Is the Resurrection a Requirement for Being the Messiah?

 

In many Jewish- Christian debates, I have been told by Orthodox Jews that a messianic figure being raised from the dead is not a requirement for being the Messiah. The Jewish people knew the God of Israel as the only one who could raise the dead (Job 19:26; Ps. 17:15; 49:15; 73:24; Is. 26:19; 53:10; Dn. 12:2;12:13). Belief in a resurrection of persons from the dead are seen in eight passages: (Job 19:26; Ps. 17:15; 49:15; 73:24; Is. 26:19; 53:10; Dn. 12:2;12:13). The resurrection terminology is seen in two places (Ezek. 37:1-14; Hos. 6:2) to show a national and spiritual restoration brought about by the return from the exile. So it is not as if resurrection is foreign to the Jewish mind. But sadly, a resurrected Messiah it is not even on the radar screen for many Jewish people.

As I have said before, the word “messiah” means “anointed one” and is derived from verbs that have the general meaning of “to rub something” or, more specifically, “to anoint someone.” The Hebrew Bible records the anointing with oil of priests ( Exod 29:1-9 ), kings (1 Sam 10:1;2 Sam 2:4;1 Kings 1:34), and sometimes prophets (1 Kings 19:16b) as a sign of their special function in the Jewish community. Also, when God anointed or authorized for leadership, in many cases he provided the empowering of the Holy Spirit to do complete the task (1 Sam. 16:13; Isa. 61:1). However, just because someone was anointed in the Old Testament to perform a specific task doesn’t mean they are “the Messiah.” So we can conclude that “anointed one” was not used as a title with a capital “M” in the Old Testament. Are there any texts in the Old Testament that say the Messiah has to be resurrected? Apart from Psalm 16: 1-10 (used by Peter in Acts 2:22-32) and the end of Isa. 53, there are not an overwhelming amount of texts that support a resurrected Messiah. This is why when Paul says the Messiah “rose from the third day according to the Scriptures” (see 1 Cor. 15:4), he is probably not referring to a specific text or texts but more to the overall plan of God’s saving activity that has been laid out in the Jewish Scriptures.

Second, there are hardly any texts in the Jewish Scriptures that say “When the Messiah comes, he will do x, y, and z. However, most Jewish people think there is going to be a messianic age. I will now offer some reasons as to why the resurrection of Jesus is paramount for Jesus being the Messiah of Israel and the entire world.

The Resurrection is needed for Jesus to be the Davidic King

While God promised that Israel would have an earthly king (Gen. 17: 6; 49:6; Deut.17: 14-15), he also promised David that one of his descendants would rule on his throne forever (2 Sam.7:12-17; 1 Chr.17:7-15; Ps.89:28-37). In other words, David’s line would eventually culminate in the birth of a person whose eternality will guarantee David’s dynasty, kingdom, and throne forever.

As seen in 2 Sam. 7:1-4, David wanted to build a “house” (or Temple) for the Lord in Jerusalem. God’s response to David was one of rejection. However, as just mentioned, God did make an unconditional promise to raise up a line of descendants from the house of David that would rule forever as the kings of Israel (2 Sam. 7:5-16; 1 Chr.17:7-15; Ps.89:28-370.

Let’s look at Romans 1:1-5

“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints:Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We see the following:

Paul says through the resurrection, Jesus is installed (by God) as the Son of God (Rom. 1:4). Paul is not saying Jesus is being appointed as The Son of God is a change in Jesus’ essense. The appointment is not in terms of his nature but in terms of his work as a mediator—the messianic age has dawned. Jesus is the Lord—the anti-type of the previous “sons” in the Old Testament (Adam, David, Israel).

Remember, the New Testament authors unanimously declare Jesus as the one who is from the “seed of David,” sent by God to restore God’s kingship over mankind (Matt. 1:1; Acts 13:23; Rom. 1:3,4; 2 Tim:2:8; Rev. 22:16). As seen in 2 Samuel 7:12-17, the immediate prophecy is partially fulfilled in David’s son Solomon. However, as already said, the word “forever” shows there are future descendants to come. God promised David that his “seed” would establish the kingdom. There were two ways for this prophecy to come to pass. Either God could continually raise up a new heir or he could have someone come who would never die. Does this sound like the need for a resurrection?

As Murray Harris says,

“There is a loose parallel in the case of a royal family where a child is ‘born’ a king but subsequently ‘becomes’ king at his coronation. From this standpoint, the resurrection was the coronation or installation of Jesus as the Son of God.” (Harris, M. Raised Immortal: Resurrection and Immortality in the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1983, 74-75.

The Resurrection is needed for Jesus to be the initiator of the New Covenant

Just like the giving of the Torah (with Moses), the New Covenant needs someone to inaugurate it. We just read about the day when God would place his Spirit permanently inside people so they can walk in holiness and love. We see in the New Covenant passages:

1. God promises regeneration. (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26)
2. God promises the forgiveness of sin. (Jeremiah 31:34; Ezekiel
36:25) 3. God pledged the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Ezekiel 36:27) 4. God promises the knowledge of God. (Jeremiah 31:34 5. God promises His people would obey Him. (Ezekiel 36:27; 37:23-
24; Jeremiah 32:39-40) 6. The fulfilling of this covenant was tied to Israel’s future restoration to the land. (Jer. 32:36-41; Ezek.
36:24-25; 37:11-14)

As Jesus says: And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.” (John 14:16,17) So we can conclude with following syllogism: 1. If Jesus rose from the dead, He can send the Spirit and inaugurate the New Covenant. 2. Jesus rose from the dead 3. Therefore, Jesus is the inaugurator of the New Covenant

Note: If needed, see our articles section called Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus

The Resurrection is needed to reserve the curse of the Fall

As I have previous stated, Rabbinic Judaism doesn’t accept the death and resurrection of Jesus as  messianic qualifications. One of the reasons for this is because they don’t view original sin the same way that both Christians and Messianic believers do. While they do believe in a good and evil inclination, that is a far cry from being identified in Adam. When Adam fell into sin, the result was every one of his descendants also being “infected” with sin. David lamented this fact in one of his Psalms: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The prophet Isaiah stated: For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
Therefore, for Christians and Messianic believers, no earthly Messiah can reverse the curse of the sin of Adam. 

The Resurrection is important to Jesus being a prophet like Moses

In the New Testament, the Greek word for kingdom is “basileia,” which denotes “sovereignty,” “royal power,” and “dominion.” The references to the word “kingdom” can be seen in two classes: First, it is viewed as a present reality and involves suffering for those who enter into it (2 Thess 1:5). Second, the kingdom is futuristic and involves reward (Matt 25:34), as well as glory (Matt 13:43). In observing the ministry of Jesus, He demonstrated one of the visible signs of His inauguration of the kingdom of God would not only be the dispensing of the Holy Spirit (John 7: 39), but also the ability to perform miracles. But if the kingdom is breaking into human history, then the King has come. If the Messianic age has arrived, then the Messiah must be present.

In order to be like Moses (see Deut 18: 15-18) this prophet will have to be a “sign prophet.”

1. While actions by other prophets such as Ezekiel and Jeremiah etc. show some significant parallels to Jesus, Jesus is closer to the actions of the Jewish sign prophets such as Moses.

2. Miracles have purpose in that they are used to provide evidence for people to believe the message of God through a prophet of God.

3. The writing prophets of the Hebrew Bible did not perform miracles, so they cannot be the prophet that Moses spoke about!

We see this is an important feature with Moses:

1. God says, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you” (Exod. 3:12).

2. When Moses asks God, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” the Lord gives Moses two “signs”: his rod turns into a snake (Exod. 4:3) and his hand becomes leprous (Exod. 4:1–7).

3. Moses “performed the signs before the people, and they believed; … they bowed down and worshiped” (Exod. 4:30–31)

 How does Jesus fulfill the role of a “sign prophet?”

1. The word “sign” is reserved for what we would call a miracle.

2. “Sign” is also used of the most significant miracle in the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

3. Jesus repeated this prediction of his resurrection when he was asked for a sign (Matt. 16:1, 4). Not only was the resurrection a miracle, but it was a miracle that Jesus predicted (Matt. 12:40; 16:21; 20:19; John 2:19).

Conclusion

The Resurrection is incredibly important to the messianic task. If anything, Jesus is the only messianic candidate that has been raised from the dead.

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54 thoughts on “Is the Resurrection a Requirement for Being the Messiah?

  1. How does this square away with the fact that the consensus among archaeologists,egyptologists, Rabbis (even among orthodoxy) and even certain Christians that the Pentateuch is largely fiction?
    It is taught as such in Israeli schools and has has been known for decades.
    All but extreme fundamentalists acknowledge that Moses was a fictional character, the enslavement and the Exodus and conquest are all fictional tales composed either during or after the Babylonian captivity?

    How does Evangelical Christianity deal with such scientific facts that refute biblical text?

