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 :-)


Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...


I read the exchange between you and Hurtado et al. From what I could see, I don't think they were able to respond to any of your points with credible pro-Christian answers. I have found that the question you ask regarding James the brother of *Jesus* is one which causes a lot of distress among defenders of Christianity. I could find no place in Acts which characterizes James as a brother of a flesh-and-blood Jesus. Curiously, Hurtado did not cite a reference which does this. If it were there, it should be easy to give chapter and verse. Same for many of the other points you raised. At best, they came across as flustered.


11:29 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Nice you hear from you again.

I wonder if Professor Hurtado has students who ever question the existence of Judas, Thomas, Joseph of Arimathea etc.

The anonymous author of 'Luke/Acts' never refers to Jesus as having a brother called James, although he had obviously read 'Mark' which claims there was.

So 'Luke/Acts' clearly tries to airbrush out James as a brother of Jesus.

I wonder why.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

And what is the great import of one Gospel not including a piece of information that is in another ? Your whole line of argument is obscure.

And since I believe it is clear that Luke addressed the Gospel of Luke to Theophilus the high priest in 40 AD. Why would Mark have been necessarily written before that time ?

Steven Avery

7:49 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

'And what is the great import of one Gospel not including a piece of information that is in another ? Your whole line of argument is obscure.'

It appears that Avery has confused me with Richard Bauckham who claims that the Gospels must be eyewitness accounts because Mark mentions the name Bartimaeus and Luke does not.

I shall wait for Avery to clear his thoughts.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

You are welcome to show the quote that Richard Bauckham hinges his Gospel eyewitness argument on who does and does not mention Bartimeaeus. Please share away. If Bauckham does hinge a lot on that, I will be happy to try to understand his logic, and if not compelling, join you in a hearty critique. First, though, please supply the quote.

However right above you (Steven Carr) say:

"The anonymous author of 'Luke/Acts' never refers to Jesus as having a brother called James, although he had obviously read 'Mark' which claims there was."

And I am pointing out that no such thing is "obvious" (I would say it is likely false) and also asking you why you would consider the whole issue especially relevant.

Steven Avery

12:09 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Avery commented on the thread where Bauckham's book was posted.

If he cannot be bothered to find out Bauckham's views , why did he post on the thread about Bauckham?

And it is not up to me to educate Avery in the GCSE grade B fact that the author of 'Luke' used 'Mark'.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

Well, I see that Steven Carr refuses to explain his own comment, why he considers this question of one Gospel not mentioning one particular fact, as of some great significance.

And Steven, I do not yet have the Eyewitness book of Bauckham, I do have God Crucified, I even discussed that on the thread ! Read more carefully.

Your hubris refusal to supply a quote for your claim looks quite suspicious.


And on Mark and Luke, you are totally wrong, Steven. There are many scholars who do not accept Markan Priority. So of course it is simply a theory, not a fact.

Have you not even read the Theophilus paper of Richard Anderson ?

Steven Avery

2:13 AM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

Just a reminder of what Steven Carr wrote:

"Richard Bauckham who claims that the Gospels must be eyewitness accounts because Mark mentions the name Bartimaeus and Luke does not."

That is a very strange Bauckham claim, if it was actually made. Thus the request.

All that is requested is the actual Richard Bauckham sentence that Steven asserts makes this claim. If Steven has the book in hand, that should take five minutes maximum.

Request repeated, if you do not have the book, simply say so, and one of us can check it up shortly.

Steven Avery

2:26 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

'Well, I see that Steven Carr refuses to explain his own comment, why he considers this question of one Gospel not mentioning one particular fact, as of some great significance. '

Avery still needs to collect his thoughts and stop confusing me with Richard Bauckham. Once he works out that I am not Richard Bauckham, he can begin the process of engaging with my arguments.

Markan Priority is indeed a theory. It is a theory that has a lot of evidence for it.

I have not read the Theophilus paper by Richard Anderson. Do you have a link for it?

2:31 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Has Avery been living in a cave and not learned what Bauckham has been saying?

Other news Avery may have missed out on. A black man was elected President and there has been an accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

On page 39 of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Bauckham writes 'I want to suggest that many of these named characters were eyewitnesses....'

The trouble with Avery is that he is impossible to talk to, as even such basic facts as what people write are covered with obscuration by him.

It is a smokescreen to hide his lack of substance.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

On subsequent pages, Bauckham explains he came to this conclusion because Mark mentions people that Luke does not.

