Tuesday, August 30, 2016

is New atheism declining?

this is a report made by JB who comments on this blog, this is from the CADRE comments blog"

This week, I would like to share some recent posts that were made on the Shadow to Light blog that deal with New Atheism.

Post 1: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/more-evidence-the-new-atheist-movement-is-collapsing/#more-4027

This is Michael’s most recent post about the collapse of new atheism. On this link, there is a video from the world famous Aron-Ra about the Atheos app. About 10:30 into the video, a former student of Peter Boghossian (Sarah Paquette) had this to say about Peter’s new atheism class:
He had a seminar New Atheism but unfortunately I don’t think it’s coming back next year simply because the attendance was not high enough which is pretty…sad. It’s a loss.
Speaking of the Atheos app, here is a post from that site that talks about that more:


This is supposed to be the goal of this app:

Boghossian, author of “A Manual for Creating Atheists,” says that his goal with the app is to give users the confidence and tools to have challenging conversations about beliefs. “How do we help people think critically when there are so many forces aligned against that? It’s through reason and rationality."
Michael doesn’t believe that Boghossian’s little app will be successful:

While Boghossian might be savvy enough to mask his hostility, I doubt his Street Epistemologists can mimic him well and, if they can, I doubt they can keep it up for long. The problem is not that New Atheist incivility is too obvious; the problem is that it is entailed in the New Atheist posturing.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Principle Material Causality: Disproving ex apologist anti-God argument

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Someone calling himself "The exapologiost" argues against the truth of religious belief based upon the assumptions of classical materialism, ie there are  no solid objects that are not createdby material causes. This would rule out any traditional misunderstanding of God. In fact he couches his argumeht in terms of an assault on "cl;classical theism,"[1]
The Argument
The argument I’ll defend can be expressed as follows:
1. All concrete objects that have an originating or sustaining cause have a material cause of their existence.
2. If classical theismcvc is true, then the universe is a concrete object that has an originating or sustaining cause without a material cause of its existence.
3. Therefore, classical theismcvc is false.

Defines classical theism as (1) God is wholly distinct from the world, (2) God is the ordering and sustaining cause of the world (3) created the world out of nothing (4) "classical view of creation" he doesn't say what that means. He asserts what he calls theprincipal of material cause (PMC) which states that "concrete objects have a material cause whenever they have an originating or sustaining cause." Of course God is not a material Cause so thiat let's God out. By material cause he means a cause made of the "same stuff from which" the effect is made.

 When we examine the exapologist's appeal it seems his real concern is incredulity regarding exnihilo creation, It's because he can't accept physical material coming from nothing. He does appeal to an empiricists assumption that since our uniform experience of materialist causes is contradicted then we are warranted in assuming that all causes must be materiel. In addition  to this observatory his only real argument seems to be that apart from matter there's no potential or existence because to exist a thing must be made out of something.

My first argument would be that he had no real reason for thinking p1 is the case. It's basically begging the question. We have to be careful here because the skeptic could liken it unto the reverse situation where William Lane Craig argues that we see no contradictions to principle of causality and things dom't seem to ever pop into existence out of nothing,[2] In fact the skeptic who argues the PMC must agree with the observation. But in limiting reality to just material causes she assumes we know all causes. Craig's argument is just about causes period. We can also assume that there is a point at which we must stop the chain and account for all causes or assert ICR which is illogical [3] The two assumptions are not on a par because Craig's is more general and allows for more possibilities.They are alike in that they both assert the weight of empirical observe to unergird an assumption about reality. But Craig's principle is less assumptive. 

Secondly,  there are aspects of reality that could well be non material causes such as libertarian free will.That would mean we live in an open system. The true cause mystical experience, gravity working at action at av distance, antimatter, since it is matter's mirror opposite wouldn't it have to be immaterial? Moreover,this kind of assumption made bye ex apologia, that we can assert from empirical observatory t o all causes might be the fallacy of composition.Just became each individual physical object has a material cause doesn't mean that the whole does.

Thirdly, it's far from certain thiat we know that there are any material causes, The whole issue is clouded by the limitation of human knowledge, The most fundamental limitation in this regard is our inability to really say what material really means, The exapologist defines it as "cause made of the same stuff from which" the effect is made. But the truth of it is we don't know what mater is made of. We assume there's a distinction between matter and spirit because one is solid and concrete and can be seen and the other can't be seen. That doesn't prove by any means that what we regard as solid and material really is solid or material. After we know it's all made out of atoms and atoms are composed of sub atomic particles. We assume because we have labels for these things we know what they are, That doesn't really tell us what they are made of.
We keep talking about "particles", but this word doesn't adequately sum up the type of matter that particle physicists deal with. In physics, particles aren't usually tiny bits of stuff. When you start talking about fundamental particles like quarks that have a volume of zero, or virtual particles that have no volume and pop in and out of existence just like that, it is stretching the everyday meaning of the word "particle" a bit far. Thinking about particles as points sooner or later leads the equations up a blind alley. Understanding what is happening at the smallest scale of matter needs a new vocabulary, new maths, and very possibly new dimensions.[4]
Do we really know enough about matter and en ergy to say we can rule out all but"material" causes when we don't even know what they are? "But physicists now know that atoms are not solid little balls. It’s better to think of them as tiny electrical, “planetary” systems. They’re typically made up of three main parts: protons, neutrons and electrons. Think of the protons and neutrons as together forming a “sun”, or nucleus, at the centre of the system. The electrons orbit this nucleus, like planets." [5] 

The argument deal with material causes but all matter is energy. Energy is not matter so it's clearly not ture that everything has a material cause. This a technicality since they could just as easily argue "physical cause" and make the same point. Still we don't really know how physical physical things are since we don't really know what they are made of.