  2. As Ark mentioned, you are aware, aren’t you, that even the majority of rabbis today openly admit Moses and the Exodus story is an origin myth; a fictional tale invented after the sacking of Mamlekhet Yisra’el (Kingdom of Israel) by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. In as few a words as possible: Moses is a fictional character. Even the 2nd Edition Encyclopaedia Judaica concludes that the entire narrative was “dramatically woven out of various strands of tradition… he [Moses] wasn’t a historical character.” Just last year, Orthodox Rabi, Louis Jacobs, came and published his book (Torah from Heaven) which flatly declares Moses and the Exodus is a “Foundation Myth.”

    Friend, you really have to catch up on your biblical archaeology and the current thinking inside Judaism.

  3. Hmm…..”All but extreme fundamentalists acknowledge that Moses was a fictional character”…labels are not helpful. I could just say “well, only hyper skeptical fundamentalists think Moses and other parts of the Bible are fiction.” A more nuanced approach would be to say we need to discuss the difference between “minimalism” and “maximalism”

    Maximalist scholars assume that the Biblical story is more or less correct, unless archaeologists prove that it is not; minimalists assume that the Biblical story must be read as fiction, unless it can be confirmed archaeologically. “Minimalism” and “maximalism” are, therefore, methods, approaches, or theoretical concepts. To say something in the Bible is fiction if it can’t be verified by archeology is just silly and is more a methodological issue than anything else.

    There have been quite a but in the O.T. that has been corroborated by archeology:

    http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/a-brief-sample-of-old-testament-archaeological-corroboration/

    http://crossexamined.org/resources-articles-on-archaeology-the-old-testament/

    http://www.afa.net/blogs/AudioPost.aspx?id=2147539482&showid=2147493203

    Have you ever read On the Reliability of the Old by K.A. Kitchen? who is Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool, England. He is the author of many books on Egyptology, the ancient Near East, and biblical history, including Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, and The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today.

    See the article here that mentions Kitchen’s comments about the issue of minimalism:

    “In his book On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Kenneth Kitchen surveys the history of minimalism over the past two centuries. He notes that “our present-day minimalists are not a sudden, new phenomenon without precedent. It all began a long time ago, and the present efflorescence is merely a development of some 150/200 years that has in a way come to a head, but simply more scathing of others and more extreme in its views than were its precursors” (Kitchen, 2003, p. 449, italics in orig.). Emerging at a time when the study of the ancient Near East was in its infancy, it could only be expected that time would prove the minimalist’s assumptions false. As mountains of evidence have come to light, minimalism is looking more and more like a thing of the past. Biblical scholarship has a long track record of confounding the critics, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon.

    Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position. Some of them grew up in fundamentalist homes, giving the impression that their interpretations are more the result of rejecting the faith of their early years rather than sound scholarship. This approach can be maintained only so long before the body of evidence will get to the point of being beyond their ability to manipulate. The archaeologist’s spade will continue to unearth more evidence season by season, year after year. It is only a matter of time before the minimalist position will become a relic enshrined in the museum of discarded ideas.

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1661

    • Hi Chab

      Simply because some place names and Kings are correct doesn’t grant a document historical veracity. Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October mentions many real places, like Washington and Moscow, and details real world technology…. This doesn’t however make The Hunt for Red October a work of non-fiction. The way to look at the Jewish foundation narrative is from the position of the storyteller. They were not, in any way, writing a fairytale, rather attempting to pen a factually sounding document; hence some names correspond. That would be expected. Many names, though, do not match, and the dates are all wrong. For example the purchase of the Cave of Machpelah was conducted between a people who did not exist in 1800BCE, but did exist in 700BCE, when the story was written. Many of the cities mentioned in the Patriarchal tales did not exist in 1800BCE, but did exist in 700BCE. One terrible blunder made by the storytellers was not knowing the actual geopolitical reality on the ground during the Joshua’s alleged conquest. At the time Canaan was under Egyptian military rule, yet no mention is made of this. As for the Exodus, there is simply no evidence at all that the Jews were ever in Egypt, and settlement/population patterns in Canaan are definitive: there was no influx of foreigners.

      Here, I just did a post on this very matter. I think you’ll find it interesting.

      http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/of-course-what-you-say-is-true-but-we-should-not-say-it-publically-13/

    • Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position.

      How is this different from a scholar such as EP Sanders and the conclusions he draws concerning Jesus based on the ”evidence”, which, let’s be honest, is without a single contemporary account, no archaeology and virtually all based on biblical texts which we know as fact have suffered accretion, interpolation and i some cases outright fraud.

      And yet on this basis is the consensus opinion formed and scholars and skeptics alike are expected to accept as fact such a paucity of evidence and from this Christians conclude this man was also divine and the Creator of the Universe!

      When you consider that after 1948 archaeologists went into the Sinai with the express command to find the “Title Deeds”‘ to the Promised Land, it would seem suicidal for them having spent so much time digging to then have to admit there was no evidence whatsoever to support the Exodus or conquest of Canaan.
      What could possibly be their motivation? Ego? Spite? Secret Islamic Spies?

      The way Christians apply the rule of consensus I think a betting man would almost certainly put his money on the Finkelstein camp rather that those who support the Lake Galilean Pedestrian.

    • If it were such a small thing there wouldn’t be the reaction going on. I have links to that reaction in my essay. The fact that an Orthodox rabbi has admitted to the mythological nature of the story (something accepted by rabbis in every other Jewish movement) is remarkable, and damning. Facts are facts…. Jacobs is just admitting what’s already well known.

  4. John, you can go ahead and dismiss my comments about the Birth & Death of Biblical Minimalism. You can stick with Minimalism, but it is not without its problems in the field of archaeology.

    You say:

    “As for the Exodus, there is simply no evidence at all that the Jews were ever in Egypt, and
    settlement/population patterns in Canaan are definitive: there was no influx of foreigners. ”

    I have heard this one before-nothing new at all here. There are problems with this: the evidence clearly shows a massive population explosion in Canaan at the beginning of Iron IA (c. 1200) and for the next 200 years. New cities pop up throughout the length and breadth of the land, but away from the coastal area. Pig bones are scant in the region of those new settlements, as are idols, and there are no brick or stone temples, though there are scattered high places. If we are not going to hypothesize that the Canaanites discovered sex at about that time, then there is really no good explanation for it except that there was a large-scale immigration at the end of Bronze IIB. And at just the same time, the Merenptah stele (1209/08 BC) reports the existence of a group of people it calls Israel, a foreign tribal grouping, west of Ascalon and Gezer and south of Genoam—that is, in the Canaanite hill country.

    The pottery in the region changes, so that by the 11th century we have a wealth of red-burnished pottery, first made by hand and later mechanically. The demographics of the hill country change, with people moving from hamlets into towns. Strategic installations appear in Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer where the late Canaanite occupation has been blitzed out. Why? The natural explanation is the centralization of power. And the practical expression of that centralization is a united kingdom.

    You say: “At the time Canaan was under Egyptian military rule, yet no mention is made of”

    Response: Canaan wasn’t under Egyptian military rule; Egypt sent military forces up the *coast* but not into the mountainous area.

    You’re trying to do some genre criticism (the Hunt for the Red October example) but in the end, because of your presuppositions (as everyone has) you assume nothing could be here expect historical fiction.

    And as I looked at your stuff, it was just as I figured. You are using Finkelstein’s work (as all atheists do). That is why I posted the link called The Birth and Death of Biblical Minimalism on BAS library which you dismissed. You would have seen the problems with minimalism. There is review of Finkelstein’s Bible Unearthed (a book which I own) at http://www.denverseminary.edu/article/the-bible-unearthed/

    Kenneth Kitchen’s work (that I already mentioned) has responded to alot of Finkelstein’s stuff. If you want to ignore it, so be it. Whether a rabbi agrees with a minimalist account doesn’t make it true. Rabbis are wrong about a lot of things.

    • Hi Chab,

      I’m not “assuming” its historical fiction, merely relying on the evidence to shape my position. I can’t be held responsible for the fact that the evidence (overwhelming as it is) contradicts your belief system. It also seems you’re confusing the settlement period with Conquest, and where you say “cities” surely you mean villages as the total population “after” the refugees moved up from the coastal states was around 30,000 to 50,000. That data was all published over a decade ago.

      An ad hominem attack on Finkelstein? That’s a little pathetic, don’t you think? It doesn’t, of course, answer why the world’s leading biblical archaeologists (including the Encyclopaedia Judaica) are all in complete agreement with Finkelstein, including Dever; a maximalist who three decades ago (as a Christian seminary student) wrote a paper defending the Exodus and got an A, but “no one would do that today,” he says. It also fails to address why Rabbis today openly concede the foundation narrative of the Jewish people is a myth. Now, ask yourself, why would Jewish Rabbis admit to such a thing if the evidence wasn’t beyond conclusive? What could they possibly gain from such a confession? (Or do you think there’s some grand conspiracy which involves Rabbis and every archaeological department in the world?)

      Tell me, did you read my post? It was balanced, as I’m sure you’re aware I could really have gone to town on that one… but I didn’t. If you just skimmed it, which I suspect you did, I’d urge you to actually read it, slowly and carefully. Weigh the words with an honest eye.

