidence that Christians already believed the claims before the Gospels were written.

Does the evidence Tacitus brings here tie this to only his own time?

The Christians persecuted by Nero could (theoretically, from the point of view of a non-Christian enquirer) have believed something totally different, then changed their minds, then Tacitus had access to what they later believed, then projected this back to the time of Nero's persecuting Christians.

But this is where skepsis would be getting really unlikely.

For one thing, it is unlikely in the first place that a community believing in a purely spiritual Jesus without any historic or physic connection (comparable to Hindoo beliefs about Shiva or Greek about Apollo, the kind of belief Carrier thinks was that of the first Christians) would become a belief in a historical one (comparable to Hindoo beliefs in Krishna or Greek beliefs in Hercules, and yes, I think these existed as men).

But for another thing, it is also unlikely that Tacitus would do such a blunder about the Christians. He cites and therefore had access to three historians from the time of Nero, which are lost to us.

This means, Tacitus' is functioning as a wiki article for information gleaned from these three historians, and this means Tacitus would have known what Christians believed about Jesus, not in AD 90 only, but in AD 64, when Nero crucified St Peter, decapitated St Paul and used x number of other saints as torches in the dark, which, irony on irony, spiritually they actually were for pagans who saw them from the dark of their paganism.

So, Tacitus and Suetonius (both of which had access to three historians mentioned, as well as to Acta Senatus from those years) are telling us that Christians in AD 64 "already" believed Jesus had lived as a historical person.

Though Tacitus does not mention St Peter and St Paul as individual persons, their existence was believed by his contemporaries among Christian writers whose historicity is generally not put in doubt. Sts Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons and Papias are accepted as historical and they accepted the evidence internal to the Apostolic community for the existence of Apostles, Irenaeus directly mentioning Sts Peter and Paul and I think more of them did so.

And this in turn means that Sts Peter and Paul are as well attested by Christians in the time of Tacitus, as Jesus is attested in the time of Nero by Tacitus' sources.

And St Peter was identified as having spoken with Jesus for years, as His disciple.

Presumably, this is also the story Christians in Rome could get from St Peter close to AD 64.

Either he invented the story and died a martyr's death for it, which is totally improbable, or he believed it.

If he believed it, he either made a mistake or was right about what he was dying for.

But this brings us to the Gospels' as to what circumstances he gained his impression from.

So, for example, if assessing the evidence of a murder, FoE found blood on the accused, he could rightly say “the probability that the accused is bloody, given that I observed and verified the accused is bloody” is 1 (or near enough; there is always some nonzero probability of still being in error about that, but ideally it will be so small a probability we can ignore it).

Yes, when the hypothetic policeman in whose skin Carrier puts himself observed the blood, it is probability of 1 or very close that the man actually was bloody.

And when Peter saw Jesus while on a fishing tour, after Jesus had died, it is a probability of 1 that he observed Jesus alive.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sabbath after
II Lord's Day in Lent

* I think I forgot attrubution on the previous article, needing a coffee, so here is the attribution:

Fishers of Evidence Gets Confused about Math
by Richard Carrier on March 17, 2017

I was going to notify him by commenting under that article with a link to these two articles of mine. But I saw this:

I only publish comments by my patrons and anyone who or whose work I discuss in the article commented on. Comments must also follow good etiquette. Those who engage in dishonest, abusive, or harassing behavior may even be banned as commenters and patrons.

If my comment won't be published anyway, why not let his patrons notify him, if they are reading this?

For my own part, I am not into patreon ...

jeudi 9 mars 2017

While Acharya Sanning has died, her mistakes may live on - here is for her Pagan Parallels

If you recall her, she considered that Christ's Ascension or even Resurrection was plagairised from Krishna.

Here is what Mahabharata has to say:

The Mahabharata
Book 16: Mausala Parva
Section 4:

Begins with the words:

Vaishampayana said:

And the rest of the section is what he said, including the end:

"After his brother had thus departed from the (human) world, Vasudeva of celestial vision, who was fully acquainted with the end of all things, wandered for some time in that lonely forest thoughtfully. Endued with great energy he then sat down on the bare earth. He had thought before this of everything that had been fore-shadowed by the words uttered by Gandhari in former days. He also recollected the words that Durvasas had spoken at the time his body was smeared by that Rishi with the remnant of the Payasa he had eaten (while a guest at Krishna’s house). The high-souled one, thinking of the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, as also of the previous slaughter of the Kurus, concluded that the hour (for his own departure from the world) had come. He then restrained his senses (in Yoga). Conversant with the truth of every topic, Vasudeva, though he was the Supreme Deity, wished to die, for dispelling all doubts and establishing a certainty of results (in the matter of human existence), simply for upholding the three worlds and for making the words of Atri’s son true. Having restrained all his senses, speech, and mind, Krishna laid himself down in high Yoga.

"A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking Keshava, who was stretched on the earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey. Coming up, Jara beheld a man dressed in yellow robes, rapt in Yoga and endued with many arms. Regarding himself an offender, and filled with fear, he touched the feet of Keshava. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendour. When he reached Heaven, Vasava and the twin Ashvinis and Rudra and the Adityas and the Vasus and the Viswedevas, and Munis and Siddhas and many foremost ones among the Gandharvas, with the Apsaras, advanced to receive him. Then, O king, the illustrious Narayana of fierce energy, the Creator and Destroyer of all, that preceptor of Yoga, filling Heaven with his splendour, reached his own inconceivable region. Krishna then met the deities and (celestial) Rishis and Charanas, O king, and the foremost ones among the Gandharvas and many beautiful Apsaras and Siddhas and Saddhyas. All of them, bending in humility, worshipped him. The deities all saluted him, O monarch, and many foremost of Munis and Rishis worshipped him who was the Lord of all. The Gandharvas waited on him, hymning his praises, and Indra also joyfully praised him."

So, how do we know Krishna was received into Heaven?

Because Vaishampayana tells that story.

Was he received bodily into Heaven?

No, one of the next sections tells of his funeral:

"Thus addressed by Pritha’s son of pure deeds, all of them hastened their preparations with eagerness for achieving their safety. Arjuna passed that night in the mansion of Keshava. He was suddenly overwhelmed with great grief and stupefaction. When morning dawned, Vasudeva of great energy and prowess attained, through the aid of Yoga, to the highest goal. A loud and heart-rending sound of wailing was heard in Vasudeva’s mansion, uttered by the weeping ladies. They were seen with dishevelled hair and divested of ornaments and floral wreaths. Beating their breasts with their hands, they indulged in heart-rending lamentations. Those foremost of women, Devaki and Bhadra and Rohini and Madira threw themselves on the bodies of their lord. Then Partha caused the body of his uncle to be carried out on a costly vehicle borne on the shoulders of men. It was followed by all the citizens of Dwaraka and the people of the provinces, all of whom, deeply afflicted by grief, had been well-affected towards the deceased hero. Before that vehicle were borne the umbrella which had been held over his head at the conclusion of the horse-sacrifice he had achieved while living, and also the blazing fires he had daily worshipped, with the priests that had used to attend to them. The body of the hero was followed by his wives decked in ornaments and surrounded by thousands of women and thousands of their daughters-in-law. The last rites were then performed at that spot which had been agreeable to him while he was alive. The four wives of that heroic son of Sura ascended the funeral pyre and were consumed with the body of their lord. All of them attained to those regions of felicity which were his. The son of Pandu burnt the body of his uncle together with those four wives of his, using diverse kinds of scents and perfumed wood. As the funeral pyre blazed up, a loud sound was heard of the burning wood and other combustible materials, along with the clear chant of Samans and the wailing of the citizens and others who witnessed the rite. After it was all over, the boys of the Vrishni and Andhaka races, headed by Vajra, as also the ladies, offered oblations of water to the high-souled hero.

So, no parallel.

Hindoos who believe Krishna was a god and is a god want to be burned as funeral.

We who believe Jesus is the True God and also the Promised Christ, want to be buried in soil or rock, and hope for the Resurrection of which He, but not Krishna, was the first fruit.

Meanwhile, one may ponder when Mahabharata might have happened, if it happened (most of it, not Krishna's soul being adored by gods), and my solution is, something like it happened in the pre-Flood world.