He argues against several straw man arguments once is good:

Finally, the theist might resist premise 1 by appeal to agent causal views of the self. Thus, they might argue that there are good reasons to think that (i) humans possess libertarian free will, that (ii) this is best explained on the assumption that the physical realm isn’t causally closed, ... This reply won’t work, however. For even if (i)-(iii) could be adequately supported – contrary to the opinion of the majority of analytic philosophers[8] – the falsity of the causal closure of the physical wouldn’t require positing the creation of concrete objects ex nihilo. Rather, at most, it would require the transferof pre-existing energy from the agent (who acts from “outside” of the natural causal order) to the physical realm.[9] 

Sorry philosophers have as much chance of voting God out of existence as Republicans have of voting in a rational nominee. That's just appeal to authority it is not appeal to expert testimony because philosophers are not experts on free will they are merely questioners.


[1] Ex apologist Philosophy of religion, "Theism and Material Causality,", blog, Dec 4, 2014, blog URL: http://exapologist.blogspot.ca/2014/12/theism-and-material-causality.html (accesssed 8/12/16)
[2] William Lnae Craig, "The Existence of God anmd begiominmg of the universe" Reasonable Faith on line resource URL: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-existence-of-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe  (access8/13/16)
[3] ICR illiogical
[4] STFC “are there other dimensions,” Large Hadron Collider. Website. Science and Facilities Council, 2012 URL:http://www.lhc.ac.uk/The%20Particle%20Detectives/Take%205/13686.aspx
this is from the large Hadron colllider--I think they might something about the subject.
[5] Chris Baraniuk, "How do We Know that Things Are Really Made out of Atoms?"Earth, BBC, Nov 2015 on line URL:
(access 8/12/16)
I am asking the readers of this blog please read CADRE  Comments please make that blog a regular viewing experience.,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Web Of Historicity

 photo 1753_zpsfu1tpxse.jpg
Peter's House in Capernaum

This is the last part (argument 5) of the Bowen Hinman Debate about the historicity of Jesus according to "external " (not in bible) evidence.
Hinman I would like to thank Bradley for the debate. Iv'e enjoyed it, was fun,even though he was probably the only one who read it. Sorry they had to be so long, This one will not be long I will not answer everything just go or a few highlights.

It is important to realize that Bowen's ob cession with the complexity of the web metaphor is mere diversionary drawing attention away from the evidence that points to Jesus.


Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Parts 5B and 5C
August 15, 2016 by  1 CommentJoe Hinman’s fifth argument for the existence of Jesus based on external evidence is presented in two sections of his post on the Web of Historicity:5B. Big Web of Historicity5C. Jesus Myth Theory Cannot Account for the WebThe fifth argument for the existence of Jesus can be summarized in terms of a single premise:1.There is a web of historicity.Therefore:2. It is probable that Jesus of Nazareth was a flesh-and-blood historical person.Given this very simple summary, the argument appears to be illogical, because the conclusion does not follow logically from the premise.  We can enhance the premise a bit to make the argument less illogical:

Hinman I think my arguments quite clear and logical. All you have to do is read the words, discursive reasoning is still  reasoning. The argument says there is a web in the relation between demonstrably historical individuals their relationships with each overthrew and with various places, and Jesus is at the center of all of that, Jesus is the factor that holds it all together, Peter would not be famous without Jesus because the whole point of his fame was his relationship to Jesus. That this web of historical historical associations could all center on a fictional character is just stupid, nothing like that could happen.

for example Peter's house, Caperniam. It can't be proved Peter actually lived there but what  is proved is that it was a place of worship for Christians mid first century and they wrote the name Peter on the wall. Peter is only important to them because of his relationship to Jesus. Given the fact that Paul talks about him as a real guy there's good probability he existed and if he existed then Jesus must have also. There's no reason for peter to be known otherwise. Not proof but boosts probability.

[[5] Gaylia Cornfeld, Archaeology of The Bible: Book by Book. New York: Harper and Row, 1976, 288.

[6]Peder Johan Borgen, David Edward Neotestamentica Et Philonica: Studies in Honour of Peder Borgen, Leiden, Netherlands: Koninklyke.2005, 61.

the fising hooks in fn 90 page 61

[7] Staff writer, "The House of Peter: Home of Jesus in Capernaum," Bible History Daily, (March 29, 2011). on line URL


1 Clement documemt's Peter's existence:
[8]Peter Richardson and Eugene R.Fairweather, et al. Early Christian Fathers, New York: MacMillian, 1970,45-46.]
that boarders on internal evidence which we agreed not to use, so I'm actually violating the agreement with this argument. For that reason I'm not going to push that aspect of it,. I wont use Paul as evidence but Peter's house and first Clement are not in the NT

Although Hinman failed to provide a clear explanation of the concept of “a web of historicity”, and thus he necessarily failed at the other two main tasks of supporting the two premises of his argument,  I will try to help him out and begin to analyze and clarify the central concept.

