Eight Levels of Verification for the Gospels

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Eight Levels of Verification for the Gospels

Postby The Pixie on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:28 am

From Joe's page here (but in response to a discussion on Cadre):
http://religiousapriorijesus-bible.blog ... n-for.html

Atheists are too easily dismissing the concept of validity by just declaring that Bible has none and no book has any. they have no tetrameters for what validity means, totally ignore the fact that scholars have scientific rules for establishing validity...

So what are the parameters? For some reason Joe does not tell us! It is almost as though he has none either...

And why is a supposed witness account called a level of verification? Again, no answer is forth-coming.

1) The original pre Mark redaction

That there was a pre-Mark narrative seems pretty well accepted. What we ned to know is:

When did it appear?
What was in it?
How much did it change before Mark used it?

Later Joe suggests it appeared around 50AD, so nearly twenty years after the event. Did it change between then and Mark using it?

(2)the Pauline corups

This is three of his levels, by the way. Which is odd, because Paul tells us next to nothing about the resurrection - nothing to support an empty tomb, nothing to suggest a physical resurrection as opposed to resurrection in a new heavenly body.

(3) extra canonical Gospels such as Peter and Thomas

The simple response is that even the church rejects the veracity of these. When were the written? How much were they revised before they became the versions we now have? Why should we think either of these are independent of the pre-Mark narrative? If they used that (or the canonicals), then they cannot be considered a different level of verification. As far as I know, Thomas is a saying text, and so offers no insight into the resurrection.

(4) Oral tradition

More on this later (Joe has just three words here).

(5)The Gospels themselves which reflect the community as a whole, a whole community full of people who were there.

But the gospels are derived from the pre-Mark narrative, which in turn is based on the oral tradition. How can he claim these are witnesses?

(6) writers who write about their relationships with those who were there.

So at best second hand accounts, but how many of these discuss the resurrection?

http://religiousapriorijesus-bible.blog ... art-1.html

Only the canonical Gospels can be bore out as early dated, the trend is to even earlier dates, and at the same time has this vast body of attestation including the final inclusion in the canon. Skeptics also overlook the extent to which these 34 lost gospels supplement and corroborate the canonical Gospels. Most of the historical core of Thomas is in agreement with the synoptic.

So what, Joe? Matthew and Luke "corroborate" Mark because the authors copied the text! That does not make the text any more true, any more than the movie of the Hobbit made that story more true. Sure later non-canonical gospels added further "corroboration" - because they too copied the basics.

The old independent core of Peter supports the idea of guards on the tomb, meaning it also supports the crucifixion, the tomb, and the resurrection, empty tomb.

How do we know the guards were in the original version? Given the embellishment of the incident from that in Matthew, and its absence from Mark, Luke and John, it is far more likely this is an elaboration added subsequent to Matthew, in an attempt to shore up holes in his account (specifically that the body could have been stolen the first night).

Therefore, skeptics conclude, there's no authority of eye witness testimony. yet the skeptics are ignorant. These books don't have to have been written by members of the twelve Apostles to contain eye witness testimony.

Agreed. But the issue is why the church has adopted Matthew, for example, as the author when it is almost certainly not true. It illustrates that falsehoods have entered the Bible.

Scholars have for some time now recognized that the true authors are whole communities (see Luke Timothy Johnson, Writings of the New Testament). This means the community was the witness. We know that these early communities lived together communally. ... The force of truth, the power of the eye witnesse would have prevails in dominating the discussion. Eye witnesses would have been authorities and new comers would have been students.

To the contrary, this sounds to me like the perfect environment for stories to get fabricated and embellished. If one person claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus eat fish - or perhaps had heard that Jesus ate fish - who would stand up and say it never happened?

If there was no resurrection, then there were no witnesses to the events in Jerusalem, and so no one to say, actually I was there, and that did not happen.

Furthermore, these were people wanting confirmation of their faith. They would be as critical of claims about Jesus as modern day creationists are with regards to claims about the Flood. As long as the claims confirm their beliefs, they would want them to be true.

The communal setting would have offered a controlled setting in which the information could have been kept straight, the oral culture would have provided the framework; these people knew how to keep oral tradition intact.

Exactly who knew how to keep an oral tradition intact? There is a difference between remembering and reciting an oral record, and composing one in the first place. Is there any evidence of the standard methods of ensuring accurate transmission, such as alliteration, repetition, assonance, and proverbial sayings in the Gospels? I have not heard of such a thing.

With regards to the sayings of Jesus, that would be more plausible, as that is the sort of material that would be transmitted, and it is possible Jesus composed them in a suitable format. But it is quite a leap to suppose that the early Christians immediately adopted those practices with regards to the resurrection.

http://religiousapriorijesus-bible.blog ... art-2.html

In part 2, Joe looks at Paul's usage of the oral tradition. But this is a big problem, because no where does Paul give any indication of an empty tomb or a physical resurrection. Almost as though they were not a part of the oral tradition...

The nature of the pericopes themselves shows us that the synoptic gosples are made up of units of oral tradition. Many skpetics seem to think that Mark indented the story in the Gospel and that's the first time they came to exist. But no, Mark wrote down stories that the chruch had told for decades. Each unit or story is called a "pericope" (per-ic-o-pee).

Okay, so they were continuing the oral tradition handed to them from Jesus. That is quite different to making up a new tradition from various accounts of the resurrection. Look at where Mark ended originally. If the post resurrection Jerusalem sightings were part of the oral tradition, why did Mark not include them?

The most likely explanation is that they had not been invented when he was writing!
The Pixie
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