The hero Bharat, ancestor to Krishna and the Pandavas (and also to the Kauravas) may well have been a post-Flood confusion between two different Henoch : the one who founded a city (or for whom his father Cain named a city), in Genesis 4:17, and the one who was lifted up to Heaven, in Genesis 5:24.

The Semites (at least those who later became Hebrews) remembered the difference between the two Henoch, the ancestors of Hindoos confused them into one single Bharat. That is my guess.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Thursday of Ember week
of Lent

lundi 9 janvier 2017

Did St Matthew Err About Which Prophet Has Said What?

Matthew 27:9-10 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel. And they gave them unto the potter' s field, as the Lord appointed to me.

This has been considered as a reference, not to Jeremias, but to Zacharias.

Zacharias 11:12-13 And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary.

So, was St Matthew wrong? If not, why did he say Jeremias instead of Zacharias?

I know from J. P. Holding that one attack on inerrantism does bring this up:

Fifth, Cragun argues that church fathers did not "idolize" the Scriptures, but that is not really the point. What he needs to show is that the church fathers thought Scripture erred. As it is, he can come no closer to this than e.g., Jerome discussing problems in the text (such as Matthew referring to the "thirty pieces of silver" passage in Zechariah -- an issue, by the way, that is easily resolved under Jewish exegetical and citation procedures). Although Jerome discusses the problem, he does not say, "this is an error." What Jerome does do is suppose that e.g., Matthew might be charged with "falsehood" for such things as adding, "I say unto thee" to the translation of "Talitha cumi." But as Cragun admits, this sort of thing comes more of Jerome's perceived neurotic compulsion for detail than from any real problem.

First of all, I totally take my distance from the qualification "neurotic compulsion" about Saint Jerome's care for detail.

I take my distance from the psychological idealogy it involves, I consider it an idiotic observation about writers (where would Tolkien's Middle Earth have been if he had not had a real concern for detail - mutatis mutandis applicable also to writers touching on real life), and I consider that on the one hand learned people in Antiquity and Middle Ages had a very great respect for verbal exactitude, and on the other hand at any time when Christianity was socially strong, apologists were obliged to deal with people "really neurotic" about detail (insofar as "neurotic" has any meaning at all), and ready to twist things.

Now, what about Zacharias or Jeremias? There are at least three solutions, not sure if all are distinct.

J. P. Holding, as cited:
(such as Matthew referring to the "thirty pieces of silver" passage in Zechariah -- an issue, by the way, that is easily resolved under Jewish exegetical and citation procedures)

Damien Mackey
whom I follow on Academia, once said that Jeremias and Zacharias have the exact same person as an author.

AND while googling,
I just found yet another soloution.

KJV Today thinks
we are instead dealing with another text:

The words from Zechariah 11:12-13 are not the exact words recorded at Matthew 27:9-10. Zechariah does not mention the "children of Israel" and the "field". In fact, only Jeremiah mentions the "field". Jeremiah 32:6-10 describes Jeremiah being commanded by the LORD to buy a field with seventeen shekels of silver.

In other words, when St Matthew writes about thirty pieces, he is estimating this as equivalent to Jeremias' "seventeen shekels" (Douay Rheims has seven staters and ten pieces of silver).

Jeremias 32:6-10 And Jeremias said: The word of the Lord came to me, saying: ehold, Hanameel the son of Sellum thy cousin shall come to thee, saying: Buy thee my field, which is in Anathoth, for it is thy right to buy it, being akin. And Hanameel my uncle' s son cam to me, according to the word of the to the entry of the prison, and said me: Buy my field, which is in in the land of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thins, and thou art next of kin to possess it. And I understood this was the word of the Lord. And I bought the held of my uncle' s son, that is in Anathoth: and I weighed him the money, seven staters, and ten pieces of silver. And I wrote it in a book and sealed it, and took witnesses: and I weighed him the money in the balances.

Now, I'd be surprised if Haydock comment didn't somehow cite St Jerome's solution for Matthew 27:

Ver. 9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias. Jeremias is now in all Latin copies, and the general reading of the Greek; whereas the passage is found in Zacharias xi. 12. Some judge it to have been in some writing of Jeremias, now lost; as St. Jerome says he found it in a writing of Jeremias, which was not canonical. Others conjecture, that Zacharias had also the name of Jeremias. Others, that St. Matthew neither put Jeremias nor Zacharias, but only of the prophet: and that the name of Jeremias had crept into the text. Jeremias is not in the Syriac; and St. Augustine says it was not in divers copies.

And they took the thirty pieces of silver; each of which was called an argenteus. The evangelist cites not the words, but the sense of the prophet, who was ordered to cast the pieces into the house of the Lord, and to cast them to the potter:[2] which became true by the fact of Judas, who cast them into the temple: and with them was purchased the potter's field. The price of him that was prized. In the prophet we read, the handsome price, spoken ironically, as the Lord did appoint me; i.e. as he had decreed. (Witham)

So, St Jerome says it was in a non-canonical writing of Jeremias. And that Matthew found it there.

I wonder whether J. P. Holding is here by "easily resolved under Jewish exegetical and citation procedures" meaning sth like it being OK to cite a conglomerate of Zacharias 11:12-13 with Jeremias 32:6-10.

But that would also be a solution.

And KJV Today gives yet a solution, same page as previous:

The text of Matthew 27:9-10 says "that which was spoken", not "that which was written", so there is no need to look for the exact quotation in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah spoke the prophecy but did not write it. Zechariah then wrote Jeremiah's oral prophecy while omitting the reference to a field because that detail had already been described in Jeremiah 32:6-10.

A very laudable sentiment, too sad that the site is dedicated to King James Version rather than Vulgate / LXX / Douay Rheims.

In other words, while I am not often engaged in this sort of problems about the Bible, where it is supposed to contradict itself, it seems that the solutions abound well over the problems.

However, both the problems and the solutions assume a familiarity with all aspects of the Bible well above my level - that is why I usually leave this kind of thing to others.

Let's return to this:

What Jerome does do is suppose that e.g., Matthew might be charged with "falsehood" for such things as adding, "I say unto thee" to the translation of "Talitha cumi."

Would that be St Mark? I found it in Mark 5:41. Now, I go to Corpus Thomisticum, Catena Aurea in Marcum, to chapter 5, lectio 3, and find, nope, there is a passage in Matthew too! Anyway, the reference to St Jerome is indeed there in the lectio 3 of chapter 5 of St Mark's Gospel:

Hieronymus de optimo genere Interpret.

Arguat aliquis Evangelistam mendacii, quare exponendo addiderit tibi dico; cum in Hebraico Thabitha, cumi tantum significet puella, surge. Sed ut emphaticoteron** faceret et sensum vocantis et imperantis exprimeret, addit tibi dico, surge.

Let someone argue the Gospeller [guilty] of lying, because exposing he added "I say unto thee"; when in Hebrew Thabitha, cumi only signifies "maid, stand up". But in order to make it more emphatical and express the sense of [Him] calling and of [Him] commanding, he adds "I say unto thee, stand up".

It could of course also be that Christ in fact used the Hebrew or Aramaic (St Jerome was using the word Hebrew for both Hebrew and Aramaic*) equivalent of "I say unto thee" but St Mark thought "thalitha cumi" was as much "Hebrew" as non-Hebrew speaking faithful could stomach, or perhaps St Peter cited only those verbatim from memory, as a side remark to St Matthew's:

9:25 And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose.

Or to St Luke's:

8:54 But he taking her by the hand, cried out, saying: Maid, arise.

If St Luke's sources could not recall "I say unto thee" neither they nor St Luke said anothing actually false in stating "maid, arise", while St Marc could be giving a fuller quote along with a translation back to Aramaic of the words. Either way, there is no falsehood.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sts Julian and Basilissa

* This is perhaps one of the arguments for those saying the Vulgate relied on Aquila rather than direct and own reading of OT text.

** St Jerome is very clear that "emphaticos" is Greek, so that it needs a Greek comparative and neuter accusative "emphaticoteron" rather than Latin "emphaticius". Forming "emphaticius" which would be the Latin form, I think his taste was good.

jeudi 24 novembre 2016

Responding to Criticism

1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

= somewhere else : Anonymous author for Saint Peter?