Hinman  when did I get a chance to? You had  not made the criticism before I presented the argument so I had no need to deed it that way yet. The concept was made clear. BTW web doesn't have to be a spider web., any mesh connecting things can be called a web. The secular web was not a Spider's web. the web image is a metaphor we don't need to take it literally, the argument is not there is a literal web but that there are associations between historical figures that can be traced to the group immediately surrounding Jesus, that increases the probability that Jesus existed.

There are links between individuals that tie our knowledge back to Jesus. …There are many such lines of links; they from [sic] a huge web because they are all interconnected.
Thus, “a web of historicity” is made up of individuals (i.e. people) , and links between individuals.  We know that one of the individuals in the “web of historicity” that Hinman argues for is: Jesus of Nazareth.  What other individuals are part of this alleged web?  Hinman mentions two of the original disciples of Jesus in the opening of his section called “Big Web of Historicity”: John and Peter.  At the end of the second paragraph of this section, Hinman provides us with a clear and relevant example of a “link between individuals”:

Hinman Not just people but also places associated with Jesus or with the people who knew Jesus:

Peter's house

The tomb of Christ

The Manger and Grotto at Bethlehem

Association with Mary and these places

Peter knew Jesus.
So, we can construct one clear and relevant component of the alleged “web of historicity” for which Hinman is arguing.  It contains two individuals and a link between the individuals:JESUS—PETERPresumably, Hinman would also claim the same thing about John:
John knew Jesus.
So, we have a second component of the alleged “web of historicity”:JESUS—JOHN
Hinman also asserts that Clement of Rome “most probably” knew Peter, so this additional individual has a link to Peter, and we can now form an example of an alleged line of links:
Hinman also asserts that Polycarp had a “connection” with John:John taught Polycarp.So, we have a second alleged line of links going back to Jesus:JESUS—JOHN—POLYCARP
In a spider web, or in a simplified graphical representation of a spider web, there are lines that radiate out from the center of the web, like the spokes of a bicycle wheel radiating out from the hub at the center of the wheel.  Here is a simple graphical representation of a spider web (click on the image for a clearer view of the spider-web graphic) :
WOH graphic

The two lines of links that we have layed out so far would presumably constitute two “spokes” or lines of links with Jesus being at the center of the hypothetical web:
WOH 2 spokes

But two “spokes” don’t look like a part of a spider web.  To get something more like a spider web, we need to add some horizontal “links” between individuals at the same level:
WOH horizontal

Hinman asserts that in a Web of Historicity with Jesus at the center, the lines of links form “a huge web because they are all interconnected.”  This might be a bit of hyperbole, but if we take this assertion literally, then lots of other connections between individuals in this alleged Web of Historicity would exist, such as additional links between the inner level (i.e. Jesus’ immediate disciples) and the next level (e.g. the disciples of the disciples):
Hinman Yes I think we can supply some of that, It's not necessary that we have a full spider's web.

WOH vertical

Note that in the above diagram of one small piece of a hypothetical “Web of Historicity” (hereafter: WOH)there are eight different links or connections between individuals.  Furthermore, since a link can in some cases go one direction but not in the reverse direction, the eight links in the above diagram actually represent SIXTEEN different possible relationships between these five individuals.  Thus, in order to SHOW that this small part of a WOH actually exists, one might need to SHOW that sixteen different relationships actually exist between these five people.  I’m not sure that Hinman is aware of the degree of complexity and difficulty involved in showing the existence of  a WOH.
Hinman Now that is taking the metaphor literally, this not history it's a mistake in hermeneutics. The concept of a web is just a metaphorical image like the concept of a hermetical circle. It is not a data table it's just an image to clarify the concept.

There are other complexities and issues surrounding a WOH which Hinman has not touched upon, and about which he might simply be unaware.  But in order to have a clear conception of a WOH, Hinman needs to be aware of these complexities and be able to explain and clarify the concept of WOH in relation to these complexities and issues.

Hinman I am sure there is much that needs clarifying  but we need to be careful to distinguish between helpful clarity and knit picking.


First, let’s discuss the most basic component of a WOH: “individuals”.  For the sake of clarity and simplicity, I have been assuming that an “individual” must be a single unique person.  But some examples of “individuals” in links and lines of links that make up parts of the WOH that has Jesus of Nazareth at the center are NOT single unique persons. This creates significant complexity in the concept of a WOH and can lead to confusion and incoherence.  So, I’m not sure that Hinman really wants to open this can of worms.  Allowing for different and various kinds of things to be “individuals” in a WOH does give Hinman greater flexibility and more options for constructing a hypothetical WOH, but this flexibility comes with a serious cost in terms of complexity and the risk of confusion and incoherence.
Hinman Unless he means the places I don't know what he's talking about. I think the places are important. Also the time in which they were known. That's greater complexity but it's not important that the web be maintained as spider web,.

