Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Scholarship and Hypocracy: The Olivet Disourse part 1


The so called olivet discourse (from mount of olives) is held up by atheists as an example of a Jesus prophesy that did not come true. In it Jesus seems to say that the current living generation wont pass away until the son of man returns with angels in the sky to end the world. He also says this will occur at the same time as the destruction of he temple. A thread where the CARM atheists argue Jesus was wrong (a false prophest in fact becasuse his prophesy of the end times didn't come true). They quotes form five schoalrs to alleged "prove" this and none of them offer any real proof. All they offer is opinion. Only a couple of them are Chrsitains.

Jesus of Nazareth had expected to see the Temple destroyed, the Kingdom come, and the new Temple established in 30, at or as the climax of his own mission, and Mark’s community preserved the memory of Jesus’ proclamation of this belief.
--Paula Fredriksen. From Jesus to Christ, Second Edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000): pg. 84

Jesus, the millenarian prophet, like all millenarian prophets, was wrong: reality has taken no notice of his imagination.
--Dale Allison, Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998): p. 218.

In the decades after Jesus’ death, then, the Christians had to revise their first expectation again and again. This makes it very probable that the expectation originated with Jesus. We make sense of these pieces of evidence if we think that Jesus himself told his followers that the Son of Man would come while they still lived. The fact that this expectation was difficult for Christians in the first century helps prove that Jesus held it himself. We also note that Christianity survived this early discovery that Jesus had made a mistake very well.
--EP Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (London: Penguin, 1995): p. 179-180.

[Jesus] believed that while some of his immediate followers were still alive, the Son of Man would appear in the glory of God, with God’s angels (now given to his charge), and those unfaithful are shunned, or “repaid.” Jesus could not have been clearer if he had said, “I predict the final judgment will occur within the next forty or fifty years.” Two millennia of apologetic attempts to make the text say otherwise have not been successful.
--Thom Stark, The Human Faces of God (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2011): pg. 174.

Everyone who has predicted the end of their world has intuited one aspect of Jesus’ teaching that appears to be historically accurate - the more popular strands of Christianity and the outspoken protests of numerous theologians notwithstanding. For those anticipating the imminent end of their own world have been able to base their expectations on the words of the historical Jesus, a first-century apocalyptic prophet who expected the imminent end of his.
--Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999): pg. 245.

The point is that such treatments have found it impossible to deny that Jesus had expressed expectation for the imminent happening of events which did not happen. Jesus’ kingdom preaching cannot be disentangled from imminent expectation, with or without ‘apocalyptic’ features. Which also means that Jesus had entertained hopes which were not fulfilled. There were ‘final’ elements in his expectation which were not realized. Putting it bluntly, Jesus was proved wrong by the course of events. The discomfort for scholars who were also believers was softened by the thought that it made more ‘real’ the humanness of Jesus and that such a conclusion demonstrated their own dispassionate method and scrupulous honesty: this was not the ‘historical Jesus’ they would have wished to find!
Nor is this a conclusion I would wish to resist on my own part. I do not think the conclusion can be easily escaped that Jesus expected the kingdom to come with final outcomes which have not appeared; some may want to say not yet appeared.
--James Dunn, Jesus Remembered: Christianity in the Making, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003): p. 479.
.......That's a good batch of schoalry fire power. I do respect the scholars quoted, especially Ehrman. I am not intimidated by their credentials and  I know that the atheists on CARM have not the knowledge to defend their statements. I find it interweaving they present the evidence they just quote them as authorities. In other instances they always argue against my authoriteis that it's a fallacy to quote an expert. It is not a fallacy to quote an expert (unless he's not expert i that field). I agree this does give weight to their side. It's not proof. It's not enough to convice me that Jesus was wrong. What do we say to this gang? I do have response for this assembling of schoalrs. Even so I'm not intimidated by them. I know I'm right and I can easily find five scholars who oppose their view. The reasons why they hold that view or oppose it that matter not just the fact that they have letters after their names that matters.

We can crystallize two major issues: 

(1) there is no passage where Jesus says "the temple is destoryed and Messiah returns at the same time." As long as that is the case it's an open question if he was talking about that era or a future date for the return. 

(2) The hypocritical way the atheists regard scholarship when it stands for their view and when it stands against it. Other scholars disagree with their scholars. Will they look for reasons or will they just insist "those are fundies so they don't count?"