= On Creationism : More on Petrine Authorship

= my added comments this post.

The question is not why an anonymous Christian would want to pass himself off as the Apostle Peter - two works prove fairly well some did or were thought to have done so.

Well it is an important question, but as you seem to concede it is established that it is not an obstacle at all.

Not quite. I concede it is possible it is not an obstacle, but (as seen further on) I am not sure.

The question is how an anonymous author would succeed in passing himself (as author ego) off as the Apostle Peter.

That is a different question, but yes, it is important too. However, as you say, two works prove fairly well that anonymous authors did believe they would successfully pass their works off as that of the apostles.

I didn't quite say that. They could also be by St Peter and not divinely and infallibly inspired even so. And he could have said so and that admission could be why they are not in canon.

Also, if they were or one of them was by a forger, this would illustrate we have checks working normally, even if not always at first occasion infallibly (and since Church is only infallible universally or when bound universally by St Peter, a purely local acceptance is not enough to bind the faithful conscience).

But one or two forgers is not necessarily a proven fact. Will have to look closer.

"The terminus post quem—the point after which we know the Apocalypse of Peter must have been written—is revealed by its use (in Chapter 3) of 4 Esdras, which was written about 100 AD."

Two problems again:

  • 1) is Apocalypse of St Peter using 4 Esdras, or is 4 Esdras using Apocalypse of St Peter, if 4 Esdras is a forgery (Esdra or Ezra living c. 500 or 550 years earlier than 100 AD)?
  • 2) Do we know 4 Esdras is a forgery, that is written 100 AD? Do we even know it is written 100 AD if it is a forgery?

Anyway, the contents seem fairly orthodox, and were used by Dante, at least if one can take Apocalypse of St Peter as incomplete and omitting Purgatory (which Dante supplies by fantasy.

It could also be that St Peter - like later Dante - made a fantasy Apocalypse and interrupted when told St John would have a real one.

So, doctrinally speaking, I don't have a total confidence it must be forgery.

It seems to have been widely read in Ethiopia. Probably eliminated when Ethiopian Copts were told the rest of the Church didn't use it.

Sorry, a moment:

There is also a section which explains that in the end God will save all sinners from their plight in Hell:

"My Father will give unto them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passeth not away, ... It is because of them that have believed in me that I am come. It is also because of them that have believed in me, that, at their word, I shall have pity on men... "

Thus, sinners will finally be saved by the prayers of those in heaven. Peter then orders his son Clement not to speak of this revelation since God had told Peter to keep it secret:

[and God said]"... thou must not tell that which thou hearest unto the sinners lest they transgress the more, and sin."

That might seem to rule it out, someone might have been engaged in wishful thinking.

At least if Hell is to be taken as Hell and not as Purgatory.

The rejection of the Gospel and Apocalypse which both bear that name, show that early Christians did have some checks.

F2Andy A
Fair point, but these were not rejected out of hand as soon as they appeared. They were accepted by some Christians and were sufficiently well regarded that we still have both w orks.

I suppose they were rejected out of hand by most Christians. Ethiopians seem to have been an exception.

F2Andy B
If we look at the epistles traditionally attributed to Paul, most modern scholars now consider the Pastoral epistles to be written by another author. Yes, the early church did have some checks, but the evidence is that those checks were not perfect, and some works got through that were attributed to an apostle but written by someone else.

The modern scholars considering Pastoral Epistles as not by St Paul are influenced by a Protestant realisation that they portray a Catholic type of Church Hierarchy - along with a Protestant unwillingness to admit this Hierarchy existed from the start.

Now, saying that the Apocalypse of St Peter originally was canon is most probably not true. There were some rival canons before all the 27 books were complete in one collection, and that one accepted by all the Church.

That depends on what you mean by canon. If you consider canon to be only those works accepted by the church since ca. 400, then no. However, there is evidence it was considered canon prior to that, i.e., its mention in the Muratorian fragment.

I was not considering "works of canon" as being rival, but "canons" (not yet the final collection) as being rival ones. The Muratorian canon therefore as rival with another which was not including Apocalypse of St Peter. You seem to take it Muratorian canon was also a universal canon, but on an earlier stage, but in reality, on that earlier stage you did not yet have a single canon.

The Muratorian canon was never binding on the Church, like, say, fasting till 18:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays was in AD 100 before it was relaxed to fasting till 15:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays until that went laxer so being fisheater -vegan on Fridays is now enough, most Fridays around the year for a normal layman. Or in Latin rite, even fisheating lacto-vegetarian on Fridays.

The Muratorian canon was rather one of several canons that ran parallel, but contemporary. If even as much as that. We do not know of its "context in real life" (Sitz im Leben as the German scholars say) and we cannot conclude anything from its not having been adopted universally than that it was not a universal Church canon.

The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in a 7th or 8th century codex from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains features suggesting it is a translation from a Greek original written about 170 or as late as the 4th century. Both the degraded condition of the manuscript and the poor Latin in which it was written have made it difficult to translate. The beginning of the fragment is missing, and it ends abruptly. The fragment consists of all that remains of a section of a list of all the works that were accepted as canonical by the churches known to its original compiler. It was discovered in the Ambrosian Library in Milan by Father Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1 750), the most famous Italian historian of his generation, and published in 1740.[1] The text of the list itself is traditionally dated to about 170 because its author refers to Pius I, bishop of Rome (142—157), as recent:

Wiki quoting Muratorian
But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the chair of the church of the city of Rome. And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after their time.

A few scholars[2] have also dated it as late as the 4th century, but their arguments have not won widespread acceptance in the scholarly community. For more detail, see the article in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Bruce Metzger has advocated the traditional dating.[3]

Wiki's notes
  • 1) Muratori, Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevii (Milan 1740), vol. III, pp 809–80. Located within Dissertatio XLIII (cols. 807-80), entitled 'De Literarum Statu., neglectu, & cultura in Italia post Barbaros in eam invectos usque ad Anum Christii Millesimum Centesimum', at cols. 851-56.
  • 2) Hahneman, Geoffrey Mark. The Muratorian Fragment and the Development of the Canon. (Oxford: Clarendon) 1992. Sundberg, Albert C., Jr. "Canon Muratori: A Fourth Century List" in Harvard Theological Review 66 (1973): 1–41. [Link provided :]
  • 3) Metzger, Bruce M., 1987. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. (Clarendon Press. Oxford) ISBN 0-19-826954-4

So we have no clear indication whatsoever that Muratorian canon was ever a universal one, or a precursor of the universal 27 books canon, which is from late 4th Century.

Therefore, certainly, the watchdogs did their job pretty well fro m the start, except in Ethiopia. From where we have most copies or fragments of Apocalypse of St Peter.

Here is some speculation on where the forgery originated, if such:

Wiki's note 5, Apoc. Pet. again
Oscar Skarsaune (2012). Jewish Believers in Jesus. Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 386–388. ISBN 978-1-56563-763-4. Skarsaune argues for a composition by a Jewish-Christian author in Israel during the Bar Kochba revolt. The text speaks of a single false messiah who has not yet been exposed as false. The reference to the false messiah as a "liar" may be a Hebrew pun turning Bar Kochba's original name, Bar Kosiba, into Bar Koziba, "son of the lie".

So, presumably, if I might do guesswork presuming that it is a forgery, the following scenario is possible:

  • During Bar Kochba revolt, a Christian of Jewish origin is torn between love of the Faith and love of Jewish relatives, perhaps apostasising, perhaps never having been Christians, and he hopes they will be released from Hell.
  • In that extremely chaotic situation, he manages to pull off a forgery. It's clue being the sentiment that Hell is just Purgatory.
  • It is everywhere or nearly so rejected.
  • It finds its way to Ethiopia, where it is copied and survives, and where Christianity having much Jewish connexions faced similar anguish as he.
  • Somewhere either in Bar Kochba's or post Bar Kochba's Palestine or in Ethiopia, the Muratorian text is written, and most of that text is rejected, and only the exotic canon survives.