In one example, Hinman allows for a document to be an “individual” in a WOH: the Gospel of Thomas.  But if a document can be an individual in a WOH, then this creates the possibility of four different types of relationships, which must each, then, have it’s own set of rules and constraints:
  • Person—>Person
  • Person—>Document
  • Document—>Person
  • Document—>Document

Hinman it's a web no matter how it connects, if it looks like a bowl of spaghetti then we will call it the spaghetti monster diagram it's sill illustrative of a bunch of connections between historical things that point to the historicity of Jesus. 

For example, one person can TEACH another person (Hinman asserts that “John taught Polycarp”), but a person cannot TEACH a document, nor can a document TEACH a person (although a person can learn from a document, but that is not the same as the document performing the action of teaching), and one document cannot TEACH another document.  So, the relation “A taught B” can only be allowed when the two individuals that are connected in this way are both persons.

Hinman man have I got  a couple of courses in postmodernism that you need to take, you sure as hell can teache a document, that is teach others from a document and you can learn from one (you better ). Who the hell said all the relationships on the diagram have to be teacher-student relationships? All they have to be is historical.

So, allowing one more type of thing to be an “individual” in a WOH creates a great deal of complexity, and the need for muliple sets of rules and constraints that would otherwise be unnecessary.  Does Hinman really want to go down this road?  It would be much simpler to restrict what can be considered an “individual” to a single unique person, and exclude other things (like documents) from being considered “individuals” in a WOH.
Himan The thing making it complex is the way you approach the issue. All historians work from documents, of course documents must be part of the deal. Those are sources not relationships. We don't regard the documents as individuals or the places, but they are data. Docs = sources, places = artifacts. All of that is part of what yields our knowledge of the historical relationships between the people. GTom doesn't tell us about relationships between people (not in a useful way) but it does supply data that is useful in understanding the early notions of who Jesus was.

Hinman might be able to avoid this additional complexity and potential for confusion and incoherence by talking about the author of a document as being an individual in a WOH, instead of having the document itself be an individual in a WOH.

Hinman That's that old fashioned way of thinking about Gospels as products of individual authors, We don't know who wrote GTom but it was the product of a community, I have a theory about it but not important now.

Hinman also has groups of documents or texts as individuals in one of his examples of lines of links: “Other Gospels” and “PMPN” (Pre Mark Passion Narrative).  Hinman describes PMPN as refering to “a large swath of readings in various manuscripts that pre date the Gospel of Mark…”.  So, “PMPN” refers to texts or passages from several different manuscripts and, presumably, from different works.  Allowing a collection of texts from varous manuscripts and various works to be considered an “individual” in a WOH creates even more complexity and more potential for confusion and incoherence.
Hinman Those are sources of information about Jesus' historicity, they have to be considered. Again that boarders on internal evidence it's the background of internal evidence.

Does an alleged relationship between this “individual” and some other “individual” imply that the same relationship holds between each of the particular texts in the collection and the other “individual”?  Probably not.

Hinman No. Nor does it have to.

  If a person has familiarity with ONE of the texts in the collection, it does not follow that this person is familiar with ALL of the texts in the collection.  So, this creates the potential for ambiguity and confusion.  What matters in this case is the relationship that exists (or does not exist) between the person and a particular text that is within the collection of texts, but then the WOH obscures and blurs the important facts if it simply shows a relationship existing between that person and a general collection of texts.

Hinman also allows for groups of people to be treated as an individual in a WOH: “church of Rome”.  This also creates additional complexity and increases the potential for confusion and incoherence.  If the “church of Rome” knows Peter, does that mean that every person who attended gatherings of the “church of Rome” in the first century KNEW Peter?  Probably not.  If Peter visited the “church of Rome” for a few weeks, then some people in that church who were travelling to other cities during that time did not meet Peter.
Hinman historians keep this kind of thing straight all the time, Remember the spider web is just a visual aid it doesn't matter if it's actuate or not structured perfectly as a spider web.

Also, some people in the church probably only saw Peter in a worship service a couple of times and did not have any conversations with Peter, while others may have had many in-depth conversations with Peter.  While the latter people could be said to have “known” Peter, it seems misleading and even false to assert that the former people KNEW Peter.  So, allowing for groups or collections of people to count as “individuals” in a WOH adds more complexity, and increases the potential for confusion and incoherence.  Does Hinman really want to go down that road?  It might be better to only allow for a single unique person to be an “individual” in a WOH.
Hinman That is a moot point. They are not going to see a myth in a worship service or have a limited conversation with one. We only have to know peter existed not what his likes and dislikes were.

So far, we have seen that Hinman allows for four different kinds of things to be considered “individuals” in a WOH:
  • one unique person
  • a group of people
  • one unique document
  • a group of texts/documents
Hinman might also have a whole host of other sorts of things that he would allow to be considered “individuals” in a WOH; this is an important issue that Hinman fails to discuss and clarify.  But even if his intention was to limit “individuals” to just these four kinds of things, this creates a great deal of complexity, since he now needs to have separate sets of rules and constraints for each of the following SIXTEEN different possible types of relationships in a WOH:
  • Person—>Person
  • Person—>Group of People
  • Group of People—>Person
  • Person—>Document
  • Document—>Person
  • Person—>Group of Texts/Documents
  • Group of Texts/Documents—>Person
  • Group of People—>Group of People
  • Group of People—>Document
  • Document—>Group of People
  • Group of People—>Group of Texts/Documents
  • Group of Texts/Documents—>Group of People
  • Document—>Document
  • Document—>Group of Texts/Documents
  • Group of Texts/Documents—>Document
  • Group of Texts/Documents—>Group of Texts/Documents
Hinman see now here he seems to be thinking of it as how to make the diagram accurate, That;s literalizing the metaphor, he's just working over time on making it more complex, none of these additions boost our knowledge of Jesus' existence so they don't need to be part of the diagram, the four points he made previously were about it.