Avery can protest that Bauckham would not write such nonsense, but it is there in black and white. Further obscurantism by Avery on this subject will be ignored.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

Steven, thank you for acknowledging that your earlier claims about Markan priority being some sort of fact were simply incorrect.


So please try again:

"Richard Bauckham who claims that the Gospels must be eyewitness accounts because Mark mentions the name Bartimaeus and Luke does not."

'I want to suggest that many of these named characters were eyewitnesses....'

"Bauckham explains he came to this conclusion because Mark mentions people that Luke does not.

All I am asking is the sentence or two where Bauckham says that this was the basis for his eyewitness theory. If you post it, and it matches your explanation, I will likely agree that it is nonsense. Remember, I do not think an eyewitness theory is compatible with the late dating of Richard Bauckham.


5:23 AM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

Now, two other points. One, do you accept the superb historicity of Luke-Acts, e.g. as analyzed by William Ramsey ? Do you have any major objections to the general sense that Luke was a superb historian of known men, locations, geography, time and place, culture, etc. (An overall answer, please, if you want to discuss one specific like the census we can do so as well.)

As for the Richard Anderson paper, the original paper is at:

Theophilus : A Proposal

There is a lot of additional material since that paper was published. Also this basic connection was well understood in an earlier day, by Michaelis, William Paley and others, based on a paper by Theodore Hase.

Steven Avery

5:30 AM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

Just to be clearer for Steven and readers.

"Remember, I do not think an eyewitness theory is compatible with the late dating of Richard Bauckham."

The basic idea of early NT dating was in modern times given by John Arthur Thomas Robinson (Redating the New Testament, 1976) and places every book before 70 AD. Clearly one can almost think of this as the sine qua none of an eyewitness theory, one that looks closely at the Lukan Preface and many historical elements.

Also it is helpful to be willing to rethink Markan priority and some mistaken modern textual ideas (such as the geographical errors placed in Mark in the minority NA-27 verses and the snipping of the 99.9% manuscript attested Markan ending).

Now it is a surprise that Richard Bauckham tries to reconcile eyewitnesses with his late-ish dating .. post 70AD .. , and it is very possible that this takes interpretative hoops and weaknesses.

Steven Avery

5:40 AM  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Folks,

Steven has apparently decided not to try to fill in any dots about his assertions above. So I will try to fill in the gaps.

Bauckham's section about names is very interesting. I do not agree with how he looks at the data, since he is trapped in assuming Markan priority and Q, but the general concepts are an interesting starting point.

You can read the section here.

Jesus and the eyewitnesses: the Gospels as eyewitness testimony
Names in the Gospel Traditions

"Bartimaeus in Mark" p. 40

"Bultmann had to suggest that Matthew and Luke knew a text ot Mark 10:46 that lacked the name Bartimaeus, despite the fact that there is no textual evidence at all for such a text." p. 41

"Matthew and Luke .. drop the name .. Bartimaeus" p. 42

On pg. 45 we get a connection to the overall thesis.

"an explanation that could account .. all these people joined the early Christian movement and were well known.. Bartimaeus, Simon of Cyrene and his sons, and Joseph of Arimathea .. Jairus..." (and others discussed) p. 45

"If the names are or persons well known in the Christian communities, then it also becomes likely that many of these people were themselves the eyewitnesses who first told and doubtless continued to tell the stories in which they appear and to which their names are attached." (p. 47)

So, in summary, Rickhard Bauckham is offering the idea, expanded from previous commentators, that Christian community names were at times omitted because they were easily identified. Simple enough.

And such early individuals would be among those whom Luke called eyewitneses.

Note, though, that to be accepted as a strong argument, it requires the early NT dating that Bauckham resists, the great weakness of his exposition.

Steven Avery

7:09 AM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

"So 'Luke/Acts' clearly tries to airbrush out James as a brother of Jesus. I wonder why."

Maybe Luke didn't like James (Jacob), and didn't want the church to honor his memory. Do you have a better explanation?

2:01 PM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

As to your performance on Hurtado's blog, I found it disgraceful and pathetic. Contra your self-congratulations and those of Dawson, you were asking sham questions to which you already knew the answers, and you asked them again and again, in spite of Hurtado saying several times that you had made your point and needn't belabor it. But belabor it you did, beyond the point of annoyance. Seems to be your style. (Hurtado seems now to have deleted some of your comments, which is too bad in a way, because the magnitude of your deluge of repetitious remarks is now not quite so clear.)

10:37 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

SO not a single point of any importance from Michael, who cannot say why I was wrong, and cannot say what methodology Hurtado uses when Hurtado could not produce a shred of evidence for the existence of almost all the Gospel characters.