Unlike Council of Carthage, where all of the context around canon is also surviving, one knows the canon is a Conciliar decree. One can guess it was not disputed elsewhere. But by then, the debates on this or that or sundry book of the Bible, as to NT, was over, same as with smaller debates on OT (is there a "First Esdra" before the Esdra which nowadays Vulgate cites as First? Are there a III and IV Maccabees after the II Maccabees where Vulgate ends OT?) which mean that the Latin translation, later replaced by Vulgate is somewhat different from Greek, possibly, and Slavonic versions of LXX canon, sth which Council of Carthage does not fix.

From your link
Some artless iambic lines of uncertain date are appended here, which show what was thought of the doctrine:

' Plainly false: for the fire will never cease to torment the damned. I indeed could pray that it might be so, who am branded with the deepest scars of transgressions which stand in need of utmost mercy. But let Origen be ashamed of his lying words, who saith that there is a term set to the torments.'

One could speculate that St Peter had one revelation, wrote it down, but knew it was not definite, perhaps the last words were his own wishful thinking, it was confided to his disciple St Mark who took it to Alexandria, where it came into somewhat wrong hands when Origen blew up the final words into the doctrine of Apokastasis ton panton.

But apart from that, that doctrine is so attractive to some, that giving it apostolic certificate would have been attractive to very many - and in that case St Peter's apocalypse was the one which was most discreet and managed to make it basically half way.

Meanwhile, the Public Revelation was not finished when St Peter died and the error which might have been innocent in him was corrected a few decades later by Apocalypse of St John. And it may have gained ground as canonic slower, precisely where that "of St Peter" had a good reputation.

In other words, the manuscript, with this rejecting addition, eventually came into hands of people clearly feeling, as most Christians since, that the doctrine of redemption from Hell is false.

From your link
There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) along with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday.

This was written 1924.

It is not certain that the version in Palestine includeded the disputed doctrine.

Also, Palestine concurs with an origin from Bar Kochba revolt.

It is certain that the author of those lines for some reason thought Muratorian fragment connected to canon of Rome, but that begs the question how he knows Pastor Herma s and Pope St Pius I were only known in Rome and surroundings. The history of the text does not guarantee it is an earlier Roman canon, as far as I can see.

It seems Clement of Alexandria considered it to be scripture, by the way.

He is between Palestine and Ethiopia.

See also my speculation on its origins.

So, this books never made it beyond one or two local Churches, either because another one knew it to be spurious, or because one had not sufficient proofs for considering it genuine.

This is just conjecture. We really do not know how many early churches accepted it, or what their reasons for rejecting it might be (it could have been that its theology was not aligned with that church). However, from the above link:

"There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) alo ng with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday."

This suggests it was considerably more popular than it "never made it beyond one or two local Churches" as you would have us think.

Make it three and regional rather than local : parts of Palestine, Alexandria at times, parts of Ethiopia.

That is the known carreer of Apocalypse of St Peter.

Note that Alexandria is both where St Peter sent St Mark and where Origen and Clement the Stromatist (neither of which is now considered a Saint by Roman Catholics) were later based.

And that latter is, considering God has promised to preserve his word and no Church considers Apocalypse as St Peter canon, one sign it is probably not genuine either.

This presupposes God works to preserve his word. Given the amount of evidence of copying errors in the Bible, this seems unlikely to say the least.

It would be unlikely if we had only o n e single version of the Bible and it could be shown to have copy errors. But if we have many and one of extant and used versions has original reading or its translation, this is not so.

F2Andy's link
For example, 2 Kings 24:8 says that Jehoiachin succeeded his father as the nineteenth king of Judah at the age of eighteen, whereas 2 Chronicles 36:9 informs us that he was "eight years old when he became king." The honest person must admit that these two passages are in disagreement.

Not really, Jehoiachin may have become king, as in coregent of his father, at age 8, and later have succeeded his father who died when he was 18.

I will look at Haydock comment.

II Paralipomenon 36:
9 Joachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Ver. 9. Eight years old. He was associated by his father to the kingdom, when he was but eight years old; but after his father's death, when he reigned alone, he was eighteen years old, 4 Kings xxiv. 8. (Challoner)

He only enjoyed the throne three months and ten days. (Tirinus)

We must however observe, (Haydock) that the Alexandrian Septuagint, the Syriac, and Arabic read here, eighteen. (Calmet)

"It is, in my opinion, a pity that the translators have not mended such apparent errata of the scribe of the present Hebrew out of 2 Kings xxiv. 8., or out of Septuagint, or out of common sense." (Wall) (Kennicott)

These eight years may be dated from the captivity, and not from the king's birth. (Usher) (Du Hamel)

[Kennicott, marked in list of commenters as heretic : † Kennicott (1783)]

IV Kings 24:
8 Joachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, *and he reigned three months in Jerusalem: the name of his mother was Nohesta, the daughter of Elnathan, of Jerusalem.

Ver. 8. Eighteen. One Hebrew manuscript reads "thirteen," (Haydock) or 3 instead of 8. (Kennicott)

The number seems also (Haydock) to be incorrect in Paralipomenon, where we find that Joachin was only eight years old, as the Syriac and Arabic have 18 in both places, and it could not well be said, that he did evil, &c., (ver. 9.) at the age of 8, much less that he had wives so soon, ver. 15. (Calmet)

Some attempt to reconcile both places, by saying that the eight years refer to the commencement of his father's reign; (Junius) which is very unusual: (Calmet) or to the servitude of Babylon, when Jerusalem was taken under Joakim. (Hardouin.)

Sanctius conjectures that Joachin was associated with his father when he was 10 years old, and after 8 years became sole king. (Kimchi, &c.) (Du Hamel)

[It is the heretic † Kennicott (1783) who appeals to one manuscript]

Now, either we have some kind of historical mystery to solve, or Syriac and Arabic texts are the correct ones.

Either way, since the mystery can be resolved and the Syriac and Arabic texts are extant, saying "God has preserved His word" has not been falsified.

The site with pageThe Reality of Copyists' Errors (B. Thompson and E. Lyons) seems, thus, to be caught up in being too tied to Masoretic Versions and also incapable of thinking outside the box, when it comes to reconciling the texts.

Or, as their criticism involves "The honest person must admit", they might have rejected attempts of thinking outside the box as dishonest.

Supposing without proof that Sts Paul and Peter had very diverse theologies.

I thought this was well-established. Acts describes the arguing between Paul and the Christia ns in Jerusalem. Here are some web pages by, I think, Christians, acknowledging those differences.

Now, I am assuming Peter followed Jesus theology here, rather than Paul's, but given Peter was with Jesus for three years, this seems a valid assumption.

" the arguing between Paul and the Christians in Jerusalem" - where so? I guess you got content of one of the pages wrong.

There was one argument between Sts Peter and Paul which is mentioned in Galatians, but the difference is not St Peter having another theology than St Paul, it is rather that St Peter momentarily was adapting to people having another one, even if St Peter's own theology since the vision in Acts 10, where St Peter starts out different from St Paul and finishes acc epting it, and the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 which involve Jerusalem bringing the theology of St Paul to triumph.

So, by the time St Peter wrote epistles, his prejudices were no longer interfering with the Christian theology which we know.

A letter of exhortation is not a personal narrative.

A valid point... but it hardly proves that Peter was the author.

It is valid for removing one potential disproof of Peter being the author.

Tradition saying so is the positive proof for it.

As for any other authorship questions. If you want to know if that man with the pipe and the long face whom they call John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was the real author of Lord of the Rings, what method do you use? I go by the tradition which goes back to his publishers.

That is, he was the author.

St Peter can have had ample opportunity to explain the Gospel in terms of his personal memories and corroborated by Gospels like Matthew and Luke - Mark being their conflation, under his dictation - to the adressees on another occasion.

I stand with modern scholarship on this, and belief Mark was the original, and Matthew and Luke are derived from it.

Even though you should have read up by now on Markan priority being a hunch, invented for a commodity in Bismarck's Germany, spread by a Soft Totalitarian state control over Universities in the German Reich of the Hohenzollerns?

Or didn't you read that link? I admit, I didn't read the triple link contesting on possibility of Sts Peter and Paul having different theologies.

But that is a more well known story. As to the background for Markan priority in the scholarship after Franco-Prussian war, it was news to me, unknown to myself a few weeks ago.