  • one unique person
  • a group of people
  • one unique document
  • a group of texts/documents
I think he is using the 
bogus complexity issue to divert attention from the fact that I have presented a huge amount of data demonstrating the high probability that Jesus existed. 

The same sort of issue occurs in terms of links or connections.  I have emphasized the link between individuals that is described this way:
  • Peter KNEW Jesus.
This is clearly one sort of link that Hinman allows in his alleged WOH.  But there are other kinds of links in his examples:
  • John TAUGHT Polycarp.
  • All four canonical gospels USED the Pre Mark Passion Narrative.

Hinman Those are just three different ways of saying the same thing, they all tap out to John knew Polycarp. Teaching Polycarp imply knowing Polycarp. 
Look at the bother he's making of it's complexity wow we can't have that we must alter historical fact so it's not complex, That's just a diversionary tactic.

I am taking out a lot of the obsessing he does over the complexity he has not addressed any of the points, he said zip about issues of facts pointing to Jesus' existence,

We saw previously that the link or relation in the link “John taught Polycarp” makes no sense when one of the individuals is a document rather than a person:  “The Pre Mark Passion Narrative TAUGHT  Polycarp” is an incoherent sentence.  “The Gospel of Thomas TAUGHT the Gospel of Mark” is also an incoherent sentence.  So, in allowing for different kinds of “individuals” and different kinds of “links”, Hinman creates the need for a wide variety of rules and constraints and clarifications of logical relationships.
Hinman I answered that when I pointed out that all the relationships do not have to be teaching relationships nor do they have to be human relationships. People knew the sites and they visited the sites they do have a relationship to people. That's just diversionary obsessing over complexity.

The great complexity that results from allowing for a variety of kinds of “individuals” and a variety of kinds of “links” in a WOH quickly becomes unmanageable, and dramatically increases the opportunities for confusion and incoherence.  Thus, Hinman might want to give serious consideration to the idea of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) in laying out his concept of a WOH.  If he sticks to only allowing a unique person to be considered an “individual” and if he sticks to only allowing one type of relation (say “Person A KNEW person B”) to constitute a “link” in a WOH, then he could save himself and those who are trying to understand his argument from getting bogged down in a great deal of complexity and unclarity and confusion.
Hinman all of that represents evidence that Jesus existed you can't cover it up

One other concern that I have about Hinman’s concept of a WOH is that it appears to involve circular reasoning.  Now it might well be the case that this is only a superficial appearance, and that when one has a full and clear understanding of the concept of a WOH, that there is not actually any circular reasoning involved.  But Himan shows no sign of being aware of the appearance of circularity in the concept of a WOH, so he has, so far, provided no explanation or clarification of this concept that shows that there is no actual circular reasoning involved in his use of a WOH.

Hinman all I've done is used the methodology taught to me a doctoral candidate in history program and if there is circular reasoning then all of history is circular. He doesn't even state circle is.

To be brief, the claim “Peter KNEW Jesus” assumes and implies that Jesus existed.  How could Peter possibly KNOW Jesus, if Jesus did not exist? 
Hinman The flip side is begging the question he wants to assume Jesus must not have existed then try to account for Peter without Jesus. The only reason anyone cared about who  the hell this fisherman was was because he knew Jesus. Peter without Jesus is an idiotic idea: Robin without Batman, Jimmy Olson without Superman, little John without Robinhood. Kato without Green Hornet, The Skipper without Gilligan, Ethal without Lucy,

The "web" in list from


Some scholars have counted as many 34 Gospels including theoretical, (Q) Fragmentary and non canonical (minus four canonical which we wont use here).

Mirecki and I are not the first scholars to find a new ancient gospel. In fact scholars now have copies of 19 gospels (either complete, in fragments or in quotations), written in the first and second centuries A.D— nine of which were discovered in the 20th century. Two more are preserved, in part, in other andent writings, and we know the names of several others, but do not have copies of them. Clearly, Luke was not exaggerating when he wrote in his opening verse: "Many undertook to compile narratives [aboutJesus]" (Luke 1:1). Every one of these gospels was deemed true and sacred by at least some early Christians...The Gospel of the Saviour, too. fits this description. Contrary' to popular opinion, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not included m the canon simply because they were the earliest gospels or because they were eyewitness accounts. Some non canonical gospels are dated roughly to the same period, and the canonical gospels and other early Christian accounts appear to rely on earlier reports.Thus, as far as the physical evidence is concerned, the canonical gospels do not take precedence over the noncanonical gospels.[Charles W. Hendrick Bible Review, June 2002: 20-31; 46-47 ]

Pre Mark Passion Narrative (PMPN)

A redaction, probably a document very early in the life of the movement, although it may represent several documents. Although called "the passion narrative it includes much more than the passion" Koester and Crosson see it as dating to mid first century. This redaction shows up in my different sources. It was copied by lots of successive writers including all four canonical gospels and other works. The Most important thing about this source is that it establishes Jesus as a historical charter and the existence of those who knew him such as Peter and John as early as mid first century. Major Jesus mythers theorize late invention for the Gospels. Following are several documents that demonstrate readings from this redaction, It[s spread among many documents of late origin because the way it;s copying was foundational in the literature.
Read more about PMPN on my apologetic site, The Religious A Priori


An attempted harmony of the four gospels attempted late in second century. It demonstrates many early readings from the PMPN.