Michael is just really angry that I am right, and all Hurtado could do was delete things.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

Nice try, Steven, but as usual you evade any responsibility for your personal behavior (which you evidently regard as of no importance whatsoever) by diverting attention to something else, in this case the question that seems to be all-important to you, which is whether you are right or wrong. Far from being angry (a wildly inaccurate guess on your part), I really don't care, but if it'll make you happy, I'll stipulate that some of your statements were correct. But that of course isn't what led to your ouster. It was your your annoying behavior that did it. Now then, will you answer my question as to whether you have a better explanation of the absence of Jacob from Luke/Acts than I proposed?

10:25 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Michael is furious that I was right. So furious that he cannot quote a single thing I said that was annoying.

Even when Hurtado was throwing around statements that Luke/Acts corroborated Jesus having a brother called James, or that sceptics doubted that Pilate existed until an inscription was found in the 60's, all I did was ask for evidence of these statements.

No wonder people were furious.

This is Biblical history, and this guy is asking for evidence that these people existed!

Out with him! He is saying the Emperor has No Clothes! Out with him!

Why does the anonymousn author of 'Luke' omit all mention of Jesus having a brother called James?

As does the Epistle of James? And the Epistle of Jude?

Because Luke knew perfectly well that James the church leader was not a brother of Jesus?

10:55 PM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

Oh, so now I'm "furious"? Well, if that's an example of your powers of deduction, I'm afraid they're sadly lacking. Nor does it help make progress by your mugging for the crowd rather than addressing me directly. But in any case, on to the two main points. As to your behavior on Hurtado's blog, I will be glad to furnish examples, but it will have to be in a separate comment, since it would be rather lengthy. Herein, I'll just comment on your proposed explanation for the absence of Jacob in Luke/Acts. To me, it's quite strange that you trust Luke to tell the truth _nowhere else_ but when he leaves out mention of Jacob. Come now, be consistent at least. If "Luke" falsifies almost everywhere, then he probably falsifies also by leaving out any mention of Jacob. Or does that possibility have to be discarded because it runs against your hidden mythicist agenda?

11:28 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Michael still cannot quote anything annoying I said, and has quietly given up defending Hurtado's claims about Luke/Acts 'corroborating' James being a brother of Jesus.

Very telling....

Michael claims that Luke airbrushed out of history any mention of a brother called James.

My explanation is much simpler. It just never entered Luke's head to write that the church leader James was a brother of Jesus, no more than it would have entered his head to say that James was the son of Jesus or that Jesus was married or gambled.

Luke just didn't say anything about Jesus having a brother called James.

That is not 'telling the truth',as Michael claims in his bizarre logic where if somebody omits something nobody had heard of then he is 'telling the truth'

Luke had never heard of Martians invading the Eartth , so never mentioned it, just as he had never heard of this James the church leader being a brother of Jesus, so never mentioned it.

According to Michael's bizarre logic, this now means that Luke was 'telling the truth' about Martians not invading the earth,just as he was 'telling the truth' about the church leader James not being a brother of Jesus.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

Still playing to your supposed audience, eh Steven? Well, OK, I can deal with that, but at least try to avoid obvious falsehoods, such as "Michael ... has quietly given up defending Hurtado's claims about Luke/Acts 'corroborating' James being a brother of Jesus." In fact, I haven't so far said anything to indicate that I was trying to defend Hurtado's claims, nor do I remember what they were, actually. Perhaps you can quote the claim you have in mind? In any case, try not to accuse me of things for which there is no evidence, ok?

Turning now to your own bizarre logic, you say that I'm claiming that "... if somebody omits something nobody had heard of, then he is 'telling the truth'." In this sentence, you're assuming what you're trying to prove - namely that nobody had ever heard that Jacob was Jesus' brother. That's called 'begging the question', which is a logical fallacy, but in addition you need to defend the assumption, which appears to be false. You first need to explain the reference in Paul's letter, and then, even more pertinently, you need to explain how the major Lukan omission supports your assumption.

Let me explain the latter point. The major difference I can see between the Lukan and other-synoptics with respect to Jacob is that Luke omits the list of Jesus' siblings from the "Rejection at Nazareth" scene. While Matt and Mark have "Aren't James and Joseph and Simon and Judas his brothers?", Luke leaves that out. BUT ... since Luke copied heavily from the others, he must have been aware of the material that he left out. Ergo, he was aware that others believed that Jesus had a brother named Jacob. Therefore, your assumption that Luke had never heard of Jacob being Jesus' brother is rather plainly false. QED.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Ergo, he was aware that others believed that Jesus had a brother named Jacob

So Michael has no idea how to prove that 'Luke' knew that the church leader James was supposed to be a brother of Jesus.

