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Neither God nor Man





Bikerman
Has anyone actually read this? (title as per thread, author Earl Doherty. I picked up two of his books on spec and I'm currently reading this one whilst doing an audio version of the first.
I think this is the most convincing dismissal of the historical Jesus that I have seen. In fact what am I saying - it is BY FAR the most convincing. I'm actually struggling to find effective counter-arguments to many of his points and there is a lot of scholarship under his relaxed prose style.

I will say it (and hope he doesn't let me down in the second half) - this is a very impressive book.

PS - just finished Chapter 2. Wow. His 'argument from silence' is devastating. I'm close to saying it is conclusive - it is that good.
Basically and simplistically I'd summarise it as attempting to prove not just that Paul didn't meet Jesus - something pretty much agreed - but that he wasn't even aware of the concept. He not only didn't know Jesus as a man, he didn't know any such man existed. A very heavy point is the fact that Paul never refers to Jesus' teaching, even when in serious life and death conflict with other sects of 'christianity'. Nor do they...none of them. I tend to agree that this is very very persuasive. If you wanted to attract followers (and Paul surely did) then you would simply HAVE to mention that the Christ they were signing up for just happens to also be a chap who died less than 20 years ago, and this is what he told us......but no. Paul never talks about an actual physical jesus. Even stronger - is it possible to seriously imagine that different groups claiming to be the 'true' belief but with different interpretations of a Platonic Son figure (non physical) wouldn't actually invoke Jesus when arguing their case? Yet they don't. They invoke the platonic 'spirit' or scripture (OT) but never Jesus - the chap who is actually supposed to be the foundational core of their beliefs...you know....God....
spinout
So if no-one seem to know who jesus was originally, who invented him?
Bluedoll
We can agree that Paul never met Jesus Christ physically. The bible states this truth as well. I find the rest confusing.

Can anyone tell me in a simple language why this is significant? Even I who has never met a physical Jesus Christ does know completely and absolutely he exists even today (though not physically present) and what his teachings are.

So Paul did not meet him in person, so what? It is difficult for me to understand the reasoning here without reading the book that is being talked about.

Hemmingway is dead but his stories live on and anyone that reads his stories can relate to them and tell others about Hemmingway. Just because someone never met Hemmingway in person does not mean they can not understand what he said. What does it prove if someone else says that this author never existed?

What is the point here because I don’t get it?

Generally! Laughing
Aredon
Generally I would not argue on behalf of scripture as I do not view it as inerrant in any way. That said, I think there's a fallacy here. As I understand it Paul knew full well of Christ and had very often throughout the story taken part in the persecution of Christians. I find it a strange claim to tease scripture talking about Paul (Saul) apart from scripture of Paul talking. It's not necessarily wrong... it's just an odd way to make a point. In fact, I'm not even sure what is being proven here? It this an attempt to prove that the conversion of Paul never happened? (which I'm not saying it did, just asking) Because it is generally accepted that Paul did not physically meet Christ before he died.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle
Bikerman
Ahh...I see the misconception.
OK, Paul certainly knew of Christians, but they were simply another sect following the classic notion of a spiritual father and son - an idea which comes from the Greek. The Son, as God, is supposed to appear at the day of Judgement. In fact if you read Paul you will see this again and again. What you don't see is any notion that this Son of God actually appeared 20 years earlier. Paul talks, as did the earlier 'Christians' of a Christ who is yet to come. So do ALL the Epistles. It is only with the Gospels - which are, remember, at least 40 years LATER - that we get the story of an actual physical Jesus. Did it never strike you as odd that Christians - followers of Christ, NOT Jesusians/Jesuits - followers of Jesus. The notion of a Christos (itself a Greek notion) is of a Messiah, not of Jesus - it is the later claim that Jesus WAS Christos.
To quote the book:
Quote:
It also needs to be stressed that the nature of the divine Son being preached could be quite different from one apostle or group to another, from one document to another. While Paul and the Jerusalem sect offered a Son and Christ who had died for sin and risen from death, some of Paul's rivals in the field rejected a dying and rising Christ. They proclaimed a Christ who was a Revealer Son, an imparter of wisdom and knowledge about God, a different means to salvation. Such a clash we see in Paul's defense of "God's wisdom" (meaning his own) in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2. And there were other variations. Here, for the most part, the focus will be on the sacrificial Son found in Paul and most other New Testament epistles, with a glance at the non-sacrificial versions as we go along. It was the Son and Christ Paul preached which eventually defined the theology of Christianity as we know it.


PS - I'm aware that this probably doesn't sit well in this forum. My original intent was to see if anyone had read the book, not to start a theological debate. I don't generally get involved in the Faith forum. for reasons that would take too long to explain, so I propose transferring it to p&r unless there are objections....
loremar
Nope haven't read the book but I found an interesting review about it.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/gakuseidon/JNGNM_Review1.html

Now I have this and Dawkin's book waiting for me to read. I'm not sure if I have enough diligence to read a 600 page book now. Maybe in the future.

I'm actually just waiting for your review. Smile

I have read some myth-busting comments online saying the Argument of Silence is weak because Jesus's story is only one of the many small insignificant stories among many other messianic prophets.

Looks very complicated debate so I'm interested to hear about the good argument from this book.
Ankhanu
Hmm, this does sound like a good read, I'll have to look into it. Thanks for the heads up on its existence Smile

I guess I should hurry up and finish at least one of the other three books I have on the go so I can read this Wink

Bluedoll wrote:
It is difficult for me to understand the reasoning here without reading the book that is being talked about.

You're right! Wink
Bikerman
loremar wrote:
Nope haven't read the book but I found an interesting review about it.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/gakuseidon/JNGNM_Review1.html

Now I have this and Dawkin's book waiting for me to read. I'm not sure if I have enough diligence to read a 600 page book now. Maybe in the future.