Gospel of Peter

Mid to late second century gospel. Even being so late still contains readings from the early period, Includes the only first person account of Jesus, from perspective of Peter,and documents guards on the tomb. It claims empty tomb and resurrection. Ray Brown in Death of Messiah establishes it as an early tradition independent of synoptic. It's account of the passion follows 

Many features of the Gospel of Peter are clearly from secondary sources, that is reworked versions of the canonical story. These mainly consist of 1) exaggerated miracles; 2) anti-Jewish polemic.The cross follows Jesus out of the tomb, a voice from heaven says "did you preach the gospel to all?" The cross says "Yea." And Pilate is totally exonerated, the Jews are blamed for the crucifixion. (Koester, p.218). However, "there are other traces in the Gospel of Peter which demonstrate an old and independent tradition." The way the suffering of Jesus is described by the use of passages from the old Testament without quotation formulae is, in terms of the tradition, older than the explicit scriptural proof; it represents the oldest form of the passion of Jesus. (Philipp Vielhauer, Geschichte, 646Jurgen Denker argues that the Gospel of Peter shares this tradition of OT quotation with the Canonicals but is not dependent upon them. (In Koester p.218) Koester writes, "John Dominic Crosson has gone further [than Denker]...he argues that this activity results in the composition of a literary document at a very early date i.e. in the middle of the First century CE" (Ibid). Said another way, the interpretation of Scripture as the formation of the passion narrative became an independent document, a ur-Gospel, as early as the middle of the first century! [this is a quote my me note sources to which I refer]

Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi)

Egerton 2
The fragments of John, Thomas and theEgerton Gospel share the distinction of being the earliest extant pieces of Christian writing known. And although the existing manuscript evidence for Thomas dates to the mid-second century, the scholars who first published the Greek fragments held open the possibility that it was actually composed in the first century, which would put it around the time John was composed.[Hendrick op cit]
"There are two solutions that are equally improbable. It is unlikely that the pericope in Egerton 2 is an independent older tradition. It is equally hard to imagine that anyone would have deliberately composed this apophthegma by selecting sentences from three different Gospel writings. There are no analogies to this kind of Gospel composition because this pericope is neither a harmony of parallels from different Gospels, nor is it a florogelium. If one wants to uphold the hypothesis of dependence upon written Gospels one would have to assume that the pericope was written form memory....What is decisive is that there is nothing in the pericope that reveals redactional features of any of the Gospels that parallels appear. The author of Papyrus Egerton 2 uses independent building blocks of sayings for the composition of this dialogue none of the blocks have been formed by the literary activity of any previous Gospel writer. If Papyrus Egerton 2 is not dependent upon the Fourth Gospel it is an important witness to an earlier stage of development of the dialogues of the fourth Gospel....[Koester , Ancient Christian Gospels 1992, 3.2 p.215]

Gospel of the Savior
Discovered by Hendrick the gospel he mentions above,


The book Archaeology of The Bible book by book by Galeiah Cornfel (1976) argued that there are connections to early traditions documenting the manger site, a church there from an early period and sings of Christian worship- from mid first century. Now like Peter's house of course we can't prove it[ the actual site but the important thing is the act of early veneration puts belief in Jesus as historical way back i a period long before any myther has ever considered it. Very close to the original events. That points to Jesus' historicity. 

"For the purposes of worship, the Jewish-Chrsitians of Palestine availed themselves not only of the synagogues, but also developed their ritual in certain "sacred and mystic grottoes" as reported by the ecclesiastical historian, Eusebius of Caesarea. In Their worship in this "Lord's house" in Bethlehem which was carried on until the fourth century, they celebrated two of three mysteries par excellence: Mary's Virginity and her bringing forth the Christ child; ...Hadrian profaned the site by planting a wood over the grotto, but this helped to maintain the tradition of the birthplace of Jesus." (Cornfeld, Archaeology of The Bible. New York: Harper and Row, 1976,p.2779-280)......

[Cornfeld wa an Israeli archaeology who had a big reputation as a scholar imn the mid 20th]

Cornfeld also documents historicity of the church of the Holy Sepulcher (CHS)as the site of the resurrection the empty tomb. This is mnore than just early belie it is an actual link to the site.

(1) The Biddles, Husband and Wife archaeologists prove that the ridicule the little house over the tomb site at the CHS is the one Constantine had put up over the site, Marks the site as the place Constantine named as the sit, 

(2) How did Constantine know it? Cornfeld documents an ancient tradition that Jewish Christians told gentile Christians as they departed Jerusalem in 135AD that they marked the site of the tomb because the Romans put a temple of Venus and shrine of Jupiter on top of it, that's how they kept track of where it was.