      Now, rather than draw your attention to all the contradictions you deliberately avoided answering, and the many, many more I could cite, I would simply challenge you to present a single archaeologist (one who is not an evangelical Christian, with current tenure in a major [real] university, preferably an Israeli, who had led digs and published peer-reviewed papers on those digs) to categorically state, in writing, that “Moses was a real historical character, that the Jews were in Egypt, there was an Exodus and military conquest of Canaan.”

      A simple challenge.

      • That challenge, of course, extends to Rabbis. If you could produce a single non-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi who will categorically state, in writing, that “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, there was a massive Exodus followed by a military conquest of Canaan… we have the evidence!” I would be suitably impressed.

        In fact, if you could find an Orthodox Rabbi who’ll state that, in writing, I’d be mildly impressed. I contacted numerous Orthodox Rabbis (over 60 for my essay, including the outspoken Orthodox Rabbi Shalom Carmy) and they each avoided any commitment to a historical statement.

        Rather telling.

  5. John,

    I see you’re pretty confident in your position. Ya so, you’re right that probably no Orthodox rabbi would say the Exodus account or other things in the text didn’t happen. The latest pew survey shows over 60 percent of Jewish people say you don’t have to believe in God to be Jewish. So many of them are Jewish by culture. They could care less about whether Moses existed, etc. Reform and some of Conservative Judaism don’t care as much about the veracity of the Bible as Orthodox do. I would be surprised if many rabbis even know there have been responses to Finkelstein work. Maybe I will drop off copies of the Kitchen book to the Temples near my house. I did no ad hominem attack against him. Not sure where you got that from. I can see you are very dependent on him so I suppose any challenge to him will create great discomfort.

    I don’t really find the Exodus objection to be a huge deal as I already said above. You can go ahead and harp on it but Kitchen and others have responded to it (and many of your other objections).

    You say “including Dever; a maximalist who three decades ago (as a Christian seminary student) wrote a paper defending the Exodus and got an A, but “no one would do that today,” he says. It also fails to address why Rabbis today openly concede the foundation narrative of the Jewish people is a myth”-

    If you read this article here called The Death of Biblical Minimalism at http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/09/22/The-Death-of-Biblical-Minimalism.aspx#.UpdYJnYo5Yc

    it says ” Even William Dever—who is no friend to the traditional interpretation of Scripture—has fiercely opposed the minimalists, whom he calls “revisionists.” He says, “the ‘revisionists’…declare that ‘the Hebrew Bible is not about history at all,’ i.e., it is mere propaganda. For them, if some of the Bible stories are unhistorical, they all are—a rather simplistic notion” (Dever, 2001, p. 97). It is the typical case of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”: the Bible is a religious book, therefore it cannot be historically accurate. Ongoing excavations argue otherwise.”

    Btw, I don’t need external verification for every single thing in the OT for it to have happened. The person who asks for that is naïve about the fragmentary nature of the past and the limits of archaeology.

    Perhaps over the next few weeks I will have a link at the top of my blog using Kitchen’s work that responds to Fickestein’s work and maybe that will tie in to your post. I guess if atheists are going to keep using Finkelstein, I suppose it will be helpful. You will just have to wait. I don’t have hours to sit and type up pages to atheist articles on the internet.

    I encourage you to read the Denver Seminary review of the Finkelstein book.

    • Hi Chab

      While true about half of Jews are Secular the question you have to ask is, Why? Unless you do in fact believe in some elaborate conspiracy you shouldn’t simply dismiss the phenomena, nor the fact that the majority of rabbi’s have determined the Tanakh (until really the Babylonian captivity) to be a foundation myth; a work of fiction conceived of and promoted in the 7th and 6th century BCE. The Jews simply never wandered… anywhere. That is the actual, pedestrian history of the Jewish people, and the Jewish people seem to understand that. Christians don’t, however, seem to get it.

      Now, you keep pushing Kitchen, yet he is an evangelical Christian… and a lone voice, for that. I’m sure you’re aware of the term, Confirmation Bias. If there were others who supported his position there would certainly be grounds to listen to him. I’m not saying there isn’t, there might be, but as he cannot garner any support from the world’s actual leading biblical archaeologists pretty much speaks for itself.

      Chab, as a matter of intellectual necessity, you have to step outside your evangelical world. Citing an evangelical Christian seminaries review of an actual archaeological book written by the world’s recognised leading authority on biblical archaeology is fairly incredulous, and that’s putting it mildly. I’m sorry, but it’s just not believable, and I value truth far too much to even be bothered with its nonsense. Also, while you conduct your ad hominen attacks on Fickestein you are simply ignoring every other biblical archaeologist who agrees with him and stands in the consensus. Are you suggesting they’re ALL wrong?

      If you actually read my article you would understand all this. I explain how and why the thesis collapsed, citing both archaeologists and Rabbis. I’m no expert, but I do listen to the experts. You should read it, and it might save you some future embarrassment if you choose to do a post on this Kitchen fellow. Now, I know that sounds a little snarky, but I assure you that’s not my feeling as I write this. You sound smart enough, you certainly have an interest in this, and that’s great. You just have to be honest about it, and pushing the thoughts of a single evangelical Christian as somehow striking down 100 years of detailed archaeological work and the consensus position of every reputable archaeologist in the world is just a fool’s errand.

      Nice quote by Dever, btw. Not sure you actually meant it, but it completely supports what I said. He’s a maximalist (although he personally cringes at the title, from what I understand). Thanks, though, I’m going to use it in the future to back up my position!

  6. Al,

    I don’t debate the existence of Jesus. It is silly and proves to be unfruitful. My previous discussions on that displays nothing but a lack of the basics of understanding historical method, genre criticism, and the abuse of arguments from silence. You’re welcome to read up on resource page on what we can know about Jesus. http://chab123.wordpress.com/what-can-we-know-about-jesus-resources-on-the-historical-jesus-and-historicity-of-the-new-testament/

    • Are there any secular studies among this exhaustive list as the few I have perused at random seem to be merely recounts pretty much every known apologetic argument?

      So I will reiterate, how does your statement: Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position.
      differ from the approach adopted by biblical scholars such as EP Sanders, who is generally regarded as the most authoritative New Testament scholar of the past 25 years at least?

  7. John,

    Atheists and theists both have confirmation bias, No way around that. Been doing this for a long time and see it everywhere.

    Once again, I didn’t do an ad hominem against Finkelstein You either don’t know what an ad hominem is or you don’t care. I cited a very good resource (that was in 2011) about those that disagreed and debated with him in his views. Dever had his share of debates with Finkelstein If you want to dismiss it, so be it. You accuse me of using an ad hominem and then you turn around and do it with Kitchen.

    I won’t fall for the old “oh, you or Kitchen are an evangelical Christian or theist, so we are just so biased and non objective etc).

    Is that supposed to translate as: “we are all naturalists and are so confident that nature is all there is so we are all objective, unbiased or neutral on everything.”

    That is just pure nonsense. You can go ahead and dismiss Kitchen’s work. His credentials speak for themselves and his book is no lightweight reading. Once again, it is a book like this that challenged your bias and doesn’t confirm your findings/or challenges it. And this is why you won’t read any criticisms of Finkelstein (like the Denver seminary review or anything else).

    You actually think Kitchen is a lone voice in challenging Finkelstein? I sat under an archeologist named Jodi Magnus from UNC a couple of years ago. When I asked here about the minimalism debate, she said there is no consensus in archeology that Finkelstein minimalism is a settled issue.

    Kitchen has a blistering review of Finkelstein and Silberman, The Bible Unearthed, which he describes on p. 464 as “very largely … a work of imaginative fiction, not a serious or reliable account of the subject.” And from 467:

    “As for no clues in Sinai, it is silly to expect to find traces of everybody who ever passed through the various routes in that peninsula. The state of preservation of remains is very uneven. For the Late Bronze Age, F. & S. have overlooked the Egyptian mining site at Serabit el-Khadim. The seasonal miners must have had interim stopping places between Serabit and Egypt, if they traveled overland back to the East Delta (on a reverse route to the Hebrews in Exod. 16-19), or at port sites like Markha if they sailed back to Egypt. Why, then, have we no record of these? This absence does not disprove the Egyptian regular visitations into Sinai, given their solid monumental presence—therefore, the absence of possible Hebrew campsites is likewise meaningless. What is more, from Sinai the Hebrews expected initially to be in Canaan in a year, not in forty years. They had no need to lug tons of heavy pottery around with them (just to oblige F. & S. with a few sherds!) if leatherwork or skins would do. So, no sherds at (e.g.) Qadesh-Barnea (where they did not stop for thirty-eight years—a common misunderstanding!) means nothing. And Ezion-Geber is not at Eliat or Tel el-Kheleifeh either.

    And again, from that same review, pp. 466-67:

    Their treatment of the exodus is among the most factually ignorant and misleading that this writer has ever read. F. & S. clearly have no personal knowledge whatsoever of conditions in Ramesside (or any other) Egypt. Their approach to chronology (for both patriarchs and exodus) is totally naive: namely, to add up 480 years (1 Kings 6:1) plus 430 years (Exodus 12:40) for the one, or just 480 years for the other, and then set those figures at odds with the Ramesside-related data. For those of us with some firsthand knowledge of the fuller data from, and the ancient procedures in, the ancient Near East, this nonsense just will not do. See above, chapters 7 (p. 357), 5 (pp. 202-3), and 6 (pp. 307-9), for fuller data and a sketch of how things should be done.