.......As to the first point I would use own ideological propaganda device against them:

There is nothing extraordinary about five liberal theological guys refusing to believe the Gospels. Especially when most of them are not Chrsitians. The extraordinary evidence I demand is a text that says "these two events, listed in the passage in Matt" will happen at the same time. That's the only circumstance under which this would prove that Jesus was wrong. This passe "the Olivette discourses" is in all three synoptic gospels. So I start with Mark. I think Mark is the key because it's first written, but Math supplies the one crucial fact that there are two distinct questions.
.......Of course the temple was destroyed in AD 70 and on the eve of 2013 the other part has not happened yet so therefore it was wrong. Bible wrong, Christianity not true, blah blah blah.

here's the passage found in Mark 13:

13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’[a] standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.

20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

24 “But in those days, following that distress,

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[c]

[b]26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it[d] is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert[e]! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

.......I've emboldened v 26-27 becuase they say the Messiah will return with an army of angles in the sky, and it marks the introduction of end times events and that's where it becomes clear we are talking about the end times. My answer up to this point was to compare this to the passage in Matthew where Mathew makes it clear there are two separate questions. (1) when will the temple be destroyed (2) when will the Messiah return. I have argued that the redactors got the answers to these questions cross threaded. the real answer to when will the temple be destroyed is "this generation will not pass away." The answer to the return is "you will see angels coming in the clouds."
.......It's obvious this grouping is logical for three reasons:

(1) this is the way the early chruch understood events. They were Jews, they saw themselves not as a separate faith called "Christianity" but as Jews. they could not conceive of Judaism with no temple. so they assumed the Messiah would return (that means they had to assume he would go away) and temple be destroyed as part of the same event, the end of the age. So they mix the answers of two separate questions because they don't see them as operate.

(2) the answers go together in such a way that Messiah is part of the army in the air, if you look at the passage it links Messiah with the angles. "26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens" so then if we assume those go together then by default the gee national remark is the answer to the other question.

(3) there is no reason why these can't happen at two different times. Taken that way they work. there is no contradiction no failure it just hasn't all been totally fulfilled yet because it's not time yet.

.......What I'm saying is totally reasonable because if you look at this passage the only question is about the stones, or the temple. He answers that in v 14 "14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’[a] standing where it[b] does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." That is a reference to the destruction of the temple by Antiocus in the interdepartmental period. So he's using that as a symbol for the Romans, after all they were both foreign conquerors. He is saying the temple will be destroyed by the foreign invaders.at the end of the passage he says no one knows the day or the hour so he let's himself off the hook form predicting a real time for it all. There's no failed prophesy here there's only the failure of atheist to understand what's being asked and what's being said.
.......They go nuts on carm over this answer becuase they just can't believe that anyone would be able to tell what has been added to a text. that's just ignorance because that's the whole point of textual criticism. Ben Hakkore says that I can't speculate about what the redactors did (draw conclusions form the text) I have to have another extra biblical text proves them doing it. The atheist are claiming that I have to have a bunch of guys with letters after their names to say it's ok to believe this.
.......Of course I've quoted scholars for various things many time. I have 45 scholars backing up my arguments on the 8 levels of verification of the Gospels. They didn't show respect to a single one nor did they get their own coutner schoalrs. They just asserted they were all fundamentalists and ignored them as idiots. In fact none of them were fundies I always use liberals. The 200 empirical studies on religious experienced they have mocked and ridiculed without reading a single one. So the demand for counter scholars is totally hypocritical. The assertion that they willing respect these scholars who just happen to agree with them is laughably transparent.
......Of cousre the atheists are doing the mocking thing because they can't answer the issues:

backup: Your "material" is never clearly stated and cited. Until you are willing to so what is expected of any high school senior you need to stop whining.
 how many think the things I've said here are not ceal?

after listing several things I say Decypher says "what scholar would agree with you?"

Ben Hakkore (alleged professional scholar and former firend)

 I have no idea what it is you're trying to say here and ask me. It has been suggested to you elsewhere that you take more time with your posts and I would second that advice... use full sentences, proper grammar, clarify ambiguous pronouns, watch your spelling, etc. When you don't employ these basic courtesies in writing... you frustrate your dialogue partners and run the risk of being misunderstood or simply ignored.
 He could have used that time to make a real arguemnt but instead decides to joins the ridicule.

The following issues are what the whole debate boils down to:

(1) the real issue was the temple and that's the question Jesus was answering (maybe there were two questions, since Mark came firs let's assume not).