And before looking at the three links (you'll excuse me for being somewhat rationalising, and Apocalypse of St Peter was more important to come to terms with), I have already a hunch of what they are about.

Some Jews are converting today. Just as apocastasis ton panton is attractive to Christians of Jewish origin, so is continuing to keep the law as per OT ritual (as if the Jews were actually doing that, without the temple and all), it is also attractive to Jews wanting to disprove CHristianity without attacking Jesus, perhaps by ruse, because they have historically been attacking Jesus and know that won't work with Christian populations, and perhaps also in some cases because they are impressed (after very lately actually reading NT) with Jesus as an OT scholar, as a rabbi.

So, St Peter remaining ritually an Ebionite (the kind of Christians or half-Christians from 1st C AD who opposed St Paul, and required continuing the law) is of course attractive to them from this perspective, as confirming Jesus was that too and therefore discrediting historical Christianity.

But the reason why he can't have been in such a position is, if he had been, the guys who got this letter from an unknown person would hardly have taken him for Peter the Apostle, just because he said so.

So how do you think these guys did check the authorship? Letters were frequency written by scribes and carried by couriers. If the courier said the letter came from Peter, exactly how would that be confirmed?

If you were a Roman Emperor, like Trajan or Hadrian, and sent a letter to Pliny the Younger when he was a magistrate on how he was to conduct the persecution of Christians (no ratting out of hidden ones, except by denunciation, but no tolerance of those admitting to be so), how did Pliny the Younger know the letter was from Trajan?

It was also delivered by courier.

The point is, post office with services for everyone was not invented.

And couriers implied a routine of verifying how genuine the correspondence was.

In one case, a letter from St Paul includes the words of his writing this or that with his own hand. One theory could be that he was giving a sample of his handwriting, so one could identify his signature next time. This is a less likely theory, since majuscules were very stereotype, not easy to pick one handwriting from another - it also presupposes that on this occasion the courier was known so one could know t h a t letter was no fake. More probably, though, St Paul was giving a second grade relic of himself, precisely as handkerchiefs which had touched his clothes served as second grade relics and were instrumental in God's miracles.

Miracles being performed is of course one recourse which is very likely with the autographs of God's own words.

If that manuscript from St Peter hadn't been from St Peter, it could not have given a blindborn man back his eyesight or raised that dead. Speculating, since I have not heard of any actual such story about this case, though the parallel is true when picking out the True Cross of Christ from the crosses of the two robbers, when St Helen found them.

Other - non-miraculous - means would be:

  • couriers known to both parties;

  • "the fisher ring", a k a being a ring with a seal on it and belonging to Popes:

    Popes have traditionally each of them a ring, with allusion to St Peter being a fisherman, where the artwork on the sealing wax identifies the seal and the letter as being from that particular seal, that particular ring (and when a Pope dies, his fisher ring is broken) : St Peter could be the origin of this custom;

  • "ad limina visits" : every diocesan bishop in Western Rite, and every major Patriarch (bishop over other bishops) in Eastern Rites has to visit the Pope in order to show his submission (Orthodox would argue back then rather just communion) under (with) the Pope.

    If St Peter had sent his epistle to such and such a bishop, that bishop could later ask on his ad limina, "did you send this letter"?

  • couriers being Church officials + safe guards against false such:

    If your President sends you a letter, unless it is just a polite answer to fan mail ... wait, (I saw you are accessing your own blog in UK), if Elizabeth sends you a letter and it is not just a polite answer to fan mail, for instance if you are a leaseholder on her freehold or sth, and she wants the ground back for a natural park or sth, you don't expect her to send by ordinary mail. Even more so if you are an officer in her service, and get a letter in war time.

    You expect her to give extra assurances the letter is from her, by going through some official, you expect these to be recognisable both by some kind of uniform and also by knowing things about public service or military routine that a common Englishman who would impersonate wouldn't know.

    The same would have been true of a deacon being sent from St Peter to anywhere he was adressing his both epistles. He would have to be good at Christian theology (which was being less openly preached to everyone, and which was only partly expressed in writing) and to know things a deacon would know but ordinary Catholics wouldn't.

    Of course, back in these days, he might even be required to perform a miracle as part of authentifying his being from a hagiographer.

The idea of someone succeeding to forge a writing by an apostle and get it accepted by the Church, well, why don't you try to forge an order by President Obama (who is still such) or by subsequent President Trump, just to know how easy it is to do so?

And yet modern scholarship seems reasonably sure the Pastoral epistles atre example of just that!

That modern scholarship is of Protestant inspiration.

Catholics have so often last two centuries in English and German speaking countries had occasion to prove the Catholic concept of hierarchy from the Pastoral letters, that Protestants more willing to part with Scripture than to become Catholics have come up with that idea.

Such semi-apostates from Protestantism to Atheism are very much in control of modern Academia.

And apostasising to the full to Atheism has basically founded Atheism as a non-Christian branch of Protestantism.

vendredi 18 novembre 2016

Continuing a few arguments

1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

... from previous post.

The style of writing and the philosophy exposed is considered by many to be too advanced for a Galilean fisherman. I will acknowledge he could have used a secretary, and his philosophy could have developed over decades in the church.

And the three years or so with Our Lord Jesus Christ, who created the universe and who is the Wisdom of the Father?

That teaching him philosophy?

It's like saying that having an excellent fishing boat and an excellent net and setting out in excellent weather on an excellent fishing water can land you with a good catch. Totally mythical, of course!

More significant is that he uses the Septuagint as a source for Old Testament quotes, which certainly is bizarre for a Hebrew-speaking Jew.

Since he wrote the letter he can not have been a monoglot.

If the Christian Church later rather systematically accepted LXX for at least a Greek speaking reference, what is so curious with arguing the Apostles themselves did so from start and did so because Christ had told them to?

In 1 Peter 5:1, the author refers to himself as an elder, a position that appeared later in the church, further indicating a later authorship.

Again presuming without proof that certain things hitherto presumed there from scratch in the Church were later.

Actually, one Catholic has presumed that the word "presbyteros" could be used as we now use "bishop" (he is indeed older than the other priests, often) and "bishop" as we now use "priest" (that was his solution to why "bishops" could marry like Eastern rite priests, others have said bishops were only later exclusively recruited from monks).

In 1 Peter 1:1 the author mentions "the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia," Various sources on the internet (eg here indicate that this sequence of states was established by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72. I have found only limited support for that claim outside articles dating the epistle, so count it as suspect:

That second link (which I do link to) is from 1936 and as title suggests from Cambridge.

Cambridge being more reformed and anti-Catholic was also more anti-Christian and more modernist, at least back then, when modernism was very firmly held at bay on most accounts in the Catholic Church.

It is sad that these outdated resources can be so preeminent over more recent ones, just because the more recent ones have copyright holders who either think they will be ruined or are published by editors having such bank loans that they are not eager to share knowledge as such for free.

If people could read more modern texts, this claim might have been already exploded, or clarified as Vespasian in a sense doing that, but formalising or reestablishing what had been there.

Supposing this were the exact truth:

The sequence of provincial boundaries mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1 was set up by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72.

It could still be exactly true that it was just one of the older states, bearing a double name, for instance "Asia and Bithynia" which was by Vespasian divided.

Or it could be true that one of the provinces had another name before, but was nicknamed "Asia", while all of these are in Asia Minor, a bit like Florida is called "The Sun State" - and even so Vespasian established it under that name, as if a future president were to rename Florida officially "Sun State".

If I knew the history of Vespasian better, I would of course probably be able to tell.

But this argument is probably, when coming from Cambridge University Press 1936, even in a reference work not purporting to argue, a bit due to the influence of German academia.

The page you linked to on "Theopedia" actually admits on top:

In particular, German scholarship is the strongest supporter of the idea of pseudonymnity.

This has a real connection to Marcan priority thesis. That too came from German scholarship and from pressure of Bismarck against the Gospels being reliable, since he was afraid of Papal implications of St Matthew:

The ChurchinHistory Information Centre : BISMARCK AND THE FOUR GOSPELS, 1870 - 1914
by William R. Farmer (University of Dallas) Editor of A NEW CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY

Passage also available on:

Biblical studies and the shifting of paradigms, 1850-1914
Auteur : Henning Reventlow, Graf.; William R Farmer
Éditeur : Sheffield, Eng. : Sheffield Academic Press, ©1995.

