Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jesus as a miracle worker

Christians , for example James McGrath of Butler University Indiana, will often say things like this '.... it is clear that Jesus was renowned in his own time as a healer and exorcist. '

This statement can be found at Miracles

Of course, not one document can be dated before AD 65 which mentions Jesus in connection with healings and exorcisms.

This includes Christian documents.

Why is mainstream Biblical scholarship in such an appalling state that scholars can say that things are 'clear' , without producing one shred of evidence for their claims?

Can mainstream Biblical scholars say 'rigorous standards'?

If for 30 years after his death, not one member of the Elvis Presley fan club ever hinted at his remarkable tap-dancing feats, would mainstream Biblical scholars even think twice before claiming that it is 'clear' that Elvis Presley was renowned during his life time for his tap dancing?

9 Comments:

Blogger Qohelet said...

Good point. Sometimes we do let them get away with it. It's their Christ, so we give their followers some leeway when talking about him.

4:05 PM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Hold on: the documents might be dated later than Jesus's lifetime, but they suggest strongly that he was renowned during his lifetime for such things.

If you're going to say that's not enough, you'll have to work harder than merely pointing to the date of documents. You're going to have to show why they are not reliable, and that's much more complicated.

(Your Elvis example is not a good analogy- the question here is about documentation.)

4:15 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I see.

So my Elvis example is not a good analogy.

Because no member of the Presley fan club Elvis mentioned his tap dancing skills for 30 years after he died, while no Christian during the first 30 years after Jesus died mentioned any miracles.

Yes, I can see why these 2 cases are entirely different.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

And, of course, the miracle stories about Jesus are Frauds and Lies , just as stories about Elvis tap dancing are frauds and lies.

4:41 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

On what grounds do you say that no-one "mentioned" Jesus's miracles? Because we don't have a written document that dates back to within a specific timeframe? Literacy rates in first century Palestine (not to mention writing materials) are a world away from twentieth century standards. On the other hand, the documentary evidence that does exist points to a widespread belief that Jesus "was renowned in his own time as a healer and exorcist". You might quibble about McGrath's belief that the evidence is "clear" but you are going to an extreme without good reason.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I say nobody mentioned Jesus's miracles because there is no evidence anybody mentioned Jesus's miracles and the first mention of them is based on frauds and lies.

PCRAIG
the documentary evidence that does exist points to a widespread belief that Jesus "was renowned in his own time as a healer and exorcist".

CARR
To translate this into real English, there is no documentary evidence about a widespread belief in Jesus healing powers for at least 30 years after Jesus died.

Just as no member of the Elvis Presley Fan Club mentions any tap dancing by The King for at least 30 years after his death.

Indeed, we have members of the Elvis Presley Fan Club scoffing at the idea that followers of Elvis were in the business of talking about the tap dancing that people wanted to see from entertainers.

1 Corinthians 1
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified...

Those idiot Jews wanting tales of miracles. What sort of religion did they think Christianity was? Miracles, schmiracles, they will want a tap-dancing Jesus next. This is Christianity says Paul, not some miracle working religion.

9:32 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Well, what about Luke 1:1-4? That clearly refers to people's testimony about Jesus, and their testimony would have been in Jesus's lifetime (and that of people reading Luke's gospel).

1 Corinthians 1: I think that's a reference to when Jesus dismisses the Pharisees for demanding a sign. You are ignoring the context (again).

Your "frauds and lies" essay: I don't have time to read through it. But your conclusions are quite dramatic. Has a published scholar talked about this stuff? That would be interesting to read. As it stands, you seem to be letting your presuppositions push your conclusions. e.g. If an author of a gospel was aware of the OT, and alluded to it in the text, it could reflect that he believed in Jesus *because* he understood the allusions to the OT, fulfilment of prophecy etc. in Jesus's life.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

'Has a published scholar talked about this stuff? '

Of course. Where do you think I nicked the ideas from?

Are you claiming that saying Jesus was sleeping before a calming of a storm is 'alluding' to the Old Testament, because Jonah sleeping before the calming of a storm is a prophecy in Jesus's life?

And, of course, you totally contradict yourself by claiming that all these miracles were taken by New Testament writers as signs about Jesus, and that New Testament writers like Paul said Jesus refused to do signs....

My 'presuppositions' are that if I catch a lying fraud lying to me, I regard the lying fraud as a fraudulent liar.

Just as Joseph Smith, Muhammad, and countless other religious people were frauds and liars, the New Testament writers adapted stories and plagiarised other books so they could write their frauds and lies.

1:23 PM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Which scholars? I would like to see the articles.

Paul did not say Jesus refused to do miracles.

You have not really explained your presuppositions. You have to explain why you think x is a lie before you go any further. You have taken a few questionable examples, which your presuppositions make you interpret in a particular fashion, and lead you to draw an unjustified conclusion (e.g. Jesus and Jonah).

2:16 PM  

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