    We are told that “The border between Canaan and Egypt was thus closely controlled. If a great mass of fleeing Israelites had passed throught he border fortifications of the pharaonic regime, a record should exist.” And no doubt it did. But our pair are clueless here. We know from such stone inscriptions as the successful lawsuit of the treasury-scribe Mose (or Mes) from his tomb chapel in the dry sands of Saqqara that there were voluminous papyrus archives both at Heliopolis (of the vizier) and at Pi-Ramesse itself (treasury and granary files) in the East Delta. Of which no minutest scrap now survives. In the sopping wet mud of the Delta, no papyrus ever survives (whether it mentions fleeing Hebrews or not)—unless (as at Late Period Tanis) it has first been burnt and fully carbonized, and thus rendered virtually unreadable, except (sometimes) by very special modern techniques. In other words, as the official thirteenth century archives from the East Delta centers are 100 percent lost, we cannot expect to find mentions in them of the Hebrews or anybody else. The only trace of raw administration found at Pi-Ramesse (so far) is a handful of wine-jar dockets detailing a vintage of the Year 52 of Ramesses II (1228). How much would we learn (e.g.) about the last congressional election in the USA or parliamentary election in Great Britain from the torn labels of broken wine bottles discarded by customers from Macy’s or Harrod’s? Not a lot! And exactly the same is true at Pi-Ramesse. Wine jars do not an exodus record!

    The references to Edomites that F. & S. cite we possess solely because a Delta report had been sent on to Memphis, filed there, then used for training purposes for a budding pupil scribe (Inena)—and then discarded into the dry sands of Saqqara. Otherwise we would not even have this item. On page 60, our pair complain, no Israelites are mentioned in Egypt (their italics) on tomb or temple walls or papyri. Of course not! Levantines in Egypt were universally described simply as “Asiatis,” not by specific affiliations. Such people had no place in temple scenes, unless being conquered outside of Egypt. Towns and communities in their own land (e.g. Canaan) were a different matter. Such people had no place in tomb scenes either, unless they belonged to the personal households of the tomb owner—and then simply as “Asiatic.” The same applies to such papyri as we have. Only when an individual case is being dealt with is any other detail given; e.g., a Syria (Khurri) man Naqadi from Ar(v)ad in Papyrus Bologna 1086. F. & S. fulminate against Israelites being able to escape from Egypt, given the massive Egyptian military presence along the Mediterranean coast route to Gaza—and almost fail to remember that the Hebrews were explicitly told not to go that way (in Exod. 13:17, to which they, finally, grudgingly allude, but omit to cite)!”

    I am sure minimalists all agree with each other. It is a method/a school of thought. So this makes it true? So do Jesus mythers ever say “Hey, well many if not all or many and some agnostic scholars agree Jesus was a historical person so that means he existed?” No, they continually say we can’t appeal to consensus and they are a lone voice.

    My advice to you is to show some humility.

    • Hi Chab

      Humility? To answer that i’ll simply quote Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine: “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous. They do not revere old books, they do not stand in awe before old beliefs. They do not bow before famous ancestors. They are simply the stuff out of which reality is made and the final judge of truth.”

      So again, I’ll simply ask you to explain why would the majority of Jewish Rabbis today admit the Pentateuch is little more than a geopolitical myth? What could they possibly gain from such an admission? You keep avoiding this question, yet I would be enormously interested to hear your answer. I’m assuming you do have an answer, don’t you?

      And again, my challenge stands: if you can produce a SINGLE reputable archaeologist (someone with tenure and who has led digs across Israel and its environs, and published peer-reviewed papers on those digs) who will categorically state, in writing, “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, there was a massive exodus followed by a triumphant military conquest of Canaan,” I’ll be suitably impressed.

      This challenge extends to finding a SINGLE rabbi who’ll also commit to the same statement, in writing.

      (Notice I’m leaving all the supernatural stuff out. Let’s just deal with the origin tale of the Jewish people, and the rest will naturally explain itself.)

      If you can’t produce a reputable archaeologist or rabbi to sign their name to this statement then there’s really nothing further to say, is there?

  8. Btw, rabbis have just swallowed what they’re told without personal investigation — like most seminary students in mainline seminaries.

    • Btw, rabbis have just swallowed what they’re told without personal investigation — like most seminary students in mainline seminaries.

      Good Heavens! Very much like their Christian counterparts then?
      Now that must come as a surprise, right?

  9. John,

    You say: “And again, my challenge stands: if you can produce a SINGLE reputable archaeologist (someone with tenure and who has led digs across Israel and its environs, and published peer-reviewed papers on those digs) who will categorically state, in writing, “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, there was a massive exodus followed by a triumphant military conquest of Canaan,” I’ll be suitably impressed.”

    You can check out Dr. Bryant G. Wood is a biblical archaeologist and Research Director of the inerrantist Associates for Biblical Research’s work on it. He did his Ph.D. in Syro-Palestinian archaeology from the University of Toronto in 1985. He has written some stuff on Exodus at https://www.biblearchaeology.org/search.aspx?q=exodus&comment=true#.UpfpVHYo5Yc

    I don’t know if it is peer reviewed.

    (2006) Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus-Pharaoh by Douglas Petrovich is an article that has been published at http://utoronto.academia.edu/DouglasPetrovich

    In the end, Kitchen’s work is sufficient to show the problems with your objections. He is more than qualified to speak to the issue. Also, I think the desire for lots of peer reviewed work for the veracity of Exodus is misguided and here is why: Let’s go over the same objections about the Exodus that pop up again and again:

    It is reasonable to believe that the Egyptians had some written record of the Exodus? Response by Kitchen (yeh, I guess he is a British Egyptologist but who cares?) Kitchen says, “voluminous papyrus archives once stored in Egypt have vanished: In the sopping wet mud of the Delta, no papyrus ever survives (whether it mentions fleeing Hebrews or not)…In other words, as the official thirteenth-century archives from the East Delta centers are 100 percent lost, we cannot expect to find mentions in them of the Hebrews or anybody else.”- K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 466. Italics in original.

    Or, as Jeffery Sheler, U. S. News & World Report religion writer, says:

    “Official records and inscriptions in the ancient Near East often were written to impress gods and potential enemies, it would be quite surprising to find an account of the destruction of pharaoh’s army immortalized on the walls of an Egyptian temple…Indeed, the absence of direct material evidence of an Israelite sojourn in Egypt is not as surprising, or as damaging to the Bible’s credibility, as it first might seem.”- Jeffery Sheler, Is The Bible True? 78.

    Next point that is always made: “perhaps there would be some pottery in the Sinai desert during their sojourn from Egypt to Canaan.”

    Response: I already said: “The pottery in the region changes, so that by the 11th century we have a wealth of red-burnished pottery, first made by hand and later mechanically. The demographics of the hill country change, with people moving from hamlets into towns. Strategic installations appear in Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer where the late Canaanite occupation has been blitzed out. Why? The natural explanation is the centralization of power. And the practical expression of that centralization is a united kingdom. Also, the Israelite’s were like Nomads living in a temporary fashion in a desert like environment, where pottery would leave few traces in the archaeological record. ”

    Former Yale professor Millar Burrows (who was was director of American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (now the William F. Albright School of Archaeological Research) said, “It is hardly reasonable, in fact, to expect archeological evidence of their sojourn anywhere. We cannot expect much help from archeology in tracing the route of a people’s migration through the desert-Millar Burrows, What Mean These Stones? 63.

    In the end, have you ever considered that the reasons there is so little peer reviewed articles about the veracity of the Exodus is because there is just not enough to go off of. So in the end, you assume the absence of evidence is evidence. This is poor approach to history. Whether a bunch of rabbis think the Exodus is fiction because of the lack of archeological evidence can be attributed to many factors: Many of them are trained in Rabbinical school and it depends on what they maybe picked up there.

    Reform Judaism doesn’t really believe in the supernatural that much and has been greatly impacted by modernism and the Enlightenment, etc. You can be a Reform rabbi and not affirm the veracity of the Torah. And this goes for some in the conservative camp. I would be willing to bet if I was to visit all 5 Temples by where I live , the Orthodox would say God verbally dictated the Torah to Moses- he wrote it. I doubt the other rabbis would care and for the ones that say Moses/Exodus is fiction, if they read Kitchen’s work, they might even rethink any position they have previously held.. For many of them, Jewish life is about culture and tradition. I have lived among them all my life and have been in mission work to them for years.

    So my point is that you seem to think by citing a group of rabbis that don’t think Moses existed or the Exodus account is some sort of airtight evidence that Moses and the Exodus account are fiction. It is an appeal to authority (which we all use in forming arguments), but it is not without problems. I find it funny that atheists pick and choose when they want to appeal to consensus. When Jesus scholars say mythers are a small, small, minority in academia (and nobody takes them seriously), the mythers bark and say “oh, so consensus makes something true?” As I say again, the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence.