And on:

Biblical Studies and the Shifting of Paradigms, 1850-1914 (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) Paperback – November 1, 2009
by Henning Graf Reventlow (Editor), William R. Farmer (Editor)

It is page 24 in the google book and paper versions.

By Kulturkampf is meant that conflict which dominated relations between Germany and the Vatican during the decade of the eighteen seventies. This conflict arose soon after the close of the first Vatican Council and pitted the iron chancellor prince Otto von Bismarck against Pius IX. The issue was an age old question of church and state. Constantine had simply announced to bishops of the church that he had received a revelation from God that he was to exercise the office of bishop on all matters outside the church, just as they were to exercise jurisdiction on all matters internal to the life of the church. Therefore, it has always been tempting for the head of any government in Christendom to presuppose the right of a Christian ruler to exercise sovereignty over Christian subjects. Kaiser Wilhelm was no exception and Bismarck was his appointed minister. Pius IX, on the other hand, was the inheritor of a tradition according to which, as the head of the Roman Catholic church, he was responsible for every Roman Catholic, including those who were German citizens.

At issue was whether Catholics in Germany in a showdown were to obey the pope or the Iron Chancellor. From the pope's point of view it was a matter of whether these Catholics were going to obey man or God, he being God's appointed representative by way of Christ who had been sent by God. Christ in turn had sent Peter whose infallible successor he (Pius IX) was. From Bismarck's point of view it was more a matter of whether these German citizens were to be subject to the laws promulgated by elected representatives of the German nation, he guiding the legislative process by means of influence over a Protestant majority within the dominant Prussian parliament.

The conflict broke out when Dr. Wollmann, a Catholic instructor of religion in the gymnasium at Braunsberg in East Prussia, having refused to signify his assent to the Vatican decrees of 1870 on the supremacy and infallibility of the pope, was excommunicated and deprived of his right of giving instruction in the Catholic faith [5]. It helps to know that although Dr. Wollmann was giving instruction to Catholics, he in fact, in accordance with a long-standing arrangement, had been appointed by government officials, and his salary was paid by the state. Ordinarily this arrangement worked well, since such appointments were made in consultation with church authorities. The state in turn took for granted that no local bishop would dismiss a government appointee without due cause.

Read on where you like.

But German scholarship on the Bible came out of the 1870' tainted with subservience to State expedience. Bismarck targetted the Gospel of Matthew (as literally reliable) about like Pim Fortuyn would target the Qoran. Bismarck had to be less direct, Bible believing even Protestants but especially Catholics were not exactly a very insignificant minority, he couldn't just start throwing people into prison for it. He would have lost the throne if he had.

But he could appoint and did appoint professors of theology. And the power was abused, consciously by his wanting to do so, or unconsciusly only if he was very blind to what he was up to.

I am therefore glad of having been finally raised in the German speaking part of my childhood, in Austria, not under Bismarck.

And if you know anything about Cambridge, it was probably on Bismarck's side.

There is no mention of Mosaic law; this was a big issue in the early church, as Acts and the Pauline letters make clear, and that suggests the letter is later, after the issue had been resolved.

It is probably after St Peter had made his position clear enough, after he had been ambiguous about it as witnessed by Galatians.

The letter finishes "By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you", and some suggest this indicates Peter dictated the letter to Silvanus, which accounts for the good Greek. However, the Greek indicates that Silvanus was the courier, not the scribe.

As if living among Greek speakers for years couldn't make your own Greek rather perfect. Indistinguishable from native at 2000 years distance.

Very, very few people today would argue for Petrine authorship of this book. The Word Biblical Commentary, which is a conservative commentary series, argues against Petrine authorship. Of all of the books of the Bible, this is the one that is most difficult to defend in regard to authorship.

Very few except Catholics and Evangelicals and Mormons, you mean.

Very few among the non-Christians, that is non-Catholics.

quoting Origen
Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, against which the gates of Hades shall not prevail, has left one acknowledged epistle, and, it may be, a second also; for it is doubted.

Why so much doubt?* for one thing, 2 Peter 3:15-16 refer to Paul's letters as scripture; the early church would not have regarded them as such, indicating this was written relatively late.

St Paul's writings were accepted as Holy Writte by the adressees as soon as received and authentified as really his.

There is some evidence 2 Peter is based on Jude, again giving a later date.

Would the evidence be such that, like Jude and Peter cannot both have it from in part genuine OT tradition confirmed by Christ (during the 3 years they walked with him) but one of them HAD to have it from the other?

A bit like Flood deniers are saying Babylonians and Bible authors cannot have had account of Flood from event, but one of them had to plagairise fiction from the other?

This article makes the case that they are similar because both were authored by Jude (so in 2 Peter 3:1, this is the second letter after Jude, not 1 Peter):

Not linking, since answering that article would involve reading it, I haven't the time right now, but I would like to know why the similarities aren't such that they can be explained by Sts Peter and Jude sharing a common cultural background and a common Master (a bit closer to each other than to Matthew, John, or Paul with Barnabas.

That will be another day.

As in previous,
Hans Georg Lundahl

* In general, because one Church would be in a position to know genuiine Apostolic authorship before another one was, as communication capacity varied under persecution, the debates would go faster to full scale acceptance for some than for others./HGL

Anonymous author for Saint Peter?

1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

Sn known on a forum as Pixie has been reading a bit too much Richard Carrier, I'd say, unless it is Bart Ehrman:

The issue of motive is an interesting one. Why would an anonymous author want to pass of his letter as that of Peter? The most likely answer is that the author was a sincere Christian, who felt his letter was important, and perhaps was what Peter would have said, and gave it Peter's name to lend it authority within the church.

It is worth noting that we do have a Gospel of Peter, which, like the letters, explicitly claims to be the work of the apostle. Christianity nevertheless rejects the Gospel of Peter, so the church itself acknowledges that some texts that claim Petrine authorship were not actually written by the apostle.

Similarly, the Apocalypse of Peter is no longer considered canon, although it originally was, despite claiming Petrine authorship.

Elementary, my dear Pixie!

The question is not why an anonymous Christian would want to pass himself off as the Apostle Peter - two works prove fairly well some did or were thought to have done so.

The question is how an anonymous author would succeed in passing himself (as author ego) off as the Apostle Peter.

The rejection of the Gospel and Apocalypse which both bear that name, show that early Christians did have some checks.

Now, saying that the Apocalypse of St Peter originally was canon is most probably not true. There were some rival canons before all the 27 books were complete in one collection, and that one accepted by all the Church.

So, this books never made it beyond one or two local Churches, either because another one knew it to be spurious, or because one had not sufficient proofs for considering it genuine.

And that latter is, considering God has promised to preserve his word and no Church considers Apocalypse as St Peter canon, one sign it is probably not genuine either.

There are various reasons for supposing Peter was not the author of 1 Peter. To start with, the theology is Paul's not Peter's.

Supposing without proof that Sts Paul and Peter had very diverse theologies.

Secondly, there is no mention of Jesus on a personal level. It does, however, mention the "sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories" in a general way (see also 1 Peter 2:21-24 in particular). It reads as someone who knows Jesus suffered, and is aware of the theology, but not as someone who was there at the time. Even 1 Peter 5:1 ("a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed"), where the author claims to be a witness, there is nothing personal; there is no sense of the author drawing on his own experience.

On tvtropes, there is a trope called "Genre Blindness".

TVTropes : Genre Blindness

There it refers to characters in a plot being blind to the genre the plot is set in.

Most often, genre blindness refers to readers being blind to what kind of work a work is.

You just exhibited that.

A letter of exhortation is not a personal narrative.

It is a letter of exhortation.

St Peter can have had ample opportunity to explain the Gospel in terms of his personal memories and corroborated by Gospels like Matthew and Luke - Mark being their conflation, under his dictation - to the adressees on another occasion.

He speaks to them as if he had known them long enough to know they were going to listen to him.

Suppose he somehow hadn't, he could have decided to depend on their getting actual Gospels from elsewhere than from him, if he was in prison, he might not have had opportunity to write much more.