All Michael can do is claim that Luke was so dishonest that he airbrushed out of history all mention of Jesus having a brother called James.

And somehow I am now supposed to accept that that makes everything historical.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

Well, I've proven what I set out to prove, which is that it's not the case that Luke had never heard of Jacob being Jesus' brother. Whether he knew it for a fact himself can't be proven, but he certainly knew that it was "supposed" to be true. From my non-mythicist viewpoint, the supposed relationship with Jacob explains why Jacob was able to assume leadership over the major disciples and others more visible in the Jesus Movement. But does this "make everything historical"? Hell no. The NT is rife with naive fantasies and legends that never happened, up to and including Luke's own laugher of a story about Jesus rising bodily into the sky.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

So Michael has abandoned all attempts to show that Luke knew that James the church leader was an alleged brother of Jesus.

And, of course, the sources we know 'Luke' used also never hint that this alleged 'James' went on to be anything in the church.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

Come now, Steven, let's abandon this cheap debating trick of misrepresenting your opponent's position. What I have been addressing all along is your statement on Hurtado's blog that Luke had never heard (let alone believed or knew) that Jacob the church leader was one of Jesus' brothers. Let's keep focused on that, unless you now want to revise it.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Luke does give the impression that he had never heard of Jacob (James) being a biological sibling of Jesus, since he fails to mention it when he has the opportunity to do so. Whether he knew of a tradition which cast Jacob as a brother of Jesus and chose (as Steven puts it) to airbrush this relationship out of the picture deliberately, or he simply did not know about it and airbrushed it out of the picture as a matter of default, seems unanswerable. We don't know everything that Luke knew. But the fact that Luke doesn't characterize Jacob as a sibling to Jesus is in itself noteworthy.


3:34 PM  
Blogger Mike Grondin said...

Hi Dawson,
I agree with you that it's noteworthy that Luke didn't characterize Jacob as a sibling to Jesus. I believe that the likeliest explanation of this lies in church politics - in particular a leadership squabble between family and disciples. Such a squabble occurred also upon the death of Mohammed. Who is to lead the movement when the founder dies - his family or his closest disciples? For thirty-some years, the answer for the Jesus movement was that Jacob would lead it. We are in the dark as to how this came about, but there are indications that tensions were building. Then along came the Jewish revolt of 66 CE. Jacob was killed by a mob in the runup to that, and the Yeshuines in Judea were apparently killed or scattered, providing a leadership vacuum quickly filled by Gentile Christians (especially in Rome) who had long chafed under Jerusalem's rule. I think it's important that this basic historical background be kept in mind when we examine the gospels, which were likely all written after the war.

With respect to the gospel of Luke, I would point to two key passages, and would urge that we keep in mind that he copied heavily from Mark and Matthew (or Q, if you like). He must, then, have had copies of these other gospels before him as he was writing. So what did he do when he encountered the key passages?

The first key passage that I have in mind is Jesus' rejection of his family. All three synoptic writers have it, and it's basically the same. Jesus' mother and his brothers are trying to reach him, but he won't see them. Instead he says (as Luke has it) "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." Obviously, Luke wasn't reluctant to say that Jesus had brothers. But more than that, it can also be seen that this story put the evangelists on the side of the disciples, as against the family (who may later have become associated with the Ebionites, regarded as an heretical sect who would not be "doing the word of God" as Luke understood it.)

The other key scene is the one I mentioned in a previous comment, namely the story of Jesus' rejection at Nazareth. In that story, both Mark and Matt name Jesus' brothers, but Luke does not. Why not? Well, there could be a number of reasons, but I would suggest that this omission, when taken together with Luke's remarkable silence in Acts about how Jacob came to be the leader of the Yeshuines (an event that would be fully explainable by Jacob being Jesus' brother), provides a strong indication that Luke didn't want to remind anyone of the family connection. Why not? Perhaps for fear that doing so might somehow result in doubt being cast on the legitimacy of the then-present Gentile church leadership in Rome, which Luke clearly favored.

It will no doubt be said that the explanation given here is not the simplest one. But simplicity is to be preferred only between two theories that equally well explain the facts. In the present case, I believe that simpler theories so far adduced do not and cannot satisfactorily explain the data which this theory can.

8:43 PM  

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