I'm actually just waiting for your review. Smile

One reason for asking was to see if anyone had strong counter-theses. You have provided one in the link, so it was worth posting.

I will review the book - but that will take a while, because it involves my normal process for assessing the truth of any radical claim.
1) Read the claim at it's strongest.
2) Read the criticism at its strongest.
3) Verify, if possible, any disputed facts
4) Establish
i..whether a case is made, and
ii..if it has, is it convincing/overwhelming, or is it just an interesting possibility.

I'm still at stage 1 so it will be a while before I post the review Smile
Bikerman
Bluedoll wrote:
We can agree that Paul never met Jesus Christ physically. The bible states this truth as well. I find the rest confusing.

Can anyone tell me in a simple language why this is significant? Even I who has never met a physical Jesus Christ does know completely and absolutely he exists even today (though not physically present) and what his teachings are.

OK, I'll explain.
You are the head of a religious sect. There are other sects - rivals - who have slightly different or very different ideas about the basic religion. All agree with the basic Greek mythos of God having a 'son', but some say that this son exists on a spiritual plane only (the Platonic idea of the 'higher realm' on which ideal forms reside - hence his allegory of the cave with 'reality' being nothing but a shadow of a higher plane), whilst your particular sect believe that not only can this 'son' have physical existence, you believe that he actually manifested himself less than a generation ago.
Your particular sect believe that this Son actually came down to earth, lived amongst witnesses, was crucified, rose from the dead and was seen by witnesses and finally ascended to heaven.
So, when you are writing to other groups and potential followers, do you not think it might have been useful to mention this? When Paul states what the Christos would want done in particular circumstances do you not think he might have said 'Ah, well, Jesus actually said .... such and such ....'? But no, what he does is talk about revealed 'truth' in his dreams/visions. No mention of the fact that the very centre of their belief system actually appeared as a man 20 years before....

As you look closer it becomes obvious that Paul is talking about a Christ that talks to him on a spiritual realm, not a physical one.
Quote:
Three times I begged the Lord to rid me of (a bodily pain), but his answer was: "My grace is all you need; power comes to its full strength in weakness."
I received (my gospel) by revelation from Christ...
God chose to reveal his Son in me [to me and through me: NEB], in order
that I might preach him among the gentiles.


Now, as you say, Paul never met Jesus, but it is obvious that he thinks he has a channel of communication to him.
The truth of this is slammed-home in 1 Corinthians when Paul is fighting to maintain his credibility and legitimacy. He says
Quote:
"Am I not an apostle? Did I not see Jesus our Lord?"
Now we know he didn't actually see him in the flesh, so he obviously means in visions/revelation. If Jesus had really been around 20 years previously, he could not possibly make this statement without leaving himself open to the charge of lying, because there would be people still alive who had actually met him.
You might not find it odd.....I do.
Syryus
The ideas in that book are very simple to eliminate using only the original writings of Paul, which the author seems unable to translate properly or take account of the undisputed scientific opinion about the meaning of certain words/expressions.
I'm just going to state here that it's very easy to captivate people with new theories and evidence when they have absolutely no experience in the domain you're talking about.
Ankhanu
Go to it. I would be curious to see just how easily refuted the content is. An assertion of easy refutatin and easy refutation are not equal Wink
Bikerman
Syryus wrote:
The ideas in that book are very simple to eliminate using only the original writings of Paul, which the author seems unable to translate properly or take account of the undisputed scientific opinion about the meaning of certain words/expressions.
Oh really? The fact that the author is an expert in the Greek dialect used to write the NT might be important then....and your linguistic qualifications are?
Quote:
I'm just going to state here that it's very easy to captivate people with new theories and evidence when they have absolutely no experience in the domain you're talking about.
It sure it...it is also very easy to captivate people with OLD theories and no evidence....
Syryus
Ankhanu wrote:
Go to it. I would be curious to see just how easily refuted the content is. An assertion of easy refutatin and easy refutation are not equal Wink


I might do that, but in romanian, not in english, as i don't have the theological vocabulary for that.

Bikerman wrote:
Oh really? The fact that the author is an expert in the Greek dialect used to write the NT might be important then....and your linguistic qualifications are?


University degree in theology, master's degree in both greek and biblical archaeology.
loremar
Syryus wrote:

University degree in theology, master's degree in both greek and biblical archaeology.

At 22? Shocked I'm jealous. Very Happy

And you still have time for anime, TV, music, coding, role-playing, gaming, etc?
I guess 22 is possible but that would sound like you're a very very exceptional ubergeek. Smile
Bikerman
A theology degree can be done in about 4 weeks, with a couple of hunded dollars to sweeten it. A Masters costs a bit more.
http://gschooltheol.com/
http://www.cluonline.com/masters-theology-online-degree.htm
It isn't the degree that counts, it is the awarding university.
Syryus
Uhm, i'm an animefan since i was 14, i dont' actually watch more that an anime/year now Very Happy same thing with games. Coding and roleplaying don't take much time and i've taken advantage of some legal flaws that made some universities able to give a master degree in just one year instead of two.
I don't watch TV, only movies on my PC, and music..heh, mp3/ipod ftw.
It's got its downs. Like, i'm single. Razz
coolclay
Great topic, but don't we have different sub forum categories for a reason?
deanhills
coolclay wrote:
Great topic, but don't we have different sub forum categories for a reason?
Good question coolclay. I was wondering about that too.
Bikerman
Yes - as I said earlier my intent was not to spark debate here, simply to see if anyone had read the book concerned.

I'll therefore lock this now, since debate has moved to the p&r forum.

C.
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