    • Hi Chab,

      Some interesting articles there. I’ve seen a lot of those ideas before (yes, I do try to read as much maximalists’s thoughts as possible, Eilat Mazar’s work is interesting) but they all suffer the same problem: they’re unsubstantiated claims: excuses which flatly contradict the biblical narrative. They’re what Professor Herzog called, “inelegant explanations.” The dates, for example (which are quite specific in the bible) have to be thrown out and new numbers inserted. Without going through all the evidence, simply put, if there was a shred of truth in the narrative some things would at least match… and nothing matches. There simply is no corroborating pattern. The experts aren’t making this stuff up; it’s the reality.

      Now, I’m sorry, but Dr. Bryant G. Wood is a biblical literalist. He might have a PhD after his name (Americans seem to be getting quite loose with their handing out of PhD’s), but he loses a great deal of credibility by just being the head of the Associates for Biblical Research. It’s patently clear he’s not objective, it’s right there in his job description, and therefore he simply is not believable. From what I can see he also has never done any actual archaeological work, rather simply trying to reinterpret texts and re-arrange timelines to fit his belief system.

      As for Douglas Petrovich, he’s a philosophy major, so not a person to be taken seriously in this matter.

      As to the absence of evidence, I’ll let Rabbi David Wolpe explain: “Some argue that there is no evidence to back my assertion. Endlessly reiterated is the mantra “absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.” In other words, the fact that we have never found a single shred of evidence in the Sinai does not mean the Israelites were not there. However, the archeological conclusions are not based primarily on the absence of Sinai evidence. Rather, they are based upon the study of settlement patterns in Israel itself. Surveys of ancient settlements–pottery remains and so forth–make it clear that there simply was no great influx of people around the time of the Exodus (given variously as between 1500-1200 BCE). Therefore, not the wandering, but the arrival alerts us to the fact that the biblical Exodus is not a literal depiction. In Israel at that time, there was no sudden change in the kind or the volume of pottery being made. (If people suddenly arrived after hundreds of years in Egypt, their cups and dishes would look very different from native Canaanites’.) There was no population explosion. Most archeologists conclude that the Israelites lived largely in Canaan over generations, instead of leaving and then immigrating back to Canaan.”

      Now Chad, Rabbi Wolpe is a Yahwehist, a strong theist, a man who has debated atheists on stage. Ask yourself, why would this man (a man who believes in a god and would give ANYTHING for the Jewish origin narrative to be true) be so adamant about the story being a fabrication? Are you suggesting he’s insane? Seriously, you have to stop dismissing these rabbis and refocus on what they’re saying.

      As I said earlier, unless you believe there’s a grand conspiracy going on between the world’s great archaeological departments and Jewish rabbis then the facts are in: The Jewish foundation narrative is a myth; a romantic dream sequence fashioned principally to meet 7th century BCE geopolitical needs. That’s just the simple truth.

      • Here’s what I think happened. Maybe a family or two from the Hyksos (expelled from Egypt in 1560 BCE) made their way into the Canaanite hills and settled. Their story was told and retold, it was exotic and adventurous after all. Slowly, over generations, that story became entwined in the villager’s cultural identity. Now, all we know of the Hyksos is that they were from the east, so perhaps this family points to the origin of the Abraham narrative, coming in from the east. In 722BCE this story, however, began to get super-charged…

        To me, this makes perfect sense.

  10. Al, ,some Christians have investigated while others haven’t. I know my share of atheists that haven’t investigated much either. Many people believe or reject things for a variety of reasons- emotional, volitional or intellectual etc. It is a mixed bag with most.

    • I agree, but, once again, how does your statement: Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position.
      differ from the approach adopted by biblical scholars such as EP Sanders, who is generally regarded as the most authoritative New Testament scholar of the past 25 years at least?

      Will you at least answer this question, please.

  11. John,

    Once again, I fail to see the arguments from Rabbi Wolpe to be convincing. So he is an authority because he is a rabbi? I already discussed the pottery issue more than once and I find Kitchen to trump Wolpe. So Wolpe is more qualified to speak about this issue? You ask for archaeologists and then stick with a rabbi. What living scholar has translated and published more Egyptian stuff than Kitchen? Wolpe recently wrote an article as to why Jewish people can’t believe in Jesus where he made all kinds of mistakes. A friend of mine wrote a response.

    So I will stick with my comments about non evidence being the evidence is flawed. I already gave you reasons why there hasn’t been a lot published on the Exodus. You act like because there is a consensus based on ‘lack of evidence is evidence” that this settles it. So Dr. Bryant G. Wood is a biblical literalist and needs to be dismissed. I love it! This means all serious scholars are naturalists and are neo-Darwinists! They are the only ones to be taken seriously!

    I suppose another way to look at this (and other Biblical historical matters) is to look at the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence. For example, the article in Christianity Today from a ways back had an article on the Exodus account- here http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta044.html?start=6

    In it, they say:

    Moses and the Exodus. It is simply too fantastic, say the minimalists. The ten plagues, a million-plus runaway slaves traversing a desert, the miracles—all of these put the story squarely in the realm of fable and legend. Furthermore, how could the children of Israel escape from Egypt and the pharaoh’s army be destroyed without getting recorded in Egyptian annals?

    In answer to the latter question, Hoffmeier agrees with his critics: such a momentous event would not have transpired without being recorded. But recorded where?

    “I don’t know of any surviving papyrus documents from Egypt’s Delta,” says Hoffmeier. “It’s too wet. And papyrus [made from the reed-like plant of the same name] is where most of the records were kept. The inscriptions that we see on statues and temple façades tend to be propagandistic, what-we-want-you-to-know messages. And where papyrus records have survived, they tend to be from the desert areas. So we have very few of the day-to-day court records of 3,000 years of Egyptian history.”

    While direct evidence for the Exodus is missing, the following circumstantial evidence supports viewing the Exodus as a historical event rather than a late, fictive legend:

    •In a surviving Egyptian document called Leiden Papyrus 348, orders are given to “distribute grain rations to the soldiers and to the ‘Apiru who transport stones to the great pylon of Rames[s]es.” This brings to mind Exodus 1:11, which says the Hebrews “built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh.” While hotly debated, ‘Apiru is believed by some scholars to refer to the Hebrews, the ‘Ibri. If a future discovery of an inscription could link this word to the Hebrews, this document would prove to be our first direct extrabiblical reference to the children of Israel in slavery in Egypt.

    •Recent discoveries of military outposts on a road leading from Egypt into Canaan, built by Pharaoh Seti I and earlier kings in the thirteenth century B.C., shed new light on why a northern route for the Exodus would have meant war for the Israelites. Exodus 13:17 states: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ ” Instead, the Bible explains, “God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness.”

    •While it is virtually impossible 3,000 years later to retrace the footsteps of a people who escaped over a sand-swept wilderness, an Egyptian letter (Anastasi III) from guards at a “border crossing” between Egypt and the Sinai helps explain Moses’ insistent cry, “Let my people go!” The text indicates that in the thirteenth century the Egyptians maintained a tight border control, allowing no one to pass without a permit. The letter describes two slaves who—in a striking parallel to the Israelite escape—flee from the city of Rameses at night, are pursued by soldiers, but disappear into the Sinai wilderness. “When my letter reaches you,” writes the official to the border guard, “write to me about all that has happened to [them]. Who found their tracks? Which watch found their tracks? Write to me about all that has happened to them and how many people you send out after them.” Another inscription from the same cache of documents (Anastasi VI) records that an entire tribe gained permission to enter Egypt from Edom in search of food.

    •If it seems incredible to believe that 600,000 men plus women and children could have survived as a people in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years, we may be misinterpreting the number, says Hoffmeier. Hebrew University professor Abraham Malamat, for one, points out that the Bible often refers to 600 and its multiples, as well as 1,000 and its multiples, typologically in order to convey the idea of a large military unit. “The issue of Exodus 12:37 is an interpretive one,” says Hoffmeier. “The Hebrew word eleph can be translated ‘thousand,’ but it is also rendered in the Bible as ‘clans’ and ‘military units.’ When I look at the question as an Egyptologist, I know that there are thought to have been 20,000 in the entire Egyptian army at the height of Egypt’s empire. And at the battle of Ai in Joshua 7, there was a severe military setback when 36 troops were killed. If you have an army of 600,000, that’s not a big setback.” In other words, the head count may have been far fewer than suggested by a literal reading of Exodus 12:37.

    • Seems we’re going in circles, you’re simply presenting excuses (as devised by evangelical Christians) and ignoring the conclusive settlement data which is so overwhelming that it has convinced the very people who have the most invested in the research… and the most to lose: the Jewish Rabbis. As Dever, the Maximalist, said: “The settlement research marked the turning point in archeological CONSENSUS on the issue. It added to previous research that showed that Egypt’s voluminous ancient records contained not one mention of Israelites in the country, although one 1210 BC inscription did mention them in Canaan. Kadesh Barnea in the east Sinai desert, where the Bible says the fleeing Israelites sojourned, was excavated twice in the 1950s and 1960s and produced no sign of settlement until three centuries after the Exodus was supposed to have occurred. The famous city of Jericho has been excavated several times and was found to have been abandoned during the 13th and 14th centuries BC.”