But the reason why he can't have been in such a position is, if he had been, the guys who got this letter from an unknown person would hardly have taken him for Peter the Apostle, just because he said so.

This type of critique of Christianity is so dependent on early Christianity being essentially an anonymous bookmarket and not a Church.

But it was a Church, and if there was some bookmarket going in, it was not very anonymous. At utmost we don't really know for one of the books (1/27 vs 26/27) whether it was written by St Paul or by St Barnabas. That Epistle is that to the Hebrews.

One can imagine situations in which things either actually get so muddled one doesn't know, or someone over cautious isn't sure even when one reasonably does know it is Saint Paul's.

And suppose it were St Barnabas', and someone was unsure, asked St Paul, and Saint Paul said something like "I endorse it" or "yes, that is exactly what I wanted to say" (when not specifically asked if he had written it himself), and that was enough for it to be canonic and to be probably St Paul's while some circumstance made it possible it just possibly could have been St Barnabas'.

The idea of knowing whether St Paul or St Barnabas wrote it by looking at handwriting is a bit out of hand, since in one place it seems St Paul says he is writing this or that with his own hands. If he specifically says so, it means he was giving his secretary a leave. He might have wanted to give the Church a relic of himself (like those handkerchiefs which people touched his garments with and which healed the sick) and so done it specifically for one occasion.

That means he usually wrote by dictation and that means the handwriting usually was some secretary's.

The idea of someone succeeding to forge a writing by an apostle and get it accepted by the Church, well, why don't you try to forge an order by President Obama (who is still such) or by subsequent President Trump, just to know how easy it is to do so?

I don't think you will succeed, nor would the anonymous Christian you pose as author of the canonic petrine epistles.

Btw, if you really try (don't take this literally, unless you really, really need to) do sth good which will hopefully not be too much resented so you don't get into trouble for it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Dedication of Basilica's
Sts Peter and Paul in Rome

* On Creationism : Were The Petrine Epistles Authored By Peter?

mardi 15 novembre 2016

A Follow Up on Antonin Scalia and Matthew Archbold

So The Apostles Faked the Resurrection? Really?
The lives (and deaths) of the Apostles prove that Christ really did rise from the dead.
Matthew Archbold | Sep. 12, 2016

Now, Justice Scalia is here quoted as saying:

"The 'wise' do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. It is really quite absurd [to them]. The Ascension had to be made up by groveling enthusiasts as part of their plan to get themselves martyred."

Matthew Archbold continues this line by examplifying:

(1) Simon-Peter was martyred in Rome. Peter, it is believed, asked to be crucified upside down, because he didn't feel himself worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus.

Does that sound like someone who made up a story? If so, he was really sticking to it, huh?

... (2) Andrew ... (3) James the Greater [after returning from Western Hispania, I might add] ... (4) Philip ... (5) Bartholomew ... (6) Thomas ... (7) Matthew ... James the Less [not one of the Twelve, but fosterbrother of God] ... (8) And Simon the Canaanite was crucified.

Now, can you realistically argue that it's even remotely possible that the apostles invented the resurrection?

There are two things Matthew Archbold forgets.

The graver issue is this, after mentioning James the Less, he adds:

(who let's face it, had to deal with constantly being called "the less" his whole life)

C'mon, is it really that traumatising to be called Jimmy Shorty while the other Jimmy is called Jimmy Longshanks? That is what "the greater" and "the lesser" actually mean. Christ had two James, one was taller and one was shorter. (And a third, see below.)

The less important thing is that Richard Carrier would have an objection ready.

How do we know that Simon-Peter, Andrew, James the Greater, Philip, Batholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Simon the Canaanite, not to mention (looking up most) (9) Jude Thaddaeus and (looking up the rest) (10) James ("son of Alphaeus" - not identic to James the Less), (11) (not needing to look up) Matthias who replaced Judas the Traitor, not to mention (12) St John, who despite living to old age and laying himself peacefully in his grave had before been boiled in oil and only miraculously survived even existed?

Because of the tradition of the Church.

Same as I know Jefferson and Washington existed because of the tradition of US, same as I know Caesar and Augustus and before them Romulus, Numa, Ancius Martius, sorry, Tullius Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquin the Old, Servius Tullius and Tarquin the Haughty existed because of the tradition of Rome. Same as I know Odin, Thor and Frey were in the region of Uppsala (which Frey founded) because of Swedish/Norse tradition.

Of course, traditions are more trustworthy the more bearers of them can be cited.

The basics of this is that, if the twelve apostles didn't exist, even more people had to conspire to invent them and invent how this that or the other had met them and been ordained by them - we are talking the generation of Clement of Rome, Ignace of Antioch, Polycarp, Irenaeus of Lyons, Papias.

Each seeming to be part of a larger Christendom than St Paul when he founded Churches had seen with his eyes. And of St Paul, even Richard Carrier does not quite doubt the historicity. Nor, I presume, that of St Barnabas, his codisciple under Gamaliel (whose historicity Richard Carrier hardly doubts either), nor perhaps even of St Narn, the first bishop of Bergamo, ordained by St Barnabas? Or St Prosdocimus of Padua, ordinaed by Saint Peter?

But suppose these were all no more real than the seven Chronicles of that other (non-Italian) Narnia, how abut the generation after that, which remembers both these and the first generation which had seen Jesus walking on the shores of Lake Genesareth?

I think at least that generation would be attested to even Richard Carrier's satisfaction by men like Celsus or Proclus and such.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Eugene I of Toledo*

* Eodem die natalis sancti Eugenii, Episcopi Toletani et Martyris; qui fuit beati Dionysii Areopagitae discipulus, et in territorio Parisiensi, consummato martyrii cursu, beatae passionis coronam percepit a Domino. Ipsius autem corpus Toletum, in Hispania, postea fuit translatum.

vendredi 11 novembre 2016

Was Lack of Autographs a Major Problem to Bart Ehrman?

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Answers to Grace and Frank Turek · somewhere else : Was Lack of Autographs a Major Problem to Bart Ehrman?

somewhere else : Was Lack of Autographs a Major Problem to Bart Ehrman? · Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : The leper

I am listening to J. P. Holding on this one:

Bart Ehrman: Deceit and Cunning - J. P. Holding
Theology, Philosophy and Science

J. P. Holding refers to Bart Ehrman as saying the lack of the "original piece of paper" (or more likely papyrus or vellum) was a major problem to Ehrman in his studies. 8:20. At 8:47 J. P. starts psychologing about Ehrman's wondering about the attitude of the others.

We do have autographs for quite a lot of later texts. Say the text I was perhaps going to edit if I had stayed in Academia back in 1993, I think there was one manuscript, namely the autograph by Matthias Sunnessen of Skenninge, the confessor of St Bridget, or perhaps two manuscripts, one of which is autograph. That text was not related to St Bridget otherwise, it was his devotional given to the then king of Sweden for betterment of his life - a meditation on the seven penitential psalms, or on the seven "O psalms." Psalms like "O radix Iesse" and so on.

We have an autograph now, and it is about 650 or more years old.

For Shakespear studies, the Folio edition plays a role, not quite as autograph of Shakespear, but as close enough.

So, would the gospellers not have chosen vellum for such a momentuous task (it had been know since BC)? And would the Church not have preserved it with very great veneration?

Well, that is basically what the Church actually did.

The autographs were displayed in Constantinople up to when Iconoclasm attacked the veneration of the Gospel autographs. Not sure what exactly happened, whether they were destroyed or hidden, but they are no longer on display, and it did not wait till the Turkish conquest in 1453.

This means that if we don't have a very solid foundation left now, in the normal text critical sense, we do know it existed - unless we take the line that the Gospel Autographs were fakes, like some have taken the line that the relics of the Holy Cross are fakes. We know it existed for centuries and was consulted.

But Bart Ehrman was studying among people who either never heard of Gospel autographs in Constantinople - or who dismissed as a matter of course the genuinity of relics displayed by Iconodules. He had a reason to ask questions about their logic. It was not personal megalomania to be annoyed by both the "lack of autographs" and the lack of reaction to the lack of autographs.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris XI
St. Martin of Tours

mardi 8 novembre 2016

Correcting Theodore Gracyk's analysis

Source for Gracyk:

St. Thomas Aquinas:
The Existence of God can be proved in five ways.
Argument Analysis of the Five Ways © 2016 Theodore Gracyk

Source for St Thomas:

Summa Theologiae : First Part : Question 2 The existence of God :
Article 3, Whether God exists?