(3) Italian archaeologist named Dr. Corbo found the site, he found the Venus temple and Jupiter shrine in 1968. The location achenes the point outside the old walls that it was to be.

Archaeology cannot yet identify with certainty the tomb of Christ, but here is strong evidence supporting the Church of the Holy Seplicur as the original site. The site does date back to the fourth century when it was shown to Constantine. Bruce attests to the evidential support.(New Testament Documents) . More important confirmation comes from Gaalyah Cornfeld in Archaeology of The Bible Book By Book. Cornfeld tells us that from early times Christians reverenced the site, but it was desecrated when the Romans put up a statue of one of their gods. Jewish-Christians could no longer worship at the site for that reason, but they continued the knowledge of it until the time of Constantine when they were able to point him to it as the original site of the resurrection. Constantine put up a basilica over the original shrine, the Anastasis. Excavations by V. Corbo found a gold ring with the representation of the dome of the original shrine Anastasis. This indicates that this site was venerated by Christians in ancient times as the site of the resurrection. (and there is an empty tomb under neither it). (See Archaeology of The Bible: Book by Book, New York: Harper and Row, 1976, 271-2).
Bahat, Dan 1986 "Does the Holy Sepulcher Church Mark the Burial of Jesus?" Biblical Archaeology Review 22.3 (May/June):26-45.

"The fact that it had indeed been a cemetery, and that this memory of Jesus' tomb survived despite Hadrian's burial of it with his enclosure fill, speaks to the authenticity of the site. Moreover, the fact that the Christian community in Jerusalem was never dispersed during this period, and that its succession of bishops was never interrupted supports the accuracy of the preserved memory that Jesus had been crucified and buried here." (Bahat 1986:37.)

All of these sties have a very high probability and while none can be proven conclusively, the evidence is very strong that they were all venerated early on. The conclusion of a major Archaeologist of the NT:

Alviero Niccacci, O.F.M. 

Archaeology, New Testament, and Early Christianity

Tomado de la página del "Estudio Bíblico Franciscano"
Archaeological excavations - since about the beginning of this century but particularly since the fifties - helped fill the gap of the first three centuries of Christianity in the Holy Land. Actually, in certain holy places remains of cultic installations have been uncovered that preceded the Byzantine buildings of the IV cent. AD. These remains were markedly different from those familiar to scholars of Christian archaeology. In order to interpret these remains, Christian and Jewish literary sources were consulted. From these we come to know that Christians of Jewish origin lived in Galilee, particularly in Nazareth, Tiberias, Sephoris and Capernaum, and in other parts of the country. Among these Jewish Christians, the relatives of Jesus had a preminent place in the community. It was only natural that these “relatives of Jesus” were deeply attached to the places and the traditions of their own family. It was around these places that Christian life and worship were organized and the first communities came into being. This has been one of the most exciting discoveries.

Sudying the literary sources and the pre-Byzantine remains, a conviction arose that a certain literature had to be taken into consideration that showed a foreign mentality: the so-called apocryphal literature. This literature was of a popular nature but not heterodox. It shows the thinking process and faith of the followers of Jesus (Christians) who though they beleived in him still followed the Jewish thought. This made their way of thinking clearly distinct from the Christians of the period coming from the Western world.

In some cases this literature reflects the mentality and beleifs of the Mother Church of Jerusalem. A literature which contains ancient elements that are in agreement with archaeological data. Over forty years of research have given us a much better picture of the history of the Christian presence in ther Holy Land from the NT times down to the present. The main links in this chronological chain, going back in history from today’s reality, are as follows: today’s church or sanctuary, Crusader, Byzantine, and finally pre-Byzantine periods. It is obvious that those sites where this chronological chain is uninterrupted can be considered as authentic sites and beyond any reasonable doubt.

The excavations at NAZARETH (1955-1960) by Bellarmino Bagatti revealed an uninterrupted sequence of cultic installations around the Grotto of the Annunciation. The present basilica is built on almost the same plan as the Crusader’s. A smaller Byzantine church of the fifth century AD was also found. The main result was the discovery, beneath the Byzantine church, of an early Christian building of a special layout, similar to that of the Jewish Galilean synagogues of the second-third centuries AD. The Nazareth excavations revealed for the first time clear traces of the Jewish-Christian communities that lived and prayed in the same place before the arrival of the Byzantines in the fourth century AD. Similar traces were also found in excavations at Dominus Flevit (The Lord wept) on the slopes of the Mount of Olives (1953-1955) and in Capernaum (1968 on).

At CAPERNAUM a well-preserved village has come to light, with its magnificent synagogue, the living quarters and a special house transformed into a place of worship already in the second half of the first century AD. It is called the House of Peter. We will return to Capernaum later on.