      I like you, Chab. I respect your efforts, so rather than spinning the tires, I’ll just leave you with the original challenge: show me a single reputable archaeologist who will categorically state, in writing, “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, an Exodus of some 2 million people occurred and there was a triumphant military conquest of Canaan.”

      More importantly, this challenge, of course, extends to finding a single Rabbi who’ll also sign onto the statement.

      Keep well.

  12. Al,

    I guess I don’t see why you are obsessing on Sanders. He is not a conservative Christian. All scholars -both atheists and theists have presuppositions, biases, and worldviews. No way around that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look at these quotes here. Some of them are not evangelical Christians. Bultmann is still used by Jesus mythers all the time in support of their anti-supernatural views of the NT. But he departs from them on the existence of Jesus. Take a look at some of these quotes by scholars who are not all evangelical Christians.

    Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be. For if no follower of Jesus had written anything for one hundred years after his crucifixion we would still know about him from two authors not among his supporters. Their names are Flavius Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus.” – John Dominic Crossan, Co-founder of The Jesus Seminar Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, pg 145

    “Jesus death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.”- Atheist Gerd Ludemann-The Resurrection of Christ, Pg 50.

    E.P. Sanders: The Historical Figure of Jesus. New York: Penguin Books, 1993, says:

    “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know” pgs 279-280. “I do not regard deliberate fraud as a worthwhile explanation. Many of the people in these lists were to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming that they had seen the risen Lord, and several of them would die for their cause. Moreover, a calculated deception should have produced great unanimity. Instead, there seem to have been competitors: ‘I saw him first!’ ‘No! I did.’ Paul’s tradition that 500 people saw Jesus at the same time has led some people to suggest that Jesus’ followers suffered mass hysteria. But mass hysteria does not explain the other traditions.” Pgs. 279-280. “Finally we know that after his death his followers experienced what they described as the ‘resurrection’: the appearance of a living but transformed person who had actually died. They believed this, they lived it, and they died for it.” Pg 280.

    Bart Ehrman quote:

    “It is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution. We know some of these believers by name; one of them, the apostle Paul, claims quite plainly to have seen Jesus alive after his death. Thus, for the historian, Christianity begins after the death of Jesus, not with the resurrection itself, but with the belief in the resurrection” The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.276).

    More quotes about the existence of Jesus:

    “What about those writers like Acharya S (The Christ Conspiracy) and Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy (The Jesus Mysteries), who say that Jesus never existed, and that Christianity was an invented religion, the Jewish equivalent of the Greek mystery religions? This is an old argument, even though it shows up every 10 years or so. This current craze that Christianity was a mystery religion like these other mystery religions-the people who are saying this are almost always people who know nothing about the mystery religions; they’ve read a few popular books, but they’re not scholars of mystery religions. The reality is, we know very little about mystery religions-the whole point of mystery religions is that they’re secret! So I think it’s crazy to build on ignorance in order to make a claim like this. I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it’s silly to talk about him not existing. I don’t know anyone who is a responsible historian, who is actually trained in the historical method, or anybody who is a biblical scholar who does this for a living, who gives any credence at all to any of this.” Bart Ehrman, interview with David V. Barrett, “The Gospel According to Bart”, Fortean Times (221), 2007

    Robert E. Van Voorst, Professor of New Testament Studies at Western Theological Seminary, in his discussion on the historical evidence of Jesus outside of the New Testament states:

    “The theory of Jesus’ nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question.” – Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Pg 14.

    Mark Allan Powell, a professor of NT and chairman for Historical Jesus at the Society of Biblical Literature puts it harsh stating: “Anyone who says that today [i.e. that Jesus didn't exist]–in the academic world at least–gets grouped with the skinheads who say there was no Holocaust and the scientific holdouts who want to believe the world is flat.” -Mark A Powell, Jesus As a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. 168.

    The late F.F. Bruce in his popular The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable? said:

    “Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories.” -Bruce, The New Testament Documents. 123.

    “No one. No one in scholarly circles dealing with ancient Judaism and early Christianity, of any religious or non-religious persuasion holds the view that Jesus never existed. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own truth.”—Larry Hurtado, specialist in New Testament and Christian origins, former Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology (University of Edinburgh).

    “Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed us unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community.”- Rudolph Bultmann, Jesus And The Word, pg 13, 1958.

    “To doubt the historical existence of Jesus at all… was reserved for an unrestrained, tendentious criticism of modern times into which it is not worthwhile to enter in here.” –G. Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth, 1960

    “I am of the opinion (and it is an opinion shared by every serious historian) that the theory [‘that Jesus never lived, that he was a purely mythical figure”] is historically untenable.” W. Marxsen, The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, pg 119.

    ‘To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory. It has ‘again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars,’ In recent years ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus’—or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger -, indeed abundant, evidence on the contrary.” –Historian Michael Grant, Jesus, An Historians Review of the Gospels, pg 200,

    “There are those who argue that Jesus was a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there was never a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.” Richard Burridge and Graham Gould, Jesus, Now and Then, 2004, pg 34.

    “Let me state it plainly that I accept that Jesus was a real historical person, In my opinion, the difficulties arising from the denial of his existence still vociferously maintained in small circles of rationalist ‘dogmatists’ far exceed those deriving its acceptance”- Geza Vermes, The Resurrection, 2008, (ix)

    “No serious historian if any religious or nonreligious stripe doubts that Jesus of Nazareth really lived in the first century and was executed under the authority of Pontius Pilate the governor of Judea and Samaria.” Craig Evans in Evans and Wright, Jesus, The Final Days, 2009, pg 3.

    • I agree with this, have not disputed it and am a bit baffled as to why you seem intent on filling more and more space with text to prove a point I have already acknowledged. Perhaps you not fully understanding what I am asking?
      Let me try once more.

      The consensus of scholars agree that Jesus was an historical character and because of this consensus all Christians and many non-Christians accept that Jesus was a real person.
      Many, but not all.

      I have no problems with this and so as not to have you spend more time trying to demonstrate your case, we can regard it as a given.

      I am not obsessing on Sanders. I used him as an example merely because he is regarded as one of the most respected New Testament scholars over the past 25 years or so. We can use Ehrman or NT Wright if you prefer, or Evans ( as you quoted), Licona, Habermas or any one you wish.
      This is not so much which expert but the fact that they are experts in their field and respected as such.
      With me so far?

      So back to your original statement and question.

      Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position.

      How does this approach differ from the approach adopted by the consensus of respected biblical scholars regarding the historicity of Jesus?

      Will you now at least answer this question, please.

  13. Yes John, we are going in circles and talking past each other. Happens all the time in these kinds of discussions. Thanks for the discussion. Over and out.

  14. Al,

    Sorry if I misunderstood you. You say:

    Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position.

    How does this differ with Jesus scholars? For one thing, I agree that Jesus scholars (as I just said above) including ATHESISTS WHO MAKES UP THE JESUS MYTHER LIST WHICH EVERY ATHEIST APPEALS TO (CARRIER, PRICE, OR WHOEVER), HAS BIASES. Now as far as them ignoring facts, and evidence, I don’t see Jesus scholars doing this (the ones who think Jesus existed).

    The points where Jesus mythers always go to say Jesus scholars are ignoring facts and evidence are the following:

    #1: The New Testament is written by Christians so we can’t trust it. Therefore, can you please give us some perfectly objective contemporary sources outside the New Testament that speak about Jesus!

    Response: This is just stupid because you would have to assume the entire NT made up a Jesus figure which just displays a lack of basics of historical method or just a misunderstanding about Second Temple Judaism. See our resource page: http://chab123.wordpress.com/what-can-we-know-about-jesus-resources-on-the-historical-jesus-and-historicity-of-the-new-testament/

    #2: You can’t trust anything Josephus and Tacitus says about Jesus!

    Wrong! See our resource page. Even as I said above, Crossan who co led the Jesus Seminar says if we had to rely on Josephus and Tacitus alone, we could know Jesus lived and was crucified. Do you think he is some sort of evangelical Christian?

    #3: The abuse of Arguments from Silence: One of the most common tactics about Internet mythers is the abuse of arguments from silence. In another words, if a source does not say anything about Jesus or something in the NT, the case is closed. It probably didn’t happen!
    Response: Arguments form silence is a terrible way to do history. And see Jesus Is Not Worth Talking About: By Nick Peters at Deeper Waters: http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/jesus-is-not-worth-talking-about/

    #4: Religious Plagiarism: The Jesus story is just ripped off from pagan myths or whatever. Response: This betrays a lack of understanding about the Second Temple period. See more at our resource page: http://chab123.wordpress.com/what-can-we-know-about-jesus-resources-on-the-historical-jesus-and-historicity-of-the-new-testament/

    The rest of the objections are

    We can’t know or trust f the Gospel authors were eyewitnesses

    We can’t trust Paul

    See our resource page where we provide resources to these objections:

    http://chab123.wordpress.com/what-can-we-know-about-jesus-resources-on-the-historical-jesus-and-historicity-of-the-new-testament/

    In all honesty Al, Jesus scholars have answered these. It is not that they are ignoring evidence. The issue is one of METHOD. Jesus mythers are employing a radical historical skepticism that they don’t apply to anything else in antiquity. If they did, nobody would really have existed in antiquity.