(2) the redactors added the end times stuff because that's the way they thought, that's their conception of how it had to be.

(3) the temple was just destroyed the same year that this version of the Gospel was produced and began circulating so we can look upon the redactor's additions about end times as commentary spurred by recent events.

(4) in this version Jesus doesn't say "this generation will not pass away (unless I missed it but I looked and I don't see it). so in that case the cross thread idea is unnecessary. we can just assume that mark being first originally dealt with the temple the redactor added the end times stuff and Matt added the bit about the generation.

Next time I will deal with counter scholars.


JBsptfn said...

I agree with you that Jesus never said that he was coming back when the temple was destroyed. I said that to a Preterist on You-Tube, and they threw scripture from 1 John or James at me that said that the end of all things is near or something.

That still doesn't prove anything because that is vague. End of what things? It really doesn't say.

One good scripture that I like to use to counter this is in Acts 1. The soon-to-be apostles ask Jesus if he will restore the kingdom to Israel in ten days(Pentecost), and he told them that it wasn't for them to know the times or seasons, which God hath put under his own power.

That could be rock-solid proof that the "This generation shall not pass" scripture was referring to the Temple destruction, not the end times.

Metacrock said...

that's an excellent point. I do not doubt what you say but I doubt the intelligence of the gudy who questioned it. I would think most Protestants have a vested interest in saying Jesus wasn't wrong.

I'm going to check out that point you made about acts, that could be a good argument.

JBsptfn said...

Continuing with Matthew 24, another thing I notice is the Parable of the Fig Tree. Now, I don't think that has anything to do with the Temple destruction at all.

A lot of commentators say that has to do with the re-establishment of Israel as a nation, and I happen to agree with them.

The Apocalypse of Peter (Ethiopic edition) has a section that deals with this parable more in depth. Now, some may not like using this source, but this part seems to line up with what is in the Bible:

Quote "And the Master (Lord) answered and said unto me: Understandest thou not that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? Even as a man that planted a fig-tree in his garden, and it brought forth no fruit. And he sought the fruit thereof many years and when he found it not, he said to the keeper of his garden: Root up this fig-tree that it make not our ground to be unfruitful. And the gardener said unto God: (Suffer us) to rid it of weeds and dig the ground round about it and water it. If then it bear not fruit, we will straightway remove its roots out of the garden and plant another in place of it. Hast thou not undErstood that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? Verily I say unto thee, when the twigs thereof have sprouted forth in the last days, then shall feigned Christs come and awake expectation saying: I am the Christ, that am now come into the world. And when they (Israel) shall perceive the wickedness of their deeds they shall turn away after them and deny him [whom our fathers did praise], even the first Christ whom they crucified and therein sinned a great sin. But this deceiver is not the Christ. [something is wrong here: the sense required is that Israel perceives the wickedness of antichrist and does not follow him.] And when they reject him he shall slay with the sword, and there shall be many martyrs. Then shall the twigs of the fig-tree, that is, the house of Israel, shoot forth: many shall become martyrs at his hand. Enoch and Elias shall be sent to teach them that this is the deceiver which must come into the world and do signs and wonders to deceive. And therefore shall they that die by his hand be martyrs, and shall be reckoned among the good and righteous martyrs who have pleased God in their life. [Hermas, Vision III.i.9, speaks of 'those that have already been well-pleasing unto God and have suffered for the Name's sake'.]"Quote

Basically, Jesus is saying that there was no fruit with the leadership in Israel, so they and the people needed to be taken out of the land (fig tree crop destroyed, that is what happened in 70 and 135 AD). It also indicates that it would be re-planted in the same place before the end times, which happened in 1948.

Gary said...

I think your explanation is well within the realm of possibilities: In the original version of this event, Jesus answered the disciples' two questions about the destruction of the Temple and the End of the Age with two distinct answers: The Temple would be destroyed within the lifetime of "this generation" and the End of the Age would occur when he returns in the clouds with angels. The first prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD and the second has yet to be fulfilled. However, as this story was told and retold between the early 30's when Jesus allegedly said it and the writing of the Gospels, the two answers had merged into one answer.

Anything is possible, friend. There is always a harmonization when dealing with supernatural claims. The question is: Is this prophecy (fortune telling) story probable? And by the standards of collective human history and the personal experience of most educated people, the answer is "no".

Fortune telling is not real.