Friday, July 23, 2010

James Dunn and 'Did The First Christians Worship Jesus?'

James Dunn has written a new book called 'Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?: The New Testament Evidence.'

After over a hundred years of New Testament research, Biblical scholars are still debating whether the first Christians worshipped Jesus.

Clearly , academic Biblical scholarship is a rather ineffective tool for finding out historical facts, if that is as far as scholars have got.

Professor Larry Hurtado has written an excellent review of J.D.G. Dunn's book. It includes the sentence 'But, already in this first chapter, we sense also a concern by Dunn to circumscribe any Jesus-devotion, and particularly to distinguish it from the worship of God.'

It almost seems as though leading Biblical scholars are allowing their private theological beliefs to influence their assessement of evidence, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another excellent article by Larry Hurtado

Larry Hurtado has posted another excellent literary analysis of a Gospel. It can be found here

Professor Hurtado writes 'The author’s reason for giving his account of the ministry of Jesus was entirely theological, not to serve some academic modern interest in historical exactitude, but to shape and nurture the faith of the intended readers.'

Of course, the article gives no clue as to how history can be extracted from an 'entirely theological' work.

And no attempt at showing that the disciples existed is attempted in the article. Instead, we get an analysis of how 'John' portrays them , indistinguishable from how somebody would go about analysing how Shakespeare portrayed the characters in Richard III.

Do Biblical historians use exactly the same methods as non-Biblical historians - no more and no less?

Or is one of the main tasks of a Biblical historian to do literary analysis , using the techniques people have developed to analyse novels and plays?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Larry Hurtado and literary analysis

Professor Larry Hurtado has written an excellent literary analysis of the final chapter of the Gospel according to 'Mark'

But it is all literary analysis. There is no methodology there for extracting any historical data from the Gospel, except trying to find out what the author might have wanted people to believe.

It is treating the Gospels like 'Romeo and Juliet'.

This is how the Gospels should be treated....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Protective Anonymity

On page 200 of 'Jesus and the Eyewitnesses', Professor Richard Bauckham makes up a story about the young man in Mark 14 being Lazarus raised from the dead. He also makes up a claim that Mark did not say this young man was Lazarus because Lazarus was a wanted man and so could not be named by Mark.

The anonymous author of Luke had a very clever idea to make sure Lazarus was not killed for the crime of being raised from the dead. He turned Lazarus into a character in a parable, so that any government officials who read his book would think that Lazarus was a fictional character and so not try to kill him.

That was a clever idea by Luke wasn't it?

Luke also turned the fig-tree that Jesus blasted for not bearing fruit into a parable of a fig-tree that did not bear fruit.

Perhaps the fig-tree also needed 'protective anonymity'?

Or perhaps characters and stories about Jesus wandered between real-life and parables depending upon the spin individual Gospel writers wanted to put on them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Professor Larry Hurtado has no evidence

I shouldn't really single out that Professor, as he is only one of many New Testament scholars who have built on sand, and have not done their homework to establish the historicity of Gospel stories before they write books on them.

As I put forward arguments why the baptism of Jesus by John only appeared in Mark's Gospel, and asked for a first-century Christian who had ever heard of the vast cast of Gospel characters , Professor Hurtado had no option but to refute my arguments, sorry, tell me to clear off.

He was unable to produce a word of refutation at Larry Hurtado tells it the way it is

To be fair, he didn't attempt to refute me.

I guess he is just not used to people asking him for evidence that the Gospels have some historicity in their tales of Judas, Thomas, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene, Simon of Cyrene etc etc.

But surely a professional should be able to rub my nose in all the evidence for the existence of these people.

What else does Professor Larry Hurtado do with his time other than gather evidence?

'Evidence' to New Testament scholars like Richard Bauckham is claiming that something must be eyewitness testimony about Jesus if it is in Aramaic :-)