    I think Ehrman is correct when he says:

    “ What is driving the mythicists agenda? Why do they work so hard at showing that Jesus never really lived? I do not have a definitive answer to that question, but I do have a hunch. It is no accident that virtually all mythicists (in fact, all of them, my knowledge), are either atheists or agnostics. The ones I know anything about are quite virulently, even militantly atheist. On the surface that may make sense: who else would be more invested in showing Jesus never existed? But when you think about it or a moment, it is not entirely logical. Whether or not Jesus existed is completely irrelevant to the question of whether God exists. So why would virulent atheists (or agnostics) be so invested in showing that Jesus did not exist? It is important to realize the obvious fact that the mythicists all live in a Christian world for which Christianity is the religion of choice for the vast bulk of the population. Of course we have large numbers of Jews and Muslims among us and scattered Buddhists, Hindus, and other major faith traditions in our culture. But by and large the people we meet who are religious are Christians. And mythicists are avidly antireligious. To debunk religion, then, one needs to undermine specifically the Christian form of religion. And what easier way is there to undermine Christianity than to claim that the figure at the heart of Christian worship and devotion never existed but was invented, made up, or created? If Christianity is base d on Jesus, and Jesus never existed where does that leave the religion of billions of the world’s population? It leaves it in shambles, at least in the thinking of the mythicists. What this means is that, ironically, just as secular humanists spend so much time at their annual meetings talking about religion, so too mythicists who are so intent on showing that the historical Jesus never existed are not being driven by a historical concern. Their agenda is religious and they are complicit in a religious ideology. They are not doing history, they are doing theology”– Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist, The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, pgs 337-38.

    In my opinion, it is such a wasted effort to show Jesus didn’t exist. Why not just concede he was a historical figure and then say he is not divine (like Ehrman does). The only reason the Jesus mythers keep going forward is for what Ehrman just said here.

    • Funny I ask a simple question in the hope that you will not, once again, go off on a tangent and yet there you go again.

      I am not necessarily disputing the historicity of Jesus. I am not trying to disprove that Jesus was not a real character.

      Are we clear on this point?

      So, back to your original statement .

      Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position.

      Now, let me try to rephrase the question as It appears I am doing something wrong for you not to grasp what I am asking.

      If you accept the consensus from the expert scholars regarding the historicity of Jesus ( and there seems no reason why one shouldn’t) then why can you not accept the consensus of expert scholars regarding Moses and the Exodus?

      Can you please offer a succinct answer?

      • Rather let me try to be more succinct. Might make it easier for both if us?

        A) The overwhelming scholarly consensus accepts that Jesus was an historical figure.

        B) The overwhelming scholarly consensus accepts that the biblical account of Moses and the Exodus is fiction.

        You accept expert consensus A , on what grounds do you not accept expert consensus B ?

  15. Well Al, I am sorry I misunderstood you again.

    To answer your question, the reason I don’t accept the consensus view on the Exodus is that it is like comparing apples and oranges. I already pointed out above in all my discussions with John, point by point (very clearly) why I think that the consensus view has problems. If you didn’t read my exchanges with John, you will need to go back and read them. I am not going to type it up again.
    Their take on the Exodus is mostly if not all based on archeology/external evidence. And as I said, Kitchen has already pointed out the problems with the revisionist view they are propagating. He is more then qualified to speak about it- certainly more than any rabbi.

    The Jesus myth view is propagated because of the points I cited above (in my last set of comments). As you can see, those points don’t have a lot to do with archeology. Granted, if it was, there is more than enough archeological/external evidence for the NT. See Peter Williams article here: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2013/10/article-archaeology-and-reliablity-of.html?vm=r&s=1

    • Not once did I suggest anything pertaining to a Jesus Myth. And I have stressed this at every step during this dialogue. Yet you have brought it up during almost ever single reply. Which suggests you are not bothering to read what I write displaying ignorance or a gross lack of manners.

      I asked why you were prepared to accept expert consensus for Jesus but reject expert consensus for Moses and the Exodus.

      Consensus means the overwhelming majority of scholars have reviewed the available data and evidence and consider it is valid.

      What in fact you are admitting is that you are the one who is exhibiting bias and even outright prejudice because you are not prepared to accept the expert consensus from scholars that disagree with your point of view.

      What has this got to do with the Jesus Myth? Please explain your reasons for continuing to raise this issue.
      I very much doubt that any archaeologist and especially Jewish ones even consider the question relevant to their work or in fact could give a damn.
      Kitchen is a single scholar and his lone opinion does not carry with the overwhelming majority any more than the opinion of Carrier and Price carries any weight with the overwhelming majority.
      The expert consensus flatly disagrees in both cases.

      All you have demonstrated, once again, are the ulterior motives and the hypocrisy rampant in religious fundamentalism.

      • Chab, the Ark is making a tremendously valid point here. You accept the consensus position on Jesus yet deny the consensus position on the historical veracity of the Pentateuch. You can’t have it both ways: “Experts are right when they agree with me… Dead wrong when they disagree.”

      • Thank you. This is the point I am trying to get across and it has nothing to do with any damn Jesus Myth.

        If the consensus of experts believe the BMW M5 is a better car that a Maserati then it is ….

        What is so difficult to grasp?

  16. John,

    I think Nick did give a decent summary of the problems with the arguments from silence view. Josephus doesn’t mention Paul at all. So maybe Paul didn’t exist? The Teacher of Righteousness that has come to us in the Qumran writings is not mentioned by Josephus, Philo or Pliny the Younger. Maybe he didn’t exist? He was invented? Rabbi Hillel, the founder of the school of Hillelites is never mentioned by Josephus. But Josephus is a devout Pharisee. Maybe Hillel did not exist? Bar Kochba, the messianic leader who led the Jewish revolt against the Romans is not mentioned by Dio Cassius in his account on the revolt. I could go on and on.

    And what difference does it make if I cite some big wig ultra qualified Christian scholar who talks about why arguments from silence is silly and a terrible way to do history? Take this piece by Craig Blomberg- When an Argument from Silence Becomes Utterly Meaningless – http://chab123.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/when-an-argument-from-silence-becomes-utterly-meaningless-by-craig-blomberg/

    You would probably say “well, he is a Christian”… and judging by our previous talking points, you seem to assume that all respectable scholars are naturalists and that qualifies them as being unbiased, more qualified and more respectable. Of course, I find that to be nonsense.

  17. John, and I am weary of atheist apologists doing their work to provide confirmation bias for atheists. Oh and btw, Petrovich is a Ph.D. Candidate, ANE Archaeology and History. But once again, he is a Christian so that cancels him out. Only naturalists and atheists are allowed to publish on the Exodus and get the notice they need.

    • Ah, here you are wrongly trying to burden the secular archaeologist with the problems so intimately associated with the apologist. You’re trying to say they (the secular archaeologist) have an “agenda,” when you know fully well that they don’t. They no sooner go into the field as “atheists” as they do as “Buddhists” or Mithraists.” They have no personal investment in the findings, whereas the Christian apologist does, and this will always shape what they “find.” Mazar (“I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other”) is a classic example here. She was/is funded by wealthy Christians and that ultimately skewed her work. As noted by Ryan Byrne commenting on her misinterpretations: “In the mad dash to report biblical artifacts to the public or connect discoveries with the most obscure persons or events reported in the Bible, there is sometimes a tendency to compromise the analytical caution that objects of such value so dearly deserve.” Zertal is another example. He was a great archaeologist before Mount Ebal. Now you can find him at the site he uncovered whenever buses carrying American Christian tourists arrive, boxes of his unpublished book for sale as he tells them EXACTLY what they want to hear. People with a personal/religious investment in the work have revealed themselves time after time to simply not be objective or believable… Like Ron Wyatt.

  18. Al,

    You were the one who bought up the Jesus scholars issue. You just don’t follow what I am saying. I have explained all my points in my comments with John as to why the consensus view with the Exodus has problems. You may not agree with them, but I explained them point by point. It may just be time to move on. Take care.

    • Indeed. Let’s stay in each others orbit, though. I’d never heard of Kitchen before, and learning of differing views (and keeping an open mind) is always important.

      • John, do get his book and read it. On the Reliability of the Old Testament is the standard in the field.

      • I will. I’m also in contact with many Israeli archaeologists (an on going project i’m pursuing) so i intend to speak to them about his work and what they think. All things should be considered in fairness. Take care, Chab.

    • No. Not necessarily dishonest. Certainly misguided.
      It is ridiculous to suggest the Christians have nothing at stake. They have a massive amount. As do the Jews and even Muslims.

      So the first question one would likely ask is why on earth would anyJewish archaeologist poison the well they drink from?