The excavations of B. Bagatti at BETHLEHEM (1948-1951) proved that despite important transformations, the grotto of the Nativity and the manger hewn into the rock remained basically the same. There are elements to show that a veneration of the place by the local Christian community existed uninterrupted since the apostolic times. This is proved by the fact that already in the second century AD several tombs were set up in the proximity of the venerated grotto, according to the well-known custom of burying the dead around holy places. In 135 AD emperor Adrian established on the place of the nativity a sacred grove in order to supplant Christian worship on the spot that was very popular. A consequence of this substitution was that the memory of the place was preserved for future generations. Thus emperor Constantine in 333 AD could easily locate the place and then built on it a basilica that has come down to us renewed by emperor Justinian. It is in fact the only Byzantine basilica preserved until today. The grotto of the Nativity presents us with an exegetical problem that we are going to deal with later on.
Metacrock's blog have Tomb, Will Argue May 5 2011

Metacrock's blog have Tomb, Will Argue July 2011

Have Tomb, Will Argue

Peter's house

see avove


Peter: see abov

*Peter's house and mentioned in I Clement,

The house was built in the first century, it became a center of religious activity [in Capernaum] already in the second half of the first century Jewish-Christians (or Mimin..as they were called) were numerous and lived continuously in Capernaum and kept this tradition alive [the site for the house of Peter--which is mentioned in Mark; their graffiti on the plaster wall of the place of worship testify to their faith in Jesus, the Lord, the Most High, the good, and to their veneration of Peter.Gaylia Cornfeld, Archaeology of The Bible: Book by Book. New York: Harper and Row, 1976, 288.
also see above
Biblical archaeology discoveries are not cut-and-dry cases. Though there is no definitive proof in this instance that the house ruin uncovered by the excavators actually is the ancient house of Peter, there is layer upon layer of circumstantial evidence to support its importance in early Christianity and its association with Jesus in Capernaum and his foremost disciple, Peter. Were it not for its association with Jesus and Peter, why else would a run-of-the-mill first-century house in Capernaum have become a focal point of Christian worship and identity for centuries to come?[Staff writer, "The House of Peter: Home of Jesus in Capernaum," Bible History Daily, (March 29, 2011). ]on line URL


* Clement who implies that he knew him but clearly intimates that he knew others who did know him. 

Let us come to the Heroes nearest out own times. Let us take the noble examples of our own generation; by reason of rivalry the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the church] were persecuted and battled to the death. Let us set before our eyes the nobel Apostles; Peter who...frequently endured suffering and thus wen to the glorious place which he merited...Paul showed how to win the prize for patient endurance.... (5:2-5).[ a foot note of the editor adds that this is good evidence for Peter's martyrdom in Rome. Peter Richardson and Eugene R.Fairweather, et al. Early Christian Fathers, New York: MacMillian, 1970,45-46.]

*Good evidence of the truth of the tradition that Mark interpreted Peter and wrote his Gospel based Peter's memories. Mark had a tomb in Alexandria the bones were stolen by an Italian city. The world of the Gospel of Mark is the World of the Galilee. 

*Papias also documents that he either knew Peter or people who knew him such as the Elder John, see our debate on Papias.

*Ignatius who knew John and studied with Irenaeus clearly writes about Peter as a real person, He would have the same connection to "the elders" Papias had since they studied together with Polycarp.[Richardson, Early Christian Fathers,op. cit., 144.]

Even before the Gospels existed Peter was already a star in the church and thought of as a real guy. Mid first century, during time of PMPN. Why would anyone talk Peter? His one contribution ot history was knowing Jesus.


Papias and Polycarp both knew John. Documented by Papias. Even though there is confusion over which John taught Polycarp we knew Papias mentioned both Johns so they did exist. Papias and Polycarp learned with the same John. They knew Elder John at least if not the apostle. They had connections through other people with apostle John if they did not know him personally, that ois documented by Papias. Depending upon which way you take the quote (see Bowen-Hinman deate on Papias).

For I have a more vivid recollection of what occurred at that time than of recent events (inasmuch as the experiences of childhood, keeping pace with the growth of the soul, become incorporated with it); so that I can even describe the place where the blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse-his going out, too, and his coming in-his general mode of life and personal appearance, together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their words to remembrance. Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received [information] from the eyewitnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures. These things, through, God's mercy which was upon me, I then listened to attentively, and treasured them up not on paper, but in my heart; and I am continually, by God's grace, revolving these things accurately in my mind. [Irenaeus in Alexander Roberts,The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A. D. 325.New York:Cosimo, Inc., .edited by Alexander Roberts, 2007, 583.]

Elder John

Was an eye witness to Jesus.[quote by Papias, see debate and below]

Aristion Knew Elder John was also eye witness also documented by Papias [Ibid]

Other apostles

[the stat,menmt by Pqapias suggests iether first hand association or link through"the elders" as somevseecit, I think the association is first hand, The Apostles are the elders.

Papias famous quote
with care and recorded with care, being well assured of their truth. For unlike most men, I took pleasure not in those that have much to say but in those that preach the truth, not in those that record strange precepts but in those who record such precepts as were given to the faith by the Lord and are derived from truth itself. Besides if ever any man came who had been a follower of the elders I would inquire about the sayings of the elders; what Andrew said, or Peter or Philip or Thomas, or James, or John or Matthew, or any other of the Lord's disciples; and what Aristion says, and John the Elder, who are disciples of the Lord. For I did not consider that I got so much from the content of books as from the utterances of living and abiding voices..."