The First Way: Argument from Motion

  • 1.) Our senses prove that some things are in motion.

  • 2.) Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.

  • 3.) Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.

  • 4.) Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).

  • 5.) Therefore nothing can move itself.

  • 6.) Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.

  • 7.) The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.

  • 8.) Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

The actual word of St Thomas:

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

What did Gracyk get wrong:

"Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion."

No, what Saint Thomas said is that things move or change* if they are in potency to sth other than their actual (nature, state, quality, place etc.).

If I walk from a library to a train station, when I was in the library, I was in potency of being in the train station.

When I walk, each foot is moved by me when rest of me is not actually moving on that foot, but standing (and changing angle) on the other.

When Sun is moved from zenith, it is because it was in potency of being in sunset.

*The word cambiare in Latin is only used for monetary or other commercial exchange, including barter, so change something from a state to other is "movere" in Latin).

The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes

  • 1.) We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.

  • 2.) Nothing exists prior to itself.

  • 3.) Therefore nothing [in the world of things we perceive] is the efficient cause of itself.

  • 4.) If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect).

  • 5.) Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.

  • 6.) If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.

  • 7.) That is plainly false (i.e., there are things existing now that came about through efficient causes).

  • 8.) Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past.

  • 9.) Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

The actual word of St Thomas:

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

What did Gracyk get wrong:

"We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world."

No, but when we perceive, we analyse a series of efficient causes. He did not say "it is manifest and we perceive by senses" (as for first way), but he said "in the world of sense" (both what we perceive and what we analyse about what we see) "we find" (rationally speaking : we analyse).


"If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect)."

Substitute prior to previous.

"If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now."

Substitute "into more causing and less caused causes" instead of "past", which is not the issue (that would be the parallel kalaam argument), substitute "effects" for things (the thing itself may not be an effect, but its state may be so, like my state two meters over natural ground is caused by the architecture under me, without it causing my existence), and the "now" is similarily irrelevant.

"Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past." Delete "past". It's about the more causing and less caused.

"Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God." Verbally correct, but he takes, after the foregoing, "first" to mean "earliest" which was not St Thomas' meaning.

If you want Kalaam, I think you find that in Saint Bonaventura or in Duns Scotus.

Saint Thomas explicitly rejects Kalaam in I P, Q46, A2.

On the contrary, The articles of faith cannot be proved demonstratively, because faith is of things "that appear not" (Hebrews 11:1). But that God is the Creator of the world: hence that the world began, is an article of faith; for we say, "I believe in one God," etc. And again, Gregory says (Hom. i in Ezech.), that Moses prophesied of the past, saying, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth": in which words the newness of the world is stated. Therefore the newness of the world is known only by revelation; and therefore it cannot be proved demonstratively.

And in his answer to objection 7, he rejects Kalaam:

Reply to Objection 7. In efficient causes it is impossible to proceed to infinity per se--thus, there cannot be an infinite number of causes that are per se required for a certain effect; for instance, that a stone be moved by a stick, the stick by the hand, and so on to infinity. But it is not impossible to proceed to infinity "accidentally" as regards efficient causes; for instance, if all the causes thus infinitely multiplied should have the order of only one cause, their multiplication being accidental, as an artificer acts by means of many hammers accidentally, because one after the other may be broken. It is accidental, therefore, that one particular hammer acts after the action of another; and likewise it is accidental to this particular man as generator to be generated by another man; for he generates as a man, and not as the son of another man. For all men generating hold one grade in efficient causes--viz. the grade of a particular generator. Hence it is not impossible for a man to be generated by man to infinity; but such a thing would be impossible if the generation of this man depended upon this man, and on an elementary body, and on the sun, and so on to infinity.

So, the second way cannot be analysed so as to make God the earliest cause. God is the foremost cause in a simultaneous series.

Also, when speaking in "second way" of "things", rather than "effects", Gracyk anticipates on the distinction between things that are contingent (can exist and can be non-existing) and things that are necessary, from which the contingent things get their being.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Octave of All Saints

mercredi 2 novembre 2016

Answering Three Points in a Paper by Carrier

Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?
By Richard Carrier, Ph.D. | Independent Scholar |
August 2014

Contrary to an oft-repeated myth in contemporary scholarship, before Christianity began both Romulus and Osiris were believed by their devotees to be slain deities subsequently resurrected to heavenly glory (as were many others of the type, from Zalmoxis to Dionysus to Adonis to Inanna), who now could bring glory or salvation to their followers.[4]

Osiris like Balder was slain and considered alive in the other world - in Osiris' case that of the dead. He was NOT resurrected again ON EARTH.

Romulus was not even slain, but disappeared in battle and was therefore considered to have been a manifestation of the divine.

Osiris could bring salvation - because he was lord of the dead, precisely because he was NOT resurrected.

Romulus could bring glory - because while alive on earth he was a warrior.

It is possible that Osiris was a real man, it is overwhelmingly likely that Romulus was one.

I place the probability that Odin and Thorr were real men somewhere in between. If Hebrews, I hope Thorr repented and Christ indirectly made reference to his return to Holy Land by the explanation of why James and John were called Boanerges.

I think it is more likely that Jesus began in the Christian mind as a celestial being (like an archangel), believed or claimed to be revealing divine truths through revelations (and, by bending the ear of prophets in previous eras, through hidden messages planted in scripture). Christianity thus began the same way Islam and Mormonism did: by their principal apostles (Mohammed and Joseph Smith) claiming to have received visions from their religion’s “actual” teacher and founder, in each case an angel (Gabriel dictated the Koran, Moroni provided the Book of Mormon).

The problem with this is, with the false Gabriel, we know who witnessed his appearance, namely Mohammed, and we know it was one man. And Gabriel was not believed to have been born as a man himself.

With Moroni, we know who witnessed his appearance, also exactly one man, Joseph Smith, and we know Moroni himself was not believed to be one man.

With Delphic Apollo, you have instead a succession of mediums, though with Nine Muses and Egeria we are back to the one man as intermediate, again : Hesiod and Numa Pompilius.

Nowhere are Nine Muses, Egeria, Moroni or Jibreel believed to be men.

And nowhere are they believed to be seen by more than one person at a time, as with Delphic Apollo not being "experienced" by more than one person at a time.

Nowhere do we find gods clearly becoming men, while we do find men becoming gods (though Euhemerus may have overdone it with Zeus and Kronos and Uranos - or he might have not so, I think Saturn was legitimately ancestor of Latinus and Lavinia, and I think this implies a rebellious son back in Greece : for Odin and Thorr and Frey, I have as little or less doubt about human historicity).

This “Jesus” would most likely have been the same archangel identified by Philo of Alexandria as already extant in Jewish theology.[6] Philo knew this figure by all of the attributes Paul already knew Jesus by: the firstborn son of God (Rom. 8:29), the celestial “image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4), and God’s agent of creation (1 Cor. 8:6). He was also God’s celestial high priest (Heb. 2:17, 4:14, etc.) and God’s “Logos.” And Philo says this being was identified as the figure named “Jesus” in Zechariah 6. So it would appear that already before Christianity there were Jews aware of a celestial being named Jesus who had all of the attributes the earliest Christians were associating with their celestial being named Jesus. They therefore had no need of a historical man named Jesus. All they needed was to imagine this celestial Jesus undergoing a heavenly incarnation and atoning death, in order to accomplish soteriologically what they needed, in order to no longer rely upon the Jewish temple authorities for their salvation.[7]

You are forgetting the possibility that Philo may have ultimately become a Christian. And identified Zecharias 6 as a prophecy about him. So did St Jerome later:

Jesus. When the prophet set the crown on the high priest's head, in order to shew that it did not belong to him, except as a figure of the Messias, he added, behold a man, who is also God, called Orient, or "raising up," and establishing the kingdom, which was promised to David. (St. Jerome) (Worthington)

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
All Souls' Day