      Never mind archaeologists of other faiths for now.Or those of no faith. Let’s just focus on the Jewish ones.
      Their whole raison d’etre is based upon the promise made by Yahweh to gift them the Promised Land.
      They eventually get it in 1948 via some dubious political shenanigans but at that stage most if not all still fervently believed it was their birthright. A promise fulfilled by their God.

      Once installed and especially after the 6 day war, archaeologists began to pour into the desert with the express instruction to ( metaphorically) find the Title Deeds. The concrete archaeological evidence that Moses and the Exodus was the Real Deal.

      Now, if there was nothing one might expect these folk to bend the rules a bit; obfuscate the findings and smudge the lines. Theres a lot at stake here, and religiously inclined people are not averse to a little bit of exaggeration and interpolation and even outright fraud if it furthers the case of their particular god or religion, right? Even an evangelical Christian such as yourself is honest enough to acknowledge this I am sure.
      So, did they do this?
      Emphatically No.

      ”Professor Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University in the foreword to his 1999 essay, Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho: “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land… Those who take an interest have known these facts for years.” Reviewing Herzog’s paper, Professor Magen Broshi, archaeologist at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, endorsed the essays startlingly blunt opening remarks, stating, “There is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.”

      Honesty forced the archaeologists to admit that the Pentateuch is fiction, that there is no evidence of any Exodus and the story of the Canaan Conquest is pure myth.
      One has to admire that level of integrity especially when one’s whole culture is on the line, never mind the eventual political ramifications.
      If there is no evidence then one can dig for ever, it won’t materialise. Archaeologists like Albright found this out the hard way.

      They had all the evidence – or lack thereof – proving the Pentateuch was nonsense, a literary fiction and relatively little was said at all.
      Slowly the information was released and slowly other archaeologists ( like Devers) and finally many Rabbis accepted it as well.

      Now the Christian and Muslim world is in a mini flat-spin and naturally they pull out all the stops to prove their case for Divine Intervention.

      But we are dealing with Bible-Believing archaeologists, many of whom are funded by wealthy religious sponsors and many of whom, archaeologist and sponsor, obviously believe in the Miraculous thus they have to demonstrate not only that the Exodus et al is true, but also square away the accounts of Yahweh’s Intervention ( not by scientific or natural means ether) and still come across as credible.

      And that is an escape feat even the great Harry Houdini would be unable to match.

      Chab, you might not like the findings, and neither may Kitchen, and we can be pretty sure anyone with a vested theological interest is not going to like it and will want to maintain some vestige of statue quo.

      But the evidence speaks for itself and if the overwhelming majority of archaeologists, Rabbis , and historians consider the story of Moses and the Exodus and all that accompanies it is fiction then there comes a time when one has to accept the truth.

      And this applies equally to every Abrahamic religion.

      It is not a question of running from the truth any more, but rather what are you going to do when it catches up?

      Well, what will you do?

  19. Al,

    I know all about the Documentary Hypothesis. I wrote a paper on it several years ago in seminary. The Wellhausen evolutionary view has been responsed to for several decades now.

    You can read these online.
    •Mosaic Authorship of the Pentatuch – Tried and True from Apologetics Press
    •Documentary Hypothesis: The Subjective Approach to Biblical Criticism, by Matthew Graham
    •The Documentary Hypothesis, by Duane Garrett
    •Mosaic Authorship of the Torah: Problems with the Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP) – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, by Michael Heiser. Btw, He is the Academic Editor of Logos Bible Software. Mike earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004.
    •Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch: Changes in Law in Deuteronomy, by Michael Heiser

    As I have already said, I gave a point by point response above to the problems John brought up with the Exodus in our discussion. I explained the problems associated with trying to find DIRECT EVIDENCE for the Exodus. So I can only conclude you are just bored and want to keep pressing me on the same question. John and I ended our discussion on it. So I will now do the same.

    • What you are in fact doing is merely displaying a level of arrogance so prevalent within evangelism.
      At times, it is like having a discussion with a William Lane Craig clone. And there are plenty of them and no , please don’t consider it a compliment.

      In reality, I would actually prefer it if the biblical tale were true. Or at least the flight from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan for this would clearly demonstrate the heinous genocidal nature of the conquerors.

      But unfortunately, ( for you, anyway) this is where your problems would begin, as at this juncture, you would have to demonstrate your god’s intervention.
      And this of course would be an impossible task.
      So, as long as you choose to deny the consensus claims of the scientific community the magical components to the bible need not be broached.

      And if we were to ignore this archaeological aspect altogether and focus solely on the core tenets of your faith the wheels fall off at once.

      So take a small measure of comfort that while I believe it is all a crock, I do so wish your biblical archaeologists would simply hurry up and prove the bible right as then the real fun will begin and the gloves will come off .
      Christians,Jews, and Muslims will then have to put up or push off.
      And that will be a time to relish, believe me!

  20. Al, in my points with John, I explained my points very clearly and it was not done in arrogance. In the future, you may want to follow John’s example. Feel free to read his comments in his last two posts to me. Have a nice holiday.

    • John’s approach is his own. Maybe he is more tolerant of hypocrisy? I am sure he won’t mind if I quote him?

      Let’s just say i’m outrageously weary of confirmation bias and a Christian apologists abilities to be objective ;)

      Confirmation bias, especially when we are dealing with expert consensus, and irrespective of your
      very clear points is either based on arrogance or ignorance. I would prefer to think ignorance, as this can be cured, but when dealing with the type of mentality displayed by that the likes of William Lane Craig it s difficult to know which.

      The point is, just like William Lane Craig, you probably would not consider the possibility that your faith is based on erroneous evidence, even though Christians have had to make several major adjustments of belief over the years, and continue to do so merely to try and stay relevant.

      Evangelism/Apologetics is a very specific brand of Christianity, that has to an extent painted itself into a corner.
      As an aside, I find it ironic that you have a Mike Licona video on your site – which I did watch by the way – and he lost his job for refusing to issue a retraction concerning the Zombie Apocalypse.

      That you refute and reject expert consensus where it does not fit with your worldview is your right.
      It will not alter the facts unless contradictory evidence is brought forth. So far, none has that has been accepted by the majority and contrary to what Kitchen has written the evidence makes it more and more difficult for Biblical archaeologists/literalists and their followers to be objective.

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts.
      And the fact is, Chab the consensus is against you on the Moses – Exodus issue.

      I am not so sure you would believe that the truth will set you free, but it will eventually force you to ask some serious questions.

      .

  21. Al,

    I have been at this for a long time. I have done debates/events with atheists. I find it funny that you seem to be one of the few to think Christians are the only one guilty of confirmation bias. I have had several atheists admit it is seen on both sides of the debate. No, I am not ignorant or arrogant. It is you who have not been able to follow the argument.

    Keep up the work on the atheist apologetics end. Despite your worldview, it is good to see you’ve been able to come up with some moral obligation and teleology to do what you do.

    • No, I am not ignorant or arrogant. It is you who have not been able to follow the argument.

      Lol…and this isn’t arrogance?

      You have not offered a single argument with verifiable evidence merely quoting those that agree with your own bias. Yet, you expect that people should accept scholarly consensus regarding the historicity of Jesus and consider this valid?
      Are you a biblical scholar? Are you an archaeologist?
      And you are unable to see the hypocrisy in this? Yes, this is blatant arrogance.

      Confirmation bias is likely going to rear its head in many arenas…this is part and parcel of being human. But you miss the most salient point. That of fact.
      What does one such as me have to lose by discovering what you consider truth to be factual? Actually, nothing at all. But are you able to demonstrate the veracity of any claim you make? Sadly no. Not for a single one of the core tenets of your faith.

      Only a fool would state the earth is flat. Why would you think we cannot draw parallels with erroneous religion?
      I originally hail from the UK city of Chester. It is one of only two cities in the UK with a Roman Wall circling the city centre.
      I know of no controversy concerning dating the wall or any other aspects of the Roman Occupation.
      Nothing hinges on it other than a bit of pride maybe to claim bragging rights.

      Not so with the Abrahamic Religions and their god.
      You have been debating this for a long time? Good for you. Then you will at least have built up a thick enough skin to withstand the truth when it hits home . And I hope you will not turn out to be as obnoxious and intransigent as William Lane Craig.

      Though to tell the truth, I doubt that either of us will be alive and kicking when the eventual demise of these religions takes place. Oh, it’s happening already, but very slowly.
      Maybe the internet will help hurry it along a bit?

      I have already stated that it might actually be better if all the controversy regarding biblical archaeology was cleared up once and for all, and I would have no serious objections if this fell in your( the religious) favour.
      Because this would clear away any ambiguity and the only thing left would be the miraculous claims pertaining to the Abrahamic god.
      As there is no possible way to establish verifiable evidence for any claim whatsoever then the whole case for religion would rest upon faith.
      Which also is fine.
      Then it would simply be a question of whether one chose to believe or not. There would be no factual claims .And this, at least would be honest.

      Christopher Hitchens once stated that if we knew what we know now, in the 21st Century about science and all it encompasses back then in the days of Yore the likelihood of humans accepting the Abrahamic god, or any other probably – is zilch.

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